Posts Tagged ‘government’

Berlusconi’s Back. Europe Shrugs.

July 5, 2019

Berlusconi's Back. Europe Shrugs.

Billionaire octagenarian, former football team ownerBunga-Bunga Party host, one-time cruise ship crooner and disgraced 3-time former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, forced out of the Italian Senate over his 2013 tax-fraud conviction, has started serving as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Madonna Mia!

More:

“Forget the tax fraud and sex scandals. Italy’s Berlusconi is back.” Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post

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Image (“Pasha Berlusconi and His Harem, after François Gabriel Lepaulle”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Federal Watchdog: Fire Hatch Act Violator KellyAnne Conway

June 13, 2019
Federal Watchdog: Fire Hatch Act Violator KellyAnne Conway

   GUILTY OF SERIAL HATCH ACT VIOLATIONS.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent a report to the White House on Thursday recommending that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway “be removed from federal service” for repeatedly using her official position for political purposes, violations of the Hatch Act:

“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”

“Nyah, nyah, nyah,” responded Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves. The OSC does not have legal authority to remove a presidential appointee like Ms. Conway, but would have booted a career federal official long before this point. OSC had reprimanded Ms. Kelly over ethics concerns starting in 2017, and for multiple Hatch Act violations in 2018 and 2019. The Special Counsel of OSC is Trump-nominated investigator Henry Kerner. During the first year of the Trump Administration, Hatch Act violation compliants to the OSC rose 30 percent.

Attention lawyers: How many public ethics violations does an attorney need to commit before she’s disbarred?

More:

“Special counsel: Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, should be removed,” Nicholas Sakelaris, UPI

“Kellyanne Conway Should Be Fired For Violating Ethics Law, Oversight Office Says,” Brian Naylor, NPR News

“Federal agency recommends that Kellyanne Conway be removed from service,” Anita Kumar, Politico

“Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act,” Felicia Sonmez, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Updates:

“Trump says he won’t fire Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act violations,” John Wagner and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post

“Nobody Will Need To Respect The Rule Of Law After The Trump Administration,” Elie Mystal, Above The Law

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Inequality

January 21, 2019

Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Inequality

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned a Poor People’s Campaign for May 1968 to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, affordable housing, and education for poor adults and children, an Economic Bill of Rights. The effort was to involve poor people of all races from all parts of the country, urban and rural, but the historical roots of racial economic disparity could not be ignored:

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Merry Christmas: Trump Shut Down the Government

December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas: Trump Shut Down the Government

“I am proud to shut down the government…I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not gonna blame you for it.” — Donald Trump, December 11, 2018

“The Democrats now own the shutdown!”  — Donald Trump December 21, 2018

President Trump has shut down the federal government because Congress didn’t fund his imaginary border wall. The senate had passed a wall-less continuing resolution funding the government through February, but Mr. Trump turned it down, so the federal government can’t pay its bills past midnight tonight. It’s no big deal to Donald Trump, who has a habit of stiffing people who work for him and has been bankrupt six times.

Donald Trump promised to make Christmas great again, but all we’ve got so far is much greater drama. Somebody’s getting a stocking full of beautiful clean coal on Tuesday.

More:

“Trump last week: I’ll own the shutdown. Trump now: It’s the Democrats’ fault.” German Lopez, Vox

“‘He takes no ownership — that’s just Trump’: President eschews responsibility for a shutdown he once craved,” By David Nakamura, Washington Post

“The ‘all-I-want-for-Christmas-is-$5-billion-for-the-wall’ shutdown,”  John Bresnahan, Politico

“From Parks to Airports, How a Shutdown Would Affect Federal Agencies,” Glenn Thrush and Mitchell Ferman, New York Times

“She wanted to buy her grandkids a bike for Christmas. But now the shutdown looms.” Washington Post

“Why Trump Can’t Build His Wall,” Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg

Updates:

“Partial shutdown likely to extend past Christmas,” Associated Press

“‘Very possible’ shutdown could last into new year, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says,” Erica Werner, David Weigel, and Philip Rucker, Washington Post

“Trump Gripes About Lonely Xmas With No One But ‘Machine Gunners’ Who Don’t Smile,” Nicole Lafond, TPM Livewire

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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November 6th: Go Vote!

November 6, 2018

November 6th: Go Vote!
It’s November 6th, 2018, the date of the most important midterm elections in your lifetime. You know what to do.

State Poll Opening and Closing Times

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NYC Hot Dog Stand License: $289,500. Per Year.

September 20, 2018

Licenses for a New York City hot dog stand can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. There are 3,100 hot dog stand licenses in New York City, and there’s a 20 year waiting list for them. The licenses, not the hot dogs.

A “Half as Interesting” video from Wendover Productions

Update:

“‘Unjust and immoral’: street vendors call on New York City to issue more permits,” Erin Durkin, The Guardian

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Paul Ryan Shrugged

July 30, 2018

Paul Ryan Shrugged

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) has been a vocal deficit hawk for his entire congressional career, frightened inspired at an early age by conservative icon Ayn Rand, whose “Objectivist” pronunciamentos decried federal deficit financing. When Mr. Ryan became speaker in 2015, the deficit was $439 billion. When he leaves Congress in January, the massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich he championed will have ballooned the deficit to $1.2 trillion, and his tax cuts promise similar deficit increases for years to come. Ayn Rand must be rolling in her grave.

More:

“When Paul Ryan leaves government, the federal deficit will be $1.2 trillion higher than when he arrived,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“Paul Ryan’s Legacy of Red Ink,” Michael Grunwald, Politico

“Paul Ryan’s Sad Legacy,” Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Pruitt Family Values

June 18, 2018

Pruitt Family Values

Recent discussion of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s brilliant Washington career has concentrated on his abuses of science, taxpayer dollars, and the power of his office, but he’s not so selfish that he neglected the Republican love of Family Values. Mr. Pruitt assigned EPA aides to try to get his wife a job with a conservative group and a Chick-fil-A franchise, and his daughter a White House Internship and a place in a good law school.

More:

“Why Scott Pruitt’s effort to get his wife a job could be his most consequential scandal,” Amber Phillips, Washington Post

“For Pruitt Aides, the Boss’s Personal Life Was Part of the Job,” Eric Lipton, Steve Eder, Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times

Background:

“Scott Pruitt’s [dirty] laundry list,” Mike Allen, Axios

Update:

“Whistleblower: EPA’s Pruitt kept secret calendar to hide meetings,” Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin, CNN

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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White House Staff Vacancies

June 14, 2018

White House Staff Vacancies

The understaffed Trump White House keeps losing employees. There’s been a steady exodus ( Steven Cheung is the latest), and now we hear talk that Sarah Huckabee SandersRaj Shah, and even John Kelly are eyeing the exit.

But it’s getting harder to find experienced people to work in the Trump Administration. That’s why the White House HR Department is going to be at a Capital Hill Job Fair on Friday. Greetings, interns!

More:

“Trump White House advertises at a Hill job fair amid staff exodus,” Annie Karni, Politico

Related:

“Nation Not Sure How Many Ex-Trump Staffers It Can Safely Reabsorb,” The Onion

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Will Donald Trump Try To Pardon Himself?

June 6, 2018

Will Donald Trump Try to Pardon Himself?

Confused senior citizen and Donald Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had lots of contradictory things to say about his client last Sunday. He asserted that Mr. Trump couldn’t be indicted even if he shot James Comey, then talked about presidential pardon powers.

President Trump probably has the power to pardon himself, said Mr. Giuliani, but of course he would never do such an “unthinkable” thing. On the other hand, telling Donald Trump not to do something is best way of convincing him to do it. For now, Mr. Trump claims he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but doesn’t have to, because he has “done nothing wrong.”

So can a president pardon himself? Legal opinions differ, but  Laurence H. Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen make a good case against it, based in part on the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel 1974 opinion during Nixon’s Watergate crisis, citing “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case,” a view taken by James Madison in the Federalist Papers, No. 10.

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