When the Math Doesn’t Work

I’m on vacation in Minnesota so posting is somewhat sporadic.

Brad Cole has a new A-1 out.

Contributed By Amount Received By Description Vendor Name
Illinois Republican Party $1,378.31
3/30/2007
5A
Citizens for Cole
Payroll Siemer, Jayme
Illinois Republican Party $1,529.72
3/30/2007
5A
Citizens for Cole
Payroll Sorenson, Paul
Illinois Republican Party $409.83
3/30/2007
5A
Citizens for Cole
Mileage Sorenson, Paul
Illinois Republican Party $50.00
3/30/2007
5A
Citizens for Cole
Cell Phone Sprint PCS
Illinois Republican Party $428.28
4/2/2007
5A
Citizens for Cole
Health Insurance The Guardian
Illinois Republican Party $169.91
4/4/2007
5A
Citizens for Cole
Payroll Taxes Illinois Deparment of Revenue
Illinois Republican Party $1,146.40 4/4/2007 5A Citizens for Cole Payroll Taxes United States Treasury

These numbers are problematic on several levels.
March 19, 2007 through and including April 16, 2007
Contributions including, IN-KIND and LOANS, received within the 30 day period preceding an election in an aggregate of more than $500 must be filed within covers

The report was filed on April 11th with the initial reporting due by April 2nd. Oops.

I’m sure Cole will insist it was an innocent mistake, but anyone who believes that is probably giving bank numbers to Nigerians. During the period of time is also when Cole used his ideological friends at the Southern to attack Simon for having big name Democrats endorsing Simon while his campaign was a direct operation of the Illinois Republican Party.

Let’s see, the IRP paid $2900 in salaries, but about $1150 in payroll taxes. Take a look at your pay stub and you’ll see the problem there.

Not to mention, these aren’t pimply faced kids working on the campaign–they are reasonably accomplished campaign/political pros–that’s not all they were getting.

IOW, these reports are late and incomplete and there is no way around it.

I have to say I’m impressed with Brad Cole though. It takes a lot to break Illinois campaign finance laws and he just pulled it off. Congratulations Brad!

Rahm Again

I’m just enjoying posting Rahm stuff that really hard core netrooters will agree with so they have to sit there and be pissed that they agree with Rahm:

To: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, Caucus Vice Chairman John Larson

From: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel

Date: April 11, 2007

Re: Status of the Debate over the Iraq Supplemental

As we return from the district work period, the Congress continues to have an historic opportunity to change direction in Iraq, protect and provide for American troops, and pressure Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country.

We find ourselves in a strong position because the American people support our policy objectives and our plan for Iraq, especially as they measure up against the failures of the administration’s policies. As we continue through the process of sending an Iraq spending bill to the President for his approval, we need to go beyond the debate about the funding for the war, and remind the American people of the policies we are recommending — benchmarks for the Iraqis, support for our troops through training and equipment, and a plan for a responsible and strategic redeployment of our troops. It is also important that we remind the country of the policy position of Congressional Republicans on Iraq – their rubberstamping of the President’s Iraq policies, and their refusal to conduct responsible oversight.

This memorandum summarizes the current state of play on the Iraq supplemental, and the steps we must continue to take in the coming weeks to convey our message and position to the American people.

Where We Stand

President Bush has continued to demand Congress provide him with a blank check for an open-ended commitment of American troops in Iraq. Democrats and the American people agree that we must change direction in Iraq by providing our troops with the resources and protection they need, while planning for a strategic and responsible redeployment of US troops. Meanwhile, the President believes his attempts to ratchet up political pressure about funding the troops will persuade members of our caucus to abandon their support for the Democratic bill that changes direction in Iraq.

More after the jump

Continue reading “Rahm Again”

Why Are Democrats Only Threatening Subpeonas

 Hysterical–executive privilege extends to the Republican National Committee.

The documents led to demands from Democrats for testimony from Mr. Rove and others; the White House agreed only to off-the-record interviews, and Democrats responded by threatening subpoenas.

Now that Democrats are also demanding access to the political e-mail, the White House took steps on Thursday to use those latest demands as leverage to force Democrats to accept the White House’s conditions for making Mr. Rove and the others available.

In a letter to Mr. Leahy and Representative John Conyers Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Fielding, the White House counsel, said the administration was prepared to produce e-mail from the national committee, but only as part of a “carefully and thoughtfully considered package of accommodations” — in other words, only as part of the offer for Mr. Rove and the others to appear in private.

Mr. Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, issued a tart reply: “The White House position seems to be that executive privilege not only applies in the Oval Office, but to the R.N.C. as well. There is absolutely no basis in law or fact for such a claim.”

This literally takes them past Nixon’s claims on Executive Privilege and makes him look restrained.  Executive privilege is a very limited concept only including direct communication with the President under usual circumstances.  To try and extend it to an illegal e-mail system (government business was discussed on a private system in contravention of the law) run by a political party is not just laughable, but beyond parody.

John Cole has been calling it the most corrupt administration in history which has become clearly true, but the truly amazing aspect of this is they have no shame and are even using Fred Fielding to make ludicrous arguments.

If the press wasn’t filled with poodles in DC, they might point this out.

Judge Roy Moore, Constitutional Scholar

One so amazingly conservative that the conservative Alabama Supreme Court (engineered by Rove) immediately removed the monument upon Moore’s suspension before he was removed from his position permanently. Bill Pryor, a controversial judicial nominee by the Bush administration, agreed Moore had to go because he was disobeying the rule of law.

Apparently the rule of law isn’t too important around the Illinois Review these days as they approvingly link to Roy Moore disagreeing with Obama’s criticism of Moore during the controversy over the monument.

They seem to think the state should be promoting a state religion and if you read Moore’s silly writings on the subject he argues that the founders disagreed because most of the states at the time of the adoption of the Constitution had state religions.

Which is great, but ignores the 14th Amendment which radically reshaped the Constitution to include the Bill of Rights protections against state government action as well as federal government action. The federal government was clearly prohibited from establishing a state religion in the 1st Amendment and as such, the 14th Amendment extended that prohibition to state governments. Arguing that the restrictions on state action are the same as prior to the passage of the 14th amendment is incredibly obtuse.

Equally silly is the argument that government sponsored faith displays aren’t establishing a religion. A very clear example is the monument Moore created which utilized the Protestant 10 Commandments instead of the Catholic 10 Commandments. It is endorsing a specific faith over others or a lack of faith through the state’s actions.

One might argue, as some of the commentors on Illinois Review did, that Obama’s explanation was incorrect. I am reliably informed his explanation in actual Constitutional Law classes goes into the details of the 14th Amendment, but on town hall meeting, one generally doesn’t put everyone to sleep with long explanation of how the 14th Amendment radically changed the Constitution.

It’s not his fault that high school government classes aren’t teaching such basic concepts very well.

What Fran left out was that Moore and her former employer Alan Keyes are close and Moore is just about as relevant as Keyes–the guy who showed a giant mock-up of the 10 Commandments around the state. Keyes, the Catholic, used the Protestant version as did Moore:

10com.jpg

I always wanted someone to ask him why he was showing the Protestant version, but he was so busy exploding, no one got the chance.

Cross posted at Illinois Reason

Simon Commercials

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/9rFKOarA1n8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/xU86QmhFwwM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Reload and if you only see code, the player should show up eventually.

Some small changes

I’ve added a small list of cycling blogs–the one I visit the most is Trust but Verify that covers the daily details in the Landis doping allegations.  He’s also been nice enough to link here when I discuss the case.  I’ve been following the entire pro tour this year far more and so you’ll probably see more posts on cycling.  Don’t worry, it’s still primarily a state and national politics blog. 

Another Nice Thing

While the below will probably get me ridiculed as Rich was during the bus tour, I actually came to that conclusion before I spoke with Doug Kane and Becky Carroll.  I had a talk to discuss it with them scheduled and went to do my homework and came away with the general conclusion that this was probably the best we could do in the short term.

 But the good news is that the administration is doing a far better job communicating with the public.  The bus tour Rich went on was the first signal most of us noticed and I was surprised that after 4 years I and some others on the blogs were contacted.  While it won’t stop valid criticisms of the administration, better, more open communication will help them overcome the automatic skepticism many of us have.   I found Doug to be very bright and level-headed about the plan meaning able to admit the problems, but put them in perspective and while Becky still has a tendency to spin, was very forthright on the politics. 

I’m still expecting more legal troubles for the administration and like all administrations bone-headed moves, but also a better ability to understand what they are thinking and attempting and hopefully communicate clearly on issues of agreement such as the pharmacy birth control rule. 

When a Bad Tax is Worth Passing

I’ve been critical of the GRT proposal in the past and I will still argue it’s regressive

 

The problem is pointed out quite succinctly by Speaker Madigan

Before we finish the budget in May or June, Illinois is going to need a tax increase,” Madigan said. “You’ve heard it many, many times — we need more and better education. That takes money.”

Madigan held an open forum for about 100 students, faculty and the general public Wednesday at the College of Lake County’s Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan.

About a dozen people asked the Chicago Democrat questions ranging from increased funding for CLC to health care to immigration.

Madigan’s answer to several questions was a tax hike, but he was noncommittal on the source of the increase.

“Funding for community colleges has been about 7 (percent) to 8 percent from the state and the remainder is picked up by taxpayers and tuition,” Madigan said. “That is contrary to the one-third system that has deteriorated over the last three to four years. We need a tax increase, and funding for community colleges will be one of the issues.”

He’s non-committal about the form of that increase and he’s probably smart to do so in order to negotiate.  

However, the Blagojevich administration essentially got this right.  I don’t often say this especially after I’ve taken a position on what they are doing, but a GRT is probably the least bad of the solutions available.

 A few things seem obvious to me though many on the right will disagree out of ideology alone.

The state doesn’t take in enough money to continue to support education, infrastructure, and health care. 

The state has long term obligations that due to years of neglect are not capable of being met. 

The state isn’t paying its bills on time though it’s getting better. 

In 2002, when I endorsed Blagojevich I pointed out that both Jim Ryan and Blagojevich were lying about fiscal issues and the bill would come due eventually.  The bill is due and Blagojevich is trying to pay it.  I can fault him for taking too long, but not for trying.

I don’t like the tax he has proposed, but I dislike it less than alternatives such as HB 750.  HB 750 does a better job of alleviating the property tax issue, but not in a way I’m comfortable. The property tax is somewhat progressive even if the rapid rise in Cook County is too much too quick. Moving that revenue to an increase in the flat tax income tax is very regressive and the increase in taxes on services would be somewhat dramatic. 

The GRT, on the other hand, is somewhat regressive, but less so.  Any consumption tax is a problem, but this is a broad based tax that even with the pyramiding effect at the maximum looks like a 2.5 percent increase–less than the increase in sales taxes in HB 750 and broader in the effect.  The retail sale of food will be exempt and that is modestly (very modestly)alleviating.

I imagine the tax will undergo some changes before it passes including another increase in the gross revenues that trigger the tax (I imagine 5 million would be pretty reasonable) and I’m guessing we might see som mechanism to alleviate property taxes. I would prefer an increase in the standard deduction for individuals, but that would also lead to an increase in the rate so I’m not sure of the overall effect. 

Adding to the package, HB 750 only funds education better while this proposal will lead to universal health care in Illinois–something that can no longer wait.  The mechanisms of the bill seem reasonable especially the reinsurance for costs about $40,000 at about 80 percent by the state meaning catastrophic costs will be significantly reduced keeping plans reasonably priced.  I’m somewhat agnostic as to other details largely because while I think it is essential to put in place, a national program will be put in place in the next few years.  If Illinois negotiates that well, it may well be able to reduce some of the tax when that plan is put into place. 

There are plenty of things to complain about in the Blagojevich administration and I’m sure I will, but he’s trying here and probably has the best idea for the immediate future.  I’d like to see a move towards at least a progressive personal income tax, but that’s a longer term goal.  In terms of business, a GRT might well be the most efficient and least disruptive mechanism for the state to adopt instead of trying to track down profits and allocate them to Illinois done business. 

Daily Dolt

The Dark Prince:

Hayden was brought into the CIA as an intelligence professional when President Bush fired Porter Goss, who had retired from Congress to go to Langley at the president’s request. Goss thought he had a mandate to clean up an agency whose senior officials delivered private anti-Bush briefings during the 2004 campaign. The confusion over Valerie Plame’s status suggests the CIA gave Waxman what he wanted, even if the director of central intelligence seemed confused.

 

Dusty Foggo asshole.  He wasn’t cleaning up anything. 

Why the Sun-Times still runs his crap is a mystery. Earlier in the article Novak attempts to make a particular distinction between undercover and covert that is  hysterical:

At the Gridiron, I heard Hayden tell me he referred to Plame only as ”undercover.” He apparently said the same thing to Toensing, who testified as a Republican-requested witness at the March 16 hearing. On April 4, she wrote Hayden that in three Gridiron conversations ”in front of different witnesses you denied most emphatically that you had ever told” Waxman ”that Valerie Plame was ‘covert.’ You stated you had told Waxman he could use the term ‘undercover’ but ‘never’ the term ‘covert.’ ”

That contradiction concerned Toensing, a former Senate staffer who helped draft the 1982 Intelligence Identities Act. At the hearing, Waxman menacingly challenged Toensing’s sworn testimony that Plame was not ”covert” under the act. Accordingly, she asked Hayden to inform Waxman ”you never approved of his using the term ‘covert.’ ”

The confusion deepened when I obtained Waxman’s talking points for the hearing. The draft typed after the Hayden-Waxman conversation said, ”Ms. Wilson had a career as an undercover agent of the CIA.” This was crossed out, the hand-printed change saying she ”was a covert employee of the CIA.”

Who had made this questionable but important change? Hayden told me Tuesday that the talking points were edited by a CIA lawyer after conferring with Waxman’s staff. ”I am completely comfortable with that,” the general assured me. He added he now sees no difference between ”covert” and ”undercover” — an astounding statement, considering that the criminal statute refers only to ”covert” employees.

Mark Mansfield, Hayden’s public affairs officer, next e-mailed me: ”At CIA, you are either a covert or an overt employee. Ms. Wilson was a covert employee.” That also ignores the legal requirements of the Intelligence Identities Act.

Could someone who is like an editor sit down and have an intervention with this asshole and explain to him he helped out a CIA agent who worked on weapons of mass destruction?  Furthermore, Toensing at the hearing admitted to not having discussed Plame’s status with anyone who would actually know.

The entire canard that Plame wasn’t covert was started by Toensing and her husband on cable channels and yet they had no information to make the claim.