Thursday, October 29, 2015

Haunted House

It's downright $cary:

"Congress, Obama agree to tentative budget deal" by David M. Herszenhorn New York Times  October 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — After five years of bitter clashes, Republican congressional leaders and President Obama on Monday night appeared to settle their last budget fight by reaching a tentative deal that would modestly increase spending over the next two years, cut some social programs, and raise the federal borrowing limit.

The accord, which must be approved by the House and the Senate, would avert a potentially cataclysmic default on the government’s debt and dispenses with perhaps the most divisive issue in the capital just before Speaker John A. Boehner is expected to turn over his gavel to Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin.

The agreement would raise spending by $80 billion over two years, not including a $32 billion increase included in an emergency war fund. Those increases would be offset by cuts in spending on Medicare and Social Security disability benefits, as well as savings or revenue from an array of other programs, including selling oil from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves.

OMG, it's a kick-the-can-down-the-road and saddle more debt on the people to preserve political harmony and try to calm the people down. 

The deal would represent a major breakthrough after years of gridlock in Congress, especially on fiscal issues, as each side compromised on core issues. It frees Obama from budget battles as he looks to secure his legacy in the remainder of his second term, and gives clean starts to Ryan as speaker and to Republicans trying to persuade voters that they can be an effective governing majority.

An impossibility given the vote totals on this deal.

An accord to lift the debt ceiling and settle the spending impasse before then would free Ryan to begin his speakership without a pending crisis, and potentially empower him to pursue some of the bold ideas he has put forward previously on tax and budget policy that helped catapult him to prominence and led to his being chosen as the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012.

Ryan played a crucial role in the last major spending deal, which he brokered along with Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington. 

She sold out on that after Boeing received some tax breaks.

Aides said that the Social Security Disability Insurance program would be amended so that a medical exam now required in 30 states before applicants could qualify for benefits would be required in all 50 states. That change was projected to save the government $5 billion.

End print, and that's all they would save with the trillions in red ink?

Btw, we are their social service cuts when the increase is supposed to be 50-50.

The emerging deal would also reallocate funds among Social Security program trust funds to ensure solvency of the disability insurance program. Such reallocations have occurred regularly over the decades but Republicans had opposed any new reallocation without changes to reduce costs of the program.

The prospective agreement would also prevent expected increases in out-of-pocket costs for millions of Medicare Part B beneficiaries. The increases would have been caused by the rare absence of a cost-of-living increase in Social Security for some beneficiaries, because of unusually low inflation.

See: For many retirees, a one-two punch looms

It's just one punch then.

Obama and Democratic leaders had insisted that any increases in military spending be matched with equal increases in spending on nonmilitary programs. The deal under consideration appears to meet that goal, as Republicans had previously agreed to increases in military spending.

Charles J. Houy, who worked on spending issues in the Senate for more than 30 years and retired in 2013 as staff director of the Appropriations Committee, said that the deal, if completed, would be an important accomplishment, and would avert the need for a yearlong temporary spending measure at last year’s spending rates that would be extremely cumbersome for many federal agencies.

“It’s great news, frankly, if they can come up with a deal,” Houy said. “And it’s a good story from Boehner’s view if they can work this out literally at the 11th hour and 59th minute, if he can walk out the door and they have been able to accomplish this.”


"Congressional budget deal is lauded as example of normalcy" by Tracy Jan Globe Staff  October 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — It seems like an October miracle, this sudden outbreak of normalcy?

Funding the government used to be par for the course. Then Tea Party.

Yeah, they are to blame for everything.

The deal raises spending by $80 billion over two years and temporarily lifts the spending caps in place since 2013. It also increases military spending while cutting Medicare payments to doctors and spending on Social Security disability benefits.

Some members of the House Freedom Caucus, a band of rebellious archconservatives who had threatened to block any sort of compromise with Democrats, have already started griping about the budget bill.


House Democrats are unhappy about cuts to Medicare spending, but say they are unified in joining Republicans to help pass the budget.

What a phony baloney political $how, huh?

Representative Bill Keating, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he wouldn’t go so far as to claim a return to normalcy. “The Tea Party is still here,” he said, although he pointed out that Ryan could unite with Democrats to pass crucial legislation if he chooses....

That's what they did!


Yeah, it's the “sign of a good deal when there’s something for everybody to hate.” 

Pretty low standard for this great Republic and democracy, 'eh?

"Paul Ryan nominated for speaker; budget deal OK’d" by Erica Werner Associated Press  October 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — House Republicans embraced a new leader Wednesday and swiftly consented to a major budget-and-debt deal to avert a federal financial crisis, highlights of a day of dramatic fresh starts at the Capitol after years of division and disarray.

They are ‘‘turning the page.’’

Democrats supplied 187 of the ‘‘yes’’ votes, while 79 came from Republicans.

The agreement was approved 266-167 with Repugs holding a 247 to 188 advantage. That means 187 out of 188 Dems voted for it (who was the lone brave Dem to go against or did they abstain?) with 168 of 247 Repugs voting against it (more than two-to-one). Talk about a betrayal. Can't say I didn't warn you.

‘‘The outgoing speaker of the House has partnered with Democrats and Senate leadership to craft a monstrosity of a budget deal,’’ one hardliner, Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, complained, calling on candidates for speaker to reject the bill.

That's why he resigned; had he done this without that, arch rebellious conservatives (love that subtle tar-and-slander term) would have feasted upon his innards on the House floor. 

Of course, if you are hard Zionist and war machine, that's not hardline.

Ryan did not oblige. He criticized the process used to reach the measure, saying that it ‘‘stinks,’’ but issued a statement announcing his support for the deal because it ‘‘will go a long way toward relieving the uncertainty hanging over us.’’

Indeed, Ryan could ask for no better parting gift from Boehner at a moment when GOP leaders are fretting about the deep Republican divisions on display in Congress and the presidential campaign, where outsider candidates are leading established politicians....

Did you see the masks?


What's more important and hardly mentioned is that the debt ceiling was raised, further enslavement for the American people.

Here is a scary story of who used to live there:

"Hastert to plead guilty in case over bank withdrawals; Accused of trying to conceal $1.7m to pay accuser" by Julie Bosman New York Times  October 16, 2015

And then there is Denny Hastert (quick, hide)!

CHICAGO — J. Dennis Hastert, the small-town wrestling coach who rose to political power as the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House, intends to plead guilty in a case in which he is accused of skirting banking laws and lying to the federal investigators, a prosecutor said Thursday.

A federal prosecutor said in US District Court here that the government expected a written plea agreement to be given to the judge Monday. The judge scheduled a hearing for Oct. 28, at which Hastert is expected to change his not guilty plea to guilty.

It was unclear what charges that Hastert would plead guilty to and what the sentence may be. Hastert did not appear in court.

Hastert, 73, was charged in May with structuring cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, in a manner intended to avoid detection by banking officials, and then lying about the withdrawals to the federal authorities. The seven-page indictment laid out a pattern of clandestine meetings and bank withdrawals.

The indictment said the withdrawals were used to “compensate for and conceal” earlier “misconduct” against a person identified only as “Individual A.” That money was used to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct with a male student during Hastert’s time as a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., two people briefed on the investigation said. Hastert has not been charged with any sex crimes, and the identity of the person he is accused of paying remains unknown.

That is what we are being told, but it is likely far worse

Remember Mark Foley? Was Hastert's House also one big pedophile network?

The plea will allow Hastert, who presided over the House from 1999 to 2007, to avoid a potentially long and embarrassing trial and to keep secret information that he has hidden for years, including the identity of the former student. It was that man who, around 2010, met with the former speaker several times to discuss “past misconduct” by Hastert while he was teaching in Yorkville, the indictment said. Hastert taught there from 1965 to 1981.

During one meeting, Hastert agreed to pay his former student $3.5 million to “compensate for and conceal” his misconduct, the indictment said. Soon after, it continued, Hastert began taking out large sums of money from several accounts and paying Individual A in amounts of $50,000 or $100,000.

If this was a one-off Hastert wouldn't have paid and he would have weathered the fallout in a he-said, he-said (ugh)!

After banking officials asked Hastert to explain the withdrawals, he changed course, taking out cash in increments of less than $10,000 in an attempt to evade detection, the indictment said. Banks are required to report cash withdrawals of more than $10,000.

In December, under questioning from federal agents, Hastert said that he was holding on to the cash out of mistrust of the banking system.

Interesting comment. Was he looking into an audit of the Federal Reserve?

“Yeah,” Hastert told the agents, the indictment said. “I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”

Hastert faces two charges: one of making bank withdrawals smaller than $10,000 each in a manner designed to avoid detection, known as structuring, and one of making false statements to federal investigators.

Each carries a penalty of a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Last month, lawyers for the prosecution and for Hastert said in federal court that they were discussing a plea agreement and asked the judge, Thomas M. Durkin of US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, for more time to file pretrial motions. Legal experts said that given the nature of the charges and the evidence laid out in the indictment, it appeared likely that Hastert would pursue a plea deal rather than endure a trial.

Pretrial motions were due Tuesday, a deadline that passed without the submission of pretrial paperwork, an indication that Hastert and the prosecutors were nearing a plea deal.

Hastert’s lawyer, Thomas C. Green, has accused prosecutors of leaking details of the case, saying that revelations of sexual abuse jeopardized Hastert’s ability to receive a fair trial. At a hearing in July, Green called the anonymously sourced reports of sexual abuse the “800-pound gorilla” in the room.

It sure is when it comes to the lecturing elite and their sick sexual practices.

Charles A. Stillman, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in New York, said that he expected Hastert to serve some time in prison, perhaps one to two years, under the plea agreement.

“He’s not going to walk away from this,” he said, adding that it is in Hastert’s interest to avoid a trial and the exposure of Individual A’s identity. “All of the sordid allegations that created the problem would have to come out in a trial,” Stillman said.


Related: Kane Case Confusing

The graphic should clear things up.

"Dennis Hastert pleads guilty to evading regulations on banking; Avoids trial over payments made as hush money" by Michael Tarm Associated Press  October 29, 2015

CHICAGO — Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday to evading banking laws in a hush-money scheme, averting a potentially lurid trial by agreeing to a deal with prosecutors that recommends the former House speaker serve no more than six months in prison.

And keeping darker secrets covered.

In the written agreement, the Illinois Republican directly acknowledged for the first time that he sought to pay someone $3.5 million to hide misconduct by Hastert against the person.

Before accepting the plea, the 73-year-old was warned by the judge that he could go beyond the recommendation and give Hastert up to five years behind bars when he is sentenced in February.

Because the plea agreement has a sentencing range from no prison time to six months, US District Judge Thomas M. Durkin could also put Hastert on probation or home confinement.

The plea helped seal the downfall of a man who rose from obscurity in rural Illinois to the nation’s third-highest political office. During his eight years as speaker, Hastert was second in the line of succession to the presidency.

As he stepped to the lectern to answer a series of questions, he spoke in a voice so soft that the judge told him to speak up.

The hearing revealed no new details about why Hastert agreed to pay the money. The indictment and the plea language both said the payments were meant to conceal past misconduct by Hastert, but neither document explained the nature of the wrongdoing.

The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported that the payments were meant to hide claims of sexual misconduct from decades ago.

Most people only care about the what, not the when.

At the half-hour hearing in Chicago, a subdued Hastert read from a brief statement that — like his indictment — focused narrowly on how he technically broke banking laws.

By pleading guilty, Hastert avoids a trial that could have divulged embarrassing secrets dating to his days as a high-school wrestling coach that he presumably wanted to keep under wraps by paying hush money.

Judges are also generally more likely to give lighter sentences to defendants who accept responsibility for their actions and spare the government the cost of a trial.

Hastert, who was charged with the banking violation and lying to the FBI, also acknowledged in the plea deal that he lied to the agency about the reasons for the withdrawals. The agreement indicates prosecutors will dismiss that charge.

For some, lying to the government is no big deal. For others....

When the judge asked Hastert to describe his wrongdoing in his own words, he read his statement, telling the court that he had been withdrawing cash, $50,000 at a time. After banking officials questioned him, he said, he began taking out less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements.

Speaking in a halting voice and losing his place in the text at one point, he described why he lied to officials: ‘‘I didn’t want them to know how I intended to spend the money.’’

Hastert did not say why he required so much cash or why he sought to skirt reporting requirements. As he finished, the judge immediately asked: ‘‘Did you know that what you were doing was wrong?’’

He responded, ‘‘Yes, sir.’’

The 15-page plea deal, which Hastert signed Wednesday, was released after the hearing. In it, he acknowledged the unnamed person and that the two ‘‘discussed past misconduct’’ by Hastert against that person, who is only referred to as ‘‘Individual A.’’ That discussion led to the agreement for $3.5 million.

Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 29.

Prosecutors could theoretically call to the witness stand the unnamed person Hastert was allegedly paying, a prospect that could make public the conduct Hastert sought to conceal.

The sentencing range is below what some legal experts had predicted. They thought prosecutors would press for six months to two years in prison.

Hastert was speaker longer than any other Republican. After leaving Congress in 2007, he parlayed his connections into a lucrative lobbying career. That career is almost certainly over.

Awwww, poor Denny!


Here's another noted Washington D.C. pervert:

"Bill would pull Hoover name off FBI headquarters" by Jonathan O’Connell The Washington Post News Service  October 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — There are a litany of problems with the J. Edgar Hoover Building, which is why the FBI has spent more than a decade pushing for a new headquarters.

A congressman puts the building’s name at the top of the list. Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, introduced a bill last week to strip the name of the agency’s longtime former director from the building. Hoover was among the most famous and powerful federal officials during his 37-year reign atop the FBI, but his aggressive and warrantless surveillance of civil rights leaders has been well-chronicled.

So has his cross-dressing and homosexuality.

When FBI Director James Comey came to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Cohen called Hoover ‘‘abusive’’ and ‘‘the opposite of justice.’’

Was it the COINTELPRO program that continues along with instigation of patsy terror plots?

Cohen cited Hoover’s treatment of Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in Cohen’s hometown of Memphis. Hoover once wrote a vicious letter to King, calling him an ‘‘evil, abnormal beast’’ as well as ‘‘a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that.’’

The congressman also said at the hearing that Hoover referred to gays as ‘‘sex deviants’’ and attempted to root them from jobs at the FBI and the federal government.

So he hated himself, huh?

‘‘His efforts to silence Dr. King and out homosexuals working for the government were deplorable and a stain on our nation’s history and on the FBI,’’ Cohen said.

Comey responded by saying he keeps a copy of Hoover’s letter to King in his desk ‘‘to make sure people understand the danger in becoming — in falling in love with your own view of things and the danger in the absence of constraint and oversight.’’

The current director opted against weighing in on whether Hoover’s name belonged on the building, saying a historian would be better equipped to take a full measure of the man.

We have. 


NDUPaul Ryan, as new House speaker, issues call for unity

There is a phrased reference to raising the debt limit.