Reason Morning Links: Ted Stevens Wins, More Tax Problems for Obama Nominee, Conficker Wimper

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• Thus far, Conficker seems to be a dud, but may merely be waiting.

• Reports say Obama DOJ will drop the charges against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

• Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama's latest HHS nominee, until recently owed $8,000 in back taxes.

• Neocons for Obama?

• Your morning "ugh:" Cambridge economist attempts to resurrect the reputation of Smoot-Hawley.

• Special congressional election in upstate New York too close to call.

• Senators urge lifting ban on travel to Cuba.

NEXT: Felonious Advocacy

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  1. Senators urge lifting ban on travel to Cuba.

    Cheaper cigars? I am all for cheaper cigars.

    WIll the Cuban national airline flights be cheaper than commercial?

  2. Yo, fuck Smoot-Hawley. And Ted Stevens.

  3. Yo, fuck Smoot-Hawley. And Ted Stevens.

    Second.

  4. How convenient, the clouds of corruption cost Stevens his senate seat and now they tell us nevermind? Not that Stevens wasn't the biggest spending Republican ever, but he could have helped secure the filabuster.

  5. On the Ted Stevens report. It says that "Holder wanted to send a strong message that prosecutorial misconduct will not be tolerated" they left off "if the Defendant is a politician".

  6. Reports say Obama DOJ will drop the charges against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

    What? Why?

    Whom does this benefit other than Ted Stevens? This accomplishes nothing for Obama of the GOP. What the fuck?

  7. Err, that should be Obama or the GOP...

  8. It makes sense that Obama would want to send the message that accepting gifts, bribes and favors from your political connections isn't really that big of a deal. Don't forget where he came from, and how he got where he is.

  9. Gov. Kathleen Sibelius, Obama's latest HHS nominee, until recently owed $8,000 in back taxes.

    Big deal. $8,000?

    Stevens is a much bigger "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" than $8,000

  10. I'm no lawyer here, so i am not sure, but can charges be dropped once the defendant is convicted?

    I assume the judge is now obligated by law to sentence the convicted. How can they just say "psych" and let him off?

    Oh, right, because the rule of law is sooooo last century...

  11. Remember how Monday was all positive stories? Shitstorm of well, shit, ever since.

    I do favor a lifting of the travel ban though. I've said all along, as I'm sure most of you have, the exchange of ideas and money will change Cuba for the better.

  12. Ted Stevens and the Obama DOJ cut a deal. And we'll never know the shockingly corrupt terms of it.

  13. Taktix, I wonder if he'll be sentenced and then easily win on appeal if the DOJ is saying the screwed up. I say, if that's the case, still toss his ass in jail until his lengthy appeal is finalized.

  14. All this real life fuckuppery really plays havoc with April Fools' Day, huh?

  15. "What? Why?

    Whom does this benefit other than Ted Stevens? This accomplishes nothing for Obama of the GOP. What the fuck?"

    I know it is shocking to think, but perhaps Stevens isn't as big of a crook as everyone thinks he is? Or at least, they never had the goods on him and had not choice but to drop the charges.

    I don't like Ted Stevens but this is a disturbing trend. Prosecutors grandstand and get an indictment before an election only to withdraw the charges once the election is over. That is really what they did to Tom Delay in Texas. Anyone ever hear anymore about Ronnie Earl's jihad against Delay and Travis county "indictment" lately? I didn't think so. Unless DOJ found out something new about Stevens between when they got the indictment and now that caused them to drop this case, DOJ basically took a case they knew or should have known was flawed and got an indictment to ruin Stevens' political career. Like Stevens or not, that is appalling.

  16. I forgot Stevens was convicted. My fault. But Holder is admitting that there was misconduct in the case and that is why they won't defend the conviction. Again, just Stevens isn't a good guy, doesn't mean that it is ok for prosecutors to railroad him. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an unprincipled crapweasal.

  17. Maybe it's a joke.
    Tomorrow Holder will come out and say "April fools! The old crook is going to jail."

  18. 59 votes separate Murphy from Tedisco for Gillibrand's NY 20th district house seat with a few thousand absentees to be counted. If it comes down to one vote, I'm glad to report I wrote in Eric Sundwall on principle. Fuck the two-party behemoth.

  19. Maybe it's a joke.
    Tomorrow Holder will come out and say "April fools! The old crook is going to jail."

    As much as I don't like Holder, that would be a great prank.

  20. The reality is that free trade has never worked very well, especially for developing countries, but it is going to malfunction even more in the coming years. Rather than trying to nurse this ailing sacred cow back to health, we should slaughter it-and concentrate our energy on designing a new system of international trade that pragmatically mixes free trade and protectionism.

    It's a good thing this guy is an economics professor at Cambridge; otherwise, I'd probably think he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    A centrally planned economy with a comprehensive industrial policy will fix everything, I reckon.

  21. Again, just Stevens isn't a good guy, doesn't mean that it is ok for prosecutors to railroad him. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an unprincipled crapweasal.

    IMHO, politicians, or more specifically, people who seek to hold power over us, do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. If he was convicted, he was convicted. If there was misconduct, that's for the appeal process to decide.

    Private citizens don't have the same power these assholes hold, and they should be held to much higher standard than you and I. And there's nothing unprincipled about holding your servants to a higher standard...

  22. Since I don't know where else to say this other than sending an email and my work email crashed this morning (has Conficker morphed? -- maybe that's the joke) can we get a running thread to comment on the Brickbats? I'm infuriated daily with no place to vent to fellow Rainbow Puppy Islanders without hijacking threads.

    Thanks.

  23. Is it not now abundantly clear that all but the most simple tax return will have errors on it? It is too damned complicated, specially when states (e.g. Penna.) have different rules for deductions, etc. than the Feds have. Even the "expert" tax preparers will give you different answers on different days.
    When are the jerks in D.C. going to simplify the torture of trying to figure out your taxes?

  24. Tomorrow Holder will come out and say "April fools! The old crook is going to jail."

    That was my reaction at first.

    But if it is a joke, it's a good'n.

    And Nina Totenberg put a lot more work into her exclusive report this a.m. on npr than any reporter usually puts into an April Fool's joke.

  25. What the fuck? Stevens suddenly isn't corrupt anymore?

  26. Max Baucus, the Democratic head of the committee expressed his support for Ms Sebelius.

    Well, duh.

    Only civilians pay taxes.

  27. ? Gov. Kathleen Sibelius, Obama's latest HHS nominee, until recently owed $8,000 in back taxes.

    She didsn't do anything wrong. This is just more evidence that the fucking tax laws in this country are too fucking complicated, a byzantine maze of credits, deductions, exceptions, etc.

  28. (e.g. Penna.)

    Fight on, creech! USPS is not the boss of us!

  29. Ask yourself:

    "Would Holder involve himself if a federal prosecutor took a 'special interest' in somebody like me?"

  30. What the fuck? Stevens suddenly isn't corrupt anymore?

    Actually, good point. Over the last few months, Stevens looks to be far less corrupt by comparison that he did when he was convicted...

  31. The reality is that free trade has never worked very well, especially for developing countries, but it is going to malfunction even more in the coming years. Rather than trying to nurse this ailing sacred cow back to health, we should slaughter it-and concentrate our energy on designing a new system of international trade that pragmatically mixes free trade and protectionism oil and water.

    FIFY professor.

  32. I'm going to vote for Sen. A. Hole. He's promising to only take 3 million from lobbyists and grandstand a bit about wasteful spending before he authorizes only $500 billion for the parking meter industry.

  33. Since I don't know where else to say this other than sending an email and my work email crashed this morning (has Conficker morphed? -- maybe that's the joke) can we get a running thread to comment on the Brickbats? I'm infuriated daily with no place to vent to fellow Rainbow Puppy Islanders without hijacking threads.

    This H&R gadfly concurs. I suggest copying the brickbat, making it a morning post and inviting snark and outrage.

  34. Stevens was corrupt. He was accused of taking gifts (mostly home remodelling) without declaring the value. Stevens defense was that the contractor was sooooo ethical that when the contractor found out he had overcharged a Stevens, the contractor decided to under-bill to correct the mistake! The "Overly Honest Contractor" defense is rarely invoked, which you would know if you ever hired a contractor.

    The sad part of this trial was that the prosecutors may have been just as corrupt. They apparently withheld evidence and, if I recall correctly, one of the investigators had sex with one of the government witnesses which was not disclosed so the defense could cross examine on the issue ("how was it? Does she talk dirty? Don't you love that?").

    So, stevens actually has a decenbt case on appeal. The news today indicates that the DOJ would rather concede the appeal than drag the prosecution team through the mud.

  35. I'm no lawyer here, so i am not sure, but can charges be dropped once the defendant is convicted?

    His conviction wasn't final, AFAIK. I seem to recall there were appeals pending.

    Very odd, though. I can't quite bring myself to believe that Holder was acting out of principle, as it would be the first time in his entire life (this is the guy who circumvented the normal review process for pardons, after all, when it was a big donor's ass on the line), but I can't figure out what their play is, either.

  36. I'm going to vote for Sen. A. Hole.

    You live in NY, too?

  37. The news today indicates that the DOJ would rather concede the appeal than drag the prosecution team through the mud.

    And there you have it. Holder is engaged in standard-issue institutional protection - better to let one crook go free than have a thousand prosecutors dragged through the mud.

  38. When are the jerks in D.C. going to simplify the torture of trying to figure out your taxes?

    ? Standing next to me in this lonely crowd,
    Is a man who swears he's not to blame.
    All day long I hear him shout so loud,
    Crying out that he was framed.
    I see my light come shining
    From the west unto the east.
    Any day now, any day now,
    I shall be released. ?

    NOT!

  39. The news today indicates that the DOJ would rather concede the appeal than drag the prosecution team through the mud.

    So his conviction stands until he actually does appeal? Does he sit in jail while this happens? I honestly don't know the process.

  40. The lawmakers, at a news conference where they were joined by trade and human rights groups, also made clear that their proposal to allow travel should be a first step toward breaking down economic and trade barriers between the two countries.

    Florida is a swing state with Cuban ex-pats and their sympathizers possibly the deciding factor. Will priciple prevail over politics? Tuned in next week for another episode of "The Corrupt and the Clueless".

  41. So his conviction stands until he actually does appeal? Does he sit in jail while this happens? I honestly don't know the process.

    When a person has a decent case for appeal, they are often allowed free on appellate bond. Stevens is a good candidate for one. He's a gazillion years old, he's not likely to be a danger to the public, and is too high profile to just disappear into the crowd. In the meantime, I think his convicion is on the record.

  42. J sub D

    I'm not sure how many in the Fla Cuban community have a problem with this. I suspect that if the vote is swayed at all it's because diehard non-Cuban Republicans are swayed by the shouts of the octogenarian brigade that claims to speak for exiles.

    Sort of the same way that Israel seems to have more defenders among fundamentalist Christians than it does among Jews (ok that's hyperbole).

  43. Too bad Sundwall got kicked off on a technacality even the judge disagreede with , but had no choice. It would have been interesting to see a 3rd party (my party) canadite in there. it would have certiantly made for some good reporting, as the Lib party would have been the Kingmaker

  44. The cuba embargo is and always has been BS. It was because they are Red bastards, but then again, so are the chineese and we trade everything with them. lets open trade back up, so the cuban cigar indusrty can get recranking. yeah they still make em, but not as good as they used to

  45. Yeah, SpongePaul, he got hosed, which is why, as much as we need more GOP in the house for divided govt, I voted the way I did even in a close race. I think I would have done it even if the Dems controlled the House by one member.

    How about that for Swing Vote, my one vote costs the whole country? In the words of Henry Hill, "Fuck you. Pay me."

  46. Living in South Florida, I have to assume many Cuban ex-pats would support less restriction, if only to get their relative off of that god-forsaken island...

  47. In the words of Henry Hill, "Fuck you. Pay me."

    Would that be in the words of Paulie Cicero, as told by Henry Hill?

  48. In the words of Henry Hill, "Fuck you. Pay me."

    Would that be in the words of Paulie Cicero, as told by Henry Hill?

    Technically, I believe Hill was paraphrasing...

  49. my one vote costs the whole country

    You NIHILIST!

  50. PB,

    Can I be a Neilist? Still a Young One's fan and Neil was my fourth favorite of the roommates.

  51. IIRC, Isaac & Taktix? are correct. Although there is still majority support for the embargo among Cubans

    And as they pointed out, it's much higher among ancient Cubans, who are more likely to vote.

  52. Would a nihilist cast a protest vote?

  53. Still a Young One's fan and Neil was my fourth favorite of the roommates.

    Vivian rocks!

    Although I can never watch the Young Ones again, because of the two times I watched it, I broke up with my girlfriend both times within a few days.

    Nothing to do with the show specifically, just a weird coincidence...

  54. Vivian rocks!

    My favorite too.

    Actually Neil is my third favorite. Fourth has to be that "People's Poet" prick.

  55. I've said all along, as I'm sure most of you have, the exchange of ideas and money will change Cuba for the better.

    I'm in favor of lifting the travel ban, but come on, you're certainly exaggerating here. Do you really think that lifting the US travel ban will create a massive new exchange of ideas and money, considering that no other country has a travel ban? Cuban governmental restrictions will remain in place; travel from the US isn't going to add a ton to what travel from Europe and Canada already does.

  56. Yes, I actually do think it will make Cuba better. Canadians and Europeans don't talk politics on "holiday" like Americans do and they certainly don't engage in discussions asking as many questions as they give answers. Besides, there would be waaaaaaay more travel from the US than Canada and Europe combined simply because of proximity, curiosity, and family travel. The sheer volume is likely to make a noticable improvement and if it works out in a positive way it could lead to an end to the embargo which would do wonders.

    It sure as hell won't make Cuba worse.

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