On Fast and Furious:
• House Leadership Buries Holder Contempt Vote On Same Day As Health Care Decision: For two years, House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) has persued a quixotic witchhunt against Attorney General Eric Holder, claiming that a series of botched gun stings that began during the Bush Administration somehow are now the subject of a giant cover up by Holder. Issa’s witchhunt, however, has not been well received by the House Republican leadership, some of whom have even called for Issa to abandon his baseless case against the Attorney General. Nevertheless, Issa enjoys the support of House Republican freshman and other members of his caucus’ right flank, and he’s wielded this support to ignore his leadership’s wishes. Last week, Issa even held a committee vote to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over various documents that are shielded either by executive privilege or longstanding Justice Department polices. In a sign that the Republican leadership still believes Issa’s witchhunt is not a winner for the GOP, however, they scheduled the full House vote on this contempt resolution for Thursday. Thursday is also the day the Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the Affordable Care Act case, almost certainly displacing all other stories from the news cycle. [thinkprogress/Ian Millhiser/26 Jun 2012]
• Romney Defended Bush’s Invocation of Executive Privilege, Attacks Obama – 2007 – Yeah, he’s got a responsibility to protect executive privilege. That’s just part of preserving the powers of the presidency… He should do what he thinks is the right thing with regards to members of his team but preserve executive privilege.
• Issa on Sunday: ‘No Evidence Obama Is Involved’ – Today: ‘Obama Must Be Involved’: Last Sunday hyper-partisan hitman Darrell Issa really screwed up and admitted on Fox News that after 18 months of investigating, he had absolutely no evidence the White House was involved in a cover-up in the “Fast and Furious” case. Oops! Debunked his own fake outrage! Well, you can bet that Congressman Issa got an earful about this from his Republican cohorts, because after all, the whole purpose of this bogus investigation is to damage President Obama’s chances of reelection, and how can they do that if Issa just spills the beans like a big blabbermouth? Today, Rep. Issa is trying to make up for this mistake by writing a crazed letter accusing President Obama of being directly involved — exactly what he just said on Sunday he had no evidence to support: Issa Accuses Obama of Involvement in Fast and Furious Operation. [littlegreenfootballs/Charles Johnson/26 Jun 2012]
• Looking to slaveholding states for guidance is beyond the pale, even for Scalia. Perhaps the oddest part of Scalia’s dissent, however, is the fact that he actually relied on pro-slavery laws excluding free persons of African descent from much of the south to justify allowing Arizona to target undocumented immigrants.
• How Jan Brewer and Many Others Got the Supreme Court’s Immigration Ruling Wrong: Here’s what the Supreme Court actually did on Monday. The justices decided that the lower court that prevented SB 1070 from taking effect was mostly correct—because most of the law’s provisions were likely unconstitutional. The Supreme Court declined to block the “papers, please” provision of the law—which Brewer refers to as its “heart”—that requires local authorities to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest. But the high court did not find the controversial provision constitutional, and so it was not “upheld.” Instead, the high court deferred judgment on the matter. …”The majority said it didn’t know enough about how the law would work in practice to rule decisively. Because the law has never gone into effect, it just wasn’t clear whether the law would conflict with federal policy.” says Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law who wrote a column for the Daily Beast noting that many media outlets got the distinction wrong. “The court said to Arizona there’s a right way and a wrong way to apply this law and we’re watching you.” [Motherjones/Adam Serwer/26 Jun 2012]
• A day after getting a ruling that would not take down the “show your papers” section of their immigration law, Arizona rushed to implement the section at the local law enforcement level. The state has specific guidelines to use to determine when to ask for immigration papers, but already they sound so broad as to capture just about everyone stopped by a cop.
• Court ruling leaves Ariz. to rely on feds: For all the declarations of victory, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to preserve the “show me your papers” provision in Arizona’s immigration law means the state can enforce the statute only with the help of its chief critic: the federal government…Hours after the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security canceled agreements with seven Arizona police departments that deputized officers to arrest people on immigration violations while on street patrol. Federal immigration officers will help, but only if doing so conforms to the department’s priorities, including catching repeat violators and identifying and removing those who threaten public safety and national security, the department said. If federal agents decline to pick up immigrants, the state doesn’t have any way to force federal authorities to pick them up and will likely have to let them go unless they’re suspected of committing a crime that would require them to be brought to jail. [Associated Press/Jacques Billeaud/27 Jun 2012]
• Take a good look at Texas, because that’s the conservative vision for health care, realized. Those who have insurance will get top-notch care, and those who don’t will get a stern lecture on ‘healthy choices’ along with having to beg for a free diagnosis of advanced colon cancer.
• After GOP Gov. Nikki Haley Vetoes HPV Vaccine Bill, MSNBC Host Says It’s A ‘Scandal’ For Republican To Oppose Cancer
• Along with the outrageous economic ideas the Texas Republican Party has included in its 2012 platform, the state party is also promoting abstinence-only sex education and urging legislators to prohibit reproductive health services — including any “counseling” — in public schools.
• Warren blasts Mitt at Obama fundraiser: Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren took direct aim at Mitt Romney at an Obama fundraiser on Monday, dredging up his remark that “corporations are people.” “No, Mitt, corporations are not people,” she exclaimed. “People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick,… they live and they die. Learn the difference. “And Mitt, learn this: we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people,” Warren continued, drawing cheers from the crowd at Boston Symphony Hall. [politico/Donovan Slack/25 Jun 2012]
• Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) moved this week to hold a noncontroversial flood insurance bill hostage until the Senate agrees that life begins at fertilization.
• Obama Shows His Class by Stopping Supporters from Booing Romney’s Patriotism: Obama behaves like Americans consistently suggest they want a president to act. Barack Obama is a good family man who works hard, avoids scandal, and has never disrespected the presidency. Yet, all of these reasons are exactly why the right hates him. They can’t stand the fact that this Democratic president does a better job of embodying the office that they view as their birthright. Mitt Romney may have a private school education and unfathomable wealth, but he will never possess the character of Barack Obama. Money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy basic human decency. [politicususa/Jason Easley/26 Jun 2012]
• “You got to give Mitt Romney credit. He’s a job creator,” Biden said Tuesday at an eastern Iowa UAW hall, pausing for dramatic effect from a knowingly chuckling crowd of over 400. “In Singapore. And China. And India.”
• On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee told supporters in Salem, Virginia that he had been “inspired” by Harold Hamm, a “truck driver” turned billionaire oil tycoon who gave a pro-Romney super PAC nearly $1 million and later became chairman of Romney’s “Energy Policy Advisory Group.”
• Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wants to remove any non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls in his state, but his administration has refused to release a list of more than 180,000 voters whose citizenship may be in question
• Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., said he endorsed Mitt Romney for president because the presumptive Republican nominee “looks like a president.”
• The agent not only opened the sealed jar, but stirred the contents with her finger, allowing an estimated quarter to a third of the ashes to spill out on to the floor. Then laughed about it.
• At this point, it’s beginning to seem like the TSA needs to create a new agency—the Dignity Protection Administration—whose sole job is just to stand next to TSA agents and make sure they don’t do anything dumb. One thing that the DPA could do, for instance, is prevent TSA agents from opening jars containing people’s dead grandfathers.
• Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with a former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness on Wednesday during a meeting in Belfast that seemed destined for the history books as a milestone in Anglo-Irish relations.