Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Verdict Is In

After two years of investigation and argument, the chief counsel of the House ethics panel has recommended the punishment for Charles Rangel's financial misdeeds: censure!

AIYEEEE!!! (Sounds of chainsaws and the "Psycho" soundtrack)

No, wait - hang on a minute. Censure? As in, "shame on you?" For crimes (ahem, "misdeeds") that would put the rest of the peasantry in jail?

Rangel's defense for hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes was that he is a poor record keeper, that our tax laws (which he helps write) are too confusing, and he forgot he owned property in the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, NPR is doing its best to make "censure" sound like a much more serious penalty than scolding a child, by breathlessly pointing out that it is even worse than a "reprimand" or a "rebuke."

Of course, waterboarding is also worse that a "reprimand" or a "rebuke," so we can therefore assume that censure is equivalent to waterboarding.

With the exception that in Charles Rangel's case, only the logic is tortured.



Rose said...

In the Bible, when Judges find the individual guilty of gross misconduct and of heinous crimes, if they them let them off without a Just Sentence, knowing full well the guilt of the individual, then God finds the Judge as guilty, sharing totally in the burden of sin, the bearer of the curse on their community.

Of this is all the Congress can"bring itself" to withstand" in punishment for Charlie Rangel, cannot even bear to say he did it for personal gain...
Then they shall bear the full share of his burden of guilt before God, the Constitution, our Flag and Nation, and before We the People.

Their reputation is forfeit, and they are no better in character than he is, for they condone and tolerate his conduct.

There is only a small measure that I can do, I can vote accordingly.
And I do.
The rest is in God's hands - and that is a fearful thing - to fall into the hands of the Living God of Heaven and Creation, whom they tell themselves is blind and cannot see.

I turn them over to God, in the Name of Jesus.

May their Reward and their Due Harvest hasten to find them quickly, suddenly, and overwhelmingly.
I would never choose to withhold their due portion from them.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of Republican Jim Norton, now the chairman of the Florida House Ethics Committee. Jim Norton is from Tampa, FL, where he used to serve on the Hillsborough County Commission. He dropped out of the commission to run for state Senate last year. During his campaign, a local "left wing" rag picked up that, apparently, he owned a $750,000 in the Carolina's that he failed to report as part of his income required by state election laws. After several months of evading reporters, Norton finally fessed up, the house was a "business venture" taken on by his wife and private partner, therefore none of his, the media's, or voter's business. Will the St. Pete Times, the local liberal rag in question, didn't like that answer and kept digging. Lo and behold, the house actually was owned by his wife, who had bought it with money "loaned" to her by the owner of one of the biggest real estate developers in the county, someone who had profited immensely from decisions made by Norman while a county commissioner. Jim Norman has spent every winter at his luxury home since 2004, and not once have the Norman's attempted to pay back this "loan" nor has the "loaner" once attempted to collect on it.

This lovely story is brought to us by Rick Scott, the self-made man thanks to American Exceptionalism, who financed his way to the Governor's Office in Tallahassee on money that may or may not have been made from ripping off Medicare when he was running a multi-billion dollar hospital chain. I just find it kind of hunourous that, despite being a card-carrying Republican, time and time again, Scott was supported by Floridian Tea Party groups as a "real political outsider" with a "fresh perspective". Two days into office, Scott started doling out chairmanships, as a Gov is supposed to do, and who got the Ethics Chair? Good ol' Norman of course. Did I mention that due to possible electoral fraud based around this piece of real estate that was most definitely "not the business of the voter's", Norman was forced to drop out of last month's because he was under federal investigation for fraud? This is our ethics guy?

But you where going to get to that, right Stil? I mean, we're all about "real political discourse" here that speaks truth to both sides of the aisle. Right?

It's not that Jim Norman could be the real face of the Tea Party, could it? If so, I'm so with you, I'd stir up as much trouble about politicians in the opposition party just so I didn't have to look Norman, or myself, in the face.

Anyway, as much as it sickens me, I'm kinda with you on this one Stil. Just wish you wouldn't talk about stuff that weren't cookie cutter conservative issues. You seem to like making fun of Maddow, but the issues you talk about are almost diametrically opposed to what she talks about. You say almost he exact opposite of what she says, and if she's a well silly caricature of a liberal, which I may agree, you're just as much of a phony.

Bobo said...

Really...did anyone expect to see anything other than a slap on the wrist for Rangel? He's been in Congress too long and knows where all the bodies are buried. To impeach him from office is political suicide for members of the "no-ethics" committee as I'm certain Rangel has already mentioned "this and that" to its members who also have ethics-based issues they would rather keep under the carpet.

This is a prime example of why we need term limits in Congress. No retirement benefits, no more than 12 years TOTAL service as a Rep or Senator, no government appointments after their service, no lobbist positions, JUST GO HOME AND BE ACTIVE IN YOUR COMMUNITY as our forefathers did and intended for the elected "leaders" who followed in their footprints.

Anon (above) - our political system is bankrupt from a moral and ethical standpoint. The issues to be discussed are way too numerous to bring them all to light in a daily political satire strip. I would expect Stilton is concentrating on the high profile one which most informed members of the public have some knowledge or recollection of whom the politician or issue is. I, for one, have never heard of Norman as its not on my (our) radar in Arizona. I am certain it is a big concern for the folks in Florida. What are those folks doing to stand up and say enough?

As for Maddow, I pretty much take what comes out of her mouth and think just the opposite myself. We can't blame Stilton for doing the same just because his opinions aren't the same as hers (and maybe yours?).

Quite Rightly said...

So that's the secret to wealth: "poor record keeping."

Maybe if the rest of us peasantry got a little sloppier and confused we too, like Rangel, could own luxury properties in three different countries.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Anon (three above)- Like Bobo said, I simply wasn't aware of the local situation in Florida so couldn't comment on it. But I'm not going to defend wrongdoing in either party (and I have no love for the GOP). So anytime you want to post about corruption among Republicans, feel free.

Regarding Rachel Maddow, I just think she's sadly uninformed on many issues, and her opinions tend to be the opposite of mine. If you find her to be a "silly caricature" of a liberal, you're free to have that opinion.

commoncents said...

Thanks for posting!

Common Cents

moronpolitics said...

What does a person being a crook have to do with "term limits"? A total of 12 years? So if you have served in the House AT ALL you are limited to a single term in the Senate. Why not? After all, it would require "thinking" or "work" to come up with something that doesn't fit into a 2 to 5 word slogan. What would be the limit on "beaurocrats"? That is who would end up running things when virtually every member of congress is still trying to find the bathrooms and cafeteria by the time...ooops you're gone. (We could limit beaurocrats to 10 years and have the typing pool/data entry clerks make all the decisions. They ARE typing the laws; why not make them up as they go?)
You know what you get with wet behind the ears newbies in positions of power?? Some idiot that lets DENMARK decide our missile defense posture -- tells President Baby Huey he would be upset if Russia wasn't included. OK. Sounds good. Right. By the way... speaking of "sounds good" is the call to prayer still "the most beautiful sound on earth" or is it "the sound of a TSA Blue Shirt fisting a first time passenger"? They sound similar to me.

TheOldMan said...

Hey Anonymous, please pick a handle, it makes it easier to follow your comments. When we get more than one anonymous, us old people get lost.

Bobo said...

moronpoitics - Not sure if you're for or against term limits. When elected officials are allowed to stay in office for as long as they can, (50 years in one instance) they become entrenched in the "good ol' boy" politics and start to become owing to lobbyists and other politicians who need favors done and if you scratch my back I'll scratch yours when the time comes. Thats how it works now. Could having term limits be any worse?

We have term limits for the president and he then appoints his cabinet secretaries who run their agency, whether they actually have the knowledge, skills and abilities to run the agency i.e., Janet Napolitano appointed as Director of Homeland Security. What the hell does she know about HS? Not much, but she was a supporter of the O-great-one.

As for the secretary pool writing up the laws, you don't really believe the congressman or senator actually reads the entire bill do you? Hell no! They have a staffer to do that for them or a lobbyist putting money into his re-election campaign and telling him how to vote. I seriously doubt whether they actually know what it is they are voting on at the ring of the bell i.e., again, as Pelosi said "we need to pass this bill to find out what's in it."
I would bet the staff person who reads the bills would make a better decision than any sitting member.

Carrer politicians are what is killing this country. They are only looking out for themselves. If we limit their time in congress we possibly could reduce the corruption that occurs because of their extended time in congress. Take away the ability to grow a network of financial support (bribes,re-election fundraising,etc.) and we may get better government and a wider base of knowledge (albeit maybe not as brillant as the folks we have there now)running our government.

Again, I don't believe our forefather who struggled to set up the Constitution expected career politicians to some day take over the government, but instead expected them to do their service in Washington and then go back to their homes, farms, businesses and let someone else make decisions and lead. I think that is why the Constitution is silent on this issue.

Anyways, thanks for your comments and good night.

Jeff H said...

Waterboarding doesn't work on Congress-critters. Sponges simply absorb water.