Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Republicans Unveil New Ethics Plan. No. Really. Seriously

Since apparently nobody can find the old one, House Republicans redefined the word Chutzpah today and Unveiled a New Ethics Bill


Described here in completely neutral language by the WaPo




 House Republicans moved to seize the initiative for ethics reform Tuesday with a comprehensive package of changes  including the banning of privately sponsored travel like that arranged by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.{ shocker}


The package also includes a virtual ban on gifts,{ didn't we HAVE one of these Already?}  except for inconsequential items like baseball caps,{ soon to be Made of SOLID GOLD}  and a provision that will affect few people: elimination of congressional pensions for anyone convicted of a felony related to official duties.  { all other felony convictions are apparently Hunky-dory with them}


Strangely the Earth Did NOT, I repeat Not, open up and swallow the Republican Caucus whole, after they introduced the legislation.


But this Smarmy exercise in message muddling wasn't done yet, as apparently the Republicans were trying to set some sort of Olympic record for keeping a straight face:


House Speaker Dennis Hastert Showing reporters exactly how large he believes his testicles are for daring to use the words "Republicans" and "Ethics" in the same sentence



The Bill was an expected montage of silly half-measures and partisan gamesmanship:



Members of Congress [currently are limited to] only those gifts valued at under $50, with a ceiling of $100 from any one individual in a year. {which strangely didn't stop Abramoff from handing out thousands of dollars of swag with little or no hindrance}



Hastert and Dreier said their gift ban would be "significantly stronger" { but  Just as loophole ridden and useless}



[However they said it] would not prevent members from accepting a baseball hat or a T-shirt from visiting middle-school students. ( because their only concern besides Puppies and flowers is protecting those poor middle school kids  whose Dreams and hopes would be Simply CRUSHED if they Couldn't give a T-shirt to congressman}


Hastert went on to further tempt the Almighty to smite him down by saying :




"I know that fact-finding trips are important,{ Hell I'd gotten my handicap down to a 4 thanks to those ST. Andy's weekends} but private travel has been abused by some," Hastert, R-Ill., told a news conference.


And he is of course very about the corrupting influence of large contributions---going to the other side



Hastert said ethics reform should also include the issue of spending by tax-exempt partisan groups known as 527s. In the last election such groups spent $544 million, according to one estimate, and tended to favor Democrats.


Which of Course has Precisely nothing to do with accepting Difts and trips from lobbyists, but hey, nothing like a bracing non-sequitur or two to further muddle an issue eh wot?


And for a rousing Lie De Force finale,  Hastert went on to Deny that this legislation was somehow belated or a knee-jerk reaction to current news:




Hastert, at his news conference, shrugged off criticisms that he had put off action on lobbying reform and was only responding when his own party faced a crisis.


"A year ago most people around Congress couldn't tell you who Jack Abramoff was," he said.


{"Hell we were getting so many bribes in those days we didn't even bother to try to remember Names.  We just took the money, passed the bills and ---oh  hell did I say that out loud?"}


Which is a touch like saying the Titanic has some minor structural damage.


But passing Even this Pathetic Figleaf bill won't be easy.  Before the reciever was even cold on the Conference call; senior Republicans were reverting to their true form and defending the status Quo at the trough:




Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., who is running to succeed DeLay as majority leader, put out a statement that "many trips are truly educational, and I believe a complete ban on all private travel would be an overreaction that doesn't get to the root of the problem."


{ "which is,  of course, that we are a bunch of corrupt good Ol' Boys who are completely dependant on illegal Corporate contributions to continue to hold power on the Hill", he Didn't go on to say but should have.}


Folks, Sometimes the Res Ipsa Loquitor   "The thing speaks for itself."   This is one of those times,   Mostly because I'm feeling a touch naseous now from the stench of hypocrisy coming off the article.  We Can't let this one slide

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