Thursday, May 04, 2006

Connecting the Dots on D.C. Corruption

by Kyle Michaelis
I don't want to be one of those jerks who declares "media bias" whenever an editorial with which I disagree runs in a local newspaper. But, how one presents an argument is always a matter of choice, and sometimes that choice alone will say a lot more than the actual article itself.

Such seems to be the case in Wednesday's Lincoln Journal-Star editorial denouncing the weakening of Congressional ethics reforms despite the alarming number of high-profile corruption scandals this past year. The LJS writes:
After Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty to extorting hundreds of thousands in bribes, other members of Congress squared their jaws and promised reform.

After lobbyist Jack Abramoff went to prison on corruption charges, steely-eyed federal lawmakers again pledged reform.

This week, the House is scheduled to put those promises to a vote. Every indication is that the legislation that actually passes will be a mere shadow of those initial promises.....

When the scandals were hot news, lawmakers proposed a ban on members of Congress taking private trips like the lavish golfing outing enjoyed by Rep. Tom DeLay and his entourage.

That idea has been quietly sidelined. The proposed ban would expire Dec. 15. A ban on members of Congress using corporate jets to zip around the country also has been quietly dropped.

Proposals to crack down on earmarks — those spending measures slipped into legislation without discussion, such as the famed “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska — also have been watered down.

The level of shame in Congress is so low that the Senate this week actually is contemplating spending $750 million on what some call a “railroad to nowhere”....

Despite the profusion of congressional scandal, the House ethics committee has held only a few meetings in the past year and has taken no significant action....

In some respects, the watering-down of reform is not surprising; that’s human nature playing its familiar role. But the speed by and extent to which those initial promises were abandoned should still dismay all but the most jaded of observers.

Oh, how cute - it's another nice little self-righteous scolding of those nasty politicians in Washington D.C. But, something seems to be missing, doesn't it? There seems to be a common thread in every one of the complaints lodged by the Journal-Star, yet they fail to name it. What is that thread? Why, these are all examples of the Republican Culture of Corruption, of course.
Cunningham - Republican
Abramoff - Republican
DeLay - Republican
"Bridge to Nowhere" - pushed by Republican Senator
"Rairoad to Nowhere" - pushed by Republican Senator
Do-Nothing Ethics Committee - controlled by Republicans protecting Republicans

Wow, it's hard to imagine the Journal-Star didn't realize this connection. Yet, look....the word "Republican" is never even included in their editorial.

How do they justify that? Who are they protecting? (well, that's sort of a stupid question)

And guess what, the watered-down legislation decried by the Journal-Star just passed in the House last night on a very close 217-213 vote. Do I even need to mention that 209 of those votes supporting these fake reforms came from the Republican majority, while the Democratic minority fought for a bill with some actual teeth?

No surprise - Nebraska's Timid Trio stayed true to their moniker. Tom Osborne didn't actually cast a vote because he was busy running for Governor, but he'd promised his support if it was needed.

As for the Trio's lesser 2/3rds, both Jeff Fotenberry and Lee Terry voted for this do-nothing bill. That's understandable after both benefitted from the unethical activities of their former benefactor Tom DeLay. Fortenberry even took money from Duke Cunningham, the corporate Benedict Arnold of the 21st Century.

All Republicans. All doing as told. All doing nothing. All given a pass by the Lincoln Journal-Star, who conveniently forget that any real change begins at home. If they're not willing to speak the truth - the full truth - and hold our own representatives accountable, then they should hold their tongue and save the hot air for issues of less importance.

Vague principles are often the refuge of a coward. Worst of all is that, instead of holding the Republican Party responsible, the Journal-Star excuses their crimes by laying blame with human nature.

How very, very sickeningly convenient for them and their Republican friends. After all, what better defense is there than "hey, I'm only human"?

One wonders if that's the same defense the Journal-Star's editors use to justify this shoddy, if not outright biased, reporting.


Blogger Karl said...

I really hope that Maxine Maul sticks it to Fortenberry who claims to be the moral choice because of his abortion views that he took money from Cunningham and Delay and then voted the same as them over 95% of the time. I only hope she asks in a campaign commercial who he represents, the residents of the first district or the convicted felon (Cunningham) and a money laundrer (Delay)


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