When the News Isn't Fit to Print ... Blog

Surprise, Surprise! Rangel Gets Censure

In Bowling for Dollars, Harvard Math on 19/11/2010 at 21:15

Imagine my elation upon hearing that Charlie Rangel, 50-year alumnus of the most august body of miscreants since the Appalachian Meeting, the 110th U.S. Congress, has been recommended by committee for censure.

How humiliatingly extreme. How absolutely dehumanizing. This, my friend, is case one for income tax reform. Lovable Charlie, war hero, defender of downtrodden Harlemites for decades, reduced to this. And emblazoned across every television news broadcast in America? Doesn’t the media have any hard news to cover? Like Sarah Palin showing her arms on Fox Business? One can almost hear Charlie echoing the words of Reagan labor secretary Ray Donovan: “Which office do I go to, to get my reputation back?”

After the verdict came down, Rangel addressed the committee. “I hope you can see your way clear to indicate any action taken by me was not with the intention of bringing any disgrace on the House or enriching myself personally.” He went on to say that he hoped the committee would “see your way clear to say, `This member was not corrupt.'”

Lanny Davis to the rescue. “So please, everyone, whatever sanctions the ethics committee decides are appropriate — and I won’t comment on that subject — let’s stick to the facts about Rangel. He made honest mistakes. Yes, he was careless. No, he shouldn’t have been if he were perfect.” Thank you, Lanny. By the way, didn’t Lanny defend Bill Clinton’s, “It depends what the definition of ‘is’ is,” statement?

Let’s analyze. Just what do you think would happen to you, if you decided to omit rental property income from your tax returns for 17 years, unintentionally or otherwise? First, you wouldn’t find yourself standing in front of a group of cronies, being slapped on the knuckles for your “carelessness.”

You would be parked in an institutional beige office downtown at the IRS being grilled for every expenditure you had made for the last decade. And you better have your Starbucks receipts, brother. This only after they have already slapped a lean on your boat, house, motor home, or all of the above.

This is not a partisan thing with me. Congress has for far too long lived outside the rules that every American has to abide by, from their health care to their outlandish per diems. Rangel is what happens when government is left unchecked.

Corruption is built into the system and, regardless of Rangel’s protestations to the contrary, they do enrich themselves at the public trough. Charlie Rangel wasn’t riding around in a Rolls Royce when he came to Congress, 50 years ago. He makes $174,000 a year and maintains homes in Washington and New York. He owns vacation property in the Caribbean. Just how has he not enriched himself?

The people of Harlem are no different than most constituencies. How many of you remember when your current congressman ran on term limits? Now, twenty-plus years later, he or she couldn’t find the way home without a good GPS.

My congressman has been good for our district but he ran on term limits. He has no intentions of retiring until we retire him. The better part of valor here would be for him to groom a replacement and step down, but do we really have any expectation that he will do so? No.

I know I am not alone when I say I do not have high hopes for the 111th Congress. Even the so-called “young guns” like Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and John Thune make me nervous. Yes, I know we have to give them a chance, but it should be just a chance. I am circumspectly suspicious when someone like Thune so quickly flip-flops news on the earmark ban.

Granted, I am not for the ban, but, in reversing his position so quickly, Thune showed himself to be a lapdog for Mitch McConnell. While his actions do not indicate corruption on his part, Thune’s flip-flop does signal an endemic sickness within the halls of Congress: the willingness to go along to get along.

Charlie Rangel should have been expelled from Congress this week, just as Maxine Waters should be with her hearings come up. Then, just as Randall “Duke” Cunningham was when he took bribes from Jack Abramoff, they should be tried and sent to prison.

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  1. Unfortunately you may be right about the next congress. Earmarks are sometimes good but should not be hidden in the dark and slipped into other bills….send them through like a bill and vote….
    Also, isn’t it a crime that congress is getting $174k a year for mostly poor work and our service men are getting less than $25k a yr. for risking their lives and limbs? Something wrong with this picture?

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