Dec. 9, 2013
: In Windy City, religion confronts a gust of cold air
Dec. 2, 2013
Rabbi Moshe Grylak: Attack on Chanukah's scholar-warriors an affront to all people of faith
U.S. boxes in Israel, not Iran: Surrender in Geneva
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Vanessa Bayer & Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy; Adam Levine, nickname "the Bear Jew," is People's Sexiest; Eastwoods Need to Say "Kinehora!"
The Kosher Gourmet by Kim Ode:
Fried and gone to heaven: Dense, fried Slovenian doughnut-like rolls, krofi, on Chanukah is a treat you'll want to eat all year long
: Tracking babies' eyes, scientists find signs of autism in 2-month-olds
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Hunger Games: Jewish Connections; A 'Minyan'of Jewish Celebs Recite the Gettysburg Address On-line; Walter Matthau's Reaction to JFK's Death
Nancy A. Youssef :
Christians too afraid to complain as treatment in new 'democracy' worsens
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Jewish MLB managers; Past and Present; Movie News and Dancing W/the Stars Shocker; Paula Abdul's Israeli bat mitzvah and bio facts rarely reported
Jewish World Review
Nov 21, 2011
24 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772
Pay to play, brought to you by Washington
Almost exactly a year ago, members of Congress voted overwhelmingly to censure their colleagueCharlie Rangel for bringing dishonor on the House. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summoned the New York Democrat to the well and chastised the congressman for his 11 ethics violations, which included improper fundraising.
This week, Rangel again brought the House into disrepute — but this time he had the full support of his colleagues.
“Last night marked a momentous evening in my campaign for re-election,” Rangel wrote Thursday in a letter to supporters. “At a special event in Washington, Democratic leaders including Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, Sandy Levin, John Conyers, Emmanuel Cleaver, and Steve Israel stood by my side and pledged their unwavering support on my behalf. I am so humbled and grateful for their involvement.”
As further evidence of how he had gone from opprobrium to affirmation, Rangel attached an article from Politico headlined “What Censure? Rangel’s Back.” The article included quotes from Rangel taunting the House ethics committee members and saying his censure was all for show.
It’s hard to quarrel with Rangel’s reasoning. The fete Wednesday night at the upscale Bistro Bis, near Union Station, was a way for House Democrats to demonstrate that their punishment of the defrocked Ways and Means committee chairman was insincere. By attending the up-to-$5,000-per-ticket soiree, they were proclaiming that all was forgiven.
The public is not nearly so forgiving. The Rangel party — to which lobbyists and other influence seekers paid to gain access, and favor among, party leaders — goes a long way toward explaining why Americans’ approval of Congress has dropped to 9 percent.
The speedy rehabilitation of a member who received the House’s first censure in nearly three decades is a symptom of what has destroyed trust in government and the ability of that government to function. As Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, an ethics specialist, put it to me this week: “Who would ever trust such a system?” And “how can this government continue to behave like this?”
Lessig, who began his career as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia but who now describes himself as a liberal, wrote the just-released book “Republic, Lost,” about how both parties in Washington engage in “a corruption practiced by decent people” that has discredited government.
“The great threat to our republic today comes not from the hidden bribery of the Gilded Age,” he writes, but from “the economy of influence now transparent to all, which has normalized a process that draws our democracy away from the will of the people. . . . We have created instead an engine of influence that seeks simply to make those most connected rich.”
There’s hardly the need for more evidence to support such an obvious thesis, but more presents itself each day. On Thursday, the day after Rangel’s romp at Bistro Bis, lawmakers spent the day grilling Energy Secretary Steven Chu on how the Obama administration allowed a politically well-connected company called Solyndra to squander half a billion taxpayer dollars when the solar energy company went belly-up. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) quizzed Chu about George Kaiser, an Obama donor and an investor whose venture capital firm had a stake in Solyndra, who “was in and around the White House at least 16 times in the time period that the Solyndra loan program was being reviewed.”
Chu denied this had anything to do with the decision. Maybe so, but in this pay-to-play system, who’s going to believe it?
It’s not as if Republicans are in a solid position to challenge the Democrats’ influence-peddling. The Solyndra hearing came just after reports emerged that Newt Gingrich, this week’s surprise front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, had received at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac. He took the money even as Republicans were trying to abolish the mortgage giant and even though he criticized President Obama for accepting campaign contributions from its executives.
But when it comes to hypocrisy, you have to raise a glass to the Democratic leaders who went for cocktails with Rangel donors who paid $500 for individual access and $5,000 to be political action committee “chairs.” “No corporate checks, please,” one solicitation reminded, under Rangel’s name.
The early solicitations promised access to “special guests” such as Hoyer, before the “great news” came out that Pelosi would attend. For lobbyists too busy to join, the campaign “would be willing to set up your own event” with Rangel.
For a man who just 11 months ago was censured for ethics violations, it was particularly brazen. What’s truly scandalous is how routine it was.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on Dana Milbank's column by clicking here.
• 11/17/11 Big enough to save the supercommittee?
• 11/16/11 Why Newt Gingrich won't last
• 11/08/11 The 2012 campaign gets seedier
• 11/06/11 A Machiavellian model for Obama
• 11/03/11 The Herman Cain crack-up
• 11/01/11 Cain can --- he will survive
• 10/27/11 Stuntmen of the supercommittee
• 10/26/11 Democrats on the sidelines
• 10/24/11 Rick Perry's birther Parade
• 10/24/11 The birthers eat their own
• 10/19/11 The GOP's middle man
• 10/17/11 The waiting for nothing Congress
• 10/12/11 Sparsely occupied D.C.: Why the movement hasn't caught on
• 10/10/11 Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
• 10/06/11 Chris Christie, such a presidential tease
• 10/05/11 Obama and his foot soldiers go toe to toe
• 09/28/11 Cain could deliver
• 09/26/11 Republicans? Mr. Nice Guys?
• 09/22/11 Why Ron Paul is winning the GOP primary
• 09/21/11 I am a job creator who creates no jobs
• 09/20/11 Obama launches a revolution
• 09/19/11 Dems for Romney?
• 09/14/11 ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee
• 09/07/11 Mitt Romney finds his (corporate) voice
• 09/01/11 The infallible Dick Cheney
• 08/31/11 This liberal says Perry is the ultimate conservative candidate
• 08/29/11 Wanted: More bite from Obama the Great Nibbler
• 08/10/11 How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots
• 08/09/11 The most powerful man on Earth?
• 08/08/11 The FAA shutdown and the new rules of Washington
• 08/04/11 Lt. Col. Allen West fires a round at the Tea Party
• 08/03/11 Government on autopilot
• 08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
• 07/27/11 Life imitates sport
• 07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
• 07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
• 07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
• 07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
• 07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
• 07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
• 07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
• 06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
• 06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
• 06/24/11 Mission accomplished, Obama style
• 06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
• 06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
• 06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
• 06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
• 06/02/11 The Weiner roast
• 06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
• 05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
• 05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
• 05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
• 05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
• 05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
• 05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
• 05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
• 05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
• 05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
• 05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
• 05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
• 05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
• 05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
• 04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
• 04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
• 04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
• 04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
• 04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
• 04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
• 04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
• 04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
• 04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
• 04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
• 04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
• 04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
• 04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
• 04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
• 03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
• 03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
• 03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
• 03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
• 03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
• 03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
• 03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
• 03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
• 03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
• 03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
• 02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
• 02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
• 02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group