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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Sanction Congress, Not One Member
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Extensive mainstream media reporting says nothing about Congress and administration officials being compromised by their ties to big money donors, heavily affecting all legislation. These are higher crimes than of Rangel's mere self-enrichment.
The Constitution's Article I, Section 5, clause 2 authorizes the House of Representatives to discipline or "punish" its members for "disorderly Behavior," as well as for criminal, civil liability, or other misconduct issues. Ostensibly it's to protect the institutional integrity and reputation of the body, an impossible challenge given its longstanding record, notably over the past three decades, deserving far more than censure.
Punishment may be by reprimand, censure, expulsion, and/or fines, monetary restitution, loss of seniority, and suspension or loss of certain privileges. In addition, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct may issue a formal Committee reproach by "Letter of Reproval" for misconduct not warranting full House action. It may also express disapproval by informal letters and/or direct communications with members.
In US history, five members were expelled, three during the Civil War for disloyalty to the Union. Others, however, resigned ahead of formal House action. More recently, on October 2, 1980, Rep. Michael J. Myers was removed after being convicted of bribery for political favors in the so-called ABSCAM FBI sting operation. On July 24, 2002, Rep. James Traficant, Jr. was also expelled after his 10-count conviction on charges of accepting favors, gifts and money in return for performing official beneficial acts for donors.
Unlike "expel," the term "censure" doesn't appear in the Constitution, although it's also authorized under Article I, Section 5, clause 2 power to "punish...Members for disorderly Behavior." Most actions occurred in the 19th century, usually over issues of decorum, including insulting other members on the floor, committing violent acts against them, supporting recognition of the Confederacy, selling military academy appointments, or more recently for financial misconduct or sexual misbehavior with House pages.
On July 11, 1832, Rep. William Stanberry was the first member censured for insulting the House Speaker. Prior to December 2, 2010, Reps. Daniel Crane and Gerry Studds were both censured on July 20, 1983 for sexual misconduct with House pages.
Charles Bernard Rangel, Democrat Representative for New York's 15th Congressional District
On December 2, the House voted 333 - 79 to censure Rangel (a 20-term member since January 1971) for ethics violations, its harshest penalty short of expulsion.
He becomes the 23rd House member so disciplined. In his case, it's for 11 of 13 charges, including improperly soliciting millions of dollars from corporate officials and lobbyists, failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of income and assets on financial disclosure forms, maintaining a rent-subsidized luxury Harlem apartment for his campaign committee, and failing to pay income taxes on a Dominican Republic villa.
In one of several December 2 New York Times articles, David Kocieniewski headlined, "As Rangel Stands Silently, Censure Vote Rings Loudly," saying:
Imagine the brazen hypocrisy by a tainted Speaker and body. More on that below.
A December 2 Times editorial headlined, "The House Rebukes Mr. Rangel," calling "the mood on the House floor....appropriately grim." Adding also that "Taxpayers disgusted by Mr. Rangel's actions and Congress' go-along-get-along attitude must demand more...."
Indeed so, but not what The Times suggests. More on that as well.
Major Unaddressed Issues
Besides their own compromised ethics, notably their ties to big money donors, both Congress and administration officials are guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, ones far greater than Rangel's self-enrichment.
The list is long and disturbing, affecting all 535 members and every key administration official - serious crimes deserving indictments, prosecutions, and for most, imprisonment, not slaps on the wrist, reprimands, censure, expulsion, or for a president and vice president, impeachment, conviction, and removal.
Unsurprisingly, the extensive Times coverage said nothing, nor ever earlier about high government crimes and misdemeanors, the "newspaper of record" effectively endorsing them. That's its role serving power and privilege, relenting only in rare instances, this time on Rangel, perhaps reluctantly. Never for the most serious criminality, examples below.
Much more as well by officials corrupting the notion of government of, by and for the people. Repeatedly, they've betrayed the public trust by acting illegally, immorally, and/or destructively, including Rangel for his voting record, and (until replaced on March 3 over ethics charges), as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
It has jurisdiction over tax policy, tariffs, other revenue-raising measures, and vital programs, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, federal welfare, enforcement of child support laws, and foster care and adoption programs. Its chairman holds immense power for good or ill. None in recent memory, including Rangel, served honorably, a "crime" omitted from his charges, as well as his 40-year voting record, supporting power, privilege, imperial wars, and corporate interests like most members of Congress.
All should be held accountable for issues far graver than self-enrichment. They affect everyone but the super-rich and rich, including betrayed constituents deserving better from elected officials but never getting it from either party - a real crime demanding much greater punishment than wrist-slaps, reprimands, fines, loss of privileges, or sanctions.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on December 4, 2010.