W.C. Fields is credited with the line, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with…” well you remember the last word and I’m protective of my PG rating. So, message communicated. We saw two examples of that in Washington last week and I for one certainly wasn’t fooled. Baffled at how we allow these less than brilliant people to stay employed (on our dime); but not fooled!
Last week the Supreme Court released what they called their ethics policy. Basically, it made most everything they are doing that the public takes exception with acceptable. One example is that they can speak at a fundraising event as long as they don’t get top billing. To add insult to injury none of the “rules” carry any enforcement mechanism. It like posting a speed limit and advertising that you will never ticket violators.
Unlike for the rest of the federal judiciary, there are still no requirements for mandatory recusal. Perhaps it’s just my suspicious mind – yes, I like Elvis – but doesn’t that make it open season for bribery?
In reality here is the bottom line: before the release of the “ethics code” justices could basically do as they please. Subsequent to the release of the “ethics code” they can still do as they please and with impunity.
Chief Justice John Roberts has a base salary of $298,500 and the eight associate justices base at $285,400. Not bad when you have a lifetime job and basically no rules!
House Speaker Mike Johnson did what I’m calling the Louisiana Two Step. As if running the government on short-term continuing resolutions wasn’t bad enough, Johnson found a way to make it worse. Johnson put together a package of two CRs with two different end dates. Now instead of facing a single disaster packed deadline we have two.
The House Republicans fired Kevin McCarthy for using Democratic votes to keep the government open. The Louisiana Two Step received more Democratic than Republican votes. If I were in Congress, (as of this writing it has subsequently passed in the Senate and President Biden is all but assured to sign it), I would have made this a two-handed vote. One to hold my nose and the other to cast an affirmative vote. This is a case of a bad choice being better than the alternative (a government shutdown). Apparently, that is the price the nation must pay for handing a chamber of Congress over to domestic terrorists. Think I’m being extreme? Remember, historically democracies die from within.
As if the Louisiana Two Step wasn’t already bad enough remember it does not contain any new funding for Ukraine, Israel, natural disasters or the border. It doesn’t even solve last year’s problems; just puts a patch on the “tire”.
For those of you who wonder how such a bad deal as the Louisiana Two Step could have been approved, I think the key is the calendar. Members of Congress were more concerned with getting something to the President which (politically with a gun to his head) he would sign so that they would not interrupts their Thanksgiving holiday than doing the basics of their job. (Remember they had already missed their original deadline back in October.)
Oh, and those members of Congress base at a minimum of $174,000 per year.
There you have it: the two greatest scams, to date, of 2023 perpetrated in a period of less than 48 hours. Unless you grade on a “brilliance curve”, and I didn’t see any, but I did see a lot of the other thing W.C. talked about.
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