Ethicality Play

« January 2017 »

Memo to Paul Ryan, Kellyanne Conway, and Donald Trump: NICE TRY, ASSHOLES.

It's a small victory. One not worthy of resting after. But it's also an important victory. Because while Donald Trump may be immune to shame, that immunity has not yet fully transferred to the Congress. A bright light in the kitchen can still make the cockroaches scatter, as evidenced by the rapid saga of the Office of Congresional Ethics. The saga, as with many sagas, played out as IDIOTS SAID THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"After eight years of operation, many members believe the Office of Congressional Ethics is in need of reform to protect due process and ensure it is operating according to its stated mission. I want to make clear that this House will hold its members to the highest ethical standards and the Office will continue to operate independently to provide public accountability to Congress." - Paul Ryan, lipsticking the fuck out of a pig.

I can only assume that House Republicans looked at Trump, and quite understandably reached the conclusion that optics don't matter anymore. Which is why they decided, as their first act of the new Congress, was to try to bring the independent agency responsible for investigating ethics violations by lawmakers under their direct control and prevent them from reporting any findings they make. Late at night. On a holiday. In private. Nope, nothing suspicious about that at all.

The words Paul Ryan used to try to cover for this are instructive, by the way. "Reform." "Protect." "Ensure." And then promise that the thing the thing they are destroying was supposed to make happen will totally keep happening in its absence. Remember this when he tries to reform Medicare, protect Social Security, and ensure that people will continue to receive affordable health care after he repeals the Affordable Care Act.

"There’s a new office. And this new office will really cut down on the overzealousness." - Donald Trump's new She's My Friend So I Made Up A Job Title For Her Or Something Kellyanne Conway, explaining the brave new world of ethics investigations that almost came to pass.

Oh, yes. I know that in the eight years sense the OCE was established, I haven't been able to wade through my newsfeed without tripping over dozens, if not hundreds, of stories of this office going after innocent Republican congresscritters over trumped up so-called "ethics" violations. Why, in the six years since the Republicans took over Congress, nearly nothing has been accomplished, clearly as a result of fear over crossing the onerous ethical strictures this office is constantly enforcing.

Still, nice to see the Blue Lives Matter crowd going on and on about the importance of due process and the need to rein in overzealous enforcement. Imagine what they could do with that if they possessed even an atom of self-awareness or empathy? I'm kidding, of course. That'll never happen.

"With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it ........may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS - Donald Trump, devoting TWO tweets to the issue.

Much of the media seems to be confused. Let me explain. "Don't do this first, guys, it looks bad" is not the same as "don't do this, guys, it is bad". Donald trump's concern was exclusively one of timing and optics, which is impressive, since Donald Trump's grasp of optics is akin to a fish's grasp of drowning. Entirely theoretical and irrelevant.

But Trump's not-actual influence on the failed attempt to gut the OCE aside, there's something much more important here that we need to discuss. An EIGHT-DOT ELLIPSIS. That's excessive even by Trumpian standards. I mean, those five extra dots don't just represent a 267% increase over the size of a standard ellipsis, it also represents a staggering 3.5% of the available space he had for that second tweet. That's the ellipsis of a man who desperately wants you to know his extravagance does not give a fuck about resource availability. Staggering stuff.