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I locked the old politics thread.  It's interesting to randomly click around and see where it went. The early conversations were dominated with gun control vs gun rights, which dare I say seems pretty secondary at this point in the national conversation. Things got awfully slow at the end, I think from exhaustion and also it seems all of the participants in the thread, no matter what their political philosophy, were less-than-thrilled with the president elect. At some point retreading that feels tedious.

 

I like how that thread stayed civil at least 96% of the time which is about all you can hope for in a political discussion. I would hope for the same here. I really hope we can keep participation up among more than just the large liberal faction of Wilco fans, as the identity of American conservatism is even more in a state of flux than progressivism (which also seems to be in a transition).

 

I don't imagine we'll have much to chew on until the inauguration (the world might prove me wrong there), but there are some pretty interesting issues cropping up:

 

-Unprecedented questions of conflict of interest with a business mogul in the executive office

-Cyber warfare in general, as well as its role in electing Trump

-Middle-eastern shit sandwich

-Refugee crisis from above

-Dems strategy as a minority party, will they roadblock as the GOP did, or make deals?

-How do Reaganite republicans confront a new model for the republicans?

 

Keep paying attention and sounding off VCers, this space was often a refuge of sanity in a very turbulent 2016.

 

Happy New Year!

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Nice move on ethics congress. Who would have guessed that the main ethical issue in congress was people being investigated for unethical behavior, not the actual unethical behavior. Drain the swamp indeed.

Those who voted for Trump and the GOP for some sort of change in Washington are suckers, and very likely have put our country at risk because of it.

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Nice move on ethics congress. Who would have guessed that the main ethical issue in congress was people being investigated for unethical behavior, not the actual unethical behavior. Drain the swamp indeed.

 

I'm trying to think of a single justification for this and coming up short. Anybody want to take a crack at it?

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Mike Capuano's pissed off about it. Just got this email as a subscriber to his newsletter.

 

Outrageous – there is just no other word to describe gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which is the very first act of the new Republican House. Not the economy, not jobs, not transportation, not even repealing the Affordable Care Act. No, Republicans are starting the year off by crushing the independent House ethics office.

 

When I wrote the law establishing the independent OCE the whole point was to bring a measure of transparency and accountability to the broken House ethics process. The OCE operates independently of the House Ethics Committee, with the authority to choose which matters merit review.

 

The practical result of the Republican measure to bring the OCE under the authority of the House Ethics Committee is to render it ineffective. The transparency, accountability and independence of the OCE will be demolished, which is of course the real intention of this rules change.

 

Heck – even President-elect Donald Trump has chastised House Republicans for their proposal to gut the OCE.

 

Every outside ethics watchdog group (both conservative and liberal leaning) described the OCE as “the most important improvement in the House ethics enforcement process since the House Ethics Committee was established.” Yes, I wrote the law creating the Office of Congressional Ethics and I am very proud of it.  But that quote is from a coalition of outside ethics watchdogs made up of Common Cause, CREW (most definitely NOT a left leaning group), US PIRG, Judicial Watch (another right leaning group), and several other well respected groups.

 

The most important aspect of the OCE is to ensure transparency in the ethics process.  Prior to its creation, many complaints were simply buried – maybe people were innocent, maybe not – but no one ever knew what happened.  Because of the OCE, after a well-defined and fair process, America learned if a Member of the House had a complaint investigated and they also learned the outcome of that complaint.

 

The OCE is not perfect and certainly some minor tweaking of the process may be in order, but the key word here is minor.  Any tweaking should be done in public, so the America people can see the debate for themselves.  If House Republicans bothered to read the report recommending creation of the OCE they would find that very suggestion at the end of it – “The Task Force recommends … a panel of Members to conduct an ongoing review of the ethics process.”  Here is that report – see page 21 for more on that recommendation -

http://oce.house.gov/pdf/Report_of_the_Democratic_Members_of_the_Special_Task_Force_on_Ethics_Enforcement.pdf

The amendment demolishing the OCE was never publicly discussed.  It was proposed and adopted inside a secretive Republican Caucus without anyone outside that meeting knowing it was even going to be debated.

This is not a good way to start – a closed meeting of one Party, held at night, in the basement of the US Capitol, for the purpose of ending transparency in the ethics process.

Personally, I have never witnessed such a rapid march back to the bad old days of the good-old-boys club.

 

My wife today called our congressman up here in Maine, Bruce Poliquin ( R ), to express her disappointment, and they told her they've received many calls this morning, and since then Poliquin has come out against the move. Here's to staying vocal!

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Looks like the House R's are scratching their plans in gutting the ethic's panel.

 

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/gop-congress-ethics-office-233123

 

 

UPDATE: Following a public outcry, and criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on drastic changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to restore the current OCE rules, and that was accepted by the GOP conference.

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maybe this is just the Rs, probing and testing to see what sort of outrageous thing they can sneak in w/o too much outcry, either from colleagues or the public.

 

And Trump.

 

Of course, now Trump can take a victory lap for a tweet opposing the plan and take full credit for the R's backing down.

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This is the first shot in their outrage fatigue campaign.  A month or two from now, everyone will be so tired of being outraged that the calls to congressmen will stop and the pressure will fizzle.  Then the nasty shit will start in earnest. 

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This is the first shot in their outrage fatigue campaign. A month or two from now, everyone will be so tired of being outraged that the calls to congressmen will stop and the pressure will fizzle. Then the nasty shit will start in earnest.

This is what I am thinking.

At least they can be shamed out of doing something awful.

We can count on them to do the right thing after they get caught.

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And Trump.

 

Of course, now Trump can take a victory lap for a tweet opposing the plan and take full credit for the R's backing down.

He'll take credit, but he didn't do anything. Notice in his one tweet about this he did not condemn the action, just that Congress has better things to work on (and that the oversight was unfair).

 

This was the work of the people. Hopefully from now on people jam those switch boards in DC.

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He'll take credit, but he didn't do anything. Notice in his one tweet about this he did not condemn the action, just that Congress has better things to work on (and that the oversight was unfair).

 

This was the work of the people. Hopefully from now on people jam those switch boards in DC.

 

Plus an hour before the tweet, Conway was on the talk circuit touting the plan to gut the oversight committee.

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Well now he is turning his back on the cornerstone of the campaign. Taxpayers get to build the wall! (and by taxpayers I mean the middleclass)

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/01/05/politics/border-wall-house-republicans-donald-trump-taxpayers/index.html&ved=0ahUKEwiT4-qauK3RAhWE4iYKHTUiBMMQFghKMA8&usg=AFQjCNGmQn4W4Yxmde-nzZzyD1ZdxKnAng&sig2=uo0RkHd9A_MquNsnZlx1JQ

 

Again if you voted for Trump you are a sucker.

 

Expect a tweet soon that will deflect attention from this.

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Kevin doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Trump goes on his reality then when he realizes he can't do what he says this is what happens...

Nor does it surprise me and probably the majority of voting Americans. But to Trump supporters it should be a surprise. They should be pissed, but of course they won't. Those Trump supporters have been conned. It is the best way to describe our situation.

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^By the way the wall could be the dumbest idea of the lot. People can still come in by car, plane, water or via Canada over stay a visa or still sneak in. The wall wont stop anyone especially since there is going to be a 75 mile gap over Arizona on Indian land where the wall wont be built.

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