Charlie Rangel Must Die To Purge Congress Of Sin

Charles_RangelCharles Rangel must die, politically that is. He has become an embarrassment to a House Speaker who vowed to “clean the swamp” of Congressional corruption. It took him 80 years but Harlem’s war-hero turned Congressional elder, Charles Rangel, is this week’s media poster boy for all the ills of an institutionally corrupt system.

He must be purged so that honesty can be seen to prevail in an institution that only enjoys a 22% approval rating. Oh, the damage he’s done to the “reputation” of the House. How dare him lie on his rental application–a crime, which if enforced widely—would indict half of his fellow New Yorkers. And never mind, no one is talking of indicting his landlord who winked at the transgression.  Remember, wherever there are takers, there are also givers.

So, Charlie must die. He had stuffed his Merc in the wrong parking lot. He has violated every sense of propriety as Michael Wolf noted so earnestly:

“Charlie Rangel, one of the most successful political figures of his generation in New York, is now, in the Washington Post’s estimation, a “pariah.” He’s a pariah partly because—quite unable to believe he is no longer a man of far-reaching influence, a fixer of legendary power—he has down to the wire refused to get out of the way of Democratic efforts to get him out of the way.”

This pariah must die politically to cleanse Washington of its sins. He must be tried although no one imagines an acquittal in that Star tribunal of distinction. It’s another Alice in Wonderland moment: “first the sentence, then the trial.”

Rangel’s guilt is a foregone conclusion. You can incept it. He is to meet the fate of the man he replaced, the indomitable Adam Clayton Powell who, like many of those able to make it in Harlem, sneered at the white man’s pretensions, and the way they had for years the means to control his ways. He went down in his audacious style after decades of flouting their hypocritical standards. Harlem stood with him then as they stand with Charlie today. Lose him and they loose what power he had accumulated over decades of maneuvering,

Today, the media waxes indignant, sneering at the prospects of the fall of a prominent Democratic poobah, loving the conflict of it all, the rhetorical showdown at the OK corral on the Hill, the hoped for blood in the halls… (Charlie, didn’t you know that you dissed the son of media avatar Tim Russert. For that uppity sin alone, you must go!) What nerve: you declined to voluntarily fall on the knife!

Meanwhile, most of America yawns. This is a movie we have seen before,   and will again,  as the Center for Responsive Politics explains in report after report about the pernicious power of money in politics—and not just to fund a legacy center at a public university in Harlem.

Television had its shark week this summer and now TV News has its Charlie Rangel implosion week.  Last week the center reported on the real corruption which has little to do with late taxes on a Dominican villa or a few airline rides:

“Federal campaign contributions from lobbyists are slightly down this election cycle compared to the same time period before the last midterm election. But Democrats are pulling in more lobbyist cash–just as Republicans did when they held the majority in both houses of Congress.

Twenty-eight members of Congress and congressional candidates have received at least $100,000 from lobbyists during the first five quarters of the 2010 election cycle, a Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows.”

That was July 13th. Here are the stories topping their open secrets blog as I write:

Charles Wyly Jr. and Samuel Wyly, Texas businessmen and brothers who are among the most generous campaign donors to Republican political candidates and causes, were today hit with a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing them of fraud worth hundreds of millions of dollars…. (Continue)

Etc. Etc.

These disclosures don’t have one snarky over the hill GQ-styled old-line politician to “expose” and sneer at.  They are about institutional patterns of corruption, bipartisan corruption, the way business is done every day and in every way. Unfortunately, that’s considered a ho-hummer, boring, especially without the larger than life personality pathologies we love to hate.

Moreover, that is not yet a scandal, with no trials slated to hear the substantial evidence of collusion, conflicts of interest and vote-selling. Sadly, Wikileaks has yet to dump a treasure trove of cancelled Congressional checks and IOUs. There must be at least 92,000 of them buried somewhere.

So, by all means, let’s pillory Charles Rangel and hang him to the Congressional dome but don’t call it’s a lynching. That’s passé. Meanwhile,  let’s also not call for trials for those who wrecked the economy, who pedaled the sleazy subprime loans, and who laughed all the way to the bank before they plundered them too. Hands off Wall Street; prosecute the pols instead.

Last week, in this post-racial paradise of ours we had Shirley Sherrod to demonize. This week, it’s Charlie Rangel.

The heat of summer is addling our brains.  So it’s time to kick a Congressman and give Charlie his comeuppance. We have to believe that when and if he is made an example of, all will be right with the world.

Filmmaker and News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org.
For more on his film and companion book The Crime of our Time, visit plunderthecrimeofourtime.com.

, , ,

  • Hadrian999

    cleaning up corruption in a field that rewards con men, charlatans, and racketeers will never happen.
    the system is in place to make sure an honest man or woman can never afford to play in the big leagues.
    getting rid of 1 or 10 or 100 wont make a difference different corrupt politicians will just replace them.

    • Haystack

      But the new corrupt politicians will have the good taste not to get caught.

  • wfzlsster

    Did you know that Rangel is listed as a member of the Trilateral Commission? That tells me all I need to know about the man.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Wow…what a snarky tone…as if Washington flinging someone, specifically someone who wrote their own ticket by bending any rule that got in their way despite knowing their position put them under scrutiny, under the bus when election year rolls in to cover their own asses…is somehow unusual this time.

    It doesn't matter which face or name or party is at stake…they are all corrupt to some degree or another…the rare ones that aren't usually wind up as helpless unconnected loners. Charlie Rangel is no innocent…and neither are his accusers or any of the other players in the game. Lets aim for a slightly less wounded, sarcastic air…lest we create in people the mistaken belief that we perceive a veteran politician as pure saintly and cruelly mistreated…the world already has the GOP for that kind of naive idiocy.

    • 5by5

      “They are all corrupt to some degree or another”

      Actually, they aren't. There is a thin blue line of very good Congressmen who are literally protecting your cynical backside.

      Alan Grayson is one of them. Anthony Weiner is another. In fact, that poor man just about lost his shit on the House floor this week because the OTHER type of Congressmen – the self-serving, greedy corporate douchebags in the Republican Party were in the process of literally trying to hold back funds from 9/11 rescue workers who inhaled that crap dust and now are in desperate need of medical care — all because supposedly “some” of them might be illegal aliens and Republicans don't want to give them an “entitlement”.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4zwCMf8dsc
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4mh4sWFM44

      I have to tell you, if you ran back IN to that building when everyone else was running out, and tried to save people? Then dammit, I don't think I've ever HEARD of a better reason to give someone citizenship in this country. Officially, you've earned it.

      But by the Gods, Schecter is right about this one. Charlie Rangel is a good Congressman, who's done a lot for this country and compared to his “colleagues” on the Wrongwing? He's a fracking SAINT.

      So go barbecue someone else.

      Besides, the Charlie Rangel thing isn't about anything he's done anyways — anymore than the Republicans really give a crap about potential illegal aliens rescuing people on 9/11 and getting medical care for their trouble.

      No, that illegal alien crap is just a cover. Perhaps you should wonder why, instead of taking their excuse at face value. Especially since Republicans always talk out of the side of their necks.

      The REAL reason why the Republicans were trying to stall the passage of the bill that would have helped 9/11 rescue workers, was because the bill would be paid for by removing a tax loophole that allows for American megacorps who intentionally incorporate in offshore tax havens to avoid paying the U.S. taxes that might help this country. You see, Republicans like billionaire CEO's better than American Paramedics.

      Similarly, perhaps you should ask why they went after Charlie Rangel in particular — sspecially since Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has done THE EXACT SAME THING that Rangel did, but nobody's charging him… hmm… interesting…

      Gee, maybe it was because Rangel was one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Republican Party Leadership is chock-a-block full of racists who hate uppity Negroes who stick up for themselves, and more importantly, because Mr. Rangel also Chaired the powerful Ways & Means Committee in the Congress, and Republicans wanted his scalp because they want to weaken any Democratic attempts to do things like give people slammed by the Bush Depression extended unemployment benefits, or fund Medicare & Social Security.

      Rangel has done things like successfully remove tax breaks for corporations that did business in Apartheid South Africa (The Rangel Amendment), he voted against the idiotic Iraq War, he wrote and passed legislation that created empowerment zones that helped small businesses in urban areas, and he advocated for the continuation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families legislation, the Child Care & Development Block Grant, and authored the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which increased affordable housing in the U.S. — all to help lift your fellow Americans out of poverty. Another thing Republicans hate about him.

      Seriously, you SHOULD be asking why is it that Rangel is the one being charged, while on the Republican side, you've got much more ethically challenged members like David Vitter, Jon Kyl, crazy-as-a-loon Michelle Bachman, Steve King, Joe Wilson, and Don “Bridge-to-Nowhere” Young, among a LOOOOONG list of others skating by.

      By drawing a false equivalency between the two, you only discourage people from participating in the process — and the less people that vote, the greater chance that some wackjob like a Bachman gets into office, because low turnout always favors Republicans.

      • Haystack

        You make a persuasive case for Rangel's ouster being politically motivated, but you haven't said anything to deny the charges against him. Rangel can be all the things you say he is, and still be corrupt.

        He may be a good congressman, he may be substantially less corrupt that his colleagues, he may not deserve what is happening, but I tend to subscribe to the view that, to get into congress to begin with, you have to be sleazy to some degree.

        • 5by5

          And again, I would say that his “corruption” as relatively minor as it is (he isn't for instance, writing legislation to exempt one of our protectorates from prosecution for sex & wage slavery, the way Tom Delay did with regards to the Marianas Islands at the behest of lobbyist Jack Abramhof), is also mitigated by the very real and also objectively verifiable fact that Charlie Rangel has done SIGNIFICANTLY more good than harm.

          Personally, I don't think accepting a few thousand dollars in travel vouchers even remotely compares to some of the outright quid pro quo bribery that we've seen Republicans engage in not just in the last 10 years where it went completely out of control, but over the last 40.

          And a John Ensign, or Tom Coburn, or any of the others who lived rent free in Washington D.C. due to their membership in the “Family” cult, also cannot make ANY claims to helping average people in any other way.

          But Charlie Rangel has made quite a few lives much better both here and abroad, and I'm not going to forget that simply because he's also been proven to be HUMAN.

          If you want to fine him, I'd agree with that. He made some mistakes. But I would NOT agree that he deserves to lose his position, while others who've done far worse, and contributed ZERO to the advancement of this country skate by. That begins to smell less like justice, and more like a witch-hunt.

          • Haystack

            I can agree with you there.

      • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

        I'd counter argue that unrelenting high standards for conduct within the party of your choice is the PATH to better conduct by your representatives…not a detraction from that goal.

        By example, let's look at the 8 years the Bush admin and the GOP spent trying to brush under the rug every corrupt act by its members. Even in the minor cases it was part of a pattern of acceptance of corruption that fostered a sense of entitlement to commit criminal acts among GOP stalwarts. The worst part was that the GOP cheered on its worst criminals, excusing everything that came down the pipe as trumped up or false accusations by Dems. Loyalty to party before loyalty to principle at its finest.

        So lets not fall into that trap with the DNC. A culture of corruption didn't start with murder, torture, and the whole works…it starts with a tolerance for small deceptions, special privileges and little sweetheart deals. Either you tolerate them or you don't….clearly, in exchange for occasional votes you agree with…you do. As for me…I don't…ever.

        I do agree completely that the publicity and pressure is politically timed to damage the DNC during pre election months as much as possible…and it is DEFINITELY aimed at harming black Dems…to defuse the damage the GOP has done to itself through multiple blatant racist acts…

        …but that doesn't exonerate Rangel. Not even a little…in fact it makes him look the fool for having left enemies this bad such an easy opening to use. It shows a lack of concern or a naive arrogance that nothing would catch up to him or bite him in the ass later…and given the responsibility to his constituents to be there and be able to serve them…well, he kind of threw that down the drain of his own volition.

        Defend him if you want…it's your life and your entitled to it…but he's already political deadweight to me. Good riddance to him.

        • 5by5

          “I'd counter argue that unrelenting high standards for conduct within the party of your choice is the PATH to better conduct by your representatives…not a detraction from that goal.”

          I would agree with this, were it ever equally applied. But I see a whole bunch of accountability in the Democratic Party and an aggressive avoidance of it in the Republican Party. That's why there are a few bad apples in the Democratic Party, and rampant SLIME in the GOP.

          I'm not claiming perfection in the Democratic Party, but I am going to claim relative sainthood, because it's objectively verifiable, when any rational comparison is made.

          • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

            lts applied by me…wanna make it two people instead of one…then look for more converts? A healthier stronger DNC that sticks to its guns instead of selling out most of what we want would only be a win.

            But yes…standing next to serial murderers and repeat rapists…the burglar seems like a saint…

            …but put him in a room full of people who have never done worse than a few parking tickets…and suddenly he's the devil. Relativity cuts two ways.

            My end goal is always to hold DNC feet to the fire…because they're the group that might bend and start doing things differently. I don't even have that level of hope for the GOP…they're no longer ashamed of evil…they applaud it…so I stick to working on Dems in the hope that they'll clean up the act a little. In the meantime, I've gone third party anywhere and anytime I can. Why? Because imagine a clique of just a dozen progressives from around the country…at a time for a crucial vote…and they hold out to keep something like single payer IN health care…the opposite of the Blue Dogs who were bought off by insurance companies. If we had just a crucial small bloc of voices for sanity it would do some good…and if they aren't Dems they can't be instructed to pipe down by party leadership.

            It's definitely a witchhunt…but I wash my hand of it…its the price for making yourself vulnerable to attack when you know the enemy is always watching and waiting to strike.

            …but remember that the GOP eventually became as bad as it is…because its party rank and file were silent when it came to criticizing one of their own. If we don't put our boot firmly on the windpipe of corruption when its minor…we may not have the chance or the ability to when it inevitably becomes major.

  • Cmunit

    An embarrassment to the Speaker of the House … she is shameless !!! SHAMLESS !!! This anti America Congress is sick! Rangel is a perfect example that it is time to purge Congress!

    http://www.CONGRESSisSICK.com

    http://www.PurgeCongress.com

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    lts applied by me…wanna make it two people instead of one…then look for more converts? A healthier stronger DNC that sticks to its guns instead of selling out most of what we want would only be a win.

    But yes…standing next to serial murderers and repeat rapists…the burglar seems like a saint…

    …but put him in a room full of people who have never done worse than a few parking tickets…and suddenly he’s the devil. Relativity cuts two ways.

    My end goal is always to hold DNC feet to the fire…because they’re the group that might bend and start doing things differently. I don’t even have that level of hope for the GOP…they’re no longer ashamed of evil…they applaud it…so I stick to working on Dems in the hope that they’ll clean up the act a little. In the meantime, I’ve gone third party anywhere and anytime I can. Why? Because imagine a clique of just a dozen progressives from around the country…at a time for a crucial vote…and they hold out to keep something like single payer IN health care…the opposite of the Blue Dogs who were bought off by insurance companies. If we had just a crucial small bloc of voices for sanity it would do some good…and if they aren’t Dems they can’t be instructed to pipe down by party leadership.

    It’s definitely a witchhunt…but I wash my hand of it…its the price for making yourself vulnerable to attack when you know the enemy is always watching and waiting to strike.

    …but remember that the GOP eventually became as bad as it is…because its party rank and file were silent when it came to criticizing one of their own. If we don’t put our boot firmly on the windpipe of corruption when its minor…we may not have the chance or the ability to when it inevitably becomes major.

21
More in Charles Rangel, Congress, Fraud
Supreme Court Aids Corporate Fraudsters

Is this really the time to give a "get-out-of-jail-free" card to corporate chiefs who can't resist fraudulently dipping into the honey pot of riches that they have access to? I...

Close