<center><h1><a href=http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/1/2005/1034>And the First Rat Outta the Trap Is...</a></h1></center> <blockquote><b>Off to a bad start</b> January 3, 2005 AUSTIN, Texas -- Oh boy! Starting the year off briskly, lending it such tone already, such cachet, such je ne sais quoi -- those Republicans are so special, aren't they? Their first move, first rat out of the trap, top priority: lower ethics standards. Yessiree, this 2005 is going to be quite a year, some pip. Let's put that to a vote. Many problems before us -- Iraq, a Social Security "crisis," a real health care crisis, world terrorism, our international reputation possibly at its lowest ever ... who is in favor of lowering ethics standards first? Who thinks ethics standards in Washington are too high?</blockquote> With the moral waters already murky, the current Reichpublican efforts to further gut the already toothless ethics rules will only further stir up the mud. These folks are getting waaaaay to big for their britches, they seem intent on placing themselves above the law...No, wait, they are the law, and they can do anything they damn well please. And I thought my expectations for our great and fearless leaders couldn't get any lower. Suprise! They are now lower than whale-shit on the bottom of the ocean. I expect nothing but the worst from our elected leaders, and I am certain they will deliver. If these changes to the ethics rules pass, the Reichpublicans will have abandoned even the pretense of moral superiority they so successfully played on during the 2004 election. Their morality does "...indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness..." . They are hypocrites of the worst stripe.