Welcome, everyone, to the year 2017, and on a personal note, to my 100th blog entry. I would like it to have rained balloons around every person reading this, but it was not in the budget, and I have a feeling that the new year will be one of fiscal responsibility, prudence in regards to legislation, and getting rid of those crap-sucking ethical review boards. H.L. Mencken once said, “Conscience is that tiny voice that tells a person that… somebody may be watching.” Which of course affords two possibilities. Conduct oneself in a way that would be honorable if someone were paying attention, or get rid of the people watching. A special ‘Thank You’ to the new congress for already making 2017 a year to remember by trying to get rid of the Office of Congressional Ethics. I can’t blame them. Ethical watchdogs take the fun out of everything. Lavish gifts have to be hidden, or at the very least “laundered.” A representative’s mother-in-law will have to be the benefactor of his new Cadillac Escalade instead of a lobbyist. First class air travel can’t be paid for directly by some brutal Middle East monarchy. Instead the congressmen have to be “reimbursed” through some dummy slush fund, which could take months. Added to all that, it’s getting tougher to trust D.C.’s hookers and call girls. They tend to have loose lips. Plus, they talk a lot.
With India changing its entire currency to eliminate corruption, China cracking down on graft, the Filipino president bragging about personally murdering gang members to rid the streets of crime, and South Korea’s president facing impeachment for bribery and pelf, the message is clear. Oversight sucks. The easiest way not to get caught is not to get accused, and the easiest way not to get accused is to dismiss and neutralize the accusers. The Office of Congressional Ethics is to the government what any Human Resources department is to its major corporation. Nobody likes them. They are always fabricating problems in order to justify their own existence. When some woman complains to H.R. about sexual harassment by one of her superiors, it is very likely that the superior may have to explain himself before settling for an undisclosed sum. Gone are the days when the woman herself might be blamed for her own harassment, chastised for wearing actual women’s clothing in the presence of men, defiantly taunting these helpless schmucks with an exposed ankle or wrist. Who does she think she is, Coco Chanel?
When it comes to ethical systems there are two kinds of people. Friends and enemies. Enemies, naturally, deserve all they get, whether the charges of impropriety are legitimate or not. They have lined up on the wrong side of favoritism, and for that their crimes are unpardonable. Friends, by the nature of their loyalty, never do anything wrong. Their transgressions are momentary lapses of judgement, blown out of proportion by political opportunists in order to slander their reputations. They are closet head cases, friends are, and the last thing anybody wants is for a friend to be revealed as a blatant, out-in-the-open head case. Like Tex Iverson, a prominent Atlanta attorney who recently shot his wife while falling asleep in the rear passenger seat of his SUV with a loaded .38 in his hand as they were driving through the city because he was afraid of the Black Lives Matter movement. I know that sentence doesn’t seem to make any sense, yet apparently that is exactly what happened. Mr. Iverson, about to be on trial for manslaughter, still chairs a committee for the state board of elections and has voted repeatedly to strengthen voter I.D. laws, because he is deeply concerned that some less than honest citizens who haven’t shot their wives still might try to vote twice.
I was in Aspen recently. I could go on and on about that trip, but I feel brevity is the fashion for the new year. Suffice it to say that I wound up in the heated swimming pool of the Jerome Hotel. It’s a nice little retreat. There is a decent view of the mountain. The bar is just inside the glass doors and the staff is more than happy to provide plastic cups for pool cocktails. There are two hot tubs on either side of the pool, and both tend to be crowded with drunks. I watched from an inconspicuous spot as a certain group of people went haywire. They shrieked like banshees at the moon, both the one in the sky and the one constantly revealed by the drunk guy pulling his swimming trunks down. There was a girl wearing a bikini, cowboy hat, and Ugg boots squealing in mock terror as a hairy man in a thong tried to carry her away to wherever. One guy was off puking into a mound of snow, and another old fogy was throwing wads of twenty-dollar bills in the air as two girls in front of him french kissed each other. The noise they created was unbearable. I could only stand it for so long. I was there, after all, to relax. These animals were going to devour each other. I made a break for it. None too surprised then, was I, when I happened to walk by a chalked marquee sign in the lobby that declared…
“The Jerome Welcomes Members of the Regional Office of Congressional Ethics.”
What? Those swine! Drain the swamp!
More Alembics to come…