|WELCOME TO THE SWAMP 6 Apr. 2017||| Print ||
WELCOME TO THE SWAMP
6 Apr. 2017
Dear Friends and Patriots,
We appear to be living in a time when scandal is just an old word in the dictionary. In earlier times a scandal was something to avoid. It was a deal-breaker that usually resulted in the disgrace of a public figure and permanent social rejection. Those caught up in a scandal often disappeared from view, changed their names, and otherwise sought to avoid any future attention. But, that was then and this is now.
Perhaps you can characterize our time as being so riddled with scandals that we’re totally desensitized to them all. It takes a huge flap to move the needle on our gauge of interest. We have scandals aplenty, but hardly anyone pays attention anymore. Once we all absorbed that Clinton-Lewinsky thing way back in the 90s the whole country tended to shift its paradigm regarding what qualifies as shock-worthy. Now there’s no level of official insubordination that anyone of substance cares about. No act of sedition causes a legal blink, much less any legal action. No act of sexual perversion is cause for more than a raised eyebrow. Official misconduct and incompetence isn’t something that warrants even a mention. Even outright misappropriation of taxpayer funds doesn’t do more than cause slight amusement. Most of the misdeeds we do hear about end up becoming satiric fodder for late-night comedians, but little more. We truly live in an “anything goes” era.
In a former age a person like Susan Rice would have been disgraced and run out of Washington after her Benghazi debacle escapade. Imagine if she’d tried to float such obviously stupid lies to the public in the world of the ‘50s. She’d have been persona non-grata in short order and both she and anyone who helped her concoct her audacious stories would never get work involving the media again or within an administration. Instead, Susan Rice became a richly rewarded parrot. As with all rewarded behavior, it tends to repeat, and she’s out there now lying to us once again. I’m not sure if she’s a congenital liar or not. It could be she’s truthful about things in her daily life and only lies when she perceives a political need to do so. Maybe she only lies to further her career ambitions. Maybe she lies to protect her friends from suffering for their misdeeds. Maybe she’s truly too dumb to understand her statements are lies. Maybe one or more of those things is true. It also could be that she’s one of those political herd animals who believes the highest ethic in politics is to survive to lie and collect another day.
Susan Rice isn’t alone; not by a long shot. Hillary Clinton has proven she and truth don’t live in the same town, much less the same mind. Bill Clinton is a notorious and proven liar with unquestionably low moral standards. Barack Obama has told his share of magnificent lies, but told them so elegantly he received kudos instead of criticism. Then, there are the many others, from Eric Holder to Loretta Lynch, to James Clapper, to Harry Reed, to Nancy Pelosi, to Tim Geithner, to Valarie Jarrett, and on and on. Lest you think I’m harping on Democrats alone, I’ll state unequivocally that the Republicans have their fair share of the scandal-ridden and liars, too. When it comes to a lack of ethics, Washington can’t be divided by party affiliation, political philosophy, sex, or any other way. If you’re walking the halls of the Capitol Building or the Old Executive Office Building you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone who’s corrupt in one significant way or another. Maybe the general comment is politics attracts the most base of scoundrels.
Most of us have been amazed at how Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds can go without any official redress. If anyone is clearly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s her. But, you all will recall I predicted from the beginning she would never suffer, regardless of any crime she committed. There’s no will in Washington to do more than make a show of it all. There wasn’t four years ago and there isn’t now. The most punishment an official or ex-official in Washington suffers is what they might term slander and innuendo. You can watch Congressional hearings held to delve into misdeeds and note the obvious questions that seem to never be asked. Congress is the ultimate toothless lion. In the old days getting called on the carpet by a Congressional committee would be a career-ender. These days such an event becomes a resume bullet. It’s not that the people of the country don’t care, it’s more that we are inured to the reality of official misdeeds, possibly to the extent we expect everyone in the political system to be a crook of one stripe or another. Our capacity for public outrage seems largely non-existent.
Our country has endured several presidential administrations that were noteworthy for their scandals. When I think of those, the names Grant, Harding, Nixon, and Clinton are foremost in my mind. But, it’s truly hard to beat the Obama administration in that regard. If you understand those former scandalous regimes and compare them to the misdeeds of the Obama years, it’s hard to come away without being impressed in some perverse way that such a crooked combine as Obama’s could operate for eight full years without being outed and destroyed. It’s mainly because our nation is so controlled by the shackles of political correctness that we didn’t see the political version of a nuclear detonation in Washington.
Aside from political correctness there’s another force in Washington that keeps concepts like ethics, morals, and strict adherence to law relegated to words on paper only. It’s the self-regulatory effect of mass corruption. Washington today runs according to the old Mafia concept of “omerta.” Omerta is the code of silence the old mobsters used to swear to. In Washington omerta can be characterized by “what happens here stays here.” Washington insiders may all know something is going on, yet be very scrupulous to keep it secret. After all, if you’re caught letting a political cat out of the bag, the next scandal may have your name written all over it. Who wants that?
If you want references to how omerta works in Washington, think back to the Congressional hearings regarding the IRS vs TEA Party shenanigans, where Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment instead of revealing the depth, breadth, and provocation of the scandal. Think about the hearings where Hillary Clinton testified for 11 full hours without remembering a single useful fact about Benghazi, even though she was simultaneously trying to convince America we could trust and rely on her to be a competent President. She did make one salient point to the whole scenario, “what, really, does it matter . . .” If Susan Rice gets hauled before a Congressional committee stand by to see much the same. She’ll state she wants to cooperate, but her faulty memory for details and lack of any notes won’t allow her to confirm or deny any fact in question. The Congressional committee members will feign outrage at Rice and at each other, and appear frustrated that they can’t reveal true evidence of intentional wrong-doing, but that’s all that will happen. Remember, none of them wants to be sitting at the witness table, so they’ll host a hearing for show and nothing more. Most Congressmen have to maintain their omerta, too.
The overall effect of all this scandal acceptance, scandal avoidance, and scandal ignorance is to whitewash the misdeeds of those who owe it to the citizens to discharge the responsibilities of their offices in consistently honest, ethical, and legal ways. It’s obviously not a requirement of Washington jobs anymore, but it should be. If it was required a whole lot of people would be headed to jail right now. But, they aren’t, and they won’t.
I do wish to caveat my statements with one clarification. Most of those who participate in or precipitate scandals are elected or appointed officials. Few are civil servants, though it’s true, as in the Lois Lerner instance, that some are. The main factor there could be money. Civil servants are rarely in a position where they can personally benefit from any scandal involving money. Because civil servants rarely benefit from political largesse, they usually aren’t bribed. The majority of civil servants have never been touched by scandal. Some are, but very, very few. Those who are have most likely been unfortunate enough to work in proximity of a politician or political appointee who was corrupt. They end up sharing guilt by association or by not revealing misdeeds they know are ongoing. Very few civil servants trust enough to be whistle-blowers. They all know the career lifespan of a whistle-blower is measured in days.
The overall effect of today’s political climate in Washington should be to depress anyone who spends more than half a minute thinking about it. The level of official corruption in our government today is astronomical. It can’t be hyperbole to state it’s at an all-time high level. The worst part of it all is that it’s generally accepted. Scandals occur and are revealed with increasing frequency. No one gets in trouble. No one gets fired. Everyone keeps the job they’re entitled to. We all nod our heads in understanding that the fix is in. This is the age of the clean scandal.
Welcome to The Swamp!