Understanding Washington Power
Washington, DC. Nov 29th, 2005 ---- It's hard to describe the inner workings of Washington, DC to anyone who hasn't experienced the feeling of power, and the insulated, even virtual reality of working within the Beltway and walking the corridors of Absolute Power. To understand that you can understand how easy it is to fall into the corruption trap. Of course there are those who just come to Washington to get rich, very rich at the expense of the country at large.
This is a bipartisan problem, and over the years the Democrats have rigged as many elections, and bought as many seats, taken as many bribes, and favors as the Republicans.
Usually the fear of the party out of office finding out about the corruption moderates the extent and visibility of malfeasance. But with a weak Democratic Party and a large group of like minded Evangelical Texans running a steam roller over opposition we find ourselves in one major corruption scandal after another. Everyone it seems believes George W Bush will grant wholesale Presidential Pardons when he retires. Likewise the dread of a Democratic infusion of active Representatives hell bent on Impeaching him in November 2006 is gradually creeping along the offices around DC, like the Grim Reaper. What happens if the whole corrupt House of cards comes tumbling down and he isn't around to grant the pardons. Don't worry Cheney will. But what happens if he goes behind bars before George goes for that final ride on Air Force One?
The extent of corruption, and the influence of the 50,000 Lobbyists many paid to corrupt the elected and appointed representatives in Washington has become a scandal. It's an interesting exercise to stand at the end of a corridor in the Capitol and watch who comes and goes, peddling influence and contributions. Don't wait there too long for the Members don't like it, and their staffs will call security. Corruption must be protected at all costs.
I doubt if Randy "Duke" Cunningham saw anything wrong with getting a hell of a deal with buying and selling his house. After all it wasn't like a brown bag stuffed with $20 bills, as used during the Nixon Years, or a Cayman Bank Account used by Ollie North during the Reagan Years. There was not $20,000,000 missing, lost in Iran Contra banking cyberspace, or $30,000,000 of evaporating dollar bills and Euros from Saddam's coffers. The list goes on and on. Had he a Presidential Library in Arkansas he could have made tens of millions disappear, and had he a book deal from New York then $10,000,000 just comes and goes. But the White House runs the Department of Justice so they don't count.
The numbers and inside information is staggering for those who work the system. After a while you forget reality and believe that playing on the Washington Merry Go Round is all that matters. True the Hollywood style parties are long gone, but as the Abramoff trials will show having a trendy restaurant can hide a lot of expensive dinners for influential politicians, their staffers and friends. It is interesting how many lobbyists and "Consultants" bought into DC Restaurants these past few years. Who is to know the Senator didn't have the Tomato Soup and BLT Sandwich shown on the check?
But the stakes are getting higher every month. The "deals" have gone from thousands of dollars to billions. The billions skimmed and lost under the guise of 9/11 and the War on Terror will not be known for years. The Chinese are there always ready to cover the skimming with IOU's for the Treasury. The public thinks everything is going along just fine.
But looking at it another way the US Economy is so large few can comprehend how big it really is. A few billions here and there don't matter in the bigger picture. But it takes time to put these scams and skims together, and cover them up. In the meantime the fabric of the nation is decaying, the infrastructure in desperate need of repair and the poor are getting poorer. The flood gates of illegal immigration are wide open, to provide cheap labor and make the rich even richer. You can't be looking after these looming catastrophes when you are busy organizing rip-offs.
But when staffers see there superiors leave with copies of everything they can lay their hands on, the office Rolodex and copies of every upcoming project they believe this is normal. When totally useless Administration political appointees leave their offices with confidential information on Friday, and open up shop as "Consultants" on Monday, with a string of clients eager to be given insider information. If they were in Wall Street the SEC would throw them behind bars. In DC they move to Georgetown.
Will it ever change? Not under this Administration, and not until the voters say Enough! But then the Karl Roves of this world will run a series of TV spots and confuse the voters into inaction. Such is American Politics. Just make sure you know which rip-offs can damage your enterprise and insulate yourselves from them.