The Time Has Come for Relaxing Rangle to Relax Somewhere Else

RELAXIN' RANGEL - For Charlie Rangel may be relaxing now, but if justice has anything to do with it, he'll be soon be packing his bags and headed for his Dominican Republic getaway - or the Federl pen, which ever comes first.

RELAXIN' RANGEL - Charlie Rangel may be relaxing now, but if justice has anything to do with it, he'll be soon be packing his bags and headed for his Dominican Republic getaway - or the Federal pen, whichever comes first.

Legislators are as expert as lobbyists and CEOs when it comes to crowding the edge of anti-graft law. For instance, take Representative Charles Rangel. He’s been seated at the top of the political heap in Washington for more years than many can count and his robust girth shows just how well he’s feasted at the table of the powerfully privileged. If he was ever an honest man, those pretensions have fallen away to expose someone who feels it is his natural due to cheat on taxes and take bribes. There are plenty of arrogant CEOs who could learn a thing or two from Charlie and, for a fee directed to a Swiss bank account, I’m sure Charlie would teach them.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, both sides of the aisle agree he’s probably guilty of the accusations accumulated around him. He’s an embarrassment to his party and to the Congress as a whole, yet almost no one has seen fit call him out. Democrats don’t want to call attention to their own party’s contributions to Washington’s grafty suckhole. Republicans want to let sleeping dogs lie so they aren’t reminded of the many Republican scandals already in their rearview mirror and the ticking time bombs that still occupy the overstuffed chairs of the House. You know something’s out of whack when the Party of No won’t even say it.

In short, the entire conversation doesn’t revolve around Charlie’s guilt or innocence, it orbits political calculus. How much to say or whether to say anything at all is determined by the number of seats under DNC control, whether Charlie will spill the dirt he holds on others, or give the opposition a stick with which to heavily beat the majority about the face and neck. There’s nary a water cooler conversation that says dick about the right thing to do…

Unload the crooked sumbitch.

We don’t need “brave” politicians at a time like this. We don’t need equally crooked pols preaching “throw the bum out” while accidentally outing themselves as Charlie’s equals in the fine art of grifting. All we really require is for Nancy Pelosi, or any other member of Congress for that matter, to stand up and say, “Sorry Charlie. It’s time to go.”

That’s an unlikely scenario. More likely, Charley will fester until he pops himself onto the street like an infected, puss-proud zit poked with an ill-turned phrase or testimony from someone who refuses to stay paid off after cashing the checks. Greedy crapulence doesn’t lend itself to wise decision making, and that puts Mr. Rangel at a distinct disadvantage. The first rule in politics is to hide until they find you and then scream, “Do whatever you want to the girl, just don’t hurt me!”

There are two other scenarios. The Messiah of Changinology could stand up and force his semi-obedient Congressional lackeys to act – demonstrating first hand that what he preaches, he practices – the politics of change. Or, Charley could rediscover the lost phrase, “my bad”, take his lumps, and stumble off to his villa in the Dominican Republic wearing an e-bracelet on his ankle.

Yeah, like that’ll happen.

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A Fox Guarding a Hen House Being Guarded by a Fox Already in the Hen House

CURIOUS CONUNDRUM - How do we prevent the unethical from being unethical?

CURIOUS CONUNDRUM - How do we prevent the unethical from being unethical?

The corporate world isn’t where most people go to find model of ethical behavior – not unless they’re marketing a new product made of lead and margarine called, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Ethical”. For many corporations, pretty much anything is “ethical” provided it turns a profit. Still, a company has to really suck to stand out amongst their fellow gougers, cheats, and soulless greedheads.

The Swiss firm Covalence has ranked the 12 least ethical companies in the world. The diabolical dozen contains the usual crapulent corporations. Phillip Morris, Chevron, and Halliburton all made the list as you might expect. In fact, the only thing odd is how Covalence managed to pair it to only a dozen and resist squeezing in candidates that didn’t even rank – AIG comes to mind, for example.

Despite popular belief, corporations – like governments – aren’t inherently unethical. They are run by people though, many of whom are as unethical as they come. Unethical business and government leaders – sometimes embodied in the same person – seem drawn to graft and greed like junkie moths to a flame. They represent the dark side of humanity and are roundly and justifiably called out when they can’t regulate their behavior.

But that’s no reason for the humanitarian and philanthropic to get on their high horses. Humans are a lazy bunch preferring shortcuts to the hard work of the direct route. Sometimes unethical behavior starts small and gets big – in a hurry. And as bad as charlatans are, even the worst have small bits of humanity still buried in their defective characters. It’s not as if Bernie Madoff rolled out of bed one morning, rubbed his hands like Simon LeGree, and chortled at the thought of stealing the life savings of some poor widow from Rancho Cucamonga. For example, he donated money to several charitable causes. True, it was stolen, but it’s the thought that counts.

gotethicsAnyone who believes unethical behavior can be legislated out of existence is smoking a pipe of conflagrated dreamweed. However, those who believe that lifting legal restrictions from proven unethical companies is taking a strong hit of heroin to boot.

The problem is, we’ve reached a point where the regulators are every bit as unethical as the regulatees. It’s like the fox guarding the hen house metaphor carried one step too far – the fox is guarding a hen house being guarded by a fox who is already in the hen house.

Our options to combat unethical behavior are few and the douchebags are many. As a country, we need to start regulating companies and the government so they become more ethical and serve the people rather than each other. We can only do this by withholding votes and sales from those who are the most unethical and who wouldn’t bat an eye at picking your pocket while you and everyone else is watching in slow motion on the Jumbotron.

But then, maybe I’m the one smoking the dreamweed and shooting the heroin – all while firing up the crackpipe for a long deep pull.