The 118th Congress – Dumpster Fire of the Vanities

Twenty-five months ago, President Trump immediately claimed victory on election night, then, just as predictably, threw a tantrum that would embarrass a two year old toddler on November 7 when the Associated Press, which has been calling presidential elections since the middle of the nineteenth century, called that one for Joe Biden. Key screaming points of his infantile psychotic break included claims that:
(1) There was a vast conspiracy to rig the 2020 election results;
(2) The election was, as result of that conspiracy, rife with massive voter fraud of such a magnitude that, in fact, Donald J. Trump had won the popular vote and carried every state in the Union for a massive landslide victory in the Electoral College, the likes of which had not been seen since Nixon defeated George McGovern, and every single Democrat in America was complicit in covering up the truth about it;
(3) Therefore, Donald J. Trump was duty bound by the Constitution not to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden;
(4) Despite what the votes at the polls in fifty states might obviously indicate to anyone not a mindless dupe brainwashed by the paranoid social media blithering of demented ignoramuses and foreign Internet bots, Joe Biden had no right to claim victory when Donald J. Trump had already called dibs on it; and,
(5) Every patriotic American should back anything and everything that Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party might do to ensure Donald J. Trump a second term as President of the United States by any means necessary.
This was followed, on January 6, 2021, by a visit to Washington DC by several thousand of Trump’s followers that, depending on whom one asked, either resulted in a warm and friendly visit to the US Capitol by well-meaning Republican voters wishing to discuss Mr. Trump’s observations concerning the 2020 election with their Representatives and Senators; or, a lunatic assault on America’s political institutions and its basic freedoms by a mob of bloodthirsty insurrectionists bent on murdering members of Congress, overthrowing the government and proclaiming a fascist dictatorship, lead by Trump and organized by a conspiracy of his sympathizers, many of whom were, ironically, members of that august body.
When that failed (but, it should be noted, not by much), Trump then returned to constantly yammering Ranting Points 1 through 5, above, preparing, in his mind at least, for a massive takeover of Congress in the 2022 mid-term elections. The plan afterward would be that the MAGA Republicans, having gained complete control of both houses of Congress, would impeach Joe Biden, remove him from office and after he was replaced by Kamala Harris, impeach her, too, also removed her from office and replace her by Donald J. Trump, who, as the MAGA Republicans see it, has been the legitimate President of the United States since 2021 anyway. Or, failing that, Trump would at least be assured of election to another term as President in 2024, after which he could appoint whoever he wanted to the Justice Department, subsequently arresting all the Democrats in Congress, the civil service, the military and the courts, then proclaim the Constitution terminated and declare himself President for Life of the United States of America. Or something along those lines, at least. The versions I have been regaled with for the last couple of years range over a wide spectrum, from cleverly constructed Byzantine behind-the-scenes constitutional flim-flams involving Trump’s Supreme Court appointees, to having Trump’s loyal militia storm the White House with assault weapons, a variety of grenades, a portable guillotine, and some pikes to place on the front lawn with the heads of traitors speared on them, the details and degree of violence depending primarily on the amount of alcohol being consumed by my MAGA Republican interlocutors.
Well, as the old Yiddish proverb says, If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. The 2022 mid-term elections produced some decidedly indecisive results for everyone, and not the least for the MAGA Republicans. And those elections are not, as I write this, even entirely over, although they can be expected to end soon with a runoff election in Georgia between the incumbent senator, the Right Revered Dr. Raphael Warnock, and Senator Lindsey Graham’s new step-‘n’-fetch-it house boy, Herschel Walker, a washed-up NLF running back with extensive scrimmage-related concussion brain damage. Guess which one was hand-picked by Donald Trump?
If Warnock wins, the Democrats will have fifty-one of the one hundred US senators and will, as a result, according the sacred rules of the Senate, rule the roost completely. If Walker wins, there will be an exact fifty-fifty split between the Democrats and the Republicans in the Senate, a situation guaranteed to produce, what are described by the apocryphal ancient Chinese curse as some exceedingly “interesting times,” not the least of which, I suspect, will be listening to the speeches of Senator Herschel Walker. Provided, of course, that Senator Graham does not bring Walker to the floor already outfitted with a suitable South Carolina blackamoor servant’s silence brake culled by the local United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter from the basement of the Charleston Old Slave Exchange and Provost’s Dungeon.
In the House, of course, the Republicans, having won two hundred and twenty-one of the four hundred and thirty-five seats, will rule the roost there. But with a majority of only eight-tenths of a percent, their crowing has so far been noticeably muted – they were expecting a blow-out, of course, and when it did not materialize, that complicated the situation of the MAGA Republican heir apparent for Speaker of the House, a grasping, mendacious, rat-faced, power-hungry troll named Kevin McCarthy. In order for him to be elected to that office, it is required that two hundred and eighteen members of the House of Representatives vote for him. Since there are two hundred and fifteen Democrats who would rather vote for a three day old road-killed skunk, that means the nearly unanimous consent of every Republican representative will be necessary. Given that this includes some of the most notorious bigots, white supremacists, Neo-fascists, xenophobes, homophobes, Klansmen and raving evangelical nutcase yahoos, rubes and bohunks from the most benighted and primitive backwaters of the nation, if McCarthy wants the job, he’s going to have to do some serious sucking up to some very nasty people.
Not that he’s above it – McCarthy would sell his daughter to the Chinese Communists on Tik Tok for My Little Pony bondage sessions if it would make him Speaker – it just remains to be seen whether people like Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Scott Perry and Matt Gaetz are sufficiently impressed by his suck-up technique. Because, let’s just say, for example, McCarthy doesn’t agree to promise those four MAGA Republicans, or any four of their colleagues in the Freedom Caucus, for that matter…. um… oh, I don’t know… how about federal concentration camps in the city hall parking lots of major blue state sanctuary cities, filled with illegal immigrants, or… federal laws mandating heterosexual re-programming for minors identifying as one of them there L-B-G-T-Q thingies, or… federal laws requiring Jews to wear armbands with six-pointed stars on them, or something else similar to that which is near and dear to their cold, dark and evil hearts? Well, then, he would only have two hundred and seventeen votes for him to become Speaker of the House, wouldn’t he? Add to that the fact McCarthy’s sparkling personality has earned him a slew of enemies, and it’s obvious he’s going to need a couple of spare sets of kneepads to… shall we say… pull it off? Plus, there’s talk about the fact that, legally, the Speaker of the House does not necessarily have to be a member of the House – theoretically, the House could elect anyone as Speaker. Given that, the specter of Speaker Donald Trump raises its haunting head. Fortunately, however, since the post of Speaker requires some actual work, and furthermore, doesn’t provide a rent-free mansion, catered banquets, a private jet, immediate on-demand prime-time television access or any significant opportunities to insult and alienate America’s allies nor extoll it’s enemies, it’s unlikely Trump would ever be interested in it.
Nevertheless, whoever becomes Speaker of the House, I have received reassuring signals that other aspects of our election cycle have continued as usual. Which is, in a strange sense, somewhat comforting. Yes, the usual vaguely worded feelers have reached me, the result of the expected numerous, multiple discreet referrals. And again, as I must say, as usual every two years, to all interested, newly elected members of the House and Senate – stop calling Gretchen and trying to book an appointment! I know exactly what questions you are going to ask, and, as I do every two years, I intend to save us all a lot of time and trouble by answering them right here in my Web log:

First, newly-elected senator or representative, you must fully comprehend that you are the one in the position of power. Lobbyists have no power, but that which they can purchase or suborn from you. Therefore, you should deal from a position of power. The lobbyist has but one objective, and that is to obtain a portion of your power for the use of their clients. Remember that to sell or barter your power away to others is to betray your hallowed trust to the American people, who elected you, and consequently to expose yourself to a great deal of risk.
It follows that you must sell the power that you are stealing from the American people at the dearest price you can possibly command. After all, if you do get caught, the amounts of payment and objects of barter for your power will be exposed. In short, the public will hear exactly for what you abdicated your sacred responsibilities to them, and they will weigh it carefully in their minds. Bear well in your own mind, then, that should they learn you betrayed them for a dozen six hundred dollar lunches, four tickets to the Masters golf tournament, two Washington Commander’s sky box seats, a few trysts with ordinary sex workers available through advertisements in the DC newspapers, a couple of eightballs of cocaine and ten thousand dollars, they will consider you nothing but a sleazy, disgusting, reprehensible, amoral, low-life criminal hypocrite. And they will be right! On the other hand, if they hear it breathlessly reported by handsome and beautiful news anchors on every channel that you sold out for an extended series of five-star repasts in the far-flung capitals of Europe taken during a “fact finding mission” approved beforehand by your committee chairman, a three week great white shark hunt on the Barrier Reef while “researching” Australian trade agreements, twenty VIP passes to the Super Bowl while “investigating” allegations of point shaving in the NFL, fifty trysts with known supermodels, all of which can be certified, in advance, as consensual, a kilo of cocaine found on your property, but not in your house, and twenty million dollars in Cayman Island bank accounts belonging to someone, but not necessarily to you, they will suspect that you have done something wrong, but – and this “but” is a very important conjunction – they will realize that they, themselves, would have done just about anything in exchange for what you presumably got, and, at the polls, they will forgive you, even if the Attorney General of the United States has you running for re-election from a prison cell.
Because here is my point, newbie representative or senator: any lobbyist worth selling your public office to should be able to guarantee arrangement of all the qualifying conditions mentioned above. They should have enough established influence with Congress to ensure that your committee chairman signs off on your European junket without hesitation; enough clout with the USDA and Department of Commerce to make you an expert on Australian trade; enough pull with the Department of Justice to have them write letters actually demanding that you go to the Super Bowl to observe those suspicious plays; enough contacts in New York, Paris, Milan and Hollywood to lay droves of willing, compliant supermodels at your feet; enough sources in the drug cartels and operatives in the private detective companies to assure delivery of heavy weight, pure Bolivian flake in a plausibly deniable scenario; and, enough moxie with the international financial machine to put at least twenty million dollars under your control without you having to admit to a single dime of it. If they can’t, to hell with them, because, obviously, they are more pathetic, bush-league stumble-bums at the lobbyist game than even you are at being a member of Congress.
A necessary corollary to that conclusion is an accurate recognition of your constituents’ perception of your role in Washington, which is to bring them federal money. Never make a deal with a lobbyist that affects one red cent of the funds you carve out of the US treasury to send back to the folks at home. If you do so, never mind worrying about losing your next election, because you won’t get that far. You will lose your next primary, and this will be true even if you take the precaution of selling out for the highest price. So, rape your esteemed colleagues’ constituents instead. This is a time-honored Washington tradition, and it is an eternal verity that nobody ever got anywhere shoveling sand against the tide.
Now we must consider the correct etiquette for accepting bribes from lobbyists. You must bear in mind that they, theoretically at least, could get into a lot of trouble bribing you. Respect that. Use the perquisites of your high office to obscure the purpose of meetings, or, better yet, to define them positively as “outreach,” “background study” or “legislative analysis.” In addition, make sure that official records exist which present these excuses, which are legally protected by your Congressional privileges, in a believable fashion.
 Furthermore, come to accept the fact that lobbyists are not only very well funded by their clients, but also more worldly, and, by the very nature of their profession, more knowledgeable concerning bribery than you are. If you desire a good-looking female, male, she-male, trannie, he-girl or barnyard animal for an evening of perverse entertainment, don’t worry – any half-decent Washington lobbyist  knows where to get them. For your part, it is incumbent upon you, the incumbent, to make sure they supply the best physical examples of those forms of erotic prostitution in return for your acts of political whoredom. While experiencing what you think will fulfill you, however, it is also your responsibility not to end up on the front page of the Washington Post afterwards. So, do not, as Congressman Wilbur Mills so legendarily did, take a dip with your Foxie Fanny in the Tidal Basin. Washington has more kinds of cops than Baskin-Robbins has flavors of ice cream, and if any of them spot you behaving like that, they will be professionally obligated to do something about it and, subsequently, file a written report. Cops hate to write reports, so give them a break, okay? If you think the residual guilt of having sex with someone (or some thing) provided by a lobbyist will make you behave like a gibbering lunatic, then do so in the basement of a private hunt club in Loudoun County, not downtown on the Mall. Also, note that lobbyists themselves will sometimes offer to perform sexual favors. You must always politely refuse and insist on something better. Otherwise, absolutely nobody will respect you in the morning.
Now, we come to the subject which truly lies at the heart of the matter, that, of course, being the issue of cash bribes. These should, ideally, be handled through an arcane, labyrinthine transfer of funds through offshore shell corporations, foreign private partnerships, anonymously-owned holding companies and Luxembourg law firms, resulting in clandestine foreign bank accounts to which only you have access. This is the way the Fortune 500 do it when they bribe foreign officials in order to get overseas business, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for a member of the United States Congress. Ideally, you will wait until after you have left office, then quietly withdraw wheelbarrows of money. I know, however, it’s simply a fact of life that few, if any, senators or representatives can actually exert such patience, but never trust a lobbyist who does not first propose this method to bribe you. I am, of course, also aware that, for the new senator or representative, life in Washington can occasionally require large amounts of cash on an immediate basis. If that circumstance develops, here are some important DOs and DON’Ts.
DO ask for twenties. Fifties and hundreds arouse suspicion. DON’T drive to the bag drop in a car with Congressional license plates, dummy. If you are smart, you will own – or at least have access to – multiple automobiles, and while one will, of course, be a grand, ostentatious number with Congressional license plates, please recognize that at least one of others should be a cheap white Toyota Corolla or other such-like nonentity ride equipped with ordinary DC-issued plates. And while you aren’t required to have DC plates that say “Taxation Without Representation” on them, you should know that having those on your second car will definitely make you appear to be nothing more than an ordinary Washingtonian and therefore pretty much guarantee that you will be essentially invisible everywhere in the DC Metro area.
DO drive to the bag drop in your car with the ordinary civilian DC plates. And all right, if you are the dummy I was referring to (and there are plenty in Congress, believe me) who doesn’t already have access to, or own, at least one car like that, you have a choice. You can either (a) buy the second car described; or, (b) you can drive to Hagerstown, Maryland or Front Royal, Virginia, where none of the locals give a hoot about Washington and will never recognize your name as a member of Congress, and rent a car. Yes, there is a paper trail on a rental car, but if you get called on it, which isn’t likely, you can say that you had a flat during an excursion to a dinner theater, community arts center function or something, then suddenly realized you were right down the road from the car rental place and didn’t want arrive before the festivities ended, so you rented a car and then came back the next day and changed the tire yourself after returning the rental. No way they can ever prove you didn’t change the tire yourself, out there in the boonies, provided you make a nasty hole in one of your tires later at home and change it yourself. Just make sure that, after you pick up the money, you also show up at that Front Royal or Hagerstown dinner theater or arts center before the shindig is over and strike up a conversation with somebody who can alibi you in the future. Check the pressure in your spare first, of course, unless you feel like pumping it up manually in your garage. Obviously, strategy (b) doesn’t work if your name is a household word, like “Ted Cruz.” But he’s an experienced member of Congress and knows how to handle sticky situations regarding his whereabouts in dubious circumstances, whereas you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be bothering me for advice on how to get away with being bribed.
DO check the bills for marks. If you don’t know how banks and law enforcement mark bills, go to Red Hot Johnson’s in Anacostia after 11:00 p.m. any Friday or Saturday night. (Since first posting this advice, I have received a number of e-mails and other inquiries about Red Hot Johnson’s. And yes, the many folks who wrote me to point this out are quite correct. There is no night club in Anacostia called “Red Hot Johnson’s.” And BTW – don’t bother emailing me anymore, the volume got so great, I had to cancel the Quarterly Mailbag review. Sorry about that. Anyway, in actual fact, Red Hot Johnson’s is registered with the city as a private fraternal organization under another name. Nevertheless, everybody in Anacostia knows where it is. To find the location, just go to Anacostia, stop anyone you see on the street there, cordially address them in their quaint Anacostian Ebonic dialect and offer them the traditional Washington street-smart remuneration which is customarily exchanged for directions to a private nightclub. In local Ebonics, the honorific “Bee-atch,” derived from the Yoruba Creole phrase meaning “noble gentleman” or “gracious lady,” as the case may be, serves as the traditional friendly salutation to strangers, while the usual tip for directions to a private nightclub is twenty dollars. So, upon approaching the Anacostian, first say, “Yo, Bee-atch, what up?” Then, grasping a twenty dollar bill at each end with the thumb and forefinger of your right and left hands, indicate your familiarity with local social customs by snapping the bill smartly three times directly in front of them, upside down with the White House facing forward, about two inches from the tip of their nose, and continue with, “I be [Senator / Congressman / Congresswoman] [Your Name] from up on de Capitol Hill. Where da Red Hot Johnson at?” Occasionally, your entreaty will be snubbed. This is usually because the native Anacostian with whom you are speaking disapproves of your Ebonics. It’s rather like the behavior which some residents of Paris exhibit when American tourists try to ask where the Louvre is while using their rusty high school French. Fortunately, not all Anacostians are that particular, so if you fail, simply continue to approach people on the street with this routine until you experience other results.) When you get to Red Hot Johnson’s, ask for Big Dick, the back doorman. Tell him, “Shizzle ma dizzle, yo’ momma so stupid, she go in for jury duty and get convicted.” That’s the sign. He will countersign with, “What you talkin’ ‘bout my momma?” You counter-countersign with, “Just that she so fat, she got backup lights on her bedonkedonk.” (That’s “bee-DONK-uh-donk” by the way – I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how to pronounce it.) Then give him $100 and ask for “a markup job.” If you find any marked bills in your bribe, burn the whole pile thoroughly in your fireplace when nobody else is home and flush the ashes down the toilet, followed by two quart bottles of Drano Brand Max Gel and six bowls of water. Then avoid the lobbyist who gave you the marked lettuce like Breitbart avoids reality and simply tap another one for a pile of clean currency.
DON’T store the cash in your home freezer, your office safe, your intern love monkey’s apartment or your car. I mean really, come on. Think how stupid you will look if you get caught.
 DO arrange to receive the cash exactly at sunset, so it will be dark when you drive away. It’s the license plates, stupid.
 DON’T bring a paper sack for the money. The cash will be delivered in a brief case, a gym bag, or, if it’s a really big bribe, in a suitcase. The bag man will just hand you the damn thing. Don’t let him see you standing there with a paper sack – people talk, word will get around, and standing there with a brown bag like a pimply teenager loading groceries on the checkout line at the Safeway is guaranteed to make you look like a complete yokel. It will ruin your reputation with the other members of Congress, and they will snicker and roll their eyes when you walk by.
DO take advantage of the Washington area’s extensive park system. Know the official times for sunset on the days of your bribe drops. All the parks in the Metro area close at sunset, and the ideal drop occurs five minutes before. That’s because every park system in the area has at least a ten minute grace period following sunset, after which the responsible variety of park police – depending on which type of park it is – start searching for night activity. By the time they finish their doughnuts and coffee, you’ll be halfway back to your impressive downtown apartment – or whatever.
 DON’T use the overlooks or rest stops on the George Washington Parkway. Richard Nixon’s Watergate gang used them, and every single one has had surveillance cameras trained on it since 1977.
DO extend courtesy to Washington’s extensive foreign diplomatic and espionage community. Scout every prospective bribe drop point at least three times before using it, and do so at the time of day you intend to use it (i.e., five minutes before sunset). If you see other well-dressed, middle aged, nervous people showing up, giving you the hairy eyeball, then, by golly, that spot is taken already, and you should find another one. Don’t worry, there are plenty of places to go around. Just keep looking until you find one that isn’t already being used. Few things are more embarrassing in this town than expecting an attaché case full of cool, unmarked Jacksons and getting a choice selection of Top Secret Air Force orbital kinetic weapon design thumb drives, a matched set of Russian nuclear bomb triggers, or a DVD with the authentication keys to access CIA plans for a clandestine biological weapons attack on artificial islands in the South China Sea. Plus, who knows, if they realize at the last minute you are member of Congress, you might get kidnapped or shot – while attempting to be bribed. Not good.
DON’T delegate the setup or the drop to anyone, least of all a member of your staff. In general, if you do, they will be able to make ten times as much money as your cash bribe by selling the story of how they slavishly served you, yes, admired you, idolized you, and selflessly sacrificed for you – you charismatic, scheming demon – until, at last, your evil finally got out of control, setting off a patriotic epiphany precipitated by a seemingly trivial but somehow revealingly sinister act on your part, transforming their souls, after which they saw, in a single bright, shining flash, that finking on you would make them rich and famous, yakking about their book on television while you rot in stir, and so prompted them to contact the FBI.
DO turn that cash around within 36 hours. Presumably, you need that wad to retire massive debts incurred by your secret, uncontrollable gambling habit; to pay hush money on your sordid past with people you would rather the public not know about; or to do something similar that requires complete confidentiality coupled with immediate and highly liquid funding. So get that unpleasantness taken care of immediately and get that pile of dead presidents out of your life before you see them staring back at you from inside a pile of big clear plastic baggies marked “EVIDENCE.”
DON’T take real estate instead of cash. Don’t take cars, jewelry, furniture, 3D UHDTVs, stereos, or any other merchandise instead of cash, either. Such items are highly traceable and by no means a suitable substitute for cash. Any lobbyist who offers you these things is most likely an FBI undercover agent or, more improbably, has less experience at their job than you do with yours. Either way, avoid them like the plague.
DO make random checks of your cash bribe for counterfeits. At the very least, get a counterfeit-detecting marker and swipe it on the bills. An hour scrutinizing your swag for other obvious signs of funny money is a good investment against your cash payoff backfiring on you, whatever the reason for it. If you don’t know how to spot counterfeit cash, look it up on the Internet, using the computers at a public library in Baltimore, Maryland, in Richmond, Virginia or some other place equally removed from Washington, DC (but not in your home state or district! You know your opponents have you followed around when you come home, don’t you?). If you find any counterfeit bills in your bribe, burn the whole pile thoroughly in your fireplace when nobody else is home and flush the ashes down the toilet, followed by two quart bottles of Drano Brand Max Gel and six bowls of water. Then avoid the lobbyist who gave you the fake simoleons like Mitch McConnell avoids honesty, then lean on another one for a pile of real money.
DON’T deposit cash bribes in a bank, even in a separate account, even under a pseudonym. No kidding, you might as well just turn yourself in. Look, you’re a member of Congress, not a scumbag pimp, inner-city meth dealer or some shady stolen-goods fence. No, those people have connections to launder suitcases full of dirty twenty dollar bills. You don’t. And you don’t need them, either, because the lobbyists who want to bribe you are supposed to provide illicit funds laundering services for members of Congress. If you find yourself holding a huge sum of small, unmarked bills from a lobbyist, it should be because you asked for that and have an immediate use for it. Otherwise, have the lobbyist launder the money for you. If they can’t, then find another lobbyist who can and sell out to them instead.
Finally, in conclusion, may I advise every new member of the House or Senate, that if you can’t eat the lobbyists’ fancy food, swill their expensive drinks, travel on their extravagant junkets, get totally blasted off their illegal drugs, screw the “escorts” they procure for you, take their bags of money; and then vote any way you damn well please afterwards, you don’t deserve to be a member of Congress.