Supreme Conjectural Corruption

As one hundred and sixty million working Americans file the income tax returns that provide funding for the six trillion-dollar US annual budget, and the United States of America’s seven hundred and thirty-five billionaires pay more or less nothing and laugh at them, Washington DC is abuzz with the fallout from the latest Big Security Leak. When it was recently revealed that Jack Teixeira, a callow, sallow, wan and physically unimpressive young man afflicted with obvious mental, communication and personality problems, combined with a history of hiding in his mother’s basement playing video games since he was a small child – in other words, a typical Generation Z male – who sought to compensate for his numerous defects and deficiencies by joining the US military, had leaked a huge cache of Top Secret documents to a bunch of similarly lame excuses for human beings in a late-puberty testosterone-poisoned Internet chat room known as Thug Shaker Central for no other reason than to impress them with his amazing awesomeness, the usual orgy of hand wringing commenced. Oh-me-oh-my, the usual mavens of national security wailed to the usual talking heads in the usual media venues, how could such a thing possibly have happened?
Well, maybe it’s just a sign of the times – after all, Donald Trump liked to show off his trove of Top Secret documents to impress male visitors, both before and after he was President, and hardly anyone in the Republican Party has a problem that, a behavior pattern which differs from little Jack’s only in the physical age of the emotionally immature traitors involved. But since, in the case of little Jack, at least, the national security mavens nevertheless wonder aloud and at length how such a thing could have happened, I would propose it’s because social media has completely rotted the minds of just about everyone born since 1999 within spitting distance of a smart phone. Perhaps America will soon discover that having avoided hashtags, Likes, image filters and the host of other, analogous moronic technological perversions that have lined the pockets of such notable philanthropical humanitarians as Jack Dorsey, Zhang Yiming and Mark Zuckerberg during the formative years of American youth for the last couple of decades could prove a significant life advantage. Will the next generation of robust thinkers and intellectual innovators perhaps be dominated by those who have emerged from the rural provinces of developing countries where the kids who grew up there since 2002 escaped such mentally debilitating experiences? Just saying. In any event, gone are the days, it appears, when Americans betrayed their country for misguided ideology, wild sex, mind-blowing drugs and / or suitcases of unmarked bills. It’s pretty obvious that the currency of high treason has been considerably debased when all it takes for someone with a Top Secret clearance to betray their oath to the Constitution is the fawning admiration of some wanking, unwashed adolescent boys.
And as the palaver over that particular imbroglio continues apace, its close competitor in the latest festival of sanctimonious outrage and self-righteous recrimination here in the Nation’s Capital is the menu of daily mass shootings du jour, which, over the last five days, has included four dead and sixteen wounded in a Dadeville, Alabama nightclub; one killed and three in critical condition in Newark, New Jersey; two dead and four in critical condition in Louisville, Kentucky; one dead and three injured in Los Angeles, California; and, four dead and three injured in Bowdoin, Maine. According to the latest statistics, there are more guns in the United States than there are people, and the continuing solution recommended by the National Rifle Association and its goose-stepping legion of hand-loading, banana clip-inserting, chamber-locking Ueberwaffenmeister is even more guns, everywhere, in the hands of everyone. And perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that such a lunatic strategy is actually taken seriously here.
Consequently, it is hardly surprising that these salient manifestations of our national inability to keep our vital state secrets and avoid promiscuously murdering each other with a ubiquitous plethora of assault rifles and hand guns has caused many of my clients who hail from abroad to lately inquire of me during the course of your consultations, quite out of the blue in most cases, what the hell is the matter with us. Alas, I must confess to be at a loss for a satisfactory explanation, short of telling them that dishonesty, moral turpitude and violence are, along with ignorance, stupidity and prejudice, three of the fundamental pillars of American culture. So instead, I defend my homeland’s dignity by pretending to be as mystified as they.
And speaking of dishonesty and moral turpitude, I would aver, by way of contrast, that I did actually have one visitor, just last Friday, in fact, who was blithely unperturbed about the country’s shaky national security, its abysmal firearms control policies, its obscene income inequality, its obvious unfairness of taxation, or much of anything else, actually, with which the vast majority of my clients attached to domestic organizations such as federal agencies, Congress, PACs and NGOs are ardently concerned, one way or the other. I refer to one “Rod” Dickham Cheatham, one of several Cheatham brothers who are partners in Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, a prominent law firm here in Washington. They represent a wide range of clients, such as big multinational conglomerates, big pharma, big oil, big nuclear, big chemical, big mining, big manufacturing, big fashion, big agriculture, big biotech, big entertainment, big finance, big information technology, big artificial intelligence, big robotics, big data, big social media, big medicine, big insurance, big defense contracting and big real estate; and their lobbyists, of course. So it was, that Rod did actually raise my eyebrows a bit when he announced that he was visiting me for a consultation on behalf of a certain federal judge, who preferred to remain anonymous. Thus protected by attorney-client privilege, Rod took a large manila envelope out of his Ferragamo briefcase and pushed it toward me across my desk. I opened it. Inside were several packets of brand-new grinning Benjamins, winking back at me.
“In addition to anonymity, my client also prefers cash,” he confided.
“And what can I do,” I inquired as I laid the envelope back down on my desk, “for your client today?”
“You can answer,” Cheatham replied, “some hypothetical questions.”
“I am very well acquainted,” I assured him, “with both attorneys’ penchant for hypotheticals and the federal Judicial Branch’s willingness to ponder them, but I must remind you, sir, that I am not a lawyer.”
“That’s exactly why I’m here, speaking with you,” he revealed, “rather than meeting with another attorney, because the hypotheticals I have in mind are of a political, financial and public relations nature.”
“Well then,” I told him, “having established that stipulation, please, continue.”
“First of all, what my client would like to know is, were we to suppose… hypothetically… that a federal judge, inadvertently… overlooks certain… considerations… received from a close personal friend, then what talking points could such a federal judge, in such a hypothetical situation, plausibly provide in response to widespread criticisms that his… unintentional misapprehension amounted to… shall we say… an undocumented incentive?”
“Let me guess,” I ventured. “You’re wondering how a certain federal judge who got, let us say, hypothetically, millions of dollars in free vacations from an evil, scheming, bigoted, racist hypothetical billionaire who worships dictators and tyrants and holds… hypothetically… correspondingly extreme views concerning the appropriateness of certain federal laws and various parts of the United States Constitution, concerning which, this hypothetical federal judge had the authority to rule in cases before his or her hypothetical court, might successfully characterize those vacations as… shall we say… something other than… bribes?”
Cheatham’s face developed the startled expression of repugnance that might blight the countenance of a blindfolded man who has just bit into an onion that he was told was an apple. “Please! Mr. Collins! Such terminology is completely uncalled for!”
“Well,” I pointed out, “you, as an attorney practicing in Washington DC, must certainly be familiar with US Code Title 5, Section 13104, which states that all federal employees must report, the source, type, and amount or value of income, dividends, rents, interest, and capital gains; gifts and reimbursements; interests in property; transactions in real property and securities; compensation from positions with outside entities; and, interests in blind trusts that allow the individual to receive quotations of the total cash value thereof and, of course, all the analogous such information relating to spouses and dependent children, including their trusts and transferred assets among them. That would… hypothetically… apply to your hypothetical federal judge, would it not?”
“Yes,” Cheatham responded with a noncommittal air, “and… no. As I am sure you are aware, every case is unique and must be considered on its own merits and the pertinent facts.”
“Which is an upscale DC lawyer’s way of saying,” I observed, “that it’s not a bribe if this hypothetical federal judge can afford someone like you to argue their case.”
Cheatham sighed and cast a winsome momentary glance at the ceiling. “It may or may not be that, depending on the theory of the hypothetical case under consideration.”
“Okay,” I continued, “what if, hypothetically… this federal judge also sells this… friend… their mother’s home, and this hypothetical federal judge’s mother continues to live there rent-free while that hypothetical friend spends additional hypothetical money improving the property, and the hypothetical federal judge’s hypothetical mother continues to live there today? How would that be characterized in a hypothetical legal sense?”
“Perhaps,” Cheatham mused, “as preparation of the property to become a museum?”
“Which would,” I sought to confirm, “hypothetically render the hypothetical transfer of significant hypothetical wealth and value from the hypothetical friendly billionaire to the hypothetical federal judge’s hypothetical mother perfectly ethical and legal?”
“Depending, of course,” Cheatham qualified, “on the particular hypothetical facts of the hypothetical case and the hypothetical theory thereof. But certainly, yes, if my firm were retained to handle it.”
“And what if, hypothetically,” I pressed, “this hypothetical federal judge did, in fact, report some considerable amounts of income, but that income was, upon closer inspection found to be allegedly derived from a company that no longer exists? Can we assume that might be… hypothetically… construed as a scheme to conceal the actual source of such hypothetical income?”
“But what,” he objected, “if, hypothetically, the company had a name that was very similar to the name of a company that does exist? Might not that, hypothetically speaking, be a simple accounting error?”
“Oh,” I conjectured, “in that case, what if this hypothetical federal judge was… black? And I mean, really, really black… black as a dozen midnights – genuine, down South, down home, down-right Mandingo black?”
Cheatham sat bolt upright.
“And perhaps, hypothetically,” I persisted, “a total Uncle Tom, a real plantation houseboy, who also is, hypothetically, uncontrollably obsessed with white women?”
Cheatham began to breath heavily.
“And, in addition,” I elaborated, “hypothetically, also obsessed with kinky, exhibitionistic, sado-masochistic sex?”
Cheatham blushed deep red, and being about as white as a WASP can be, it showed.
“What,” he stammered, “are you hypothetically getting at?
“Well,” I expounded, “suppose this hypothetical federal judge was such a slave to his obsessions that he would… hypothetically, marry a woman just because she was white and would have that kind of sex with him, provided that he, in return, would parrot her fascist political views in his federal legal decisions? And, furthermore, willfully conceal her income on their joint tax returns – income, say, hypothetically, from fascist organizations that hired her as a so-called ‘consultant,’ income amounting to, let’s say, hypothetically, several hundred thousand dollars?”
Cheatham made soft, choking sounds as he composed himself for a reply. “Hypothetically, only the tax evasion would, hypothetically, be illegal.”
“And all that money this hypothetical Uncle Tom judge got for serving that rich white man, submitting to him so faithfully for so many years as a latter-day legal Steppin Fetchit,” I wondered, “do you suppose that, if, hypothetically, this bowing, scraping, dusky lickspittle poltroon federal judge were called upon to pay his white master back all that money, he would be able to do so?’
“Hypothetically,” Cheatham huffed, “no. This hypothetical federal judge isn’t worth a tenth of it.”
“So, in a hypothetical sense, at least,” I concluded, “this hypothetical Texas billionaire owns this black federal judge just like an antebellum Texas cotton planter owned his black field hands.”
“In some hypothetical sense,” Cheatham reluctantly agreed, “I suppose so.”’
“Do you also suppose, then,” I asked, “that this hypothetical black federal judge has any appreciation of the irony of his hypothetical situation?”
“Despite his hypothetical nature,” Cheatham opined, “I am virtually certain he would not.”
“No shame about it, hypothetically speaking?” I probed. “No guilt?”
“None,” he confirmed. “This hypothetical judge, would, hypothetically speaking, have no moral compass whatsoever. Being a clinical sociopath, and thus completely devoid of a conscience, he would feel, hypothetically, completely guiltless.”
“All right then. Let’s suppose, hypothetically,” I hypothesized, “that, in the course of his hypothetical legal career, this hypothetical federal judge had sexually harassed a hypothetical woman subordinate at their place of hypothetical employment, and she, hypothetically, had come forward to accuse him of it during his hypothetical Senate confirmation hearings and his reaction had been, hypothetically, to play the race card and claim that her presence and testimony constituted a ‘lynching,’ thus cynically exploiting the immense suffering of his ancestors while amorally prostituting his ethnic heritage to escape censure and obtain his hypothetical position as a federal judge. Do you suppose, hypothetically, given that he once employed such monstrously hypocritical behavior to get his hypothetical job, and is, hypothetically, completely amoral and concerned with nothing other than himself, could he, hypothetically, do that again in order to continue to serve his rich white master and have that prized white woman who fulfills his warped erotic fantasies by dominating his black manhood in a golden shower of ecstatic humiliation?”
A long moment passed. “Hypothetically,” Cheatham replied with a sudden smile of realization, “he could.”
“Then we’re done here,” I declared as I handed the envelope of cash back to him.
“What?” he yelped. “You don’t want it?”
“I refuse to accept money from someone that pathetic,” I told him.
Cheatham stared at the envelope in disbelief. “Why not?”
“Hypothetically speaking,” I explained, “It wouldn’t be ethical.”