In The Shadows, Sits The Real Problem

The budget is badly unbalanced.  Compromise seems impossible.  Extreme positions seems the norm.  The American middle class is morphing and drowning as the poverty line rises.  Woe is me.  What can we do?

Some days these words describe well how the future appears.  Where is the American dream?  How can reasonable people expect to get a piece of this action?  Yet we hear, “the State of the Union is Strong”.

Others see the current American situation as a battle for freedom.  Freedom in the sense of escaping the entanglements of the Federal Government.  Escape, that is, if the government policy is one that disadvantage me.  Remember, first and foremost, everything is about me.

In the shadows, right before all of us, turns Senator Robert Menendez (D, NJ) ethics investigation.  Memendez is caught in a political battle which could end his Washington career.  This battle, however, could shed light on the cancer that is eating out political process.

Memendez is accused of having accepted airplane trips on the private plane of Dr Solomon Melgen.  Melgen has been a very generous Menendez supporter.  Senator Menendez failed to report these trips (as required by Senate rules).  Like others before him, Menendez has hastily written a check to cover these expense and termed the situation as an oversight.  Hmmm.

Two things strike me as unusual.  (1) The focus of the investigation is on paper work.  Was it an oversight or not?  And, (2) Why are not other Senators up in arms about this and campaigning to rid the Senate of a rules violator?

Senator Menendez has admitted his office did lobby and intercede on behalf of Dr Melgen on at least two issues which had monetary benefit to the good Doctor.  Hmmm.

It appears that Senator Menendez has been snagged by the “there is no free lunch” rule.  “If you help me with my election, I’ll be there to help you later.”   I am afraid that this phenomena is far more prevalent with Congressional members than we are lead to believe.

Watching Senator Menendez try to refute charges that he tried to hide payments underscores a very simple and straight forward ignorance of ethics.  There are daily commercial flights to the Dominican Republic.  Menendez does not need to use a private jet.

The rest of the Senate is most likely holding their collective breaths… “I hope they don’t shine the light in this direction”.

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