The American System is One Big Grift, by Peter Van Buren
When I first started saying back in the 1990s that government was organized crime, people laughed, thinking I was making a joke. I wasn’t joking and nowadays, nobody’s laughing. From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:
The Bidens, and even the Clintons, are small-time players. The real corruption is much bigger, much higher, and entirely unpunished..
I learned the facts of life from a drunk uncle. He was not an American, and worked in international construction in Asia. His main job was to bribe people. Over the course of many tiny glasses of some awful, clear Asian liquor I learned every yard of concrete poured required money to gangsters who controlled unions and to politicians who controlled permits. A fact of life, he said. You get used to it. He even had a joke—my hands are dirtier than the guys who dig the foundations.You come to realize someone is pulling the strings behind everything and it usually isn’t you, he said. The odd official just doing his job for his salary is a rube. You feel embarrassed for him, saying no for moral reasons. You learn, uncle slurred, to trust nothing. That politician on TV? The company just dropped off a nice check to his “charity.” Play by the rules? Those were the rules.
The first bribe I ever paid was to an Indonesian immigration officer, who noticed some small defect on my passport. Of course, he said, it could be resolved. Between us. With a fine (so many euphemisms). Off to the side. In cash. It was all of $20 to save a vacation but I felt filthy, cheated, a chump. But I learned the rules.
In New York we use the euphemism “tip,” and it is as required as oxygen to get through the day. A restaurant table pre-COVID. A last minute anything. A friendlier handling by a doorman. Timely attention to fix-it requests. My, um, friend, used to pay a lot of money for better hotel rooms until he learned $20 at check in with a friendly “anything you can do” often got him upgraded to the same thing at a fraction of the price. What, you still paying retail, bro?