Bribery: A-O.K.

(Editor’s Note:  The entire editorial staff is far too wasted from our staff V-Day party right now to do any actual editing.  I’m the last man standing and I don’t get paid overtime, so to hell with it.  I’m just going to put this out as-is, with the notes from the Legal Department tipped in.  They should know what they’re doing; otherwise we’re paying them too damn much.  -JW)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Big Oil!  You can now pay bribes again!

I want to start off right now by saying that I’m not against bribes at all.  In fact, I’m so pro-bribe I’ll make it easy for you:  Just send me your money and I’ll accept it with a clean conscience.  I don’t care if you’re Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Shampoo, or the Illinois Nazis Peace Through World Conquest Foundation —  I’ll take your money, cash your check, and smile the whole time.

Corruption is a time-honored tradition, and it’s as American as apple pie.  Well, as pizza pie, anyway; you know what happens when you don’t tip your pizza guy, right?  He gets sad, and sad people give slow service, because why bother?  And any of his bodily fluids that may possibly get added to your pie on the way are probably just tokens of his esteem.  (Note:  This publication in no way wishes to encourage or endorse the befouling of commercially delivered food. -RD, Legal Editor)

Seriously.  Americans are used to paying for good service, and when we get it, we tip.  It’s just part of doing business.  And it’s the hallmark of doing business all the way from not getting your fenders bashed by the parking attendant to getting a good seat to making that damn fiddler go bother some other table.  Tipping gets you good food, good wine, and the best in performance-enhancing narcotics for afters.  (Note:  This publication in no way wishes to encourage or endorse the consumption of illegal drugs.  Drugs are bad. -RD)  And speaking of afters, we’re used to paying for service, one way or another.  (Note:  This publication in no way wishes to encourage or endorse — wait, does he mean prostitution here?  Anyway, he doesn’t, and that’s official. -RD)

Besides, what’s the big deal?  Oil and mineral companies are used to paying off third-world kleptocracies.  That’s why they’re called “kleptocracies” — ministers in their governments sell out the population for peanuts, eventually retiring just one step ahead of the revolution with a big suitcase full of untraceable currency.  And then, after a couple of months without electricity or toilet paper, the revolutionary junta calls up the oil company and tells them they can come back in, just so long as the payments keep coming.  And life goes on.

This is a way of life, is my point.  It’s going to happen whether American companies bribe them or, just to mention a random alternative, the Chinese.  And, in the mean while, oil prices go down, mineral prices go down, and your 401K gets a much-needed shot in the arm.  Everybody wins, right?  Except the people who live next to that latest oil spill, and they’re gonna die anyway from lack of drinking water, so who cares?  (Note:  This publication does not endorse spilling oil or killing the natives, not even for financial gain, Jann, so stop asking already. -RD)

I bet by now you’re either wondering what started all this in the first place or you’ve hopped the mescaline train yourself and are just along for the ride.  Either way is fine by me.  (Not by us! -RD)

Today, the fourteenth of February, in the year of [what year is this?  Fill this in for me, Jann.], our great and mighty leader, The Beast himself, President Donald J. Trump, signed into law his first piece of legislation, House Joint Resolution 41, which apparently passed not only without debate but without any actual vote worth mentioning, or at least none I can find any record of.  (Note: Neither can we here in Legal, but we’re sure there must have been something.  -RD)  The wording is plain and to the point:  Congress disapproves rule number 492399-83571 subparagraph O-ICU-812 (Note: This can’t be right! -RD) and it shall henceforth have no effect.

You wanna know what rule number 492-whatever does?  The White House, being their normal helpful selves (and also loyal, trustworthy, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent) posted an announcement just so we don’t have to look it up.  It’s called the “Cutting Red Tape Initiative”, and it’s designed to make American businesses competitive again.  Well, what kind of bleeding-heart liberal Commie anti-American ought-to-be-deported-yesterday bastard could possibly object to that?!  (Note: Language is harsh, especially relating to those born out of wedlock.  Revise. -RD)

But, lest we judge too harshly, let us examine presently the original document — which, we discover to our surprise, is a part of that evil, harsh, and overly-restrictive Dodd-Frank (Note:  Characterization removed by Legal, as being far too condemnatory toward all bovines regardless of gender, and their excrement. -RD) which did nothing for us but stretch out that last recession.  (Note:  Arguably true.  No objection.  -RD)  And the rule itself, which was written in bureacratese and legalese so impenetrable that the SEC had to do a PowerPoint to explain it, (Note: Interior. -RD) goes on for page after page until everyone who ever read it died from boredom until the text itself was outlawed in 2013 for causing more deaths than the oil companies — but nobody cared because the dead were all just lawyers anyway.

But nevertheless, we persisted (Note: Can we still say this? -RD), and we find that the statute itself was written because of international pressure to end bribery in kleptocracies, the idea being that this would cause oil companies to clean up their acts.  Turns out, it worked, sort of.  Except some oil companies aren’t bound by this sort of disclosure law, and they pipe oil to Russia, China, and most of OPEC.  So the big multinationals just juggled things a bit so they weren’t covered by the rule, the little companies like Exxon-Mobil cut back a bit in their Third World Exploitation Division, and Transneft Russia had the biggest production spike in their entire history.

So what does this all come down to?  In a nutshell, it looks to me like the United States Government in the person of Donald J. Trump, President, just re-legalized bribery in the pursuit of oil and minerals — and it was probably a damned good thing.

But you know what?  Fuck it.  I’m off to spend a week in Aspen courtesy the International Investigative Journalist Commission On Shampoo Standards, where I’m told there’s gonna be plenty of free (Note: We’re just cutting the next two sentences.  It’ll save us millions in lawsuits. -RD)

So use that shampoo, people — and God Bless America!

(Note:  Neither Jann Wenner nor Raoul Duke work here, and Spider Jerusalem retired to his mountain almost twenty years ago.  Any resemblance to them that may appear in the preceding text is strictly intentional, and it’s meant for humor anyway so this probably falls under fair use so you can’t sue us.  -RD, Legal.)

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