Thursday, 22 April 2010

Warren G. Harding

Teapot Dome, Wyoming

An oil scandal that took place during the administration of Warren G. Harding, generally acknowledged to have been one of the most worthless presidents ever. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall persuaded Harding to give him control of the U.S. naval oil reserves at Elk Hill, California and Teapot Dome, Wyoming. A year later, Fall secretly leased the reserves to the owners of two private oil companies, one in exchange for a personal “loan” of $100,000, the other for $85,000 cash, some shares of stock, and a herd of cattle. It wasn’t long before the secret leaked and everybody was up before a Senate investigating committee. In yet another remarkable verdict, all three men were acquitted, although Fall was later tried on lesser charges and became the first cabinet member ever to go to prison. Meanwhile, the public was outraged that the Senate had prosecuted at all; this was, as you’ll recall, the Roaring Twenties, when everyone was busy doing the Charleston or making shady deals themselves. Even the New York newspapers accused the Senate of character assassination, mudslinging, and generally acting in poor taste.

source: An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones and William Wilson pp.49-50

Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘This quote has nothing to do with tea.’ Yeah? So?
Don’t we talk about tea enough here? Please. Don’t you have any other interests?
Recently read The White Tiger with a group of people I met on twitter. There was a bit about tea in there. The narrator came from a caste that prepared tea. And candy, I think. Really interesting book. This quote about the Harding cabinet helps me make my point. Don’t worry, I won’t get partisan here. I dislike all political parties. Nearly universally. Except for that British political party Monster Raving Loony Party. I’d vote for them.

But this book was all about corruption, and I think it’s easy in the West to think we’re above all of that. That corruption happens in Africa when someone wants a contract. Or if you want to pass a band of gypsies while traveling through Nepal. That’s bakshish…not what we do. Not anymore. Maybe in the twenties.

Please. Whether Germany or France-whether England or the US, we have our own forms of bakshish. Really. German companies donate to both sides of the political spectrum, too. Why wouldn’t you? No matter who gets voted in, you’ve then got the politician in your pocket.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about tea again. Am drinking Darjeeling Singbulli second flush by the way. It’s delicious. Smells like a flower garden when it’s brewing. Delicious.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, The White Tiger looks interesting. I think I'll get it from the library sometime (it appears all the copies are signed out :/).