A disturbing bit of news emerged on the 29th of September. Meg Whitman's campaign for governor of California was body-checked by a damaging news report just weeks before the election. It was alleged that she had someone in her employ who had not fully complied with all the laws of this great Republic...someone who toiled in her very household, in her home, near her hearth, in the very bosom of her vie familiale. Right under her nose, in other words. And it turns out this person was neither a card-carrying Democrat, nor card-carrying Republican. In fact, that was the problem. She had no card at all.
Let's touch on the financial news briefly and then we'll return to the story at hand.
The Dow rose 57 points on Friday. The dollar fell, with the euro now trading at $1.39.
Gold did what gold always seems to do: it went up. It's currently trading hands at $1,345 an ounce.
Is this the final blow-off in the gold market? Probably not. In fact, it looks to us as if gold is ready for a correction. The last stage will come. But maybe not for a while.
Meanwhile...back in the Golden State...
The Associated Press reports:
Whitman denounced the allegations as a "baseless smear attack" by Democratic challenger Jerry Brown in what has become a dead-heat race five weeks before the election.Shame...shame...shame. What were they thinking? Were they thinking at all?
The central issue is whether Whitman knew about a letter that the Social Security Administration sent her in 2003 that raised discrepancies about the housekeeper's documents - a possible tip-off that she could be illegal.
The letter is the foundation for claims by former maid Nicky Diaz Santillan that Whitman and her husband knew for years she was in the US illegally, but kept her on the job regardless.
For two days, Whitman forcefully denied receiving any such letter and said she fired the $23-an-hour housekeeper last year immediately after learning she was illegal.
Revelations about the illegal housekeeper have also thrown Whitman's carefully managed campaign completely off track and opened the door for Democrats to accuse her of hypocrisy.
"The essential fact remains the same," said the husband, "neither Meg nor I believed there was a problem with Nicky's legal status," the husband said. "The facts of this matter are very clear: Ms. Diaz broke the law and lied to us and to the employment agency."
We don't know if there's been any progress in the case. But from what we know so far, it appears that the Whitmans had a woman in their employ who gave good and faithful service for nearly 10 years. Then, when they discovered that her papers were not in order they dropped her like a dirty dishrag.
It is illegal to knowingly employ an illegal immigrant. That is a shame too. On both counts. It's a shame you need the permission of bureaucrats to travel, live and work where you please. It's a shame the employer has been turned into an accomplice.
There are far too many greasy laws and far too many people ready to obey them. If the Whitmans had had any sense of integrity or loyalty they would have kept poor Nicky on the payroll. Then, when the scalawags in the press found out about it they could have answered honestly: so what?
But one after the other, the candidates, the governors, the preachers, the radio talk show hosts - the sinners confess their crimes, ask forgiveness, and claim rehabilitation. They sniffle. They cry. They admit their transgressions and misdemeanors. They whip themselves like penitents... Then, life goes on.
But what are the crimes? One falls from grace because he has fondled a stewardess on an airplane. Another has had a fling with an Argentine. One has wiggled his foot in a provocative manner in a public lavatory in Minnesota. Another has used drugs. And more than a few have slept with people other than their spouses.
What would you expect? They are only human. Barely. They are politicians and exhibitionists who enjoy making a public spectacle of themselves. They like their lofty positions in front of the media. They may enjoy their fall from grace even more, provided it keeps their names in the paper.
How we miss the old timers who had the courage of their predilections! To a politician from the great state of Louisiana the following story is attributed:
He called a press conference to reply to allegations that he was spotted consorting with a "known prostitute."
Holding up the accusing newspaper, he said:
"It says here that I was seen coming out of the Central Hotel at 6 o'clock in the morning after sleeping with a known prostitute. Well, I can tell you that every word of this allegation is a lie.
"It wasn't the Central Hotel, it was the Downtown Hotel. It wasn't 6 o'clock in the morning; it was 7 o'clock. She wasn't a known prostitute; I never laid eyes on her before in my life. And we didn't sleep a wink."
But the present generation of political figures is as spineless as the public itself. We live in a nation of sheep led by jackasses. We stand in line to be searched by airport goons, when we know perfectly well we have no intention of blowing up anything. We meekly fill in census forms...separate our garbage...and obey the speed limit even when there are no cops around.
Even so, turning out a trusted servant, merely because she has run afoul of the paper checkers is low and unforgivable. There must be some especially hot corner of Hell set aside for such people.
Besides, illegal immigrants are to be treasured. They are the last real Americans. Like the first ones, they brave hardship and danger to get here. The first immigrants crossed unforgiving seas in small barques. The last cross a hard border, patrolled by drug gangs and border police. Like Puritans, they come without passports...without work permits...with nothing more than the shirts on their backs and a desire to work. They worship their own gods, and otherwise ask only to be left alone. Do some turn to delinquency, felony and voting? Of course, they do...they're only human too. But most get along passably well without the benefit of US social welfare legislation, democracy or larceny.
Most show up with no money in their pockets; instead, all they have is their scraps of paper or cheap cell phones...with the telephone number of a cousin in Houston or the address of a friend in Los Angeles - just like the immigrants who crowded into Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York in the 19th century. And like the first immigrants, they cannot sit their fat derrieres down in a cushy government job...nor even ask the assistance of welfare agencies, food stamps or other giveaways. Every contact with the white-skinned "gringos" is as dangerous and repulsive to them as contact with the red men was for the original settlers.
In Arizona, apparently, they can be stopped and asked for their papers at any moment, without cause or provocation. In other states, they need to be careful too...lest they be stopped for speeding and the secret gets out.
Nor can they claim minimum wage, race discrimination, disability, union scale, priority parking, unemployment compensation or any of the other chisels and hustles available to homegrown labor. The illegals have to earn their way.
So raise a glass. Raise a hat. Raise a voice. Say "gracias" to these...the last real Americanos.
Jerry Brown is right; Meg Whitman deserves to lose.
for The Daily Reckoning