This is simple. Take responsibility for your actions. I've seen a lot of this not happening lately, in all aspects of life. Unfortunately, it seems that the nation at large is taking it's moral cue from the top - United States President George W. Bush and his administration. This is an administration that ran it's campaign elections claiming the high moral ground, only to get into power in 2000 via what are widely considered "strongarm tactics," thus setting the stage for the rest of the administration's term -- win at all costs, even if it means abandoning morality and ethics.
I could list myriad examples of Mr. Bush and his administration fleeing responsibility, but I'll settle for one or two recent examples.
Mr. Bush is seen on film listening to an expert tell him that the levees in New Orleans will not hold should a hurricane hit. A few days later, New Orleans is under water because the levees broke during hurricane Katrina. Guess what Mr. Bush said? "No one could have known the levees were going to break." Ducking responsibility.
Another cop-out was when Mr. Bush assured the nation that if anyone in his administration was cheating or lying, they'd be fired on the spot. When Mr. Scooter Libby was caught doing bad things, Mr. Bush poo-poo'd the incident. You see, the rules simply don't apply to them.
A bit later, lobbyist Jack Abramoff admitted to buying off half of congress. Did any of our tainted members of congress resign? No. You see, they learned from our leaders. The rules don't apply to them.
A bit later, native Sioux City embarrassment Chris Rants, a republican state representative here in Iowa, took tens of thousands of dollars from the tobacco lobbyists and in return blocked legislation to raise cigarette taxes. Did Mr. Rants resign? Or even apologize? No. He went golfing with another lobbyist. He's taking his cue from the Bush administration, you see. The rules don't apply.
Just a few days ago I read that a small town in Texas had to replace their entire police department. It seems they were taking bribes. I wonder where they got the silly idea that the rules don't apply to them? Could they have been learning from the Bush administration?
You see, the Trickle-Down theory DOES work!
Liar Liar Pants on Fire
This one's great... I heard Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on C-SPAN last night (yes, I watch C-SPAN once in a while in the middle of the night) and couldn't believe my ears. I had to look this up to make sure he really said it. He did. It's a long quote, so I'll trim it down a bit. You can see the entire version HERE on the Department of Defense's web site.
SEC. RUMSFELD: "When something happens, the people we're up against are vicious, and they lie. And they are -- obviously, they have media committees, they plan what they're going to do, they plan how they're going to manipulate the press, and they get out there fast and do it. And there's no penalty for that. Indeed, there's only rewards, because the misinformation race is around the world while, as they say, truth is still putting its boots on. Our task is to figure out what actually happened. And that means that they've got to go in there and talk to people, and it takes time, and it takes 24 hours, 48 hours, whatever it takes. And they end up -- some cases, it takes weeks to figure out what actually took place.
"And it's just very difficult. And here we are, in the 21st century, with all these means of communication and information racing around the globe, and it just makes it a very tough thing to do.
"And clearly the United states government has not gotten to the point where we are as deft and clever and facile and quick as the enemy that is perfectly capable of lying, having it printed all over the world, and there's no penalty for having lied. Indeed, there was a reward, because great many people read the lie and believed it. And it takes weeks and weeks afterwards to figure what actually took place...
..."And I don't know any solution to that, except that, you know, if you live in a small town, and one guy walks around the corner and lies to you one day, and he walks around the corner and lies to you the next day, and he walks around the corner and lies to you the third day, pretty soon you say to yourself, 'That's a liar. ... That's lying Joe.' Don't believe what he says! Don't put it in the newspaper! Don't print it! Don't repeat it! Because it's probably not true, because he's a liar."
It should be noted that Mr. Rumsfeld said all this with a straight face. Apparently the irony of the situation is lost on him... Has Mr. Rumsfeld forgotten the spin he helped orchestrate to confuse the foreign-sounding words "al-Qaeda," "Osama bin Laden," "Iraq," and "Saddam Hussein"enough that a majority of Americans believed Hussein was responsible for the terror attacks on September 11th, when in reality that's an out-and-out falsehood. A lie. A lie very similar to the ones leading up to the attack of Iraq and the bombing of Baghdad, where Mr. Rumsfeld and company convinced us that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction, when in reality there were no WMD's to be found.
Speaking of Mr. Rumsfeld...
The United States Supreme Court heard both sides argue in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case. The case is about the government's handling of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and how the detainees should be tried in court. The government wants to set up special tribunals to deal with the matter, but everyone else seems to think that this skirts beyond the boundaries of presidential powers and is in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
"The president seeks not merely to detain temporarily but to dispense life imprisonment and death through a judicial system of his own design. Anyone, anytime, may be swept into this system and forced to endure years of waiting before their cases are even heard." - Neil Katyal, the defense's counsel of record in a brief to the Supreme Court source
I saw part of this on C-SPAN. Chief Justice (and Bush appointee) John Roberts was not presiding, as he'd already ruled in the government's favor in a lower court. Justice Antonin Scalia (more on him later) pretty much said that the United States President should have the power to do anything he wants to do. Other justices, though, seemed to be of the opinion that the government's case was nutty.
They won't issue a ruling on this until sometime in June.
Personally, I think the whole affair stinks. The detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been there WAY too long. From the beginning they should have either been brought to America (not Cuba) and put on trial, or sent to the international war crimes court at the Hague. Keeping them penned up in a third nation for four years without trial is, in my opinion, an un-American thing to do. We're supposed to be the good guys, here. The attitude that we can do whatever we want to do (because, remember, the rules don't apply to us - we learned that from Mr. Bush) led to the Abu Ghraib torture as well as questionable treatment of detainees in Guantanamo. It's shameful.
Freedom of Speech at it's Finest
Judge Antonin Scalia is following in Vice President Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney's footsteps in regard to the freedom of personal expression. Evidently the Supreme Court Justice gave a reporter a hand gesture in church the other day - a gesture the reporter found obscene. The Justice denies it, of course. Because, you see, the rules don't apply to him. (Mr. Cheney, if you remember, brought a new low to congress when he told a congressman to go reproduce with himself. He didn't use that phrase, though. The phrase he chose was a bit pithier.) Justice Scalia said that the gesture was an Italian gesture meaning "I don't care." I doubt the reporter got the meaning of the gesture wrong, though. source
Here to Stay? Maybe?
Normally I'm a really nice guy. But doesn't the phrase "illegal immigrant" mean that, well, the immigrant is here illegally? I may be breaking with official party line here (there are those out there that think I lean a bit to the left), but I'm not sure that giving illegal immigrants amnesty is a good idea. They came here illegally, they are breaking the law, they should pay the consequences. Simple enough? This issue is pretty murky, and, to be honest, I've not spent much (any) time researching the topic. Can anyone tell me how this is supposed to work? Do we all get one "get out of jail free" card?