Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Transparency in Gov't

Another great find in the NY Times... thanks NY!

The Dangerous Comfort of Secrecy

Basically it's about how the Bush administration (and just the gov't in general) is going nuts with the secrecy thing...

Yes, some secrecy is needed... but what Bush (and he's not the only one) seems to not understand is that Democracy is way more than just voting for your leaders.

The singular strength of democracy comes from transparency of government. Without knowing the workings of the government, the voter is no longer able to make informed decisions. Put simply, a voter has to know when to vote out a politician. It's not a lifetime appointment, and it doesn't operate on trust.

A lot of people don't understand why so many academics are pissed at this administration... and it's mainly because of this. For a democracy to work correctly, it can't operate behind a curtain.
I don't want sensitive information released to the public, obviously in my last post I was against the idea of officials revealing that a person worked as a covert oprative for the CIA. There are certain instances when secrecy is needed and justified. But there is a too far, and it's an easy line to cross. And crossing it as we're doing now is very dangerous for the future of our liberties and the efficient and effective operation of our goverment.

For me, it shows someone's (ok, Bush's) inability to do the job they're in when they don't know the difference between justified secrecy and over-the-top cover-up type shit.

Karl Rove's screw-up

So I've been following the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame story off and on, because I'd love to one day work for the CIA and I can't imagine anything worse than an operative being outed for political reasons (okay, there are worse things, but it's pretty fucking bad).

Today I found an pretty good article in the NY Times that summed it all up:
At White House, a Day of Silence on Rove's Role in C.I.A. Leak

I don't pretend to have all the facts or all the answers here... I'm not sure anyone does. What I wanted to comment on is this -

So far, the only things I've seen suggested for possible punishment if Rove is proven to have had a hand in this is his firing, and possible criminal actions.

He'll probably never face criminal charges, because the Dems don't have the power for a Congressional invesitgation/witchhunt and because the law covering this is a huge steaming turd.
As for the Dems - kinda sucks guys, too bad you don't have more political clout... this type of thing smacks of the Clinton investigations, and it'd be nice to have someone looking into it (even if it was partisan motivated).
As for the law... gh3y. That's the best I can say about that. Rove doesn't really ahve anything to fear from the law, because it will be next to impossible to prove that he did this with the intention of screwing Mrs. Plame, or that he knew the government was actively hiding her identity. And that's just fucked up.

Why? Because what he did (allegedly) was wrong. Flat out, no holds barred, black and white wrong. And I don't think he understands that. He needs punishment for this. And firing him isn't really enough (like it's ever going to happen anyway). Firing him just removes his position... it doesn't do much to remove his influence. The only thing it does is make it harder for him to interface with high-level politicians and serve as a weak sort of deterrent for the future.

But Rove will likely get off on everything... and it just angers me. Probably because of the defense offered for why he didn't break the law. Because he didn't know. I'm sorry, Karl, it's part of your fucking job to know. It comes with being a fucking high-level aide to the fucking PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! The highest Goddamn job in this country, or world, some would argue.

That's like the town bum trying to get away with pissing in public, on someone's car, by saying that he didn't realize the car wasn't a toilet. There's some things that are just too hard to believe.

And I would argue that if it's actually true... if Karl really is that mis-informed, then yes, by all means fire him. Because he certainly doesn't have the Goddamned competence to be in the job to begin with.

You know what would happen if I gave out the phone numbers and email addresses of everyone working in CIS to the telemarketters that called? I'd be fired faster than slick shit on a greased shingle. And probably punished in some other way as well.

And believe you me... trying to use the defense "my bad, I didn't know" would only add to the arguments to get rid of me... not relieve any of my guilt.

But, it seems like more and more in politics (especially in this administration) stupidity, proclaimed ignorance, and denial are accepted responses to mistakes and guilt. I guess the public perception of politicians has fallen so low, that we don't hold them up to the simple standards of having to tell the truth and take responsibility for their actions anymore.

I'm sorry, maybe I'm just too damn idealistic for my own good, but these people hold important positions with a lot of power attached. I don't think it's too damned much to hope for, that they tell the truth and that when they fuck up, they claim responsibility. This covers liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, and everyone else... I don't think these are partisan values, truth and maturity, I think they should be expected of everyone... especially those in public service.

-Sorry if there's spelling/grammar errors, I'll go back and revise later.

Monday, July 11, 2005

NY Times Article (Op. Ed.)

I knew there was a reason I read The Onion.

I would like to submit as Evidence Point #1 (don't worry, there's only 1) - Paul Krugman's Op. Ed. piece Un-spin the Budget

Specifically (for those of you who aren't registered users of the NY Times, and can't read the article from that link... and for emphasis):

To understand where the budget deficit came from, you can't do better than the Jan. 18, 2001, issue of the satirical newspaper The Onion, which predicted the future with eerie precision. "We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent," the magazine's spoof had the president-elect declare. "And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

Go, Onion, Go! Way to break that story before it even happened. It makes me glad inside.

Then I remember the content of the story... and I go back to being depressed, resentful, and without hope for the current situation. Go, Red States, Go! Fuck us all with your concern for "morals." Because we have to make damn sure the President isn't geting his dick sucked and lying about it. It's way better when he just lies about everything. Wankers.

I'll end this bright fucking ray of sunshine with another quote from the article:

In other words, we're still deep in the fiscal quagmire, with federal revenues far below what's needed to pay for federal programs. And we won't get out of that quagmire until a future president admits that the Bush tax cuts were a mistake, and must be reversed.

Yay. That's actually what I'm waiting for. I don't really expect any kind of vindication/revelation where all the voters that put Bush in office collectively slap their foreheads and say "Doh!"

I'm just waiting for some time in the future, when we have a different president, more open to transparency of government, who peers into the truth surrounding the Bush administration and says "That's some fucked up shit." Then I won't be villified as Satan incarnate when I proclaim that "Bush sucks and should never have been elected/appointed President." I'll finally have some "hard proof" to point to... that is, if future presidents can pay someone to tape together the shredded mess of "documents" they'll no doubt inherit.

Yellow Jersey

Yeah, so I have a question maybe someone can answer for me...

In the Tour de France, when someone earns the "Yellow Jersey," is it the same jersey the last guy who had it wore? If so, I hope they got some good launderers in France, cuz that jersey would be stinking to high hell.

I'm sure this isn't a high concern for most people following the race, but it's things like this I worry about. I mean, damn, if Armstrong is wearing a nasty, used jersey everytime he earns the Yellow... he's way more of a hero than I already thought.

Seriously... have you ever seen/smelled/felt a professional sports jersey after it's been sweated out? They're fucking nasty. Horrible. Revolting even.

I think I'd be less game for the lead in something like the Tour de France if it meant I'd have to pull on and wear a nasty shirt like that. No offense to the other racers... that's just bad hygiene.