Friday, May 27, 2005

Capitol Sale/Garage Sale - What's the difference?

According to this morning's New York Times, several past and present members of the Tennessee legislature have been indicted for corruption. The most prominent person indicted is accused of extorting $55,000 from a bogus company set up by the F.B.I.

At a news conference announcing the indictments, U.S. Attorney Terrell L. Harris said: "Government is not for sale."

Who's he kidding?

The question isn't whether government is for sale but why it sells at garage sale prices. Every time that indictments like these are announced the amounts that the politicians got are paltry in comparison with what they're giving away. Often billions are sold for thousands. I'd like honest office holders who never take a bribe, never extort, never trade government contracts for cash or favors. If I can't have that, I'd like intelligent ones who get value for their thievery.

I've no idea which of the many allegations I hear about each year are true and which aren't. I assume that some are true and some aren't. But come on! Sometimes huge contracts go for the price of a small vacation. Have these people such low self-worth that they think what they deliver is worth a few mils on the dollar?

Someone once said that an honest politician is one who, when bought, stays bought. I'm afraid that I can find some quite powerful pols at garage sales this Saturday next to the warped Tupperware.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Importance of Truth

I'm tired of the gap between what what people say and what they believe. Want some examples? No problem.

The New York Times recently reported that for yet another year the level of charitable giving is highest from the lowest earners and lowest from the highest earners. This is at odds with their public face and the presumptions behind many governmental decisions.

  • Governmental programs that have names diametrically opposed to what they do.
  • Business contacts who say that they have my best interests at heart just before they shaft me.
  • Entities that claim good citizenship and patriotism as they overcharge the government, avoid taxes, and hide funds in offshore accounts.
  • Moral arbiters who preach most against that which they are later discovered to be doing themselves (the "Methinks he doth protest too much" crew).

I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't do what they want. I'm not trying to curb free speech. I just want people to have the cojones to say what they mean.

If one isn't willing to proclaim one's intentions, it suggests that one is ashamed of them, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Values

I'm tired of being told that because I'm not on the far right I have no values. I have values. They're different values and they include, but aren't limited to:

  • Respect for the environment.
  • Respect for all human beings including those with whom I disagree.
  • Concern for the poor.
  • Belief in life after birth.
It isn't hard to respect people who share one's values. The difficulty is in respecting other values.

So get off my back! I'll listen to you provided you'll listen to me. My belief is that we can find more common ground than might seem possible. The key is we both need to look for it.

Or do you just want to rule?