Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Post No. 83: The Impure Need Not Apply


© 2009, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

Our goal here at the Institute is to assist people in ultimately formulating solutions. We do not care what the solution is, as long as it is reasoned, and advances the long-term goals of our collective society, and not just the interests of certain groups.

Someone once suggested that elected officials, and those seeking appointment to public service positions, be required to generate, for public dissemination, a detailed historical resume, and provide all tax returns and documentation BEFORE filing to run for elected office, or accepting a nomination or an appointment.

Obviously, an extension of this thought process would suggest that all details of their lives and finances, as politicians or government officials, be similarly disclosed on a periodic basis.

Here's another thought. Our nation has obviously reached the point where our elected officials are expected to be without flaws, and to be pristine and pure in those areas which we consider to be “of importance,” such as the avoidance of tapping shoes under public restroom stalls.

It doesn't matter on which side of the aisle they intend to travel. This should be applied uniformly without regard to political party or ideology.

Why not consider having all applicants for public office execute an affidavit to the effect that they have never broken the law (with the types of offenses enumerated), and have done nothing, of which they are aware, which might be regarded as "inappropriate" for a public official.

To address the concerns of the due process extremists, we could have a bi-partisan commission generate a list of indiscretions, based on years of experience with past scofflaws, including utilizing the services of illegal aliens and the improper utilization of cigars and other contrivances.

In conjunction with the execution of the affidavit, we could also require the applicant to put up as collateral, all of his or her assets, to be forfeited, and the social service placement of any minors within their custody, if it is later determined that there has been some failing in their conduct.

That's one approach which we could employ to weed out all of these pretenders, don't you think? We, as a nation, appear to have no interest in people with flaws or who have failed, so let's deal with that on the front end.

And it also appears, as reflected in the recent comments about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and Tom Daschle recently, that admitting that you were wrong, and accepting responsibility for your conduct is viewed as a “little too late,” and of little consequence.

(Hmmm. Perhaps the former governor of Illinois is way ahead of us on that one.)

Why not be proactive and do the Barney Fife by “nipping this in the bud” by disqualifying folks BEFORE they run for office or seek an appointment.

It would make admissions of fault and acceptance of responsibility purely gratuitous.

Doesn’t this seem like the proper and efficient thing to do?

Forget talent! Forget experience! Forget other qualifications!

What we really need to lead us back, to the mountaintop of international moral and economic prominence, is to only have the pristine and the pure lead us there. Hallelujah!

Why waste our time with the impure? Simply toss them aside, and use not their services.

Step forward, all of you who are without sin, to lead us!

The impure need not apply.

© 2009, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

21 comments:

  1. I thought that was the purpose of the Free Press portion of the First Amendment?

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  2. Douglas: For the less sharp and unsophisticated, as we consider ourselves, please define "that." Thanks.

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  3. Hmm. I don't think people expect elected or appointed occicials to be as pure as the driven snow nor on the other hand do they expect them to be as impure as that same snow a day or two after the storm when Fido has releaved himself in it. Standards, and make no mistake we ARE speaking of standards, should be no less vigorous for public employees than they are for those in private industry. Would you hire a manager who had a history of fiscll irresponsibility and had been caught doing the horizontal mambo with an underage subordinate in the stockroom? I don't think so. So why would you hire a person for high office in the Federal government who hasn't paid their personal taxes or neglected to pay social security tax as an employer for someone in their own domestic staff? Duh. The real question is why when these people are being vetted are they being offered the jobs? I'm am afraid to say it may be because the pool of potential candidates are almost all tainted to a greater rather than lesser degree. Remember we are not talking about a parking ticket that somebody forgot to pay or some miniscule amount of money that they forgot to report as income. I will not be offering the job of Director of Children Services to a pedophile no matter how talented or experienced they may be. Not gonna happen.

    As for Michael Phelps well boo-hoo. A 23 year old college educated man who has been in training and has full understanding that all eyes are upon him when he walks in a room is photographed smoking dope and he MIGHT although he hasn't yet loose some endorsements that he was getting for being a role model to kids. I'm wringing my hands and tearing my hair.

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  4. The word "that" in my comment refers to the public vetting of candidates. I was trying to be terse. At one time, the press was the watchdog of the people. It would investigate candidates and office holder alike. It would expose what it found so that the public could determine if the candidate deserved votes or the office holder deserved to remain in office. I believe that is what was part of the reason for a free and unfettered independent press.

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  5. Thanks much Douglas and June. We obviously were being facetious, and arguing from an extremist position, to hopefully highlight certain issues. The real crux of our position is that we consider being pro-active in dealing with issues of this type, and use self-executing mechanisms to achieve our goals. That is, of course, if we can "agree" as to the standard, or through some means "appropriately” gauge the community's sentiment.

    Oftentimes, someone applies for a position, and disqualifying factors are clearly stated. Why can't we do that more often on the front end? Why should the administration have to waste its time, energy, and our money looking in closets? State the disqualifying factors and let the candidates withdraw their applications. They're the ones with the information. Additionally, by handling it this way, you will lower the incidence of candidates thinking that their negative attributes might be outweighed by their positive attributes, or that they might be able to persuade us to accept them, despite their indiscretions.

    Our second concern has to do with who's conducting the condemnation. Is it the loudest Puritan? The Pilgrim most offended or outraged? Some media outlet with lots of money and lots of stations? What is their motivation for the criticism, and what is their agenda? Should a vocal minority effectively have the power to disqualify a prospective candidate?

    We posted a question in a discussion forum on blogcatalog.com earlier this week, inquiring as to whether politicians should be "laid off." The respondents kept telling us "that is not the way it works."

    Well, what if what we have does not work particularly well. So why aren't people more motivated to look beyond what we have, and existing systems, and try to create new systems to achieve society's goals?

    We almost got the sense that our citizens essentially acquiesce to whatever the politicians and career government bureaucrats choose to do. This is our country. We can change what we want to change. Can’t we?

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  6. Where are those of you without sin? We need you to start preparing to run for elected office, or to contact our elected officials and seek appointment in some department of the government which utilizes your talent set.

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  7. When two of the most recent nominees for cabinet positions had it revealed that they failed to properly pay their taxes, we watched an interesting phenomenon. One nominee made it through. One did not. Both failed to follow the tax laws but the difference seemed more one of volume. I actually expected both to make it through. I suspect there was something else, something we have not learned even now, in the second case which threatened to emerge.
    I think it is a bit ironic to have a "tax cheat" heading Treasury. A bit like hiring hackers to run your IT security.

    I agree that we are becoming resigned to our political corruption. But, so far, it seems to be a bit lopsided. One party seems to be permitted to have these issues while the other is heavily vilified for them. And, while the public seems ready for a third choice, none seem viable.

    Politics is a combination of science and art. Much like a con game.

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  8. Thanks Douglas.


    Personally, as a general rule, when I hear of the failure, on the part of a prominent person, to properly handle some aspect of their lives of this nature, I stop to think about the pragmatic issues affecting people who work perhaps 80-100 hours per week, and make over $350,000 - $500,000 per year. THIS IS NOT TO JUSTIFY OR EXCUSE THEIR CONDUCT, but the reality is that most folks in those positions do not personally get involved in (or micro-manage) the day-to-day mechanics of their lives.

    They delegate, they hire others, and they say "yes" or "no" in the hall as others are asking them what to do, as they head to the next meeting. It does not matter whether they are Republicans or Democrats. I have always felt that Martha Stewart's situation was a case of bad publicity at the wrong time. No one can ever convince me that she cared about losing, what for her amounted to relative chump change, and was willing to put herself at risk. Same with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. These folks do not deal in detail, because they have bigger issues around them all day.

    That being said, the average citizen has more situations, on a regular basis, in which they are personally involved and invested, and to which they pay personal attention. That’s why they can’t relate to the “big-wigs.”

    Should they be responsible for, and be held accountable for the problems? Sure, that's part of the deal when you delegate, and part of the deal when you are the "head," even of a small, personal empire. However, I feel that it needs to be examined in a different lens if we expect to get the best talent to serve in government positions.

    Something else to stop and think about: Let's switch from the legal to the "moral" or what might be deemed "appropriate." If you learned that a cabinet level official worked 100 hours a week, and only spent 30 minutes per week with his minor children, would you consider that to be a disqualifying factor? Furthermore, if the kid of that official got involved in some criminal mess, when you deem that official unworthy of service because he failed to manage his household and family? After all, can we expect an official who can not manage his own family, to properly manage a governmental agency? And of course, maintaining “control” of a human being which you have brought into the world should demand more attention than maintaining control of your finances.

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  9. Good points. I think what bothers me is the lack of penalty and interest. You and I both know we would not escape that, regardless of the circumstances. I can grant that a man may not be aware his accountant played fast and loose with the rules (though I might have immediately fired that accountant and sued him for the costs to me). Faye worked as a tax preparer and was/is an IRS Enrolled Agent. The law is pretty clear.

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  10. Thanks for commenting on my sister blog, Triad Media Watch. This is a great blog as well, you make a lot of good points. E-mail me offline so we can talk further.

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  11. I enjoyed this post much. You brought out some very good points and got your message across with a great deal of tongue in cheek righteousness. Love it!

    ??? "improper utilization of cigars" I recall a bit of improper utilization of volunteer staff but what did Billy boy do that was improper with cigars?

    "tapping shoes under public restroom stalls" and then there's Barney Frank whom we will be inflicted with until the Devil comes and drags him away kicking and screaming.

    "applicant to put up as collateral, all of his or her assets, to be forfeited, and the social service placement of any minors within their custody, if it is later determined that there has been some failing in their conduct." Ahhhh, the old worldly goods and first born God of Abraham test.
    ***************************

    Now to get serious. To answer Douglas on Daschle: he not only didn't pay taxes which as Log. says he probably didn't know anything about because these people don't do their own bookkeeping. What got him was being in his words "like a brother" to a businessman who seem to know just when and to whom to make large donations when legislation was coming up that would apply to his business or interests while Daschle was still in office. Then there was the acceptance of a salary of $83,000 per month and a car and driver from this same man. My latest blog covered this.

    Douglas also suggested as I did that the media MSM (MainStreamMedia) has in the past done this vetting of candidates for office. This was true to some extend but the media also did not report much that is now just about all they report: sex and scandal. Like JFK had broads brought in to him at the White House when Jackie was out of town. FDR had a mistress for years. In fact he was with her at the "little White House" when he died. And in an era much more moralistic than now, but who knew anything about these things because the press didn't report them?

    Another thing about the MSM then and the MSM now: Newspapers and tv stations and radio stations were owned and operated by more private companies. Diversity and competition brought out more stories that were relevant to the candidates qualifications. Now the MSM are giants owned by a few who then control what will and will not be reported. No one doubts and the MSM even admitted that they elected themselves a president in November 2008.

    Last, the political party out of control has found that keeping a constant barrage of nonsense stirred up in Washington has the effect of 1) holding the party in power and especially the President back from moving his agenda forward. For instance: no one was going to impeach Bush because that would have left us with Cheney for Gods sake. And what about the other presidents who lead us in to wars like FDR, and Kennedy and Johnson? President Bush truly believed in the WMD's. Bill Clinton even came out and agreed that Saddam had WMD's. After all Saddam had them to use on his own people and there is proof of that. So the fact that they weren't found is not evidence of war crimes. Just smoke from the other party. AND 2) this nonsense keeps the public watching the smoke screen put up by Congressmen rather than the fire going on behind the scenes and under the tables.

    I really have no solutions to offer except to keep doing what we are doing now with the Internet bloggers and doing it better. Daschle was really taken down by the People's Media (the Internet Bloggers). Bloggers got the word out and the emails and phone calls came flooding into Congress. Tim Geithner got thru before the bloggers got outraged enough to cause the flood unfortunately. Appointments from here on out are going to be looked over more closely by the bloggers because they are just now understanding how powerful they are, or can be.

    ????Another question: Did you all read about the NC legislator who is introducing a bill to make bloggers libel for what they write on the Internet? This tells you how powerful we can be if we just get together. BB

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  12. The saddest comment of all is that we have come to expect and then accept, for the most part, that anyone working/serving in DC is on the take in one form or another. It is just a matter of "timing" as to whether it makes any difference to anyone. Once again the facts become clear: An honest person cannot make it in DC. Seventy years ago I read articles about how the honest person ultimately succumbs to the pressures to serve special interests if he/she is to stay in office. It is just too damn sad! We get our hopes up and begin to believe that maybe this time it will be different. I give Obama credit for trying, but someone is defintely letting him down with bad advice. I say, "A plague on both their houses!"

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  13. You know Douglas, we have often said that we have learned more during the past 10 months from our readers, than we learned in the preceding 50 year plus period. This is another example. Just reading the wikipedia piece on Diogenes has us howling. Thanks our friend.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope

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  14. Psalm 24:3-5 (Amplified Bible)

    3.Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place?

    4.He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully.

    5.He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

    VS 4 Sounds like some right good qualifications for holding any office.

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  15. Folks, we're running a little behind on responding to your comments right now. However, we will get to them shortly. Additionally, we'll be out of the state away from our headquarters for several days, so we would appreciate you folks continuing the discussion without our facilitation. That was always the ultimate goal of this vehicle: To get people with opposing / conflicting views to engage in a civil exchange of ideas. Based on the number of times when we've seen someone give someone else credit for good points or persuasive arguments, we doing a fairly decent job.

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  16. We always look forward to your thoughts Brenda. With respect to the role "traditionally" played by the Main Stream Media (MSM), the issue instantly arose in our minds as to how did they acquire this role? Were they appointed? Did someone inform them that it was their role? Did they sign a contract to that effect? If not, how can we complain about something that they are purportedly no longer doing, when they did not have an obligation or responsibility to do so in the first place?

    Is this part of the "let the free market determine" philosophy? It's a little difficult to complain about an entity not performing its role, or performing it unfairly, or its members being asleep on the job, when no one has specified that they should, or are required to behave in a certain way.

    Admittedly, they do have access to power players that we simpletons do not have. Maybe that quasi-license is the real reason for the public feeling that the press has a responsibility. Did Hearst feel that way in connection with his publications?

    As for Daschle, I am more concerned that he was able to make millions in so short a period of time. All the more motivation for someone to become an elected official, I presume.

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  17. Thanks for weighing in again Dan. Is it implicit in being a politician that favors are granted and trades made? Can one competently or effectively perform their job without doing so? Some of the great politicians, like LBJ, were major wheeler dealers and many, like Huey Long and Mayor Daly, really worked the smoke filled back room. What if we outlawed all political contributions? Is it really a matter of free speech? Can we the people force politicians not to accept money and campaign contributions from special interests, if they are incapable of restraining themselves? What really is the definition of corruption? What if the money does not influence the manner in which politicians vote or dispense governmental services and benefits?

    Perhaps we should make elected positions volunteer positions without compensation of any type. Would that limit it to rich people? At least the poor would not have to pay for a campaign if no money was allowed to be injected into the system. What can WE do as citizens, or do we feel helpless?

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  18. The saddest comment of all is that we have come to expect and then accept, for the most part, that anyone working/serving in DC is on the take in one form or another. It is just a matter of "timing" as to whether it makes any difference to anyone. Once again the facts become clear: An honest person cannot make it in DC. Seventy years ago I read articles about how the honest person ultimately succumbs to the pressures to serve special interests if he/she is to stay in office. It is just too damn sad! We get our hopes up and begin to believe that maybe this time it will be different. I give Obama credit for trying, but someone is defintely letting him down with bad advice. I say, "A plague on both their houses!"

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  19. Thanks for commenting on my sister blog, Triad Media Watch. This is a great blog as well, you make a lot of good points. E-mail me offline so we can talk further.

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  20. Where are those of you without sin? We need you to start preparing to run for elected office, or to contact our elected officials and seek appointment in some department of the government which utilizes your talent set.

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