We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From Bruce Kesler. I no longer will term him "guest poster" because he seems to be turning into a regular.
Above the law? Thank you Mr. Daschle.
We should all be thanking Tom Daschle for his behavior in not paying all his taxes and evading lobbying laws. The even larger issues are highlighted for public discussion that some of our rulers do not follow the same laws expected of the rest of us, and that they exploit the loopholes in the ever expanding laws.
At issue are to what standards our rulers are to be held and whether laws are enough the answer. Laws help keep honest people honest, by providing guidance, but personal integrity and shame are essential as well. Strict enforcement is also critical, especially for those who anyway breach the law and public trust.
First, we must admit that none of us are saints, nor are any solons capable of foreseeing all eventualities. Imperfect men can only make imperfect laws, and imperfect men may err in following them. Despite partisan stances toward imperfections of our adversaries, most of us do observe reasonable tolerance toward imperfect behavior.
That acknowledged, tolerance is exceeded when imperfect behavior is clearly beyond the law, blatant, or frequent. It is a matter of our basic governance in a democracy that our rulers be held to, at least, the same standards as other citizens.
This is not a matter of policy differences, unless one wants to argue that our rulers are or should be above the law for whatever reasons of need or effectiveness.
Here, some minds might wander into consideration of some of the measures taken by the Bush administration, and some by the Clinton administration, in their efforts against terrorism. What makes them qualitatively different is that they literally involve national security, almost all were within or not outside the law as it existed, that they were not for personal enrichment, and that reasonable, qualified experts differ on them. As evidenced by the Obama administration¿s initial adoption or non-rejection - yet - of most of these measures, despite Obama's campaign rhetoric, these are policy differences.
Regarding Tom Daschle, we had two clear choices, allowing him to skate or holding him accountable. Tom Daschle had the third choice, having the shame and sense to withdraw, which he now has. If he had been confirmed, our Senators would undermine public confidence in and compliance with the laws and respect for themselves. If Daschle were rejected, our legislators' job would not be complete. They owe us more. Daschle's withdrawal still leaves their job incomplete.
for all to be subject to regular comprehensive tax audits is worthwhile. The Congressional ethics committees need to be more independent and active. That requires the addition of independent special investigators, as with the executive¿s agencies. Their work should be fast and their reports published immediately, avoiding burying by legislators. Laws passed by the Congress should apply to Congress itself, with any exceptions being at least justified by supermajorities. Lastly, our major media must take more seriously its self-professed role as nonpartisan guardians of truth-to-power. The extent to which it has not is far beyond evident.
These will go a long way toward ending attitudes of our rulers or perceptions of them being above the law. They may well, also, further more careful consideration of the laws passed, as their effects are more applied to themselves.
We deserve no less. Thank you Mr. Daschle for your contribution to our government's integrity. Now, go away in rightful shame.
I take exception to Mr. Kesler's repeated use of "rulers" in reference to our elected representatives and appointed bureaucrats. They are most decidedly not rulers unless that is what citizens choose to allow them to be and Mr. Kesler appears to have decided not only to allow it but to approve of it, too.
Sorry , Mr. Kesler ... I have to take issue with your solution as outlined above. In any human-to-human negotiation, for it to be successful, each side must feel that he comes away with something, some advantage to motivate him to agree with the other side on a change of behavior.
Please outline for me the negotiation advantage the tax cheats and other law breakers would receive in the above negotiation. I'm afraid can't see any real advantage to them. Yes, they might manage to avoid prosecution for fraud, etc., but they only get prosecuted if people, the IRS for instance, find out about their law breaking. Daschle was apparently going along just fine with his tax evasion and God knows what other criminality until the Obama administration turned the spotlight on him.
Seems to me that the law abiding side of this negotiation would have to offer Daschle something like immunity in order to get him to agree to a change in behavior, and to witness against other fraudsters. And you would probably have to offer immunity from prosecution to all the other law breakers and thugs in Congress to get them to cooperate and squeal on their fellow thugs.
Which would leave just about back where you were before.