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March 10, 2005
Seems To Me

Seems to me that if the wingnuts in the Bush Administration really thought we were in danger from terrorists, we wouldn't see articles like this or columns like this so often. If half the effort had been put into sensible security measures on USofA soil that was put into invading a non-involved country, we'd be half again as safe from "terrorist acts" as we are today. Instead of, arguably, inflaming a new generation of potential suicide bombers.

Seems to me that if we really cared about "freedom" around the world, we'd be making a bigger noise about slavery.

Seems to me that if we were really worried about the proliferation of WMD, we'd have been making mean-eyes at them that has them during the time we were planning our oh-so-grand invasion of tiny Iraq.

Seems to me that if we're really worried about "corporate ethics" in the new millennium, we should get over this obsession with sex (this was a consensual affair between two adults) and focus on the economic ethics of corporations.

Seems to me that if someone makes a 2:00 appointment with me, it's rude to keep me sitting here for half an hour, waiting for them to arrive.

Seems to me that Congress has lost touch with the real folks. Like that bankruptcy "reform" bill we need like a hole in the head.

A few lawmakers reported some debt, but darned few of them.

"Fifty-three senators and 216 members of the House reported having no financial liabilities."

Also? They seem to know tricks the rest of us don't know.

Ackerman, for example, said that he routinely transferred a high balance from one account to another, which would be reported in the same way if he had carried a high balance on all the cards at the same time.

"If you do it carefully, you wind up paying nothing in interest," he argued. "If someone is going to give you free money, I want to be in that line." Asked if he planned to pay off the balance for good, he said, "If they keep offering zero percent interest for three months, I'll do it forever. Do you wanna loan me a couple of bucks at no interest?"

I'm thinking...that's the credit card version of kiting checks, isn't it? And kiting checks is illegal, most places.

It gets even more fun as I keep reading.

Freshman Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who tied for fourth on the list, was previously a district court judge in the Houston area best known for creative sentencing and a hard-line view on law enforcement.

Asked about four charge accounts totaling more than $40,000, he said in a statement, "Just like millions of Americans, I understand the burden of debts - and the moral obligation to honor them. I believe it is important that we reform our bankruptcy laws."

Poe was also among several members who had received campaign contributions from the same bank or credit card company with which they held an account.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong. I'm just saying it looks bad. (Or, at the very least, "politics as usual" which is, in fact, bad. Political contributions turned directly into political influence which aids corporations at the expense of the individual.

(Bush is still wrong.)

And now, it seems to me I should be getting back to work.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:18 PM


Ref: Homeland Security (Maureen Dowd would write an article critical of the administration - well I'm shocked!). Here's a thought experiment:

Consider the exercise "Secure your home". You might take measures such as add locks, install alarm system, buy a gun (or more guns for some of us), etc.

Now, change it to Secure your home..and you have to add young children, pets, etc. When you look internally, then putting locks on doors with items you use frequently but could be dangerous in the wrong hands, putting up gates that become irritating to open and close when you're trying to get up the stairs with items, finding ways to limit access to stuff you use daily, and other measures that maybe effective, but are now inconvenient to how you operate, becomes much more of a problem.

And now add that your house isn't a house..it's a big rooming complex and you don't make all the rules or control all the resources..and the tenants complain if your measures become too much of a pain to their daily lives, especially when none of the dangers seem to affect them personally..yet.

So, it is with homeland security. We don't locate power plants, or major buildings, or airports with security foremost in mind. We design highways and railroads to increase efficiency of transportation, not with danger to major population centers in mind. Port and airport operations need to maximize cargo and passenger throughput. Now, try to layer security measures on top of that and make it priority...and not worry about the cost to goods or the inconvenience to people! Surprisingly (or maybe not), the more intangible things like civil liberties are easier to affect in the name of security.

Oh, and add a bifuricated layering of responsibilities, resource allocation, and priority of efforts..with a touch of stovepiped bureaucracies with different cultural attitudes about sharing and in many cases technology challenges with interoperable command, control, and communication systems and software that make information sharing, situational awareness, contingency planning, and a basic understanding of what each other brings to the table difficult at best.

We're a nation that will never do what it takes to be completely secure, just like many households - and probably for good reasons. In the end, we hope we taken prudent risks and that we've done enough.

The issue with Boeing was the multitude of problems at that company (illegal exchange of favors for influence between a top USAF executive and a Boeing executive; improper conduct with regards to rocket contracts) that had put it in the dog house at least with the US Congress (and specifically John McCain who has in effect put it and the USAF top brass on "double secret probation" to use an Animal House term). Stonecipher came in specifically preaching integrity and ethics - and if you can't trust a guy to remain true to his vows to his spouse, how can you trust him to remain true to his pledge about honest business practices? - not to mention personal judgment at a time when your corporation is under intense scrutiny about ethics and corporate officer behavior...

Bankruptcy bill shows the power of corporate influence. Seems to me if you want to make a point about people honoring their commitments, you have to start with the wealthier folks who use generous homestead and other laws to run up large liabilities and then shield themselves in large homes or through trusts.

As for the Congressman, it's not the same as check kiting and that technique was popular for a while. Of course, loyalty programs (credit card companies generally don't offer any points/miles, etc for transfers) and now transfer fees (usually 3%) have tended to make the practice less practical.

Kuttner is simply too bitter to take seriously. I'm sure in the archives in the Kremlin is the famous "oh no we were doomed once we signed the Helsinki process" memo. Of course, he forgot to mention the secret Bush strategy - once elections really get going in these places, we'll send Bob Shrum to work for those candidates we don't like...

Posted by: Col Steve at March 14, 2005 09:55 PM