Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nothing went right, but all is right anyway

Has anyone else questioned the headlines our president is getting in recent days for what everyone but Bush League politicians have been saying for months? “W” is suddenly acknowledging responsibility for what he is obviously responsible for!

So far, he hasn’t been held accountable, but newspapers are headlining his candor in claiming responsibility, anyway. For example, he now admits that intel about Iraq was faulty. He acknowledges that the war has not always gone smoothly. And he gets more and more headlines and, yes, praise for saying the obvious. His poll numbers have even climbed.

When we hail the chief for simply admitting being chiefly responsible, what does that say about our national expectations of the guy?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the title. Richard Cohen of The Washingtion Post Writers Group says we are living in the Responsibility Era. He wants to end that era and start the Accountability one. Liked the Leno response to the Bush "I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq"--"well, I don't think he has to worry about other people trying to take credit for that one."

12/21/2005 6:44 PM  
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12/26/2005 6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't it you who said in a distant post that Bush couldn't fire Rumsfeld because he didn't have the authority? I still laugh at that. It also could explain the present Bush admission, that sounds as if Katherine Hughes wrote it, about being responsible without being accountable. Responsible in name only, maybe.

12/26/2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Tennessee Bard said...

The portion of the responsibility on the intelligence is the fault of the people handling the intelligence on the WMD's. Bush is merely the face, and he knows he has to be the one who takes the fall. Don't forget that fact.

12/26/2005 7:02 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Of course you are right. As Truman said, "The Buck Stops Here!" The same applies to Bush the first, Clinton, Carter, and nearly all the rest. They took ultimate responsibility, though, because they were also accountable and capable of firing those who failed the nation.

They were in charge. None was just the puppet reciting other people's scripts whenever they dangled him in front of the national stage from behind their curtain of secrecy, greed, and personal agendas. (Notice I did not include Reagan. The jury is still out, but he is seeming more and more like a front man for his backers and sring pullers.) So for Bush to accept responsibility is a bit hollow. If he were truly responsible, accountable, in charge, and aware, he would fire more than a few and do what was right for America, not what profits most the super wealthy backers who own him and have their own agendas. He has not vetoed even one bill, accounting for higher debt building than any previous president and not at all in accordance with the stated fiscal philosophy of the GOP. He did threaten to veto one: the one that included a proviso pledging not to lower America to the level of terrorists and tortue prisoners.

As you said, though, Bush is merely the face. If he were also the man, he'd take charge and kick some butt in the intelligence community, among other places. Then he would be responsible and we could cheers. But for what he now claims to be responsible for? It's mostly self deprecating nonsense, as someone pointed out, that sounds as if it were written by Katherine Hughes for presidential PR.

12/28/2005 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Ogden Smapp said...

Frankly, in recent years this would have scared me half to death, but I am becoming resigned to the inevitable. If Americans do not wake up and realize they are falling into this trap and vigorously fight it, then we are doomed. Thankfully, I will not live long enough to feel the full effect of this, but I fear for my grandchildren.

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Free Inquiry
Spring 2003

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed
to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

They Thought They Were Free

By Milton Mayer

"They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945",
University of Chicago Press. Reissued in paperback, April, 1981. [/quote]

1/15/2006 11:24 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

That is quite a thoughtful definition of facist governments, Ogden. Thanks for sharing both the info and the source.

I suppose there are apologists who could point out that ALL governments have at least a few of those characteristics. And especially after the party has been in power too long, eh? But you are right. It is scary to see what is happening and how many citizens are defending the abuses out of "patriotism" or party loyalty. And we used to say about Nazi Germany, "How did it happen? Could it ever happen again?"

Let's hope not. But you said it; it is scary!

1/28/2006 2:02 PM  
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