Honor and Integrity
by W. David Jenkins III
year ago, in an office of the White House, America's first
court appointed president held a little meeting. He had run
on a catch phrase about restoring integrity and honesty to
the White House. One of the remarks he made to his flock was
there would be no tolerance of even a hint of scandal or impropriety
during his watch. Of course, anybody who had paid attention
to or researched this guy's history as governor of Texas or
a rich, spoiled party animal could recognize the irony of
his remark. But he said it.
"No tolerance for even a hint of scandal."
So what I want to know is - what happened to that rule?
Scandal is described in the dictionary as "an incident that
brings about disgrace or offends the moral sensibilities of
society." Impropriety is described as "The quality or condition
of being improper. An improper act. An improper or unacceptable
usage in speech or writing." Let's try to keep this all in
mind as we move on.
We all know that politicians have manipulated the English
language for as long as we can remember. Some of our politicians
have even had the ability to command the language. They were
blessed with a talent to draw the masses in, to make a large
crowd feel like they were sitting in the speaker's den in
front of the fireplace.
FDR had this talent, as did JFK. If Lincoln's delivery was
as eloquent as his words then he must be considered one of
the masters. Carter and Ford seemed to come into their nitch
after they left office. Their repeated co-appearances are
a comfort to the possibility that liberals and conservatives
may find common ground. As much as it pains me to say so,
Reagan must also be entered into this club. Although liberals
abhorred his policies and insensitivity, he was able to draw
in the masses, which supported him without them knowing he
was actually screwing them at the same time.
However, one of the ultimate masters would have to be Clinton.
Whether he was discussing the philosophies dear to his heart
or "boxers or briefs," most Americans could sense we were
getting the real thing.
The leaders of the international community felt the same
thing. This endearing quality is also why that day in August,
when he told us he had actually been naughty with an intern,
it hurt us so much. But he convinced most of us to stick by
him and his popularity upon leaving office that dark and rainy
day proved he had succeeded.
Now look what we're stuck with.
Oh, I guarantee Little Bush and his babysitters try awful
hard, but he and his henchmen are more appropriate for selling
snake oil than they are anything else. And, let's face it,
snake oil is all we've been getting the last year. Bush Jr.
is nothing more than a right wing salesman who has no command
of the language. He simply manipulates it when he's not mangling
it. Or when he's just plain lying.
For instance this whole economic package Bush is trying to
push through. The package has been called an economic stimulus
package for months now but I hear the White House wants to
rename it an economic security package. This is probably due
to the fact that most Americans would rather have their social
security when they retire rather than give it all away to
big corporations like Enron and GE. Must be the Republicans
are starting to realize that people are starting to pay attention
again to right wing feed the rich shenanigans. The GOP must
figure if they use the word "security" in the title, the mindless
flag-wavers out there will figure it's for their own good
and stop asking questions.
Some of the gutsier Democrats would like to delay some of
the tax cuts proposed in last year's 1.35 billion-dollar disaster.
I hear it has something to do with not allowing Bush Jr. to
completely tank the economy to benefit his friends. So now
Bush and the gang are using their old scare tactics again
by saying the Democrats want to raise their taxes. Nothing
could be closer to a lie. In fact, a letter writer to the
NY Times summed it up beautifully. She wrote, " Say your boss
tells you one day that he's going to cut your salary. Then
he changes his mind and decides not to. Using Bush's philosophy,
you just got a raise." To put it simply, folks, the Democrats
are not out to raise our taxes. Bush and his babysitters are
Here's another thing that has me, and I'm sure others, wondering.
If the smallest hint of scandal isn't to be tolerated in the
Bush II White House, then why doesn't Jr. insist that Cheney
release the documents regarding the energy policy meetings
that Waxman and the GAO have been asking for? Well, who knows?
Maybe he did. Maybe that's how he got that suspicious "rug
burn" on the side of his face. Ari states that the White House
will not release the information because there are matters
of "principle" involved. Besides, the GAO has no right to
make such requests, says Ari. Um, Ari, here's a little news
flash. Yes they do and they're thinking about taking you guys
to court to get the answers we're entitled to.
And while we're at it, we all know Bush Jr. lied about how
long he's known Ken Lay, formerly of Enron infamy. We also
know he lied about Lay being an Ann Richards supporter. But
the Mother Jones web site has a nifty little article by Louis
Dubose and Carmen Coiro concerning a little situation in Argentina
in 1988. Argentine minister of public works, Rodolfo Terragno
was considering offers between two companies, Ente Nazionale
Idrocarburi of Italy and Pérez Companc, an Argentine company
working in partnership with Dow Chemical. These companies
were in line to build a $300 million dollar pipeline in Argentina.
Terrangno was in the process of making his decision when,
low and behold, some upstart company out of Texas named Enron
wanted in on the deal. And just who do you suppose Enron sent
to represent their interests? That's right, George "W."
And while we're on matters of messing with the rule against
"honesty and integrity," let's put a few recent headlines
in the cross hairs, so to speak.
About three weeks ago, Bush announced support for further
research concerning alternative fuel cells for automobiles.
Now, if this announcement had come under a Gore or a Clinton,
then just maybe the news would be welcomed as a step forward
for energy independence and ecological concerns. But this
is George W. When one looks at the fine print, one also learns
that Bush would also like to "ease up" on the proposed requirements
for auto manufacturers to develop cleaner and more fuel efficient
gas engines. We all know that Georgie's first priority is
big business. He could care less if a hydrogen fuel cell is
developed. He thinks he found another way to benefit his buddies
while looking concerned about the environment. In other words,
he's lying again.
I mentioned earlier that the international community trusted
Clinton more than many of the people who spent eight years
trying to get revenge for him ending the Reagan/Bush Error.
America is constantly under scrutiny by the world with regards
to our actions. Especially now in these different times. Which
brings me to another word game by the Bush crew. Enter Donald
It would seem that even though we are at "war" with terrorism,
the people we take into custody are not prisoners of war.
They are, as Rummy calls them, "illegal combatants." We have
at this writing a sizable number of these "dangerous dozens"
in a holding facility in Guantanamo Bay. Now there's this
little problem, namely the Geneva Convention and I'm pretty
sure Rummy wished its rules didn't apply to him. See, Commissar
Donny wants information anyway he can get it.
He's said as much. Anytime a press person reminds him that
this is still America and begins questioning if these prisoners'
rights are being observed, he goes into his folksy tirade
about how horrible these people are and why should we be so
concerned about their rights? It strikes me that as long as
we are told that these terrible people are not prisoners of
war but, instead, illegal combatants that the Bushies figure
that these prisoners are not protected under the Geneva Convention.
Oh well, gee, guess what? Wrong again.
A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention,
are persons belonging to one of the following categories,
who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict
as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming
part of such armed forces.
2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer
corps, including those of organized resistance movements,
belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside
their own territory, even if this territory is occupied
3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance
to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining
Which means that;
Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is
bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date
of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number,
or failing this, equivalent information. If he willfully infringes
this rule, he may render himself liable to a restriction of
the privileges accorded to his rank or status.
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion
may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information
of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer
may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant
or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.
What it boils down to is that these people are prisoners
of war which means, name, rank and serial number. We still
have the support of most of the international community even
if it's somewhat more reserved since the days immediately
after 9/11. But that's mostly because of the way the world
has seen this administration chipping away at the very basic
rights bestowed upon us by the founding fathers, all in the
name of "security." Echoes from 1968 Chicago have returned,
"The whole world is watching!" And we better be very careful.
Between Ashcroft's assault on domestic rights and now Rumsfeld's
playing with the rules of war, America is beginning to look
like Germany in the late 1930's and our allies are just a
With the obvious tragedy that was September, it would seem
that the American people are being lied to and horribly manipulated.
First, we have Sheriff George verbal distortions on the domestic
front. Then we have the Secretary of Defense playing on mass
anger while making our world a more dangerous place. Now,
because of an obviously biased media, we as true patriots
need to assume the responsibility of educating the masses.
The Bush theme of restoring honesty and integrity to the
White House was obviously a lie. Bush's remarks that even
a hint of scandal or impropriety "would not be tolerated"
was a lie. The Media is ignoring what should be the obvious.
We feel frustrated because they're not talking to us and it
also feels like nobody is listening to us. What has happened
to America at the hands of this faux administration is scandalous
and improper and the results are eroding the very foundations
this proud nation was founded on.
But there is one very important thing we can do.
Educate just one. Not somebody who swears by Fox and Rush.
They're casualties of right wing propaganda and other forms
of trash. But someone who's starting to ask questions. Someone
who thought his or her vote for Bush was the right thing to
do. Somebody on the fence. I find there's quite a large number
of them. Educate just one. Then we win. Then America wins.
Then we might just have a chance.