Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “Watergate”

Lois Lerner and Rose Mary Woods

Rose mary Woods

Rose Mary Woods was a White House secretary who accidentally erased 18 minutes of an audio tape that she was transcribing when President Nixon was asked for such tapes in connection with his impeachment. 

  I wonder whether Rose Mary left the White House to go to work for the IRS.  She was probably asked to back up Lois Lerner’s computer in order to save the emails requested by Congress when, dang it, Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed.  That inept Ms. Woods must have worked on other IRS computers too because I heard that six other computers crashesd at the IRS.  As bad luck would have it, the six IRS employees who used those six computers are also being investigated.  What are the odds of that happening?  I took Probability & Statistics as a mathematics course many years ago and, golly, even I am astonished by the improbability of all those computers crashing, the very ones containing emails that were being sought. 

I am sarcastically guessing that if my computer crashed, IRS technicians could retrieve all information helpful to convict me of tax evasion, were I being investigated.  I have heard that there are IT people who have the capability of retrieving emails from crashed computers.  Of course, in this investigation of the IRS, that is not possible because, as conscientious environmentalists, the IRS destroys crashed computers by some process of recycling that is very green, and very convenient for Lois Lerner, who “took the 5th.”  Those of us who are trained in the law, formally or by watching TV, know that is saying that one cannot answer because answering could incriminate oneself, and the 5th Amendment to the Constitution protects one from self-incrimination. 

Lois Lerner

I once claimed that my dog ate my homework.  It did not work then either.  I still had to produce the homework, or flunk the assignment. 

Lois Lerner might have a dog who crashed her computer, or maybe Rose Mary Woods has a dog and brought it to work.  It could happen.

Dog-ate-590-LI

Mitigating Scandals By Passing The Buck

A few weeks ago I wrote a few pieces about my pre-campaign for political office, probably the U.S. Senate then, but now I aspire for higher office.  My pre-campaign is like pre-approval for a credit card — it is not yet approved and my campaign is not yet announced.  However, I have been learning a lot by observing the current administration’s approach to what lesser politicians would perceive as criticism.  President Nixon could take lessons from President Obama.

President Nixon thought he had to admit or deny accusations about Watergate.  President Obama is way more cool than that.  He actually jumps on the bandwagon of the accusers.  He embraces the opportunity to empathize with his critics.  He is very upset by what has happened in Benghazi, what has been done by the I.R.S., and what has been done by the F.B.I.  He is appalled, just like the rest of us.

President Nixon was concerned that the famous “buck” which President Truman had said stopped in the Oval Office actually did stop there.  President Obama has a very different viewpoint.

He is unapologetic about not protecting the ambassador killed at our embassy in Libya.  He is appalled that it happened and he is appalled that anyone would blame the State Department or the military or him.  He wasn’t at fault because he did not really know what all was going on that fateful night.  It was his night off.

Apparently, the buck has not stopped at all.  It was no one’s fault, not even terrorists.  The people who attacked the embassy might not have been terrorists as we commonly use the word.  They were terrorists in a very complicated sense of the word “terrorist” that is so complicated that the denial of this tragedy being caused by terrorists for too long was, well, due to a misunderstanding.  It is complicated, like I said.

What I have gotten out of it is that there are real Al Qaeda terrorists, whom President Obama assumed we all were suspecting, when in actuality the terrorists who performed the terrorism at Benghazi were merely wannabe terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda without being official card-carrying members.  It is an important distinction to our president but I’m not smart enough to understand the distinction or why it is important.  Initially we were told that it was a mob upset by a movie.  Then it was a terrorist act by non-terrorists.  Now it is terrorists who are responsible, but not Al Qaeda terrorists — they know better than to do any terrorist acts now that President Obama has Al Qaeda on the run.

President Obama is also appalled by the I.R.S. having targeted conservative groups.  Some might say that was done under his watch, making him responsible.   Those who say that are silly Trumanites who still believe the buck stops with the President of the United States.  This president is appalled just like the rest of us who are not the president.  He is just like us.  He read about it in the papers.  No one told him what was going on.  He is very appalled.  He is not to blame, of course.  He don’t know nuthin’ about it.  Ignorance is bliss, they say.

Well, President Truman did not say that ignorance is bliss.  He said, “The buck stops here.”  He should have said, if only he was not so dang forthright, “I only know what I read in the papers and now that I read what my administration has been doing, I am appalled.”  That is smart politics.    I am catching on to the modern style of leadership.  Accountability is out of style.  Empathy — that is the ticket!

Don’t say that you are sorry for what you have done or not done.  Instead, say that you understand how those of us in the general public “feel” because you feel however they feel.

President Obama and I, a pre-candidate, feel the same.  We feel the same as each other and we feel the same as the general public feels.   We have empathy.  It is easier than leadership because it is reflective and reactive.

President Obama is a lawyer.  So is the Attorney General, Eric Holder.  So am I.  The President, Attorney General and I are all appalled that the F.B.I. violated the privacy of Associated Press reporters.  We all agree that should not have been done.  We did not know and, now that we do know, the three of us are feeling sad even though we are not at fault.   I am under the impression that the F.B.I. is a rogue organization that none of the three of us control.

When I am elected, I too will make it a point to not know about such things.  I would make it my job to not know.  Whoever is in charge of the Justice Department should do something, if we only knew who is in charge.  I used to think the President and the Attorney General were in charge of the Justice Department, including the F.B.I., but it was long ago that I took American Government in high school, Political Science in college, and Constitutional Law in law school.  I was probably absent the day the teachers and professors covered the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

I am not (yet) in the chain of command, but it is comforting to know that if I become Attorney General or President, I will not be to blame for anything as long as I am suitably appalled by what my subordinates did, or failed to do, which I won’t know about until I read it in the papers.  And, to go beyond my mentor, if elected, I pledge to never read newspapers or listen to the news.

I am also practicing my best sincere look with appropriate body language.  In the photo below I am demonstrating my transparency by gesturing with an open hand, indicating my, you know, openness and, I guess, honesty.  Who wouldn’t vote for an honest-looking cowboy who empathizes with how every American feels?

Image

Penn State Punishment

I know what I think about former Coach Sandusky.  He belongs in jail for sexually abusing young boys.

I understand the penalties imposed on Penn State University’s football program by the NCAA.  However, it troubles me that other young men, the players, are victims of Sandusky in another sense; i.e., his actions resulted in damaging their athletic careers at Penn State.

No one has alleged that any players, past or present, had any knowledge of what Sandusky was doing.  I don’t think he has coached there since 1998.  The punishment is imposed upon the university’s football program because of evidence that Coach Paterno and school administrators who had reason to report Sandusky’s inappropriate showering habits decided to look the other way.  By letting old Jerry continue for years, they allowed him to victimize many more young boys for years. 

Football gave Jerry Sandusky access to his victims.  Other than his connection to the Penn State football program, the crimes were not football related.  Other programs have been punished for recruiting violations or breaking rules about benefits for players.  Recently, Ohio State and Coach Tressel got in big trouble for players getting tatoos in exchange for used equipment.  Ohio State did not endorse that, yet because Coach Tressel apparently had reason to know about it and did not blow the whistle, he lost his job.

Coach Tressel and Coach Paterno did not lose their jobs for anything they did as coaches, but rather for what they did not do.  President Nixon did not lose his job for breaking into Watergate.  He didn’t break in or approve of it.  He lost it because of his knowledge after the fact and his involvement in a coverup.  We can go further back.  In the Old Testament, King David’s attempt to cover up his adultery resulted in harm to many as well as himself.

The Penn State football players were not part of a coverup.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to punish the school without affecting the players, other students, and even the fans.  The choice to avoid embarrassing good old Jerry turned out to not protect Jerry and damaged countless others.  It is a sad, sad story.

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