Archive for the ‘Responsibility’ Category

Virginia’s Sui Generis Gubernatorial Election

Written by Henry L. Chambers, Jr. on September 2nd, 2009

As I have said before on this blog, the Virginia governor’s race will not be a referendum on President Barack Obama.  The tmpphplgutz9[1]latest flap in that race suggests as much.  A few days ago, the Washington Post published a story on Republican candidate Bob McDonnell’s master’s thesis written in 1989.  The thesis is worth a read.  It reads like a Republican playbook from the end of the Reagan era.  McDonnell concedes as much.  Its attack on Democratic policy is full-throated.  Its critique of women outside of the home and homosexuals everywhere is not kind.  The ideas expressed in the thesis are not necessarily kooky, they are just very conservative.  The thesis was not written by a callow 24-year-old.   It was written by a 35-year-old man who would begin elected public service just a few years later.  Virginia Democrats have argued that McDonnell has followed his thesis  through his 14 years in the Virginia legislature followed by his 3 years as attorney general.   They claim that his work reflects rather than repudiates his thesis.  Not surprisingly, McDonnell claims otherwise.

The race will be fought over the next 60 days or so over issues that are peculiar to Virginia.  Virginia politics is not just local, it is special.  Regardless of whether McDonnell wins or his Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds wins, the outcome of the Virginia governor’s race is unlikely to hinge on any general feeling regarding President Obama and his policies.

Of Men and Nations: Obama’s Wisdom in Releasing the Torture Memos

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on April 24th, 2009

A relatively simple moral imperative requires the righteous to criticize their own conduct and when found wanting to admit and atone for the wrongdoing. Indeed, the capacity for moral correction and growth may just be the defining feature of being a person.  It’s certainly a necessary condition for the possibility of ethics. This virtue is rarely, if ever, exemplified by nations. The conventional view is that nations must be strong and confession and atonetmpphplc5uyy1.jpgment threaten national strength. While perhaps true of weak nations, powerful nations strengthen their moral authority by admitting and correcting wrongdoing. Doing so reveals the powerful nation’s willingness to listen and hear the complaints of other nations and more important, the criticism of their own citizens. So why is there such an extreme reaction to President Obama’s releasing the torture memo?  Is the concern over revealing state secrets?  Not likely. The content of the torture memos can be easily discovered by anyone wanting to know their content. (No?) Is it that revealing that the United States would torture–in violation of domestic law and international treaties–weakens our public stature? Well, not exactly; it’s not the revelation that weakens our public stature. Rather, it’s that we would torture in the first place. And that’s the reason why releasing the torture memos and prosecuting those officials who formulated and justified the policy conforms to the moral imperative that’s true of both men and nations. Coming to grips with our own wrongdoing and taking responsibility for altering the mind set and the policies that engendered the wrongdoing is required to regain America’s tarnished spirit. Those who cannot appreciate this elementary moral scheme lay no claim to understanding ethics.

Click here for Paul Krugman’s take on this fundamentally important issue.

W.’s Final Press Conference: What a Relief!

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on January 12th, 2009

With great pathos the man who never should have been president held his final press conference. His strident defiance, obtuseness, defensiveness, and absence of subtlety, and intellectual and emotitmpphpi1k4gz.jpgonal depth shown vividly throughout this exercise. Mr. Bush simply lacks the capacity to appreciate the nuances of public policy. He is paradigmatic of the sort of person who should never be given the job of making important decisions affecting the lives of others, certainly not decisions affecting the lives of vast numbers of people domestically and internationally.  Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley points out that ‘[a]s a . . . historian looking at what’s occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment,’ and Pulitzer Prize historian Joseph Ellis  insists “I think President Bush might very well be the worst president in U.S. history.’ Perhaps some blame resides in the American electorate in not understanding how one-dimensional and incompetent this president really is.In any event, Americans will suffer the effects of the past eight years for decades.

Impeach Bush-Cheney!

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on July 9th, 2007

What will history’s verdict be on United States citizens and their governmental representatives in Congress if we do not at least try to remove Bush-Cheney from office? Two fundamentally important reasons exist for impeaching Bush-Cheney and removing them from office. The first reason emphasizes the importance of getting Messrs. Bush and Cheney, in Keith Olbermann’s words “two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm.” The second reason favors impeachment because only by doing so do we preserve (or reclaim) the moral integrity of the American character. Now, with a majority of Americans in favor of impeaching Mr. Cheney and a virtual tie between those who favor impeaching Mr. Bush and those opposed, it is time for the Democrats to act.

Impeachment is not merely a political means of saving this country from over 500 more days of the worst executive branch in American history; it is a moral imperative if citizens of other nations and more important, future generations of Americans are to take this current generation of Americans seriously. Our integrity–the very moral fabric of present day Americans–is on the line. We must reclaim our character for its own sake and because if we naively demur, attacking Iran is almost certain. Seeking accountability from the President and Vice-President will prevent such an attack from taking place. But moreover, it will show that the United States Constitution provides mechanisms for ridding the country of incompetent, dangerous, and malevolent “leaders.” The Constitution’s impeachment provision will prove to be completely vacuous unless we at least try to impeach Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.

Iraqi officials are already advising their constituents to arm themselves for fear American troops will bring the troops home sooner than anyone thought. With the writing clearly on the wall that the United States will leave Iraq worse off than under a brutal, sociopathic dictator, Saddam Hussein, it is simply heart-breaking to learn of the deaths of more American soldiers for the sake of an egregiously reckless, immoral venture. Let’s honor those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice by beginning to redeploy those still living. Lets take them from harm’s way in the winless context of urban fighting and move them to the borders of the fractured nation and to the oil fields. And let’s do so while holding impeachment hearings to determine the truth about those who orchestrated this debacle.

Are NFL Super-Stars Going to the Dogs

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on May 20th, 2007

One wonders why fabulously talented athletes, earning more money than anyone deserves, cannot exhibit a modicum of good sense and responsibility. Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick for instance, is under investigation for conducting dog fights in his Virginia home. It appears that, though inordinately wealthy, Mr. Vick lacks the character of appreciating that dog fighting is cruel to the animals and a distortion of the kind of responsibility NFL players should berecruiting other NFL players into to the exhilarating realm of dogs ripping each other’s throats out. Apparently, Vick is not alone. CBS sports reports that other NFL players are equally psychopathic when it comes to animal rights and welfare. One notable example is Pittsburgh Steeler’s linebacker Joey Porter whose pit bull and mastiff killed one of his neighbor’s miniature horses. Don’t blame the dogs. That’s what they are bred to do.

required to exhibit. More sinister is the possibility that Vick is These are not isolated instances of dogs attacking small horses or ponies; yet they are difficult to prosecute. Why? Typically, there are no human witnesses willing to terstify. More important, prosecutors are loath to invest their valuable time in prosecuting the death of a pony when their career goals are rarely advanced by such litigation. The irresponsibility of the dogs’ owners, like Porter, are what needs to be addressed. When dogs who are bred and trained to bring down four legged prey are not properly confined, inevitably, they will invade someone’s territory and are then llikely to maule to death a small horse peacefully grazing in a pasture. The dogs’ owners need to pay, not only financially, but by some jail time. In general when these wealthy, but morally impoverished super-athletes, treat animals inhumanely, sympathy should be reserved for the animals. The penalty for these miscreants should be severe.