Saturday, November 05, 2005

Window Dressing

Whether it is Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, or Jesus, ancient ethical thought stressed the importance of inward transformation in order to achieve goodness (and hence happiness.) It's not enough to follow rule X, or "know" that Y is wrong - you have to have the right kind of internal ordering within your soul/desires that will enable you to be just or good over time and consistently. That is, being good is a matter of character.

So it's kind of funny, in a way, that Bush is ordering his staff to go to ethics seminars next week:

"President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe...

A senior aide said Bush decided to mandate the ethics course during private meetings last weekend with Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and counsel Harriet Miers. Miers's office will conduct the ethics briefings."

Bad tree bad fruit/good tree good fruit parables aside, are you effin kidding me? The highest aide to the Vice President has been indicted, the former chief procurement official has been indicted, Rove has been implicated in the leak of a CIA operative's identity, and may be indicted, and this just in - Ken Tomlinson, the Goebbels appointed to Stalinize federal funded broadcasting, is under investigation for "accusations of misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees, officials involved in that examination said on Friday."

Factor in the Republicans being indicted and investigated around the country who have strong links to Rove, and you begin to think - gee, isn't it a bit late to have an ethics seminar?

As I've posted before, it's a bit strange, very ironic, and just a little puzzling that the latest fixation has been on the blow of the Plame investigation to Bush's perceived honesty - again, I'm not sure how that was an asset of his, what he did, apart from say he's honest and decent, to show that he actually is honest and decent. A lot of this comes from the lip service he pays to religion - an interesting revelation came out in Senate hearings this week on Scanlon and Abramoff - a memo that shows Republican electoral srategy pretty clearly was read into the record:

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," he wrote. "..bring out the wackos to vote against [it] and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

Now, this pretty much confirms the beliefs of those of the Tom Frank school of Republican manipulation of religious beliefs - strange, of course, it hasn't been picked up much by non-blog media.

I have to wonder about the faith of a man who, we can assume without much of a jump, has an inkling of this strategy - it would be strange if he didn't, given his chumminess with Delay and his reliance on Rove.

And I have to wonder if he's quite grasped the import of the good tree/bad tree parable.
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