Where’s the Accountability Beef?

When it comes to accountability, whether in the public or private sector, we have a lot to learn from other countries.  I often hear the accountability talk but I sure haven’t seen much walk even though there’s a lot of walking needed these days.

Let’s start off with government.  Iceland’s government was dissolved within the last week because of the financial mess there.  The Commerce Minister fired the top financial official before resigning and accepting partial responsibility for the country’s financial meltdown.  A protest rally drawing over 5,000 persons helped convince the government to step down.  That’s accountability!

Now think about how our government has failed to exhibit any similar level of accountability.  Does anyone believe that had there not been an election last November any high ranking government official would have resigned or been fired over our financial meltdown?  In America, you only get one chance, every four years, for regime change no matter how much FUBAR the government brings on.

With the possible exception of Alan Greenspan’s mea culpa before Congress, who in government accepted responsibility by stepping down?  The last time I recall any high ranking government official possibly embracing accountability for his actions was when LBJ announced he would not run for re-election after losing to McCarthy in New Hampshire.  And that may have just been wounded personal ego, not accepting accountability for the Viet Nam debacle.

When European politicians bring about a FUBAR, they resign.  When American politicians bring about a FUBAR, they bring in the spin meisters and tell us how they opposed it before they voted for it!

And then there’s accountability in the private sector.  Why don’t we emulate China in that regard?

Perhaps you read how the Chinese government has responded to the tainted milk scam?  Two folks sentenced to death; another two given life sentences; and others sentenced to anywhere from 5 to 15 years.  That’s accountability!

In this country, we have the tainted peanut butter mess.  A number of folks died and hundreds have been sickened.  What do you think will happen to those responsible?  Another government slap on the wrist and maybe a fine?

How much more tainted peanut butter do you think we’d see if some of those folks went to jail for a few years and it became known that next time any tainted peanut butter showed up a few folks will be executed, others would get life and still others would get up to 15 years?

And then there’s our own financial meltdown.  Some Wall Street execs had their bonuses moved up just before they received their government bailout. That’s accountability American-style!

Do you think those Wall Street financial alchemists might have some incentive to do the right thing if they knew that the “bonus” for putting their short term profits ahead of financial prudence might be an express check out from this world?  I think so!

But that won’t happen.  Because this is America.  And in America, the common folk get to grab their ankles while the usual suspects take their bonus millions and retire to Costa Rica, leaving tens of thousands (almost 100,000 in the last week) to line up for an unemployment check.  Don’t you love the American way?


25 responses to “Where’s the Accountability Beef?

  1. I don’t agree with executions but the one thing a rich person fears the most is becoming poor. So I’d implement a plan to strip the guilty of their assets and to spend a lengthy time in a correctional facility.

  2. I’m with ee…execution is a bit too primitive. Any solution China comes up with is suspect in my book. Where were their FDA equivalents before it happened? It isn’t just milk. It’s toys, and dog food, and whatever. We know why our FDA didn’t do a better job…no money, and the Republicans couldn’t make anybody rich from putting more money into it. But there is a criminal investigation going on of the Georgia plant and I expect there will be some punishment.
    Meanwhile, in today’s NY Times Frank Rich said that the only things Americans are still spending money on are Big Macs, Campbell’s soup, Hershey’s chocolate, and (my favorite) Spam, which he calls the 4 food groups of the Apcolypse.

  3. *Which I misspelled, but you get the picture

  4. I guess you can take the boy out of the 3rd World but not the 3rd World out of the boy’s thinking.

    With the threat of violence ever present, and often actual, Manila was in a way a more genteel place than the U.S. I miss that aspect.

    Since it was known (by the locals at least) that if you got out of line, then you may end up beaten or dead there was an incentive to be polite. Here, too many folks think they can shoot 😉 their mouth off with no repercussions.

    So here there’s lots of verbal and non-verbal (gestures) confrontation that usually goes nowhere. In Manila, there were far fewer such confrontations because they usually escalated into something ending up in blood on the floor. This is the nuclear “mutual annihilation” concept at the micro level…. It worked.

    There, I carried a “balisong”, a/k/a “butterfly” knife. The blade fits neatly into two hollow portions of the handle, which is held together at one end by a clasp and there’s a hinge at the other end.

    You released the clasp and allowed one part of the handle to drop by gravity and then did a “circle” whip of it so you could hold both portions of the handle and allow the blade’s business end to face outwards with the tip pointed at the ground.

    But since many locals had pistols… it’s main use was how cool I could open and whip the blade into fighting position. Instead of revving car engines, we did balisong openings! Also good for cutting fruit, etc. 😉

    I still have a balisong for sentimental value but now I prefer a surprisingly lightweight 10-inch long, 1/8 inch thick hollow steel pipe which I keep in in the glove compartment. I don’t start any trouble but I’m ready to defend myself. The Florida Legislature has authorized me to stand my ground without fear of prosecution and I will unless he has a gun.

    As for the 4 food groups of the Apocalypse, I only sign on to chocolate. Preferably dark and foreign. Lil Caesar’s $5 large pizzas are my choice over a burger.

    Tonite, with the freeze approaching, dinner for the week (I’m a lazy cook) is Linguine del Mar, with my homemade sauce of canned tomatoes with crab and shrimp as the main attraction. Homemade garlic bread too, and shredded six-blend Italian cheese instead of the powdered stuff in a can. About $12-15 for a week’s worth of dinner is cheap….

  5. Ah, Anarchist, you have single-handedly made my case against carrying weapons. Your steel pipe is useful only if you can get to it. If somebody attacks you outside your vehicle and your doors are locked, what then? You won’t be able to get to your “weapon”. If you get lucky and can, chances are good they will take it away from you and kill you with it–because you just raised the stakes. I understand the psychology of having a weapon. It may make you feel like you’re more in control, but in real life, that’s not the way it works.
    Low-tech kicking and screaming, and being cautious in the first place, is my defense of choice.

  6. Nixon?

    The system of justice that we have allows even anarchists to speak freely (and to live and work freely I might add). It allows good and evil to coexist within a framework of the most just laws in world history. China does not! And blood on the floor is not much of an endorsement for Manila. We had vigilantism in the old west too but now its lawyers and courts.

    And if we have to have a totally failed economy like Iceland to have a regime change then I chose our imperfect system that still manages to do some pretty darn inspiring stuff.

    “Off with their heads” is for the Queen of Hearts! Monarchy not Anarchy!

  7. I am telling you we should just nuke everything and start over.

    And we should start with the middle east and work out.

    Create a few Fall-Out shelters – underground living habitats with food and water and the best minds located in the middle of lime rock beds out west and play God.

    After all the corporations have ruined this planet with greed.

    The corporations run everything around the world.

    We are just mindless robots in the great cog of mankind. Make that Corporate-kind.

    If we nuke everything maybe a new species will emerge that is more friendly to each other and less greedy.

    It is our own fault that we let them do this to use.

    Long live the new world order.

    Of course I plan on being ones of those chosen to sit it out underground.


  8. Corporations = people not monoliths

  9. Libertine…prepare to go underground immediately. We will let you know when it’s safe to come out.
    Pt…all people in corporations are not created equally.

  10. Well Fakename, this is an area we will disagree….

    After Cheryl Dunlap’s murder, a lot of women got a gun. Maybe it will be taken away, but with no weapon your chance = exactly zero. I’d rather die fighting than begging. I’ve never had to use it, or the big knives Susie and I each have at the side of the bed, but it’s all about peace of mind.

    We don’t know what might have happened if Cheryl had pulled out that pistol she was selling, if it was loaded. We do know what happened with any kicking and screaming she may have done….

  11. Nixon? How’d he come into the discussion?

  12. Libertine….

    I suggest, if you haven’t already, go to last week’s post and find the link to “nuclear survival plan” from Dr. Straggelove!

    Who vill choose the females fot the underground shelters….? lol!

  13. > Corporations = people not monoliths

    That’s why I said we execute the *people* responsible.

    I won’t be at all surprised that if instead of committing suicide over their losses, as has happened in Bernie Maddoff scheme, someone decides to put a bullet into one of the Wall Street folks.

    Too bad I won’t be on the jury…I’d never convict of anything but temporary insanity.
    Of course, if he plans it out well, by liquidating all assets, sending the money out of country and gets a passport to flee the country, he may never stand trial.

  14. “In America, you only get one chance, every four years, for regime change no matter how much FUBAR the government brings on.”

    Not true………Nixon resigned! And we empeached 2 others as well. Your facts are wrong. You should look at the power of the fourth estate in the Nixon saga if you don’t know it.

    Additionally there have been several others in lesser positions that have exited. ie Agnew!

    Look back to see ahead better!

  15. ptfan1, what you are prescribing is sankofa, an ancient african tradition and philosophy. we might really be blood brothers….

  16. I imagine all of you are to young to remember the Cuban missile crisis. I wasn’t and was a young mother living in Gadsden County. Many were building “bomb” shelters and we all laughed! Why, we didn’t want to survive if these were the people we would be living with. And, I’m very serious. LOL – it’s still funny.

  17. “we might really be blood brothers….”

    It would be an honor part of the time, except when you want to rant. Perhaps it is you that needs to become a moderate.

  18. I think that I trend twoards slightly left of center. I mean it’s like I hate abortion but who am I to tell a woman what to do with her body? I like trees but I know that I need a house to live in. I could go on but then you’d consider that a rant!

  19. MzCynic,

    I wasn’t in the U.S. at the time and I was only 11.

    I don’t know why I’m having to “approve” your comments since I’ve approved you before… unless you’re using a different e-mail.

  20. PTFan1…Nixon resigned because he saw he was going to be impeached. So he gets no credit for that.

    And even if someone is impeached, that doesn’t count because the action was not self-initiated.
    I do not believe the Iceland Minister was *forced* to resign. Also, he fired a person he held responsible.

    Who was fired or resigned in our government to accept responsibility for the financial meltdown.? Even if there is no “proof” they were responsible, it is typical in many European and Asian governments that folks step down for symbolic reasons. That rarely happens in our federal government unless their position is completely untenable. (Isn’t Sen Craig still in office?)

    We hanged Tojo for “war crimes” when there was no proof he ordered or even knew about many things, only that as head of government he was “responsible” and “should have known.” Why not apply that same “justice” we meted out to him and others? Or was that a travesty of justice? A show trial akin to the Stalin show trials?

    I believe the so-called “war crimes” trials were nothing more than victor’s justice. If the Axis had won, Curtis LeMay and others would have hanged as “war criminals” for the fire bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, etc. If we could count civilians killed by the Allies and Axis, I’m not sure the count would not be that disparate.

    Progressive change comes from breaking with the past. Your view of the past is why you are a conservative and my view of it is why I am a revolutionary. What history teaches me is that almost every change for the better has been resisted by conservatives.

    Day before yesterday, conservatives said slavery was justified by the Bible and history; yesterday, they said segregation was OK; today they say gays should not be able to marry but, sensing they are on the losing side of history, seem amenable to “civil union” but marriage is nothing more than a civil union. ” Church” marriage without civil sanction is not recognized. But civil union outside of church is.
    (Obviously, I was not married in a church or by any church official.)

    So the “civil union” vs. “marriage” discussion is just obfuscation.

    This is why I do not get upset about things the way so many liberals do. History has always favored inclusion over exclusion. It is inevitable; resistance is futile. One day, folks will laugh at the absurdity of “gay debate” as we now laugh at the debate over slavery or segregation and think: how could any sensible person have thought that?

  21. Nick,

    I do not even like to talk in terms of “left” or “right” or “center.” To me the central philosophical political question is: do you stand for individual freedom or the state? Pick one only.

    I stand for individual freedom and to heck with the state. Those who say we need to, and can, “balance” the state with the individual are trying to walk that same line this country did with slavery and which led to civil war.

    Some things you cannot compromise on, cannot “balance.” Individual freedom is one of those.

    Lincoln defeated Douglas in 1860 because Lincoln opposed slavery while Douglas was trying to find a way to compromise. The North did not want compromise. There had been too many compromises.

    I think that was a good thing. It led to civil war, which ended slavery. Would slavery have” died out” without war? Perhaps; but even then, how many millions would have suffered for how many more years?

    Sometimes, violence is required for justice. Segregation ended only at the barrel of the National Guard. We fought a war of independence. So I have no pro forma objection to violence if it preserves my immediate freedom.

    I will always choose the individual over the state because people are real and government is artificial. This is a *value* and not subject to “proof” any more than God is.

    And because of these differing values, there will *never* be agreement on so many things. Yet, government will try to impose a value on all, whether that value is gay marriage or no gay marriage.; slavery or no slavery. And those who oppose the imposed value will resist.

    So you see why I have no optimism in government. It is an evil which has a place in history as did so many other evils. One day, government will be history.

    There has not always been formal government, so the idea that it will always be with us is nonsensical. Just as the dinosaurs existed, due to certain conditions, but then disappeared, again due to certain conditions, so too will government disappear when the conditions are appropriate, which I believe will be tied to technological advances in the very distant future.

    Don’t ask how; I cannot answer that any more than anyone could answer in 1869 how a man would land on the moon in 1969. But it happened.

    Just because I do not have the answer does not mean it is not possible. Ptfan1 says to look to the past to see the future. And for one time only* I will:

    History has been the continuing liberation of the individual from restrictions and limitations; the expansion of power to the individual. The final liberation is liberation from government; the final expansion is the expansion of all power to the individual, *not* that 70’s rhetoric of all power to the “people.”

    Because the “people” is the government, as in trials where it is “the people” versus John Doe.
    The communists all called themselves “people’s democratic” blah blah. So we use the same terminology as the communists, who were the biggest statists.

    Ptfan1 will point out all the differences of this country from the communist governments in an attempt to show we are ‘”different” but I can point out just as many similarities….

    How the schools attempt to indoctrinate children into whatever are the current “values”, etc. We say that is good but is it really so different from the Hitler Youth of the right or the Young Communists of the left?

    I say: no different. A state is a state, whether it is communist, monarchist, dictatorship, democratic, etc. At their core, all states are anti-individual. Only anarchy is 100% for the individual and that is why I am an anarchist.

    Which is why I want to retire back to a 3rd world country. They are weak states, and therefore there is much more freedom from government in such countries. There is form but little substance.

    And if you have money, then as in the Philippines (and to an extent here) it is the Golden Rule: you have the gold, you make your own rules in most situations regardless of what the law is. No blood, no crime., no problem.

    Unless you have lived that way, it is probably impossible to existentially comprehend what I mean. But once you have lived that way, you never want to live another way.

    When I’m done working, I will likely move to a country (Costa Rica?) where my retirement money can go a long way and where I won’t be bothered much by the government. It may not be the anarchist utopia, but I’ll be closer to it in a 3rd world country than here.

    This “reply” should have been a blog! 😉

  22. Hmmm… I may have to re-evaluate my thinking that “non-political” posts draw more interest than “political” ones because there was very vigorous commenting on this post.

    But next Sunday, it will be something completely different! I don’t want y’all to ever be bored or for me to become too predictable…
    except politically of course! 😉

  23. “Progressive change comes from breaking with the past. Your view of the past is why you are a conservative and my view of it is why I am a revolutionary. What history teaches me is that almost every change for the better has been resisted by conservatives.”

    NO! not at all true. Washington, Adams and Franklin were profoundly conservative leaders who wanted more than anything else to exist under the broad and “distinguished” rule of England.

    “Who was fired or resigned in our government to accept responsibility for the financial meltdown.? Even if there is no “proof” they were responsible, it is typical in many European and Asian governments that folks step down for symbolic reasons. That rarely happens in our federal government unless their position is completely untenable. (Isn’t Sen Craig still in office?)”

    Again you ignore the facts. Almost every Administration in history has had administrative turmoil and change. (Including Obama’s lol)

    You have a premise that the US is so flawed that revolution is necessary to provide “justice and (order?)” And you bend history to support such tact with little regard for accuracy.

    As for hanging Tojo, what has that to do with anything anyway? Japan was the militant and barbaric colonial in the Eastern hemisphere. Tojo ran it while his military raped and pillaged and bombed. Should we have rewarded such behavior? He knew his fate, it was always life or death so he shot himself at apprehension but to his discredit 4 bullets to his chest could not find his heart.

    That logic would have us call off the hunt for Bin Laden and award him a peace prize.

    I miss your “logic” on gays and the bible. They are non issues to me.

    I see that I shall have to post on why I am a conservative, no one seems to understand (or want to understand) how conservatives can walk and chew gum. Whoops I just fell dowm and bit my tounge:)

  24. PTFAn1, I have not said that the US is so flawed it requires a revolution. What will that get us…another government. I am beyond that.

    You know what I want, and until that time comes, there’s no point in any effort for another government short of a token vote every now and then. But I don’t think that will come in my lifetime, so I’ll just to a more anarchic society when the time comes.

    As for Tojo, the point is that just as he was held “responsible” for things that happened on his “watch”, even though his biography makes clear that he never ordered, or knew of, many of the atrocities he has hanged for (and in fact was made Premier by the Emperor as a moderate against the “right wing” of the military) why do we not apply the same standard to these others?
    If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.

    Post the ‘Why I am a conservative” blog on wordpress too please….I’m rarely at TDO and I may not find it if it gets knocked down.

  25. Pingback: Peanut & Salmonella Salad! « eehard’s Weblog

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