June 1 Sources: You Are Without Honor!

The perversity of our modern age is that we often honor victims over those who have actually achieved something and the most interesting source this week is On Our Honor, which explores this. We justifiably reserve a special place of honor for those become “victims” through unselfishly sacrifice, but mere victimhood deserves nothing, especially since becoming a victim is something we don’t want to encourage.

The cult of victimhood & suffering has always been one of the less attractive aspects of traditional religion, but at least it purported to have transcendental meaning. Suffering and sacrifice are noble only in the pursuit of higher goals. The man who breaks his leg pulling a child out of the path of an oncoming car is a hero. The guy who breaks his leg falling down a flight of stairs is probably just careless. But our society has become unwilling to make value judgments.

An article in WSJ “Honoring Soldiers Not Pitying Them” strikes a similar note. The article talks about Jessica Lynch and Leigh Ann Hester. Most of us know Lynch. Hester is a Kentucky National Guard vehicle commander was awarded a Silver Star last year for fighting off an insurgent attack on a convoy in Iraq. She was the first woman to receive a Silver Star since World War II, and the first woman ever to receive one for close combat. You probably did not hear about her, since she is a victor, not a victim.

Anyway, here are this week’s sources. Something for everybody.

Attitudes on Homosexuality
Bono and Public Diplomacy in Africa
Canadian and Dutch Publics Feeling Stretched By Expanded Military Role in Afghanistan
Examining Hispanic Rights and Recognition
Giving Iran One Last Chance
How Big Plans in Foreign Aid Yield Little Results
Hurricane Season Begins
NATO's Changing Role in World Affairs
Blacking Out Speech
On Our Honor
Politics and the dot net Generation
Quincy Jones Highlights the Importance of Cultural Diplomacy in China Visit
Scientist to CEI: You Used My Research To "Confuse and Mislead"
The Bush Administration's Bad Iran Move
The Optimistic Immigrant
The Real Culprit Behind Price-Gouging: OPEC
Weekly Review of Developments in Human Rights and Democracy

Posted by Jack at June 1, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #153403

Lee Raymond received a $400 million retirment package from Exxon. Should he be honored? What has he achieved, in addition to record gasoline prices, to receive such honor?

Meanwhile, 280 million middle class people find it increasingly difficult to afford Mr. Raymond’s product. But you have convinced me that we shouldn’t care about them. I mean, that would be tantamount to “honoring the victims,” right?

Posted by: Mister Magoo at June 1, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #153406

Magoo, Lee Raymond provided us with energy to move our cars and heat and cool our homes; all while paying nearly 50% in taxes (to the US gov’t) per gallon of gasoline. What did you do?!

Posted by: rahdigly at June 1, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #153407

rahdigly, I paid 42% of my gross earnings to taxes while making billions of dollars for my clients.

Sorry I couldn’t match Mr. Raymond’s 50%.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at June 1, 2006 2:21 PM
Comment #153409

Ok, then what are you b*tching about! Raymond helped fuel your business, gets your employees and clients to work; all while paying (these absurd) taxes.

Posted by: rahdigly at June 1, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #153417

Sorry, but no one deserves a $400 miilion retirement package.

Then again, maybe there is some method to the madness. $400 million = $100 million for each of his chins.

I’m obviously in the wrong line of work. And I need to eat more Prime Rib.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at June 1, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #153425

Too bad the majority of Americans can’t take home $400 million a year! Most of them are fortunate to clear $20,000. per year. Have you checked with the folks in the smaller, rural towns lately, say, those with 8,00 to 10,000 population? Many of them have lost their factories in the last eight years, mostly due to a little agreement known as NAFTA. The small town I live near lost their four largest sources of income because of NAFTA, resulting in massive loss of jobs, homes, cars, etc. And we find it difficult to pay $3 to $5 a gallon for gas, while some big Exxon executive rakes in $4oo million a year at OUR expense! Don’t you think just maybe we might have some excuse for a little griping?

Posted by: Angel 1 at June 1, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #153431

That’s absurd! First off, your comment “$400 million = $100 million for each of his chins.” is ad hominem. And, your argument is based on class envy. People can earn as much as they want in this country; and they deserve every penny of it. This isn’t a socialist/communist country that divides up earnings and distributes it to everyone; that pinko sh*t doesn’t fly with the red, white and blue, brutter! Believe that!!

Posted by: rahdigly at June 1, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #153445

Lynch is a hero to me. When she got back from the war, there was a ready-made story for her given to the press about how she fought off her captors despite being abused. She came forward and said none of it happened, that it was a lie made up to make her into a hero. That takes guts.

When the professional football player (I forget the name)was shot, it took guts for his family to demand to know the truth that he was not shot battling insurgents but had been caught in friendly fire. That took guts.

My point is it takes guts to speak the truth when the truth is painful. Sure, everyone likes a hero, but I respect the heck out of someone who’s able to tell the hard truth depsite the consequences. I haven’t seen any of that from this administration, and I would prefer the truth over a whitewash any day.

Posted by: Max at June 1, 2006 3:15 PM
Comment #153446

I agree with much of what Bowman said in his article concerning honor, especially when comparing the concept of honor in different cultures. But, then when I read his last couple of paragraphs he got redicules. If I have it right, he says that most Americans supported the invasion of Iraq not because he had WMD’s that threatened us or to secure democracy for the people of Iraq but rather, we the people supported the war because we were protecting the honor of Uncle Sam.

Most of the people in America did not support the war in Iraq. We were coerced into it by the threat of WMD’s. Then we were coerced into staying because we had to democratize Iraq and the whole middle east(preview of comming wars). Most of us would like to see our troops out of Iraq but, we are still being coerced into believing that to do so would be cowardly, dishonorable, and defeatest.

In my opinion, invading Iraq has been the most dishonorable thing that an American president has done since Iran-contra. I don’t hold to the notion that the peresident lied to us but, in my opinion the vice president did. The president, vice president, the secretary of defence and many of their advisors came into office determined to invade Iraq and the terrorist threat was a side show which they weren’t interested in until 911. Then they used the attack as another pretext to invade Iraq to save their percieved notion of honor because of the first gulf war.

This administration invaded Iraq under false pretext and they push to the side, marginalize, trivialize the one person who is most responsible for dishonoring America on 911,Osama Binladen. This administration either has no since of honor and their actions were as many suspect, for (oil), or they have a very warped since of honor.

Posted by: jlw at June 1, 2006 3:17 PM
Comment #153448

hey, rahdigly, check your blood pressure, my friend. Us class envy pinkos are worried about your uber-patriotic frothiness and delusional accusations (assuming the two are inseparable).

Posted by: Mister Magoo at June 1, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #153455

rahdigly, check your facts as well. The Medicare Rx drug bill was a Republican bill sold to the public as costing 400 billion and ended up costing the public more than 3 times that. Taking from all who can afford to pay and giving it to the few the government deems appropriate is what corporate welfare, military spending, public schools, highway maintenance, Social Security, government agency funding like Agriculture, FEC, FCC, etc are all about. That crap don’t fly here in the red, white and blue? Your comments are hilariously and deleriously devoid of any reality testing at all.

You make debating Republicans too easy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #153468


The question must be asked if OPEC simply cannot add to capacity. It may very well be true that some of the OPEC member nations have reached peak production, and any additional capacity may not necessarily provide meaningful output going forward.

Chavez is calling for a production cut to further inflame the situation, thus potentially producing more shock waves through the markets. IMO, it is only a matter of time before he does something serious to “stick it” to the US.

The oil in euros deal may or may not affect pricing in dollars, but i believe it will begin a long, slow trend of removing the US dollar as theworld reserve currency. I doubt that is good for our economy and dominance in the world.


Posted by: Greg at June 1, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #153469

People honored with “Freedom Metals” in the Bush Administration:

George Tenent—He was the guy we got our intelligence from for the Iraq war. Great choice.

Paul Bremer—This guy couldn’t even finish the job he started. By the way Sicilian Eagle, have they finished with the Ministry Cabinet positions yet. You know, the ones you said would be done “IN A FEW DAYS” of course that was a week ago. I will be asking you next week as well.

General Tommy Franks—I know you Conservatives like to read his book and tell us how great of a leader he is. Yet I still have not heard him explain why the Iraqis were able to take over a ton of the weapons caches AFTER our invasion.

So are these the “Honored” people you are talking about?

Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 1, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #153471


“People can earn as much as they want in this country; and they deserve every penny of it.”

Does that include Ken Lay?

Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 1, 2006 4:30 PM
Comment #153473

“People can earn as much as they want in this country; and they deserve every penny of it.”

That is a good idea, but simply not true. Are you telling me that the bluebloods in the south earned all their money? Inheritance and free labor for 200 years is a major part of why some of these guys are rich today. Our President was a C student for Christ’s sake. Yet he goes to one of the most prestigous colleges in the world. Is that because he deserves it? He was an owner of a baseball team and other companies. Did he deserve it or were they handed to him? Get real. It is not communist to think that the system is not an equal playing field.

That is like saying trickle down economics works. Yeah right. Instead of going to more employees, the CEO’s pentions get bigger.

Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 1, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #153482


“People can earn as much as they want in this country; and they deserve every penny of it.”

Does that include Ken Lay?

It most certainly includes Ken Lay, with the caveat that you must do so legally or face the possibility (now a certainty) of jail time.

Life isn’t fair. We all have advantages or disadvantages, but a lot of it comes out of how we play our cards. I grew up for a number of years in a 3rd world country in a boarding school away from parent part of the time, and lost my father when I was 10. Yet I’ve had a measure of success in my life.

My education was paid for—a nice bonus. Or a nice bonus until you consider that my education was paid for largely by the invested Social Security benefits due to my father’s death. I’d have rather been uneducated with a father than educated without, given the choice.

My point is that there are numerous examples of people who have made themselves wealthy by their hard work. A most heartwarming story is that of Chris Gardner, who had no reason to be successful, but became so anyway.


There are many rich people who didn’t earn it, there are many poor people who are poor because they are lazy or made bad choices, and there are many in between. But read the story of Gardner and you can see how much perseverance, sweat equity, stubborness, creativity and plain old hard work have to do with success. Note also that he got some help, but not a lot, and now gives help to others. He was assisted in his climb, but the climb was his.

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at June 1, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #153485

WHen I graduated from school, lots of people who I condidered less worthy made more money than I did. It bothered me at first. Then I figured it was not my business. I don’t care what other people make.

I don’t think anyone is worth that kind of money that Exxon gave that guy, but it is none of my business except in the rhetorical sense.

In the case of Lay, the story is different because what he did was illegal. I still don’t care what he made, but I object to the illegal part. So I do believe we should have rules about HOW people make money, but not HOW MUCH.

Too much inequality is bad for social harmony, but we should not have a policy driven by envy.

Posted by: Jack at June 1, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #153501

This administration invaded Iraq under false pretext and they push to the side, marginalize, trivialize the one person who is most responsible for dishonoring America on 911,Osama Binladen. This administration either has no since of honor and their actions were as many suspect, for (oil), or they have a very warped since of honor.”

Put down the kool-aid and take a taste (and wiff) of reality. Iraq was for oil; however, not for the US interests, just for 4 countries that had garunteed oil contracts w/ Saddam to keep him in power. France, Russia, China and Germany were the four countries and they were the ones that didn’t go to war b/c of oil.

And, this Hiditha incident is a perfect example of why you can’t be against the war and support the troops at the same time.

Posted by: rahdigly at June 1, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #153505

Dear Mr. Jack,
May I be excused from school today?
You give too much homework. I wanna play on my weekends.

On the subject of honor, I give you the liar in chief: Bush Lies Again

Posted by: gergle at June 1, 2006 6:03 PM
Comment #153507


I don’t figure everyone read all of them. I would guess you would like the factcheck article about climate change.

Posted by: Jack at June 1, 2006 6:07 PM
Comment #153523

opec oil taps set to keep gushing. AEP. 22 minutes ago,( for the stability of the market we have decided, or rather we are going to decide to maintain our production, algerian oil minister, Chakib khelil told reporters.) saudi oil minister Ali al nuaimi, declined to say what the ministers would decide! but he did say the global crude market is oversupplied and overpriced, nuaimi also said Opec would welcome new members on the possible admission of Angola and Sudan.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 1, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #153532

Rahdigly: Thank you for helping me make my point. I don’t have the words to express it the way you did.

I haven’t had any kool aid in decades. If you would, send me some of yours and perhaps i will become enlightened, see God or something like that and I will know the truth as you so obviously do.

Posted by: jlw at June 1, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #153535

Jack, you or your children may care how much wealth hording and exporting takes place by those earning immensely more than you if our nation falters or fails as a result. The export of wealth from American shores is one of the doomsday scenarios for our future economy and national debt that will only be prevented with deliberate conscious effort by the American people and government.

Wealth is going to want to move to China and India and Malaysia, Japan, and S. America for most of the rest of this century. That is where the promise for the greatest returns exists in this century. Fail to halt both the massive accumulation of American wealth and its export, and your children could easily end up living in a 3rd world country themselves called the Bankrupt United States.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #153565


The U.S. is still the most competitive large economy in the world. Our wealth is based on our productivity and that has been growing rapidly. I agree that Americans need to consume less. How would you accomplish that? What will happen is that the dollar will decline and we will have less money to spend internationally. So we will consume less. Price is the way we are told that we are spending too much. That is what makes us decide to spend less.

This is a variation of my energy policy, which is also price. In fact, much of our deficit is from energy, so as those prices rise, we consume less. It has is already happening.

Capital will flow to where it gets good returns. The U.S. will be such a place for a long time to come. India, China, Brazil and others will become richer. That will make us richer, not poorer. As California surpassd NY in wealth, it did not make NY poorer in real terms. As the U.S. surpassed Britain, Britain did not become poorer except in relative terms. Europeans have a very high standard of living despite being in relative decline for generations.

Posted by: Jack at June 1, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #153574


People can earn as much as they want in this country; and they deserve every penny of it.
I worked for the company now known as Qwest for over 25 years. I saved 10% of my salary every year. When Joe Nacchio took over, he changed the 401K rules (to prevent employees from transferring their funds away from Qwest stock), cooked the books, and sold over $500 million in stock options. When it was discovered what Nacchio had done to the books, Qwest stock tumbled and my 401K fund lost over $200,000. I might have to work until I’m in my 70’s as a result. Nacchio has yet to face ANY legal actions.

So I ask you: Does Joe Nacchio deserve his $500,000,000? By the way, that doesn’t include his multimillion salary.

Posted by: ElliottBay at June 1, 2006 9:43 PM
Comment #153606

rahdigly and Jack,

“It most certainly includes Ken Lay, with the caveat that you must do so legally or face the possibility (now a certainty) of jail time.”

That to me is the difference between consevatives and liberals. You both see it as “Oh well, they will go to jail.”

I see it as “This is corruption at its worst. Thousands of employees lost their jobs and retirement pentions for greed.”

Do these people not matter? This is not just a bunch of rich white guys making money. This is about rich white guys making money and then ripping off middle class America. And your President is a friend to these guys!”

Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 2, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #153608


Key Lay built his fortune during the 8 YEARS of Clinton times when the Justice Dept and regulators was run by Dems. He was caught EARLY in the Bush times. Nobody in the administration did anything to help him. What he did was illegal. It is very bad. That the Clinton folks let him get away with it is also bad, but I am glad the Bush boys stopped him.

We agree that it is corruption. We agree that it is illegal. We (and the courts) agree the guy is guilty and should be punished. Where do we disagree?

Posted by: Jack at June 2, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #153668

We disagree in the fact that it hurts innocent individuals who worked their butts off to get nothing for it. At which point to you mention the middle class being affected? The posts refer to him being a criminal (no brainer) not to what happens to those below him. That is the difference.


Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 2, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #153710


You simply cannot legislate criminals out of society. You can punish them, but you can never rid society of them. What Lay did was wrong—he is being made to pay for it. It’s the same process as when someone assaults another—they are punished for their illegal activity. The punishment does nothing to heal the bruises, unbreak the bones, unrape someone etc.

Society sets rules. Some in society will break them. Society then holds the rule breakers accountable by punishing them. How else can it be done? How can you undo Ken Lay’s crimes anymore than you could undo an assault? Please explain.

Its terrible that Enron investors lost their shirts due to Lay and the rest. The investors hold a share of the responsibility IFFF they did not diversify their holdings, but its tragic nonetheless. But if you have a means for preventing it from happening, from preventing fraud and lies and deceit from occurring, then I’m all ears.


Joe Nacchio deserves jail time if he did something illegal. Dont know any of the facts so I won’t comment on whether it was or wasn’t. As Jack said, we should have rules about HOW people make money, but not HOW MUCH.

I’d agree that CEO’s are paid too much in many cases. But then again, I think Michael Jackson is paid too much as well. So were Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in “Gigli”. Same thing with a salesman who says he can bring in the big sale, but doesn’t. Same thing with a car mechanic who doesn’t do his job well.

How do you legislate what someone can make? And how do you apply it across the marketplace equitably?

Posted by: jeobaogonduts at June 2, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #153735

What does a victim desrve?
? !?
Does a victim deserve someone to cry to? Someone to scream at? Does a vicitm deserve justice? Bad things happen to good people… you would let them die?? if so, dont cry about anything.
You say 991
i say victim.
Now what?

Alternate article:
Last week a friend and i debated that if I give my 100 rmb bill to a Taxi driver and he gives me a fake bill is it my fault or his fault?

Is a girl wearing slut clothes responsible for getting raped or is she a victim?

Posted by: stopculture at June 2, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #153739

There are some glaring error in the last post.


Are we a nation of heroes? Or are we the small kid who talks shit?

Of two men who deserves more respect? The one with or without the gun?

Posted by: stopculture at June 2, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #153742
Society sets rules. Some in society will break them. Society then holds the rule breakers accountable by punishing them. How else can it be done? How can you undo Ken Lay’s crimes anymore than you could undo an assault? Please explain.

How else can it be done?

Well there is the one way that you have expressed. Punishment

Another would be shame.

Perhaps the best and least tried is acceptance understanding and love.

I believe we have a system of punishment.

I have heard that rehabilitation is thought by some to be a better system.

Rehabilitation has some interesting qualities. It identifies the problem and immediately reconciles it. What is past is past. Can violence rid the world of violence? Also, it proposes a solution to remedy the situation. It brings the guilty into the circle instead of pushing them out.

Our society works in reverse. We distance ourselves from the guilty. At the same time we shame our own guilty habits. We turn our guilt into guilt. We push ourselves away creating division between us and them. We want them to pay. When they do it relieves our guilt.


Posted by: stopculture at June 2, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #153782


“How can you undo Ken Lay’s crimes anymore than you could undo an assault? Please explain.”

Simple. Cap how much they can make. I know this sounds like communisim to many in this forum, but tell me why somebody, ANYBODY deserves a 400 million dollar signing bonus.

Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 2, 2006 3:51 PM
Comment #153789


Simple. Cap how much they can make. I know this sounds like communisim to many in this forum, but tell me why somebody, ANYBODY deserves a 400 million dollar signing bonus.

Vincent this does not sound like communism to me just plain old socialism. The reason that will never work nor should it is because we live in a free society. We should never put a cap on the American Dream. There are rules to follow and if they are broken people will go to jail and have gone. Now the bad part. This will not help those who are victimized by all this. They will lose their money. It is sad but reality. I think those who did it should lose everything they have and the money split up proportionately according to how much each person lost. This will not help much but it is all the recourse there really is.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at June 2, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #153907

folks i feel bad for our marines and army folks we send our children off to war many never come home and still even more come home crippled and mentaly distroyed!yet many of these young people were sent by us the voting public both dems and republicans!hell they cant even get burried with out protesters at there funerals for goodness sake!yes there should be anger at cnn and fox and abc cbs nbc these people are blot on our countrie i say shame on yahoo and shame on google and aol! and these folks are with out honor!war is no sunday picnik its real bombs and real bullets and young men and wemen die pitiful

Posted by: allen stephens at June 2, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #153915


If you recall, all those stock options came up when the Clinton administration tried to cap salaries by making them non deductable over a certain level.

Lay got paid a lot, but the money he made was small compared to the losses of ENRON. Limiting his salary could have saved a very small amount, if anything. Those guys who lost their shirts would still be shirtless.

Posted by: Jack at June 2, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #153934

Randall :

I think those who did it should lose everything they have and the money split up proportionately according to how much each person lost. This will not help much but it is all the recourse there really is.

What did happen to the money?

I was under the impression most of it went to pay for lawyers and paying fines to our government.


What do ya know? The took your advice.

Posted by: stopculture at June 3, 2006 1:01 AM
Comment #154030

Stop culture

I think the money should have been put in a fund to help those who were victims of the fraud. I am sure that other high level people knew about it and they should also be punished.

Now to shift gears. I want to address the OPEC and the gas prices we are currently experiencing. First off the OPEC nations are controlled mainly by Arab nations. This being said I believe it has as much to do with terror as anything else. If they cant beat us militarily (which they cant) then they will try to beat us financially. If you read the article that was posted about OPEC then you will see how prices tend to follow important happenings in the Persian Gulf.

In 1973, OPEC’s actions in response to U.S. support for Israel, which was attacked in the Yom Kippur War, resulted in a worldwide economic recession that lasted from 1974 to 1980. In 1980, OPEC’s failure to increase production in the face of the Iranian revolution resulted in historically high oil prices of $81 per barrel (in 2005 dollars). In 1990, OPEC refused to increase production sufficiently to keep prices stable as Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait. Lately, OPEC’s resistance to add productive capacity has sent oil prices to $75 a barrel, once again endangering U.S., and worldwide, economic growth.

This being said the real reason we have price gouging is not big oil. Even if both sides of the isle think it is it is OPEC and how they try to sway world politics through their oil.

What is the solution. Actually it is very simple. Alternative fuels. I am well pleased to let everyone here know that President Bush has already started programs to help take us off of dependence to OPEC for our oil. We are now seeing the largest push (real push) this country has seen for alternative fuels. There are fuels being pushed now that are made from corn in fact Oregon is going to be a test state for that. We will be getting some gas stations that are able to pump it soon and there are car makers who are already making cars that can run on it. If there is one thing we will not have a shortage on is corn. In fact here comes another cash crop for the family farm. Something of this magnitude could make a major change in our society. I am glad President Bush has gone forward with this more then any other President.

I also think we should take the oil that is up in Alaska. There are huge reserves up there and it would in no way affect the environment.

Now all that being said please feel free to make all kinds of fun comments and prove me wrong or right depending on what you think

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at June 3, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #154112

Zelsdorf, your comment was junked for criticizing other participants here at WatchBlog. Comply with our policy of Critique the Message, Not the Messenger, or lose your comment privilges altogether. This will be your only warning. Thank you.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at June 3, 2006 7:02 PM
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