You Can't Lead With Lies

For several years now my mom has given me Reader's Digest subscriptions for Christmas. I know I am supposed to be a little embarrassed to admit that I read RD, but actually, I find it nearly always contains some article (or two or three) that I wish I could share with the world.

The October issue is certainly one that contains good stuff.

One article in particular nailed my attention this morning. It is on page 86 of my edition.

The author Jacqueline Leo points out that many, many of our biggest business and government role models are notorious crooks and cheats and that the message our children (and adults) are getting is that the way to get ahead is to lie, cheat and steal.

I wish she had included religious leaders, educators and the media in her list of liars and cheats - but now I have done it for her.

She lists what she calls "A Few Good Ideas" and I have to agree, there are many really, really Great ideas there. Here are a few of hers and a few comments of mine about them.

What Government Can Do

  • Launch a "No Cheating Allowed" media campaign, featuring celebrities, moguls, former Presidents, and others (if they qualify as role models!).
  • Work with AmeriCorps to devise a mandatory national service program, with a menu of options.
  • Doc's Note: I don't know what Jacqueline means by "mandatory national service" but if she means every American is to be forced to offer service - I don't know if that would even be legal. I would certainly support educating the public to WANT TO offer service and establishing local and national programs to help. I am much more supportive of local programs than national ones, but at times a larger program might have advantages - but not often, I'm sure.
  • Ban pork-barrel "earmarks" for special interests.
  • Doc's Note: HELL YES! Pork-Barrel spending should be criminalized and politicians who engage in it should be treated like the TRAITORS they are! There should be a call to prosecute this evil against society and there should be no amnesty for past offenses.
  • Reform campaign financing so that legislators can actually do their jobs instead of raising money for their next elections.
  • Doc's Note: I'd go even farther and ELIMINATE campaign financing and advertising and instead rely on public debate. The media and internet provide so much opportunity for free exposure that the old ways could be dropped entirely. Those who do not have Television or Internet Access or Can't Read (like most of H/S Graduates) could benefit from community centers that provide access and assistance.
  • Put a halt to out-of-control torts. Have losers pay all legal costs.
  • Create a Web-based ledger of how our tax dollars are being spent so that scandals like the absurd payouts from Homeland Security never happen again.
  • Create a national ID card that cannot be digitally duplicated.
  • Doc's Note: This should also serve as a National Driver's License. Also National Licenses for Doctors, Lawyers, Contractors and the like so crooks can't have their license revoked in one state and then just set up the same criminal operation in another state.
  • Penalize offshore corporate tax cheats.
  • Doc's Note: Flat Tax with NO EXEMPTIONS except being below the poverty level. And yes - cheating on your taxes should be considered treason. Think about it. That is what it is. Unfortunately, our government is at war with it's constituents - so the government needs to quit victimizing us before they start prosecuting us for trying to keep our families fed and housed.

What Business, Sports & Media Can Do

  • Put a compensation cap on CEOs that aligns with revenue and performance.
  • Doc's Note: Can't kill FREE ENTERPRISE. But we could wage public relations campaigns that hopefully will embarrass CEO's who gouge their customers and employees. At the same time, we could encourage and assist more ethical competitors to help balance things out.
  • Stop winking at the use of performance-enhancing drugs and steroids.
  • Create and review standards and practices in all media -- TV, print, radio, Internet -- to avoid plagiarism, favoritism, nepotism and other toxic "isms."
  • Doc's Note: If we eliminate plagiarism in the media.........ummmm........we'd have no media! No, really, I agree, Here in Utah, every news story has to last a minimum of three days. There is just not enough "easy" news to fill a broadcast and let's face it, our news "faces" are generally too stupid to come up with a story on their own. They have to steal from each other. So, why can't we just have a half hour of real news? Why can't we have a 10 page newspaper? Oh, right, they have to sell all the ads so they can make enormous sums of cash. News should be considered a public service and not an advertising medium. Who needs all day news when there is no news. And if there is news, we need to find journalists who will get off their asses and go out and report on it and not just hang out by the ticker machine (or whatever they use nowdays).
  • Make boards of directors as well as CEOs accountable to shareholders of publicly traded companies.
  • Doc's Note: Yes, with the proliferation of the Internet, there is no reason why all meetings of Publicly Held Organisations should not be broadcast - at least to shareholders.
  • Treat workers like owners.
  • Doc's Note: I think Jacqueline is a bit unrealistic perhaps about treating workers like owners. It would be better to treat owners like workers. But having been a worker and a working owner, I know there is a difference. Trying to make everyone the same creates many problems. We can't all be Chiefs and workers need direction and leadership. Workers need to be treated with respect as humans and for the work they do. Workers need to do the work they are paid to do and not accept a job and then feel a lack of obligation to perform the services for which they are being paid. Workers need to feel an imperitive to give their very best efforts at all times. Owners need to be grateful, not greedy - share the wealth and benefits of good hard work and offer incentives for workers to seek ways to improve the products and workplace.
  • Define "cheating" (beyond expense accounts) and institute a zero-tolerance policy.
  • Join the Hope Street Group, a bipartisan network of businesspeople who help small businesses and improve education.

What Institutions Can Do

  • Slap harsh penalties on students who cheat.
  • Doc's Note: College students who cheat should be immediately and permanantly expelled, without a refund and a permanant notation should be made on their permanant record. Secondary school and primary school children who cheat should get very harsh penalties that are designed (by intelligent child education experts) to correct their perspective.
  • Adopt efficient business practices in order to spend tax dollars and donations on the mission, not the managers.
  • Doc's Note: Persons who choose to work in public or charity service, including government and education should also choose to take pay that is average for the population they are serving. To take exorbitantly high pay for public or charity service is perverted.
  • Know when to merge or fold. If other not-for-profits are doing it better, call it a day. If merging with them makes a stronger organization, do it.
  • Doc's Note: I may agree sometimes. But - I also think that the more organisations there are and the smaller and more locally controlled and locally oriented they are - the better service they will offer. Neighbors getting to know and help each other is better than making a big faceless foreign bureaucratic organisation. I am for small, local service.
  • Teach civics and automatically register high school graduates to vote.
  • Teach ethics in grade school and high school.

  • Doc's Note: Require an ethic's and community service test to gain access to higher education.

What We Can All Do

· Stop taking shortcuts: It's the struggle that makes you strong.

· Participate in Family Volunteer Day on November 18. Go to pointsoflight.org for more info.

· Don't take America for granted: Give back, get involved, get inspired, be inspiring.

· Tutor a child.

· Become civil-literate on community issues, including where and how your money is spent.

· Learn about world religions and other cultures.

Doc's Note: Actually visit and worship with your neighbors and participate in community cultural centers.

· No matter what the weather or the schedule, VOTE! And urge others to do so.

Doc's Note: Join the new wave of independent activists (many of them bloggers) to promote non-traditional candidates who are not crooks. And then vote for them.

Ok, so now I have posted most of Jacqueline's artice, even though I hadn't planned on it. I hope she doesn't mind. I recommend everyone read the whole thing though. If you don't have the hard copy, you can read it online at: http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=29392

I have lots of other ideas and I'm sure she does too. I'm just too tired now to keep going.
So, if this makes sense to you - keep coming back.

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