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LongHaul

The Standards we hold ourselves to

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       Yesterday I came across an item in the News that caused me to put things in perspective. President Bush had ordered some evidence sealed which was taken from a Congressmans office. Now I know that Congressmen have a kind of diplomatic immunity when it comes to being held responsible for their actions but theirs is not true immunity. After all a sitting President was hauled into court over something that was thrown out of civil court and denied by the EEOC before that. What actually started me thinking was the response from members of Congress and prominent Washington officials.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said it would "provide additional time to reach a permanent solution that allows this investigation to continue while accommodating the concerns of certain members of Congress." Accommodating the criminal in the gathering of evidence? 

The president said he recognized that Republican and Democratic leaders have "deeply held views" that the search violated the Constitution's separation of powers principles. But he stopped short of saying he agreed with them, declaring the end goal was to provide materials relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation to prosecutors "in a manner that respects the interests of a coequal branch of government." Coequal branch of government? What the heck is that? I wont hassle you if you wont hassle me?

Hastert, R-Ill., and Pelosi, D-Calif., responded with their own statement: "Today, we are directing the House counsel to begin negotiations with the Department of Justice regarding the protocols and procedures to be followed in connection with evidence of criminal conduct that might exist in the offices of members."

       These elected officials are talking about criminal activities here. They seem to be worried about not stepping on toes while the FBI investigates criminal conduct. Even Speaker of the House Hastert and Democratic Party Leader Pelosi referred to evidence of criminal conduct. Everyone seems to admit that a crime has been committed and that the attempt now is to set a standard, or protocol as they call it, for when further criminal activity takes place. Dont want to inconvenience a Congressman under investigation for accepting bribes because $90,000 happened to turn up in his freezer?

          MaScout is worried about adding to the requirements for Environmental Science Merit Badge, LisaBob is concerned about the legality of returning a Webelos to Cub Scouts and we repeatedly hash over what is and isnt proper at a BOR. All in all I think we should be d*** proud of ourselves. .  As a group we hold ourselves to a standard of behavior I wish was more evident in other youth organizations Im involved with.  Some may find it necessary to leave the forums and some may only denounce and attack but the vast majority of the Scouters here seem to have ethics and standards far above the elected norm.

LongHaul

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Long Haul - excellent post and points.

 

Has anyone else noticed that lost in all of the hullabaloo over this search is that the third "co-equal" branch of geovernment, the judiciary, issued the search warrant that allowed the search? It seems fairly obvious to me that the congressional leaders (and rank-and-file) know they have no "case" here. If they did, they would be going to court to suppress the evidence, not going to the press. If the courts thought there was a problem with the separation of powers, they wouldn't have issued the warrant in the first place.

 

To go along with LongHaul's points, it makes me think the judiciary branch is a bit further along in standards and ethics realm than the other two branches.

 

CalicoPenn

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LH,

 

Sadly, I believe you are true. We have governmental authorities who do not understand the first point of the Scout Law:

 

A Scout is Trustworthy.

 

We also have those who do not understand the first stanza of the Scout Oath:

 

On my Honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country...

 

I would hope that all of us on this forum who are of age exercise our rights to vote. If we use the Scout Oath and Law as our standard for "is this candidate worthy of office?", we will have done more due diligence, and exercised our vote far more wisely, than too many of our fellow voters.

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I'm reminded of the phrase "Character is what you have when no one is looking."

 

Most politicians could care less who's looking, or that they lack any character at all, with the simple exception of just being CHARACTERS.

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Long Haul,

 

Our sincere prayer is that the bad things reported from Congressional doodlings are the exceptions and not the rule because lurking just beneath that is a deep and abiding fear that it is just the tip of a large an implacable iceberg. Selling out such a Country as ours for a few thousand bucks goes far beyond treason and has little to do with being on the fringe of criminal behavior but is rooted deeply within a walking pathological nightmare. All it takes is one quick look around the world to see what the other fellow has chosen to compare with what we have set as our standard. If that one look is not enough to set one's hat on straight, then nothing will fix it not laws with teeth of steel or harsh and unusual punishments. The best that could be done is to set them free in another land that equals their own behavior, and plenty exist.

 

As for those of us attempting to live within the existing laws and reaching for a measure of sanity and order, it is a full time job. Character is not a voyage that we can sail merrily along but seems to be a constant tempest and storm confronting our every move. If we are honest enough to roll up our sleeves, we can compare the scars and share the stories of those trials. There are many shortcuts through the thicket of character that have been trod over time, so it is little wonder when one is found idling along on one. It is the choice that we make after being caught that tells us how much strength remains and if we are worth the salvage.

 

You are right that some of the things that we speak about here are mundane, things not worth much time. What I expect is that most are looking for an answer or seeking something that has little to do with the question. So, it is important that we look beyond the surface and take a little extra care in providing a solution, one that enters the heart. FB

 

 

 

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Fuzzy Bear,

I agree with what you say but think its too bad that you find the things we discuss here mundane and not worth much time. I think that the things we discuss here are very important to us and the youth we serve. I also find it heart warming to think that not wanting to error during a BOR is so important to some of us and hope that the fact that we have the time to devote to these topics is because we dont have to worry about having to hide conduct we are not proud of. We dont have to worry about hiding evidence because our character keeps us from producing the evidence in the first place. If a scouter is taking the time to discuss whether his/her conduct during a merit badge counseling session is proper or not, whether they are adding to the published requirements then I think accepting a bribe or covering up a crime would never be a question let alone wanting to negotiate with the Justice Department about how criminal conduct by their fellow scouters should be investigated. Its not the bribery that concerns me; dishonesty comes with the territory when politics becomes a profession instead of a civic duty. What concerns me is the marshalling of forces to protect fellow politicians who are engaged in criminal activity. If it were the exception and not the rule why are so many worried about being served with a federal warrant? The whole justification for the Patriot Act and the wire taps and demands for records from internet companies stands on the platform If youre not guilty what are you worried about? I think the term here is Whats good for the goose is good for the gander If Congress is worried that the Justice Department is going to abuse their authority in issuing warrants to search Congressmens offices then legislate safeguards not immunities to prosecution or investigation.

We have had several discussions in these forums concerning whether it is OK or right to break National policy and the number of posters who felt they were above the law or that the rules didnt apply to them were miniscule at best. By far the majority of those leaning toward not following the National rule on something were advocating doing what is felt as best for the youth we serve in the particular instance not what is beneficial or convenient to the adult volunteer.

LongHaul

 

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LH,

 

I failed to communicate effectively, so let me try again. The mundane items are the everyday tasks in Scouting that people ask about, such as, BsOR, sash wearing, hat selection which can be compared to the discussions about the economy, the war, the national debt which are less common subjects in Scouting. My target idea was directed more at the reason behind the questions that people ask no matter what type. Their inquiry may really be deeper and more meaningful than what is on the surface, such as needing, friendship, small talk, interaction. When a person rushes to reply with a quote, then it may be that they are viewed as being high handed, unfriendly, unwilling to share a little extra time. Judging the subject matter by the use of a quick answer may result in being dismissive when a establishing a level of trust first would have brought about the needed reply. So, answers may not be as important as the process.

FB

 

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Just found out that the Federal courts have thrown out all the evidence in the case I was referring to, you know the one where they found all the cash stuffed in the freezer. (The evidence was thrown out and the case dismissed the cash?) Anyway the Justice Dept was investigating this guy for taking bribes. They went in and found the cash and took documents from his office among which were documents pertaining to the congressman's voting record. The courts have ruled it an illegal search because the warrant listed the documents pertaining to voting and that type of information is protected under the law. This guy's rights and the "sanctity" of a congress person's office were protected by the very laws the "offended" congresspeople were so eager to circumvent. God I love this country, never a dull moment.

 LongHaul

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While I don't want to defend the Congressman who had the "cold cash," I do have to point out that Constitutional protections are there to protect the innocent, but that means that occasionally they protect the guilty, too. In this case, the Constitutional protection is there to prevent the executive branch from intimidating the legislative branch by engaging in unjustified searches of Congressional offices. The Congressmen who are complaining don't necessarily think that Jefferson is innocent--they are concerned about a future case in which a President or Attorney General wants to search THEIR offices in order to pressure them.

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John-KC;

 

I like your comment about exercising our right to vote. Unfortunately, choosing he best candidate is a lose, lose situation in too many instances. It comes down to choosing the lesser of two poor choices. And integrity in politics seems to be almost extinct in my observation.

 

Another reason to try to keep the values and citizenship elements in the scouting program.

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Eagle Scout Congressman Ike Skelton (D-4th, MO) was just elevated to Honorary Chieftain in the Tribe of Mic-o-Say. He is certainly a solid citizen!

 

Eagle Scout Congressman Sam Graves (R-6th, MO) is featured on the home page of the Pony Express Council BSA. He also is a solid citizen.

 

I am quite cynical regarding most politicians. That said, I've learned there are some who are for the greater good. There are Scouters in Congress!

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Yes, there are scouters in Congress, even some Eagles. And, I am afraid that some appear to have forgotten the meaning of the Oath and Law, based on their actions, or inactions in some cases.

 

Here in the South of California we had one State rep who is an Eagle, and he stepped down due to a major scandal. Just a couple years prior, he had been the featured speaker at an Eagle dinner. How sad.

 

But, there are some who "do their best" still, or at least I hope so. Just tend to be a bit suspicious now adays I am afraid.

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I respect that there needs to be a separation of the branches of government and safe guards. What comes to mind however is the ever popular "If you have nothing to hide why are you worried?" that congress repeatedly offers up as justification for continued attacks on personal liberties. Voting records should be public domain not protected. What are these Congress people hiding and from whom? They don't want the "politics" of government to be made public because if everyone knew the specifics of all the wheeling and dealing they may not like it. If you ran a business and your employees wanted protection from you so you could not look into what they do while on the clock would you find that acceptable? Every elected official works for the people in the area that they serve. They are employees. This may be the oldest established government currently operating but if the American voting public does not wake up and take more interest into how it is being administered it may very well become one of the most corrupt. LongHaul

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