I’ve been listening to some quarterly earnings conference calls for several businesses over the last couple weeks and something struck me during the last one. There are very defined rules for what can be said during these calls as well as most of the rest of the communications that come out of a public company. If a company spokesperson were to lie or misstate something then it would have serious consequences for the company.
So the issue that I don’t understand is that if we can codify and enforce requirements for business people then why can’t we hold our elected officials to a similar level? Why are elections seen as the primary remedy for this sort of conduct? I’m currently convinced that the election system is broken and that nothing short of public financing of elections and non-partial computer generated districts will even begin to fix it.
Officials know that in all of the craziness around election season most of these little lies and misstatements will be drowned out. But if it can be shown that an official has made a false statement, then I think there should be a fine, say from $100 to $50,000 per offense depending on severity and repetition. This money can go back to finance the elections or to some other worthy cause.
You could say that this would have a chilling effect on political discourse and that no one would say anything anymore. I would argue that if someone isn’t sure about what they’re saying they shouldn’t be saying it anyways. The noise would have to stop and we would be left with actual dialog.
Army’s unmanned aerial drone kills for the first time.
A Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle engaged and killed two suspected improvised explosive device emplacers overwatching a major thoroughfare for Coalition Forces during a historic flight near Qayyarah, Iraq, in Nineveh province Sept. 1.
And of course that’s Judgement Day in the Terminator sense.
And it’s also great to know that we’ve developed the technology to distinguish plain clothes militia from teenagers kicking a ball around from 10,000 ft. I wouldn’t want to think that we could make a mistake and drop a guided bomb on a couple innocent kids playing soccer.
I saw two posts today showing that the pendulum of reason is finally swinging back in the right direction. The first was over at Glenn Greenwald’s Blog and deals with making good on the intelligence mistakes of the last several years. Only problem is that it’s the Canadian Government that’s decided to come clean. The US Government still prefers to sweep things under the rug and hope no one looks.
The second piece was by the director of public prosecutions of the UK, Sir Ken Macdonald. Where he discusses the problems with the idea of having a war on terror. I found this post through Bruce Schneier’s Blog and believe that the discussion of the post is worth reading.
Went to see “V for Vendetta” sunday morning and was very pleasantly surprised. I felt the movie was even better than the book. They changed a few aspects of the story and simplified some plot points and toned it down a bit, which all worked together to create a more cohesive story. It’s still a deep movie and you’ve really got to listen to the dialogue to get the full impact of the film, but they didn’t sidestep controversial aspects like the pedophile bishop, but cleaned up the film’s story where the book fell apart a bit at the end.
Definitely worth seeing and with the other movie I saw this weekend, “Goodnight and Good Luck” ,I’m definitely in a bit of a rebelious mood.
Bruce Schneier has an excellent article on why datamining for terrorists isn’t statistically feasible.