FAILURE STANDARDS! Brilliant Political Concept From 1982 British Sitcom “Yes, Minister”: Major Legislation Such As War Funding Must Include Parameters Which Signify Its Own Failure – It Could End Profit Wars & T.A.R.P.s!
Tabacco: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Republican Apologists would have to justify, beforehand, any Financial Legislation, which granted Tax Breaks to the Rich and Corporate on the basis of their “Future Investments” in the Depressed Economy!
If those Have-Mores and “Too Big To Fail” Corporations did not invest, loan or make those funds accessible (in preordained quantities) in that Depressed Economy by such and such a date, those “Socialized Corporate Loans”, T.A.R.P.s or “Rebates To The Well-Healed”, would have to be returned to the Lenders, the American People, with INTEREST!
Why? Because the “FAILURE STANDARDS” would not have been met!
When George W. Bush demanded we GO TO WAR IN IRAQ because Saddam Hussein was somehow complicit in America’s 9/11/2001 re FALSE WITNESSES they knew were false, Bush’s Regime would have had to substantiate those charges BEFOREHAND with “unbiased” Proof, and a hog-tied Saddam Hussein, together with a helpless Osama bin Laden, would have to be delivered by such and such dates or the War would end toute suite, and the Funds appropriated would have to be returned to the Treasury by – in that instance the Republican National Committee! Bushites would also have to abide by unremitting Time Limits to Foreign Military Actions to prevent Perpetual For Profit Wars.
Too good to be true? Yes! However, FAILURE STANDARDS would have to precede the Act, and that would be a startling improvement on what we now have – PROPAGANDA, LIES & FEAR-WAR ACTIVISM!
And Propaganda Retread ‘If we leave Iraq now, there would be Civil War’ would be useless and subordinate to those FAILURE STANDARDS – with due respect to the originator of that unproven prediction, Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England in 1920! Yes, folks, that’s where it originated! Not in the mind of Karl Rove as you probably suspected! Rove merely read history and RECYCLED!
Without FAILURE STANDARDS, once the deed is done or not done, proof of the prediction’s validity is a moot point! Once initiated, stopping Wars for Profit is like stopping a freight train on a dime!
Episode Two: The Challenge
Sir Arnold: Life is so much easier when ministers think they’ve achieved something; it stops them fretting, and their little temper tantrums.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but now he wants to introduce his next idea.
Sir Arnold: A minister with two ideas? I can’t remember when we last had one of those.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [talking about nuclear fallout shelters] Well, you have the weapons; you must have the shelters.
James Hacker: I sometimes wonder why we need the weapons.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Minister! You’re not a unilateralist?
James Hacker: I sometimes wonder, you know.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, then, you must resign from the government!
James Hacker: Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I’m not that unilateralist! Anyway, the Americans will always protect us from the Russians, won’t they?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Russians? Who’s talking about the Russians?
James Hacker: Well, the independent deterrent.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: It’s to protect us against the French!
James Hacker: The French?! but they’re our allies!
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, they might be now; but they were our mortal enemies for centuries, and old leopards don’t change their spots.
Tabacco: Above is some repartee from the Episode “The Challenge”. “Yes, Minister” and its successor “Yes, Prime Minister” were the two best British Sitcoms of all time. Hell, they may well be the two Best Sitcoms of all time period!
Here is another clever bit from “Yes, Minister”, which is not particularly humorous, but completely insightful, relevant and current. You have heard these Excuses many times, particularly under the Bush administration. The Excuse Titles, remember, relate to the British experience:
However, the clever political concept, referenced in my title, is not contained in the conversation above, but in the following, which I must transcribe directly from the idiot box. From “The Challenge” episode:
Nigel Hawthorne (Appleby), Paul eddington (Hacker), Derek Fowlds (Woolley)
Dr. Cartwright, Professional Economist & Undersecretary in British government: I’m Dr. Cartwright.
Bernard Wooley: But if I may put it another way, Minister, (looking at Cartwright), “What are you?”
James Hacker, Minister of Affairs in British government (MP): What’s this all about?
Dr. Cartwright: Controlling council expenditure! I’m proposing that all council officials, responsible for a new project, would have to list their criteria for failure before they were given the go-ahead.
James Hacker: What do you mean?
Dr. Cartwright: It’s a basic scientific approach. You must first establish a method of measuring the success or failure of an experiment. Then when it’s completed, you can tell whether it’s succeeded – or failed. They would have to say, “This program will be a failure if it lasts longer than this, or costs more than that, if it employs more staff than these, or fails to meet these preset performance standards.
James Hacker: That’s fantastic! But you could never make it work.
Dr. Cartwright: Of course you can!
Minister Hacker: Ah, Humphrey, come in – sit down!
Sir Humphrey Appleby, Hacker’s Home Civil Service Permanent Secretary: Thank you, Minister.
Hacker: Now, local authorities – what are we going to do? Look, Humphrey, we’ve got to stop this appalling waste and extravagance that’s going on!
Humphrey: Why? (Audience laughter)
Hacker: Well, it’s my job! We’re the government – we were elected to govern.
Humphrey: (smiling condescendingly) Really, Minister! Surely you don’t… (Humphrey sees it as his function to convince the Minister to change his mind whenever the Minister has a “new idea”. In America Republicans do that whenever Democrats have a “new idea” that benefits the working guy.)
Tabacco: Yes, this is a sitcom, but the concept above is political dynamite. Of course no politician would want to supply the “Failure Standards” by which his own legislation will be judged. But what if the Voters insisted it be done!
Republicans could no longer claim that Tax Cuts for the Rich would lead to a better business climate and therefore more Taxes for the Treasury. They would have to add that if business did not appreciate by a certain date and by a certain amount with a concomitant rise in Tax Revenues, their Tax Cut had failed and is therefore reversed back to the date of its installation. All “Refunds” would have to be refunded to the government – how would Wall Street like them apples!
First Bush and then Obama would have to state in advance the “Failure Standards” for the T.A.R.P. legislation such as dates when the monies would have to be paid back, how many loans and for how much those Lenders would have to make by such and such dates as or else the recipients of the T.A.R.P. monies would have to surrender control of those organizations to the government under nationalized stewardship although those organizations could be reprivatized if purchased by different entities upon repayment of the Loans with interest.
George W. Bush, if pursuing War with Iraq, would have to state things such as WMDs must be found by such and such a date, US casualties could not exceed such and such numbers by such and such dates, civilian casualties could not exceed such and such numbers by such and such dates (and unrelated organizations, such as the Red Cross would be empowered to do the body count), we must kill or capture so many al Qaeda by such and such dates, and the Iraqis must meet certain standards regarding the reestablishment of their own government by such and such dates or our Political War had failed and US troops must leave by such and such date. Ideally, the funds advanced for the War in Iraq would have to be refunded by the Republican National Committee – but I guess that is wishing for too much.
But you get the general idea!
All “Earmarks” would have to be justified with “Failure Standards”. All Wars would have to be justified, not with False Witnesses, but with “Failure Standards”. And all basic expenditures would have to be paid for by other Cuts or projected government incomes with “Failure Standards” included in the legislation, which would reverse that legislation if those Standards were not met. At the very least, overstatement and rosy predictions of success would be at an absolute minimum.
PS I found another blogger from the UK on BlogSpot, who beat me to this concept while also using this “Yes, Minister” episode. But I did not get the idea of doing so from him. I thought it up myself. I discovered his Post in a Google “Find” after I had already begun my own.
One Final Note
Failure Standards would apply only to Economic, Military, Foreign Aid, National Security and Financial Legislation, but would not apply to Domestic Social Programs and/or Entitlements, which Republicans would deliberately set up to fail!
Moreover, the FAILURE STANDARDS must be removed from Politicization, which means an Independent Watchdog Group would set those Standards always – not our Washington Political Parties.
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
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