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Rewards and punishment in the Bush administration

March 1, 2007


It may be a part of human nature to try to reward your friends and punish your enemies. This happens in government when administrations change. It comes with the job and it’s expected. There is a point, however, when this is taken too far. This is when those elected by the people to serve them use their power to reward and punish to hire less than the best person for a job and fire highly competent officials.

Here are two examples.

“I didn’t give them what they wanted. That was probably a political problem that caused them to go to the White House or whomever and complain that I wasn’t a team player.” fired New Mexico U.S. attorney David C. Iglesias who is alleging that political pressure from Republicans related to a criminal investigation played a role in his dismissal.


Sam Fox has been nominated to be the new U.S. ambassador to Belgium. He’s a wealthy businessman who donates heavily to Republican causes and gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign of lies which were instrumental in the defeat of John Kerry.

This is but a small part of what he said under intense questioning by Senator Kerry:

Kerry: So, again, I ask you the question, do you think now that you and others bear responsibility for thinking about where we put money in American politics? What we’re saying, what we present to the American people — is truth important or isn’t it?

Fox: Senator, if I had reason to believe and if I were convinced that the money was going to be used to, in any untruthful or false way, knowingly, I would not give.


This isn’t to say that Democrats don’t do the same thing. Some of the House appointments by Nancy Pelosi come to mind. But she a virtual amateur compared to Bush and his administration.

The Bushites have run amok tossing rewards and punishments with abandon.

The Bush White House runs the government like Mayor Richard J. Daley ran Chicago and its Democratic machine, although hardly as efficiently. They have given out so many political plums to unqualified people that it’s a testament to career civil servants that our government hasn’t fallen totally apart.

Administration punishments range from firing officials like Mr. Iglesias to this unbelievable piece of news as reported in The Army Times:

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training. LINK

I think that many people can overlook a lawyer making a fairly good salary getting dismissed for not playing footsie with the politicians.

But hopefully this latest news about trying to punish wounded veterans because some of them have talked to reporters just may be the straw that breaks the back of the Bush camel. I hope it is.

(Hal Brown is a clinical social worker and former mental health center director who is mostly retired from his private psychotherapy practice. He writes on the psychopathology of public figures and other topics that pique his interest. He can be found online at www.stressline.com)

27 Responses to Rewards and punishment in the Bush administration

  1. ms

    March 1, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    One of the ways to measure how corrupt a government is to look at its commitment to good governance. Generally speaking, Republicans, because of their anti-governement ideology, fall short on governance. The Bush administration, however, has taken this tendency to new heights. It’s never a question of trying to get a job done for the good of the country. It’s always a question of how to reward loyal Republicans. What Bush has done is reveal the fatal flaw of democracy, where mob rule rules without any regard to achieving desired results.

  2. Big Al

    March 1, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Let’s add Veterans Administration Secretary Jim Nicholson to the list- who’s only qualification appears to be he was Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Unless you want to include his experience as a home developer. After the recent revelations of deficient VA care for vets, lets all say “Heck-of-a-job Jim!”

  3. Bill Jonke

    March 1, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    The bush administration contains nothing but tokens, trinkets and toadies, each one of itself, ineffectual, and all three put together a tried and true recipe for disaster.

  4. Wayne K Dolik

    March 1, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Another victim of the Bush Administration is more than a few Federal U.S. Attorneys who got their pink slips from the Bush Administration’s minions. One such case was my own U.S. Attorney of San Diego, Ms. Carol Lam. Ms. Lam brought Duke Cunningham (Congressman), Wilkes (Govt Contractor) and Dusty Foggo (CIA) to trial.

    Her reward? She got fired. They’re trying hard in Washington to turn America into a Third World Country.

  5. Dave Kaufman

    March 1, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Remember the Bush/Cheney CIA Director that got the pre-Iraq war intelligence so wrong and was forced to resign. A month or so later old slam dunk was given the nations higest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom by the president. Ouch!

  6. Hal Brown

    March 1, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Wayne, the following is from the TPM Muckraker site:


    … as the Senate Judiciary Committee moves towards issuing subpoenas for the ousted prosecutors, the House seems to be moving faster.


    The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law will vote tomorrow on whether to issue subpoenas to four of the fired U.S. attorneys:


    California’s Southern District’s CAROL LAM,


    Nevada’s David Iglesias,


    Arkansas’ Eastern District’s H.E. “Bud” Cummins,


    and Washington’s Western District’s John McKay.


    If the committee did issue subpoenas, the attorneys would testify next Thursday, according to the press release from Chairwoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA).

  7. Judy

    March 1, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Most citizens of the USA know that this administration has been leading us down the road to ruin in the fast lane. The amazing thing is that no matter how many of us knw this..we cannot seem to get it to stop. We screemed loud and clear last Nov. to be heard and there were changes in Congress. But Bush/Cheney are still the president (Dictator) thus the deadly expensive crimes, lies, deceptions continue on

    seemingly unabated.

    I have reached the point that until the

    real axis of evil(Bush/Cheney/Rove and henchemen)is out of the White House there is NOTHING that we can do. So….if any of you have the answers of an actual yet legal way we can change things before then..please let us hear from you.

  8. Joe Lawrence

    March 1, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    When the head of the VA openly, on television states firmly that “there are only 600 or so amputees” being cared for by the VA, and NOT ONE FUCKING REPORTER makes an issue of that claim, what other result is to be expected?

    And I say, here again, only 100,000 or so folks attended the Jan. 2th March on the Capitol, so what other result is to be expected?

    The same people go out into the streets, and the same people sit at their computers, so what other result is to be expected?

    I will say it is becoming far easier for my wife and I to be out there protesting, because we have very few other social obligations. Our nearly-former friends and relatives are uneasy around us, so we are not often invited to other events.

    Maybe everyone else has more friends remaining? Friends who, you know, don’t do nuance?

  9. Kent Shaw

    March 1, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Hey, Joe. Will you be in Washington on March 17? I will. For whatever good it will do…

  10. Sandy Price

    March 1, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Just announced! Maj. General Weightman has been relieved of duty from the Walter Reed Hospital. Good Riddance!

  11. Political Waves » No longer blind …

    March 1, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    […] Rewards and punishment in the Bush administration HAL BROWN, Capital Hill Blue Thursday, March 1st, 2007 […]

  12. Fritz

    March 1, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Just in case it has not been said before, George W. Bush is a chicken-shit. He won’t go or send those he is close to, but he has no trouble whatsoever in sending your child to die in Iraq.

    BTW I am a Vietnam veteran if you have any doubts.

  13. Boots

    March 2, 2007 at 1:17 am

    The Bush family has more blood on their hands than the Mafia. May they all burn in hell for eternity. Every damn one of them, along with all of their friends and their families.

  14. Ray

    March 2, 2007 at 4:17 am

    Prescott Bush: made millions trading with the Hitler Regime, financing. Paid a million dollar fine.

    GHW Bush: CIA involvement in JFK assaination. FOIA document found, he says it was another george bush, excused.

    GHW Bush: CIA involvement Afganistan heroine production, cocaine, guns, sandanistas. Saudi business partners.

    Announcer of the NWO. Sponsor of NAFTA.

    Neal Bush: Security of WTC up untill 911. Security Dulles Airport untill 911.

    Jeb Bush: Florida Governor, voting scandel, fraud, excused.

    Barbara Bush: Allester Crowleys daughter. too scary to go there.

    Other Bushes: One son is paroled, others, don’t know.

    GHW Bush quote” If Americans knew what us Bushes have done to them, they would run us down and hang us” un-quote.

    Yes Boots, they will burn if there is a Hell.

    Oh, almost forgot GW.

    Worst Gov. Texas ever had.

    Shirked Nat. Guard Service.

    Failed at all business adventures.

    Cocaine, Alcohol Addict

    Knocked up a colored gal, she sued,then died.

    Installed President by Supreme Court.

    Stole second Term. Diebold, vote manipulation.

    Involvement in 911. Fought official investigation, cut funding investigation. Refused to testify under oath and record. Told 6,004 lies. Gutted the US Constitution, ordered wire taps, mail scanning, rescinded all rights to fair trial, enabled military in police duty, torture ok, warrantless arrests ok, eternal incarceration ok, allows uncontrolled illegal immigration, screwed victims of Katrina,

    waived all laws with signing orders, told another 2,000 lies, plans to start ww3, decides who lives and who dies,gives the rich tax breaks, cuts education and health care, bans photos of soldier caskets / bags unloading from

    the undeclared illegal war on terrorism,

    gives importasnt positions to unqualified toadies, fires anyone who disagrees, lies about being a christian,

    lies to the people,embarassed the nation, weakened the nation, bankrupt the nation, sold out the nation, and more.

    Other than that, he is a great guy!

  15. Lysistrata

    March 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Like a child the prince used to say ” I am a leader, I am a war president, I am a decider” What ever catches his fancy. It is all a game to him, he only needs to go to photo ops and make empty speeches and leave the chopper waving every day. He never has to do an honest days work, and truly believes the nation has to serve him and his friends.That is the way he was brought up, no responsibility for that boy.

  16. William

    March 2, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    It’s hard to believe how people are blinded by this man crying treason about with anyone who don’t like what they do.Well if you want real treason just watch in the internet how This President sat in a Florida classroom for who knows how long When we were attaked on 9/11/01

  17. GlennK

    March 2, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Whose surprised by any of this? This is the same bunch of fucking hypocrites that had the unmitigated balls to lecture America about character 6 yrs. ago!! Character!! What kind of character has this admin. been shown to have? NONE!! Or maybe LOW is more like it. These people have been compared to the Mafia but I find that insulting to the Mafia. The Mafia would have already won the War in Iraq and BL would be long dead. No Bu$h’s crowd is more like Frat Boys gone Crazy.

  18. Jeffery Haas

    March 3, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Veterans it is time for another BONUS MARCH.

  19. Kent Shaw

    March 2, 2007 at 1:43 pm


    George Bush is the kind of guy I’d like to have a beer with. So I could smash a full bottle over his head.


  20. The South Point

    March 2, 2007 at 9:12 am

    G.W. Bush is my he-ee-ro-o-o…

  21. Rob kezelis

    March 1, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Who would have thought our country was coming to this? Who would have imagined in their worst nightmare that everything America once stood for would dissappear among military gag orders, swiftboaters as diplomats and fired US attorneys?

  22. Ray

    March 1, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Rob, actually several like Alex Jones for one, but the media works very hard to muffle those who try to awaken the sheeples of the neocon takeover

  23. Hal Brown

    March 1, 2007 at 3:21 pm



    I am gratified to see the mainstream media covering the shameful Walter Reed story.


    Here’s the latest on the story about the firing of U.S. attorneys:

    ——- —— QUOTE ——

    Assoicated Press – Senate Democrats are moving to compel some of the eight U.S. attorneys who have been ousted to tell their stories publicly, under oath, after a federal prosecutor claimed he was fired for political reasons.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee this week will send letters to the dismissed attorneys asking for their voluntary testimony, according to fellow Democrat Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) of New York.

    The prosecutors have privately told the committee that they would not testify voluntarily, but would honor a congressional subpoena, according to Schumer.


    LINK: copy and paste




    —— UNQUOTE ——

    I hope public outrage grows, and Congress investigates both of these and that the approproate heads roll.

  24. TRUTH 101

    March 1, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Now retired with 24 years honorable service, this is certainly no surprize for a military person, but perhaps to a civilian. FOX is making a career out of shoring up this failed BUSH Administration by talking to soldiers who say on camera exactly what they are either told to say or it is known way in advance they will say. This of course is OK

    Yes, Hal is very correct. This Administration has in fact run amok with rewards to friends and contributors competent or qualified for a job or contract or not. The first person that comes to mind is the current Homeland Security Chief, Michael Chertoff.

    YET, this administration has gotten away with it for the last 6 years and KNOWS that NO-ONE will take them into account. so the favors get doled out non-stop.

    Ask bunnatine greenhouse. a twenty year veteran and highly competent and decorated or praised employee. Crossed Dick Cheney she did with saying no bid, sole source contracts were wrng when they were and punishment was swift.

    The awful part of this was and still is about many stories like hers and others, we hear it reported once or twice and then it’s forgotten by the media who these days completes very few stories that cry out for completion. If it fills 21 minutes each night at 6 PM that’s good enough. Next STORY

    NO !! IT ISN’T

  25. Electric Bill

    March 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Bush/Cheney have run this administration and unfortunately, this nation into the ground and for want of a better term, turned our administrative process into something resembling a large diverse banana republic. Certainly, they have same ethical sensibilities and level of honesty as the average tin hat dictator.

  26. Ray

    March 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Example-Micheal Brown and the Katrina Disaster. John Bolten-Ambassador Nominee, thank goodness he got cut. Just two of favor based rewarded positions with no credentials to qualify competence.

  27. Ric Carter

    March 1, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Some may remember how this started, how this administration was installed by a suborned Supreme Court after massive pre- and post-election fraud, installed over nary a whimper from the lapdog Demo leadership. This administration has never been tainted by legitimacy. They have always acted like thieves given open access to a treasury, looting and littering as fast and far as possible, tinhorn dictators with unchecked power.

    Why haven’t the ‘opposition’ raised an outcry over these past six years? Are they afraid of being wellstoned, killed for challenging the monumental abuse of power? Why do they still refuse to contemplate impeachment? Of what use is an ‘opposition’ that doesn’t oppose?

    This isn’t over yet. The looting and spoils, punishments and rewards, and especially the war crimes, will continue. The administration’s sponsors went to a lot of trouble and expense in installing them — don’t expect them to relinquish power voluntarily. Expect the worst, and you won’t be disappointed.