Empty Exercises © was originally phrased in 2005 by John Nichols, then The Nation's Washington D.C. Correspondent in an article called "An Empty Exercise in Deceit" on Friday, January 21, 2005. The article was about President G.W. Bush's second inaugural address
It discussed the first term of GWB and he suggested that the second term wouldn't be any better. He discussed Iraq and Bush's deliberate misreading of intelligence information that lead us into that situation, and he thought that there was no indication whatsoever that he had learned from the mistakes and misdeeds of his first term.
Mr. Nichols brought out Empty Exercises by Mr. Bush: "America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling." Sounds great doesn't it? But, "did anyone read that as an abandonment of the doctrine of preemptive war that served as an excuse for the unilateral invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq during the President's first term? The article goes on to explain several areas where Americans were deceived.
The article brings forth several areas that we citizens must watch our politicians and our wallets.
A concept that is common of politicians everywhere: The Hallow Law. A politician's constituency is upset about a specific problem in his district. Let's say, tainted water by a chemical plant that is harming the people down river. The people organize, an interest group, they do everything correct; they bring their problem to their representative. The politician is concerned about the problem and takes their concerns under advisement and will get back to them as soon as possible. What the interest group doesn't know is, the owners of the chemical plant gave the Congressman money for his campaign, the Congressman owes them a favor, so, the Congressman calls the owner of the factory and the owner is asked to write a bill for a law prohibiting the chemical factory from putting chemicals in the river. The interest group sees the bill move forward and moves smoothly through Congress and is signed by the President. After the bill is enacted, the interest group people test the water and see that the chemical plant is still putting chemicals into the river. They are furious--they haven't been active for a while and can't get too many people excited about something they thought they had solved. When the interest group goes to the representative and asks why they are still putting chemicals into the river, the Representative looks over the signed bill and finds a small paragraph explaining that this bill applies to chemical plants with more than 20,000 square feet of operation, the plant up the river from the people only has 10,000 square feet, thus the bill does not apply to that plant because it falls under the 20,000 sq.ft floor.
The people did everything correct, except having a watchdog go over the bill before it was adopted, having paragraphs ready for insertion into the bill and having the watchdog make sure it was inserted, checking on the size of the plant, and making sure their representative worked for them.
The bill, now a law looked great from the outside, just as a hallow log looks, but the inside of the log was deteriorated by ants, termites small and large animals just as members of "Free Enterprise" eat away at perfectly well-intentioned "bills" so that they are protected from the "rule of the citizens". The reason they wanted the chemicals dumped into the river was: 1. It was easy, 2. It was cost effective, 3. They didn't care for where ever or whomever was damaged, all they cared about was the bottom line profit.
If you know any "Empty Exercises" that you would like to comment about, please feel free to discuss them in the comment section below.