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Am I the only American that cares about performance?





Afaceinthematrix
Seriously... A while back we had the "Summit of the Americas" where a couple dudes working there hired some hookers (which I believe is legal in Colombia - where the event took place) and that's all that the news talked about for weeks. I had to actively go out and search for the issues that were discussed because all the papers cared about was the "scandal" and then those guys were forced to resign. Okay, I guess I can see them being forced to resign because their job was to protect the president - not nail a few hookers.

In the late '90s we had a president that most people thought did extremely well. He cheats on his wife and then lies about and everyone all of a sudden hates him and wants him impeached (well, mostly the Republicans on that one)? Did anyone care about his actual performance?

Now we have this...

Quote:
WASHINGTON - David Petraeus, the retired four-star general renowned for taking charge of the military campaigns in Iraq and then Afghanistan, abruptly resigned Friday as director of the CIA, admitting to an extramarital affair.

The affair was discovered during an FBI investigation, according to officials briefed on the developments. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Petraeus carried on the affair with his biographer and reserve Army officer Paula Broadwell, according to several U.S. officials with knowledge of the situation. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation that led to the resignation publicly.

The FBI discovered the relationship by monitoring Petraeus' emails, after being alerted Broadwell may have had access to his personal email account, two of the officials said.


http://news.msn.com/politics/cia-director-david-petraeus-quits-over-affair


First off, doesn't the FBI have anything more important to do than search emails for dirty little secrets? It's not like he was committing a crime. And now he has to resign because of an affair that is no one's damn business except his, his wife's and his mistress?

Why do people think that job evaluation should be based on unrelated personal lives and dirty laundry instead of actual job performance? Seriously, this dude could cheat on his wife with two dudes and a horse and I simply wouldn't care. All that matters is his ability or inability to perform his job with the CIA!

Any thoughts?
Hello_World
I agree with you. Scandals of a legal and personal nature are completely irrelevant to jobs such as this. I can't see why he had to resign over an affair. It's pretty stupid. I don't have an opinion on this man's work, I don't know him. But I couldn't care less about his sex life. Same with Clinton, Hawke, or any other.
darthrevan
Also I thinobhe may have stepped down because of the bengozi(probably not spelled correctly) issue and I hear since he stepped down he may not even have to testify now
deanhills
There has to be more to it than just an extra-marital affair. FBI said he was not the target of their investigation, so maybe something else came up during the investigation of his girl friend that caused him to resign. Possibly there were security and confidentiality issues involved? If not, it does look petty beyond reason, sort of difficult to understand.

As far as I know Clinton was not nailed because of his extra marital affair. He was nailed because he lied about it.
Afaceinthematrix
deanhills wrote:
There has to be more to it than just an extra-marital affair. FBI said he was not the target of their investigation, so maybe something else came up during the investigation of his girl friend that caused him to resign. Possibly there were security and confidentiality issues involved?


I don't know. I accept the possibility that the media is making this different than it really is. The full story hasn't been released yet. What it sounds like to me, is that they were doing investigations related to something else, found this, and used it as an excuse to get rid of him. I really don't see why he would or should get fired for this.

On a side note, I visited my parents today and argued with my father about it. I was surprised by his position because he is one of the most conservative people I know (in the sense that he's a devout and fundamentalist Christian) and his opinion is that he deserved to get fired because of his position and that his position requires someone to have a high level of honesty; it has nothing to do with morality; it has to do with honesty and the fact that we can't trust someone to not disclose important information or be honest if he is living a lie to his wife.

I can respect this opinion although I do not agree with it. I think that lying to your wife to protect yourself is almost a defense mechanism and doesn't reflect your honesty of on the job important information.

Quote:
As far as I know Clinton was not nailed because of his extra marital affair. He was nailed because he lied about it.


He was. But it was a result of people caring about his personal life, digging into it, and thinking that a stupid affair is more important than the job he performed. No one should ever have even brought up the affair and even if someone did, I would expect the response to "I did not sleep with that woman" being "That's nice; I didn't care anyways. Now go and invest in stem-cell research like you're planning on."


I just found an excellent article by the BBC (which is where I get most of my news from because it's better than MSNBC and definitely better than FOX) that highlights his accomplishments and shows just how puritanical this society can be:

Quote:
he US has lost one of its most admired public servants - the man who came up with the plan which successfully got his country out of one unpopular war, and will get it out of another by 2014.

General David Petraeus took a remarkable amount of experience with him when he went to be the new head of the CIA just over a year ago.

He had commanded the international forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and was probably the cleverest and the most highly-praised soldier of his time.

General Petraeus certainly had more experience of combating terrorism in its different guises than any other military or civilian figure in the Western world.

He rebuilt the entire counterinsurgency strategy of the United States, which had been almost a forgotten subject since the Vietnam war, and created a highly effective blueprint for fighting insurgencies.

For this amount of brain-power and strategic and tactical thinking to be lost to the United States because of an affair with his biographer will no doubt seem to many in Europe and the rest of the world to be completely disproportionate.

But this is not simply another example of the kind of Puritanism which bemuses non-Americans.


Full Article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20280224
Iceaxe0410
I don't actually quite agree for high profile people like for the president. They have a title to uphold as part of their job. They need to keep a clean record to not disgrace the name and our country. Consider how that makes us look if our president was found to live a life of debauchery. While I agree that personal matters like affairs or mistress' should be keep private. I also feel, it's an open book for scrutiny and criticism if it manages to leak out. That's why I feel scandals of that nature should be punished for those in high profile and respected positions. They don't have the luxury to just dismiss it. They made that sacrifice when they took their job position. They aren't in job positions like the common joe where people don't care what you do with your life.

The same kind of applies to the people you were talking about earlier. It's mostly about honor and respect. To do anything that disgraces the person you're supposed to protect, means you failed at your job. It may not be something like an assassination attempt, but it causes harm to the person just as well. My thoughts are the same, it's fine if they do it on their own time provided they don't get caught. If they caught, they should face the consequences of their actions.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned for thinking that way, but I would like to think that officials that represent people of various groups will set a good example for those they represent. It's not something I think that should be taken lightly. Their jobs depends a good amount on their reputation.

Also, to answer your initial question. It's not always about performance. In positions like the military or high profile positions, they have to keep up a good reputation because their jobs depends on it. These people have to negotiate with other parties or countries who may or may not be willing to bargain with them based on their reputation. If their reputation is tarnished, they may lean away from negotiating in their favor. It's politics. Who has the most power and money? Another part of that who is the most respected?
deanhills
I'm sure that with David Petraeus it had to do with confidentiality and exposing the military to leaking of confidential information to an unauthorized person. His girlfriend was accessing his e-mail accounts so through that exposed him to leaking of information to an unauthorized person (whether he had an affair with her or not). I'm dead certain if he had caught any of his staff in a similar way that he would have fired them, regardless of how good they had been at their jobs. So he really had no choice but to offer his resignation.

I don't mind Presidents having affairs, except, they should be smart enough not to be found out. So for me it has more to do with the idiotic way Clinton conducted himself around the affair, in naively choosing on site staff and being completely indiscreet, than the affair itself. Sort of totally undignified and dumb. If one is as undignified and naive as that, then one would be worried about how he conducted his work as a President as well.
c'tair
I think this is a sign of the great decline. Cynical, I know, but it's the only way my mind can explain the fact of the extremely sorry state of most of mass media. The only reliable sources of news that actually seem to adhere to the journalist code of ethics are online and they are few and far between.

Most of the stuff I spot on TV by chance is just garbage like love affairs of CIA officials. Why would anyone care about that? What's more - why is everyone so interested in somebody else's private matters? Is this the same pill that series producers (like Dr. House and whatnot) give to the people? Is voyeurism so enticing? Are people's lives so boring that they have to latch onto fictional (or not) lives for amusement?

I know it seems kinda harsh, but this is one of the few issues that extremely rustles my jimmies. There's so much stuff to do , to learn, to explore and people fall for... this garbage?
Afaceinthematrix
c'tair wrote:
Are people's lives so boring that they have to latch onto fictional (or not) lives for amusement?


I think that this is taking it one step too far. You like fictional lives too. It might be in movies, books, music or some other source of entertaining. I read a lot of nonfiction but I like my share of fiction and I'll get into a series and read the books nonstop until I'm finish. I remember the first time that I ever saw the show Firefly, I marathoned it all day because it was simply amazing.

People like fiction and they always have. Fiction isn't the sign of the great decline or else we'd have been gone thousands of years ago. Fiction has always existed and I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, fiction is mostly the same. Shakespeare was popular and has remained popular because he talked about sex and violence. What do people like now? Sex and violence.

I think that the issue is people caring about other people's real-life personal lives and, furthermore, basing the opinion of someone's job on it. I have nothing wrong with fiction; it's part of what we do for entertainment.
darthrevan
Yeah I don't care about politics love.life. Though what makes it worse is when they lie about it. I see two views about it. One is they are suppose to be leaders so in a sense they should lead faithful and not lying about issues. On the other hand it is their personal life that I don't want to even know about.
c'tair
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
c'tair wrote:
Are people's lives so boring that they have to latch onto fictional (or not) lives for amusement?


I think that this is taking it one step too far. You like fictional lives too. It might be in movies, books, music or some other source of entertaining. I read a lot of nonfiction but I like my share of fiction and I'll get into a series and read the books nonstop until I'm finish. I remember the first time that I ever saw the show Firefly, I marathoned it all day because it was simply amazing.

People like fiction and they always have. Fiction isn't the sign of the great decline or else we'd have been gone thousands of years ago. Fiction has always existed and I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, fiction is mostly the same. Shakespeare was popular and has remained popular because he talked about sex and violence. What do people like now? Sex and violence.

I think that the issue is people caring about other people's real-life personal lives and, furthermore, basing the opinion of someone's job on it. I have nothing wrong with fiction; it's part of what we do for entertainment.


Pardon me if I came off as attacking fiction itself, which I also quite like. I was referring to the almost unhealthy fascination with gossip or what the media serves us. I've met people who seem to be almost programmed by this, it's as if their whole inner world is a direct reflection of what's on TV. They never travel, they don't learn, they don't experience anything besides the ordinary... but they can talk all about what happened in some tv show, about the presidential campaign, about someone cheating on someone else. All of their views are mirrored on what they see on TV - they just accept everything aimed at them without question without actually getting into anything deeper.

To me it just seems like they don't have a life of their own to talk about so they need other people's lives. I don't wanna sound like some angst teen who thinks he's special or like http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/sheeple.png , but there are people who are active and it's amazing to hear them speak about their own experiences and there are people who can only talk of stuff other people did.
darthrevan
also most of the media is liberal and not completely accurate either. You can very rarely find a media service that will tell the complete truth or mostly.
jmraker
There's also the fact that anyone who knew about the career ending skeletons in his closet could have blackmailed him into doing anything, and have leverage over him. At worst if the people who vetted him knew about it (they would have if they did their job because he was having the affair while he was vetted) they could use him or at least create the scandal whenever they wanted the media to get off the scent of the career ending skeletons in their (the vetters) closet.

Having the head of the CIA under blackmail isn't a good thing I bet.
darthrevan
jmraker wrote:
There's also the fact that anyone who knew about the career ending skeletons in his closet could have blackmailed him into doing anything, and have leverage over him. At worst if the people who vetted him knew about it (they would have if they did their job) they could use him or at least create the scandal whenever they wanted the media to get off the scent of the career ending skeletons in their (the vetters) closet.

Having the head of the CIA under blackmail isn't a good thing I bet.


Yeah it isn't a good thing. Maybe we will get a CIA Director that won't disclose of secrets either.
deanhills
jmraker wrote:
There's also the fact that anyone who knew about the career ending skeletons in his closet could have blackmailed him into doing anything, and have leverage over him. At worst if the people who vetted him knew about it (they would have if they did their job because he was having the affair while he was vetted) they could use him or at least create the scandal whenever they wanted the media to get off the scent of the career ending skeletons in their (the vetters) closet.

Having the head of the CIA under blackmail isn't a good thing I bet.
Well said jmraker. Must have been the reason he had to resign as well. Just isn't done in his line of work.
ocalhoun
jmraker wrote:
There's also the fact that anyone who knew about the career ending skeletons in his closet could have blackmailed him into doing anything, and have leverage over him. At worst if the people who vetted him knew about it (they would have if they did their job because he was having the affair while he was vetted) they could use him or at least create the scandal whenever they wanted the media to get off the scent of the career ending skeletons in their (the vetters) closet.

Having the head of the CIA under blackmail isn't a good thing I bet.


Exactly!
Having a secret affair makes him a blackmail risk, and being a blackmail risk makes him a security risk... and having a security risk as head of the CIA is a very bad idea.
THAT is why it's a big deal.
(Though of course the media explodes with the whole sex scandal thing...)


...That said... I don't buy it. I kinda suspect it's all an act, a cover story for something else. For this to happen immediately after an election seems too much of a coincidence. I suspect there's some (secret) real reason he had to step down, and this whole story was invented to give a reason for it that was safe for public consumption.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
...That said... I don't buy it. I kinda suspect it's all an act, a cover story for something else. For this to happen immediately after an election seems too much of a coincidence. I suspect there's some (secret) real reason he had to step down, and this whole story was invented to give a reason for it that was safe for public consumption.
Interesting perspective. Can make sense. Although, wouldn't the story of a mistress, if it were not true, be overly destructive if it were to be used for a cover up? He could simply have resigned for health reasons for example?
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