Category Archives: Government & Politics

Angelina Jolie’s Worse-Than-Useless Syrian Lament

JolieAngelina Jolie has a solution to the Syrian civil war, the strategy Barack Obama is searching for! She said, solemnly, I’m sure:

“We need to see a new attempt to resolve the conflict and greater efforts to support more than 13 million Syrians who are in desperate need. The reputation and credibility of the international system is at stake with so many thousands of lives threatened in Syria.

Yes! Why didn’t anyone think of that? We need to resolve the conflict! Of course, Jolie would never approve of armed intervention, because she believes in non-violence. No, what is needed is, well, an attempt. You can read the rest of her noble, fatuous, narcissistic plea here.

I’m certain this will further enhance Ms. Jolie’s status as a humanitarian among the actress’s many sensitive, peace-loving followers. It would not surprise me if she adds to her list of awards because of it. Her words are worthy of the Pope, but to be fair, making empty, inspiring statements full of non-committal goodness is his job.

Whatever Jolie thinks she is accomplishing by making such an obvious, useless, pointless statement and having the news media duly report it as if she knew anything whatsoever about geopolitical tensions or could begin to suggest what “attempts” would consist of,  what she is in fact doing is exploiting an international tragedy to gild her own perceived virtue. Her statement advances no objective or contributes any wisdom. Indeed, it interferes with legitimate efforts to deal with this difficult situation, because such statements mislead the public about the painful, indeed ugly trade-offs and choices necessary to deal with despots and evil in the world.   I’m sure, if pressed to suggest what attempts she, in all her Hollywood-infused wisdom regarding foreign affairs, would advocate, she would insist that they be humanitarian in nature, and take into consideration the needs of all parties, as well as the root causes that lead to such violence and disruption. In other words, something. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Character, Government & Politics, Quotes, War and the Military

Sen. Gillibrand and The Pigs

"I yield to the distinguished gentleman from the sty..."

“I yield to the distinguished gentleman from the sty…”

People magazine revealed an intriguing bit of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) new memoir, “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice to Change the World” that suggests that members of the Senate are not the “Distinguished Gentlemen” they are supposed to be, at least when it comes to basic manners involving female colleagues:

“Gillibrand isn’t especially offended by her coworkers’ remarks. ‘It was all statements that were being made by men who were well into their 60s, 70s or 80s,’ she says. ‘They had no clue that those are inappropriate things to say to a pregnant woman or a woman who just had a baby or to women in general.’ ”

Now some critics on the Right are using this as a “gotcha!”, suggesting that Gillibrand is protecting Democrats from negative attention for the same kinds of conduct that Gillibrand’s party and colleagues are quick to use against Republicans in its “war on women” strategy.

This accusation is beyond disingenuous, not to mention stupid. If Gillibrand were to publicly accuse a GOP colleague of such conduct, she would be accused, by these same critics, of being a hysteric, a bad colleague, unprofessional and petty—and they would be right. No professional woman responds to this kind of crude, obnoxious, “Look! I’ve-been-hiding-in-since-1970,” training-wheels harassment by making a public accusation that embarrasses not just the individual at fault but the organization they both work for. For Gillibrand to do this in the U.S. Senate would instantly make her a pariah even in her own party.

More importantly, it would be wrong. Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Professions, Workplace

The Nine-Year-Old and the Uzi: A Case Study In News Media Public Opinion Manipulation

no-guns-banner

In White Hills, Arizona, a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot a firing range instructor when he handed her an Uzi on full automatic setting and she lost control of the weapon. That was a tragedy, but there have been thousands of newsworthy tragedies in the six days since that story first appeared, and yet the media is still bombarding us with stories about it. Why?

The episode itself is not very complicated. A foolish parent allowed his daughter to use a dangerous instrumentality that was beyond her maturity level to handle, and a negligent instructor paid with his life for a moment of hideous judgment and negligence. That’s it. It’s a one day story. Today, in the category of horrible accidents involving children, we should be reading about the little girl—same age–who died on a beach yesterday when a sand hole someone had dug collapsed on her. And the most recent infant left in a car to broil to death. Yet the Sunday morning TV shows all managed to mention the shooting range incident, and today I am still seeing articles like this one. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Senator Landrieu’s Corrupting Lie

Moon and Mary. If home is where the heart is, she's probably OK.

Moon and Mary. If home is where the heart is, she’s probably OK.

This is a fact: Mary Landrieu, the Democratic senator from  Louisiana, doesn’t live in that state, hasn’t for years, and nobody believes she does.

She and her husband, who, unlike the Senator, doesn’t even pretend to live in the Bayou State, live in what the Washington Post calls “a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.”  The problem, or what should be a problem, is that Louisiana, by law, requires its U.S. Senators to really and truly live there. Louisiana’s Election Code states that a U.S. senator must be “an inhabitant of Louisiana when elected,” and Landrieu is hoping to be elected, which in her case means re-elected in November.

They are clever in Louisiana, so Landrieu, wink-wink-nudge-nudge, claims that she resides in the New Orleans neighborhood of Broadmoor in the home where her  parents, Moon (yes, Moon) and Verna live.  The Post explains that Verna Landrieu jointly owns the house with Nineland Partnership, a limited liability corporation the family set up for the estate planning purposes. Senator Landrieu and her eight siblings, who all grew up in the house, have equal stakes in the partnership.

She does not, in fact, live there. The other families ion the neighborhood all admit that they have never seen her.  Yet when she signed papers, under oath, establishing that she was running again for U.S. Senator, though Senator Landrieu’s  statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission  listed her Capitol Hill home as her address,  she listed her parents home as her residence to qualify for the ballot in Louisiana last week. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Family, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

Ethics Hero: Judge Richard Posner

Sure, you have a right to think there's something wrong with that, but the state has no business acting as if it thinks so too.

Sure, you have a right to think there’s something wrong with that, but the state has no business acting as if it thinks so too.

Because Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court was appointed by Ronald Reagan, he is usually describes as a conservative judge. He’s better described as an unusually smart, articulate, thoughtful and courageous judge, and in responding to oral arguments  lawyers for Wisconsin and Indiana defending their state’s marriage bans, he proved it.

I have frequently attempted to draw a distinction between those guided by archaic religious morality that causes them to regard same-sex marriage as sinful, and the attempt to use the government, which must not be guided by religion to make such marriages illegal. Morality doesn’t have to be defended by logic—God works in mysterious ways, you know—but laws do. A complete evisceration emanating from a place of authority of the specious and often absent reasoning behind gay marriage bans was much needed, and knowing that he risked criticism as a “judicial bully” for doing so with gusto, Judge Posner came through.

Here is a sampling of the barrage he placed on Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher and Wisconsin’s assistant attorney general Timothy Samuelson: Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Heroes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunce and Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Rep. Peter King (R-NY)

President Obama, disgracing us all.

President Obama, disgracing us all.

It is fools like Rep. Peter King who make it so easy for partisans in the media to diminish anything any Republican says, and to dismiss all criticism of President Obama, even when it is legitimate.

But it’s even worse than that.

Long Island Republican Representative Peter King thought Obama’s tan suit was inappropriate for him to appear in while commenting on anti-terrorist policies. Not a bunny costume, not a hula skirt, not a barrel and two straps, mind you. A tan suit and a tie. (The President looked great; if only he sounded one-tenth as impressive as he looked.) King—I can’t believe I’m writing this— actually said..

“There’s no way, I don’t think, any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday. I mean, you have the world watching. For him to walk out — I’m not trying to be trivial here — in a light suit, a light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about, and he said that’s the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy. This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded, and he’s trying to act like, you know, real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say that he has no strategy.”

I’m not going to insult anyone reading here by explaining why the tan suit indictment is so bizarre, foolish and wrong. King’s comments, however, transcended his idiotic sartorial indictment. By combining this silly, silly, silly complaint—personally, I find Peter King’s brain inappropriate—with substantive criticism, he allowed the Masters of Spin at the White House and elsewhere to trivialize any criticism of the President’s statement yesterday, and it deserved to be criticized.

How can any objective and rational citizen respect a political party that includes in its leadership someone so jaw-droppingly stupid as to not merely think this, which is bad enough, but not to realize the damage he does to the public trust in Congress, the government, and his party by  saying it in public?

We are being governed by hysterics, children and boobs.

God Save The United States of America.

______________________

Facts and Graphic: New York Magazine

 

 

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials

Unethical Quote of the Month: President Obama

“We don’t have a strategy yet.”

President Barack Obama, responding to a question regarding the military response to ISIS in Iraq and Stria.

But hey, there’s no rush!

no-we-cantI don’t enjoy beating dead horses, I don’t like using Ethics Alarms to pile on, and I try not to say I told you so. However, if you were looking for a statement that constitutes signature significance of this man’s complete lack of fitness to serve as a leader of anything more complicated or important than a Rotary Chapter, this is it. Let’s see:

  • It is an admission of inattention to duty.
  • It is a confession of incompetence.
  • Coming on the heels of studied disengagement via fundraisers and golfing, it is proof of neglect.
  • In the context of Obama’s reported focus on illegal immigration and climate change, it demonstrates warped priorities
  • It is frightening, and
  • Even if  true, this is an irresponsible thing to say in public if you want to be taken seriously as Commander-in-Chief and as a world leader.

It is depressing to read the comments of desperate Democratic Obama enablers on various websites. One said, “You don’t reveal to your enemy that you have a strategy!” No, you utter fool, you don’t reveal to your enemy what your strategy is. (Obama has done this too, in Iraq and Afghanistan.) If you believe world leaders benefit by acting as if they just walked off the street with no clue what they are doing, perhaps Obama’s next brilliant ploy should be to appear wearing a propeller beanie and speak like stroke victim. That should really fool ‘em!

Finance blogger Jeffrey Carter explains why the answer is so alarming and ominous (though, I have to say, it shouldn’t be surprising): Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, War and the Military