This strange and infuriating news story about the autistic child who is about to lose his “therapy chickens” is yet another example of how even the best ethics practices not only have exceptions, but obvious ones. Obvious, that is, except for the muddled thinkers on the DeBary (Florida) City Council, who have decided to harm a young and vulnerable child while turning his family’s life inside out because the needs of one citizen shouldn’t be enough to justify an otherwise unwise public policy. That governing principle is undeniably true…except in this case. And since it is so screamingly obvious that the otherwise sound principle is cruel to apply in this case, it is the perfect, obvious, compassionate instance when making an exception to a rule that works 99.9999% of the time is not only reasonable, but the right thing to do. The city council in question doesn’t comprehend this. Dead-eyed petty bureaucrats seldom do. Continue reading
Category Archives: Incompetent Elected Officials
“A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work? Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” I couldn’t think of one, and it’s the same question I’d been asking myself. The questioner had been the manager of a great institution, a high stakes 24/7 operation with a lot of moving parts. He knew Murphy’s law—if it can go wrong, it will. Managers—presidents—have to obsess, have to put the fear of God, as Mr. Obama says, into those below them in the line of authority. They don’t have to get down in the weeds every day but they have to know there are weeds, and that things get caught in them. It’s a leader’s job… to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful. And this president wasn’t.”
—-Former Reagan muse and current pundit Peggy Noonan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Low-Information Leadership.”
This is, of course, rank incompetence, but worse than that, it is arrogant, willful, shocking and frightening incompetence. It gives me no pleasure to say that I saw the signs of this years ago, for years ago there was reason to be hopeful. Presidents learn, most of them, anyway. This one, without any experience to speak of in governing, management, leadership or even organizational process, not only hasn’t learned, but has never shown the slightest recognition that he has anything to learn. Continue reading
“Unethical Website of the Month” doesn’t really do justice to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, and that’s even with the acknowledgement that this is the same Ethics Alarms category where the racist site Chimpmania is filed. CoveringHealthCareCA.com is an intentional effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in California, the one place where the “signature achievement” of the Obama administration didn’t completely collapse out of the starting gate. For Republican lawmakers to be doing this is beneath contempt, indefensible in every way, and the ethical equivalent of treason. The people who publish Chimpmania are hateful, vicious bigots, but they are marginal citizens and human beings. All societies have scum, and in the 21st Century, some of that scum will have racist websites. That is inevitable. It should not be inevitable for public servants to try to undermine their own government’s laws, health care system, and citizens for political gain.
CoveringHealthCare.com is a false flag website, launched by Republicans in the California Assembly to deceive Californians into believing it is an official Obamacare website, when it is, in truth, an anti-Obamacare website. Its address is similar—CoveringHealthCareCA.com vs. CoveredCa.com, the real site—and its design evokes the actual Obamacare sites. Its apparent purpose is to help citizens navigate the new health insurance system, except that once you begin clicking and reading, it slowly dawns–how slowly will vary— that this is something else, a collection of attacks and talking points against the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading
Patriotism And Citizenship Check Coming For Democrats As The “Golden Dancer” Presidency Nears Its Point Of No Return
I sense that time is running out.
This evening, around 8 PM, the New York Post released an exclusive story, citing a “reliable source,” claiming that the Census Bureau faked the September 2012 employment figures that gave a huge boost to President Obama’s campaign as the race against Mitt Romney was reaching its stretch run. The figures, which were challenged by conservative pundits as suspiciously and conveniently positive, finally put unemployment below the crucial 8% mark.
“The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated. And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it. Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy. And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today. “He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked. The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.
‘“It was a phone conversation — I forget the exact words — but it was, ‘Go ahead and fabricate it’ to make it what it was,” Buckmon told me.”
Crudele notes that falsifying jobs figures has more consequences than just misleading voters and giving the President a basis to claim that the economy is improving. He writes, “I hope the next stop will be Congress, since manipulation of data like this not only gives voters the wrong impression of the economy but also leads lawmakers, the Federal Reserve and companies to make uninformed decisions. To cite just one instance, the Fed is targeting the curtailment of its so-called quantitative easing money-printing/bond-buying fiasco to the unemployment rate for which Census provided the false information. So falsifying this would, in essence, have dire consequences for the country.” [UPDATE (11/19)---"A Republican aide told the Washington Examiner the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is digging into the claim, published in the New York Post on Tuesday...."]
That’s not my hope.
I don’t know if this story is accurate or not. The New York Post is hardly…well, let’s see how to best put this…it’s hardly a reliable, trusted news source like the New York Times or the Washington Post were before U.S. journalism lost all credibility, objectivity and trustworthiness. This story could prove false, but whether it is or not, the Obama Administration will deny it, stonewall it, make sure its media allies keep it isolated to “conservative media” so it can be discredited, just as it did with Benghazi, the IRS efforts to handcuff conservative groups during the campaign, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, and the real source of the problems with the ACA website. Whether this scandal, which would show that the Obama Administration used its various agencies to illicitly, unethically and dishonestly deceive the public to influence the Presidential election, is real or not, there are real scandals, many of them, waiting to be discovered, and still more that are in the process of developing. There is no doubt in my mind about this, just as there was no doubt in my mind a year ago that this wave of dashed hopes, uncovered lies, and desperate survival maneuvers was inevitable. The Obama Presidency is dysfunctional, incompetent, corrupt and rotten to its core, like Golden Dancer, the apocryphal rocking horse that Henry Drummond, the fictional avatar of Clarence Darrow in “Inherit the Wind,” describes in a famous scene: Continue reading
Proposed PSA: “This Is Matthew, And He Is The Face Of The Tragedy Called Confirmation Bias. Please Help!”
It is so easy—and tempting—to dismantle Matthew Lynch’s jaw-dropping essay on the Huffington Post titled “12 Reasons Why Obama Is One of the Best Presidents Ever” that it is unethical, like shooting fish in a barrel. Nearly everything about the post is snicker-worthy, beginning with its timing: this is the equivalent of writing a paean to JFK the morning after the Bay of Pigs.
I have no similar reticence about slamming the Huffington Post for running such an embarrassing screed. If it was intended as satire (and I still think this is a possibility), the piece is incompetent, because when satire is so close to reality that readers can’t tell it’s satire, then it becomes a hoax. There is a possibility, I suppose, that the editors published this because Lynch’s glossy-eyed, alternate reality ravings were entertainingly absurd (they are not: they are tragic), but this would be cruelty, the equivalent of Sean Hannity’s practice of allowing an ignorant, usually poor and uneducated liberal caller to make a fool of herself, slyly impugning the intelligence of the entire American Left. Yet the Huffington Post is largely Obama-friendly: his obeisant media may finally be moving away from the President, but not that quickly. I think “12 Reasons…” was run because the editors believed the article had substantive merit, in which case, they should all be sent to the Home for Bewildered Editors. (It also may have been planted as link bait.)
If the post was run on its substance, then the editors failed their responsibilities in another respect: they didn’t check Lynch’s facts. His opinions and justifications for them may be Oz-worthy and his alone, but when he writes a flat-out misrepresentation like this… Continue reading
Comment of the Day: “As The Obamacare Ethics Train Wreck Accelerates, A Plea To The Bitter-enders: ‘Stop It. You’re Disgracing Yourself.’”
My old friend Peter (we went to sixth grade together, and friends don’t get much older than that) has been absent from these pages for a while, and I was getting worried that I had offended him for the 9,498th time. So it was with relief and pleasure that I just fished his comment today out of the spam pile (how it ended up with messages like the one from someone called “Cheap Jordans Online”—what cruel parent names a kid “Cheap”?—to the effect that “Gentry and her NHM colleagues hoped that the much younger elephant fetus would contain enough genetic material to reveal whether it came from Africa or Asia,” I’ll never understand) and realized that it was a slam dunk “Comment of the Day.”
Peter is in just as gloomy a mood as when he last commented, and I’m sure Rand Paul’s latest misadventures fending off plagiarism accusations didn’t help ( my old 6th grade math partner is a dedicated libertarian, and bristles at my critiques of the Paul clan). I’m not quite so pessimistic. Still, the fact that the President of the United States just put a big dent in the Rule of Law by unilaterally changing a statute that was duly passed by Congress, and nobody, especially Democrats, who are terrified, Republicans, who won’t have the guts to risk the trap of NOT letting the President try to fix, however illegally, his own mes, and having his complicit newsmedia then blame them for it not getting fixed, as you know they would, and the public, which will live to regret standing for the proposition that Presidents can just ignore the Constitution if they are sufficiently desperate, bolstered by the media and principle-free, will do anything about it is alarming.
Actually, I think Obama’s “Hail Mary” unpassed amendment to the law Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass to find out what was in it—and wasn’t THAT the truth!—will deepen the ACA fiasco, and may–I’m hoping now—teach our leaders and the lazy, gullible fools who elected them the indispensibility of such ethical principles as integrity and process to democratic government.
But I’m not certain; Peter could be right in his grim diagnosis. He is an MD, after all. And he solved all the tough problems in Mrs. Penwarden’s class. She was a Nazi, by the way.
Here is Peter’s Comment of the Day on the post, As The Obamacare Ethics Train Wreck Accelerates, A Plea To The Bitter-enders: “Stop It. You’re Disgracing Yourself.” Continue reading
The Obamacare meltdown should not be cause for joy anywhere, although I can understand why the Republicans are giddy and conservative pundits are searching for ways to say “Didn’t I tell you?” in unobnoxious ways. There are no obnoxious ways. There is no worse feeling than knowing that a leader, a movement or a cause that you fervently believed in and defended against doubts and criticism was not worthy of your trust. For the politically and socially committed, comparing this experience to losing a loved one is no exaggeration. Are you in the habit of pointing at your neighbor and shouting, “Haha, your mother died! I told you she looked sick!”? Mocking and razzing the Democrats or progressives in your life is not much better.
We all, however, share responsibility for running this republic, and lessons must be learned. Back in 2010, I wrote of the process whereby the Affordable Care Act was passed…
“…Once the bills began to emerge, though, things got worse. They were far too long and convoluted to read and understand; this was incompetent and irresponsible. None of the Senators or Representatives (or the President himself) who advocated the bills in the most emphatic terms had read them, which is a breach of diligence, and many frequently made statements in public that misstated the provisions of the bill, sometimes egregiously. Not reading a technical bill on a well-understood or narrow matter and still voting for it may be common (though, I would argue, outrageous), but doing so with a massively expensive and complex bill affecting the life of every American is irresponsible and an abuse of power. This has continued. Politicians who the public should be able to trust are still making assertions of fact that are not facts they have independently confirmed, and they are insufficiently familiar with the details to either make fair arguments or inform the public.
“Since nobody could read the bill, this allowed the President and his allies to make general arguments that were often half-truths devised to mislead the public or avoid raising sensitive subjects. President made many “promises” about what would and would not be in the bill, knowing that they were promises he might well not be able or willing to keep. Indeed, the bill now being voted on fails to fulfill many of those pledges. Important policy trade-offs that might erode support were not discussed, or misrepresented.”
This isn’t a partisan point, you know. I am sure that Republicans don’t read bills before voting for them either, but the practice is unconscionable, professional negligence and reckless, and if nothing else good comes out of this miserable blot on democracy, if the public finally demand that its law-makers read, understand and be candid about the laws they make, then something of value may lie beneath the rubble. Continue reading
As The Obamacare Ethics Train Wreck Accelerates, A Plea To The Bitter-enders: “Stop It. You’re Disgracing Yourself.”
[I'm back from Colorado Springs, and as usual after that trip, momentarily cheered, encouraged and inspired by my experience discussing ethics with sheep farmer-legislators from Montana, surfer-legislators from Hawaii and other ordinary, diverse, dedicated, honest and smart Americans of all political persuasions who just want to do good things for their neighbors, communities, state and nation. This is, I think, what Mr. Jefferson and his friends had in mind. The annual training program for recently-elected state legislators run by the Council of State Governments is just marvelous---if only every legislator starting out could go through it (especially this really neat half-day ethics seminar a bald guy teaches). In case you are wondering, the ACA despair, disgust and mockery was coming from both sides of the aisle---I did mention they were honest, right? And, obviously, not from Washington, DC. If we're lucky, a lot of them will be here in a few years.]
Now I’m trying to catch up—those few posts from Colorado Springs were by necessity early in the morning and late at night, and on less than earth-shattering topics. Sadly, the current Ethics Train Wreck involving the roll-out of Obamacare—-a rare example of one that could have and should have been seen coming years ago, and that some of us did see, and clearly—has only become worse. The integrity test that I announced three weeks ago also continues to produce dispiriting results. I hope to do a summary of both the wreckage and the test eventually, but in the meantime, the Obamacare Ethics Trainwreck continues to pick up passengers who are flunking the Ethics Alarms Integrity Test in the process. Continue reading
I’ve received a wave of emails from helpful readers, with links to news reports about Canada’s shame, drunk, crack-smoking, lying Toronto mayor, Rob Ford. “Write about this!” they suggest.
The mayor of a major Canadian city is a law-breaker, a substance abuser, an addict, and ill. When your defense to a video showing you smoking crack is “I was so drunk, I don’t remember it,” that should say it all. He initially lied about the allegations of his crack use. He calls up radio stations in a drunken state. He is caught on tape drunkenly screaming that he want to murder someone. His various public stances to keep his job have ranged from shameless appeals to pity— “I hope none of you ever find yourself” in such a state, a reverse Golden Rule tactic that amounts to arguing “Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you if you were the irresponsible, addict mayor who will do and say anything to stay in office”—to that old stand-by, Bill Clinton’s “I’m just going to concentrate on doing my job and accomplishing what the voters elected me to do,” as if they elected Ford to embarrass the city. Continue reading