Category Archives: Incompetent Elected Officials

An Ethics Mystery: Why Can’t Democrats Be Honest Or Responsible Regarding The Syrian Refugees??



The question of whether to accept Syrian refugees is not, or should not be, a partisan one. It’s simple logic, duty and priorities, as I wrote here. A needy group has an unknown component of deadly members capable of killing Americans. Until or unless those members can be identified and separated from that group, it would be irresponsible to admit them into the country. The Paris bombing vividly illustrated the risk of ignoring these facts. So why are Democrats and their pundit allies making statements attacking those who acknowledge them? You know, just because they are conservatives and Republicans who tend to think that all of President Obama’s policies are misguided doesn’t mean they can’t be right occasionally.

I have been searching for a single persuasive, fact-based argument that justifies the risk of accepting thousands of Syrians. In fact, I have been searching for one that wasn’t dishonest, an appeal to emotion over reality, or a cheap excuse to engage in race-baiting, now the Democratic Party’s favorite pastime.

I’d love to hear one. I’d love to be convinced. If the nation can take in the suffering refugees without vastly increasing the chance of a bomb going off in the a restaurant I’m eating with my family, hurray!

Such arguments just aren’t there, however. Instead we are hearing: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Ethics Dunce: President George H.W. Bush

Bush watchThe big news on the Bush-bashing front is that Papa Bush, #41, has a biography coming out next week, and section released by the publisher shows that he didn’t care much for his son’s (#43) staff, as well as containing other critiques.

To begin with, Bush I is a selfish jerk for allowing his biography to be released during the 2016 campaign, when it can only be used as a weapon against his sons and his party. His publishers want that, of course, because it means sales, and other than the campaign controversy angle I cannot imagine a one-term President whose biography anyone but family members would be less interested in reading. Benjamin Harrison, maybe. (But I’ve actually read not one biography of Ben, but three: Harry J. Sievers’s three-volume biography of Harrison, published between 1952 and 1968. It wasn’t my idea.) Bush, however, doesn’t need the money. His ego has obviously swallowed his common sense and loyalty, or he is being manipulated in his dotage.

That’s one obnoxious feature of the book. The worst, however, is this passage from the Times story describing a section in which Bush confesses that nearly didn’t run for re-election: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership

Debate Questions No Democrat Will Ever Be Asked (1): “You and President Obama Claim That Climate Change Is Settled Science To The Extent That The United States Should Burden Industry With Expensive And Job Threatening Mandates To Curb It. Explain Your Certitude On This Despite NASA’s Discovery That Antarctica Is Actually Gaining Ice?”


The recent report from NASA regarding increasing levels of ice in Antarctica shows beyond any reasonable doubt that climate science is not “settled.” Any scientist who says so is playing politics,  lying, or both; any politician who says so is not very bright or lying. If the science were settled, NASA, whose leadership has crossed many lines of honesty and objectivity by over-hyping climate change research, would not publish studies whose authors have explain them by saying  things like this, from Jay Zwally, NASA glaciologist and lead author of the study:

…”The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”

…In noting that it could take only a few decades for the ice melt in Antarctica to outweigh the ice gains: “I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”

…“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge. Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica; there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”

Does that sound “settled” to you? Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology

Marco Rubio Better Have An Explanation For This Unethical Statement Other Than The Obvious Ones

Seen on Sen. Rubio's Senate office door...

Seen on Sen. Rubio’s Senate office door…

The obvious ones would be:

  • Because I can.
  • Because I lack integrity.
  • Because I’m as immature as I look.

I can’t make the Rubio quote making the rounds this morning an Ethics Alarms “Unethical Quote of the Month,” because it occurred, we are told by the Washington Post, on the evening of September 18 during the last Republican candidates’ debate. Why didn’t I pick up on Rubio’s statement then? I don’t know: no one else did either, based on a Google search.  I guess when there are 11 GOP candidates embarrassing themselves and their party seriatim (By the way, did you know that the WordPress spellcheck program says that the word I wanted to type there is “Maserati’?), it’s easy to miss a few outrageous statements.

Anyway,here is what Sen. Rubio said, however, after being chided by Donald Trump for missing so many Senate votes:

“That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate. I am not running for reelection.”

The front page Washington Post story says that Rubio is frustrated with the unresponsiveness of the U.S. Senate to his attempted leadership:

Marco Rubio is a U.S. senator. And he just can’t stand it anymore.

“I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word,” Rubio said in an interview. “I’m frustrated.”

This year, as Rubio runs for president, he has cast the Senate — the very place that cemented him as a national politician — as a place he’s given up on, after less than one term. It’s too slow. Too rule-bound. So Rubio, 44, has decided not to run for his seat again. It’s the White House or bust…Rubio had arrived at one of the least ambitious moments in Senate history and saw many of his ideas fizzle. Democrats killed his debt-cutting plans. Republicans killed his immigration reform. The two parties actually came together to kill his AGREE Act, a small-bore, hands-across-the-aisle bill that Rubio had designed just to get a win on something.

Now, he’s done. “He hates it,” a longtime friend from Florida said, speaking anonymously to say what Rubio would not.

So Rubio is missing votes in the Senate because he hates his job?

That’s not exactly indicative of trustworthy character, not just for national leadership but for any position, including busboy. He ran for the job, got it, is being paid for it, and if it isn’t as much fun or as rewarding as he thought it would be, tough. Rubio still has an obligation to fulfill his duties as best he can. Who gets to goof off at work because he or she doesn’t like a job or is “frustrated”? Just Marco Rubio, it seems. Leaders have to be role-models and ethical exemplars. Rubio is modelling the “stop doing the job if you’re not good at it but still collect your paycheck” approach to the workplace. Who does he think he is?

Barack Obama? Continue reading


Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Professions, Workplace

Comment of the Day: “Joe Biden, The Republicans, And The Lawn Chair Test”

"Cheer up!" said the voice. "Things could be worse!" So I cheered up, and, sure enough, things got worse!

“Cheer up!” said the Voice. “Things could be worse!” So I cheered up, and, sure enough, things got worse…

This will be the second Presidential election for Ethics Alarms. As I learned in the first one (2012), keeping politics out of the posts and discussion are futile. Nonetheless, I will work to stay away from policy debates unless there is clear ethical content,  as  with illegal immigration, abortion, income distribution or gun control. Leadership is the second topic that Ethics Alarms encompasses, in part because character and the ethical handling of power are so important to ethical leadership. Competence is also an important component. An indirect message of the recent post about Joe Biden was that the United States, though it always needs competent leadership in the White House, needs it even more than usual, and potential candidates for the job do not appear to have it.

Veteran Ethics Alarms commenter Michael R has delivered a useful and troubling addendum to what I wrote. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post Joe Biden, The Republicans, And The Lawn Chair Test: Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: President Romney


As Ethics Quizzes go, this one is a little different.

Conservative political writer Matthew DesOrmeaux has written essay titled “Here’s What Would Be Happening if President Romney Had Bombed a Hospital in Afghanistan…”.  Here is the key section:

If Romney had been elected in 2012 and in the year before his reelection campaign had bombed a hospital, decided to keep troops in Afghanistan, and had details of his robot assassin program leaked, things would probably look a little different today.

If Romney were president right now, the White House would be surrounded by protesters and candlelight peace vigils night and day. Some would wave American flags, some would wave signs calling for impeachment, some would have pictures caricaturing the president as Hitler or an animal. They would chant “Not in our name!”, or “Bring them home!”, or “Hey ho, hey ho, Romney has got to go!”

If Romney were president, nightly news reports on CBS, NBC, and ABC would have regular features on war crimes, quagmires, and collateral damage. CNN would be wall-to-wall with team coverage of protests, interviews of bombing witnesses, and Anderson Cooper walking through rubble in full body armor.

If Romney were president, every political analyst left of Judge Napolitano would be fretting over the war-weary public turning the upcoming election into a referendum against the president and his party. Vox and FiveThirtyEight would have maps showing how many Senate seats Republicans would lose because of the president’s sure-to-plummet approval rating. And then there’s MSNBC.

If Romney were president, MSNBC would be holding mock war crimes tribunals on Chris Hayes, explaining the ins and outs of the process with expert guests. Lena Dunham would be on Maddow every night aghast (but still giggling!) at this warmonger-in-chief. Chris Matthews would be yelling at Michael Moore, trying to find out when charges would be filed at the Hague.

If Romney were president, Democrats in Congress would be calling for hearings and investigations for each transgression: the bombing, troop levels, and drone policy. Chuck Schumer would hold daily press briefings scolding the reckless president from behind the glasses perched precariously down his nose. Someone would accurately quote Sheila Jackson-Lee condemning the terrible bombing of the “orphanage in Pakistan”.

But Mitt Romney isn’t president, Barack Obama is, so no one cares.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is….

Are these fair assumptions?

Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Quizzes, War and the Military

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Week: Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.)


From the Washington Times:

“As Congress members rushed to touch Pope Francis after Thursday’s historic address on the House floor, Rep. Bob Brady reportedly made a beeline for the podium to swipe the Holy Father’s discarded water glass.

The Pennsylvania congressman immediately took a sip out of the glass and brought it back to his office, ABC News reported

“The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,” Rep. Brady’s Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC.

His office confirmed that Mr. Brady drank from the water and shared it with members of his staff and his wife, Debra Brady…The congressman kept the remainder of the water and plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren, Mr. White said.”

Actually, I don’t know what to call this conduct.  Creepy? Superstitious? Embarrassing? Unsanitary? Silly? Bizarre? Funny? Deranged?

Incompetent will just have to suffice.

Does every glass the Pope drinks from become like the Holy Grail? I’d be careful, if I were were the Congressman…

Brady’s antics make the entire government look foolish. There’s religious belief, and there is irrational conduct. One doesn’t have to lead to the other, but such a display should cause serious voters to pause and wonder whether a man who acts like this belongs in a high office, or even a not so high office.

What an idiot.

UPDATE: After I posted this about an hour ago and had to run an errand, I began wondering whether Brady’s reverence for the Pope, which seems to extend to a belief that his lips are magic, also extends to accepting Catholic doctrine and what the Pope advocates, at least when these don’t conform to the Democratic Party’s platform. Here are Brady’s votes on abortion. A summary: Brady has voted for the most extreme pro-abortion positions. Reconcile that, if you will, with his water glass stunt.

I cannot comprehend Catholics who embrace this kind of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance, nor can I respect any voter who would observe Brady and say, “Now there’s a man of integrity, wisdom and judgment!”


Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy