Category Archives: Incompetent Elected Officials

Integrity Fail: Republicans Pass An Anti-Abortion Bill, Thus Undermining Their Argument Against Unconstitutional Overreach By Democrats

I bet this guy is a Republican.

I bet this guy is a Republican.

The bill the Republicans in the House just passed to ban abortions after 20 weeks undermines every argument the party has made against the abuse of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to allow the federal government to meddle in state matters. One’s position on abortion isn’t relevant to the ethics and law here: I agree whole-heartedly with the ban in principle.

Abortion isn’t commerce, however. For decades, the Commerce Clause’s provision giving Congress the power to “regulate commerce . . . among the several states” has been stretched beyond all reason and the limits of language by Democratic majorities.  It has been conservative legislators, scholars and pundits who have screamed about it. Indeed, this was the primary basis for the attack on Obamacare in the Supreme Court case NFIB v. Sebelius, and the majority did find that the so-called “individual mandate” exceeded Congress’s Commerce Clause limitations.

The abuse of the Commerce Clause has been the primary means by which the Founders’ intentional restraints on federal  government power over the states and individuals have been circumvented by big government advocates. Some of the measures that were ingeniously slipped by the Commerce Clause using dubious justifications have been necessary and beneficial, like Federal laws against discrimination. Those measures, however, greased an ever-slipperier slope that has made the Clause a virtual nullity.

Supposedly, Republicans believed that it was important to start taking the Constitutional limits on Congressional power seriously again, because the alternative would be a Congressional dictatorship over the states. Now we know that the Republicans are just as willing to trample the Commerce Clause as Democrats are, as long as their pet social issues are being served. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Rights

Ethics Hero: Todd Smith

Be vigilant, Governor! Next, Obama will be coming after your precious bodily fluids...

Be vigilant, Governor! Next, Obama will be coming after your precious bodily fluids…

I was preparing to comment on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s absurd, embarrassing and recklessly divisive action of calling on the State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise in the state juuuuust in case that sneaky, fake American Commie dictator Barack Obama is getting ready to put the Lone Star State under bayonet and martial law, as some local wackadoodles are claiming from under their ten gallon tin-foil hats. I decided that it was too obviously stupid to criticize before I read the approving comments by unhinged Texans on the governor’s  Facebook post announcing the order.

It received more than 25,000 likes and thousands of comments. Among them (My reactions in bold):

  • “Thank you, Mr. Abbott, but I doubt they listen to you or anyone, Obama will soon demand Marshall law, We need to keep them totally out of Texas. The devil is breathing down our necks right now. Everyone better pray.”  Now Marshall law, I have no problem with…
  • “Here comes Martial law Folks… get ready! ALL Texans need to be armed. It’s our right! I pray our Military will do what’s right! Not want the Commander and chief ( and I use that term loosely) wants them to do! STAND UP AMERICA… IF we don’t GOD HELP US ALL! If you look at the map that was posted.. Texas is listed as a hostile state, along with other repub. states!” THEY’RE HERE! THEY’RE HERE!!!! Oh, wait, I was thinking of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”…
  • Thank you sir I have no trust in our current goverment. Your actions on a day to day basis are giving me hope for our state goverment. If that’s how you’re spelling “government,” I have no hope at all…
  • “Governor Abbott’s got a pair, and he will not let them mess with Texas!” Well, thank God for that! If he let’s his pair mess with Texas, it would be the worst sex crime in history. Also: Ewww.

Luckily, a Republican, a Texan, and former state House member did it for me. Here is Todd Smith’s letter to the Governor. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, War and the Military

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Baltimore riots

Being the mayor of any city in the throes of a race riot is a losing proposition; being an African-American mayor when the rioters are all black and the riot was sparked by the mysterious death of a black man in police custody is a hopeless proposition. Last night’s riot in Baltimore actually justified the kind of para-military response that got Ferguson, Missouri condemned by Eric Holder’s Justice Department, but that approach was politically impossible. I don’t know what I would have done in Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s hot seat, except hope against hope that President Obama didn’t come out with a statement that Freddie Gray could have been his son. So this is not the time to second-guess the mayor’s actions.

For the record, my assessment is that the volatile combination of acculturated black community contempt for policy authority and long-incubating and neglected racist inclinations in police departments was activated nationwide by seven years of cynical exploitation of racial divisions and distrust by President Obama, Eric Holder and the Democratic Party for electoral gain. Race riots were the predictable  consequence, and I say that with confidence because I predicted it in 2012, when Trayvon Martin’s death was elevated to a national issue just in time for the President Obama’s re-election push. Rawlings-Blake may have been part of that effort; I haven’t investigated that. She certainly inherited its results.

My verdict of incompetence in her case focuses less on her failure to prevent or contain the riots than on her inept communications skills. Leaders have to communicate clearly. If they can’t, they have a duty to learn: the skill can be taught. (I’m looking at you, W.) If they can’t communicate, their leadership ability is intrinsically crippled. Leaders who have to constantly “clarify” what they said, or “walk back” comments, or claim that they were “quoted out of context” when they were just quoted lose the public’s trust, and deserve to.  Public officials have to be careful  what they say, and how they say it, and this is a crucial, indispensable skill in their chosen field.

Rawlings-Blake held a press conference as the riots in her city were unfolding, and said this:

“And I’ve made it very clear that I worked with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars, and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wish to destroy, space to do that as well. And we work very hard to keep that balance, and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate and that’s what you saw.”

Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Race

Inevitable, Unethical, Technological Incompetence By Our Governments

Hey, what could go wrong?

Hey, what could go wrong?

The legal profession is in the midst of an ethics crisis not of its own making. New technologies, including social media, have created opportunities for vastly improved legal services, to such an extent that the American Bar Association has decreed that an ethical, competent lawyer, must use them. It has also made it clear that using them carelessly to the detriment of clients is unethical as well. It all sounds reasonable, except for this: few lawyers are equipped by education, training or nature to be adept at technology. Worse, technology is now changing so fast that few lawyers can keep up with it.

Thus they make mistakes. Costly mistakes, disastrous mistakes, stupid mistakes, and there is no learning curve, because by the time lawyers understand and master a new technology, it is no longer new, and it has taken on a different form that requires them to start all over again. The ABA and other bar associations have acknowledged this through inaction. After numerous instances where their ethical guidelines regarding the use of technology were obsolete or wrong from the moment they were issued, these bodies have resorted to general edicts only, essentially saying, “You must master available legal practice technology, and you must not screw it up. Don’t ask us how, we’re as confused as you are.”

Gee, thanks.

Unfortunately, it is not just the legal profession that is in peril from technological overload, unrealistic expectations and the speed of innovation. Our various levels of governments are, if anything, in even worse peril from the same phenomenon.

One week ago, the Virginia State Board of Elections frantically voted to  decertify use of the AVS WinVote touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic voting machine, meaning that the machines, which were used by dozens of cities and towns in Virginia, are effectively banned. Virginia is holding primaries  just two months from now, so this has thrown those local governments into a panic. The decision was unavoidable, however, after a shocking a report that demonstrated that the machines could be hacked, and elections rigged, by a 12-year-old…that is, anyone with more technological expertise than local government officials.

Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Professions, Science & Technology

Typo Ethics: Early Accountability Check For Candidate Clinton

“From her mother’s own childhood – in which she was abandoned by her parents – to her work going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund to her battling to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she’s fought children and families all her career.”

 

That doesn't mean they don't matter, however...

That doesn’t mean they don’t matter, however…

That was the startling news in Hillary Clinton’s long-awaited presidential candidacy announcement: that Hillary has fought families and children all her career. As an ethicist, I find the candor laudable, but I am surprised that Mrs. Clinton is making such a strong bid for the anti-family and child-hating voting bloc.

OK, it’s a typo. The Clinton campaign website fixed it, and her spokespeople reassured the news media “that the former secretary of state has not been secretly fighting children all these years.”

I almost passed on this story, being seldom able to post a typo-free 800 words myself despite reading the damn things repeatedly, but that would have been cowardly. This is not necessarily trivial. This bears some watching. I know that the large Hillary Zombie Squad, which appears to care only about the former First Lady’s chromosomes and nothing else, won’t give a second’s thought to this if her destruction of e-mail evidence and willful skirting of her own agency’s transparency and security policies don’t trouble them, but it is not insignificant. Continue reading

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Filed under Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

A Thought Sparked By Another Incredible Revelation: Could It Be Ethical To Just Accept Outrageous Government Incompetence?

idea-spark

A persistent election cycle joke is the candidate who swears the deficit can be brought into line without cutting any sacred cow programs or entitlements, or raising taxes. All that has to be done, the candidate explains, is to eliminate the billions of dollars lost to “waste, fraud, and abuse.”

The theory is either dishonest or proof of disqualifying naiveté. Massive systems create massive inefficiencies, and massive systems that confer power and influence attract the inept, the foolish and the corrupt like the Clintons attract cynics. Not only is it impossible to significantly eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the government, as long as the government keeps growing, their incidence will only increase.

Every time I see evidence of flagrant waste of taxpayer money, or absurd programs that encourage irresponsible behavior and public assistance dependence on a crack-brained theory based on misplaced compassion, I wonder if it’s even worth flagging any more for the unethical betrayal of public trust that it is. Nothing changes, or is likely to change. The waste and unconscionable lack of responsible government has persisted my whole life, though administrations of both parties.

It is true that this administration seems to be the first that doesn’t even try to be competent or responsible, or perhaps that places such negligible value on those qualities that their absence isn’t even viewed by its supporters as a flaw. Good intentions are all that matter. To me, this is insanity, as well as deadly arrogance and obvious incompetence, but it is the theme of the Obama Administration. The attitude appears to be reaching its apotheosis in the rhetoric surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, with the President’s recent comments suggesting that it is a good deal because the alternative is facing a reality we don’t want to face. Even though John Kerry claimed that the operating negotiation philosophy would be that no deal was preferable to a bad deal, he was clearly either lying or off mentally wind-surfing somewhere, because that is not the way his own administration reasons. A bad health care law is better than no health care law, so bad is really good. A bad illegal immigration policy is better than no illegal immigration policy, so the bad policy is good. A terrible recovery from the recession is better than no recovery at all, so the administration is crowing about depressing job numbers and more citizens on public assistance than ever before. This entire administration and its political culture is based on the rationalization I have termed the worst of them all, #22, Comparative Virtue, or “It’s not the  worst thing.”

Nearly seven years of this have  turned the brains of many Americans and especially Democrats to Swiss cheese, and that may have terrible consequences down the road. For example, a recent poll showed that 59% of Americans favor the pending deal with Iran, and 59% also don’t think it will work. Hmmmm. Now, I’m going to be kind and assume that the 41% of my countrymen who don’t like the deal are in that second 59%, but even then, this leaves a significant 18% who like a deal they don’t think will work. Why? Because it’s well-meaning.  Because the President is doing “the best he can.” Because they really think that hoping and wanting and avoiding unpleasant truths is a good way to live. Anyone who is in both 59%  groups is brain-washed or brain dead, and a victim of this President’s acceptance of incompetence without accountability as a management model.

My most recent thoughts on this topic were prompted by this incredible item: Continue reading

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

Statue Ethics: “Hey Lucy, I’m Ho…OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

Lucy statueIconic comic actress Lucille Ball was born in Celoron, New York, and in 2009 the town’s residents commissioned a statue to honor her. It was designed to show the comedienne performing one of the most famous of her routines on “I Love Lucy,” the “Vitameatavegimin” bit.  For some reason, however, the sculptor either decided to portray Lucy as a creature from Hell, or had never actually seen a picture of Ball and just guessed, badly, at what she looked like. The result, which a sighted “Let’s Honor Lucy” committee member should have rejected at first glance, now stands in the town park, an eyesore and an insult to Ball’s memory.

Now some of the residents are trying to get the town to junk the statue, and rallying Lucy fans to put pressure on the town leadership to act. My question is, what took them so long? Six years of this incompetent abomination is six years too long. A memorial is ethically obligated to honor its subject, not insult and defile her memory. Would the public tolerate a Lincoln Memorial where Abe was sculpted to look like an ape? Would it have stood by at the unveiling and said, “Well, okaaay, I guess we can live with that…I guess. I mean, its paid for and all”?  What’s the matter with the populace of Celeron?
Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Popular Culture