Category Archives: Incompetent Elected Officials

KABOOM! Now I’m Satisfied That The U.S. Will Never Solve Its Debt Problem, Since It Takes This Long For Congress To STOP PAYING ENTITLEMENTS To NAZIS

exploding-head

I’m on the way to Cleveland. I guess I might as well leave my brains on the ceiling, where this story deposited them:

“The House on Tuesday passed legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for suspected Nazi war criminals. Passed 420-0, the bill was approved after an October Associated Press report found that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals forced to leave the U.S. collected millions of dollars in federal benefits.”

On the plus side, See? We can have bi-partisan agreement in Congress!

On the other side: why do we need the Associated Press to point out to Congress that we’re giving millions of dollars to former Nazis to keep them supplied with fresh Zykon B? Why wasn’t this bill passed six years ago? Sixteen years ago? As long as President Obama thinks he can rule by fiat, where was the executive order directing the Treasury to stop paying non-resident Nazis Social Security?

You can read the original AP story here, which I was going to post on until it got lost in the shuffle.

File this one under “Incompetent Elected Officials,” or perhaps simply, “We’re doomed.”

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement

How Should We Judge Second Apologies?

Sure, who wouldn't think this was funny coming from a member of your school board?

Sure, who wouldn’t think this was funny coming from a member of your school board?

The most important feature of apologies is that they express sincere and honest regret for the real harm done. If the first apology for misconduct fails that test, how much credence should a second attempt have? Does it negate the first apology completely? Ought it to be read and understood in light of the initial, unsatisfactory apology? Or should it be ignored completely as a public relations document crafted to achieve a result, rather than to express genuine contrition?

The case of Chris Harris, a board member for the Hooks Independent School District in the town of Hooks, Texas, provides a fascinating test.

Lat week, Harris posted an image of a Klu Klux Klan member with the caption, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”  to his Facebook page. The reaction to this was what almost anyone with a fully functioning cerebrum would expect, a category that Harris does not belong to, or at least did not when he posted it. Perhaps after shouting, “Doh!” or perhaps not, Harris rushed to repair the damage, publishing this apology:

Harris apology 1

Terrible apology! Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Incompetent Elected Officials, Race, The Internet

Obama’s Immigration Order: The Ultimate Leadership Flatline

It never changes...

It never changes…

Barack Obama’s inexplicable inability—or unwillingness—to learn what his job is and how to do it properly has reached a terrible crescendo in his Executive Order on illegal immigration. You can read the likely details here; the details don’t matter. The order itself guarantees chaos on more fronts that any Presidential act in memory, and more institutional damage over the long term. There is literally no excuse for it, but the explanations are clear. Obama painted himself into a political corner because he does not know how to do his job. He has set a precedent that will invite far more abuse, in real terms, than the order at issue now, guaranteeing a Constitutional crisis, and perhaps many—because he does not know how to do his job. Having pledged to bring the country together, he has taken a needless and gratuitous step that will divide the nation further—-because he does not know how to do his job. And he has all but guaranteed that the next two years will be marked by more poisonous partisanship in Washington and outright warfare between the parties and the branches of the government, further discouraging citizens and reducing trust in the American system to a dangerous level because…well, you know.

Let me discard the inevitable justification for this action at the outset, the rationalization given by Obama himself: He is taking action on immigration because the system is broken and Congress won’t fix it. The decisive rebuttal: tough. That’s the system. The President agreed to be part of it when he ran for office. Laws must be made by Congress and signed and enforced by the President. There are no exceptions in the Constitution waiving this system when the President is really, really sure he knows best, or when the President is really, really frustrated because he wants his way but doesn’t want to do the dirty work of schmoozing, horse-trading, building alliances, collecting I.O.U.’s , bluffing, getting half a loaf, compromising, angering his “base” know that they have nowhere to go, and agreeing to measures or he hates in order to get some he wants, or when he’s made promises he shouldn’t have made. As Obama himself once said, he can’t act like an emperor, because that’s not the system the Founders decided on. Obama has proven that he can’t act like a President, however, so now he’s giving emperor a try. Mind-boggling is the best description I can come up with right  now.

Obama, among other reasons, is in the midst of this fiasco because he backed himself into a corner with the Hispanic activists in his party. Again, this is evidence of a flat learning curve. He has trapped himself repeatedly—by drawing a “red line” in Syria, by promising what his health care plan couldn’t deliver, by sending empty threats to Putin, by guaranteeing that he will not send ground troops in to fight Isis. It makes him and America look weak; it results in bad policies and late implementation of needed measures, and diminishes his stature and trustworthiness. Never mind: Obama seems to be the only one who hasn’t noticed. So now he is forced to follow through on a measure of dubious constitutional validity that will make it look as if he is choosing the welfare of lawbreakers over the convictions of a majority of the legal citizens in the country.

What a wonderful plan.

His method is also one we have seen before: dishonesty. The order is being justified as “prosecutorial discretion’…you know, like the bombing of Libya wasn’t hostilities under the statute requiring Congressional approval, like the authorization for the Iraq invasion in 2002 was still sufficient to constitute approval of bombing Isis, and like the unilateral amending of the Affordable Care Act was just administrative action. Obama has achieved a Bizarro World integrity by consistently showing no integrity at all.

All of this, mind you, to guarantee no deportation of people who were not going to be deported, to assure work papers for those already working, and to make the ethically incoherent statement that the longer an illegal immigrant breaks the law by staying here, the less illegal he should be, and the more children she dumps into the care of Nanny Sam, the more the nation should embrace the family.

I agree with Obama regarding the need to give the illegals who we have allowed to stay here too long some way to achieve legal status. I agree that Republican opposition is a dead end rooted in rejection of facts over the embrace of impractical idealism. His job, however, is to solve the problem under the system, make it palatable to the public, and not blow up the political system in the service of people who showed no respect for the system in coming here.

Obama, however, doesn’t know how todo  his job.

And he’s obviously never going to learn.

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement

Mayor DeBlasio’s Unethical Tardiness

White RabbitSince he was elected to succeed Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s mayor, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has earned a reputation for chronic tardiness. He is routinely 15, 30, 45 minutes or more late for appointments and public events, and has shown little resolve to deal with the problem. The most recent instance of  the mayor operating on “DeBlasio time” came yesterday, when he arrived late for a memorial event  to honor  the 260 people who died on American Airlines Flight 587 thirteen years ago. This time he was only 20 minutes late-–not bad, for him–but it meant that he was late for the scheduled moment of silence, which occurred at 9:16 AM, the exact moment the plane crashed in Queens, on November 12, 2001. According to the family member who solemnly rang a bell to signify the moment, DeBlasio’s aides asked her to stall until the mayor graced the gathered mourners with his presence. He is being roundly slammed for the episode, in the public and in the local media.

DeBlasio had excuses, as the habitually tardy always do. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate, and may be in DeBlasio’s case: it doesn’t matter. If you are always late, you forfeit  the benefit of excuses, even legitimate ones. DeBlasio said his boat to the event was delayed by fog, and that he just didn’t get rolling fast enough.  “I was just not feeling well this morning. I had a very rough night, ” he explained. “I woke up sluggish, and I should have gotten myself moving quicker … just woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep and I felt really sluggish and off-kilter this morning.”

Literally nobody seems to be sympathetic. Wrote Ann Althouse: “He’s an idiot…He thinks people will have sympathy over his struggles with a “rough night.” 260 people died in a plane crash!” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Workplace

Incompetence Personified: Six Years, And He Still Doesn’t Understand His Job.

No change. Amazing.

No change. Amazing.

The flat learning curve reared its ugly head again in President Obama’s post-shellacking press conference. I did not expect him to admit that the election results were a direct repudiation of his leadership, management and policies, because the man is a narcissist, and he can’t process such information. I expected him to spin the defeat as insignificant from a public will perspective, and he did, noting that only a third of the electorate bothered to vote. That is, of course, the 30% that has been paying attention.

But I was genuinely surprised that he still, still, after all this time, displayed a complete lack of comprehension of what Presidential leadership involves and has always involved since the beginning of the position two centuries ago. Persuasion. Compromise. Trading. Negotiation. Repeatedly, Obama kept saying that he was sure that he and Republicans would find “common ground.”  When they did, he said, things would get done. He made it clear, however, that if he didn’t agree that a policy measure was in the best interests of the country or wouldn’t work, he would block it.

This is madness. It may sound reasonable to civicly ignorant casual observers of the government, as is most of the President’s supporters, but that characterization of how laws get made and a system of checks and balances works would produce a D in any political science course in any junior college in America. The President is obviously intelligent. I presume he’s read about the Presidency….I don’t know, maybe he hasn’t. Is it possible that he doesn’t know that every President made deals with hostile legislators that resulted in laws that President detested, in exchange for moving along policies that were worth the sacrifice? How can he not comprehend this, after six years? The man is President of the United States, and after six years, he still thinks the job is about giving orders and making decrees. Continue reading

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

Incompetent Unannouced Presidential Candidate of the Month: Hillary Clinton

Monica Lewinsky fellow-cyber-bullying victim Hillary Clinton, who is widely-expected to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2016, proclaimed this week,  while speaking at a campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley:

“Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly. One of the things my husband says when people ask him what he brought to Washington, he says I brought arithmetic.”

This statement is at least as much signature significance regarding Clinton’s competence to hold elective office as Todd Akin’s career-ending claim that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant, “The View’s” former co-host Sherri Shepard confession that she thought the world might be flat, and Sarah Palin’s falsely reported—but funny! So who cares if it’s true since we hate her?—statement that she can see Russia from her house in Alaska. Some sources explained this jaw-dropping denial of reality as Clinton “moving left.” Actually, even Stalin wouldn’t try to deny that businesses create jobs, though he would probably suggest ways to stop people from telling you that, like, say, killing them. This isn’t “moving left.” This is called “losing it.” (I think Clinton looks drunk, personally.)

It is fitting that the statement came in support of Martha Coakley, whose last campaign in Massachusetts collapsed after her almost equally ridiculous statement that Red Sox icon, Curt “Bloody Sock” Schilling, was a Yankee fan. We shall see if Clinton’s denial of basic economic realities matters to her true blue supporters as much as Coakley’s admission that she knew nothing about the culture of the state she was running to represent in the Senate (she’s also on the say to losing her campaign to be governor, thank God. Yankee fan???) mattered to Bay State residents. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Quotes

Ebola, Trust, Competence, and “The Only Thing We HaveTo Fear Is Fear Itself” Ethics

On the 4th of March, 1933, newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, taking over the Presidency in the teeth of the Great Depression, intoned his famous words, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”  It was bravado, of course, and in essence a lie: there was a lot to fear. Roosevelt knew it, and the public certainly knew it. The whole economic system seemed to be falling apart. Anti-capitalist evolutionaries were looking for an opportunity to revolt. Nobody was sure what to do.

The statement was effective, however, in focusing the nation on the challenges at hand and riveting the pubic attention on solving problems rather than cringing in terror in fear of them. Roosevelt was a magnificent speaker, warm and charismatic, and that contributed to the force of his rhetoric, but what was most important is that he was trusted. Every new President  can draw on a full, newly-replenished  account of trust, or at least could, in FDR’s time. A new President’s promises haven’t proven to be air; his political skills and talents, honesty and character have not shown themselves to be inadequate or a fraudulent pose.  In rare cases, and FDR was certainly one, they never do. The President, for good or ill, is the human face of the U.S. Government. If he is trusted, it is trusted. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, U.S. Society