Category Archives: Incompetent Elected Officials

The Seventh Annual Ethics Alarms Awards, Part II: The Worst of Ethics 2015

Donald and Hillary

Ethics Corrupters of the Year

(Awarded to the unethical public figure whose prominence, popularity and success most corrupts the public’s ethical values)

A Tie: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  Nobody else is close.

I’m sorry that these two are so dominating the awards. They also dominated the posts last year. If they dominate the awards next year, God Save The United States of America…

Double Standard Of The Year

The deference accorded to anti-white protesters on dozens of college campuses, not just by spineless administrators but much of the news media. Similar protests, conduct and rhetoric by white students would be immediately condemned for what it would be: blatant racism.

 Lie of the Year

Hands Up! Don’t shoot! The lie was uttered in 2014, but acquired new status after the Justice Department unexpectedly and definitively determined that the evidence did not support the inflammatory myth that Mike Brown was shot dead in Ferguson while trying to surrender to Officer Wilson. Never mind: the lie is part of the manifesto of Black Lives Matter and similar groups; it is still alluded to by activists and shameless politicians; it still divides the nation and focuses hate on police departments; and it has contributed to getting police officers killed while making communities more vulnerable to crime. It may be the Lie of the Decade.

Uncivil U.S. Official of the Year

Justice Antonin Scalia, who crossed all lines of judicial restraint, collegiality and civility when he excoriated his colleague, Justice Kennedy, who was the fifth vote in the majority of SCOTUS’s ruling  that same-sex marriage was a Constitutional right no state could deny, with this comment in a footnote:

“If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

——U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia,

 

The Jesse Jackson Award 

(For the Year’s Worst Amateur Diplomat)

Barack Obama.  I know, this is snarkier than I like to be in these awards, but the signature diplomatic measure of the past year, the astounding, one-sided, dangerous and Munich-like deal with Iran, could only be the product of an ideological tyro placing wishes and hopes over diplomatic responsibility, and not for the first time. For most Presidents, trading dangerous terrorists for a deserter would be nadir. History has seen many tragedies seeded by world leaders with no diplomatic skills: the disastrous Treaty of Versailles,  Potsdam, and the treaty that this one most resembles, negotiated by the hapless Neville Chamberlain. We can only hope that the worst case scenario doesn’t materialize, but if it does not, it will be moral luck.

Most Unethical Sports League

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, May 7, 2015.  REUTERS/Charles Krupa/Pool ORG XMIT: BKS06

The NFL, for the third year in a row. “Concussion,” Tom Brady, Deflategate, more evidence that NFL players are slowly killing themselves with brain damage, Johnny Manziel.  What a great sport pro football is.

Sports Cheat of the Year

Tom Brady, New England Patriots ball-inflating quarterback.  Brady eventually avoided punishment because the NFL botched both its investigation and its imposition of penalties, but his smirking, cynical comments about the incident made it clear that he thinks cheating is no big deal, and most of his fans agree. Not surprisingly, Brady supports Donald Trump.

Unethical Lawyers of the Year

Law Firm Division:  Lawyers Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut of the Florida firm Adams & Diaco were found to have “maliciously” set up the drunken-driving arrest of their opposing counsel in a  high-profile defamation trial. The plot involved a comely paralegal and a cooperative DUI cop. Last I checked, it looked like all three lawyers would be disbarred for life.

Scary Lawyer Division: California lawyer Douglas Crawford  held a can of pepper spray a yard from the face of the opposing lawyer saying, “I will pepper-spray you if you get out of hand.” Then the lawyer pointed a stun gun at Traver’s head and said, “If that doesn’t quell you, this is a flashlight that turns into a stun gun.” To show he wasn’t kidding, Crawford discharged the stun gun the startled lawyer’s face.

Hard-working Lawyer Division: Massachusetts lawyer,  Karen Andrade, was  charged with prostitution after a police investigated a report by a suspicious neighbor and  found online reviews of both the lawyer’s legal services and her escort services

Celebrity Lawyer Division: Michael Cohen,  one of Donald Trump’s lawyers, told the Daily Beast that it was legally impossible for a man to rape his wife. He was only a couple of decades and many court cases behind on his research. That piece of legal scholarship came after he had threatened the website’s staff in language usually associated with loan sharks and pimps.

Unethical Prosecutor of the Year

Mosby

Baltimore’s City Attorney Marilyn Mosby
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The Seventh Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2015, Part 1

Donald and Hillary

Sigh.

Watching the (encouraging) Iowa Caucuses results drip in last night, I was reminded that I hadn’t finished the task of completing the Seventh Annual Ethics Alarms Awards for 2015’s Worst in Ethics. There are two reasons for my tardiness: a lot of other ethics issues have arisen of late, and this job makes me physically ill. It is depressing and discouraging: 2015 was much worse than 2014, which was considerably worse than 2013. What am I doing here? What is the point of spending all of this uncompensated time—it is more profitable bagging groceries—trying to nurture a more ethical culture and a more ethically competent public when all evidence points to utter futility as the result? Well, that way madness lies, I guess. I’m just going to grit my teeth and do my duty.

Last year I began by saying that 2014 was the year of the Ethics Train Wreck. There were far more of them in 2015, and they were more serious and damaging. That should give you sufficient warning of the horrors to come…

Ethics Train Wreck of the Year

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The Illegal Immigration Ethics Train Wreck

One reason 2015 was a train wreck fest was that last year’s winners, the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, which begat the Freddie Gray Ethics Train Wreck, both begat by the 2012 winner, The Trayvon Martin- George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck, and The Obama Administration Ethics Train Wreck, were still running amuck this year as well. The latter managed to run head-on into the immigration mess, with the President over-stepping his Constitutional limits to decide unilaterally not to enforce the law, and the Middle East foreign policy fiasco, causing Democrats to bury their heads in the sand and deny that admitting unvetted Syrian refugees into the country was unacceptably dangerous, and Republicans to start talking like 1930s Germans. Then everyone was demonizing the issue, including the President and all of the Presidential candidates. Runners-up: The Donald Trump Presidential Campaign Ethics Train Wreck and the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign Ethics Train Wreck

Fraud of the Year

Rachel Dolezal, the militant, angry, anti-white NAACP official who, we discovered, was lily white and had magically become black by “identifying” so.  This ridiculous episode neatly encapsulated the entire year, which included sexual predator-enabler Hillary Clinton becoming a feminist champion by identifying as one, Bruce Jenner turning himself into herself by just saying so (and cashing in as a result), and President Obama making failed policies successful by repeating over and over that they were. RUNNER-UP: The Illinois Lottery, which first lures poor citizens into paying millions they can’t afford for a distnat chance at a jackpot, and then doesn’t pay up when one of them wins.

Incompetent Elected Officials of the Year

Every elected official involved in the Flint, Michigan water disaster. Plenty of unelected officials were accountable too, but I don’t have a category for them.

Sexual Predator Of The Year

 Bill Cosby. He won this category handily in 2014, and added about 20 more alleged victims to his total this year. Who know how long he will hold the title? Meanwhile, his own Ethics Train Wreck sucked in Walt Disney World, the Smithsonian, and Claire Huxtable, among others.

Runner-up: Bill Clinton. Karma’s a bitch. Continue reading

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski

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“So let’s solve the problem. Let’s not get involved in constitutional arguments, and let’s help our American people be safe and secure in their home, their neighborhood, their school and their house of worship.”

—-Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in her opening remarks ahead of a Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing, prior to testimony from Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding the Administration’s proposed gun control measures.

Mikulski, who is mercifully retiring, has been a relentless opponent of gun rights, and if you wanted a poster child for Democrats who would ban guns in a heartbeat if they could, Mikulski’s perfect.

“Let’s solve the problem and never mind what the Constitution says” could be the motto of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party as it is evolving. The quote is signature significance: no elected officials who take their oath of office seriously—you know, the like one taken bu U.S. Senators in which they swear to “support and defend the Constitution?—-would ever say, “Let’s not get involved in constitutional arguments…” in considering any legislative act or Presidential order, because the Constitution must be followed and respected in everything the government does.

This is the arrogant, lawless, totalitarian mindset that the hard-left progressive establishment represented by Mikulski now embodies. Why didn’t any mainstream media journalists immediately expose this? Why was it only the conservative bloggers and news sources who found her statement outrageous? And why didn’t any other Senators have the wit, integrity and sense of responsibility to lay her out for saying such a stupid, arrogant, un-American thing?

Constitutional arguments are what keep us free. Those who sneer at them like Mikulski have other plans.

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Ethics Questions And Answers Regarding The Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

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First, a background question: What is the Flint water crisis?

Here is what has happened so far:

1. In March of 2013, the Flint City Council voted to leave the Detroit water system and join a new pipeline project that would deliver water to the city from Lake Huron. The state agreed that it was a good idea, since it would save the financially strapped Flint 19 million dollars over 8 years. [ Addendum: The news media and progressive spin is that the cruel state unilaterally imposed this decision on Flint. That’s not true, and don’t trust any source that claims it is. Here’s one such hack, who states “In 2013, the Emergency Manager for Flint, Ed Kurtz, signed the order that Flint would stop relying upon Detroit for water and, instead, switch to a the Karegnondi Water Authority run out of Lake Huron.” The Flint City Council voted 7-1 to take this course prior to the sign-off. It was approved by Kurtz, but this blogger’s statement that the crisis “is a direct result of reckless cost-cutting by the unelected bureaucrat who Governor Snyder appointed to run the city under the state’s controversial “Emergency Financial Manager” law” is deceptive and false.]

2. Detroit retaliated by announcing that it would cut off Flint’s water supply. Since the new pipeline wouldn’t be ready for three years, Flint had to find a temporary supplier of its water needs. It then spent millions upgrading its water processing plant.

3. The months leading up to the Detroit shut-off deadline generated many meetings with the state and regulatory bodies. Mayor Dayne Walling, a Democrat, announced that the temporary supply would come from the Flint River. The plan for the switch was implement by state-appointed emergency manager, Darnell Early. The system went into operation in April of 2014.

4. Immediately, residents started complaining about the water’s taste and appearance. Early (the state) and Mayor Walling (the city) insisted that it was safe to drink. Four months later, there was a fecal content alert, meaning that the water wasn’t being sufficiently purified. In October of 2014, General Motors said that the water seemed to be corrosive, and it would no longer use it in its plant.

5.  In January of 2015, Flint told its residents that the water wasn’t safe because of chemical contamination that could cause serious health problems. Detroit offered to go back to the old arrangement. Flint declined. Erin Brockovich (yes, that Erin Brockovich)  publicly argued that there was a water safety  crisis in Flint. The Mayor asked the state for assistance, and was assured that they were “working on it.”

6.  Activists said that the water was dangerous and the city should go back to its old arrangement with Detroit. The city hired an expert who claimed the water was safe. More work was done to fix the problem, but the City Council voted to re-connect to the Detroit system, and Lake Huron water. However, the vote had to be approved by the State’s emergency manager for the city. He didn’t approve it. The advocates for going back to Detroit water sued in Federal court, and lost.

7.  This mess  dragged into last fall. In September of 2015, researchers from Virginia Tech University reported online that their testing of Flint’s water found it “very corrosive” and that it was “causing lead contamination in homes.”  “On a scientific basis, Flint River water leaches more lead from plumbing than does Detroit water,” the report concluded. “This is creating a public health threat in some Flint homes that have lead pipe or lead solder.” The very same day, Michigan told Flint that the earlier chemical contamination had fallen within acceptable levels due to improved treatment methods, and the water was officially compliant with all standards, and safe.

8. Later that month, however, testing showed frightening levels of lead in the blood of Flint infants and children. A new lead warning was sent to Flint residents.

9. In October, 2015, the County issued a warning that Flint’s water was dangerous, and asked the Governor to declare a State of Emergency. The next day, Governor Rick Snyder announced various measures to address the problem.

10. Again, the city, this time through a special advisory committee, recommended that Flint switch back to the Detroit supply. On October 8, Snyder announced a multi-million dollar plan to reconnect Flint to Detroit’s water.  A week later, the Michigan Legislature and Snyder approved  $9.4 million in aid to Flint, including $6 million to  switch its drinking water back to Detroit.

11. Thanks to the water problem, Walling was defeated in his race to be re-elected as mayor  by Karen Weaver. The switch didn’t stop the lead problem, because the corrosive water had prompted a deterioration in Flint’s lead pipes. It took a the entire holiday period for this to become sufficiently obvious, for some reason, as many residents drank lead-contaminated water they had been told was now safe.

12. Shortly after Christmas, Snyder fired Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant and apologized for what was happening in Flint. He declared a state of emergency.

13. On January 13, Governor Snyder activated the Michigan National Guard to  distribute bottled water and filters in Flint, and asked the federal government for assistance.  The same day, Michigan health officials reported an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases during periods over the past two years in Flint and the surrounding county. Snyder requested a major disaster declaration from President Obama, and more federal aid. Obama signed an emergency declaration last week, ordering federal aid for Flint and authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate relief efforts.

Why doesn’t everybody know about this? Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Race, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology

From Missouri: Good Ethics Theory, Dumb Bill

Rep. Bart Korman, deep thinker...

Rep. Bart Korman, deep thinker...

A proposed bill, sponsored by Rep. Bart Korman, a Montgomery County Republican in the Missouri legislature, would require lobbyists who have sex with a Missouri lawmaker or a member of a lawmaker’s staff  to disclose it to the Missouri Ethics Commission. The bill defines sex between lobbyists and legislators as a gift, so  sexual relations would have to be included on monthly lobbyist gift disclosure forms.

In theory, the bill is ethically admirable. Lobbyists having sex with legislators is unethical, and vice-versa. It creates a conflict of interest for the legislator, creates an appearance of impropriety, suggests a quid pro quo arrangement, and either is or looks like the equivalent of a bribe. It is grossly unprofessional for both sex partners. It is unethical in every way.

The proposed law, however, is stupid and incompetent beyond belief or justification. It doesn’t even send an important message: everyone already knows that for lobbyists and elected officials to have sex is unethical. Lobbyists and legislators are already professionally obligated to report professional misconduct, by themselves and others. This is the ethical duty of disclosure and transparency. Why would any lobbyist so unethical as to have sex with a legislator he or she was supposed to lobby suddenly decide to abide by a law and disclose it, thus embarrassing his or her paramour? It makes as much sense to pass a law requiring burglars to report their break-ins and thefts, or to require tax cheats to list the money they hid on their last tax returns as income on the next one. Continue reading

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

Incompetent Elected Official Face-Off: Jackson, Miss. Councilman Kenneth Stokes vs. Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano

worse

The mind-blowing conduct of Minneapolis City Council member Alondra Cano and the shocking words of Jackson, Mississippi City Council member Kenneth Stokes raise many questions. Who elects these people? How is it possible that individuals this ignorant of basic American values, this defiant of common decency, and this contemptuous of the responsibilities of elected officials acquire any power at any level of government?

I suspect that the answers, whatever they are, will be useful in diagnosing the dread illness that has created so many supporters for Donald Trump. The challenge for today, is simpler, if not necessarily easier: Which of these local embarrassments is worse? Let’s review their recent headlines, shall we?

Alondra Cano was an enthusiastic participant in the unethical and illegal Black Lives Matter demonstrations at the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport after Christmas.  They were called “protests,” but the objects of the civil disobedience were unrelated in any way to the matter being protested, unless the objective was to do damage to ordinary American life—and it was—and to intimidate ordinary, law abiding citizens. This wasn’t courageous elected officials joining a civil rights march for a legal demonstration in the Sixties. Cano allied herself with racist thugs, against the system and the citizens she was elected to represent. Continue reading

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Vote For Popehat’s Censorious Asshat Of The Year!

Popehat-header

One of the best and most provocative blogs is Popehat, which has had a momentous year. Besides being its usual passionate and quirky self, the libertarian/free speech/legal/nerd website has also added Marc Randazza to its ranks. Marc (Full disclosure: he is a law school classmate, though if I ever met him face to face, I don’t remember) who shares Popehat Master of the House Ken White’s love of justice and creative invective and is also a superb lawyer, will alter the tone there a bit as well as be his opinionated,thoughtful, often hilarious self.

Popehat is offering a reader poll to determine the Censorious Asshat of the Year. I know that an ethics blog with the proclivities of Ethics Alarms is a little like a Macy’s Santa sending shoppers to Gimbels, but it’s Christmastime, and besides, there’s no competition in ethics, just futility. As it happens, only three of the 12 nominees made it into Ethics Alarms last year. I was aware of all of them, but my purview is a bit broader than Popehat’s; for whatever reason, they were in my range  but I decided to use my bullets elsewhere.

Go here, and help a worthy blog crown a worthy free speech-hating jerk and or jerks.

I bet you’ll be able to guess my vote.

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