Category Archives: War and the Military

“Boobs on the Ground” Ethics

"we have met the boob, and it is me."

“We have met the boob, and it is me.”

I was going to make this an Ethics Quiz, but that dignifies Eric Bolling’s crude and disrespectful comment on Fox’s “The Five” more than it deserves. Would I accept such a sophomoric “quip” at a dinner party of close friends, at a bachelor party, in a group of women who knew me and could tell when I was intentionally tweaking them, in a setting where groans and objects thrown at my head were appropriate?  Oh, probably. I’ve made worse jokes myself, knowing how bad they were, knowing they were offensive, knowing that I had the good will of my companions and that they would take them the right way. But as a presenter in a seminar? As a panel member? In an auditorium? Over the radio? On TV? Never.

Any statement is defined to some extent by the audience it was intended for (See: Sterling, Donald) For a supposed broadcast professional to say what Bolling said about the United Arab Emirates‘s first female pilot who served as the flight leader during air strikes in Syria (“Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?”) can’t be excused or justified: Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Professions, War and the Military

If Someone Praises The Job Eric Holder Did As Attorney General, That Tells You All You Need To Know

eric_holder_ap1

Eric Holder was the most political, biased, inept and undemocratic U.S. Attorney General  in at least 70 years, with the  exception of Nixon’s AG, John Mitchell, who went to jail. And the Attorney Generals have been uniformly terrible in this period; being one of the two worst takes talent, determination, broken ethics alarms and wretched judgement.

Those who praise Holder either are doing so without any idea about his record, or because they want the justice system in the United States to be racially and ideologically biased. The results of the latter, which is Holder’s real legacy, can be seen in the rising distrust between races, and the frequent description of Holder as being Obama’s “scandal goalie.”  The latter isn’t completely fair, because the news media has also been the President’s scandal goalie. The proof: few of the mainstream media retrospectives on Holder’s tenure mentioned the Justice Department’s refusal to hold a thorough and open investigation of the still unfolding I.R.S. scandal, which should have, and under any Republican administration, would have, included an independent prosecutor, because the news media would be screaming for one. This abdication of duty and naked partisanship by Holder alone condemns him. Unfortunately, there is a lot more.

You can begin with the “inside baseball” reports that Justice, under his administration, is a confused mess. That’s hardly surprising, for since the President eschews management and oversight, this is the tendency up and down the system. Without well-regulated policies and oversight, partisan meddling flourishes.

I have neither the time nor the energy to detail each and every example of Holder’s toxic racial and partisan biases, or his flat out ineptitude; there are too many to list, and I am sure I don’t know about some whoppers. Never mind: a fraction of the list would have made the resignation of any other Attorney General mandatory and beyond debate.  Holder is black, and this guaranteed that short of setting fire to the Supreme Court, he would only leave when he was ready. That alone is disgusting.

Here are some other Holder achievements:

1. “If Holder had his way, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, might now be on death row,” says ABC. This is the media spinning for Holder: his efforts to have the terrorist tried in New York City was when I first realized how out of his depth he was.

In the contentious Congressional hearings on the matter, Holder told the nation that“Failure is not an option. These are cases that have to be won.” “That have to be won”? Failure, as in acquittal, is “not an option”? This was a confession of the muddled, simultaneously alpha and omega false logic that would become a hallmark of Obama World. Holder proclaimed that the world had to see the United States give its enemies a fair trial, then told Congress that the “fair trial” he was proposing was a show trial,  a kangaroo court, in which justice meant a guilty verdict. It was a stupid, stupid thing for any lawyer, much less an Attorney general to say. Tragically, it was no aberration.

2. Holder refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, though it was a law passed by Congress and signed  by a Democratic President. I think he should have been impeached for that. Slate, among others, says that he was “vindicated” because the Supreme Court held the law unconstitutional. They didn’t vindicate his refusing to do his job. It is not the prosecutor’s duty to veto laws duly passed by the legislature and signed into law, nor should he have the power to do so. Holder’s precedent took a bite out of the rule of law, and stood for stunning arrogance. He viewed DOMA as a civil rights incursion: gee, what other laws don’t you like, sir? We found out: he didn’t like drug laws, because he sympathized with the poor, black criminals that tended to violate them. His solution? Minimize the penalties, and send the message that abusing illegal drugs was no big deal. Democrats wanted to curry favor with the Hispanic-American voting bloc? Holder was eager to assist by not enforcing the Federal laws, and by doing everything he could to prevent the states from policing illegal immigrants as well. In a system of laws, favoring authorities that pick and choose which to enforce according to their political beliefs is endorsing obstruction over process, and politics over justice.

3. When acting unconstitutionally suited Holder’s partisan masters, however, he would do it. In 2013, the Justice Department  seized Associated Press phone records, and monitored Fox News reporter James Rosen following a story he published in 2009 on Iran.

4. Holder oversaw specious and intellectually dishonest justifications for the U.S. policy of assassinating suspected terrorists without providing them with a trial, and or any evidence that they were planning imminent attacks. By defining the word imminent in the broadest possible way, this advocacy for the elimination of due process equaled the worst deceits of the Bush Torture Memos, the only difference being an official pass from the Obama-enabling press. The policy, basically a license to murder, ensured that assassinations could be carried out against anyone who the U.S. government feared if the person was located on foreign soil and could not be captured.

5. Then there is Operation Fast & Furious, the proof positive that Holder was going to get away with anything and everything. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost an estimated 1,400 weapons in Mexico, among them: two guns that were used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.  Holder is the supervisor of the ATF, but testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he had only known about the sting named “Operation Fast & Furious,” for a few weeks. Then investigators uncovered memos on Fast & Furious sent to Holder in July 2010. A reasonable conclusion was that Holder had lied under oath. Oh, no, Holder “explained,” he never read the memos. He was incompetent, not culpable. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Holder indignantly denied a DOJ cover-up, saying that“This operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution,”  and refusing to be held accountable for his own department’s deadly botch. Bolstered by Obama’s assertion of executive privilege, which prevented future prosecution, Holder refused to turn over documents related to the fiasco. Congress held Holder in contempt in June 2012, and he thoroughly deserved it, because the American people had a right to know the extent of the bungling in the highest reaches of the Obama Administration.

6. Although the supporters of Holder claim that his legacy was built on a dedication to civil rights, this was only in the narrow areas where the Democratic Party saw political advantage. He was not concerned, for example, in the civil rights of Americans when the government wanted to use modern surveillance technologies to spy on them. In the 2012 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Jones, Holder’s Justice Department argued that the police did not violate the Fourth Amendment by attaching  GPS devices to cars so they could know where they were going and where they had been, with that evidence used to acquire evidence. incriminate, try and imprison.  The Supreme Court rejected that position unanimously, because it was a mark of a burgeoning police state.

7. When Democrats wanted to create racial divisions, however, to rile up the base, Holder reported for duty. He assisted the unconscionable effort, still ongoing, by Democrats to characterize a responsible and necessary protection of the integrity of the voting process—photo IDs—as a racist plot, though the measure had long ago been approved by liberals, and only recently became stigmatized as “voter suppression.”

8. Holder’s major wound that he inflicted on the nation was his clear intention to project the image of a black Attorney General whose concern was minorities, whose assumption was that whites were the enemy, and whose biases were front and center. An early cue was his department’s abandonment of charges against two New Black Panthers who stood armed outside a Philadelphia polling place. The controversy, assisted by the media, devolved into an argument over whether this was an example of Justice receiving orders from the political Machiavellis in the White House, or just a lousy, bigoted example of “discretion.” A long official investigation found the latter, but either way, the message sent to white Americans was that this Justice Department was not especially interested in protecting their rights. In the Trayvon Martin shooting and the Ferguson episode, two local issues that should not have been his concern, Holder made statements, engaged in gestures and took actions that signaled his allegiance to the black victims, and opposition to the white (or “white Hispanic”) individual accused. He repeatedly spoke collaboratively before Sharpton’s followers, endorsing their diagnoses of a racist nation, and, by extension, a white population aligned against African Americans. Especially revolting was his repeated attempts to duck legitimate accountability for, you know, being terrible at his job, by race-baiting, such as when he explained Congressional criticism of his handling of Fast & Furious—a career-ender for any white Attorney General, or an appointee of any President who believed in accountability, by saying in 2011…

“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: the job of Attorney General, like the job of President, must be, and must be seen as being, absolutely neutral regarding race. Holder intentionally projected himself as an AG who cared more about minorities than non-minorities, increasing distrust, undermining respect in the justice system, and dividing the nation.

9. Not that he wasn’t feckless and incompetent too: for example, Holder’s Justice Department, almost certainly to ensure later campaign support, allowed multiple corporate criminals to escape serious punishment. For example, the Justice Deportment made a ridiculous plea deal to allow Halliburton executives to avoid jail time after they destroyed evidence of their culpability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The company agreed to pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000, accepted  a three-year probation;  continued its cooperation with the government’s criminal investigation (which it had to anyway), and  made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to clean off those oil-covered sea birds and otters. It could do this with the confidence that hard-core Democrats, being total hypocrites, would still attack the Republican party as a cadre of soulless corporate fat cats and insist that any criticism of Holder’s Justice Department and his boss’s administration was rooted in racism.

And again, the amazing thing is: That’s not all.

Any politician, elected official, pundit, columnist, civil rights leader or President who declares that Eric Holder was a wonderful public servant and a great American is telling you one of three things, or all of them:

  • They are liars.
  • They don’t know anything about Eric Holder, or
  • They believe the integrity of the nation’s laws should be warped and the public trust should be forfeited for a race-based, partisan agenda.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be taking names.

30 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, Rights, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Indocrinating Our Students With Apathy, Cowardice and Selfishness: No Wonder We Won’t Help The Ukraine…

THIS, however, is perfectly acceptable, because it's perfectly ineffective.

THIS, however, is perfectly acceptable, because it’s perfectly ineffective.

Day by day, moment by moment, our ethically incompetent schools inculcate the wrong values in our young, undoing centuries of American traditions and unraveling the unique character that made the United States the hope of the world.

When he witnessed another student at Chicago’s Elmwood Park High School beginning to bully a smaller, weaker colleague, high school athlete mark Rivera pulled the aggressor aside and said something in the manner of “Do that again, and you’ll have to deal with me, got it?” As a result, he was suspended.

The principal told reporters, “You can say stop it or leave him alone but if that doesn’t work, get an adult involved.”  Ah. Object without intending to do anything to back up the objection. Do nothing, and, say, go play golf. Or leave it to someone else.

Sounds familiar.

Mark Rivera is an Ethics Hero, even though, if the cultural polluters inchrage of our institutions aren’t stopped and replaced, future generations of the wan, timid, self-absorbed nation that was once the United States won’t think so.

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Heroes, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Obama’s Coffee Cup Salute “Gotcha!”

Scotty SaluteSome controversies instantly inspire everyone on all sides to be petty, stupid, and unfair. This is just such a controversy.

The White House  posted a video of President Barack Obama awkwardly saluting a Marine as Obama exited the presidential helicopter, Marine One. He did so while holding a styrofoam coffee cup, which he brought to his forehead as well. This sparked critical comments from Republicans, conservatives and veterans that Obama was showing disrespect for the military.

This is the epitome of a petty “Gotcha!” that guarantees sympathy for the President. I would be surprised if there are not  examples of most Presidents botching return salutes, especially those, like Obama and Clinton, who had no experience in the military. (President Eisenhower presumably never had this salute problem.) Obama also was pretty pathetic when he had to throw out the first pitch in a major league baseball game. Oh, so what? Republicans really think that these deficiencies prove Obama is disrespectful of the military, or of the National Pastime? There are so many stronger indications. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Government & Politics, Leadership, War and the Military

The ISIS Mission: Once Again, “The March of Folly”

March into wall

[I'm back home., and am almost finished with doing six ethics presentations in seven days in four states. I just added the photo of the Faber band marching into the wall in "Animal House"---the ultimate "march of folly"--- and more importantly, fixing about ten typos in the post. I knew ttey would be there. I had an 8 AM start time for my seminar, which would end at noon, and then had to drive to Boston, ditch my rental car, and fly back to Virginia. I wanted to get the post on this topic up, but knew it would be rushed, and that I wouldn't have time to proof it carefully until late in the day. Maybe I should do that; I don't like posting sloppy content. I apologize for the typos, but it was either a timely post with mistakes, or a late post without.  My choice; I'll accept your verdict.]

“The March of Folly” was historian Barbara Tuchman’s most specific exploration of the theme of many of her works. It was a cold-eyed retrospective of how supposedly brilliant people in power can follow through on destructive and objectively stupid policies; how a mission, ordered by a  leader, travels the arc from aspiration to delusion, and how the public, paralyzed by deference to authority, inertia, restraint, and irrational hope. accepts flawed premises long after the damage they are doing and will continue to do are obvious and undeniable. Tuchman calls this lethal tendency of policymakers throughout history a “process of self-hypnosis.” She concentrates on its long and bloody history using examples spanning the Trojan War,  through the British handling of the American rebellion, and the Vietnam War. In another book, she applied similar analysis to the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. This is exactly what is going on with the ridiculous and pre-doomed Obama plan to arm the Syrian rebels to fight ISIS—but not the Syrian regime, which is who they are currently fighting. I doubt whether anyone with the necessary influence will stop it until it becomes a chapter in another historian’s sequel to Tuchman’s classic.

Because I have been in a hotel room between three ethics presentations in the Providence area, I have had a rare opportunity to watch much of the hearings on the proposed ISIS plan, as well as listen to the reaction on all of the news networks, from all sides of the political spectrum. I have also watched the President’s speeches on the subject. Seldom has something involving national policy unfolding before my eyes so clearly indicated a shocking deficit of either ethical leadership, or, in the alternative, competent leadership.

I don’t need to bombard you with links: nobody, with the possible  (and frightening) exception of President Obama, believes the proposed plan to defeat-degrade-stop-“send to the Gates of Hell” (pick your rhetoric) can possibly work as it has been described. Not the generals; not Republicans; not Democrats, not CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Carol Costello, who kept shaking their heads in amazement during the hearings, and not Fox News’ Shepard Smith, who was  hilarious as well as eloquent in his sarcasm and dead-eyed disgust while questioning various experts and pundits about what was being said on Capitol Hill.

Nobody believes that American air power and “advisors” alone can accomplish the objectives of this campaign without eventually involving combat troops. The idea is being ridiculed by anyone who knows the region, the participants, and the facts of military strategy, and who is not under orders by the President to toe the official line. (Who knows what poor John Kerry and Chuck Hagel think?Who knows if they are even thinking….) Yet it appears Congress is going to approve this born-to-fail plan anyway. Why? Well, some Republicans and Democrats believe that when the Commander-in-Chief asks for Congressional approval in a military action, he should get it. This is irresponsible. Some Republicans want an Obama military fiasco to hang around his neck, and are willing to spend billions and kill people to do it. Some Democrats would support their man in the White House if he asked them for a resolution that the moon was made of cheese. And some are undoubtedly idiots.

Is the President? No, he’s not an idiot. He is a hopelessly, tragically over-matched leader without the skills or character required for the job, making terrible choice after terrible choice and lacking the courage to forget politics and lead. He hates war–real war, not video game war, but war in which  Americans get shot, blown up and killed, and where the bad guys can’t be attacked solely from the safety of the skies, which is to say, war. His ideals in this respect are and always were completely contrary to the requirements of being the President of the United States. He is as close to a pacifist as we have ever had in that office, and pacifists do not belong there.

Sometimes, international crises and threats require American soldiers, with weapons, fighting. The President doesn’t like it? Too bad. (“I…hate…war,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in one of his many memorable speeches.) The public is tired of combat? Tough. The nation still has obligations, and sometimes there are no happy choices. “I’m tired of being responsible; I’m tired of having to sacrifice; I’m tired of being part of the constant battle against chaos that is life”—none of these are rational and responsible sentiments, and a competent leader has to know when to ignore them. The Democratic Party’s progressive base is, in essence, pacifist in philosophy? Gee, sorry. Republicans have their screwballs too. This isn’t the time for politics, partisanship, or ideology unhinged to the real world.

What’s going on here?

Incredibly, it really seems to be this simple: Continue reading

29 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Character, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership, War and the Military

Would You Want To Join A Coalition With People Who Talk This Way?

Lost and Confused Signpost

I just returned home from a funeral last night, and am running off to give an ethics presentation, but saw this and cannot resist pointing it out.

From the Hill:

The United States is at war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), the White House and Pentagon said Friday, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly declined to use that phrase.

“In the same way that we are at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, we are at war with ISIL,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the White House.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby echoed that sentiment, telling reporters that while the effort was “not the Iraq war,” they should “make no mistake, we know we are at war with ISIL.”

Earnest said that it was important to distinguish that this was “different than the strategies previously pursued in Iraq” and that by “we,” he meant a “broader international coalition” that was fighting the terrorist organization. Earnest also said that the strategy for handling ISIS was “consistent with the counterterrorism strategy we’ve pursued in cases all around the world.”

“This president, as is expected of American presidents, is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately, this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL,” he said.

In a series of interviews on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly rejected characterizations of the U.S. efforts against ISIS as war.

Kerry said the administration’s plan to combat ISIS includes “many different things that one doesn’t think of normally in context of war” during an interview with CNN.

In a separate interview with CBS News, Kerry also rejected the word “war” to describe the U.S. effort and encouraged the public not to “get into war fever” over the conflict.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry told the network.

“I don’t think people need to get into war fever on this. I think they have to view it as a heightened level of counter terrorist activity … but it’s not dissimilar similar to what we’ve been doing the last few years with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in Yemen and elsewhere,” Kerry said.

I see! So we’re at war, though you shouldn’t call it a war, though it is like the war we officially said was not a war, and although it is in Iraq, it’s not an Iraq war, and it really isn’t going to be like what you typically expect in a war, so we shouldn’t go into war fever. It’s more like what we’ve been doing in some places where we haven’t been at war, like Pakistan.

How can anyone trust these people?

10 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Government & Politics, Leadership, War and the Military

Unethical Quote of the Week: Presidential Spokesman Josh Earnest

Websters

“I didn’t bring my Webster’s dictionary with me up here.”

—-White House Spokesman Josh Earnest, in response to a reporter’s question regarding the President’s definition of “victory” in the conflict with ISIS.

The statement itself is only slightly less outrageous than the fact that it has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. I’m using Politico for the link, a slightly left-leaning political news website. The primary links on the web go to Fox (of course), RealClearPolitics, The Weekly Standard, PJ Media, the Washington Times, and The Blaze. No ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, or Daily Beast. There is no excuse for this. It is blatantly irresponsible, and terrible, biased, negligent journalism. Not only does the public have a right to know what the objectives are in Iraq, the public has a right to know how arrogant and incompetent its leadership is. I think Earnest’s performance provides a definitive answer: Very.
Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership, War and the Military