Tag Archives: impeachment

Re: Obama’s NSA Speech—Ralph Lopez Is Right. So Was James Otis. So Why Aren’t More Liberals, Progressives And Democrats…Wait, Didn’t I Just Write This?

James-Otis-Quotes-1A political writer from the alternative media wrote a clear, well-researched, pretty much irrefutable 0p-ed for the Digital Journal , crystallizing an issue that should have been obvious all along. The NSA’s incursions on the privacy of U.S. citizens are a bright line violation of the Fourth Amendment, one of the bulwarks of American individual rights. Yesterday, President Obama rationalized and embraced those unconstitutional acts and policies. The writer, Ralph Lopez, is angry and outraged. Why isn’t everybody?

In particular, why isn’t the very same group that compared the less obtrusive Patriot Act measures imposed by the Bush administration to “1984” and fascist regimes screaming bloody murder? That group would be, in case you’ve forgotten, liberals, progressives and Democrats. The technical terms for this are “hypocrisy,” “absence of integrity,” “dishonesty,” “blind loyalty,” “misplaced priorities,” and “foolish.” The technical term for the consistent Republicans who support the NSA’s over-reach is “wrong.”

Unfortunately, Lopez’s piece is burdened by a ridiculous title (“Should Obama be tried for treason after his NSA speech on Friday?,” indicating that either Lopez or his headline writer has been infected by the signature delusion of this President and his enablers—that giving a speech is the same as doing something), but its main points are as solid as granite:

  • “The language of the amendment, which embodies the sentiment in Patriot speeches of the American Revolution that “a man’s house is his castle,” is beautifully crystalline in clarity as all the Founding Fathers’ declarations were. The Fourth Amendment guarantees:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“In modern times, electronic communications such as emails and telephone calls have been held to be an extension of a person’s “papers and effects,” from a time when the only non-verbal communication was written letters, i.e. “papers.” This means, quite simply, that all private communications of private citizens are none of the government’s damned business, unless it can show “probable cause” that they involve a crime, and the government can prove it to a judge. In the real world judges already tend to give wide latitude to police and prosecutors who are convinced they have “probable cause,” a fairly low standard which might consist of a mere hunch based on the most circumstantial of evidence, like a man rooting around in a dumpster where, the day before, the cops found a cache of drugs.” 

In his speech yesterday, the President said, …in an extraordinarily difficult job, one in which actions are second-guessed, success is unreported and failure can be catastrophic, the men and women of the intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people. They’re not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls or read your emails.”

Really? They are collecting private data that can allow them to do that when and if they choose, and that is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading

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Let’s Be Clear: President Clinton’s Conduct Was WORSE Than Anthony Weiner’s

This won’t make some people happy, but it is true.

Who's more unethical? It's no contest.

Who’s more unethical? It’s no contest.

I always feel like Michael Corleone at times like these: just when I think I am finally through with having to point out the miserable ethics record of Bill Clinton, he (or his shameless supporters) puuuull me back …

The New York Post is reporting that…

“Bill and Hillary Clinton are angry with efforts by mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner and his campaign to compare his Internet sexcapades — and his wife Huma Abedin’s incredible forgiveness — to the Clintons’ notorious White House saga…’The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging — that Huma is ‘standing by her man’ the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did,’ said a top state Democrat…’The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,’’ said the source. “How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state.'”

My reaction to this?

Good!

Karma’s a bitch. Continue reading

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Heroes, Dunces, Truthtellers, Liars, Spinners, Incompetents, and Fools: More Ethics Forensics On The Government Scandal Wave

bosch

This is a mercurial story, several in fact, but one of its most valuable uses is to allow us to sort out various individuals and institutions for their trustworthiness and character based upon their words and conduct regarding the multiple scandals hurtling around Washington.

  • Fool: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Mn). Bachmann is talking impeachment, which has signature significance: any elected official who brings up impeachment now or anytime before hard evidence turns up proving that President Obama personally delivered  a bag of gold to the IRS leadership to make sure proprietary tax information was leaked is an utter, irresponsible dolt. 1) No President has ever been convicted after their impeachment, and heaven knows we have had multiple Chief Executives factually guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It is a waste of time, an all-encompassing political warfare glut that this nation can’t afford at this point, especially when the U.S. Senate is in control of the same party the impeached POTUS belongs to. Yes, I agree with the principle that corrupt Presidents should be punished; I’m glad Bill Clinton got his just desserts, but I also know that if he and the rest of the government had been concentrating on what was going on in the world rather than hiding blue dresses, the Twin Towers might be standing today, and 3000—10,000?—-Americans wouldn’t be dead. Impeachment is like using a nuclear bomb: it’s a useful threat, but the reality is too horrible to permit. 2) Anyone who thinks making Joe Biden President is a solution to anything is certifiable. 3) There is nothing at this point that would support a legitimate impeachment. 4) Putting the scandals in that context just supports the agreed-upon White House and media spin that this is all about politics. Shut up, Michele.

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Unethical Quote of the Week, Sequester Ethics Train Wreck Division: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Officials

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

—- U.S. Agriculture officials, responding to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official Charles Brown after he asked “if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact.” Brown quoted the response in an internal e-mail obtained by the Washington Times.

Why isn't the news media screaming?

Why isn’t the news media screaming?

Assuming that Brown’s account is accurate, the e-mail appears to show, in the interpretation most favorable to the Obama Administration, that at least one federal department believes that its job is to ensure that the across-the-board sequester cuts do as much tangible harm as possible, even where it is possible to mitigate that harm through effective management. The interpretation least favorable would conclude that President Obama has issued internal orders to the effect that any effort to lessen the cataclysmic results he and his Cabinet members predicted prior to the sequester deadline is forbidden, since it would undermine the political strategy of creating public anger against Republicans.

I don’t know where the truth lies. I can say that here in Washington, D.C., both Democrats and Republicans, without the benefit of the e-mail, seem to have adopted the worst case interpretation, which is shocking. Even more shocking is that the sick culture here is largely shrugging this off as “hardball politics” on behalf of the President and his Democratic allies. I cannot fathom this, just as I cannot fathom why all news media, left and right, are not screaming like the Donald Sutherland pod duplicate at the end of the remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” if they also believe this is true. Continue reading

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Newt Gingrich: Ethics Victim…Ethics Miscreant…Walking, Talking Ethics Lesson

The Ethics Lesson

I’m glad Newt Gingrich is in the presidential race, however foolishly and futilely. He is perhaps the perfect illustration of how a potential political leader’s private personal conduct is not only relevant to assessing his fitness to lead, but predictive of it. What makes Newt especially useful in this regard is that he is a Republican, and all the Democrats who are going to be sneering at his candidacy will have to square their attacks on his character with their indignant claims in 1998 that Bill Clinton’s adultery, sexual harassment and lies were irrelevant to his leadership—and they weren’t truly private or personal.  Similarly, Newt will be helpful to some of my ethically-addled trial lawyer friends who have argued that John Edwards is still a trustworthy lawyer, despite his betrayals of his dying wife, his family, his supporters and his party.

Of course private conduct is relevant to judging a leader, especially when private conduct shows an individual to be dishonest, disloyal, cowardly, ruthless, selfish and cruel—like Newt. Cheating on two wives and leaving both of them when they were battling health crises isn’t a mistake, or a coincidence, or a misunderstanding; it is a pattern, and a symptom. You can’t trust Newt. You can’t rely on Newt. You can’t believe Newt. Ask his ex-wives, and eventually, I am quite certain, his current one.

Today conservative talk radio is abuzz with Gingrich’s frenzied efforts to sooth the conservative faithful after he attacked Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget reforms over the weekend. What??? You mean Newt Gingrich stabbed a political ally and  fellow party stalwart in the back without warning? Who could have seen that coming? Oh, only everybody: You can’t trust Newt. You can’t rely on Newt. You can’t believe Newt. Ask his ex-wives. Continue reading

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Donald Trump, Birther

Classy as ever, Donald!

Donald Trump, whose pseudo-entry into the Republican presidential sweepstakes has had the effect of making all the other candidates and near-candidates look classy by comparison, now is playing the despicable “birther” card. It figures. Everything about Trump’s career, personal life and properties, even his hairstyle, has been an exercise in bad taste.

This tactic plays to the lowest lights in the Republican party, about 70% of whose members harbor serious doubts about President Obama’s place of birth. This is not surprising: it is pure confirmation bias. Most Republicans don’t like Obama, and so don’t trust him. The confusion about his birth certificate feeds that distrust, and confirms it. It seems plausible to them that such an untrustworthy sort is hiding his true place of birth. To someone who trusts the President, this is not plausible. The slow-motion furor over his citizenship confirms their already formed beliefs too: that the Republicans are fools and racists. Continue reading

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Unethical Quote of the Month: Newt Gingrich

“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them. I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there’s a forgiving God.”

-Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, preparing for a presidential run by attempting to explain and apologize for his serial marital betrayals, the most spectacular of which was visiting his first wife while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery to announce that he was divorcing her to marry his mistress. Then he cheated on his second wife, the former mistress, with a member of his staff. He ditched Mistress #1, Wife #2, for Mistress #2, who became Wife #3. This is why he needs a forgiving God, or at least a forgiving electorate.

Newt’s defense now is that he felt so passionately about his country that it caused him to dump his cancer stricken wife (so much for all that “in sickness or in health” stuff), and later, while he was leading a party that was making the case that a U.S. President shouldn’t be having on-the-job sexual encounters with interns, using his staff and appointees to cover it up, and lying about it under oath in court, to commence a second extra-marital affair of his own. This, naturally, helped let President Clinton wiggle of his well-earned impeachment hook, and also helped cement the socially destructive public perception that 1) everyone cheats on their spouses, so it’s okay, and 2) you can’t trust any of our elected leaders.

Thanks for nothing, Newt.

God is welcome to forgive you; I won’t. You are obviously untrustworthy. Once cheating on a spouse may be a mistake; cheating on a second spouse is a behavior pattern. If a politician who likes to invoke God will lie to and betray two women who he swore, before God, to take “’til death us do part,” not to mention his children, I see no reason to assume that he won’t betray voters who has never met, loved, or lived with.

God’s forgiveness is irrelevant to the central issue of whether New Gingrich has the reliability of character and core values to justify entrusting him with great power. As his self-serving quote demonstrates, he does not.

But good luck with God, Newt.

 

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Ethics Dunces: Charlie Rangel’s Birthday Celebrants

From “The Hill”:

“Democratic leaders and major party donors plan to hold a lavish 80th birthday gala for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan next month, despite 13 ethics charges pending against the veteran lawmaker.”

Apparently New York’s U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand plan to attend, as well as New York Gov. David Paterson and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo—Democrats all.

Here is the ethical problem—and it is hardly rocket science. When a public figure’s misdeeds are more prominent in the public’s view than his or her lifetime accomplishments, it is impossible to celebrate the latter without appearing to endorse, support, or other wise fail to show sufficient disapproval of the latter. Continue reading

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Ethics Quote of the Week

“In today’s world of suicide bombers and a ravaged economy, it seems not merely frivolous, but ludicrous.”

——— New York Times Assistant Editor Richard Berke, referring to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in his review of the new book, The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, by Ken Gormley, in the New York Times Book Review.

Berke’s view is popular, common, and ethically indefensible. A President of the United States of America lied under oath in a formal court proceeding, an act that would disqualify him for the practice of law in every state in the nation. He orchestrated a cover-up withing his administration to avoid the consequences of that lie, and lied again in a statement before the American people, not in the interests of national security, but to hide his own misconduct.

Demanding integrity, respect for the law, and conduct in keeping with the importance, dignity and significance of the high office of the President of the United States of America is not, and must never be regarded as, either frivolous or ludicrous. I can only hope that eventually, over time, after the distortions and biases of political passions fade into historical and ethical perspective, sentiments like Berke’s will be both rare and derided for misguided priorities they champion.

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The Lies of Enroll Southers

The bottom line is this: President Obama’s nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration lied to Congress under oath, and Democratic senators who knew he was lying voted to confirm him anyway. Now that his misrepresentation has been discovered and reported, the Administration’s and the Senate’s position is that it doesn’t matter.

It does matter. Continue reading

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