An Obvious Ethics Note On The State Of The Union Address

San-Andreas-crack

Since President Obama has shown a willingness to lie outright to the American people in order to advance his policy agendas and acquire political advantage, there is no reason why any citizen should have cared what he said in the State of the Union message yesterday. One example should suffice, though there are dozens. As recently as January 7, President Obama pushed his anti-gun agenda by stating that “we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close.”  It’s a lie. It’s a lie because he has said this repeatedly, and repeatedly been told, even by reliable anti-gun sources that it is false. France suffered more deaths and injuries from mass shootings in the past year than the U.S. has during Obama’s eight years in office. That doesn’t diminish the importance of finding, if possible, effective policies to reduce U.S. gun violence. It just means that the President thinks it’s acceptable to lie to us, so he does.

The head-exploding moment in his speech last night (I read the transcript), if it did not come with the cynical and silly announcement of a Sixties space program-type effort to “cure cancer”—since we’ve all been ignoring cancer all these years–with Joe Biden—not Khloe Kardashian, an equally strong choice—at the helm (see, Joe’s son died of cancer, so that qualifies him for leadership in cancer research), came from Obama’s stated regrets for the divided state of the nation’s politics, and his failure to stem them, though Lord knows he tried.

Gee, why didn’t his advisors suggest to him that one way for the President to reduce societal division would to stop actively trying to divide people along class, race, religion, region, gender, generation and ethnicity?

That Obama had the gall to make such a statement is itself remarkable, and in many ways, characteristic. He was head of the Democratic Party, wasn’t he, when it held an entire national convention based on the premise that there is a “war on women”? He watched as his supporters in the gay community pronounced those whose religious beliefs caused them to maintain the exact same position against gay marriage that he claimed he held when he was elected as hateful bigots, and never took any steps to moderate the tone of the debate. He turned several local events into racially decisive ones by taking sides and presuming guilt before the facts were in. His administration courted Al Sharpton, a professional divider and racist; he sat by while Democratic leaders designated the entire Tea Party movement as racially-motivated. He encouraged supporters of his policy of not enforcing immigration laws to tar principled opposition as racist and xenophobic.

Obama’s rhetoric has been divisive, and the rhetoric of his party’s leaders has been more so, embracing and encouraging the idea that critics of his epically incompetent, partisan and disastrous leadership were racist rather than awake. His IRS treated conservative groups differently than liberal groups; his health care requirements targeted religious organizations; his allies vilified and demonized the wealthy and successful, culminating in his expressed support for Occupy Wall Street sit-ins, and later the sliming of Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.

Could Obama, as President and leader of the Democratic Party, have told Harry Reid to stop lying about Romney’s taxes, and stop attacking political activity by private citizens by denigrating them by name on the floor of the Senate? Of course he could have, and would have, if he wanted to stop “divisiveness” rather than derive benefits from it. Could he have acknowledged that climate change science wasn’t nearly as conclusive as environmentalists insisted, rather than encourage his surrogates and allies to compare reasonable skeptics to Holocaust deniers? He could have, but he didn’t want to. Obama’s Education Department ordered universities to discard fairness and due process regarding sexual assault allegations, declaring a “war on men.” Was he responsible? Absolutely. Is Black Lives Matter a racist, anti-law enforcement movement that seeks and benefits from racial divisions? Yes. Did Obama’s party officially endorse it? Why, yes it did. Could Obama, if he cared about preventing divisions among Americans, have simply said, “No”?

Of course.

More recently, we have seen the Democratic leaders, as Obama sat by presumably approvingly, label legitimate objections to allowing Syrian refugees, who Obama’s own FBI director admits cannot be effectively screened enter the country from a region crawling with U.S.-hating terrorists as motivated by prejudice and bigotry. We have seen Obama’s allies, and Obama himself, suggest that law-abiding gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment are responsible for the shooting deaths of children. Who would have suspected that such a tactic would be divisive?

Barack Obama saying that he regrets the divisions in American society and politics may be his greatest lie of all. He cannot truthfully say that he regrets failing to heal them, for he knowingly and intentionally encouraged, worsened and exploited them.

UPDATE: After I wrote and posted this, I saw this note about Weekly Standard columnist Steve Hayes making the same point on Fox, and pointing to some egregious examples that I didn’t mention, like the  White House advisor comparing the GOP’s fight on the budget to “people with a bomb strapped to their chest,” Obama saying Iranian hardliners have “common cause” with the GOP, and that Republican candidates are “doing the work of the terrorists.”

As the headline says, it’s obvious: neither Hayes not I deserve any special credit for seeing it. But pay attention to all the indignant Obama defenders who will deny the undeniable..a true Jumbo.

49 thoughts on “An Obvious Ethics Note On The State Of The Union Address

  1. Reading the link you provided on mass shooting statistics provided a lot of interesting and tellinging perspective when reading the comments on that article. Just goes to show that statistics can be manipulated to show whatever bias you want. The study you site uses a different definition of mass shooting than the other study. Which is the correct or best definition? Should EXTERNAL acts of terrorism be included in those statistics in which terrorists may use many different tools and the effort is an organized and coordinated effort? Should the statistics only be for four or more gun deaths in an incident or are four or more non-fatal injuries a valid criteria? It would seem to me there is the difference between mass murders (number of fatalities) versus mass shootings (number of victims regardless of fatality or degree of injury). Should the statistics be adjusted for population differences? To use your definition to accuse Obama of prevarication seems to be a bit disingenuous when he is using a different definition. If I applied the definition Obama used it would be YOU who was untruthful. It remains an inescapable fact that gun violence is a much larger issue in our country.

    • How is it an “inescapable fact” when gun violence has been going down in the U.S. for decades? How does it matter WHO uses a gun, or whether it was “coordinated” if the issue is gun violence? Is all violence done with a gun NOT gun violence? How is it possibly a “much larger issue” in our country, when guns kill fewer people and our overall population is larger than in other countries?
      I think your overall point is, “it’s possible to fudge statistics. Obama does it, and I’m in favor of that.” Well, okay.

    • Then say that gun violence is a bigger problem in this country. That’s true. What Obama says, repeatedly, is NOT true. “This” does happen in other advanced country, and sometimes, as in France, it happens even more often.

        • You don’t get it, Lisa, or you are ducking, dishonestly. The smoking lie is “not even close.” That’s akin to Obama’s “Period” at the end of his most famous lie (you know which one, right?) If it’s not even close, then a differing interpretation of which shootings should be counted shouldn’t make such a huge difference—but it does. If it’s not close, then no civilized country should be able to lap the US in a single year. The issue of how much US gun deaths are worse than other places is irrelevant to the actual issue at hand—as much as Obama’s executive orders were irrelevant to the problem he falsely cited as the context for them. Nonetheless, he uses the Texas Sharpshooter method to make a purely emotional rather than a fair argument—the mark of a demagogue and liar.

          • Jack, you seem to be ignoring the word “frequency” in Obama’s remarks:

            ““we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close.”

            His second sentence is unclear–perhaps intentionally–but a reasonable reading, in context, seems to indicate that “this” refers not just to mass shootings, but the frequency of same.

            “France suffered more deaths and injuries from mass shootings in the past year than the U.S. has during Obama’s eight years in office.”

            That does not rebut Obama’s statement, because it has nothing to do with the frequency of mass violence. Most of the deaths in France occurred in the same couple of events. The frequency of mass shootings is still much higher in America.

            • “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.” –Obama, statement on the shooting in Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2015

              Three statements or two? I vote three. The TYPE does occur in other countries. The Frequency of mass shootings is higher in the US.

              “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings: This just doesn’t happen in other countries.” –Obama, news conference at COP21 climate conference in Paris, Dec. 1, 2015

              What, the shootings, or the frequency? It’s sloppy, and it’s misleading, and it’s sloppy to be misleading.

              Moreover, the frequency is a direct bi-product of that nation’s size. Let’s pick any section of the US with the population of France, and compare the frequency of mass shootings in that area. Let’s.

  2. (Shrug) And in the meantime my fb feed lights up with friends saying “much love to the president,” “that’s my president,” and so on. I have given up even trying to engage these people.

  3. From the 2016 SOUA: “The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.”

    The above excerpt from President Obama’s 2016 SOUA seems to be an obvious reference to comments made by Senator Ted Cruz, comments which are similar but different.

    Obviously, anyone who would suggest “carpet bombing civilians” is a monster, a horrible person, the most despicable poor excuse for a human being. It is equally obvious that no one advocating “carpet bombing of civilians” should ever be considered as a potential U.S. presidential candidate.

    The problem is, Senator Cruz has never suggested carpet bombing civilians. He suggested carpet bombing ISIS. Even though carpet bombing is a bit indiscriminate as a bombing tactic, it is a real stretch to morph the Cruz comment into the willful advocacy of carpet bombing of civilians.

    I am guessing that the President believes that because he did not specifically cite Senator Cruz by name as the source of this idea that he has the “poetic license” to imply that he did. It is not like he is literally saying that “Ted Cruz is a psychopathic mass murder and war criminal.”

    Incidentally, an interview with Carol Costello this morning on CNN again referenced the quote about “carpet bombing civilians” further cementing this idea in the minds of viewers.

    Dishonest? Or just skillful rhetoric.

    • Dishonest or lazy. Or both.

      It’s dishonest because he may be choosing to interpret ISIS as civilians which they probably, technically, are since they are not the military force of a specific country. Lazy because he could have meant not to say civilians, but he did.

      • And he likely considers them such, as many people with his worldview do. Such as a college professor of mine back in the day. Of course, he may have felt that way because he’d apparently been born during the bombing of Dresden…

  4. Jack said, “Obama’s rhetoric has been divisive, and the rhetoric of his party’s leaders has been more so…”

    I’m going to quote my Army buddy again…

    “The tactics of the political left clearly show that they want to “win” by default and not based on their ideology, every tactic that is represented by today’s political left is geared to get voters to emotionally vote against their opposition and not logically for their ideology; issues are side tracked by today’s political left. Their tool of choice is clearly to “create” unique groups of people and claim that they are being oppressed by their opposition. Divisional hate within the masses is a close friend of today’s political left…”, “Progressives are the puppet masters of today’s political left, Liberals are the puppet strings of today’s political left, the general population of today’s political left are the puppets.” AllAmerican11B – Oct 23, 2014 10:10am

    • That is just one man’s opinion and an extremely subjective issue, the same could be argued about the right – or extremism of any type.

      I am often saddened by the willingness of people to blindly forward and accept information that fits their values/beliefs/agendas without doing even a cursory check of the veracity of said information. Believe me the left has a huge problem itself with these folks I call meme-heads….just smile and click “share”. Truth is irrelevant as long as the agenda is supported. I think the enormity of misinformation passed on Social media combined with the willingness – no eagerness – of the general population to accept an believe that misinformation is hugely responsible for the ever-widening gap in political ideology that is tearing our country apart.

      How will any one person, left or right, man or woman unify us? I am afraid it may never be possible again. I believe our country is losing the ability for independent thought…..replaced with a meme and a share.

      • Lisa Weber said, “That is just one man’s opinion and an extremely subjective issue, the same could be argued about the right – or extremism of any type.”

        You just used The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”

        Do you realize that you’re not arguing against anything that I quoted, you’re just attacking the messenger? Follow the link I provided and read #2 in his list called Specific tactics of today’s Liberals/Progressives:.

        Now how about you ignore the puppet analogy of the quote and argue against/for the actual points, are they reasonably accurate, are they inaccurate? Be an adult, pick a side, stand up for what you believe in and stop your nonsense attacking the messenger just because the messenger quoted something that you might not agree with. You know Lisa, I could have chosen to just use his words as my own but that would have been unethical on my part; the point is that you wouldn’t have known the difference, you would have had to come up with a different approach to your reply, what the heck would you have said?

        • There are no facts in his statement to argue with. It is pure opinion. If you had used his words as your own I would have said the same except to substitute it being YOUR opinion and not “one man’s”.
          Because we are arguing opinion rather than fact, it is immune from your ethical debate. What I was saying, under all is that this tit-for-tatting can and is done by both sides and serves no constructive purpose. I’m not accepting it, not saying “everyone does it, so it’s OKAY” I am saying it needs to be eliminated because the only way this country will survive is if we find unity and common ground, and I was saddened by the feeling that there is no person on either side or maybe in existance who can pull that off with the level of disparity we currently have.

          • Foul, if you are talking about Obama’s statements, as fact, about gun deaths and shootings. Those are statements by the President of the United States, asserted as facts, not opinions. If he merely means they are his opinion, he has to say, “in my opinion.” He didn’t. People believe that when the President says “This is true” he is telling the truth. Opinion is not truth. It can be true that Obama thinks the world is made of cheese, but it isn’t true that it is made of cheese. And if he says it is made out of cheese knowing it isn’t—and he has been corrected on his gun lies repeatedly—then it is neither opinion nor truth.

            It is a lie.

          • Lisa Weber said, “There are no facts in his statement to argue with.”

            Lisa,
            Are you a Progressive or a Liberal or maybe just one of the puppets from the quote above?

            I know it’s pure opinion you idiot, that’s exactly why I didn’t use the word facts; I specifically chose to use the word POINTS. If your so damned ignorant that you actually think the word points equates to the word facts, then you’re not “fixable” and we are done with this conversation; giving you the benefit of the doubt, if you choose to come back and actually chat about this in an intelligent manner, that’ll be fine too – either way the choice is now yours.

            By the way Einstein, nothing is immune from and ethical debate.

            • All addressing the points made would accomplish is tit-for-tatting. A “No we aren’t, you are!” game I left behind in childhood. He can have his opinion, you can have yours and I, mine. That does not invite debate based on facts. You can state an opinion, but then unless you are okay with grammar school “Nuh-uh!”, “Yeah, huh!” there is no invitation to debate unless you give something debate-able. Give some facts as to why you formed that opinion and THEN we can debate. Otherwise all I could say is I agree to disagree with the statements your friend made and my opinion on the matter is there is far too much of this dialogue on both sides of the political spectrum. Our country suffers as a result.

                • Lisa,
                  What Jack said about the two being unrelated is true.

                  Here’s a deal Lisa that will last until my dying day; if you don’t misrepresent what I say (no excuses will be accepted) I promise that from this point int time until my dying day I won’t dub thee an idiot for misrepresenting me. Deal?

                  Your choice.

              • Personally I think you’re supporting a full load of BS and your squandering the little pieces of logic you have. Excuses are like arm pits, everyone has one and they all stink.

                Quick questions Lisa:
                Since you said you won’t discuss opinions for the reasons you stated, why is it that we are we discussing your deflecting opinion and the subsequent tangents that it’s taken us down at length and you seem to be just fine with that? Is your opinion somehow more worthy of open discussion than the views of those that might oppose yours, or is it that you didn’t want the points discussed and your attack the messenger and rationalization deflections have essentially accomplished your goal to change the subject?

                I’m theorizing here; could it be that, like so many other Liberals, your reason for not discussing the original opinion is that you can’t come up with any intelligent rebuttals to counter the truths that were shared in the original comment so you just went on the offensive to try and rationalize it away, discredit the messenger, and change the subject? Since you are using the possibility of sophomoric arguments as an excuse not to discuss things, maybe the more adult approach for you would have been to either completely ignore the comment or to pick one of the points and discuss it like an adult using all your fact based knowledge.

                Please honor this request Lisa; don’t bother to reply to any more of my comments from this point on unless you’re willing to take off the gloves and actually discuss the merits of the points in what I posted.

                Adios.

      • Well said Lisa. “Truth is irrelevant as long as the agenda is supported.”. Best we can do is be conscious of our own biases ( or ‘agenda’) jand keep reading those with whom we disagre – and wonder why they are so certain of their own rightness and of the calumny of those they oppose.

        • Tangential to the post at best, however. What she is asserting is far from a universal attitude, and she is excusing it with “everybody does it.” Too many do it, Lisa included (as on the gun issue), but that doesn’t excuse the conduct.

          Also an agenda isn’t a bias. An agenda can create a bias, but there is nothing wrong with a plan or a policy. Lying about what supports it or whether it works, or was worth its costs, is the product of bias.

          • You are right, Jack. Obama got it wrong on gun death numbers and he and his advisers should have been more careful. Shame on them. One big event in Paris on 13 November 2015 overwhelms the statistics and you, and others sharing your general ‘agenda’, can quite justifiably seize on this to support your assertion that he has the ‘mark of a ‘demagogue and liar’. What a tragic waste of time.

            • Sarcasm not appreciated, nor justified. What’s your point? Indeed, what the HELL is your point? That national leaders shouldn’t be truthful? That outright and intentional misinformation is excusable “carelessness?” That only incremental changes in statistics count?

              And WHAT agenda, you insufferable ass? My agenda is not to be lied to, or to have people like you shrug off falsehoods when it suits your purposes. Go ahead, tell me my “agenda”. Then explain why it’s a waste of time to require leaders to stop poisoning discourse and debate with appeals to emotion, spun facts and fake statistics. The waste of time was the State of the Union message. Pointing out its deceits are not a waste, nor is demonstrating that the man giving it uses deception as a governing tool.

              • No sarcasm intended. The tragedy is that Obama wasted the chance to develop the case for stronger gun regulations and gave his detractors the opportunity to derail him. He didn’t need to lie to make his case, and you surely can’t think this ‘lying’ was intentional. There are plenty of rock solid statistics to demonstrate how exceptional the US is as regards gun violence. Whether or not anything can be done is debateable – but that is the debate he (and others) should be promoting.

                • Wow. If that wasn’t sarcasm, it was the best unintentional sarcasm I’ve ever seen. But..
                  1. Of course he was intentionally lying, or do you think he repeated that same fake factoid over and over, with it being widely discredited each time, and noone of his staff or research team noticed? Come on.
                  2. There are plenty of rock solid statistics to demonstrate how exceptional the US is as regards gun violence. True, completely.
                  3. Whether or not anything can be done is debateable Very little. Guns are part of the US’s dedication to individual empowerment, and the West, popular culture, and our self image is intertwined with guns, gun lore and gun mythology. It is a bad side effect of very good things.
                  4. but that is the debate he (and others) should be promoting. Absolutely.

                • Andrew Wakeling said, “No sarcasm intended.”

                  I don’t believe that statement to be honest, not for one second.

                  Andrew Wakeling said, “you surely can’t think this ‘lying’ was intentional.”

                  Now why would anyone think that Obama is lying when him and other prominent members of his administration have shown a clear pattern of outright lying and intentionally lying by omission since Obama got in office; and now we’re suppose to just believe an intentionally deceitful President and administration has changed its pattern of deceit? The current President and his administration can’t change their BS propaganda any more than a tiger can’t change its stripes, every time they pen their mouth it’s 100% politics, nothing else! You say “you surely can’t think this ‘lying’ was intentional”; yes Andrew, we certainly can say that and no Obama apologist can change that facts that support it.

                  I’ve talked with some pretty transparent Obama apologists, Andrew you’re right up there at the top of the heap, and I do mean heap. Ignoring the ethics for a moment; you should be very proud of your apologists accomplishments.

  5. He did NOT get the numbers wrong. He used a different definition of the term than Jack did. There are two studies. One Jack cited, the other Obama cited, both are correct, but each defines mass shootings in a different way. I suggest you read the link Jack posted in the original piece and from there scroll down to the comments as there are excellent citations there as well showing the other study. Read those citations as well.

    My daughter has flown in with her new fiancee today and we are going to lunch and a visit, so this will need to be goodbye for a few hours.

    • They are not both correct. Even Mother Jones, hardly pro-gun, agrees that the inflated gun statistics used by Obama and others are crap, adding shootings that the FBI does not regard as relevant. You are now making the “you have your truth and I have mine” relativism argument. No. Obama’s statement is not supported.

      And it doesn’t matter, since the issue is that gun deaths are too high–unless you give politicians a pass for using bad data and emotional arguments rather than having a fair debate.

            • She’s quite beautiful and vivacious — but she’s also crazy as the day is long. Her relationships don’t last long (obviously). She’s not a friend, but she is a friend of a friend. If I were a friend, I would want to know what she does with those engagement rings. I mean, 11 diamond rings could buy a house in some parts of this country if she is managing to keep them.

              • Beth said, “I would want to know what she does with those engagement rings. “

                Since the relationship did not progress to the next obvious step of marriage or civil union (what ever you want to call it) I would certainly hope that the ring ends up in the hands of the person who actually paid for it so they can do whatever they want with it, in my opinion, that would be the right thing to do.

            • Doesn’t the ring belong to the person who did not call off the relationship? Seems to me that I looked at that issue once in my jurisdiction. Or maybe it was Judge Judy.

              My frustration with gun control people is that there are lots of legitimate statistics to back up your argument. Lots of them. Why make them up?

              • It’s the reason for all hyping of all sorts. The opposition uses dishonest, emotional arguments, so a side fear it will lose a debate it should win. It decides to counter bad data and emotionalism with hype. Eventually the whole debate is over smoke and mirrors. Examples: Climate change, Iraq, gun control, gender bias in the workplace, sexual assault….

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