Ethics Observations On The South Carolina Democratic Candidates Debate

Debate transcript here.

1. The cynical effort to protect Hillary Clinton by scheduling debates at times when as few people as possible will watch them has officially become ludicrous, and also beyond denial. CNN’s alleged media watchdog Brian Stelter, in one of his occasional non-partisan episodes, grilled Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the strategy Sunday, and got a typical Wasserman Schultz-ish non answer, as she compared the TV rations with past debates and then mocked the Republican debates, which have been more conveniently scheduled and have garnered far more viewers. This time the tactic worked on me: my wife wanted to watch “Downton Abbey” (during the debate, one website wag on a post about the Democrats wrote, “Lady Crawley is losing the debate with Mrs Hughes and with The Hospital Board merger. Sad.”) Showtime was also running “The Godfather Epic,” which I had never seen, re-editing I and II together (but somehow differently from “The Godfather Saga.” I didn’t last to the end, so I assumed it also included III, and so wrote until a commenter put me straight), and then there was the football game. I had to watch the MSNBC re-run late into the night.

2. Several commenters claimed that Bernie was rude to Hillary, making funny faces, shouting. That’s Bernie, though, and here we go again: Hillary’s a feminist, but her supporters want to impose a double standard of how she is treated in the rough-and-tumble world of politics. This has, after all, been very effective from the race perspective insulating Barack Obama. If the Democrats dare to run such a corrupt candidate as Hillary, they will deserve Trump as the opposition, the one candidate who won’t pay any attention to media claims that he should pull his punches.

Nothing Bernie did during last night’s debate was nearly as outrageous as Joe Biden’s snorting, snickering, eye-rolling and constantly interrupting performance in the 2012 Vice-Presidential debate with Paul Ryan, as Martha Raddatz played “boxing referee who has taken a bribe” by ignoring it all. Well, but Ryan’s a guy, and a Republican , so he didn’t deserve common civility.

3. The central dishonesty in this debate and all of the Democratic debates is the inherent hypocrisy of simultaneously saying the economy is a mess and Wall Street is pulling the strings, while extolling the record of Barack Obama. Sanders is the most hypocritical, at one point proclaiming his pro-Obama bona fides as he runs a campaign calling for a revolution.  Here’s Sanders in his opening:

“As we look out at our country today, what the American people understand is we have an economy that’s rigged, that ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, 47 million people living in poverty, and almost all of the new income and wealth going to the top one percent….This campaign is about a political revolution to not only elect the president, but to transform this country….”

4.  Once again, all three candidates used cover words and vagueries to advocate “comprehensive immigration reform” without saying what that is. Nor did  NBC’s softball-tossing moderators, nor the candidates to each other, demand details and meanings. What “reforms”? Opening the borders? Making all illegal immigrants citizens? How long will illegal immigrant-pandering Democrats be allowed to get away with this? If they really are willing to sacrifice U.S. sovereignty, they have an obligation to say so, and clearly.

5. All three candidates mentioned the minimum wage was as a prime issue. That itself is a testament to dishonesty or economic ignorance. You can’t complain about unemployment and also advocate a huge raise in the minimum wage; when a job is no longer worth paying the minimum wage for, the job goes away. Just last week, Walmart pulled out of an agreement to open two stores in Washington, D.C. specifically because D.C. raised the wage, and not even to Sanders’ 15 dollars an hour. Sanders doesn’t understand basic math or supply and demand, but Clinton and O’Malley know better. They are just pandering to Bernie’s ignorant supporters.

6. More intellectually dishonest talking points: “Equal pay for equal work, ” first raise by Martin O’Malley.  At least he didn’t cite the fake “77 cents” statistic.

7. I suppose minor ethics kudos are owed to the Democrats for agreeing on the need for infrastructure repair and expansion, which is far, far more crucial to the nation than phony plans to make college tuition free, expanding entitlements. The problem is that by throwing an essential, non-debatable feature of responsible government in the same rhetorical pot as “health care as a right,” and free college for all, the issue is devalued by association. It also tempts irresponsible Republicans into opposing the massive spending required as just more make-work, Democratic tax-and-spend. Roads, bridges, sewer systems, airports, water mains—the country is falling apart, fixing it will take trillions the country doesn’t have, and we have no choice about whether to do it or not. The question is whether to do it before everything breaks down and people die, or before. The kudos are minor, because it was used as a buzz-word, with no serious debate or discussion, and no wonder. It will be literally impossible to afford infrastructure repair along with all of Sanders’ other free stuff, which he appears to be far more interested in.

8. Classic unethical exchange #1:

Q: How do you convince Americans that the problem of climate change is so urgent that they need to change their behavior?

SANDERS: I think we already are. Younger generation understands it instinctively. I was home in Burlington, Vermont, on Christmas Eve, the temperature was 65 degrees. People in Vermont know what’s going on. People who did ice fishing, where their ice is no longer there on the lake understand what’s going on.

There we have the level of honesty and seriousness of the entire climate change debate, in one answer. The young understand it “instinctive,” which means they have no real understanding at all. People in Vermont understand because this year it’s been warmer than usual. Did any candidate, or a moderator, ask Bernie if he has any idea what climate change even means?

9. O’Malley epitomized the studiedly dishonest exchange among the candidates on gun control with this, in a non-answer to the question of what he would say to a gun-owner who thinks the real objective is to take away private ownership of guns:

“So, after the slaughter of the kids in Connecticut last year, we brought people together. We did pass in our state comprehensive gun safety legislation. It did have a ban on combat assault weapons, universal background checks, and you know what? We did not interrupt a single person’s hunting season.

I’ve never met a self respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer. And, so…”

Two points:

1). The Second Amendment is not about hunting, and suggesting otherwise is exactly the kind of rhetoric that does raise suspicions of a plan to ban guns.

2) Did anyone point out to O’Malley that his marvelous gun legislation was firmly in place as Baltimore just had its deadliest year or gun-related murders in four decades? (No.)

10.  Classic unethical exchange #2:

Q: Secretary Clinton, this is a community that has suffered a lot of heartache in the last year. Of course, as you mentioned, the church shootings. We won’t forget the video of Walter Scott being shot in the back while running from police. We understand that a jury will decide whether that police officer was justified, but it plays straight to the fears of many African American men that their lives are cheap. Is that perception, or in your view, is it reality?

CLINTON: Well, sadly it’s reality, and it has been heartbreaking, and incredibly outraging to see the constant stories of young men like Walter Scott, as you said, who have been killed by police officers. Their needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system.

The answer is despicable, divisive, dishonest and irresponsible . It’s reality that black lives are cheap? Prove it. Mrs. Clinton. Prove, first of all, that Walter Scott was shot because he was black. Now prove that any other cherry-picked instances of police shooting deaths (more whites than blacks are shot, after all) were based on racism, other than activist assumptions based on the colors of the parties involved? “Constant stories of young men like Walter Scott, as you said, who have been killed by police officers”—who is being included in that set? Scott was shot in the back while fleeing a valid arrest in Charleston last year. The Chicago shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014 has some of the same execution-style elements; that’s two, in two different years, and two different states. There is no “constant,” nor is it established that even these shootings has anything to do with race, or with black lives being “cheap.”

11. It is gratifying to see Hillary Clinton struggle to juggle all of her lies, hypocrisy, greed and conflicts of interest even under the modest grilling of Bernie Sanders. She really had no answer to his accusation that she could not credibly be a Wall Street reformer while accepting $600,000 in <cough> “speaking fees” from Goldman Sachs. And this might have been especially jarring to me having just watched “The Godfather,” but when Clinton said to O’Malley, “And, you know, Governor, you have raised money on Wall Street. You raised a lot of money on Wall Street when you were the head of the Democratic Governor’s Association…”, all I heard was, “We’re both part of the same hypocrisy, Senator…”

12. Moderator ethics foul: The candidates kept talking about what provisions were in Dodd-Frank, without anyone telling the audience what provisions are in Dodd-Frank! This is incompetent and irresponsible.Here, read this…

13. I will flag this decades old deception every time anyone embraces it.

SANDERS: I’m going to debate Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley, on the issues facing the American people, not Bill Clinton’s personal behavior.

1). ARRRRRRGHHHGHHHHH!

2). It was not “personal behavior.” In the alleged case of Juanita Broaddrick, was criminal behavior. And the cover-up, in the Lewinsky case, was official behavior

3). Hillary Clinton made it an issue. Competent, unbiased moderator (none were on hand): “Do you agree with Mrs. Clinton that the victins of sexual assault deserve to be believed or don’t you view this a legitimate issue facing the American people?”

4. This statement got applause. Democrats have been thoroughly corrupted on this issue.

14. The Democratic debate ended seven minutes early, in contrast to the Republican debate that ran overtime. They had covered all the issues, I guess.

 

15 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The South Carolina Democratic Candidates Debate

  1. “As we look out at our country today, what the American people understand is we have an economy that’s rigged, that ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, 47 million people living in poverty, and almost all of the new income and wealth going to the top one percent….This campaign is about a political revolution to not only elect the president, but to transform this country….”

    Thank you, President Obama.

    • “we have an economy that’s rigged”

      I actually don’t necessarily disagree with that assessment. A testament to the Left-wing brainwashing machine is that few recognize that the very solutions offered by the Left will only rig the economy EVEN MORE.

      The apparent solution to problems created by the Left somehow end up being more Left wing ideology…

  2. There we have the level of honesty and seriousness of the entire climate change debate, in one answer. The young understand it “instinctive,” which means they have no real understanding at all. People in Vermont understand because this year it’s been warmer than usual. Did any candidate, or a moderator, ask Bernie if he has any idea what climate change even means?

    If it was so urgent, we would have thermonuked ISIS and Gaza to freeze climate change cold in its tracks.

  3. Jack,
    Small point: My understanding is that the Godfather Epic (originally called “Saga” is only the first 2 movies (with previously deleted scenes) cut together and does not include anything from the third. Then again, they may have since redone it to include the last installment.

    Best,
    Neil

    • No, that’s “The Godfather SAGA” which was I and II edited chronologically, with the DeNiro sections at the beginning. The Godfather EPIC finishes the story by editing in III, including unused footage and scenes. The damn thing was over 9 hours long.

      • Jack,
        This remains the most inconsequential of points, but everything I’ve read about the airing states it as being parts I and II spliced together, with no mention of Part III. If you’re correct (and you may be), there appears to be something of an ethical foul as everyone else appears to have gotten their facts incorrectly.

        Either way, I’ve never seen it and now feel compelled to (especially if I don’t have to be bored for the final 3 hours, suffering through the final act)

        Sincerely,
        Neil

        http://consequenceofsound.net/2016/01/hbo-to-air-unseen-seven-and-a-half-version-of-the-godfather/

        http://www.slashfilm.com/the-godfather-epic/

        • No, your links are right…This is a NEW edited version, and different from the Godfather Saga, which has been around for years. But I was wrong about it including III. Since I hate III, and couldn’t imagine that I and II together could be called a new, never seen version when Saga was the same thing (I still can’t), I assumed it included III, since boxed sets of “The Godfather” FILMS include III and III does finish the story, however badly. And I bailed on watching “Epic” around the Senator’s comeuppance, or I would have known that it didn’t include Michael’s death.

          This means we can look forward to another edit with III, when Francis needs some cash. Saga, Epic…what will that one be called? The Godfather Chronicles?

  4. Re: “The Democratic Debate” isn’t fraud commonly understood as dishonesty calculated for advantage? The debate may not meet the legal criteria but if it stinks like a rotten fish. . .

  5. “that ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages,”

    This is actually a false statement, by almost any measure, using almost any time frame. The work week hasn’t ever been shorter in recorded history, and workplace participation is at a 40 year low. Wages, as opposed to salaries have never been higher, and even when you adjust for inflation, they’re at worst flat, and they’ve been flat for more than 20 years. Salaries took a hit during the recession, but they’re back.

    Are people worse off than they were 20 years ago? Yes. For two reasons: First “Work-Life balance”. And second: Taxation. Wages have been stagnant, but that’s ok, because it means that if you are earning a wage you should be just as well off as you were the year before, and as you age you should in theory be working your way from the left to the right of the bell curve but if you’re working fewer hours and the government takes more money from you, you’re going to be worse off. But will the DNC ever say anything even remotely similar to that? “Work Harder, and we’ll give you a tax break” Tee. Hee.

    “You can’t complain about unemployment and also advocate a huge raise in the minimum wage;”

    Thank you! This has always been a part of my beef with democratic economists. And then the politicians come out and say something like: “Well we raised the minimum wage and still created jobs.” No. You raised the minimum wage and jobs were created in spite of it. If the market was on track to create 100 jobs, and you raised the minimum wage, and we only created 90 jobs instead, you cost the economy 10 jobs. We can argue what the factor is, we can discuss whether the effect is material or not, but what we can’t argue is that raising the minimum wage has a positive impact on job creation. Raising the price of labor might not cause someone to actively hire fewer people, but it will never stimulate them to hire more, and over a long enough period of time, attrition will correct for the difference.

    “Equal pay for equal work,”

    There should be a law! Waitaminute… There is a law? Who isn’t enforcing it? What? It is being enforced? So what’s the plan again?

    • Humble Talent, in my humble (though not necessarily talented) opinion, you’re spot on with your reply to Jack’s spot-on comment. Too many of us have not the faintest understanding of basic economics. Too many of us will vote for a higher minimum wage while not understanding that our vote could result in our not having any wages at all. Our country has been “progressing” toward socialism since the 1930s. However, America’s economic diversification and growth in the last ninety years does not illustrate the success of socialist-oriented policies. Rather, it illustrates the resilience and industriousness of the American people. Our successes have come in spite of socialist-oriented policies rather than because of them. Regrettably, we may not come to terms with this realty until our children and grandchildren are forced to pay off the national debt.

      (Not germane to your post, but: Your last paragraph reminds me of my thoughts regarding immigration reform. I hear that we need to reform our immigration laws, but I don’t hear what’s wrong with the laws we have. As near as I can tell, the only issue with the current laws is lack of enforcement.)

  6. “1. The cynical effort to protect Hillary Clinton by scheduling debates at times when as few people as possible will watch them has officially become ludicrous, and also beyond denial.”

    A magnanimous and generous analysis would be this: The network guffawed at the DNC, telling them: “Are you kidding me? You are the democrat debate. No one is going to watch you… We need ratings to bring in advertising and sorry, prime time for you won’t cut it, you all are lucky we don’t put you on at 2 am on Monday morning. Have you considered re-branding yourselves as Republicans? ….. No No No, I don’t mean using buzzwords to conceal your platform and policies.”

  7. You don’t seem to understand what “US Sovereignty” means. Having a country with open borders does not mean you are any less sovereign; it means your policy is to have open borders. Sovereignty is about your rule over your territory.

    In any case, the illegal immigrant problem is, well, problematic; they came here illegally, but getting rid of them all would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. It isn’t really worth spending hundreds of billions of dollars to deport illegal immigrants; we have much better uses for that money. Making many of them citizens – or at the very least, granting them residency – severely damages those who use illegal immigrants for illegal labor, as now the illegal immigrants can complain about illegal exploitation.

    You speak of them as pandering, but the reality is that the Democrats believe that the correct thing to do is to legalize many of these people, and they have solid reasons to do it – we aren’t going to deport them because we’re unwilling to spend the money, and their present situation is unethical, as it leaves them open to being exploited.

    Also, as far as minimum wage goes: there is little evidence of a link between minimum wage and unemployment. This is surprising to a lot of people, but the reality is that most jobs need to get done, so you aren’t going to shut down because of a change in minimum wage, you just raise your prices. Most places don’t pay minimum wage anyway.

    However, the ethical reality is that at present, the very low minimum wage forces the government to effectively subsidize people working for Wal*Mart, shifting the burden of paying for those people from Wal*Mart to the American taxpayer. That is very unethical, as it allows Wal*Mart to profit (and profit they do) at the expense of the American taxpayer. Raising minimum wage to the point where we are no longer subsidizing full-time workers to work is logical and ethical behavior.

    • 1. You don’t understand sovereignty, and are substituting sophistry. A nation that doesn’t enforce borders has no borders, and thus doesn’t defend the realm it claims to own. In property law, if you don’t assert borders, you can lose them over time. Open borders is obviously irresponsible and destructive.

      2.No, Democrats believe in not enforcing the borders, or correctly calling illegal that which is illegal. That’s the pandering. Why don’t you read what’s been written here on illegal immigration here before misrepresenting it? I have agreed that thre needs to be some way to legalize the 11-13 million illegals we have let take root here, and that the Trump/Cruz sabre-rattling about deportation is irresponsible.

      3. “Also, as far as minimum wage goes: there is little evidence of a link between minimum wage and unemployment. This is surprising to a lot of people, but the reality is that most jobs need to get done, so you aren’t going to shut down because of a change in minimum wage, you just raise your prices. Most places don’t pay minimum wage anyway.”

      It’s surprising to many people because its not true. Every economist projects job losses when the MW rises, because jobs not worth the MW are eliminated. Your statement is economically absurd. “Just raise prices” is often impossible. The two Walmarts DC just lost left explicitly because of the raised Minimum Wage. If the MW went to, say, 25 dollars an hour, then it would still not impact employment? Just charge more? Really? I suppose you assume the same with all expenses—they don’t matter, when they rise, just charge more.Simple as that.

      4. Any economist who says that raising the MW has no negative employment impact is lying. Whole job areas have been eliminated permanently because of the rising minimum wage. Waiters and waitresses are being phased out by self-ordering on tablets. Most people would prefer human beings—why do you think this is happening? Part of the reason is the MW.

    • Government is not “forced” to subsidize people working for Wal-Mart. Government “chooses” to subsidize people working for Wal-Mart. If government chose otherwise, Wal-Mart would be forced to pay its employees more and/or would employ fewer people.

    • However, the ethical reality is that at present, the very low minimum wage forces the government to effectively subsidize people working for Wal*Mart, shifting the burden of paying for those people from Wal*Mart to the American taxpayer. That is very unethical, as it allows Wal*Mart to profit (and profit they do) at the expense of the American taxpayer. Raising minimum wage to the point where we are no longer subsidizing full-time workers to work is logical and ethical behavior.

      If Wal-Mart did not hire those people, the government would subsidize them even more.

      Do you not think your arguments to their conclusions?

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