Monthly Archives: June 2017

Ethics Alarms Poll: And Speaking Of Crazy Tweets And Incompetent Elected Officials, What Should We Make Of This From Rep. Waters?

Hmmmm.

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What IS This? Ethics Dunce? Unethical Quote? Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month? Or Just A Congressman Inadvertently Exposing The Logical, Legal And Ethical Bankruptcy Of The Pro-Illegal Immigration Position?

I think we have to conclude that the latter is the case.

Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.)—that’s him above—  condemned the anti-sanctuary city bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives. H.R. 3003 would reduce sanctuary cities’  and states’ “eligibility to receive certain Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security grants” when the cities or states were  “determined to be in violation of federal law.”

Espaillat thundered at the Democratic press conference yesterday on Capitol Hill that H.R. 3003 would have a “chilling effect” in local communities:

“People will go into hiding. People will not come forward to report crimes, and if we begin to deny funding to cities across the United States, a city like New York, who experienced 9/11, which has been the safest biggest city in the country since 9/11 because of the federal funding that we got to combat terrorism, providing for training, equipment, overtime pay for law enforcement, we will be allowing terrorists to come in and attack us again…So this is a travesty. This is a lie. We’ve been hijacked and bamboozled by Donald Trump and we should all stand up against this.”

Then Espaillat described sanctuary cities—that is, cities that encourage and endorse illegal immigration by announcing that they will protect illegals from any consequences of their breaking immigration laws—as compassionate communities that allow families to stay together regardless of immigration status without “fear,” using the false dichotomy that the proposed bill unfairly treated sanctuary cities as places that harbor illegal immigrants with criminal records.

“It is a safety net for people that are part of our family – they take care of our children, they wash our dishes, they take care of our elderly, they pick our crops…I’m not saying all of his followers are racist, but all of the racists in the country follow him and they have peddled this erroneous vision that immigrants are criminals. We all oppose any violent criminals not being arrested. We want them to be arrested and do their time in jail and go back to wherever they came from.”

Columnist George Will often follows a statement or quote that he believes is screamingly obvious nonsense by beginning his next paragraph with an arch and contemptuous,  “Well.” Seldom have I read or heard a more “Well”-deserving speech as Espaillat’s demogoguery.

Well. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/30/17

1. Traffic here is cratering in the run-up to the 4th, guaranteeing that for one of the few months in Ethics Alarms history, June 2017 will have seen significantly less traffic than its previous year’s equivalent. 2017 and 2016 are now in a dead heat.

I have some theories: by this point last year the campaign was heating up, and I was being sufficiently critical of both parties and candidates to make everyone happy. Ethics Alarms also started getting a lot of those paid Hillary shills commenting; I banned more commenters in 2016 by far than any other year. Also because of the campaign, there were an unusual number of posts shared by hundreds and even thousands of readers, as well as a record number of the anomalous posts that double or even triple the daily average. Those, I have found, are completely unpredictable. What I consider important or especially astute essays almost never attract readership; the runaway posts are usually about something relatively trivial.

On the other hand, the blog has many more followers in 2017, more consistently high-quality comments, and, as my life partner continues to remind me with dagger glances, revenue is holding steady…

2. There was another Ethics Hero tale to tell yesterday, though the only one I had time for was the group in Texas that bought a car for a young fast-food worker.

Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane, assigned to a Pittsburgh Pirate home series, was walking from his hotel to the ball park across the Roberto Clemente Bridge when he saw woman climb over the railing to the outside of the bridge. He decided to approach her, and in response to his queries, she told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below.

The look on her face and the tone of her voice told Tumpane otherwise, so he grabbed her and refused to obey her demands that she let her go…and jump. Another  bystander saw what was going on and joined him, grabbing the woman’s free arm. A third grabbed her legs through the railing as Tumpane implored the gathering crowd to call 911. The three men held on  until emergency responders arrived. Continue reading

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Ace Of Spades

“A major schism in the party is over the question of how much pretense we’re fighting to keep lying about. A lot of people seem to think that even though we’re plainly in a Cold Civil War, and even thought Joe and Mika spend three hours a day ripping Trump, Trump’s supposed to pretend we’re all (as John McCain says) Good Friends.I’m not saying Trump scored some tactical victory here. I’m saying, as I usually do- – who gives a wet shit?

How can the flailing old women of the Nominal Right huff themselves up so much to pretend outrage that a guy being attacked by the media everyday decides to occasionally attack them back?I understand the leftist media’s interest in pretending that they’re behaving normally and haven’t rewritten the professional code of conduct to allow attacks on Trump which would have been near-hanging-offenses on Obama.But what is the interest of the sissified Nominal Right over defending the media and pretending along with them?”

—-Cult conservative blogger Ace of Spades, rationalizing the latest embarrassing Presidential tweets,  hurling juvenile insults at the co-hosts of Morning Joe, those love birds Joe Scarborough and Mika.

I mentioned a few days ago that I was not an Ace fan. This kind of post is why.  I was going to skip commenting on today’s Trump obscenity, though the tweets were horrible even by his low standards [“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came……to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”], because I’ve written that post too many times, and I don’t see the point. Do I have to keep saying, again and again, that this guy has a flat learning curve, that his staff does him no favors by not  having an intervention and telling him this nonsense stops or they’re out the door, that such outbursts are the equivalent of  punching himself in the face with brass knuckles? Anyone who comes here  knows these tweets are idiotic, and is aware of what I’ve been writing about Trump since he was a fake Presidential candidate in 2011, and nobody who doesn’t come here cares what I say anyway.

But I  read too many of these excuses for Trump in the right-wing media, which are the flip side of the “How dare the President impugn our honesty and objectivity?” squeals from the left-wing media. Both show ethical obtuseness or worse, and both ensure that the news media and Trump will continue their equally atrocious, divisive and destructive behavior. Continue reading

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And The William S. Burroughs Memorial Award For Fatal Stupidity Goes To….

.Monalisa Perez and her dead boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III!  Yes, we should blame the victim. And his girl friend.

Clarence Darrow said, “History repeats itself.  and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.”  If Monalisa and Pedro had been students of stupid moments in literary history, they would have encountered the ridiculous tale of novelist William Burroughs (“Naked Lunch”), who on September 6, 1951, was at a drunken party at a bar in Mexico City. For no apparent reason, Burroughs suddenly shouted to his equally drunk wife that it was time to show everyone  their “William Tell trick.”

They had never performed their trick before.

Joan Vollmer (well, they held themselves out as married, though they were not) balanced a highball glass on her head and Burroughs, playing Tell, tried to shoot the glass off with his revolver. William Tell wasn’t drunk, however, and Burroughs was. He aimed too low and shot Vollmer right between the eyes.

Believe it or not, Perez and Ruiz were even less sympathetic than Burroughs and his wife. They weren’t drunk, just cretinous and greedy. They were making a YouTube video. A few hours before Monalisa shot Pedro, a posting on her Twitter account read: “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE.” The stunt he had talked her into involved Ruiz holding up a hardcover encyclopedia volume in front of his chest as she shot a .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol at the book from about a foot away “to see if it would go through.”

Well, waddya know! It did!

This was part of Pedro’s plan to become rich and famous via viral YouTube videos. Now he’s dead, Monalisa is charged with murder, and their yet-to-born child will be off to terrible start in life, in addition to carrying some dubious genes.

Yes, it’s a tragedy…a tragedy born of astounding recklessness, inadequate life competence, irresponsibility, and a poor understanding of risk-reward ratios.

Blame the victims.

There is no way around it.

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Ethics Heroes: Andy Mitchell, Samee Dowlatshahi, And Friends

 

Rockwall, Texas resident Andy Mitchell posted a photo on Facebook of himself and Justin Korva, a young stranger whom Mitchell had picked up and driven to his job after seeing him walking to work in his work uniform  in 90 degree weather. He was stunned and impressed to learn that Korva walks three miles each way to his low-paying job at Taco Casa, a fast food restaurant,

“To all the people that say they want to work but can’t find a job or don’t have a vehicle all I can say is you don’t want it bad enough!” Mitchell wrote on the Facebook post. Mitchell then used his post as a springboard to raise money to buy a car for Korva, who is 20.  It took less than 30 hours to raise $5,500. 

Samee Dowlatshahi, the owner of a pizza restaurant who had set up a donation box for Korva’s transportation inside his establishment,  contacted a friend at a local Toyota dealership. The friend told his boss about Korva, and persuaded the dealership to drop the price of a white 2004 Toyota Camry. This allowed Mitchell’s group to buy the car, pay Korva’s insurance for a year, and finance two years’ worth of oil changes along with a $500 gas card.

“Are you serious?” Korva said as Mitchell handed him the keys.

Dowlatshahi said,, “We just want you to know, seriously, this community, nothing we love better than to have someone who works hard. We take a lot of pride in that. It’s so hot out here, I can’t believe you walk even one mile in this heat.”

There is hope.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/29/17

1.  The GOP’s travails as it tries to fix, replace or repeal Obamacare continues to be mocked in both the conservative and liberal media, and by the Democrats who caused the crisis in the first place. Ethically, the party is behaving like a responsible party should with major legislation: not moving in lockstep, with sufficient members of Congress withholding support until the new law appears to be competent and an improvement of the current one. The damned if you do/damned if you don’t game Democrats and the media are playing is wildly dishonest and calculated to win political points at the expense of getting a better system than the festering mess called the Affordable Care Act (irresponsibly passed with public misrepresentations and parliamentary tricks by the other party.)

True, many of the balking Republicans are basing their opposition to the current law less on principle than on polls, which now show a majority of citizens don’t like the proposed bill. On matters of complexity and national importance, polls should play exactly no role in legislation at all. How many of those polled have read the bill or understand it? A tenth of a per cent? Less? Uninformed opinions based on hearsay, ignorance and propaganda are worthless (and after the 2016 election, polls may be as well) ; this is why we have representative democracy and not a direct democracy. Legislators and executive who use polls as crutches are either incompetent, dishonest, cowards, or all three.

2. Especially in light of the despicable tactics of Democrats who are accusing Republicans of killing people by reforming Obamacare, the proper Republican response, which would have the advantage of being both fair and politically smart, would be to announce, through the President:

The failure of the Affordable Care Act is now no longer debatable. Projections for 2018 show massive premium increases. Insurers are pulling out of many markets. The optimistic CBO projections, which critics correctly called absurd at the time, have been decisively shown to be wrong. This law was passed by one party only, using public disinformation,  dubious methods and dirty politics. It has made health care for the public as a whole less affordable, and done nothing to lower health care costs or improve health care quality.

It is now clear that the Democratic Party’s strategy is to shift responsibility for this fiasco to Republicans, by viciously attacking any attempts to fix Obamacare while also preparing to condemn the party if the current law leads to disaster, as it almost surely will on its current course. The Democrats, in short, are placing political considerations over the nation’s health and welfare. Therefore, as of today, the Republican Party will not seek to pass, nor will I sign into law, any health care insurance law or any revisions of the current Affordable Care Act that does not originate from Congressional Democrats, and that Congressional Democrats do not accept accountability for in every respect. The Republican Party will support any such bill, reserving of course the right to suggest additions and changes, but only if there is no question regarding the Democratic Party’s ultimate responsibility for its drafting, as an admission that their original law was fatally flawed.

In the absence of such a bill, I and the Republican Congress will allow the  this “signature legacy of President Obama” to continue, with the understanding that its failure is a Democratic failure, and the lack of a timely fix is entirely due to the cynical tactics of the party that created it.

3. Unethical Quote Of The Day That Is So Predictable That It Isn’t Worth Posting As The Unethical Quote of the Day: Salon

This will be a short break, a one-day experiment: June 27 will be Trump-Free Tuesday here on Salon.

We’ve been thinking about this for a while, and it seems like the right moment. There are so many other things to talk about and think about, in politics, culture or our daily lives. We are stuck with this guy for the foreseeable future, which is a difficult truth for many of us to handle. If we cannot dislodge him from the White House anytime soon, maybe we can start to deflate the outsized role he plays in our national psychology. This is a baby step in that direction.

How will Trump-Free Tuesday work? We have established some rules for ourselves — which we are prepared to break under certain circumstances we have tried to define in advance. (Those circumstances seem unlikely. But who knows what counts as likely anymore?)

We will not publish the president’s name on Tuesday or use his picture. We will not cover his outrageous Twitter utterances or deride his surrogates for whatever stupid things they may or may not say on television. (We try not to do that the rest of the time, too.) We’re certainly going to cover American politics and the United States government, but we will avoid focusing on the dominant personality at the top of the pyramid. We will strive to focus on issues and policies and how they are likely to affect the lives of our readers.

Note the smoking-gun line “If we cannot dislodge him from the White House anytime soon…” Continue reading

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