Unethical Quote Of The Week: NYT Columnist David Brooks [UPDATED}

“Biographies describe a man intent on making his fortune and not afraid of skating near the edge to do so. At one point, according to Politico, federal investigators found that Frederick used various accounting measures to collect an extra $15 million in rent (in today’s dollars) from a government housing program, on top of paying himself a large “architect’s fee.” He was hauled before investigating committees on at least two occasions, apparently was arrested at a K.K.K. rally in Queens (though it’s not clear he was a member), got involved in a slush fund scandal with Robert Wagner and faced discrimination allegations.”

—New York Times columnist David Brooks arguing that Donald Trump, Jr.’s conduct in holding the controversial meeting  with some Russians and Russian-Americans to acquire useful negative information about Hillary Clinton for his father’s campaign came about because his family is just no damn good, as shown by the conduct of Fred Trump, the President’s storied father.

Unlike some commentators, I have no ethical problem with Brooks’ basic thesis. Culture molds ethics, children are influenced by the conduct and values modeled by their parents, and I have pointed out too many times to  count that Donald Trump doesn’t know ethics from a merry-go-round, and appears to have no  conventionally functioning ethics alarms at all. It makes perfect sense that Donald Jr. would grow up similarly handicapped.

However, Brooks’ evidence that Trump family patriarch Fred Trump was corrupt and without scruples is all innuendo and supposition, and thus dishonest, incompetent, and unfair. Let’s examine the components of Brooks’ attack:

  • “federal investigators found that Frederick used various accounting measures to collect an extra $15 million in rent (in today’s dollars) from a government housing program, “

Were the accounting measures illegal? Apparently not. Was the  “architect’s fee”? I guess not: Fred wasn’t indicted or prosecuted. Being investigated by the feds does not prove or indicate wrongdoing. Maybe Fred was cheating; I wouldn’t be surprised. But Brooks has no facts to support that assumption, just a pejorative characterizations.

  • “He was hauled before investigating committees on at least two occasions…”

I love the “hauled.” Being asked to testify isn’t evidence of wrongdoing either.

  • “apparently was arrested at a K.K.K. rally in Queens (though it’s not clear he was a member),”

This one shows how desperate Brooks is to definitively slur Fred Trump, and how little he has to work with. Even his linked source, a hard-left anti-Trump site, admits that it has no idea why Fred Trump was arrested, why he was at the rally, and whether he was a member of the Klan—you know, like SCOTUS icon Hugo Black and  revered Democratic Senator Robert Byrd—at the time, which was 1927, when Fred Trump was 21. I was nearly arrested at an SDS demonstration that turned into a riot when I was in college, and I detested the Students for Democratic Action.

  • “got involved in a slush fund scandal with Robert Wagner”

Here is an allegation so vague that I couldn’t Google it. Mayor Robert Wagner was one of New York’s more successful, most respected and least corrupt mayors. Brooks’ own paper wrote about him when he died (in 1991),

“His contention that he had cleaned up city government was largely true. In his 12 years in office there were no major scandals, and the minor ones never came close to impugning Mr. Wagner’s personal honesty. He was also credited by associates, friends and opponents as having generally raised the caliber of people he appointed to such high-level offices as commissioners.”

If there was a “slush fund scandal” involving Wagner, there wasn’t much of one, and “involved in” is just slimy journalism.  If Brooks is going to take a swipe at the President’s father like this, he is absolutely obligated to be specific. He’s accusing Fred Trump and his line of “moral obliviousness,” as Brooks writes later, and yet all he can offer is rumors, guilt by association, and in this case, not even a clear innuendo. What’ does “involved” mean? it could mean anything, and Brooks uses that word because a) he’s got nothing and b) he knows that his readers are predisposed to believe the worst.

  • “and faced discrimination allegations.”

Allegations! Well, that proves that Fred Trump was a vile bigot, then. This is embarrassing, or should be.Only a columnist who knows that he is protected by agenda-driven editors and hyper-partisan readers would dare using this to make a case against Fred Trump. It is, however, similar to the litany of episodes typically given by the President’s critics to “prove” he’s a racist when asked by someone like me to back up their rhetoric.

To summarize, it is unethical to impugn any public figure alive or dead as Brooks has, which is as substantive and fair as writing “everyone knows that he was a crook.” If Brooks had real evidence, he was obligated to present it; if he didn’t, then he shouldn’t have written the column.

I didn’t designate Brooks’ column for Ethics Alarms infamy because it is another example of the mainstream media’s double standard, but it is another example of the mainstream media’s double standard, using a method to attack the Trumps that the Times never used to impugn liberal Democratic icons, the Kennedys being the most obvious example. Papa Joe Kennedy was an objectively corrupt and morally bankrupt man who  thought that the U.S. should support Nazi Germany and trained his sons to be misogynists.  Paul Meringoff writes,

[T]here is no reason to believe that Brooks would apply his family tree theory to FDR, JFK, or Obama. He probably believes that, when it comes to liberal Democrats, immorality skips generations.

CORRECTION: In the original post, I referred to Joseph P. Kennedy’s much-rumored background as a bootlegger. Charles Green properly points out that this is exactly the kind of unsubstantiated rumor that Brooks used against Fred Trump. I shouldn’t have included that: It’s an example of  confirmation bias on my part. Being from Boston, I learned to detest JFK’s father and family. His bootlegging reputation was the least of it; I could have chosen from a wide range of other despicable conduct that has been well  and thoroughly documented.

30 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: NYT Columnist David Brooks [UPDATED}

  1. Jack, I don’t disagree with your point about Brooks.

    But you unfortunately, in your haste to condemn him, commit EXACTLY the same sin, when you say, “Papa Joe Kennedy was an objectively corrupt and morally bankrupt man who made his fortune as a bootlegger.”

    In fact, he did NOT “make his fortune as a bootlegger.” What you say here is objectively, factually, provably wrong. And it’s not just a question of interpretation of words.

    Here’s a quote from a Daniel Okrent article about Joseph P. Kennedy:
    There’s really no reason to believe he was [a bootlegger].

    The most familiar legacy of Prohibition might be its own mythology, a body of lore and gossip and Hollywood-induced imagery that comes close enough to the truth to be believable, but not close enough to be… well, to be true. The Kennedy myth is an outstanding example.

    The facts of Kennedy’s life (that he was rich; that he was in the liquor business; that he was deeply unpopular and widely distrusted) were rich loam for a rumor that did not begin to blossom until nearly 30 years after Repeal. Three times during the 1930s, Kennedy was appointed to federal positions requiring Senate confirmation (chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission, Ambassador to Great Britain).

    At a time when the memory of Prohibition was vivid and the passions it inflamed still smoldered, no one seemed to think Joe Kennedy had been a bootlegger—not the Republicans, not the anti-Roosevelt Democrats, not remnant Klansmen or anti-Irish Boston Brahmins or cynical newsmen or resentful Dry leaders still seething from the humiliation of Repeal.

    There’s nothing in the Senate record that suggests anyone brought up the bootlegging charge; there’s nothing about it in the press coverage that appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or The Boston Globe.

    There was nothing asserting, suggesting, or hinting at bootlegging in the Roosevelt-hating Chicago Tribune, or in the long-dry Los Angeles Times. Around the time of his three Senate confirmations, the last of them concluding barely four years after Repeal, there was some murmuring about Kennedy’s involvement in possible stock-manipulation schemes, and a possible conflict of interest.

    But about involvement in the illegal liquor trade, there was nothing at all. With Prohibition fresh in the national mind, when a hint of illegal behavior would have been dearly prized by the president’s enemies or Kennedy’s own, there wasn’t even a whisper.


    That’s not all. Here’s the money quote from a PhD’s study of the claim about Kennedy’s bootlegging:

    “Perhaps history will show that Joe Kennedy did nothing illegal during Prohibition. That he was a small time bootlegger for his Harvard reunion and for his friends using his family’s legal supply from before Prohibition. That he imported medicinal liquor in the last year of Prohibition. And nothing more. So far no serious, scholarly biography of Joseph Patrick Kennedy lends credence to him as a major bootlegger or smuggler during Prohibition. But gangster biographies and autobiographies see it differently and rumors are presented as fact.”

    Here’s a Forbes article by John Tanny, reviewing a JPK biography:

    “Kennedy was not a “bootlegger” as is often assumed, though he did start a liquor importing business as Prohibition ended, and after having made a great deal of money in banking, investing, and in movies.”

    It doesn’t help your critique of Brooks to commit the same sin you accuse him of committing.

    • Sorry, I need to add to this.

      You start off with a perfectly valid critique of Brooks (and, by extension, the Times).

      You then say it’s an example of the MSM 1) making unsubstantiated sketchy claims about the broad right wing, and 2) “using a method to attack the Trumps that the Times never used to impugn liberal Democratic icons, the Kennedys being the most obvious example.”

      You then proceed to use that same method in citing the Joseph P. Kennedy rumors.

      Here’s the problem. If you’re going to cite the MSM as corrupt using an unsubstantiated, sketchy claim AS AN EXAMPLE, then you succeed only in proving the opposite.

      Your example is false. Therefore, the MSM is in fact to be PRAISED for not giving in to the temptation to spread false, sketchy unsubstantiated gossip of the type you just cited – the Joseph P. Kennedy bootlegger myth.

      By stretching the Brooks story beyond its bounds, I think you end up disproving the very (broader, not the narrow) point you set out to make.

      • Rumors? I’m from Massachusetts: we knew all about Joe. How does one make the point—which was a secondary one, tertiary, a footnote even—that Brooks is using a tactic that the MSM reserves only for Republican—without tripling the post? Frankly, I really assumed that everyone knew that Joseph P. Kennedy was a bad, bad dude while JFK was in office, but that the news media who loved the Kennedys was too polite to point it out in print. If I was going to write Brooks’ essay about the Kennedys, for example, I would be obligated to include this, which is far, far more substantive than anything Brooks offered…

        Decades after Prohibition, Underworld figures like gangsters Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello fed the rumor by speaking up in public that they worked with Kennedy to bring in liquor from Rum Row or to transport it on land. Owney Madden, another gangster bootlegger, confided privately to his lawyer that he served Kennedy’s liquor in his Prohibition era night clubs in New York City, which would have included the Cotton Club.

        The author of Paddy-Whacked: Untold Story of the Irish Gangster suggests Kennedy may have financed shipments to Rum Row from Europe but not smuggled these shipments to land. Instead, he could have re-sold it to others who then smuggled it in (e.g. Costello?) According to the Dark Side of Camelot , Kennedy smuggled liquor to Long Island’s Sag Harbor. But maybe this was Costello bringing in liquor purchased on Rum Row from Kennedy? Lansky in the 1950s also said Joe Kennedy disliked him because Kennedy thought he (Lansky) once hijacked a liquor shipment of his (Kennedy’s) from Boston to New York City during Prohibition. (See Mafia Encyclopedia.)

        A close study of Coast Guard records at the National Archives shows some Kennedys smuggled and bootlegged in New York City. But not the famous Massachusetts Kennedys. These smugglers were Jack and Edwin Kennedy who operated a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. This came to light when the body of Edwin, 25, was found floating in the Hudson River near 84th Street in the fall of 1927. His brother could not explain this death. His widow insisted her husband was murdered by bootleggers. Did Lansky, Madden, and Costello, recalling Prohibition decades afterward, confuse these New York Kennedys with Joe Kennedy? Or did they believe that they were distant relations working for him? Joe Kennedy lived in New York City and worked there as an investment banker after 1924. If these were relatives, did they front for him?

        At his tenth Harvard class reunion on Cape Cod in 1922, Joe Kennedy supplied the liquor. Letters among his papers at the John F. Kennedy library document this. Kennedy had access to his father’s legal pre-Prohibition stock of liquor. (His father was a liquor importer to Boston before Prohibition.) Contrary to modern understanding, drinking was not illegal under the 18th Amendment, only its production, transportation, and sale were illegal. (This is a key difference with current federal marijuana law which punishes users.) But Kennedy actually sold the legal liquor for the reunion, which would violate the 18th Amendment, making this an instance of small-time bootlegging. He also sold the liquor left-over from the reunion to a friend at cost. But again, even though he made no profit, this would have been illegal and an instance of small time bootlegging.

        Coast Guard records of boats seized with liquor during Prohibition include one in Nantucket Sound which had a nautical chart aboard showing liquor drop-offs near Hyannisport where the Kennedy family had a new summer home after 1926. This does not prove Kennedy was a smuggler or bootlegger —only that he probably was a scofflaw like millions of fellow Americans. And actually Kennedy was a non-drinker, so any liquor he acquired in this way would have been for guests.

        That said, I agree that the evidence that Kennedy was literally a bootlegger, being mostly based on the word of gangsters. is too weak to state as fact, and it was just plain wrong to say that Joe made his fortune that way. IF I was writing an op-ed for a major news source, I wouldn’t have used it (and I’ll fix the over-statement, and give you the credit, which you deserve).

        However, Kennedy’s willingness to appease Hitler is no exaggeration. Books have been written about it, and the fact that the entire male line in the Kennedy clan treated women horribly is a matter of record.

        Here’s one of thousands of pieces about Joe P. Hitler problem (and his hatred of Jews), from the History Channel:

        During May of 1938, Kennedy engaged in extensive discussions with the new German Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, Herbert von Dirksen. In the midst of these conversations (held without approval from the U.S. State Department), Kennedy advised von Dirksen that President Roosevelt was the victim of “Jewish influence” and was poorly informed as to the philosophy, ambitions and ideals of Hitler’s regime. (The Nazi ambassador subsequently told his bosses that Kennedy was “Germany’s best friend” in London.)

        Columnists back in the states condemned Kennedy’s fraternizing. Kennedy later claimed that 75% of the attacks made on him during his Ambassadorship emanated from “a number of Jewish publishers and writers. … Some of them in their zeal did not hesitate to resort to slander and falsehood to achieve their aims.” He told his eldest son, Joe Jr., that he disliked having to put up with “Jewish columnists” who criticized him with no good reason.

        Like his father, Joe Jr. admired Adolf Hitler. Young Joe had come away impressed by Nazi rhetoric after traveling in Germany as a student in 1934. Writing at the time, Joe applauded Hitler’s insight in realizing the German people’s “need of a common enemy, someone of whom to make the goat. Someone, by whose riddance the Germans would feel they had cast out the cause of their predicament. It was excellent psychology, and it was too bad that it had to be done to the Jews. The dislike of the Jews, however, was well-founded. They were at the heads of all big business, in law etc. It is all to their credit for them to get so far, but their methods had been quite unscrupulous … the lawyers and prominent judges were Jews, and if you had a case against a Jew, you were nearly always sure to lose it. … As far as the brutality is concerned, it must have been necessary to use some ….”

        I didn’t even reference this (BECAUSE THE POST WAS NOT ABOUT KENNEDY!) but I would have if I were Brooks:

        According to “The Dark Side of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (JFK’s father) set up a meeting with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana to obtain Giancana’s support for Jack Kennedy’s run for the White House — thereby combining the sway of Chicago crime syndicate with that of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s Democratic machine.

        Hersh also reported, along with others, that Giancana also helped funnel cash to buy votes and endorsements for the West Virginia Democratic primary election in May 1960.

        The new book “The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy” by University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato highlights the connection by citing the story that Joseph Kennedy asked for Giancana’s help over aAs far as the brutality is concerned, it must have been necessary to use some dispute with another mobster, Frank Costello, and offered “the president’s ear” in return.

        Sabato also writes that “when JFK began having an affair with a black-haired beauty named Judith Campbell while he was still a U.S. senator, Giancana slept with her as well, reportedly so that he would eventually have a direct link to the White House.”

        So your point is that because I didn’t detail the extensively documented vile conduct of Joe P. Kennedy, which my post was not about, it is unfair to state the fact that Brooks and the nedia is guilty of a double standard, for choosing to stretch minimal Trump’s into slurring Fred Trump, which Brooks’ post was substantially about?

        I think that’s a deflection, Charles, and more than a little unfair.

        • Deflection and double standards are what the left is all about, Jack. Charles is no exception. Maybe he should join this blog’s naughty libs in an enforced break.

    • Boy, THAT piece isn’t slanted at all, is it? After all, EVERYBODY knows that virtually EVERYTHING is the GOP’s fault.

      • ”THAT piece isn’t slanted at all, is it?”

        That a rhetorical question?

        ”But where Brooks (and many of the other commentators on the much-discussed class divide) gets it wrong is in blaming liberals and progressive coastal culture (sopressata sandwiches, fuel-efficient cars)”

        We best keep the carbon footprint of the “sopresseta sandwich” and the Tesla (powered by BIG GUBMINT teat-suckling Elon Musk’s Lithium-ion battery) they drive to get it from the discussion.

        “instead of the cultural resentments and impediments (lack of well-funded public schools, zero paid parental leave) built and bred by the GOP.”

        Oy! “They” got it wrong by neglecting the real issue: great sandwiches whose name-n-ingredients you can pronounce.

        I have the rare good fortune to occupy a “Sandwich Sweet-Spot,” my Dear nearly 90 year-old mother makes the best (an open-faced, kraut-laden Reuben). 2nd Place? My lovely and long-suffering wife, also a kraut-laden Reuben, but with a lid.

        • [”THAT piece isn’t slanted at all, is it?”

          That a rhetorical question?]

          No. Sarcastic, yes. Maybe I shudda bolded it.

          • By-the-Bye, I am also incredibly fond of Reubens, especially my wife’s. Also sauerkraut chili dogs, though I usually get more on me than in me.

  2. Not that this justifies anything, Jack, but I think it is worth pointing out that, now almost twenty years ago, and also almost thirty years ago the media had plenty of bad things to say about a certain banker and later Senator (and World War One artillery officer) from Connecticut named Prescott Sheldon Bush, father of one president and grandfather of another, though he didn’t get to see either of them take office. Notably, he was a founding member of Union Banking Corporation, which had dealings with German steel magnate Fritz Thyssen. This company was later seized and held by the US government for the duration of hostilities under the Trading With the Enemy Act on suspicion of holding gold for the Nazis. Many was the article in both lefty and mainstream media that recited only those facts, and ended in the conclusion that Prescott Bush helped Hitler rise to power, therefore his whole family should be tarred with the brush of Nazi sympathizers.

    Never mind the fact that P. Bush held only a single share of 4,000 as a director of Union Banking. Never mind the fact that there is no hard evidence that the accusation of holding Nazi gold was later disproven. Never mind the fact that there is not one scintilla of hard evidence that Bush was a Nazi sympathizer or that any of his dealings with German companies were anything other than commercial. Never mind also the fact that his prime contact, Thyssen, broke with the German regime on Kristallnacht and was expelled from the Nazi party. Very few of those facts ever made it into any of those articles. Their prime purpose was to smear a man who was the youngest pilot in the United States Navy in World War II and was shot down flying the Avenger in the Pacific, hardly a fan of the Nazi regime, and his son, whose record was admittedly not as impressive, but who was certainly no sympathizer with regimes that were foes of the US (though they tried to also tag GWB through Cheney’s contacts with oil companies), because these agenda-driven writers didn’t like either man’s politics. What Brooks did here is just that same tactic taken up a notch.

    In 2012 you never heard of how Mitt Romney donated much of his inheritance or his other charitable activities, but you hear plenty about him supposedly roughing up a gay classmate and putting his dog on the roof of the car. The media tried mightily to dredge up dirt on his dad George, but the best they could do was attack him for his religion. You also heard more than a few times about Ann Romney owning a horse which she rode to help her MS, part and parcel of portraying her husband as a heartless plutocrat, never mind that having MS sucks.

    Paul Meringhoff is absolutely right. You rarely hear of Joseph Kennedy Sr.’s dirty dealings, or, if you do, it’s just as quickly added that it’s not fair to attack the martyred son through the father. For that matter you don’t hear enough of what should have been a career-ending manslaughter by Ted, and if you hear about it at all it’s either glossed past or mollified with a phrase about it being long ago and time to move on.

    The fact is that with the modern media, for a lot longer than we’d like to admit, GOP politicians have never been permitted a fair shake. If such a politician comes from a wealthy family, he is sneered at as being from old money and out of touch. If such a politician is self-made, he must have made his fortune by dirty dealings or dealings with tainted individuals. If determined searching doesn’t turn up evidence of either, than someone got to someone or someone hid his tracks too well. If that implication doesn’t stick, then they look for less-than-kind business practices: firings, insufficiently high wages, raises that didn’t come often enough in their opinion, health care plans that were not good enough in their opinion, a workforce that wasn’t diverse enough in their opinion, etc.

    GOP politicians from other backgrounds get scrutinized other ways – career prosecutors get checked for evidence of putting too many people of color in prison, military officers get rigorously vetted for every decision made on and off the battlefield and anything they might have said about DADT. Real estate dealers get looked at to see if they turned down too many Valdezes and Gonzalezes. If there’s still not enough to break them open, that’s when the media goes for their families and scrutinizes their fathers’ and grandfathers’, maybe even now great-grandfathers’ records. Did someone do something that was borderline? Did someone NOT serve in a war? Was someone looked at for doing something wrong, even if nothing came of it? Did someone say something that would not be politically correct now? If so, bring it out. The fact that a GOP politician’s grandfather made a chunk of money by exercising a stock option that was a sweetheart deal, or that another politician’s grandfather didn’t serve in Vietnam because of a “heart murmur” (don’t forget the scare quotes), or yet another guy’s dad got looked at for dealings with the Eastern bloc as the Cold War was ending, or still another’s great-grandfather went on the record speaking bluntly using language that was normal for his time, any of these can peel away a few undecided voters or knock a campaign off message for a few days.

    Democratic politicians never get this kind of scrutiny. We hear about how devoted to helping people they are, how long they’ve been in public service, etc. If they crossed the color barrier with their spouses that gets paraded, but that’s about it. You don’t hear about their social climbing, or ruthless pushing aside of political adversaries, or dirty tactics. They even get a pass from the media on outright corruption, like Hillary did this past time out. Oh, but she was the most qualified candidate ever, oh but she was an example to every little girl in school now. Right. Keep the lies, the half-truths, the unsupported accusations, and the innuendos coming, and those who already drank the blue raspberry Kool-Aid will swallow them hook, line, and sinker and use more blue raspberry Kool-Aid to wash them down, while others who might not have drunk otherwise will take a sip, or maybe a full drink. If someone’s granddad got looked at during the Red Scare, he was a martyr. If someone’s dad didn’t serve when he could have, then he was just wise for not getting involved in a conflict the US should not have been in. If someone did well it just shows he was smarter than those around him, you know, like all liberals.

    I said it twice before and I’ll say it again, if not for double standards the left would have no standards at all.

    • I’m going to add on something I just thought of – with the mainstream media it’s actually a three-step process of political racism.

      1. If you are a Democrat, you always begin from a presumption of goodwill. If you are a Republican, you always begin from a presumption of ill will.

      2. If you are a Democrat, you never get looked at too closely. If you are a Republican, you always get looked at very closely and sometimes unfairly.

      3. If you are a Democrat, you always get the benefit of the doubt. If you are a Republican, you never get the benefit of the doubt.

      Basically, the mainstream media exists to screen Democrats in, and Republicans out.

      • Bullshit, and that’s the problem, you blame democrats for identity politics, yet you play the same game. Republicans have never been for the working class with the exception of Teddy Roosevelt. They have always rubbed elbows with the far left, they have always taken from the poor from education taken from the middle class, all to give to give to the rich, and corporate america. Forget the fact that the lost revenue has to be made up somehow. It’s done by taking from you, and me, by telling us that Social Security is an entitlement (it isn’t, it’s a trust fund) that they have raided over and over.

        Now it’s going to cost “enormous sums of money” as Trump put it to pay for the new nuclear missiles. While at the same time giving corporations and the 1% a huge tax break under the delusion that jobs will rain from the sky (they won’t). I’m an independent so I vote for who I think represents my interests. The idea that you can take that revenue stream and shrink it to nothing, while expecting high paying no higher education needed jobs to fall from the sky, all because corporate america and the 1% have so much more money, really, it didn’t work in Reagan’s day, and it won’t in Trumpland.
        So again, the taxpayer get’s nothing for our investment in this country, except some billionaire idiot telling us to do with less. You want to know why Infosys has imported over 1 million high tech workers from India through the H-1B visa program. Because The republicans have been stripping money from education for decades. We could have done what China did, and that is to build factories for the future. But you can’t do that if yur population can’t compete with emerging economies that value education, and haven’t put profits before education.

        This country will pay the price for congress’s inept policies that have left all of us behind. There is only room for the have’s, the have not’s will be relegated to a low paying service job, because that’s what congress has left us. Keep in mind the Republicans have been in control of congress for 7 plus years, so no one else is to blame. You can bury your head in the sand or somewhere else, but if talking about Joseph Kennedy is supposed to distract or bolster a weak position, well you’ve made it weaker.

        This article is citing Joseph Kennedy, who by the way has been dead for a very, very long time, yet that’s the best that the Republican’s can muster, unless it’s a swastika.

        • I’m allowing this political and partisan rant, your first comment,James, with many reservations. It has no relevant ethics-related content whatsoever, and it’s precisely what is declared out of bounds in the the Comment Policies, which you obviously did not have the courtesy to read.

          Maybe I’m making a mistake; I probably am. I’m giving you a second chance because you are minimally articulate, even though your substance was 1) political, not ethical 2) biased, not analytical, and 3) pretty stupid. The first silly paragraph was itself unforgivable: class politics is not identity politics, nor does one justify the other—a classic rationalization. Also no party should be “for” or against “the working class”, which the US doesn’t have anyway unless you are spouting Marxist crap. I work, a lot. I’m in the working class. And this marks you as a lying fool:”Because The republicans have been stripping money from education for decades.” The US education budget has continued to increase as the quality of “education” has sunk lower and lower. The Republicans haven’t taken any money out of education, and the “give to the rich” deceit (if people who earn money are allowed to keep more of it, nothing has been “given” to them at all, you bumper-sticker spouting jerk.

          The more I look at that junk you just posted, the more certain I am that I am making a mistake, but what the hell. Let’s see if your next post can be about what the blog is about, and not your canned and labeled partisan talking points. If it’s like this one, it won’t see the light of day.

          I’m putting the odds of you being able to stay here without getting banned at 10-1 against, and the odds of your next comment being a typical exit screed at 5-1.

          Right, you’re an independent, and you link Republicans to swastikas.

  3. I do have to say Trump Pere does appear to look a little like an actor right out of central casting made up to play the Monopoly guy. Good thing he didn’t have a cigar in one of his hands. You know, the Cubans Bill Clinton and B. Obama favor.

  4. Didn’t Brooks disgrace himself by asserting that sandwiches are too sophisticated for the high school graduates. Taco’s are OK though. Suitably low class and understandable.

    Charles is demonstrably a better thinker and writer than Brooks.

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