Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Republican Virginia House Of Delegates Member Wren Williams

Williams is concerned about what Virginia children are taught in schools, so he introduced House Bill No 781, “relating to public elementary and secondary schools; student citizenship skills; certain instructional policies prohibited, parental rights; disclosures; penalties; other remedies.”

Among the provisions offered by the patriotic Virginian is approval of public schools teaching “the founding documents,” including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, excerpts from the Federalist Papers, the writings of the Founding Fathers and Alexis de Tocqueville’s“Democracy in America” and “the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”

You know, the guy standing next to Abe here:

Wait: are you sure you have the right Douglass/ Douglas, Wren? Might it be this Douglas…

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Authentic Frontier Gibberish Of The Year (So Far): Kamala Harris

Normally, I would be confident that a stunner like this would be a guaranteed winner, but, 1) this is Kamala Harris, and she frequently talks like English is a foreign languge and 2) her two most high-ranking Democrat colleagues, President Biden and Nancy Pelosi, are also likely to make no sense for extended periods, though in their cases…well, let’s just leave it at that.

On the Today show, Craig Melvin asked the eminently qualified Vice President—she’s “of color,”,female, and has a pulse—- whether it is time for the White House to try a new strategy to deal with the pandemic. This was Harris’s verbatim answer:

It is time for us to do what we have been doing and that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down.

Now who can argue with that? Melvin, since he works for NBC and has no Continue reading

It’s Only January 11, And Yet This Might Already Be The Ethics Story Of The Year: The Nazi-Loving Police Chief

This story made my head explode, and for once, it was worth it. I LOVE this story! It touches on so much…idiocy,incompetence, dead ethics alarms, unions, a soupçon of “The Producers,” incredible excuses and more—I don’t want to give away the one detail that made me laugh out loud yet. And perhaps best of all, it comes out of Washington state, one of the epicenters of The Great Stupid.

I am going to try to relate the tale without giggling, and then I’ll have some observations at the end. Alert: my telling may contain a bit of sarcasm here and there. I’m sorry. I can’t resist.

In Kent, Washington, a King County suburb of Seattle, Mayor Dana Ralph (D) apologized profusely to her city in a 30 minute video. Why? Well, she admitted that her administration badly mis-estimated what the public’s reaction would be to the town’s decision not to fire Assistant Chief Derek Kammerzell, and to instead suspend him for two weeks while allowing him to treat the time off as a vacation, meaning that he was paid. You can understand why the mayor and her staff would be blindsided by the outrage; after all, all Kammerzell did was show every sign of being a Nazi.

All right, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. An investigation that began in September of 2020 after a complaint lodged by a member of the police force determined that Kammerzell, a 27-year Kent police veteran, Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, Remember January 6 Edition…

Well, we all know by now why this date is important: On January 6, 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system was demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. Morse’s invention revolutionized long-distance communication, and also was a catalyst for other important inventions. In ethics history, January 6, 1994 marked the nadir of bad sportsmanship in U.S. sports.

Skater Tonya Harding conspired with her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, to eliminate rival skater Nancy Kerrigan from the competition for the U.S. ice skating championship. Through contacts, Gillooly persuaded  Shane Stant to injure Kerrigan for a fee. Stant stalked to Massachusetts and Detroit, where he hit the skater in the leg with a club and fled. Kerrigan was unable to skate, so Harding won the championship and a place at on the 1994 Olympics women’s skating team. Then the plot fell apart, and the FBI got the whole story from Stant. Gillooly was charged with conspiracy to assault Kerrigan, and made a deal in which he implicated Harding. She claimed she had learned of Gillooly’s role in the attack after the U.S. championships but did not inform authorities. It took a lawsuit to stop the United States Olympic Committee from removing Harding from the team, but Tonya choked and finished 8th, and Kerrigan won a silver medal. Eventually Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder the prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers, but her role in initiating the plot was never proved. Gillooly, a real prince of a guy, cashed in by selling graphic photos of the couple having sex to tabloids. There’s more seedy stuff to this story, but that’s enough.

Yecchh.

1. I see the Pope has nothing better to do than to attack dog and cat owners as being “selfish” for preferring to have pets to bestow their love on than children. Having children is indeed a generous act, provided it is done intentionally and responsibly by people with the sense, resources and values to discharge that immense challenge ethically. I know quite a few childless pet owners who seem to have concluded that a dog or cat was all they could handle, and in mots of these cases, I’d say they made the right call. I also know some families with kids that I wouldn’t trust to care for a kitten. Or a guppy.

During a general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis said,

“Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality…a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity… civilization grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers…Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child.”

If there is one thing a Pope, a bishop or a Catholic priest isn’t qualified to talk about, it is having children. Pius XII had a pet goldfinch though, and Pope Leo XIII kept a herd of gazelles, among other animals.

2. Regarding that other Jan.6 event…as part of its Capitol riot spin today, the Times enlisted Linda Qiu, a former “fact-checker” for PolitiFact, the infamously left-biased fact-checking service of the Tampa Bay Times, to debunk “falsehoods” regarding the attack. She performed as expected. Trump said on Fox News that there were “no guns” carried by the mob. There have been three gun charges brought against rioters, Qiu says. She also says that “over 75 defendants have been charged with entering a restricted area with a dangerous or deadly weapon,” meaning clubs, sticks and bear spray, none of which relates to Trump’s gun claim. She also calls a “falsehood” the statement that there were no fatalities during the riot except for Ashlii Babbitt, the unarmed rioter who was shot by a Capitol police officers. Seven fatalities were “tied” to the assault, she says. What does “tied” mean?  Other than Babbitt, two protesters died of heart attacks, one of an accidental overdose, Officer Sicknick died of multiple strokes a day after the attack (and was falsely reported by the times as dying from injuries sustained in the riot, a falsehood repeated multiple times by President Biden). Two other officers killed themselves in the days after the riot, which does not establish causation or a provable “tie,” and two other officers died by suicide six months later.

I’d say “no fatalities” other than the unarmed rioter is accurate. Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Indiana State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R) [Updated]

We end up with bad laws and disrespect for law enforcement because the public keeps electing officials who need mittens with a string attaching them through their sleeves.

Freeman, a Republican state lawmaker from Indianapolis, has submitted a bill to eliminate state penalties for failing to use turn signals before turning or changing lanes. Senate Bill 124 would allow drivers not to have to use turn signals 200 feet before changing lanes or turning, nor would they have to use turn signals 300 feet before changing lanes in a 50-mph zone. I think that’s what it says. In addition to being mind-numbingly irresponsible, the bill is also confusing. Freeman claims that his bill was intended to end confusion about turn signal requirements. Here’s a rule of thumb: when your bill to eliminate confusion causes confusion, it’s not a good bill.

And you’re an incompetent idiot.

What is confusing about turn signals? You turn one on when you are about to make a turn or change lanes. Not as you have already started to turn the vehicle—before. Long enough before that other drivers can react. This isn’t hard, even though it seems to be for an astounding number of drivers on the roads.

Ethics Resuscitation,12/23/21: Lift, Spirits, LIFT!

Boy, has today ever been a rotten prelude to Christmas! There’s nothing like feeling like Bob Cratchit and Scrooge at the same time….Hit it, Judy!

Yeah, easy for YOU to say…

1. Admittedly, it’s hard to be unusually unethical on a phony show like “Paranormal Experiences,” but I was fascinated to see how actual news footage of a dog rescue would be tied into the show’s theme. A dog was viewed by a crowd at New York’s East River as it desperately dog-paddled for land, then panicked and began swimming in circles. A police officer dived into the freezing (and filthy) water and grabbed the dog by the collar, getting bitten in the face and hand in the process, to tow the canine to safety as the crowd cheered him on. How was this “paranormal”?

As one onlooker explained it, the officer was a water rescue specialist, and the crowd had gathered for a ceremony honoring him. It couldn’t be a mere coincidence that a drowning dog just happened to turn up during that ceremony for that officer, could it? No, something supernatural was afoot! Such a coincidence can’t happen by itself!

Yes, it can, and does, every day, many, many times, you moron. A TV episode like this makes the public stupid and superstitious, which makes them easy to manipulate and con. Given enough time and random events, anything that can happen will happen, and the proclivity to see portents and miracles in standard chaos-driven events undermines life competence.

Where do you think the term “lucky dog” came from?

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Ethics Pot Meet Ethics Kettle I: Rep. Boebert (R-Co.) vs. Rep. Omar

It’s like one of those monster vs. monster movies, such as “Godzilla vs. King Kong”: who do you root for? In the case of extreme right-wing, irresponsible and uncivil GOP fire-breather Lauren Boebert battling extreme leftist House Democrat Illhan Omar, the only ethical position is to hope they fight each other right out of Congress, where they both do immeasurable harm.

Omar is, I hope I do not have to explain in much detail, horrible. She would be the worst of “The Squad,” but, incredibly, the other members are so irredeemably awful that this is a tough call. Her background is full of scandals that would guarantee the end of the career of any non-black, non-Muslim representative in a sane party, which the Democratic Party is no longer. She repeatedly makes anti-Semitic, anti-Israel comments. Her infamous characterization of 9-11 (a comment barely reported by the mainstream media) was that “some people did something.” She has advocated defunding the police in Minnesota.

None of this justifies any member of Congress attacking her with ad hominem rhetoric, but Colorado’s Lauren Boebert is special, even by far right Republican standards. She has used Omar’s religion against her, calling her part of a “Jihad Squad” and told an audience before Thanksgiving that a Capitol Police officer was concerned about Omar boarding an elevator until Boebert reassured him by saying, “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine.”

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Why Do We Let People Like This Idiot Into Congress?

Anime video

Somehow, this story seems related to the previous post.

Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted out an altered anime video that attacks illegal immigrants (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and shows someone with two swords attacking a giant Joe Bden head. The video in his tweet used clips from popular Japanese anime “Attack on Titan,” and opens with Gosar’s name under Japanese text, which reads “attack of immigrants” (if you can read Japanese) before it continues to show real clips of Gosar and Border Patrol agents spliced alongside scenes from the anime show’s opening credits.

Several news outlets say the video shows Gosar killing killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If it does, I missed it, but then I could barely stand watching the thing. If that’s really in the video, I’d say it’s unprofessional, uncivil and unethical. All of it is inexcusable, though.

What’s the matter with this guy? Is he 12? This isn’t the kind of video a member of Congress should be having made, or put on social media. It’s an embarrassment to Congress, his party, his state, and his country. By what bizarre concept of public service and the House ethics rules could anyone conclude that such an assaultive, offensive, infantile piece of agitprop belongs in the public square?

If the rumored 2022 “red wave” doesn’t accomplish anything better than to put more jerks like Gosar in the House, it’s not worth the effort.

Virginia House of Delegates Member Chris Hurst (D) Hits The Ethics Alarms Trifecta!

Chris Durst

That would be “Ethics Dunce,” “Incompetent Elected Official of the Week” and “Unethical Quote of the Month.” If I had an official “Asshole of the Month” designation, he’d have that wrapped up too.

The day before the Virginia elections, Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Member Chris Hurst and his girlfriend, Emily Frentress, were pulled over by a deputy who spotted them tampering with campaign signs at a polling location. (The 12th District incumbent was also cited for or driving with a suspended license and given a “driving while suspended notification.”) Here is his exchange with the officer as recorded by the officer’s bodycam:

Officer: “I think what you need to do after I deal with you here is go back and fix those signs. What do you think? You try to resort to doing this? Instead of doing a fair election? Chris, quit playing. Quit playing. Y’all are up there turning over signs at the polling area and you’re sitting here acting like you don’t know what’s going on?”

Hurst: “…Here’s what I would say. I would think that something that was a little hijinks and steam blowing off is exactly what everybody over on the other side of the mountain does and people all over this district do.”

Officer: “So you’re going to resort to that and represent us?”

Hurst: “I need you to just do your job here tonight and I’ll do mine. I have nothing more to say to you, officer. I’m sorry for actions that I may have done or my partner may have done, but I think you’re getting a little emotional here.”

Officer: “I’m not getting emotional at all, you’re supposed to be representing us. You’re supposed to be out here representing us and not out here acting like a school kid. How am I supposed to vote for you if you’re out here doing this?”

Hurst: “Were you planning on voting for me?”

Officer: “Well, that’s all up in the air now.”

Hurst: “I’m sorry if I lost your support, sir.”

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Ethics Observations On Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)’s Mask While On The House Floor

Brandon Mask

1 This isn’t funny, ethical, brave or helpful. He should be sanctioned, but House Democrats wouldn’t dare. They know what their members got away with.

2. If Duncan wants to say “Fuck Joe Biden” on the House floor, then let him come out and say it and accept the consequences. At least I can have a measure of respect for that, though not much. Adults snickering at the “Let’s Go Brandon” game remind me of those camp songs like “Shaving cream” or “Helen had a Steamboat” where it was supposed to be hilarious that you never actually said the naughty word that rhymed. The game was just barely tolerable among ten-year-olds, and we have members of Congress who act like this? Be proud, America.

3. The Ethics Alarms position (which cost it about 40% of its readers since 2017) that the office of the President must be accorded a basic level of respect and fairness by the public must apply regardless of who is in the White House, or our republic does not work. One reason I was so critical of the despicable treatment of President Trump across the culture was precisely for this reason: I knew Republicans and conservatives wouldn’t be able resist treating Biden as unethically as Trump was treated, and, if possible, worse.

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