Unethical Quote (And Tweet) Of The Month: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

The first reaction some had to this uniquely damning tweet is that Omar was suggesting to the Iranians that they attack the Trump organization hotels. Oh, who knows what her intent is. If it isn’t clear by now that Rep. Omar has greater loyalty to and regard for her Islamic faith and the nations that embrace it than she does for the country where she serves as an elected representative, I don’t know what more she could do or say.

It’s marvelously idiotic tweet. House member though she is, Omar doesn’t know what the emoluments clause means: the archaic Constitutional provision addresses foreign bribes, not potential conflicts of interest arising out of foreign threats. Moreover, if the President put his business interests over national interests, that would lead him to avoid taking action which might risk his business interests.

She does deserve credit for managing to come up with a false motivation for the President killing a vicious terrorist that is even more ridiculous that Elizabeth Warren’s “Wag the Dog” theory.

Omar is openly anti-Semitic, hostile to American interests, and appears to have the reasoning ability of a planarian. The Minnesota district that inflicted her on the nation is accountable for her pollution of the national discourse: there is no conceivable excuse for electing someone with her biases, proclivities, and lack of qualifications.

The Republicans had the sense and integrity to isolate Steve King for his repeated ugly statements evoking ignorance and bigotry. The Democrats should do the same with Omar, and if they do not, it will be fair to ask why. Either they endorse her vile lunacy, or they are too cowardly to risk accusations of being bigoted against Muslims, women, and “house members of color.”

 

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/8/2020: War, Defamation, Bias, Abortion…What Fun.

ARRGH!

Another day, another “crisis”…

Current reports indicate that Iran regards its casualty free missile strikes last night as a sufficient “tat” for the killing of their master terrorist “tit.” If so, the “ARRGH! WORLD WAR III!!” anti-Trump hysterics were, as usual, wrong, and just embarrassed us, nothing more.. Meanwhile, Iran is refusing to hand over the black box of the Ukrainian airliner that just coincidentally crashed right around the time the missiles were flying. The fact that so many Democrats have allowed their brains and loyalty to rot to the extent that they defend  this awful place in order to attack their own nation’s President is all we need to know about the trustworthiness of their party.

1. Wrapping up the Golden Globes’ ethics issues…Michelle Williams is getting predictable hosannas from her acceptance speech at the Goldden Globes, in which she thanked abortion for her success. She said she wanted a life “carved by my own hand” and “wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.” The New York Times called these words “potent.” I call them deceitful. I’ll praise an equivalent speech when the woman has the integrity and courage to thank the human being who involuntarily gave up his or her chance to carve out a life with their own hand. The use of “choice” as euphemism for “I get to kill someone who stands in my way” is self-deception.

2. Thinking about Trump’s threat...The President backed down from his threat to target Iranian cultural cites in retaliation for any attacks on Americans after being informed that this would be a war crime under international law. I confess, I did not know this was prohibited, and I am not certain what to think about that. I knew the destruction of ancient architecture and important cultural cites became an issue for the Allies in World War II, but this has yet to make sense to me. The whole concept of the “nice” war is ethically incoherent. The idea of war must be to win as quickly as possible, minimizing deaths and chaos on both sides, especially one’s own. If the prospect of losing a nation’s treasured cultural structures is a deterrent to war, then to say that has no “military value” is simply not true. If you can’t tolerate risking your cultural treasures, don’t get into wars.

The values involved in this controversy are also incoherent. In “The Monument Men,” George Clooney’s sort-of accurate account of the special forces whose job was to track down and rescue great artworks stolen by the Nazis, the question is asked repeatedly, “Was retrieving this painting or statue worth sacrificing a human life?” I have no problem voting “Sure!” If the question is changed to refer to a thousand lives, or 10,000, I’m not so sure. Continue reading

Poll: The Worst Responses To The Killing Of Suleimani

 

Nobody seriously disputes the fact that Iran has been waging an undeclared war against the U.S. for many years, depending on American aversion to the short and long term results of a military response, particularly among the Left’s permanent anti-military lobby in the U.S. The apotheosis of this strategy was Obama’s virtual capitulation in 2015, in which Iran received seized assets  and secret “pallets full of cash,” while the U.S. received hostages illegally held by Iran and a dubious promise not to prepare to nuke Israel for a while.  Iran has been playing the role of a small child abusing a larger, stronger rival, confident that any retaliation would be seen as bullying.

The United States and the world is always safest when the man in the White House is deemed capable of using the arsenal within his command as the deterrent it was built to be. This is one reason why Ronald Reagan was able to win the Cold War. For all the Left’s criticism of the war in Afghanistan, the alternative to forcefully retaliating for the attacks of 2001 would have been confirmation that the United States was a “toothless tiger,” weak, and cowardly, unwilling to defend itself and its citizens. Such a perception would have been dangerous, encouraging more terrorism, and more attacks.

As General Petraeus explained,

“Suleimani was …responsible for providing explosives, projectiles, and arms and other munitions that killed well over 600 American soldiers and many more of our coalition and Iraqi partners just in Iraq, as well as in many other countries such as Syria…. [Trump’s] reasoning seems to be to show in the most significant way possible that the U.S. is just not going to allow the continued violence—the rocketing of our bases, the killing of an American contractor, the attacks on shipping, on unarmed drones—without a very significant response.”

Why yes, I’d say that’s a reasonable interpretation of what happened, and hallelulia for that! Iran has responded in a manner that reveals its essential madness and barbarism, putting a bounty on President Trump’s head, and doing its familiar “American Satan” routine that we have been treated to since President Jimmy Carter cowered inertly in the White House after Iran kidnapped 52 of our diplomats and embassy personnel more than 40 years ago. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Round-Up, 1/5/2020: “Day After Cosmic Justice Eliminates The Patriots From The NFL Play-Offs” Edition

Greetings!

Last night the New England Patriots and their habitually unethical coach and star quarterback were eliminated from the NFL play-offs in the first round by the Tennessee Titans. Good. I say this despite being from Boston, where my Dad and I once routed for the AFL Pats of Gino Capelletti, Babe Parilli, Nick Buoniconti and Jim Nance. The modern day Patriots made me embarrassed to be a New Englander, even before I realized what a sociopathic organization the NFL was.

1. Noted with amusement: A while back there was a kerfuffle over some conservative publication using a photo of Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md) when the story was about Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga), or vice-versa. This was, of course, attributed to racism of the “all those people look the same” variety.

I pointed out that while it was of course the kind of mistake that a publication shouldn’t make, the two House members were about eh same age, both heavy-set, both African-Americans, and both hyper-partisan Democrat race-baiters whose careers rested on civil rights protest creds many decades old. Thus it was satisfying to see that “CBS Evening News” accidentally used a picture of the now deceased  Rep. Elijah Cummings while reporting on Lewis’ recent cancer diagnosis.

2. Signature significance. If you want definitive proof that an elected official or a pundit is untrustworthy pond scum, mark those who claim that President Trump  ordered the hit against Iranian terror master Qasem Soleimani in order to distract from Trump’s impeachment trial. The latest self-identified hack: Elizabeth Warren, who today said on CNN’s “State of the Union,”

“Next week, the President of the United States could be facing an impeachment trial in the Senate. We know he’s deeply upset about that, and I think people are reasonably asking why this moment…Why does he pick now to pick this highly inflammatory and highly dangerous action that moves us closer to war? I think people are reasonably asking about the timing, and why it is that the administration seems to have all kinds of different answers.”

This “Wag the Dog” theory made some sense when it was first applied to Bill Clinton, who launched a failed strike against Osama bin Laden in the middle of his impeachment drama, since Clinton was guilty and knew it. Trump’s impeachment has raised his poll numbers and further exposed Democrats as abusing the impeachment process: there is no reason for him to try to distract from it.

Warren’s question about timing is also absurd. Why now? Gee, do you think it might be that the murderer of many Americans who had just engineered an attack on our embassy and who was planning more deadly attacks happened to be in Iraq, where the U.S. has an approved military presence, and was virtually asking to be brought down?

Warren’s poll numbers and fundraising are sinking fast (Good!), so her demagoguery is shifting into high gear. Once again, her likely fate proves Lincoln right: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Or enough of them. Continue reading

Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/4/20: Abortion, Ann Althouse, A Big Lie And The Big Stupid

Good morning!

We’ve started a year without a dog enriching each day for the first time in over three decades. Don’t like it much.

1 . Lobbying the Supreme Court against abortion.  207 members of Congress — 39 senators and 168 House members from 38 states — filed  an amicus  brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold a Louisiana anti-abortion law when it hears the case in March, stating they “have a special interest in the correct interpretation, application and enforcement of health and safety standards for elective abortion by the people of the states they represent.” In the brief, the mostly GOP legislators (two Democrats also signed on) implore  the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court’s decision to let stand a Louisiana statute that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is being performed. SCOTUS declared virtually the same law unconstitutional in Texas; the argument for this law is that Texas is bigger than Louisiana.

I’m serious.

The Center for Reproductive Rights argues that the Louisiana law is really an effort to “regulate abortion out of existence,” claiming that only one physician in the state would be able to  provide abortions if the law is allowed to stand.

Oh, I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on.

2. Another Big Lie. When I went to a local cineplex to see “Ford vs. Ferrari,” I was stunned at how few employees were in evidence at a movie house with 18 screens and hundreds of people buying tickets. There was one human being selling tickets, the rest were dispensed by automated kiosks. There were no ticket-takers at all; we figured out that we could have just walked into any of the theaters without showing a ticket to anyone. To buy drinks and snacks, I  had to stand in a line for over 20 minutes, because only one person was filling orders. Continue reading

When Statue-Toppling Is Acceptable…

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has begun the process of removing Virginia’s statue of Robert E. Lee  from the U.S. Capitol, where each state has a statue of two state heroes. Ethics Alarms has been uncompromising in opposing the progressive movement to remove the statues of figures past generations admired and believed worthy of memorials and honors because of their achievements. The phenomenon is the essence of the deplorable “cancel culture,” where any transgression or past conduct viewed as repugnant in the light of “presentism” or political correctness is treated as justification to airbrush their lives out of our culture and history. Slaveholding has been the ultimate trigger for such airbrushing, even when the individuals being erased made crucial contributions to our nation. That criteria endangers our Founders like Washington, Jefferson and Madison, without whom our nation would not exist.

Lee, of course, is the fulcrum of this battle. The Confederate icon  has long been admired for his character, loyalty and courage, as well as his brilliance as a military strategist. As the Confederacy has increasingly been regarded as fighting for slavery by modern historians (though it’s more complicated than that), Lee’s own sin of owning slaves is increasingly see as being compounded by his role in fighting to preserve the process, and committing treason to do it. Continue reading

Brief Note: As I Suspected, The Democrats And Others Claiming The Attack That Killed General Qassim Soleimani Was Illegal And Had To Be Approved By Congress Didn’t Know What They Were Talking About…

I was wondering how an attack that took place in Iraq could be considered an “act of war” against Iran–were you? As it turned out, that little detail is indeed significant.

David French, the respected attorney, author and analyst who writes for the National Review, is often referred to as a “NeverTrumper.” He is capable of objectivity, however, and on this matter, registered a useful and definitive explanation that shows how incompetent the critics of the administration’s actions are. He wrote yesterday,

There’s much to say about the potential strategic benefits (and perils) of tonight’s decision, but make no mistake, separate congressional authorization was not necessary. This was not a separate act of war in the constitutional sense….It’s very important that Suleimani was killed in Iraq. Why? Because American troops are lawfully in Iraq — there by congressional authorization and with the permission of the Iraqi government. Moreover, they have a right of self-defense.

And don’t forget, they were reintroduced to Iraq by the Obama administration. The present military operations are a continuation of military operations initiated by President Obama. This is Obama’s deployment as much as Trump’s. It was proper then, and it is proper now. Iranian-backed militias attacked U.S. troops lawfully present in a combat zone under valid legal authorities. Moreover, America’s military response isn’t limited to immediate self-defense or tit for tat. It can act to remove the threat. That threat includes enemy commanders.

The true “act of war” was thus Iran’s — by putting one of its commanders, boots on the ground, in Iraq to assist in planning and directing attacks on U.S. forces. America is entitled to respond to that threat.

Suleimani was an evil, evil man. There is much American blood on his hands. And he was killed lawfully, in a properly constitutionally-authorized conflict. There is much risk and peril to come, but Trump’s action was constitutionally legitimate, and that matters. A lot.

I have seen no rebuttal to French’s analysis, and I doubt there is a valid one. It is disturbing, but far from surprising, that so many of our elected representatives would condemn the action with out thinking through (or having someone competent think through) the legal issues.

After another string of messages on Twitter, French concluded,

Bottom line — the Trump administration has taken a bold, justifiable action against Iran. But the next steps are vital, requiring strategic vision and tactical agility. I feel real joy at Suleimani’s demise. I feel real concern about what comes next.

That is certainly fair and reasonable as well. But then, David French is not deranged.

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Pointer: Red State

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