Patriotism And Citizenship Check Coming For Democrats As The “Golden Dancer” Presidency Nears Its Point Of No Return

almost_midnight_

I sense that time is running out.

This evening, around 8 PM, the New York Post released an exclusive story, citing a “reliable source,” claiming that the Census Bureau faked the September  2012 employment figures that gave a huge boost to President Obama’s campaign as the race against Mitt Romney was reaching its stretch run. The figures, which were challenged by conservative pundits as suspiciously and conveniently positive, finally put unemployment below the crucial 8% mark.

From the Post’s John Crudele:

“The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated. And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it. Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy. And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today. “He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked. The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.

‘“It was a phone conversation — I forget the exact words — but it was, ‘Go ahead and fabricate it’ to make it what it was,” Buckmon told me.”

Crudele notes that falsifying jobs figures has more consequences than just misleading voters and giving the President a basis to claim that the economy is improving. He writes, “I hope the next stop will be Congress, since manipulation of data like this not only gives voters the wrong impression of the economy but also leads lawmakers, the Federal Reserve and companies to make uninformed decisions. To cite just one instance, the Fed is targeting the curtailment of its so-called quantitative easing money-printing/bond-buying fiasco to the unemployment rate for which Census provided the false information. So falsifying this would, in essence, have dire consequences for the country.” [UPDATE (11/19)—“A Republican aide told the Washington Examiner the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is digging into the claim, published in the New York Post on Tuesday….”]

That’s not my hope.

I don’t know if this story is accurate or not. The New York Post is hardly…well, let’s see how to best put this…it’s hardly a reliable, trusted news source like the New York Times or the Washington Post were before U.S. journalism lost all credibility, objectivity and trustworthiness. This story could prove false,  but whether it is or not, the Obama Administration will deny it, stonewall it, make sure its media allies keep it isolated to “conservative media” so it can be discredited, just as it did with Benghazi, the IRS efforts to handcuff conservative groups during the campaign, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, and the real source of the problems with the ACA website. Whether this scandal, which would show that the Obama Administration used its various agencies to illicitly, unethically and dishonestly deceive the public to influence the Presidential election, is real or not, there are real scandals, many of them, waiting to be discovered, and still more that are in the process of developing. There is no doubt in my mind about this, just as there was no doubt in my mind a year ago that this wave of dashed hopes, uncovered lies, and desperate survival maneuvers was inevitable. The Obama Presidency is dysfunctional, incompetent, corrupt and rotten to its core, like Golden Dancer, the apocryphal rocking horse that Henry Drummond, the fictional avatar of Clarence Darrow in “Inherit the Wind,”  describes in a famous scene: Continue reading

And The Lies Just Keep On Coming

"Yes, children, there really was a time, long ago, when the American people got angry when their leaders lied to them...."

“Yes, children, there really was a time, long ago, when the American people got angry when their leaders lied to them….”

I wonder at what point President Obama decided that he could just lie with impunity, and that most Americans wouldn’t care. We should care, you know. There is no reason that I can see why anyone here or abroad should trust the President or believe him or anything he says.

I take no satisfaction or joy in writing this.  It is a terrible development for everyone, and I wish it were not true, just as many of the President’s supporters will deny that it’s true. It is true nonetheless. Continue reading

Leadership Trust: Is This Finally The Public’s Tipping Point On President Obama?

giant-jengaTipping points are events that establish major shifts in public attitudes and the culture, and what determines a tipping point varies from circumstance to circumstance. When the switch is flipped on public trust, a leader is done for, at least in a democracy. This is why, in a parliamentary system,  prime ministers call for elections at such times, or even resign. It’s a tradition the U.S. might do well to consider.

The tipping point on the George W. Bush presidency was glaringly obvious: it was the botched handling of Hurricane Katrina, even though that particular fiasco was mostly an example of effective  blame-shifting by New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin. Bush had already accumulated many legitimate reasons to doubt him, but the traditional American eagerness to like and trust whoever holds the same job as Washington, Lincoln and FDR had kept his presidency afloat…until it drowned in Katrina. All was downhill from there.

Interestingly, nobody at the time argued that Americans should support the lousy response to Katrina because not doing so would cripple the Bush presidency going forward. But I digress..

Now it appears that the Obama proposal/decision/ argument—who knows what it really is?—to engage in a limited missile attack on Syria may be the public tipping point on Obama’s leadership, the moment when the veils fall and the nation reluctantly but decisively admits that the man it elected—twice—as its leader cannot be trusted. If so, it is remarkable this took so long, testimony to how much we all wanted our first African-American President to succeed. The tipping point for me was years ago. Following the Bush experience, I thought that the bungled government handling of the Gulf oil spill would clinch it, but no. Then came the Benghazi mess, with an ambassador and other Americans murdered without any decisive response other than deceptive spin and obfuscation to avoid electoral consequences—the I.R.S. tea party harassment (still being investigated, and looking worse all the time)—the NSA revelations, and the growing evidence that while the Affordable Care Act may not be the cataclysmic socialist disaster conservatives claim it is, it is also far from what the President promised. No tipping point though, until Syria, and the consequences flowing directly from the President’s undisciplined off-the-cuff rhetoric—a constantly repeated flaw in his leadership style.

Now, as tipping points do, this current controversy is resuscitating all of the past incidents, and serving as the catalyst for a reappraisal of Obama’s leadership. The looming conclusion is that he cannot be trusted.

Occasionally am beaten to the punch by a pundit or blogger who delivers an essay that says exactly what I was preparing to write, even as I was almost finished writing it. Such a pundit is Forbes contributor Merrill Mathews, who delivered an article on that publication’s website over the weekend, titled “What Happens When You Can’t Believe A Thing The President Says?” (My title was going to be “When Trust Is Gone”).

Some key quotes from the article: Continue reading

Case Study In How Bias Rots Integrity: Washington Post Columnist Harold Meyerson

You see, Harold, this is your brain on bias. Yes, I know it looks yummy...

You see, Harold, this is your integrity on bias. Yes, I know it looks yummy…

Back in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, I exchanged some e-mails with Harold Meyerson, the left-est of the Post’s op-ed liberals. He had been condemning the Bush administration’s decision to go to war against Iraq—we were technically still at war with Iraq, since no peace terms had ever been agreed upon from the previous war, and Saddam was blatantly violating the terms of a cease-fire, but never mind—saying, among other things, that this was the first time in American history that the nation had embarked on a “war of choice” rather than necessity. This was a popular, and ignorant, “talking point” used by the anti-war critics at the time, and I was thoroughly sick of it being shouted in CNN debates without any objective participant protesting that it was a lie. I pointed out to the columnist that this was historical fantasy clothed as fact, and that he owed his readers better.

Most U.S. wars have been “wars of choice,” I wrote, and presumably Meyerson knew this. Arguably only the War of 1812, World War II and Afghanistan didn’t fit that description. The Revolution wasn’t a “war of choice”? Of course it was….most of the country would have been happy to stay subjects of the Crown. The Mexican War was not merely a “war of choice” but a war of “let’s trump up a reason to take away all this land belonging to Mexico” war.  Lincoln certainly didn’t have to oppose the secession of the Southern states and start the Civil War; indeed, the best Constitutional analysis is that he was acting beyond his authority to do so.The Spanish-American War? World War 1? Korea? Vietnam? Granada? Desert Storm? What country was Meyerson talking about?

To my surprise, Meyerson replied, politely and, I thought, a bit sheepishly. Yes, he said, of course you are right, but this war is more of a war of choice than those were. Translation:I oppose this war, and the party of this President, so I’ll say whatever is necessary to get people to agree with me, and I’ll convince myself in the process.” I’ve never taken a Meyerson column seriously since. His reasoning process, like so many on the ends of either side of the political spectrum, is to frame reality in the way that most comfortably supports his ideological objective, and then to allow that warped reality to become part of his own world view. I think this kind of thought process by confirmation bias should disqualify any infected media pundits from commentary, as much as habitual dishonesty, dementia or insanity.

Today, Meyerson once again shows how his biases rot his reasoning and integrity. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Bob Woodward

“You’re talking about government not working, but who’s in charge of the Executive Branch? You go to the Constitution, and the President has sole responsibility for the Executive Branch. This rests on him.

You were talking earlier about kind of dismissing the Benghazi issue as one that’s just political, and the President recently said it’s ‘a sideshow.’ But if you read through all these emails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al-Qaida. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings…’  One of the documents with the editing [shows] that one of the people in the State Department said, ‘Oh, let’s not let these things out.’ And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate, when Nixon put out his edited transcripts of the conversations, and he personally went through them and said ‘Let’s not tell this,’ ‘Let’s not show this.’

“I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed. You look at the hydraulic pressure that was in the system to not tell the truth, and, you know, we use this term and the government uses this term ‘talking points.’ Talking points, as we know, are like legal briefs. They’re an argument on one side. What we need to do is get rid of talking point, and they need to put out statements or papers that are truth documents. ‘OK, this is all we know.’”

—Bob Woodward, Watergate legend, on MSNBC, making the case that the altering of the Benghazi “talking points” and subsequent use of misleading statements about the origins of the attack is not, as the President has said, ” a side-show,” but rather a serious and disturbing event worthy of criticism and attention.

truth-graphic

“Quick! Let’s hide it!”

One reason I like this quote is that I feel that in the long run the Benghazi talking points scandal—for that’s what it is, a scandal—may be the most significant, if not the most egregious, of the three scandals now rocking the Obama Administration. For the reason this is true, we only have to consult Jay Carney, who incredibly told Piers Morgan yesterday that in referring to the I.R.S. targeting of conservative groups for obstructive treatment, the Justice Department’s intrusion on AP phone records and the false “anti-Muslim video” narrative,  the CNN host was “concocting scandals that don’t exist…especially with regard to the Benghazi affair that was contrived by Republicans and, I think, has fallen apart largely this week.”

Wow. Continue reading

Twelve Ethics Observations On “The Scandal Trifecta”

Obama

1. “The Scandal Trifecta” may be gaining traction in D.C. and in the news media as the hot term to handily describe the Obama Administration’s three instances of serious and significant misconduct: the Benghazi deceptions, the I.R.S. harassment of conservatives and conservative groups, and the Justice Department’s surveillance of Associate Press reporters. It should be rejected. I know conservatives and Republicans are especially smug and gleeful right now to have their suspicions and warnings confirmed, but this is a national crisis, at a time of dire challenges to the nation, and tragic in many ways. It is not a game, and should not be likened to one. Nor should the three situations be lumped together, though they have, to some extent, common seeds. They are each important in and of themselves, and packaging them like stop-light peppers risks allowing all or some of them receive less than the individual attention they must have. This is the first and last time I’m using the term, and I urge everyone, in the media or out of it, to similarly drop it. Labels matter, in this is a bad one.

2. Here’s someone Democrats and the rest of us can blame, in part: the left-biased news media. You see, knowing that the news media is looking to expose them when they make mistakes, blunder, show corruption and otherwise do a bad job when entrusted with the welfare of the greatest nation on earth makes our leaders better, more responsible, more objective, and more competent, out of fear, if nothing else. The media does nobody any favors when it lets its biases take over and lies down on the job—not the public, not Republicans, certainly; not the nation, not their profession, but also not even those they are desperately trying to help succeed. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen, a fair and smart liberal columnist who sometimes jumps the ethics rails...like now.

Richard Cohen, a fair and smart liberal columnist who sometimes jumps the ethics rails…like now.

Richard Cohen, the veteran liberal columnist at the Washington Post, is not your usual knee-jerk partisan pundit. He’s that rarity, a thoughtful and fair opinion journalist who does not choose his positions according to which side he would rather have drinks with. He really, really doesn’t like Republicans and conservatives, but he is capable of siding with them, or at least against his philosophical brethren, when common sense and matters of basic right and wrong beckon. I used to think of him as a left-biased partisan, but then I had a chance to read E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson on a regular basis, and Cohen’s relative objectivity and fairness became obvious.

He does have blind spots, however. One is sexual harassment, which, as an older guy who likes flirting with young women at the gym and doesn’t understand that whole “unwelcome advances” thing, he just doesn’t comprehend. Another is the compliance delusion. To be seriously unethical in Cohen’s eyes, you have to break the law. Otherwise, it’s “everybody does it.” Cohen is prone to fall for other classic rationalizations as well.  He is a “gut instinct”analyst where ethics are concerned, and gut instincts aren’t enough. They will eventually lead you astray. They lead Cohen astray.

This was the glaring flaw in his recent column about the Benghazi controversy, where Cohen fell into line with the Obama protectors in the media whose argument is, “So they lied…who cares?” He wrote in part…

“…President Obama was then really Candidate Obama and he surely did not want the words “terrorist attack” uttered during the presidential campaign. In addition, the CIA and the State Department were in a cat fight and could not agree on the wording of the talking points — or even, from a fair reading of their clashing e-mails, who the fanatical enemy was: al-Qaeda or members of Congress? In all this, it’s almost possible to forget that four Americans died in Benghazi. The event was a tragedy and it hardly matters, as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vociferously maintained, if the attack occurred spontaneously or was planned. Either way, it was a success for the terrorists and a debacle for the United States.

“It is good to find out how this happened — who’s responsible for the inadequate security, etc. — and it is also good to hold the Obama administration accountable for putting out a misleading statement. But the record will show that a thorough report was, in fact, compiled. Its authors were Thomas Pickering, an esteemed retired diplomat, and Adm. Mike Mullen, an equally esteemed retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They found the standard mistakes and snafus — but no crime….Watergate, though, was a crime. Iran-contra was a crime. Government officials were convicted and some of them went to jail. Fudging a press release is not a crime. Compromising on wording is not a crime…It is not a crime either to make a mountain out of a molehill, but this particular one is constructed of a fetid combination of bad taste and poisonous politics. Dig down a bit and it becomes clear that some — many? — Republicans suspect that Barack Obama and-or Hillary Clinton are capable of letting people die to cover up a terrorist attack. Either that, or this is what they want us to think.”

It’s a fascinating passage, because you can see Cohen slowly going off the ethical rails: Continue reading

The Trustbusters Circle The Wagons: Why?

Why do they always do this?

"Thank you, Sen. Reed, for your comments. You can stop spinning now."

“Thank you, Sen. Reed, for your comments. You can stop spinning now.”

Republicans, Democrats—why? Why do they think, when they are caught in an obvious example of misconduct, it is smarter and more useful—it certainly isn’t honest, courageous or ethical—not to simply confess and apologize, even if it’s with hardly an ennobling statement no better than, “You got us. Yeah, we were lying. That was wrong. Sorry,'” rather than continue to lie? The now ridiculous contortions of Democrats (and their knee-jerk supporters in the public and the media, but forget about them, for they are merely pathetic) are doing independent harm, because they destroy trust in government generally, and that, for a democratic republic, is potentially fatal.

Way back in September, when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice disgraced herself by going on five Sunday talk-shows and stating with deceitful certitude ( “our current best assessment”…”we believe”)  that the deadly attack on the U.S. outpost in Libya was solely the result of spontaneous outrage on the part of extremists over a video, and not an organized terrorist attack, critics said that the Administration was covering up what really happened, and lying about what they knew. The accusation was shouted down and indeed ridiculed by Administration officials, Democrats in Congress, and the Obama-promoting media (it was in the middle of an election campaign) as a partisan smear, but in fact the critics, partisan though they were, were right. Rice was disseminating disinformation. The Administration and its State Department were intentionally blaming a video when they knew better. Why is another story: conservative pundits believe it was to avoid having to admit, mid-campaign, that the signature accomplishment of the President’s term, killing Osama bin Laden and supposedly crushing al Qaida, was not quite the complete victory the Democrats were claiming. If that was the reason, it was a stupid reason, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen that way. Hiding inconvenient facts before an election is despicable, but lying to the public and the world is serious enough, whatever its motive.

When she was questioned in Congress about the misleading descriptions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled that the Administration was in cover-up mode, both by lying outright (“I did not say … that it was about the video for Libya.”) and making her infamous and ethically indefensible statement”With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” Now, thanks to multiple revelations, the testimony of whistle-blowers, and newly released e-mails, there is no question that Clinton’s State Department took the lead in scrubbing the CIA talking points that immediately attributed the attack in Benghazi to identifiable terrorist elements connected to al Qaida, and not a spontaneous demonstration against the video. Not only are the Administration’s defenders refusing to admit that what happened happened, they are recycling old tactics from other scandals to do it, which if nothing else is lazy and boring:

  • “This is old news.” Or, as (Liberal! Obama-loving!) NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd termed it, “It’s not true, it’s not true, it’s not true, it’s old news.” Dowd also correctly identified this as a classic from the Bill Clinton playbook, used for too many bona fide scandals to list. Continue reading

Jay Carney Must Resign

Ron Ziegler would understand, Jay.

Ron Ziegler would understand, Jay.

I know it hasn’t been reflected in the essays here, but I have great sympathy for Jay Carney and all of his predecessors. He has a terrible job. Sometimes it’s an inherently unethical job, as when the White House spokesperson, aka “press secretary,” is sent out to spin, tap-dance, and otherwise obfuscate for his boss, the President, presumably but not always for the good of the nation.

Nonetheless, when someone in Jay Carney’s position loses all credibility and can no longer be trusted to deliver information that can be called truthful by any stretch of the imagination, that individual has to go. The official spokesman of the White House cannot be seen as someone who intentionally lies to the press and the public, and this is the status Carney has now. He has an obligation to resign, even if his boss isn’t astute enough to tell him to, and history indicates that he is not. Continue reading

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Is Not A Political Prisoner

My favorite Nakoula arrest meme: Funny, but wrong.

My favorite Nakoula arrest meme: Funny, but wrong.

The Congressional hearings regarding what increasingly appears to be intentional dissembling by the Obama Administration to minimize the political fallout from the Benghazi terrorist attack have, predictably, sparked renewed attention to the fate of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the creator of the anti-Islamist Youtube video that Hillary, the President, and Susan Rice pretended was the reason an ambassador and others ended up dead.

Nakoula is in prison, and his arrest for violating the terms of his probation was certainly well-timed for Obama Administration spin  purposes; purportedly (and if true, outrageously) Hillary Clinton told the family of one of the slain Americans that the filmmaker responsible for the video would be punished. This is only hearsay, but I am inclined to believe it: it is pure Clinton, masterful deceit. Nakoula couldn’t be punished for the video, of course, because of that darn old First Amendment. But Hillary may have known that he was headed for punishment and prison for something else, so it was a perfect ploy to make the victims’ families and any offended Muslims think this was why he was going to jail. Me, I think that oh-so-clever ploy is a betrayal of American integrity and values, but that depends on what the meaning of is is.

The Right, however, is sure that Nakoula was arrested for the video, one way or the other. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, has come right out and said that he’s a political prisoner. Continue reading