Oh, Great. ANOTHER Fake Stat That Everyone Will Cite As True For A Decade Or More: The $400 Emergency Expense Lie

“Good news, Fake Campus Sexual Assault stats, Fake Gender Pay Gap stats, Fake Gun Violence stats, and the rest of the club! You have anew member!

Senator Kamala Harris cited the stat in April, and if someone doesn’t stop her, it will become part of the pro-socialism “narrative” during the 2020 election campaign.  “In America right now today,” she said, “almost half of Americans are a $400 unexpected expense away from complete upheaval.”  Naturally the statistic appealed to Top Demagogue Senator Elizabeth Warren, who echoed Harris last month: “The gap between incomes and costs is so gaping that 40% of Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency.” Then there is  Bernie, or course,  who says: “Four in 10 [Americans are] unable to afford a $400 emergency expense.”

I’m sure the rest of the field will come around to using the stat too; dishonesty loves company, especially when the idea is to frighten the members of public who trust what politicians say. And why shouldn’t they? Warren was a Harvard professor—she must know what she’s talking about! She wouldn’t use a statistic like that without checking it, would she? Nah! Warren and Harris are both lawyers too, and lawyers have enforced ethics rules that say they must not lie. All three—Warren, Harris and Sanders—are U.S. Senators. Surely three distinguished Senators wouldn’t all use a false statistic to deceive us! Would they? Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Washington Post’s Hit Piece On Bernie Sanders

Today the Washington Post presented “Inside Bernie Sanders’s 1988 10-day ‘honeymoon’ in the Soviet Union,” an oddly timed hit piece—yes, I think that’s fair—showing a deluded, middle-aged ,anti-American  politician gawking with approval at the marvels of Communism while slamming his own country and ignoring the obvious signs that the worker’s paradise is crumbling around him. Here’s a sample:

The just-married socialist mayor from Vermont was on what he called “a very strange honeymoon,” an official 10-day visit to the communist country, and he was enthralled with the hospitality and the lessons that could be brought home. “Let’s take the strengths of both systems,” he said upon completing the trip. “Let’s learn from each other.”…As he stood on Soviet soil, Sanders, then 46 years old, criticized the cost of housing and health care in the United States, while lauding the lower prices — but not the quality — of that available in the Soviet Union. Then, at a banquet attended by about 100 people, Sanders blasted the way the United States had intervened in other countries, stunning one of those who had accompanied him.

“I got really upset and walked out,” said David F. Kelley, who had helped arrange the trip and was the only Republican in Sanders’s entourage. “When you are a critic of your country, you can say anything you want on home soil. At that point, the Cold War wasn’t over, the arms race wasn’t over, and I just wasn’t comfortable with it.”

…Sanders had visited Nicaragua in 1985 and hailed the revolution led by Daniel Ortega, which President Ronald Reagan opposed. “I was impressed,” Sanders said then of Ortega, while allowing that “I will be attacked by every editorial writer for being a dumb dope.” At the same time, Sanders voiced admiration for the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, whom Reagan and many others in both parties routinely denounced.

Sanders, in turn, said Americans dismissed socialist and communist regimes because they didn’t understand the poverty faced by many in Third World countries. “The American people, many of us, are intellectually lazy,” Sanders said in a 1985 interview with a Burlington television station.

Do read the whole thing. Then explain to me how any party that has substantial numbers of supporters enthralled by someone like this can be trusted…well, to take care of a cat over a weekend. Bernie wasn’t 17 when he acted and spoke this way; it was  31 years ago, but there are no signs that he has changed. He was young leftist fool then, and is an old one now. Yet he is currently second only to clueless old Joe Biden in polls of Democratic Presidential candidates, and worse, his demonstrably bad ideas are the ones most of the rest of the field are advocating to appeal to the young programmed  leftists the colleges are vomiting into the voter pools.

Some related observations: Continue reading

Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 4/23/19: Sanders, Warren and Steyer

Good Morning!

I don’t know about where you are, but Spring has finally arrived to stay in Alexandria, Virginia!

1.  Mea Culpa. The first post today made it up without a final proofing and edit, the result of three consecutive computer crashes and an intervening work crisis. Veteran reader Tim Levier flagged the mess, which I cleaned up on Aisle 9 after pulling the post down. This has happened a couple of times before, and makes me want to throw myself in the shredder.

2. Stop making me defend Bernie Sanders! Apparently Bernie spent $444,000 dollars in campaign money in 2015 on his own book, which, of course, put money in his pockets. Some conservative writers have compared this to the scam that has caused the Mayor of Baltimore to go on “leave,” which in her case means “I’m resigning, except that I’ll still be getting my salary.” That’s unfair to Bernie. Pugh’s self-dealing was genuine corruption, using her place on a non-profit’s board to get the organization to buy her book rather than many other options. A candidate’s book is legitimate campaign material: it’s not like the campaign can distribute another candidate’s book. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/15/2019: Patriots Day! Jackie Robinson Day!

Good morning!

It’s funny: over at Ann Althouse’s blog, she’s complaining about how there’s nothing to write about. From an ethics perspective, I am finding too much to write about, especially since, unlike Ann, I still have to work for a living.

1. Quick: what does Patriots Day commemorate (and no, it’s not Tom Brady)? My home state of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine (which was once part of the Bay State), and Wisconsin observe the holiday, which honors the twin battles of Lexington and Concord, the confrontations with the British (on April 19, 1775, the day after “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”) that launched the Revolutionary War. I visited both battlefields more times than I could count when I was living in Arlington, Mass., right next to Lexington. That battlefield, what’s left of it, is in the middle of busy streets on all sides; it’s hard to imagine the scene as described in the song above from “1776.” Concord’s battlefield, in contrast, is almost exactly as it was in 1775.

All the publicity, even in Boston, about today will be dominated by the running of the Boston Marathon, but attention should be paid to the inspiring story of how ragtag groups of volunteers faced off against the trained soldiers of the most powerful country on Earth, sending the message that this rebellion would not be so easy to put down.  49 Colonists died, 39 were wounded, and five were unaccounted for. The British lost 73, while 174 were wounded,and 26 were missing.

2. It’s also Jackie Robinson Day. In every MLB game today, every player will wear Jackie’s number 42. The best way to honor Jackie for the rest of us is to tell his story to someone who doesn’t know who Jackie Robinson was, and it is shocking how many such people there are. The film “42” does an excellent job of dramatizing how Jackie broke the color barrier in baseball, simultaneously weakening segregation everywhere. The Ethics Alarms post about Robinson is here. Continue reading

Yes, It’s Come To This…Bernie Sanders Is Attacked By Progressives For Rejecting Discrimination

Senator Bernie Sanders told  Vermont Public Radio,

“We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age. I mean, I think we have got to try to move us toward a nondiscriminatory society, which looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for.”

Wouldn’t you agree that this position is unassailable based on basic American values and principles? True, it is a self-serving position for Bernie, who is almost certainly too old, male and white to be a viable candidate in the  female, minority, youth dominated Democratic Party, but surely even progressives concede that favoring candidates based on their color, age and gender is bigotry. Right? They have some shred of integrity left, don’t they? Right?

Well, not these progressives apparently:

Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress on Twitter:

“At a time where folks feel under attack because of who they are, saying race or gender or sexual orientation or identity doesn’t matter is not off, it’s simply wrong.”

(Her statement doesn’t even make internal sense.)

Former Hillary Clinton aide Jess McIntosh: “This is usually an argument made by people who don’t enjoy outsized respect and credibility because of their race, gender, age and sexual orientation.”

(You mean like by blacks discriminated against during Jim Crow, and by women for most of our history, and by gays even now in many communities, Jess?)

 Stephen Colbert: “Yes, like Dr. King, I have a dream—a dream where this diverse nation can come together and be led by an old white guy.”

(I used to think Colbert was witty. It is now clear that he is simply a vicious, hyper-partisan, cheap-shot jackass.)

Writes Prof. Turley, who gets the pointer for this story:

“The Democrats are clearly all-in on identity politics despite the fact that it is viewed by many as inherently discriminatory and divisive. It is a reminder that the best thing going for Trump in the 2020 election remains the Democratic establishment.”

I don’t think anyone paying attention needs any reminders of THAT, professor. That was true in 2016, and has been ever since.

Your Mid-Day Brett Kavanaugh Nomination Ethics Train Wreck Update

It’s kind of like following O.J. slow-mo escape, but more interminable, and lot more ominous...

I. No, Matt Damon is not a hypocrite because he mocked Brett Kavanaugh on SNL.

Why is this so hard to grasp for those not in show-biz? Actors act. They don’t have to believe in or live by what their roles stand for? Damon said earlier last December, speaking of the situation where he was falsely accused of harassment or sexual abuse…

“If you make the same claim to me today. it would be scorched-earth. I don’t care if it would cost me $10 million in court for 10 years, you are not taking my name from me, you are not taking my name and reputation from me, I’ve worked too hard for it, I’ve earned it, you can’t just blow me up like that.”

Now conservative pundits are writing that Damon is a sell-out and a hypocrite for helping a TV satire show attack Kavanaugh for standing up for his name and reputation. Morons. Damon didn’t write that script, and very few actors, especially fading, aging leading men like Damon, can afford to demand that they personally agree with the vehicles they appear in or the characters they play. Even actors who have the money and clout to do that usually kill their careers. [See: Foster, Jody; Clooney, George; et al.] Continue reading

Nah, Snopes Isn’t A Spinning, Left-Biased Fake Fact-Checking Organization! OK, I’m Kidding, It Really Is. [UPDATE]

If you hear about a social media company of a media organization that cites Snopes and a reliable authority, that’s all you need to know. They’ll lie to you, just like Snopes, and probably to assist a progressive political agenda.

Here’s an especially blatant example of Snopes’ fake fact-checking, as opposed to what they claim to do, which is to check fake facts, from 2016. It’s actually pretty funny.

The fact being checked:

Bernie Sanders has been criticized as hypocritical for only paying his interns $12 an hour despite his campaigning to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Snopes’ unbiased and objective analysis:

WHAT’S TRUE: Bernie Sanders pays his interns $12 an hour.

WHAT’S FALSE: Bernie Sanders pays his staff workers $12 an hour.

Ah! It’s misleading to say that Bernie, who said during the campaign,

“Millions of Americans are working for totally inadequate wages. We must ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty. The current federal minimum wage is starvation pay and must become a living wage. We must increase it to $15 an hour over the next several years.”

was a hypocrite who, as a meme circulating in 2016 claimed, he only payed his “staff interns” $12 an hour while simultaneously campaigning to raise the national minimum wage of $15.

Says Snopes, spinning like mad: Continue reading