Does It, At This Point, Make Any Difference That Hillary Clinton Continues To Reveal Herself As Dishonest And Untrustworthy? Sure It Does.

Besides, it’s so easy, and it’s fun.

My sister, among others, has adopted a “Who cares what Hillary Clinton does and says?” attitude as, I think, a defense mechanism. Because Clinton won’t slink off under a rock with her husband, however, it is important to flag Hillary’s periodic reminders of how vile she is just to shake in the faces of the dishonest Trump Deranged who keep pretending that the only reason anyone would vote for this President is because they liked him. I won’t waste my brains cells trying to decide whether she was and is a worse human being than Donald Trump—they are awful in very different ways—but together they make a quartet with Richard Nixon and Woodrow Wilson as the four worst people ever to run for President. This we must always remember, along with the fact that but for the Electoral College, we would have had her in the White House.

Thus it is that I feel Hillary’s latest outbursts are still worthy of note here. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The CNN Democratic Candidates Debate [Corrected]

The full debate transcript is here.

(Or you could read “Moby-Dick” instead,  here, which I highly recommend.)

  • After enduring a long analysis of the December debate, the Ethics Alarms assembled shouldn’t need a sequel so soon— I don’t know what the Democrats think they’re accomplishing by having two of these guaranteed fiascos within a three-week period.

Virtually everything said last night we’ve heard before; every impression of this weak,weak,weak slate of candidates was already established.

  • Yes, it’s good to have the field whittled down to a manageable six, but it also wrapped in neon the hypocrisy of the Democratic party. The party of women  had just two women on stage, one a near impossible dark horse, and the other old, white, and whether Bernie said so or not, unelectable. The party “of color” had  no black, Asian, Native American  or Hispanic representatives on stage (, I won’t make the obvious Elizabeth Warren crack, only allude to it here, which I guess is the same thing.) The supposed party of the young presented four candidates over 70. The party that hates the rich had one billionaire and three millionaires among the six. The party that wants to smother the First Amendment right to spend money to promote political candidates (or attack them) by voiding Citizens United includes one aforementioned billionaire who has literally bought his way into the debates, and another, Mike Bloomberg, lurking in the wings.

This is not, in short, a party of integrity. Res ipsa loquitur. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/14/2020: And The Ethics Beat Goes On…

Good morning.

That’s a perfunctory good morning, to be transparent. Mourning would be more accurate. Yesterday’s news that Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a man who had impressed me with his leadership ability, personality and, yes, ethical values, was exposed by an investigation as the primary instigator of cheating schemes that involved two baseball teams and World Series champions (the Astros and the Red Sox), disillusioned two fan bases, harmed his sport, and led, so far, to the fall of two of the games most successful and admired management figures. Cora is also the first minority manager the Red Sox have had, and was regarded as a transformational figure for the team and the city, both of which have long and troubled histories of prejudice and discrimination. Smart, articulate, creative, funny, brave, knowledgeable—all of his positive qualities, rendered useless by the lack of functioning ethics alarms.

1. Congratulations to Ann Althouse…on this, the 16th anniversary of her blog. With the demise of Popehat, she supplanted Ken White as my most admired blogger, and most quoted by far. The fact that her fiercely non-partisan analysis of ethics issues so frequently tracks with my own is a constant source of comfort for me , particularly during these difficult times. Ann has an advantage that I don’t—“I only write about what interests me” is her description of her field of commentary— because this blog is limited to ethics and leadership. Fortunately, Ann is interested in ethics, though she seldom says so explicitly.

2. Bernie vs Liz. Feeling that Bernie Sanders was pulling away as the standard-bearer of the Leftest of the Democratic base as her own support appears to be waning, Elizabeth Warren went low, and had her aides reveal the content of what was supposed to be two-hour a private summit between the fake Native American and the Communist sympathizer in December 2018. According to them, Bernie told Warren that he disagreed with her assertion that a woman could win the 2020 election. Bernie denies it. Observations:

  • This kind of thing stinks, though it is kind of fun to see Democrats dirtied by it instead of President Trump. Anonymous accounts of what was said in phone conversations and private meetings in which the participants reasonably believed they could speak freely are unreliable, untrustworthy and unethical.
  • The Warren camp’s spin on Bernie’s alleged statement is that it shows he’s a sexist. That makes no sense. If I say that I can’t win the election in 2020, does that mean I’m biased against myself? There is no logical reason to assume an opinion like “A woman can’t win is 2020” represents bias, though it could. I will state here and now that a gay man can’t be elected President in 2020, even if that man weren’t a pandering asshole like Pete Buttigieg, but I am not anti-LGBTQ is any way. The statement reflects my objective analysis of the state of the culture.
  • I suspect that Sanders meant, “YOU can’t win in 2020, nor can Kamala Harris nor any of the other equally weak announced female candidates.” The truth may hurts, but that doesn’t make it biased
  • (Psst! Bernie! A delusional septuagenarian socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union can’t win either!)

3. No, the fact that there are no more African-Americans running for President doesn’t mean an African-American can’t win. It means weak African-American candidates like Cory Booker, who just dropped out, and Kamala Harris, who is long gone, can’t win, not because of their race, but because they can’t convince voters that they could do the job. Continue reading

Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part III: “Oh, The Hypocrisy!”

OK, it’s not exactly on point, but this is my favorite meme, and I hadn’t used it this year….

The debate seems like old news now, I know, but I’m going to finish this ethics review if it kills me. There was valuable, if depressing, ethics revelations throughout.

A. No, really, the economy is terrible. Really. Trust us.

Let’s begin Part III with this exchange:

My question to you, Mr. Vice President, is what is your argument to the voter watching this debate tonight who may not like everything President Trump does but they really like this economy and they don’t know why they should make a change.

BIDEN: Well, I don’t think they really do like the economy. Go back and talk to the old neighborhoods and middle-class neighborhoods you grew up in. The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting crushed. And the working class has no way up as a consequence of that.

Well, which is it: is Biden lying here, or is he completely ignorant of what is going on?

The question is particularly timely now, after the Christmas season was a smash hit. So called “Super Saturday” had the most money spent by consumers ever. Amazon  had record-breaking holiday season drove its stock up 4.5% and helped lift the Nasdaq composite index above 9,000 for the first time ever. This doesn’t happen, Joe (Bernie, Liz) in an unpopular economy, and what’s not to like? Unemployment is the lowest it can go; wages are rising across the board. Black employment is up, jobs generally are up. It isn’t just the stock market. Obviously consumer confidence is high.

Do the Democrats really believe they can convince the public that the economy is bad by just lying over and over again, and saying it’s bad, like Biden did? Apparently. Buttigeig, Yang, Sanders, Steyer and Warren followed Biden claiming that the middle class—you know, all those people who spent that money on Christmas gifts, was “hollowed out” in Warren’s words. “[We should beat Trump] on the economy where he thinks he’s king and where, in fact, he’s a fraud and a failure,” said Steyer.

Because they know that good economies almost always re-elect Presidents, the Democratic candidates are adopting the Sanders-Warren, or Marx-Lenin, definition of what a “good economy” is. As Sanders keeps saying, the problem is income inequality: if there are people making a lot more than you, you should be miserable, and it’s time for a revolution.  This was the justification for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez saying last week that the U.S. was a fascist country. Her comments , noted John Daniel Davidon of the Federalist, were characteristic of what he called the Left’s “economic illiteracy” and their belief that some people don’t have money because others are simply hoarding wealth. He said,

“She complained about America not being an advanced society, because it doesn’t matter how much gold you amass, you know, if people aren’t taken care of. It was a perfect illustration of the the economic and historical illiteracy of the left. Nobody is amassing gold. GDP doesn’t stand for gold deposit pile. That’s not how the economy works…Wealthy Americans are investing [their money]. They are creating jobs. That is why wages are going up, that is why unemployment is down. That is how the real world works. These people are out to lunch on the stuff.”

And the candidates for President, based on their debate performance, desperately want to keep them “out to lunch” as well. Continue reading

Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part II: Everything Is Terrible!

  • The most publicized statement during the debate that has been described as horrifying by conservative pundits was this one, by Joe Biden, after he was asked, “As president, would you be willing to sacrifice some of that growth, even knowing potentially that it could displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of blue-collar workers, in the interest of transitioning to that greener economy?'”

Biden answered immediately, “The answer is yes.”

“Displace,” of course, is a euphemism for “put out of work.” The relative nonchalance with which Biden, who is supposed to be the practical, sensible candidate, immediately said he was willing to disrupt hundreds of thousands of middle class lives in order to “transition” to “that greener economy,” whatever that means, reveals Biden as a first-rate panderer. He has also endorsed the ridiculous “Green New Deal,” which also means nothing.

  • The climate chance section of the debate was an ethics trap for several of the candidates. Amy Klobuchar, who was generally praised for her performance, said,

“And the problem right now is that this climate change is an existential crisis. And you are seeing it here in California with the fires that you just had. You saw it in Northern California, as was mentioned with Paradise. And the most moving video from that to me was the 30-second video of that dad driving his little girl through the lapping fires with his neighborhood burning behind him and singing to her to calm her down.”

Every time one of the candidates uses doomsday rhetoric regarding climate change, he or she is laying the foundation for government control, and totalitarian measures. Rep. Octavio-Cortez’s political Svengali admitted as much, and had to be fired for his candor. A candidate who says climate change is an existential crisis and then follows that hysterical assessment  with stating that the California wildfires are proof has told us that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but is pretending she does. Then she pivots to a single “moving” video, as if it proves anything at all. Message: I’m talking to emotion-driven ignoramuses now. I’m betting there’s enough of them.

Then Amy kow-towed to the Green New Deal too, endorsing draconian regulations, including the mind0blowingly expensive “upgrading” of existing buildings. I did like the transcript’s typo that quoted her as wanting to build a “fridge to the next century.” Now there’s a solution for global warming. But I’m pretty sure she said “bridge.” Continue reading

Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part I: Obfuscation And Lies [UPDATED]

The transcript is here.

I usually review candidates debates by examining the transcript with a digital marker, highlighting the statements that raised ethical issues and problems. When I went over last week’s debate, I found that well over 50% of the text was highlighted. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the debate moderators (PBS “NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff, senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, and Politico’s Tim Alberta) were generally professional and competent, avoided pandering, and asked some genuinely tough questions. The problem lay in the answers, which were overwhelmingly dishonest, full of empty talking points, misrepresented reality, and either assumed that the audience was made up of gullible fools, or were delivered by fools. There are too many quotes to pull out.

Time after time, a candidate who was asked a tough question simply delivered another talking point and refused, even after being prodded by the moderator, to address what was asked. For example, here’s Joe Biden responding to a question about “confidential documents published last week by the Washington Post revealed that for years senior U.S. officials misled the public about the war in Afghanistan.   “As vice president, what did you know about the state of the war? And do you believe that you were honest with the American people about it?”

Joe’ wanted none of it, answering, in part,

“Rebuilding that country as a whole nation is beyond our capacity. I argued from the very beginning that we should have a policy that was based on an antiterrorism policy with a very small footprint that, in fact, only had special forces to deal with potential threats from that territory to the United States of America. The first thing I would do as president of the United States of America is to make sure that we brought all combat troops home, entered into a negotiation with the Taliban. But I would leave behind special forces in small numbers to be able to deal with the potential threat unless we got a real good negotiation accomplished to deal with terrorism.”

The moderator tried again:  “In that Washington Post report, there’s a senior national security official who said that there was constant pressure from the Obama White House to produce figures showing the troop surge was working, and I’m quoting from the report here, “despite hard evidence to the contrary.” What do you say to that?

Biden again ducked the question and said he was never in favor of the surge anyway.

Bernie Sanders’ approach was to ignore questions and blather on about climate change or the need for a socialist economy, and sometimes both at once. The candidates were asked (it was stupid question, admittedly, but an uncomfortable one for the Democratic Party):

The Democratic Party relies on black, Hispanic, and Asian voters, but you are the only candidate of color on the stage tonight, and the entire field remains overwhelmingly white. What message do you think this sends to voters of color?

(My answer, which would have had me brought down in a hail of bullets, would have been “It sends the message that in America, you don’t get special passes based on your color or ethnicity, and you still are governed by the same rules as anyone else. And that’s an important message that, shamefully, some on this stage are reluctant to endorse.”)

Here’s Bernie: “I will answer that question, but I wanted to get back to the issue of climate change for a moment, because I do believe this is the existential issue.”

No no no. The moderator tried again: ” Senator, with all respect, this question is about race. Can you answer the question as it was asked?”

Bernie:

I certainly can. Because people of color, in fact, are going to be the people suffering most if we do not deal with climate change. And by the way, we have an obligation up here, if there are not any of our African-American brothers and sisters up here, to speak about an economy in which African-Americans are exploited, where black women die three times at higher rates than white women, where we have a criminal justice system which is racist and broken, disproportionately made up of African-Americans and Latinos and Native Americans who are in jail. So we need an economy that focuses on the needs of oppressed, exploited people, and that is the African-American community.

The current economy is benefiting African Americans more than it has for many years, but this fact, and it is a fact, was not just denied but ignored during the entire debate. Indeed, the spectacle was one long recitation of Big Lie #5: “Everything is Terrible,” which will apparently be the theme of the actual Presidential campaign once it gets going in earnest. Everything is terrible, you see, because Trump is terrible. Oh, it isn’t terrible? Just wait: it’s secretly terrible, and will get worse, because, you know, Trump.

This is an alternate reality, and the candidates seem to think their audience is so, so stupid that they’ll not only accept this dream version of reality, but also still trust the people and party trying to con them with it. (Did you know Trump is a con man?) From CNN (CNN!);

As 2019 comes to a close, the US economy earns its highest ratings in almost two decades, potentially boosting President Donald Trump in matchups against the Democrats vying to face him in next year’s election, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Overall, 76% rate economic conditions in the US today as very or somewhat good, significantly more than those who said so at this time last year (67%). This is the highest share to say the economy is good since February 2001, when 80% said so.

You know, terrible!

 

 

What Are “Weasel Words”? These Are Weasel Words…

The aspiring Congressman’s potential girlfriend….

This was Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, withdrawing his endorsement just yesterday of  Cenk Uygur, the far left media demagogue who could best be described as a liberal Alex Jones, but even more abrasive. Ridiculously, Cenk is running for Congress to replace ex-Naked Congresswoman Katie Hill, and since any Left Wing nut is a friend of Bernie’s, Sanders endorsed his candidacy yesterday, saying

“For many years Cenk has been one of the outstanding progressive journalists in our country. I’m endorsing Cenk because I know he will serve ordinary people, not powerful special interests. He is a voice that we desperately need in Congress…”

Wow. What an insult to other progressive journalists, which is, after all, almost all of them.  Uygur makes Lawrence O’Donnell look like Edward R. Murro. He makes Chris Cuomo seem like Tim Russert. And apparently Bernie feels that Congress needs a voice advocating bestiality.

In a  2013 video, Uyger told co-host Ana Kasparian that he would legalize bestiality if he had the power to do so. His criteria for legal bestiality would be “if you are pleasuring the animal.”  Yes, that’s Cenk! Presumably that same logic would justify man-boy sex and statutory rape.

Another segment his show “The Young Turks” featured the host equating sexual assault and homosexuality, insisting that men who sexually abuse other men must be repressing homosexual urges. On another segment, in 2013, he rated women on a scale of how hot they would need to be in order for a man to let her “suck his dick.” These days, since he is running for Congress, he swears that he was just trying to cause controversy (Alex Jones also uses this excuse), and that  he “had not yet matured” and “was still a conservative.”

After Bernie’s endorsement, he immediately came under attack by various progressive groups. California’s Women’s List, a “Political Action Committee dedicated to fundraising for, supporting, and electing pro-choice, Democratic women to office in California,” said in a statement, “California Women’s List is disappointed in Senator Sanders’ endorsement of Cenk Uygur, a candidate who has repeatedly used misogynistic, racist, and homophobic language. This endorsement appears to go against Senator Sanders’ platform and role as a leader in the progressive movement.”

Ya think?

Oddly, PETA was not heard from.

Bernie didn’t have the integrity or the guts to say he was withdrawing his endorsement because Uyger thinks humans should be able to have sex with their dogs as long as Snoopy seems to be enjoying it, and that’s unacceptable, even for a member of Congress.  Instead, Sanders mysteriously says that some supporters have concerns, and Sanders “understands.” Oh, good, Bernie: you understand why some judgemental people have “concerns” about man-goat romances. But the real reason he is withdrawing his endorsement is because Cenk isn’t accepting endorsements as of today.

So it’s not really like Bernie made a mistake after all.