Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/11/2019: Smears, Excuses And Betrayals

Ethics Alarms wishes you the best this morning…

1. How low can they go? NBC News published a 1768-word article this week examining Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s slave-holding  ancestors.

The 1850 and 1860 censuses reveal that between them, two of the Kentucky Senators’ great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned at least 14 slaves in Alabama.The article’s apparent objective is to suggest that  Sen. McConnell’s ancestors may have influenced his policy positions, implying that he is racist by blood.

Nah, there’s no mainstream news media bias!

Asked about his ancestors in a press conference, McConnell pointed out that Barack Obama also has slave-holding  relatives in his family tree. Mitch was nicer than I would have been. I yield to no one in my dislike for the Senate Leader, but this is a self-evident smear ny NBC, a blatant “guilt by association” ploy with the damning associations being with people McConnell never knew.

Have you no sense of decency, NBC, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

In full disclosure, my father’s mother’s family, also from Kentucky, owned slaves. One of them, a housekeeper, continued to be employed by the family, and my grandmother cared for her in the woman’s old age, as a permanent guest and companion until she died.

Amazingly, this did not make me a fan of Mitch McConnell.

2. I’m STUNNED! Well, no, actually I knew this more than 30 years ago, when I oversaw a non-partisan study on the issue. From NPR:

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase the pay of at least 17 million people, but also put 1.3 million Americans out of work, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday.

The increased federal minimum could also raise the wages of another 10 million workers and lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, according to the nonpartisan CBO. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 and last increased a decade ago.

The budget watchdog’s report comes ahead of next week’s vote in the House of Representatives on a bill to gradually raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2024.

The minimum wage is an example of the Left’s “Don’t confuse us with facts, our minds are made up!” orientation when it comes to thoroughly debunked socialist cant. It’s pretty simple: when the compensation required for  certain jobs outweigh the value of those jobs, the jobs disappear. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the author of  the Raise the Wage Act, argued that the benefits in CBO’s forecast far outweighed the costs. Tell that to the restaurant owners who will have to close up shop, and the 1.3 million who lose their jobs, Bobby. All for the greater good!

Politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who push a massive minimum wage increase are counting on the public’s ignorance, as in other issues. Continue reading

Observations On The Gruber Tapes: Tipping Points, Integrity Checks, Totalitarian Tactics and Very Loud Ethics Alarms

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A lot of people in the Obama administration, the media, and even some of your friends would like to characterize the many videos of Jonathan Gruber revealing, as Geraldo Rivera called it, himself an apologist for the administration, “the ugly side of the political process” as no big deal. It is a big deal. I recognized it as a big deal from the first of the videos, as every objective and honest American should. The tapes are as significant and important as the Nixon White House tapes, which revealed  a conspiracy at the highest levels of the government to cover up a criminal attempt to rig the political process and corrupt democracy. Those tapes prompted reforms and political upheaval. So should Gruber’s inconvenient truths, if we believe that our form of government is worth saving. This should be a tipping point. We cannot tolerate this, nor long survive it.

We all should make sure that the many ideologues, activists, hacks and villains who want to ignore the significance of the Gruber tapes fail, and while doing so, metaphorically mark their chests with a giant, red “C” for “corrupter,” if not a “T” for “traitor.” I have heard all the excuses. lies, spin and rationalizations now. If you care about the American system, and want to be part of the solution to this ethics rot in our government and leadership rather than siding with those who want to continue it, then just think a bit. If you banish your biases, you’ll come to the right conclusion, which is this: what Gruber has revealed is serious, dangerous, and wrong.

Some specific ethics observations and conclusions:

1. Apparently the entire Democratic party, the progressive movement and many of the elites in journalism and academia have embraced the undemocratic principle, a key tenet of the theories of Lenin, Islam, Mao, Joseph Alinsky, Goebbels, Joe McCarthy and Big Brother, to mix historical and fictional villains, that deceiving the public and the use of lies are  virtuous and necessary means of governing, because the public does not know what is in its own best interest. This is totalitarianism. There is no disguising it. It is sinister and intolerable. It should not be sugar-coated, and the public needs to be told, in unambiguous terms, why this is more than political expediency. It is a rejection of the premises and ideals that the nation was founded upon. We must reject it, and reject those who excuse it, rationalize it and employ it, in either political party.

The party that has been caught red handed, however, with no plausible escape, is the party of the Affordable Care Act.

2. Every bob and weave, lie and double-lie in response to Gruber’s videos, have failed. The fact that the lies were attempted, however, underscores how serious the corruption is. I immediately went to Media Matters when the story broke. The one-sided advocacy group that pretends that progressives can do no wrong and that there is a conservative media conspiracy, if you can read that without passing out from laughing, has been in rare form in its frenzied efforts to pretend that Gruber’s exposés are meaningless. It headlines its empty defense “The Fraudulent Media Campaign To Scandalize Obamacare’s Passage,” though the mainstream (that is, liberal) media, to its permanent shame, tried to ignore the story longer than I would have thought possible. Then MM tries to bolster White House spokesman Josh Earnest’s risible claims that the Affordable Care Act was passed with unusual transparency. Yes, I’d say lying outright about what the bill would do is unusual transparency, though that’s not what they mean.

This is, as I already pointed out, a Jumbo-–a desperate lie that is obviously a lie to anyone with their eyes open. No law that complex is transparent; no bill that isn’t permitted debate in its final form is transparent; no text that is so long and convoluted that it can’t be read (or printed out from the internet without owning a paper store) is transparent. If it was transparent, we wouldn’t be heading to the Supreme Court over what the proponents of the law term a “typo.” If it was transparent, then what was always intended to be a tax would not have been furiously defended as not being a tax. If it was transparent, the President would not have told the public over 30 times that the law’s passage would not cause anyone to lose a healthcare plan they liked.  The passage of Obamacare was not transparent. Anyone who claims otherwise is one of the liars, earning that big, red “C.” Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: How Do We React Ethically To THIS?

"Oh, Naaaaancy! Naaaancy!

“Oh, Naaaaancy! Naaaancy!

Today,the Congressional Budget Office made this announcement, as reported by The Hill:

“The new healthcare law will cost the nation the equivalent of 2.5 million workers in the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a report released Tuesday. The nonpartisan agency found the healthcare law’s negative effects on the economy would be “substantially larger” than what it had previously anticipated. It said the equivalent of 2.3 million workers would be lost by 2021, compared to its previous estimate of 800,000. It also projected that labor force compensation would be reduced by 1 percent from 2017 to 2024 — twice its previous estimate — and that declining economic growth would add $1 trillion more to deficits.”

Well, of course. We, and by we I mean intelligent, objective people who pay attention to history and know how government programs work, knew this revelation, or some version of it, was coming along sooner or later. And yet, when the Affordable Care Act was being debated and railroaded through Congress–and that is a fair description of the strong-arm, gimmick-driven, dishonest and anti-Democratic manner in which  it was passed—critics who said the law would increase the deficit and the debt, not reduce them; that it would lose jobs, not create them, and that it would retard economic growth, not boost it were savaged by the media, commentators and Democrats, called obstructionists, cruel, liars and worse.

I particularly remember MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, arguably the most credible of her far left colleagues, furiously railing, while serving as a reporter at the Republican National Convention, about the utter dishonesty of GOP speakers who kept saying—in defiance of the CBO projections, mind you!—that the AFA would increase the deficit, not reduce it. Chris Matthews, to give credit where it’s due, intervened and said, in essence, ‘Well, now Rachel, you have to admit that the record of big federal programs has not been good in this respect.’ No, she wouldn’t admit it. Continue reading

The Unethical Deficit Debate, a Cause for Despair

Our future, thanks to Washington, D.C.

If the bi-partisan dishonesty and unethical conduct surrounding the budget showdown last week didn’t cause you to despair, then you weren’t paying attention:

  • At a time when the federal deficit threatens the long-term (and not all that long, either) solvency of the U.S., risking quality of life, world leadership and security while placing us under the thumb of China, a Machiavellian adversary, both parties—and the President— opted for ideological point-scoring and demagoguery rather than serious explication of the issues.  Irresponsible cowards.
  • The government was brought to the brink of a shutdown over a pathetic, meaningless, 39 billion dollars of cuts that Democrats called “draconian” and Republicans and Obama trumpeted as the “largest budget cuts in U.S. history”. They were draconian only if you think like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who argued that Republicans were heartless to put “cowboy poetry” on the cutting block, and if, as is increasingly looking to be the case,  the Democrats are willing to let the country stay on the road to bankruptcy as long as it also leads them to power. The cuts were the “largest” only in their inflated figures: the budget was cut close to 50% after World War II. Liars and frauds.
  • Even if it were truly”the largest,” the heralded 39 billion dollars cut represented an infinitesimal dent in the overall budget and will have no appreciable effect on the deficit at all. It took a near shutdown to accomplish that. Easy Quiz: what are the chances of our current leaders displaying the political courage to make the substantial, genuine, painful cuts that all serious analysts agree are imperative to stave off financial ruin? Liars and cowards.
  • After all of the drama, after all the condemnation and hype, after “draconian” and “largest ever,” and after the President joined the charade, the no-nonsense Congressional Budget Office announced that by its calculations, the so-called cut was mostly fiction. It boiled down to only $352 million, less than 1% of a 39 billion that was inadequate to begin with. Incompetents.
  • The Democrats chuckled into their sleeves; the Republicans cried that they had been deceived, as if legislators don’t have the resources to find out what the money in the budget they are charged with approving actually pays for. Liars, incompetents and fools.

For me, the low point was President Obama’s speech at George Washington University, announcing his engagement—finally!—in the deficit-cutting debate while resorting that old Democrat stand-by, class warfare; blaming the Bush tax cuts, irresponsible but only one of many contributors to the deficit crisis; and  pledging to cut expenses by ending waste, fraud and abuse while simultaneously stating that the deficit couldn’t be cut by addressing waste, fraud and abuse.  It wasn’t any of those cynical moments that caused me to lose hope, however. It was the President’s insistence that the deficit cutting measures must not interfere with his highest priorities…such as building “new roads.” Continue reading

Health Care Reform: Capitol Hill Illusions, Delusions and Lies

The biggest political lie of 2010 is off to a flying start in 2011. As the new Republican House majority sets out to “repeal” the new health care law, Democrats are waving a report from the Congressional Budget Office that the media describes as stating that such an act would actually add to the deficit, because the CBO has calculated that the law, as it stands, will reduce the federal deficit by about 270 million dollars.

But wait a minute! What CBO is really saying is that if the assumptions and projections incorporated into the law are accurate, then the law will cut the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office is not allowed to challenge the assumptions written into a law, only to calculate what a law will cost according to those assumptions. This also means that the CBO will not assume that the costs of implementing the many administrative measures in the law will rise—as the costs of all major federal programs inevitably do. Speaker John Boehner has stated that he doesn’t believe that anyone in Washington, including the Democrats, really believes that the new law will reduce the deficit. Ezra Klein, the Washington Post’s mouthpiece of the Left, claims that the Republicans actually know the law will lower the deficit. Who’s lying? Or perhaps a better question is, what constitutes a lie in such a convoluted context? Continue reading