Hypocrisy? No. An Absence of Integrity? Absolutely.

Whay ever happened to this guy? Boy, we sure could use someone like him about now...

Whay ever happened to this guy? Boy, we sure could use someone like him about now…

As we all know by now, President Obama is refusing the negotiate over raising the debt limit, which, since the House of Representatives refuses to agree to raise the limit without some kind of concessions in spending by Democrats, is raising the  specter of a catastrophic default.

Conservatives have been citing as an example of the President’s hypocrisy the fact that he voted against raising the debt limit in 2006, when Bush was President and the debt owed was just about half what it is today, posing far less of a threat to the nation’s fiscal future. At that time, Senator Obama said this:

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. . . . Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week, Government Shut-Down Ethics Train Wreck Division: Unidentified Park Ranger

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

An unidentified U.S. Park Ranger, quoted by the Washington Times, in connection with a story about the Park Service shutting down the parking lot at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, which is not run by the Park service.

My Dad would have been in this picture. Having his own nation that he risked his life for intentionally target him as a pawn would have hurt and angered him deeply. For the first time since Dec. 1, 2009, I'm thankful that he's dead.

My Dad would have been in this picture. Having his own nation that he risked his life for intentionally target him as a pawn would have hurt and angered him deeply. For the first time since Dec. 1, 2009, I’m thankful that he’s dead.

My late father, a decorated World War II veteran, loved the World War II Memorial. He was an invited guest at its dedication, and I accompanied him. Up until a few days before Dad died, he would wear a vest covered with his patches, insignias and medals, including the Silver Star, and just hang out there, often signing autographs for young visitors who treated the real life World War Two relic as both part of the Memorial and as a celebrity. Sometimes I accompanied him. It is a large, wide open space, without a discernible entrance. No government employees were ever in evidence while I was there. Beyond routine maintenance and cleaning, there is no need for any. Security? Just try vandalizing that space with the veterans there, old as they are. I dare you.

So why has the Park Service expended extra funds to block access to that memorial, where visitors just wander in and out, as well as non-government attractions like Mount Vernon, and even private operations that serve visitors to government attractions, like the Pisgah Inn, a private hotel that holds a concession on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Continue reading

Ten Ethics Observations On The Government Shut-Down

lincoln_memorial

Stipulated: I am not in generally favor of government shutdowns, just as I do not favor strikes, boycotts, Massada-style mass suicides, wars, or any other destructive tactics, strategies and actions in response to impasses over important matters. Sometimes, however, they are necessary and responsible. Sometimes, they are not.

1. It is fascinating reading the comments on the shutdown from my friends on Facebook. It is startling how many of them simply parrot back partisan talking points they have heard on CNN and MSNBC, but especially striking are the angry rants of the government employees who appear to take the shutdown as a personal affront. How dare the evil Republicans disrupt their lives, their paychecks, their work schedule, their vacations! I wonder if my friends have the same reactions to labor strikes, wars and national disasters. Do they really believe that those elected officials struggling to decide on crucial matters of policy, firmly believing in a course that is right for the nation and reaching an impasse, should just shrug off the serious implications of the issue at hand and say, “But, hey, Joe Finsterwald will have a tough time if his agency has to shut down, and the Bradys’ DC vacation will be ruined, so the heck with it: go ahead with that law we think will be a disaster for the country. We’ll back off.” Do those Facebook complainers really think that would be responsible governance? You know, guys, this isn’t personal: it’s called politics and two party government. It’s part of the deal. Disagree with the policy arguments if you have the knowledge and perspective to do so, but taking the position that the entire business of running the country revolves around your convenience over the next few days or weeks is as juvenile as it is irresponsible. If you work for a private company, you risk disruptions because of business failures, competition and re-organizations. If you work for the government, you risk things like this. It’s not only about you.

2. What various polls show about what the American public believes or doesn’t believe is irrelevant, and anyone on either side of the dispute who cites them as support for the Affordable Care Act or gutting the Affordable Care Act is either naive or trying to deceive. 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

Ethics Quote of the Day: Blogger Jeff Dunetz

“One thing the POTUS missed…there is no executive order preventing the Federal Government from selling weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels…everyone would support that one.”

—- Jeff Dunetz on his blog “The Lid,” criticizing President Obama’s list of 23 Executive Orders as “a pile of nothing.”

Obama And Biden Unveil Proposal To Decrease Gun Violence In U.S.There was a lot to dislike about today’s cynical exercise by President Obama on the topic of gun control. I already mentioned, in a post yesterday, its offensive exploitation of young children as props. James Taranto visited that issue today in his “Best of the Web,” pointing out the hypocrisy of White House spokesman Jay Carney going into high dudgeon and attacking the NRA for alluding, in a recent advocacy ad, to the fact that the President sends his own children to a private school that employs armed guards, and that his daughters are the beneficiaries of armed protection from the Secret Service. Said Carney:

“Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the President’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

Taranto, who does not agree with NRA’s reasoning in the ad, writes of today’s White House performance,

“If the president wants his critics to refrain from even indirectly referring to his daughters, he ought to stop exploiting ordinary people’s children in this manner. Even if the NRA missed the mark in accusing him of elitist hypocrisy over school guards, his display today makes him a fair target for such a charge.”

Yup. Continue reading

To the Pro-Obama Race-Baiters: “Have You No Sense of Decency at All?”

Ah, if only Joseph Welch and his well-aimed indignation were here today!

We knew, way back when President Obama was running for his first term, that the temptation to paint any opposition to his leadership or his policies as proof of racism would be irresistible  for the less ethical among his supporters in the Democratic Party and among the media. This came to pass, but we should prepare for much worse.  Now that the President has a thoroughly wretched record and is, to an extent I personally haven’t seen since the paranoid days of Richard Nixon, attempting to avoid accountability by blaming everyone in sight—a thoroughly unleaderly display—the race-baiters have served notice that they will be out in force this time as well, more shameless than ever. Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official of the Week: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex)

“I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness [toward] this president,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Why is he different? And in my community, that is the question that we raise. In the minority community that is question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully? Why has the debt limit been raised 60 times? Why did the leader of the Senate continually talk about his job is to bring the president down to make sure he is unelected?”

Unbelievable.

As is often the case, and is especially often the case with Lee, we are faced with the puzzle of deciding whether an irresponsible and unfair statement by an elected official arises out of a conscious exercise in cynical and dirty politics, or because the elected official involved is just dumb as a box of pet rocks. In this case, my guess would be “both.” Continue reading