Ethics Dunce, But He Doesn’t Care: Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC)

I know this is unfair, but in almost every non-posed photo I found of Burr, he looks like he’s hiding something.

The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr,  sold off  between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his stock holdings on February 13 in 33 separate transactions. At the time, Burr had received the government’s most highly classified Wuhan virus briefings. About a week after Burr unloaded stocks that figured to be affected, the stock market began its dive and has lost about 30% of its value since

Today  NPR revealed  a secret recording from February 27 in which the Senator gave a GOP group at an exclusive social club a gloomy preview of the economic impact of the approaching pandemic. According to the NPR report, Burr told attendees of a business executives group luncheon held at the Capitol Hill Club:

“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history … It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”

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An Unethical Quotes Of The Week Cornucopia!

So many people are saying so many irresponsible, dishonest and stupid things in the throes of the Wuhan Virus freakout that I can’t possibly run all of them, or even a representative percentage, but I can’t let these pass.

1. President Trump, yesterday…

“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

Sometimes I think the President is actively trying to make people’s heads explode. As the New Yor Times quickly documented (on the front page), this is historical revisionism, gaslighting, or insanity.

  • On Jan. 22, asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic,” President Trump replied: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
  • On Feb. 26, at a White House news conference, he said,  “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”
  • On Feb. 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
  • On March 7, when asked if he was concerned that the virus was spreading closer to Washington: “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.”

As I have written here before, I refuse to make a big deal out of Trump being Trump, and those who do are simply being self indulgent. Some irresponsible statements are worse than others, and yesterday’s was especially outrageous. It’s in the category of lies that are almost not lies because no one could possibly believe them, like if the President said he was a Stegosaurus. However, if the public knows that whatever he says might be a temporary fantasy, his leadership ability is seriously handicapped. The problem with this kind of statement isn’t that it’s so obviously untrue, but that saying it is so spectacularly self-destructive and stupid.

2. MSNBC Analyst Glenn Kirschner, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, in a tweet: Continue reading

Senator Schumer’s Virtuoso Rationalization Orgy, Annotated

First prize in the rationalization derby!

Active Ethics Alarms reader/commenter Steve Witherspoon tracked down the transcript on Senator Schumer’s remarks in response to Mitch McConnell’s accurate attack on the senate Minority Leader’s unconscionable comments at the Supreme Court, thuggishly threatening Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh over decisions they haven’t made yet.

I’ll interlineate the text—I’m sorry it’s all in caps, but that’s how C-SPAN’s transcripts are—pointing the astounding number of rationalizations Schumer nicked while trying to justify the unjustifiable.

THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, I JUST LISTENED TO THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, AND THERE WAS A GLARING OMISSION IN HIS SPEECH. HE DID NOT MENTION WHAT THE RALLY YESTERDAY, MY SPEECH, OR THE CASE BEFORE THE COURT WAS ABOUT.

The issue at hand is the Minority Leader of the Senate threatening, by name, two Supreme Court justices. The context of such threats is absolutely irrelevant, because such threats, as McConnell correctly made clear, are indefensible. Schumer is signalling that his defense will be based on Rationalization 2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or They had it coming. “This argues that wrongdoing toward a party isn’t really wrong when the aggrieved party has aggrieved the avenger. The victim of the unethical conduct no longer deserves ethical treatment because of the victim’s own misconduct. But the misconduct of a victim never justifies unethical conduct directed against that victim.”

A WOMAN’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CHOOSE. TO THE WOMEN OF AMERICA, WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE, WHAT I AM FIGHTING FOR HERE IS YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

At least three rationalizations are implied here:

  • 25. The Coercion Myth: “I have no choice!” “The unethical option involved less sacrifice, less controversy, less criticism, less effort…in short, less courage, than doing the right thing. … But you still had a choice, and you are still accountable for the choice you made.”
  • 25A. Frederick’s Compulsion or “It’s My Duty!” “We all have competing duties; that’s what makes ethics difficult…Ethics requires that when performing a duty will unquestionably result in injustice and harm to others, some consideration and balancing must be applied, followed by making one or more difficult choices.  Duty itself is not enough to dictate those choices, and ethics may, and often does, dictate that a duty must be superseded by other priorities.”
  • 28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.” An argument for those who embrace “the ends justify the means”—but only temporarily, mind you!—the Revolutionary’s excuse has as long and frightening a pedigree as any of the rationalizations here….This rationalization suggests that standards of right and wrong can and should be suspended under “special” circumstances, always defined, naturally, by those who defy laws, rules, and societal values. ..Unethical conduct has become ordinary, the new normal. This is, it is fair to say, the current state of American politics.

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Ethics Dunce: Senator Chuck Schumer [CORRECTED]

“I want to tell you [Justice] Kavanaugh, I want to tell you [Justice] Gorsuch: You have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions!”

—–Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, sounding like Sonny Corleone, in front of the Supreme Court.

How many ways was this demagoguery wrong, as in spectacularly unethical? Let’s see:

  • Schumer  threatened Supreme Court justices, by name. What does “pay the price” mean, if not, “Just you wait, you’re gonna regret this!”

There is no possible justification for such ominous rhetoric

  • It is an attempt at intimidation as well as  encouragement to others to follow through on Schumer’s threat. This prompted Chief Justice Roberts into a making an unprecedented protest, as he wrote, “Statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

Perfect.

Even addled Larry Tribe, the former Harvard Law School icon turned mad anti-Trump tweeter and conspiracy-monger, called Schumer’s outburst intolerable, tweeting,

These remarks by @SenSchumer were inexcusable. Chief Justice Roberts was right to call him on his comments. I hope the Senator, whom I’ve long admired and consider a friend, apologizes and takes back his implicit threat. It’s beneath him and his office.

Prof. Jonathan Turley joined the chorus and wrote, Continue reading

More Evidence Of The Ethics Void That Is Elizabeth Warren.

As America waits for the results of the epically botched Iowa caucuses, the fact that Elizabeth Warren still attracts any support at all is more testimony to the fact that 1) a lot of people are just as dumb as Warren thinks they are, and 2) Democrats just aren’t paying attention.

In an awful field for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Warren stands out for her Machiavellian manipulation, pandering and abuse of her presumed authority as a scholar. After I posted on Facebook about her head-explosionworthy promise to let trans teens have a veto over a cabinet position, maybe the most ridiculous pledge I’ve ever heard from any candidate regaring anything, a Facebook friend wrote that I appeared to be biased against Warren. It’s true—I am irrationally biased against politicians who say things they obviously don’t mean in order to get votes, and who are shameless, lying, demagogues.

Liz had a particularly revealing few days before the caucuses.  The Wall Street Journal reported: Continue reading

Don Lemon’s Apology Proves He’s A Liar And A Coward As Well As Biased And Unprofessional. Now What?

CNN? Hello?

CNN’s Don Lemon’s joking and guffawing with his panel about the rubes and yokels who support the President has been an immediate source of criticism, and not only from conservatives. The RNC also quickly made a TV ad out of it,and if I were in charge, we would see it all year. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

For anyone who has  been paying attention, and definitely who’s been reading Ethics Alarms, this is all poison frosting on the cancer cake. It has been undeniable for years that Lemon is a foolish, juvenile, arrogant, unprofessional progressive hack who has become more reckless over time, convinced as he is that he would have to sexually assault Anderson Cooper on the air before CNN would even consider firing a black, gay favorite of the woke and Trump Deranged. Continue reading

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