When I recently noted on Facebook the fact, and it is a fact, that Biden has intentionally told the public that the Georgia voting reform bill limits the times for voting when in fact it expands them, the Trump Deranged reacted predictably, immediately alluding to President Trump’s alleged lies as a justification for giving Biden a pass. First of all, a basic principle of ethics holds that an unethical act is not mitigated by similar or worse conduct by someone else. More importantly, however, when discussing leadership credibility, both quality and quantity matters. As Ethics Alarms pointed out early in the Trump administration, he had such a well-established proclivity for exaggeration, hyperbole, boasting, eccentric views of reality, selective memory and gibberish that it was difficult to take his assertions seriously. Moreover, the news media and anti-Trump fanatics refused to distinguish between actual lies—falsehoods designed to deceive—and Trump’s opinions they disagreed with or statements they deliberately misinterpreted—or lied about themselves, in some cases for years.
Said President Joe Biden from his “bully pulpit” last week:
“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick,” Biden said. “Deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work!”
Unconscionable! Outrageous! Except that it’s not true. AND it took the news media almost a week to notice. Good job there, Jimmy Olsen! Wouldn’t that have been a good topic for a question at Biden’s first news conference?
On Election Day in Georgia, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you are in line by 7 p.m., you are allowed to cast your ballot. Nothing in the new law changes those rules.However, the law did make some changes to early voting. But experts say the net effect was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them.
That’s sick! It’s…wait, no actually there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?
“One could understand a flub in a news conference,” Kessler writes. “But then this same claim popped up in an official presidential statement. Not a single expert we consulted who has studied the law understood why Biden made this claim, as this was the section of law that expanded early voting for many Georgians. Somehow Biden managed to turn that expansion into a restriction aimed at working people, calling it ‘among the outrageous parts’ of the law. There’s no evidence that is the case.”
He also tells us, “We sought an explanation from the White House for the reason for Biden’s remarks but did not receive an on-the-record response.”
1. The Hader Gotcha strikes again. Let me be clear: this is unconscionable, despicable, and indefensible. (Aside: Do you like that trio? In “Perry Mason,” the lawyers always objected that a question was “incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial,” because it sounded nifty. I’ve never heard that objection made in a real trial, or read it in a transcript.) To remind you all, during the baseball season, beginning with young All-Star pitcher Josh Hader, multiple baseball players were embarrassed when someone with ill intent searched their old Twitter feeds to search for tweets that could be deemed racially offensive, hostile to gays, or disrespectful of women. I dubbed this miserable practice as “The Hader Gotcha.“All of the players had to grovel apologies to their team mates and the public, as “woke” sportswriters condemned them and lobbied for MLB to punish them for impulsive social media comments made before they could vote, before they were celebrities, and when their followers consisted of fourteen or so pimply-faced jerks. The same basic principle was employed to smear Brett Kavanaugh, the unfair and factually false preemption that conduct and attitudes displayed by minors indicate what their character is in adulthood.
Well, I guess it’s nice to know that not only whites, baseball players and conservatives are victims of this crap. Mere hours after winning the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s outstanding college football player, Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray had to apologize today for anti-gay tweets he made in 2011-12 , when he was 14 and 15 years old.
In case you are keeping score, because I am, the culprits here are an irresponsible, vicious news media, totalitarian-leaning leftists who want to police thoughts and intimidate the public into ideological conformity, and social media lynch mobs.
2. Sure, Donald Trump is the fear-monger. The increasingly hysterical and hyped warnings and soothsaying by various climate change-promoting bodies are either causing over-sensitive, scientifically ignorant and gullible members of the public to descend into despair, or members of the news media are deliberately trying to cause fear and panic—at least based on the broadcast lament of MSNBC’s Katie Tur. The anchor told her audience that life was meaningless without a mass effort to combat the horrors of the warming planet. Discussing a New Yorker article on the topic, she said,
“I read that New Yorker article today and I thought gosh, how pointless is my life, and how pointless are the decisions that I make on a day-to-day basis when we are not focused on climate change every day, when it’s not leading every one of our newscasts?”
Unconscionable, despicable, and indefensible? No, just irresponsible, unprofessional, and stupid. And they wonder why so many people can’t take these hysterics seriously…
3. And the winner is…Plan K? Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy thinks that the sentencing statement on Michael Cohen means that the President is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who has openly been pursuing a “get Trump” campaign. The theory would be election law violations in the pay-offs to Stormy Daniels, even though paying off a kiss-and -tell threat is usually legal, and even though election law violations are typically handled with fines, not indictments. McCarthy writes,
When it was discovered that Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was guilty of violations involving nearly $2 million – an amount that dwarfs the $280,000 in Cohen’s case – the Obama Justice Department decided not to prosecute. Instead, the matter was quietly disposed of by a $375,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission.
Yes, but Obama’s Justice Department’s mission was to run interference for the President, and there was not an ongoing effort to find some way to undo a presidential election. Continue reading →
Once again, a memorable line from the best ethics film of them all, “A Man For All Seasons,” came rushing back to me as I observed another example of professionals abandoning their ethical principles to assist the most demonstrably corrupt Presidential candidate in U.S. history, Hillary Clinton.
Not just her, however, to be fair. The Thornton Law Firm in Boston has used an illegal and unethical maneuver to circumvent election laws and give millions of dollars to the Democratic Party and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Harry Reid, President Obama and, of course, Hillary, among others. The scheme was revealed by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Spotlight investigative team at the Boston Globe.
The firm has just ten partners, but is one of the nation’s biggest political donors. A whistle-blower sent firm documents showing that firm members have been making large donations to Democrats, only to be reimbursed by the firm days or even hours later with bonuses matching the amounts donated exactly.
Federal law limits partnerships–law firms are almost all partnerships—to maximum donations of $2,700 per candidate. This was what is called a “straw donor” plot. “Straw donor reimbursement systems are something both the FEC and the Department of Justice take very seriously, and people have gone to jail for this,” Center for Responsive Politics editorial director Viveca Novak told CBS. Continue reading →
Oh, great. I have personal experience with the character of one national political figure who impresses me with his honesty, courage and integrity; I support his political career and come to his defense when he is unfairly maligned, and now this.
Time to put an ad in Craig’s List seeking a new hero.
According to a report in the Business Insider, Webb, a potential challenger to Hillary Clinton’s claim on the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination as well as a former U.S. Senator, head of he Veterans Administration, best-selling novelist and decorated Vietnam veteran, has been playing the old, unethical Washington game of shoveling campaign contributions to his family. Let me give you some of the depressing highlights:
Webb’s Born Fighting PAC is dedicated to supporting “candidates and entities” who support economic fairness, “reorienting our national security posture,” and developing greater accountability in government.
Federal Election Commission reports show that the committee, which received nearly $1 million in donations, gave a relatively small portion of that money to political candidates and groups. At the same time, nearly 10% of the contributions received by the PAC went to Webb’s family.
Records show that Webb’s Born Fighting PAC has received $961,515.34 in contributions from individuals, politicians, progressive groups, businesses, unions, and Democratic Party organizations since it launched at the end of 2006. Of this money, $91,999.91 went to Webb’s daughter, Amy Webb Hogan, and wife, Hong Le Webb.
Since Webb declared his interest in the 2016 race, he has been identified as one of the main potential rivals for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Webb, who entered the Senate in 2006, announced he wouldn’t run for reelection at the beginning of 2011.
The Born Fighting PAC continued to contribute to Webb’s family long after it had stopped giving to funds to candidates and the groups it was established to support. Campaign finance reports show the committee has not given any money to political candidates or groups since the end of 2010.
The PAC has continued to take donations. Over $100,000 from the final balance in Webb’s Senate campaign account, now closed, was transferred to the committee after he left office at the start of last year.
Most of the money Webb’s wife and daughter received from the committee came after it had stopped giving money to politicians and political groups.
Webb Hogan began receiving money from her father’s PAC in 2009, when she earned $2,000 for “website consulting services.” In each year from 2010 through 2012 she received $12,000 for the same purpose. Last year, Webb Hogan was paid $14,500 from the committee. Of the money Webb Hogan was paid last year, the reports said $13,500 was for “administrative consulting services” and $1,000 was for “website services reimbursement.”
Based on archived versions of the Born Fighting PAC site, it was not updated at all during this period apart from a two-sentence note thanking donors for their “past support.”
Hong Le Webb was first paid by the Born Fighting PAC in 2008 when she received $253.37 for travel expenses. She did not receive any money from the committee again until this year, when, as of last month, she received $14,834.34. Most of the money that the committee paid to Hong Le Webb in 2014 — $13,800 — was listed in the reports as compensation for “website services.”
Along with the members of Webb’s family, the committee has hired professional web designers to work on the site. This includes work on the site done in the same period Webb’s PAC paid his family members for their “website services.”
Archived versions of the Born Fighting PAC website indicate it was updated just once this year. Hong Le Webb nevertheless received $13,800 for “website services” in addition to the money that was paid to L.A. Design Studio.
The latest Federal Election Commission report, which covers the period up to Nov. 24, shows the Born Fighting PAC has only $69,391.84 of the nearly $1 million it received left on hand. The committee spent about $900,000 from 2006 through last month. Of this, the records show that, over the years, just $200,027.04 of the money donated to the PAC went to political candidates and groups.In other words, Webb’s committee used only about 20% of the money it spent to support its stated mission.
One Democratic operative who spoke to Business Insider said leadership PACs “generally contribute 40% to 60% of the money they receive” to other candidates and groups. Born Fighting PAC seems to have had relatively high overhead even though the records show the committee did not have office space and barely employed paid staffers apart from Webb’s wife and daughter.
The Anchorage Daily News has obtained a leaked (read: stolen) manuscript of an unpublished book detailing a close former aide to Sarah Palin’s discovery of the Republican star’s many character flaws. Among other items, the book suggests that she knowingly violated federal election laws.
Well, I have to admit they were creative. And despicable.
2010’s most unethical maneuvers ran the gamut from lying to zombie exploitation, from false identity to extortion. Unfortunately, most of the worst stunts were pulled by or on behalf of Democrats; I say unfortunately because I try awfully hard to keep these kinds of lists in partisan balance. But the Democrats and their progressive fans were especially slimy this time around, and it it figures. When the going gets tough, the tough get unethical, and it is the Democrats who are facing ballot box carnage. They have been pushing the envelope, to say the least, in their campaign tactics, and I think it probably made their situation more dire rather than less.
Here, in reverse order of ethical outrageousness, are the Ten Most Unethical Maneuvers of Campaign 2010: Continue reading →
Appearing on PBS’s “Inside Washington,” this week, veteran Democratic media cheerleader Mark Shields reached the conclusion that other Beltway pundits on the Left and the Right had reached before him: Democrat accusations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pumping foreign contributions into domestic campaign ads, in violation of Federal law, are baseless, and worse. “It was absolutely fallacious on their part,” said Shields. “And they made it up, the White House did.”
President Obama, in his campaign appearances, has continued to suggest that this illegal tactic is occurring. The facts the accusation is based on was revealed by White House advisor David Axelrod when he repeated the accusation to an incredulous Bob Shieffer on last Sunday’s “Face the Nation” on CBS. Shieffer asked Axelrod if he had any evidence this was true, and Axelrod’s replay was,”Well, do you have any evidence that it’s not, Bob?” He then called upon the Chamber to prove a completely unsubstantiated claim wrong. This is, of course, a small bore version of Adolf Hitler’s unethical “Big Lie” tactic. Hmmmm…where else have I heard this approach used recently? Oh, I remember: “If Barack Obama really is a U.S. citizen, why doesn’t he prove it?” One would think the White House and President Obama would find this tactic beneath them.
The sad fact is that in the past few weeks, almost nothing has been beneath the President’s dignity. Continue reading →
It’s not a smear or a lie, and it certainly isn’t trivial. The upset winner of Delaware’s Republican Senate primary, Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell, has a well-established pattern of irresponsible financial conduct, including living off of her campaign funds, a violation of Federal election law. She has not made a bona fide effort to support herself other than running for office, and she has a record of misleading and dishonest statements that show a reckless disrespect for candor and the truth.
In short, she is not trustworthy, and the fact that O’Donnell has her Tea Party rhetoric down pat doesn’t change the fact that it is just plain stupid to trust someone who is dishonest in her public statements and fiscally irresponsible in her private life to bring honor, integrity and fiscal restraint to Congress. Continue reading →