Don’t Say The System Doesn’t Work—It Worked Perfectly With Marco Rubio

As it turned out, this told us everything we need to know...

As it turned out, this told us everything we need to know

Pundits, professors and even China are saying that the U.S. system of identifying qualified Presidential candidates doesn’t work or “is broken” because Donald Trump appears to have slipped through the net. But the occurrence of what Herman Kahn called “an unpredictable convergence of bad management and bad luck” only proves what Ethics Alarms has noted over and over again: no system, even the best, works all the time. I’ll post an article about all the people and circumstances that poked that hole in the Trump net once my nausea subsides, but in the meantime, I want to point out that the system worked perfectly with Marco Rubio. He wasn’t fit to be President, and the system exposed him brilliantly.

Good.

Rubio thought that he could follow the successful plan that put Barack Obama Barack Obama in the White House in 2008, despite similar deficiencies in experience. Like Obama, he was a young, fresh, minority candidate with a natural base, who projected intelligence and was an impressive speaker. The political and campaign processes, however, and his reaction to the stress of them, exposed his many flaws. The Obama plan wouldn’t be enough this time, in no small part because Marco Rubio is no Barack Obama: Continue reading

This Just In: President Barack Obama Is Still Incompetent

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

I know I’ve neglected our current unethical President lately while trying to determine which candidate to be out future unethical President is less likely to leave the nation a smoldering ruin, but rest assured, Barack Obama has not improved.

The most indisputable example of late comes as he prepares to visit Cuba. In December, President Obama told Yahoo! News:

“What I’ve said to the Cuban government is, if . . . we’re seeing some progress in the liberty and freedom and possibilities of ordinary Cubans, I’d love to use a visit as a way of highlighting that progress. If we’re going backwards, then there’s not much reason for me to be there.”

This isn’t a casual, non-committal statement when a President makes it, though I realize that Obama has never quite grasped that essential aspect of the job. Cuba reads it, and so does the rest of the world. If Obama is to be believed—he isn’t, but let’s pretend—it is a commitment, and his office as well as the nation is placed on the line along with his credibility.

According to human rights organizations,  the Castro regime’s repression has indeed grown worse since the renewal of diplomatic ties with the United States in 2014. Abuse and arrests of dissidents have increased, and there has been a government crackdown on churches and religious groups:

Throughout 2015, there were more than 8,616 documented political arrests in Cuba. In November alone there were more than 1,447 documented political arrests, the highest monthly tally in decades. Those numbers compare to 2,074 arrests in 2010 and 4,123 in 2011. . . . According to the London-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), last year 2,000 churches were declared illegal and 100 were designated for demolition by the Castro regime. Altogether, CSW documented 2,300 separate violations of religious freedom in 2015 compared to 220 in 2014. . . .  Most of the 53 political prisoners released in the months prior and after Obama’s December 2014 announcement have since been re-arrested on multiple occasions. Five have been handed new long-term prison sentences. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch noted in its new 2016 report, “Cuba has yet to allow visits to the island by the International Committee of the Red Cross or by U.N. human rights monitors, as stipulated in the December 2014 agreement with the United States.”

Oh, never mind all that depressing stuff, you Gloomy Gusses! Obama announced last week that he’ll go to Cuba anyway, and thus his December pledge was meaningless, just more words. Continue reading

Marco Rubio Flunks A Gut Check: He’s Unqualified To Be President (Too)

empty podium

Last night in Nevada, as the depressing vote totals poured in showing that Nevada Republicans, or at at least about 45% of them, have the minds of desert toads and the ethics of Vegas Strip pimps, (that is, really want Donald Trump to be President of the United States of America, Peewee Herman having chosen not to compete, journalists waited to see what Marco Rubio, supposedly the choice of the GOP “establishment,” would say in his concession speech. He didn’t give one, however. Fox News reported that “the Senator has gone to bed.”

That’s it. That’s signature significance, conduct that all the spin in the world cannot reconcile with a man having the requisite character and values to lead a nation. Rubio has a nice face, a good personal story, a polished speaking style and, most of all, ambition, and until last night, an opportunity. With that weak, lazy and pusillanimous demonstration, Senator Rubio proved conclusively that this is all he has. It’s not enough; it’s not nearly enough. As much as I and any sane and responsible American citizen want someone to block Donald Trump’s frightening march to the Republican nomination, Marco Rubio is no alternative.

I have, apparently foolishly, not allowed all of the many warning signs regarding Rubio’s leadership skills and character to cause me to label him a lost cause. Early on, he proved himself unable to handle his campaign finances ethically or competently. As a Florida state senator, he abused his power and engaged in a scandalous conflict of interest. As a U.S. Senator elected by a tea party surge, he showed himself to be feckless and expedient. He has also been a lousy Senator, seldom showing up for votes. When he began running for President, Rubio even stated that he hated being a Senator, and abandoned any pretense of doing his job—but he continued to collect his salary, because, he said, he needed the money.

While his chief rival, Donald Trump, worked—yes, it is work—around the clock to get in front of cameras and on the air as often as possible, Rubio adopted a minimalist campaign style, never going off script, seldom subjecting himself to interviews where he would have to improvise answers and actually think. Rubio’s debate performances were entirely dependent on whether he could use portions of his stump speech to answer questions. When a skilled ex-prosecutor, Chris Christie, placed him under cross-examination for this weakness, Rubio devolved into an old Star Trek episode computer, repeating the same programmed phrase as metaphorical smoke billowed out of his ears. Then he ducked accountability for his meltdown, insisting that he was just staying on message, until his advisors finally convinced him that denial wasn’t working.

With all of that, in part because of utter desperation, journalists, Republicans and Americans who are horrified at the prospect of having no better candidates to choose from than the delusional Bernie Sanders, the corrupt and dishonest Hillary Clinton, and the vile and inexperienced Ted Cruz, continued to hope that Rubio could rise above his obvious flaws and be someone with the capacity to grow into leadership.

That hope, always faint anyway, is gone now. Not one of the other Presidential candidates would have willfully avoided the opportunity to give a defiant and inspiring concession speech that would be played on the networks and cable channels repeatedly today. Indeed, not one of them could have been stopped from giving such a speech. Nor would any of the past Presidents or unsuccessful but nominated candidates for the office within my lifetime. Why is Rubio different? Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Sen. John McCain, and also “WHAT????”

U.S. Senator John McCain gestures as he arrives to address the third session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa

“It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm. I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”

—- Sen. John McCain (R-Az) to Politico, explaining and making excuses for 47 Republican Senators injecting themselves into sensitive U.S. negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapon development..

1. I am speechless. Luckily, I can type.

Well, sort of.

2. The silver lining: at least the Senator just made those regretting President Obama’s election in 2008 feel better. We were spared embarrassing moments like that of President McCain, asked why he sent missiles to destroy Toronto, explaining, “Yeah, I was watching “Family Feud,” had to run to the can, and was distracted. Hey, it happens.” Continue reading

Observations On The Illegal Immigration Ethics Train Wreck, The Ugliest Of Them All

Illegal-Immigration

Nobody, literally nobody, has managed to stay off this Ethics Train Wreck by now. The over-flowing passenger list includes…

Democrats, who cynically want to encourage law-breaking to tilt the nation’s demographics toward what they think will be a permanent electoral advantage

Law enforcement, which has ducked its duty to keep our borders secure

Big business, which wants to preserve an underground economy that provides cheap and frightened labor that allows it to pay unconscionably low wages;

Conservatives, whose refusal to consider any path to citizenship for the millions we have already allowed to stay here by our non-enforcement of our own laws is irresponsible in the absence of any other realistic plan (mass deportation being too repulsive to contemplate);

Democrats, who have foolishly heralded policies, like the Dream Acts, that  provide an incentive for illegal immigration;

U.S. citizens who happily accept the benefits of services provided by illegals while claiming to oppose the process that allowed them to tend their gardens and care for their children

Hispanic-Americans, who have chosen heritage over country by continuing to support continued law breaking by relatives, friends, and others with whom they may share a language or a country of origin;

Congress, which as been lazy and cowardly and avoided its responsibility for decades;

The Justice Department, which has fought to prevent states from taking action to stem the illegal tide that is overwhelming their social services;

Illegal immigration advocates, who have deliberately clouded the issue by calling anyone who doesn’t advocate open borders (that is, sovereign suicide) as racist, and have used deceitful euphemisms to confound immigration, which the U.S. public unanimously supports and has done so for a century, and illegal immigration, which it has not and should not;

The mainstream news media, which has aided and abetted this confusion, supported the race-baiters, encouraged the deceptive use of euphemisms like “comprehensive immigration reform” (which means, “let’s stop enforcing immigration laws”) and outright deception, like calling “illegal immigration” “immigration, ”  while consistently misrepresented the issue as a humanitarian problem rather than a matter of sovereignty, law enforcement and common sense;

The illegals themselves.

The American public, which despite overwhelmingly opposing “amnesty,” whatever it thinks that is, remains inattentive, feckless and ignorant regarding the issue.

Have I left anyone out? Sure I have: President Obama, who has booked a luxury berth on this train. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: President Barack Obama

mars3

“The government should know that if it crosses the line, there will be consequences.”

President Obama, in Mexico, in the course of  extemporaneous remarks condemning the Ukrianian government’s harsh and violent response to protesters.

Oh, god.

I am embarrassed; our country is embarrassed; I hope you’re embarrassed—why isn’t the President embarrassed to use this rhetoric, which has been proven again and again to be absolutely meaningless when it issues from his lips? This sham is worse than “the check is in the mail” or “I’ll still love you in the morning,” as Syrian casualties rise and the United States’ credibility as a nation that really gives a damn about anything but its own entitlements has crumbled into dust. Remember the Syrian “red line”? Here are two recent columns from the right and the left on how well Obama’s empty threats of “consequences” have worked in Syria, but nobody needs persuading at this point, do they? President Obama is willing to give insincere lip service to the tradition of the United States still being the champion of democracy and the foe of oppression, but people under attack from their own governments can’t defend themselves with his lips. In Afghanistan, in Iran, in Egypt, in Syria, President Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is under the mistaken impression that Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak incessantly but never actually do what your words imply you’re going to do.”

That’s not exactly what Roosevelt said. Continue reading

A&E Does A Cracker Barrel

spine poster

The fecklessness and lack of core principles exhibited by our corporations is often breathtaking.

A&E has now, like Cracker Barrel, stuck its pusillanimous finger in the air and  decided that their “strong sense of integrity and deep commitment” to principle means that they do what whatever interest group has the most profit potential for them down the line wants them to do. Thus Phil Robertson is back on “Duck Dynasty,” and his “indefinite suspension” has been disclaimed by his employers. You can read A&E’s nauseating statement here…I considered posting it, but I don’t have the heart.

Everything I wrote previously about Cracker Barrel’s reversal on this same incident applies to A&E, but let me add this.

An organization with no core principles distinct from the profit motive is capable of anything, including outright evil. It is not worthy of trust. I would not and could not work for such an organization, and this episode makes me wonder if the entire concept of corporate ethics is a lie.

__________________________

Pointer: ablativmeatshld

Facts: Hollywood Reporter

 

On Cracker Barrel’s Poll-Driven “Principles”

Well, they got the color right...

Well, they got the color right…

Cracker Barrel just proved that integrity and principle are alien concepts, if not to the entire corporate sector, then at least its cheesy, weaselly corner of it. Watching a company so blatantly hold its wet finger to the wind waiting to see where the “principles” with the most profitability lie is revolting, but instructive to those of us who like to believe there are such things as ethical corporations. I think we’re probably fooling ourselves. I think they are nearly all like the spineless, pusillanimous, grovelling Cracker Barrel, but just smarter about it. But then, a box of hammers could be smarter about it.

First, reacting to A&E’s craven PC punishment of Phil Robertson of cable’s Duck Dynasty clan for expressing the basic religious convictions of millions of Americans (they think homosexuality is voluntary, and a sin) in response to an GQ interviewer’s question, Cracker Barrel pulled products with Phil’s likeness, saying in a statement,

“Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture…. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”

I thought this was unusually weasel-worded, and I was right. The translation, in retrospect:

‘We at Cracker Barrel have no principles whatsoever. We are a blank slate; we go with the flow. There is no right or wrong for us: whatever position we feel we have to hold to get the most people to buy our products, you can count on us. If 51% of America begins worshiping Baal, hey, sacrifice a goat for in our name, because we’re all in. If the majority want to ban, hey, anything or anyone, we’re in full agreement. We aim to please, in any way that helps our bottom line.’ Continue reading

“Walking Dead” Leadership And Israel’s Iran Nightmare

You call this "escapist entertainment?"

You call this “escapist entertainment?”

For some reason, last night’s “mid-season finale” (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” caused me to think about what lies ahead in Iran-US-Israel relations. Can’t imagine what that reason is….

In this cataclysmic episode of the zombie apocalypse drama, the psychopathic character called “the Governor,” full of bloodlust and vengefulness and determined to press his conviction that the group of competing survivors “led” by Rick Grimes has no legal right to exist, confronted the alleged good guys’ leader in the abandoned prison they call home with an army, a tank and a demand that they surrender their shelter or die. Rick, who has repeatedly shown a flat learning curve in basic leadership skills and has already gotten many people killed by trusting the Governor rather than taking him out, despite ample evidence that the Guv is exactly as trustworthy as Vlad the Impaler or, say, Iran, engaged this murderous madman in a full-bore, Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?” plea.

It was futile, of course, and only some lucky turns (an unlikely escape by the one individual who could turn the tide here, a well-aimed hand grenade there, and an unexpected rescue by sure-shot, gun-toting little girls elsewhere) prevented a bloody slaughter with the Governor’s objectives fully realized. Our feckless hero Rick, however, was obviously not willing to do what he had to do to prevent the carnage of an attack, and was going to depend on hope, passiveness and a refusal to be proactive to keep a proven predator at bay. Yet his approval percentage with his core constituency inexplicably still hovers in the 90s.

Ironically, Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt chose today to assemble his time-line of President Obama’s Rick-like handling of Syria, which you can read here. (Hiatt is a card-carrying liberal Democrat, like the rest of the Post’s editorial board.)

I wonder if they show “The Walking Dead” in Israel? It’s scary enough here, but I bet, given our President’s leadership similarities to Rick Grimes, it would be absolutely terrifying there.

 

No Winners, Only Losers in the Debt Ceiling Train Wreck

I object to “a pox on all their houses” assessments on principle, because it encourages the lack of accountability. If everyone is at fault, nobody is at fault, or at least nobody will be willing to accept responsibility as long as he or she or they can point fingers at someone else. Reading all of the clichéd “Winners and Losers” columns in the media this morning as the debt ceiling crisis winds down, however, convinces me that there were no winners, only losers, in this sorry spectacle. In the latter group I include the writers of the “Winners and Losers” pieces, which are all just spin, obvious and biased attempts to extract a writer’s favorites from the train wreck using the rhetorical Jaws of Life.

They are all losers, all of them, together with the United States of America. The perfect storm of cowardly, irresponsible, reckless, stupid and arrogant leadership weakened the recovery, weakened the economy, weakened foreign faith in American investments, weakened American prestige, split the Republican Party, revealed the Democratic Party as hell-bent on chasing the European-style nanny state even as their model is crumbling abroad, exposed the Tea Party as a unmannerly mess of deluded doctrinaire ideologues with no grasp of political or economic realities, and most disastrously of all, showed the American President to be hopelessly, pathetically, frighteningly weak, devoid of leadership skills and leaderly instincts. Continue reading