1 Signature Significance 1. You are a major political party. You have been repeatedly embarrassed in recent months and frequently outmaneuvered by a President who your base considers a compulsive liar fascist moron. In a moment of mass madness, you decide to pander to your most extreme Left base by forcing a government shut-down over the handling of non-citizens, the so-called “Dreamers.” As most semi-conscious observers predicted, your party, not the other one, was bound to be blamed for the shutdown, which was epically stupid like all the shutdowns, which the other party had crashed and burned trying multiple times. When even your unethically allied mainstream media supporters, like the New York Times, failed to support your crazy scheme, you abandoned it in record time, looking foolish, and angering that base you tried to suck up to.
Who do you send out to try to spin the fiasco on CNN?
If your answer is “Why, that esteemed former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, who even in her prime was noted for the most brazen lying possible, who lost her job as a result of a scandal in which she was found to be, if it hadn’t already been obvious, rigging the nomination for Hillary Clinton, and who her successor as DNC chair just accused in a book of allowing. illegally, the whole party mechanism to become an arm of the Hillary campaign before Bernie Sanders’ campaign had gotten out of the gate,! Debbie Wassermann Schultz, of course!” you are a) an idiot or b) the Democratic Party.
Could there be a worse spokesperson for the Democrats now? She is not only a habitual liar, but a bad liar. Appearing on Brooke Baldwin’s show, she began her spin by arguing that the shut-down was worth doing because it had the “potential for momentum.” What does that even mean? As always, Wassermann Schultz makes Kellyanne Conway seem like Cicero. Host Brooke Baldwin looked completely puzzled, and responded,
“I know Americans are listening, and they heard you say ‘potential for momentum,’” Baldwin said. “And they’re thinking, ‘Potential for momentum. Was that really worth shutting the government down for?’ The potential for something?”
Whereupon Debbie, predictably, lapsed into her trademark Authentic Frontier Gibberish: Continue reading →
1 Whew! This guy was almost on the Supreme Court! Retired Harvard Law School Constitutional law prof Lawrence Tribe. whose recent misadventures on Twitter have become the cause of mirth and dismay in the legal world, tweeted this:
The premise of the 2015 post “A Nation of Assholes” was that a President Donald Trump’s crudeness, incivility and boorishness would permanently degrade the culture through the influence the office of the Presidency traditionally has on the young. Bill Clinton, for example, made blow-jobs cool to high school students. This, Ethics Alarms held, was alone good reason to defeat him. However, I did not see his influence affecting the likes of Larry Tribe, as well as Trump’s adult adversaries in academia, the news media, and the Democratic Party, all of whom have allowed their own discourse to head into Tarentinoville because of Trump Derangement. This, in turn—you morons!-–minimizes and normalizes Trump’s vulgarity.
The President has not, unlike Tom Perez, Senator Kamala Harris and others, used any vulgar words in his public utterances or tweets. The infamous “shithouse” line was used, if it was used, in a private meeting, whereupon CNN took it into the living rooms of America an estimated 200 times.
And by the way, Professor, #SchumerShutdown is accurate, and TrumpShitdown isn’t even clever unless one is about 11.
2. And speaking of assholes… Bill Maher had a blinding moment of clarity, and ranted this yesterday on his HBO show (I have to rely on Ann Althouse for this quote, because I would no more watch Bill Maher than I would chew off my foot):
“I’m down with #MeToo. I’m not down with #MeCarthyism. Something is way off when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand can go unchallenged saying ‘when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation.’ Can’t we just be having an additional conversation? Can we only have one thought now? I get it that Al Franken had to become roadkill on The Zero Tolerance Highway — a highway, it seems, only Democrats have to drive on — but do liberals really want to become The Distinction Deniers, the people who can’t tell or don’t want to see a difference between an assault in a van and a backrub by the watercooler? Masturbation is normal and healthy. But not in the park. Giving up on the idea that even bad things have degrees? That is as dumb as embracing the idea of ‘alternative facts.’ I get it when Trump’s side doesn’t want to talk. He only knows 88 words. But we are supposed to be The Conversation People. Justice requires weighing things. That’s why Lady Justice is holding a scale, not a sawed-off shotgun. Senator Gillibrand went on to say, ‘You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is okay.’ Yes. Agreed. But we can’t walk and chew gum anymore? We can’t agree that groping and rape are both unacceptable and one is worse?…”
Not quite Ethics Hero material, but for a hero of the young Left to make this point can’t be anything but good. Maher isn’t really a progressive, and he’s certainly no feminist (Does Proudly Promiscuous Bill fear the knock on his own door from #MeToo in the middle of the night? I’d bet on it…); he’s a self-serving libertarian who hates Republicans. Nevertheless, he knows, as my father would say, which side of the bread his butter is on, so for him to challenge the witch hunters is, for him, principled and courageous. Quick observations:
Did Senator Gillibrand really say that?
Why did Senator Franken have to become roadkill, Bill? Because those wild-eyed progressives you pander to are ruthless and obsessed, that’s why.
Bill’s periodic virtue-signals during his rant are obvious and undermine the force of his message. “A highway, it seems, only Democrats have to drive on”—what does that mean, exactly? That Republicans should have to drive on the same highway Bill is condemning? No, that makes no sense. That Democrats are being absurd, and Republicans are being reasonable? No, Bill doesn’t want to say that. What then? Oh, Bill has no idea, he just knows that if it sounds like Republican-bashing, that’s good enough for his typical, half-stoned fans.
I am about to add the “alternative facts” jibe to my list of misleading comments that I am pledged to correct every time I hear it. This was a live TV gaffe, not by the President but by Kellyanne Conway. Repeating it ad nauseum as if it was an official statement of policy is a lazy cheap shot at this point.
In Althouse’s comments, someone claims that Maher’s reference to “88 words” was a coded reference to Trump being a Nazi (H is the 8th letter, so “Heil Hitler” is “88”) Is Maher really that slimy?
3. Why would it be wrong to use the death penalty on the Turpins? My position on capital punishment is that it is an essential tool for society to establish what it regards as the worst possible violations of societal and cultural standards, the crimes that civilization must reject in the strongest possible terms if it is to survive. Treason, terrorism, mass and serial murder, and kidnapping children for ransom are reasonable crimes to ethically justify death by execution. What David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin reportedly did to their 13 children is arguably as bad or worse than any of these. We just don’t have a name for the crime. It would have to be some combination of torture, imprisonment, child abuse, depravity, and sadism–and even that doesn’t describe it.
I believe the nation, our jurisprudence and civilization would benefit if what the Turpins did henceforth was punishable by death, even if, as I hope, the opportunity to use the law never occurs. Unfortunately, there is no law on the books now to permit killing them.
1 Just how stupid is the public? Charades like the latest government shut-downs provide an excellent opportunity to find out. As regular readers here know, I am particularly annoyed when elected officials and journalists set out to make the public more ignorant or devoid of critical-thinking skills than they already are by making dumb arguments using logical fallacies, rationalizations or deceit. Both parties benefit from civically ignorant citizens, but the nation suffers. This time, it’s the Democrats who are banking on the public being too gullible and stupid to function. Here was the message I received from the Democratic National Committee—which, I will add, keeps sending me this crap despite my repeated efforts to unsubscribe from their daily dishonest shilling .It’s illegal to do this, but as the Democratic Party is proving with this latest drama, law-breaking is of minimal consequence to them when it suits their agenda:
It’s official — Republicans have shut down the federal government. They control the White House and both chambers of Congress, and under their watch, they haven’t been able to govern and keep the lights on. If they’re not capable of doing the job they were elected to do, we know plenty of Democrats running across the country who are up to the task.
How stupid, biased and dishonest to you have to be to swallow this lie? The shutdown was, beyond argument, engineered by Democrats, who have been threatening it for a long time. The argument is also dumb, indeed backwards. The government shut down because the Republicans couldn’t pass a spending bill without Democratic votes: they need a total of 60 “yeas” in the Senate. All but five Democrats, including Bernie, voted for shutting down the government. All but three Republicans, the trio of iconoclasts Graham, Flake and Paul, voted to keep it open, and the DNC calls that the Republicans shutting down the government.
Aren’t even Democrats offended at that degree of dishonesty and cynicism? Isn’t that classic Orwell: “War is Peace,” and “The Measure Republicans Voted For Is the Measure Republicans Opposed“? How can anyone trust a party that issues official communications like this? That is a party that will lie to your face, or assume that you have been so corrupted that you will lie on its behalf.
Moreover, the statement above might as well be written by the Republican National Committee, with the message being, “Since Democrats won’t cooperate to keep the government running and will sacrifice the welfare of citizens for non-citizens, we obviously need more Republicans in the Senate.” That message is factual. Continue reading →
1 Derangement test! As I write this, Washington, D.C. is on high anxiety alert over whether there will be a government shutdown due to Senate Democrats staging a tantrum over DACA. Previous shutdowns, stupid all, and all ultimately a disaster for the party that triggered them, the Republicans, at least involved a dispute over the budget, which we call a “nexus.” In this one, however, the triggering party is the Democrats, who are grandstanding to their increasingly radical base, declaring the interests of about 800,000 illegal immigrants as a higher priority than the interests of the law-abiding citizens of this country who are not obsessed with “Think of the children!” and the imaginary right of foreigners to cross into the country illegally and stay here as long as they don’t rape someone and blow their “good illegal immigrant” status.
Essentially the Democratic leadership has decided to test the question of how many Americans have had their brains and values scrambled by the emotion-based pro-illegal immigration argument battered into their heads by the progressive/maintsteam news media coalition. Oh…there’s also their collateral justification of “We can’t make a deal with the President because he used a bad word in a private meeting, or so some say.”
Since both Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have their unequivocal condemnation of the very same tactic they are now engaging in on videotape, they must really be convinced that social justice warrior cant now infests the population. Well, maybe they are right. Maybe they aren’t as incompetent as I think they are, and their flip-flop won’t strike anyone else as cynical and proof of an integrity deficit.
If a party is successful, even once, using this extortion tactic to pass legislation, then the legislative process will have officially collapsed. Democrats—this shut-down is a unilateral offense, not another “everyone is to blame” fiasco—signaled their emergence as a protest organization rather than a responsible party in 2016 when they held a sit-down strike in the House to try to force the unconstitutional measure of banning gun ownership for citizens placed without due process on FBI no-fly lists. If Republicans allow such a tactic to succeed now, however, they will share the Ethics Dunce honors.
And, of course, will use the tactic themselves when the time is ripe.
Let’s see if sufficient numbers of Democrats have their brain cells and values in sufficient good health to tell their representative that those DACA kids have their sentimental support, but not THAT much support, you idiots, don’t be ridiculous!
More than two weeks into the heralded launch of the Affordable Care Act, the roll out of the Healthcare.gov website still qualifies as an ongoing fiasco. The Obama administration was fortunate that this was largely, though not completely, overshadowed by the silly, misconcieved and mishandled government shut-down protest by Congressional Republicans, thanks in part to a pliant and biased newsmedia that welcomed the opportunity not to focus proper attention on yet another inexcusable Administration botch. Nonetheless, it is inexcusable. A business that launched a much-ballyhooed new product this way would be out of business; the executive in charge of such a miserable failure would be toast. The fact that Obamacare is still in business after this competence and diligence betrayal speaks only to the benefits of a governmental monopoly. The fact that no executive is yet toast, however, is less explicable. Perhaps the more accurate statement is that the explanation for it is horrifying. Continue reading →
“When I had a heart attack a few years ago, I was uninsured and I haven’t been able to get insurance ever since then. Listening to all the pressure on the President to negotiate, some of it coming from inside this room, made me think: Is there a chance the President would be willing to delay Obamacare for a year if Republicans would agree to delay heart attacks for a year?”
—- Tommy Christopher, Mediaite reporter, questioning White House spokesman Jay Carney in this week’s press briefing.
Naaa, there’s no media bias! That’s just a right wing myth!
So let us just say that Christopher’s question is unprofessional, evidence of a conflict of interest, unethical journalism and worthy of employer sanctions, if not outright firing. That wasn’t a question; that was a pro-Administration talking point and outright advocacy. It was an abuse of his position and obligation to the public.
The shutdown isn’t about his personal needs, and whether or not the Affordable Care Act is especially helpful to his health problems shouldn’t influence his coverage of the dispute or his questions to Carney. Since Christopher is apparently incapable of keeping his personal biases from influencing the performance of his job, at least on this issue, he needs a different assignment, as well as a refresher course in journalism ethics.
“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 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 →
“Why wouldn’t you want to help this adorable little puppy, Senator? What kind of a monster are you”
The government shut-down is hurtling to ethics train wreck status, not because the shut-down itself is unethical, for it is not, nor because the use of the debt limit as a bargaining chip is unethical, for it is a perfect bargaining chip, especially when bargaining with a fiscally irresponsible administration that is happy to spend taxpayer money flagrantly, as if a endlessly growing debt does not pose serious dangers to the nation’s security and prosperity in the not-so-long term. No, the shut-down is a train wreck because everyone connected with it, including pundits and the news media, are behaving badly….and it is getting worse.
Yup: train wreck.
Tit-for-tat is beginning to reign supreme, which often happens in a political ETR. Witness what has befallen Harry Reid, who enjoys accusing Republicans of being sub-human curs, as a result of his reasonable, if carelessly stated, answer to a silly question by a reporter, seeded by the President’s own careless rhetoric in the past. In a press conference on Wednesday, the Nevada Senator was addressing a series of bills proposed by the House Republicans to fund benign programs everyone likes rather than funding the whole government. These bills would fund parks and other D.C. attractions, veterans needs, treating children with cancer and other research projects at the National Institutes of Health, and the National Guard, among other things. It’s a clever political move, because the bills would force a veto from President Obama if they passed through the Senate, which Democrats cannot allow since Obama and Reid have pledged not to negotiate on the budget until the “clean” CR passes. This is the exchange that has Reid defending against bogus accusations of being cruel and heartless: Continue reading →
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 →
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 →