Ethics Quote Of The Week: Back-Up White House Spokesman John Kirby

“If anyone gets any kind of idea in their head that taking away from Karine or her work, that’s really regrettable. And I’m very sorry that that’s any impression that anyone would have.”

—-National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications Spokesperson John Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral, responding to a bold reporter who asked what his role was at the White House, since “almost everywhere I go, I have Black people telling me that the reason you’re at the White House is to undermine the first female Black [press] secretary. So can you clarify that?”

John Kirby, the deft and articulate Pentagon spokesperson who was brought to the White House to stand in for Karine Jean-Pierre whenever possible since she is incompetent but can’t be fired, issued the above tersely, showing why he was called upon for the half-rescue mission.

He continued,

I am simply working at the National Security Council, on national security communications. And with her good graces I’m able to come up here every now and then to talk to you about national security issue. That’s my portfolio. That’s where I’m limited. That’s where I’ll stay. And I do it at her invitation and with her approval to come up here. That’s the focus. I’m happy to answer national security questions and that’s about it.

Great answer! Diplomatic, elusive, pretending to deny the truth without doing so…he regrets that anyone gets the impression that he’s covering for Karine’s ineptitude (which is what “undermining” really means in this context), and he’s sorry that anyone has figured it out (though it is obvious to anyone who has heard Jean-Pierre babble and noticed the stark contrast with Kirby’s clarity and  skill. Kirby proved what his role is while ducking the question and preserving Karine’s dignity, such as it is.

Meanwhile, here was the White House paid liar lying about the recent Martha’s Vineyard debacle (for hypocritical illegal immigration fans): Continue reading

TGIF Ethics Round-Up, 9/16/2022: The Watching Open Borders Hypocrites Squirm Edition

I would have an easier time ruling that the latest conservative trolling tavtic of sending illegal immigrants to ostentatiously woke “sanctuary cities” (and islands) is unethical if the residents and politicians in those locales could just keep their mouths shut and show some integrity and consistency. But they just can’t do it. Not only do they have no shame, they have no shame about having no shame. How, for example, can the Martha’s Vineyard hypocrites who sport that obnoxious, virtue signalling sign on their front lawn continue to go through life without hiding their heads under a bag?

It took less than 24 hours for the rich enclave of progressives, where poor Alan Dershowitz find himself a pariah for criticizing Democratic efforts to criminalize politics, to ship the 50 imports from Florida to this charming military base:

A sign like that in Martha’s Vineyard is like a “Welcome Sharks!” sign in Amity. Conservatives are gloating, and they have every reason to gloat. And mock. And point. Honestly, how can these people—this whole political party—bear to look at itself in the mirror?

1. But wait! There’s more! Speaking of not having the sense to shut up, I give you Hillary Clinton, who told “Morning Joe” that sending illegals to Martha’s Vineyard was “literally human trafficking.” Pausing to mock and point, Prof. Turley explained why this is “legal nonsense,” reminding readers that Hillary is a lawyer:

Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Those Illegal Immigrant Exporting “Stunts”

In today’s Open Forum, veteran commenter Arthur in Maine writes in part,

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the fact that Ron DeSantis sent two charter planes loaded with illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard, which is about 10.5 miles south of me. I find this situation absolutely hilarious on the macro scale. But from an ethics standpoint, it’s more troubling.

1) The Biden administration has been flying illegals to airports all over the country and dumping them off. This, in my view, is unethical (as is the administration’s policy on the southern border). Essentially, DeSantis did the same thing, but that doesn’t make it ethical in return.

2) Conservative media is, in my opinion, overstating the reaction on the left. Unethical. That said, there’s enough pearl clutching on the left to make this all highly entertaining. To me. Which is unethical, and I’m not proud of it, but I never claimed to be perfect.

3) DeSantis’s timing could have been better. Most of the uber-rich limousine liberals with summer homes on the Vineyard head out around Labor Day. Had he done this in August, he actually could have made this a bigger story. Which would, of course, be unethical – but no more so than it already is.

4) The aforementioned pearl-clutchers on the left are calling this a political stunt, using illegal aliens as pawns. That argument is not without merit. But it’s curious that they didn’t seem to care much when the border states were bearing the brunt of hundreds of thousands of illegals by themselves. Which is… unethical.

DeSantis’s move, though it is funnier and more diabolical (can something be ethical and diabolical?), has to be considered in the same category as the busloads of illegals that were sent to the “sanctuary cities” of New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The original idea was the inspiration of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, or a particularly creative advisor.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Is it unethical for the governors of Texas and Florida to be sending illegal immigrants to ostentatiously progressive destinations?

Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Woolgathering, 7/20/2022: Conspiracies And Condign Justice

July 20 should be permanently recognized as Conspiracy Theory Day. It’s the anniversary of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969, and the event spawned one of the most hilarious of all conspiracy theories, that the whole thing was faked by NASA. Many believe it still. This one is an anti-government conspiracy theory, so perhaps the “Truthers” fantasy that George W. Bush bombed the Pentagon and Twin Towers on 9/11 has passed it. Or maybe the theory that a Kennedy assassination conspiracy involving President Johnson and the CIA is at the top of the list. My 8th grade history professor told our class that it was a fact that FDR conspired to let the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor so the U.S. would enter the war.

A friend from childhood, smart to the point of brilliance, who once commented here often, sincerely believes that Barack Obama’s natural born citizenship is a hoax.

These conspiracy theories that cause people to believe their own government is a malign force are very harmful. More harmful yet is the current environment, where both political parties are vigorously pursuing conspiracy theories against the other.

It does not help the situation that some conspiracy theories, like the one that long held that the government was withholding evidence of unidentified flying objects, turn out to be true.

1. Condign justice dept. “Condign justice” was a term I never heard or read before George Will started using it. Then I stopped reading George Will, whose NeverTrumpism revealed him to be a classist hypocrite, requiring me to use it. Today’s example is the mayors of New York City and Washington D.C. complaining bitterly about being inundated with illegal immigrants. New York is suffering in great part because of its proud position as a “sanctuary city,” thus encouraging illegals to violate our laws. NYC Mayor Eric Adams demanded yesterday that the federal government help pay for what he said was a wave of illegal immigrants pouring into the city, as he whined about the city’s “safety net” being strained by busloads of people coming from border states and elsewhere. (CBS News helpfully apes Adams in calling the border-breachers “asylum-seekers,” hoping to cover-up what they really are.)  Awww. Well gee, Mayor, if you didn’t openly invite them and say they would be welcomed and protected from our mean old laws, maybe there wouldn’t be so darn many.

Some old saw about making beds seems to be appropriate here. Idiot. Continue reading

Now THAT’S An Incompetent Journalist!

I have several large, complicated ethics issues to write about (like the LibsofTikTok fiasco) and I’m not looking forward to it, so I’m starting this morning with an easy call that confirms many of my deeply held convictions.

One is that journalists, as a group, just aren’t that sharp. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions: this is a field that has never attracted the best and the brightest, and it is a structural problem that has become a major problem in the age of the “new journalism,” which is advocacy journalism, as in unethical journalism. The people with the largest metaphorical megaphone lack the wisdom, acumen, education of critical thinking skills to justify their having it. Yet they really think they know best, and have the right and the duty to use a job that was supposed to be about informing the public to manipulate public opinion for what journalists think is “the greater good.” They don’t know what the greater good is. Most don’t know what “good” is.

Chris Cillizza isn’t just any journalist: he’s supposed to be one of the better ones. Horrible thought: he probably is. He’s an editor at CNN, and before that he wrote the daily political blog of The Washington Post, and was a regular writer for the Post on political issues as well as a frequent panelist on “Meet the Press.” He also has a long rap sheet on Ethics Alarms, despite the fact that I avoid following his regular forays into fake news, propaganda, and biased punditry. Who knows what I’ve missed. Continue reading

Unethical Joe Biden Quote Of The Week: Time For “The Julie Principle”?

The President is rapidly getting into Trump territory, saying so many outrageous things so frequently that it feels churlish to call him on it. Is it time to invoke the Julie Principle? I wonder. Ethics Alarms actually called for Joe to have the benefit of it in 2020, but that was before he became President, which clears the slate.

This past week alone, Biden has made one obnoxious, dishonest, absurd statement after another. Notably, he pronounced himself blameless for the Democratic Party wipeout in Virginia and elsewhere: nice accountability there, Joe! I wouldn’t expect your history-censoring party to know this, but after Pickett’s Charge that guy whose statues Democrats got pulled down did NOT say to his returning, bloodied troops, “This wasn’t my fault!”

But that exchange with the reporter reasonably asking Biden about his administration’s reversal regarding his categorical denial that his administration might be paying up to $450,000 to illegal immigrants claiming that the Trump policies separated them from their children was even worse. First of all, his claim that the reporter whose assertion he called “garbage” had suggested that all illegal immigrants were going to be paid $450,000 was a lie. It was explicitly about settling a lawsuit, and when the President said “That’s not going to happen,” he was referring to the settlement—or he was confused because he doesn’t know what’s going on his own administration. The ACLU and his own Justice Department quickly corrected him, so Joe cannot say that he was making a correct response to the ridiculous question he falsely said was asked by Fox’s Peter Doocy. I knew what Doocy meant: it was clear to me.

Continue reading

Ethics Wreckage, 11/1/2021: Moral Stains, And More

Wreck2

1. Stop making me defend President Biden! President Joe Biden apparently fell asleep during today’s opening sessions at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Naturally, the conservative media and bloggers are having a ball mocking “Sleepy Joe.” It’s unfair. I wonder how many of the critics have had anything close to the killing schedule Presidents have, with constant travel and stress, time zone changes and everything else they have to deal with. Much younger Presidents than Biden have nodded off during meetings. I dozed off myself briefly at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce briefing, and I was 29 at the time.

2. Bingo, Ann Althouse! Ann reviews a stream of consciousness blatherfest by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that read,

“So again, the transformative agenda, the president was knowledgeable. I mean, he knows chapter [inaudible 00:04:20] because he wrote this, he campaigned on this. He spoke to this in his state of the union address. I told him last night, on phone last night, but today in front of our colleagues, that when he gave that state of the union address, we were sitting behind him, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, and the speaker of the House, me. And people said, “How did it feel? How did it feel? The two women.” I said, “Well, that was exciting and historic.” What was really exciting is the speech the president made about women, not about two women, but America’s women, and what would happen with this progressive agenda that he was putting forth. At the same time, we’re moving forward with BIF, a once in a century chance to rebuild the infrastructure that past the Senate a while back. The BIF has good things and it has missing things. And of course, the fact that we have the reconciliation… Let me not call it that anymore, let’s call it the Build Back Better legislation is essential because that’s where we have the major investment in climate. Although there is some in the BIF. Roads, bridges, water systems, crumbling. Some water systems are over 100 years made of, and our colleagues talked about their own experiences in their own communities, some made of bricks and wood. That’s a nice water system, right?”

Quoth Ann: “If Trump spoke with that level of coherence, he would have been derided as a blithering idiot.”

Continue reading

How Donald Trump Could Be A Great American And Ethics Hero, But Almost Certainly Won’t

scylla-and-charybdis

One of the benefits of not having Donald Trump as President—such benefits do not include having Joe Biden in the White House—is that I don’t have to write about him as often or regularly point out the relentless efforts to de-legitimize and destroy his Presidency. However, the Trump Deranged in the news media and the Angry Left in general let Trump live, as the cliche goes, rent-free in their heads, so now he has become a boogeyman. Say his name three times in front of a mirror, and he’ll appear and murder democracy.

On his substack newsletter, Andrew Sullivan, who occasionally called out Trump Derangement excesses but still never could bring himself to extend any respect to The Donald, weighed in today with an essay called “How Biden Could Bring Back Trump.” What the piece is really about is how wretched Biden’s Presidency has been so far, especially regarding illegal immigration. But to get his core readership’s attention, Sullivan felt he had to frame the argument as he does in his final two paragraphs:

“…the immigration debate reflects an elite that simply cannot imagine why most normal citizens think that enforcing a country’s borders is not an exercise in white supremacist violence, but a core function of any basic government. Which is to say that far from taming the brushfire of right ethno-populism, Biden may be fueling it. Trump may not need to send the country into a constitutional crisis in 2024. If mass migration continues to accelerate under this administration, and Biden seems unable or unwilling to do anything about it, Tump could win that election in a romp. And deserve to.”

Andrew can’t bring himself to quite say that Trump was right about illegal immigration all along, that the public mostly agreed with him because they aren’t insane, and that Biden’s policies and rhetoric are incompetence itself. He does write, though, to be fair to Sullivan, “The temptation to reduce every normie concern about immigration to ‘white supremacy’ was too hard to eschew. And the view that “All Borders Are Racist” — as perfect an expression of woke extremism as “Defund the Police” and “Pregnant People” — became an elite cause. Nation-states and borders? That has been left in the dust of the Obama era.” Bingo to that. Still, the big scare isn’t the collapse of the rule of law and the natural disastrous consequences of open borders. It’s that it all might bring Truuuuuuump back.

Continue reading

Incredibly, A Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against The Democrats’ Theory That Illegal Immigrants Can Be Transformed Into Legal Immigrants After The Fact

See? The government isn’t completely crazy. Not for the first time, the Supreme Court has emphatically sided with the rule of law, confounding the Biden Administration and such Democratic Party stars as Senators Mazi Hirono (D-Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), among others. Along with them, we also had the Democrat attorneys general of Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, California, and 17 other states arguing for one more step on the way to open borders.

Best of all, the slap-down opinion was authored by Obama appointee Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote in Sanchez v. Mayorkas, issued today,

Continue reading

Two Wins For Law And Ethics Over Ideology

DC RULES_blind justice

Judges are proving less partisan and ideologically driven than the increasingly totalitarian Left had hoped.

1. In Vitolo v. Guzman, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati ruled last week that the federal government violates the equal protection clause when it considers race or sex in in allocating Wuhan virus relief funds. Following the same track as the earlier case discussed here, the Court agreed that the U.S. Small Business Administration violated the Constitution by giving preference to minority- and women-owned restaurants.

Antonio Vitolo and his wife own a restaurant called Jake’s Bar and Grill. Vitolo is white, his wife is Hispanic, and they each own 50% of the restaurant. Of course, Jake could have gamed the easily manipuated SBA system by just handing his wife the extra 1%. The government requires small businesses to be at least 51% owned by women, veterans or “socially and economically disadvantaged” people to jump to the head of the line, because someone is presumed to be socially disadvantaged if they are a member of a designated racial or ethnic group. A person is considered economically disadvantaged if they are socially disadvantaged, and they face diminished capital and credit opportunities. In such a system, whether the business owner being given preference has actually been disadvantaged doesn’t matter. He or she is presumed to be disadvantaged. This nicely follows the circular logic of Critical Race Theory.

The group preferences are taken into consideration during the first 21 days in which the Small Business Administration awards the pandemic grants to restaurants. After priority applications submitted during that period are processed, the Small Business Administration processes grant requests in the order that they were received. That is, white men come last.

The 6th Circuit majority said Vitolo and his wife are entitled to an injunction forcing the government to grant their application, if approved, before all later-filed applications, and that their color and gender should be irrelevant. The government did not demonstrate a “compelling interest” justifying preferences based on race or sex.

Continue reading