POTUS Empathy Games”Hey, I’ve Got Problems Of My Own!”

Biden weeps

How long will Americans excuse Biden’s dead son sympathy ploy?

As noted by the New York Times, Biden once again evoked his deceased son Beau while addressing the families of Marines killed in the Kabul airport bombing He has been doing this for years. Even if it’s sincere, and it might me, it is a manipulative and unethical ploy. Al Gore was addicted to a similar routine, talking about his dead sister. Althouse nails the problem, writing,

Biden needs to show people that he’s focused on the problems that beset us now and that he can do something to help us. To stand there offering up himself as an example of a person who has suffered doesn’t send a message of focus and competence. It’s a message that can be read as Hey, I’ve got problems of my own. Faced with parents of marines who’d just been killed, he said, essentially, my son died too….You might be tolerant of an old man who came up to you at your child’s funeral and wanted you to know how much he still hurts from the death of his child 6 years ago. It might be difficult, but you’d probably think something like, that poor old guy. But this poor old guy is President of the United States. He asked to be President of the United States, and by some strange twists of fate, he got what he said he wanted. And now everyone’s problems are his. He needs to act like someone who can handle all that. If he’s swallowed up in grief over his lost son — if he’s “haunted,” as the NYT headline has it — perhaps he should resign. …But it’s no wonder he’s lapsed into the misconception that “Beau” is a magic word. The press has propped him up so much — including with this “Invoking Beau” article.

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Why American Presidents Need A Fair News Media To Be Competent, And More Evidence That They Won’t Get One Anytime Soon, If Ever…

fakenews

It’s my own fault. I’ve written so many essays here since 2009 about the disgraceful descent of the news media into partisan propaganda that I can’t find the relevant post I was looking for on my own blog. That would be the one during the Obama administration in which I pointed out that being assured that no reporters and virtually no pundits would have the guts or integrity to criticize Obama’s performance as President had made him lazy, arrogant, and reckless. If you know anything you do will be extolled whether it deserves praise of not, and any mistakes and blunders will be covered up or spun, why be careful, especially if you’re an arrogant narcissistic like Barack? The same principle operated on President Trump, but in reverse (I honestly don’t recall if I noted this, but I noticed it). If a President is certain that whatever he does will be attacked by the news media, there is no reason for him to consider the press in his policy considerations. Summary: bad journalism makes bad Presidents.

Several commentators are finally waking up to this phenomenon now, as they try to find some other than Joe Biden to blame for Joe Biden’s incompetence. I have now read several pieces opining that the President was certain that the press would have his back no matter what happened in Afghanistan.

That was really foolish on Biden’s part (but then…Biden) for two reasons. First, he is not nearly as popular as Obama, and nobody was going to call a reporter “racist” for criticizing him. Second, and more importantly, journalists destroyed their influence and credibility during their four year campaign of fake news and glorified rumors to bring down Donald Trump. Most of the public doesn’t trust the mainstream media—good!—because it is untrustworthy. The days when it could cover a President’s botches effectively have passed.

One would think that this would spur the news media to be more careful about the lies they present to the public as truth, and one would be tragically wrong. Two recent examples from last week demonstrate that no “Oh-oh, we better start practicing honest journalism!” alarms are ringing yet.

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Reader Comments Safari: Revealing NYT Reader Comments, And Althouse Reader Comments On Those Comments

Biden meeting

Blogger Ann Althouse has gone full circle and now allows reader comments again. I must confess that the episode cooled much of my long-standing enthusiasm for her blog: her reasoning in banning them was so arrogant and dismissive of the loyal readers who support her that she crashed her cognitive dissonance scale with me. (And I still don’t forgive her for refusing to include Ethics Alarms in her links; eventually she stopped linking to any other sites at all, which, come to think of it, was similar to banning comments.) I assume her traffic was crashing, or maybe someone she pays attention to pointed out that her constantly changing the comment hoops to jump through (“No comments, but you can email me with a comment, and maybe I’ll quote it as a comment…”) did not put the former law prof. in a flattering light. I don’t know, and don’t really care. I just know that I don’t check her quirky posts as often as I once did.

I checked today, though, and Ann posted on “Miscue After Miscue, U.S. Exit Plan Unravels/President Biden promised an orderly withdrawal. That pledge, compounded by missed signals and miscalculations, proved impossible” , a an article that I had already read in the print edition. The Times story describes a disturbing meeting President Biden had with his military and other advisors about the plan to pull out in Afghanistan. Ann read the online comments from Times readers and reported herself,

“If you go into the comments over there at the NYT and you put them in order of “most liked,” you’ll see an unbroken chain of comments supporting Joe Biden: “It seems to me that the media is being less than fair to Joe Biden over this,” “Has it really gone wrong?,” “Did the Trump Surrender Agreement with the Taliban provide for evacuation? If it did, what did it say? If it didn’t, why not?,” “Frankly I’m dismayed that the media is now declaring this a disaster,” “Thanks President Biden for making this brave decision albeit flawed execution. When we end this if there are no US troop live lost and Americans evacuated with as much of our allies. It will be remembered as a very good decision and no one will care about execution like Vietnam withdrawal.”

Good research there, Ann! I would never do that; I detest “likes,” which I regard as lazy substitutes for serious consideration. But her discovery is useful: this is a major reason, along with the biases of its employees, why the Times has abandoned journalism for progressive propaganda. Of course, I could read pretty much the same sad reactions from my own Facebook feed, if my “friends” didn’t block me from reading what they know I’d take apart, ruthless and with glee.

Then Althouse’s commenters had a field day, reminding me again how foolish it was to silence them. Among the best responses,

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This Is How Trust In A Democracy Dies…And When Trust Dies, Democracy Dies

pentagonbrief-1z0wty

I am late getting up the first post of this Saturday—experience shows that if there isn’t at least one post up by 10:30 am, the total traffic for the day will resemble that of Hooterville at midnight in mid-February—because I was watching with my face in a rictus of horror as the Pentagon’s various flacks tried to spin the unspinnable and treated the American public as idiots as well as the news media (but then the reporters are idiots, to be fair.)

The various contrived reports—What a wonderful and heroic job the U.S. military is doing in evacuating people! Teamwork! Coordination! Brilliantly executed planning! It’s a triumph!–were dripping with Authentic Frontier Gibberish like “throughput.” I don’t trust officials who won’t speak plain English. The Pentagon’s mouthpieces kept describing the situation as “fluid and dynamic,” over and over, obviously and deliberately misleading adjectives with false positive vibrations that were carefully chosen to deceive. It reminded me of Phillip Roth’s satire “Our Gang” in which White House spokesmen keep describing the President as “resting comfortably” when he is in fact dead.

When one of today’s liars was asked about one of his assurances last week that turned out to be completely false, his response was, “That was absolutely true at the time I said it.” He also kept repeating, “I’m not going to get into threat assessments at this time.”

How can anyone with sufficient cognitive ability to tie their shoelaces trust people who talk like this ever? How can they ever trust the organizations and institutions they represent? The answer is simple: They can’t.

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Lincoln Brown

Taliban abuse

I try to keep my true rants to a minimum, as they are unseemly for one in my role. I also try, not quite so successfully, to tamp down my occasional impulse to write, “I told you so!” It really helps me a lot when a web pundit like Lincoln Brown, a former talk show host and conservative columnist, writes pretty much exactly what I am feeling.

Brown’s essay titled “Dear Leftists, I Hope You Can’t Live With Yourselves” is what I have been dreaming of posting on Facebook for my 200 or so left-biased Facebook friends, some of them real friends I once thought better of as well as a few relatives, who would write mouth-foaming screeds about President Trump’s emails but who have maintained absolute Facebook silence on the Afghanistan disaster other than to post a meek and deflecting, “I think it was time to get out of Afghanistan, right everybody?” Brown’s whole post is the Ethics Quote of the Month, but here are some highlights:

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: President Joe Biden

afghanistan-001-3

“That was four days ago, five days ago!”

President Joe Biden, employing Rationalization #52. The Underwood Maneuver, or “That’s in the past,” to brush off an interviewer’s reference to desperate Afghans falling from U.S. transport plans in their desperate efforts to escape a Taliban onslaught.

President Biden, who has been avoiding questioning from the news media over his self-made national and international crisis in Afghanistan, took the weird but telling step of sitting for an interview on the matter with a single journalist—sort of–that has yet to be broadcast. Not surprisingly, the journalist chosen was career Democratic Party operative George Stephanopoulos, who hosts ABC’s talking heads Sunday news show as well as “Good Morning America!” where he is more like a performer. As Ethics Alarms regularly pointed out until I got sick of it, George has no business interviewing political figures like Hillary Clinton, since he has a flaming conflict of interest, nor can he be trusted to cover any political story involving partisan divides. Virtually all TV journalists are Democrats, but Stephanopoulos was a professional Democrat, and has proven repeatedly that he lacks the integrity and courage to overcome that bias.

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Biden Lied And People Died..Now What?

Former VP Joe Biden Addresses Chicago Council On Global Affairs

The New York Times front page this morning has a disheartening story revealing that President Biden’s assertion to the American people that the collapse of Afghan forces was considered unlikely (but possible!) by U.S. intelligence was untrue. He must have known it was untrue too, or they really are keeping poor Joe in a closet and pulling him out for public appearances with a secret ventriloquist doing his voice. The Times:

Classified assessments by American spy agencies over the summer painted an increasingly grim picture of the prospect of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and warned of the rapid collapse of the Afghan military, even as President Biden and his advisers said publicly that was unlikely to happen as quickly, according to current and former American government officials. By July, many intelligence reports grew more pessimistic, questioning whether any Afghan security forces would muster serious resistance and whether the government could hold on in Kabul, the capital. President Biden said on July 8 that the Afghan government was unlikely to fall and that there would be no chaotic evacuations of Americans similar to the end of the Vietnam War.…”

The Times is perplexed! The existence of these reports “raise questions about why Biden administration officials, and military planners in Afghanistan, seemed ill-prepared to deal with the Taliban’s final push into Kabul, including a failure to ensure security at the main airport and rushing thousands more troops back to the country to protect the United States’ final exit.” After all, there must be some legitimate reason a good, progressive Democratic President would “seem” to screw up so completely and lie about it! It would never be that he is completely incompetent and evil, like that last President! “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Even when it is forced into reporting a total, massive, historic botch by the party it works for, the Times cannot be objective or approach the same tone and attitude it would apply to an equivalent blunder by that other party.

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Ethics And Leadership Failure On Afghanistan, Part I: In And Out

I’m not a foreign policy expert. (Is anyone a foreign policy expert?) so Ethics Alarms will go light on what “should” have been done by the U.S. in Afghanistan. The one thing I am unalterably convinced of now, as I was in 2001, is that the U.S. had to take strong military action against the Taliban after it aided and abetted Osama bin Laden. No nation can just shrug off a fatal, ambush attack on its citizens with a finger wag and a stern, “Now don’t do that again, or you’ll be sorry!”

Obviously staying twenty years in the pseudo-nation was way, way too long, expensive and costly in American lives, but dreaded mission creep set in. My approach after 9/11—and I think that of several past Presidents, including Eisenhower and Truman—would have been to strike hard, make sure as many military and government officials as possible were among the dead, accept the civilian casualties as unavoidable, and make sure that a properly frightening death toll—ten times what we lost on 9/11, perhaps, 30,000?—made the necessary point: “Don’t mess with the United States of America.” Once that message was delivered, get out. Colin Powell’s too often quoted nostrum that if you broke a country you were obligated to fix it should not have applied. Afghanistan was already broken; it was and remains a chaotic mess of warlords and medieval thinking supported by the heroin trade. Nobody can “fix” it. However, the Taliban was bad, and worst of all it oppressed women, so all of a sudden our objective became an ethical one, not retaliation but reform.

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President Biden Does His Andrew Jackson Impression, And It Is Not Becoming

Andrew-Jackson

President Jackson is quoted as saying, after learning of his rebuke by the U.S. Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” That was “King Andy,” though and through, whether he actually said it or not. Jackson’s contempt for the ruling, which supported Native American sovereignty, contributed to its violation by other courts and Georgia laid the groundwork for the unlawful removal of Cherokees from the state in what became know as “The Trial of Tears.” Jackson did some important things as President, and has a strong argument as a great one, but his willingness to violate the Constitution when it suited his convictions is hard to justify, even when his desired end seemed to be worth his illegal means. Jackson (a Democrat) was Donald Trump’s favorite President, but it is Joe Biden who is openly channeling him now. The difference is that few Democrats, mainstream media journalists and pundits are screaming that Joe is a threat to Democracy. Yet what he is doing really is such a threat.

This spring, a court struck down the nationwide eviction moratorium adopted by the Trump administration last September at the height of the pandemic lockdown, ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had no statutory authority to extend it. The case was appealed, and five justices of the Supreme Court signaled that they agreed with the lower court as they simultaneously voted to allow the eviction freeze to stand because it was set to expire just a few weeks later, on July 31, anyway. Any fair reading of the opinions make it clear that the SCOTUS majority holds that the eviction freeze cannot continue beyond that date without an act of Congress.

Never mind! President Biden announced his support for extending the eviction moratorium, unconstitutional or not. It was later preserved by a divided Supreme Court despite the view of a majority that it was unconstitutional. Though he acknowledged that his administration’s legal experts overwhelmingly told him that any extension would violate the Constitution, he said it was worth extending the moratorium because it would take time for a court to intervene, giving his administration time to “get $45 billion dollars out to people who are in fact behind on the rent and don’t have the money”despite the lack of constitutional authority to do so. In other words, they would have time to break the law before they had to stop.

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Breaking! Joe Biden Wins The Gold Medal For Sexual Harassment Cluelessness With His Comments On Gov. Cuomo!

Biden creepy

Unbelievable.

Jeez, somebody tell him…please? Not only are the President’s comments on the findings released yesterday by New York state Attorney General Letitia James regarding NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s serial sexual harassment, including his call for Cuomo to resign, are embarrassing and inappropriate, they are also…hmmm, let’s see if I can cover them all…

  • …the babbling of an Ethics Dunce and legal ignoramus who still doesn’t know what sexual harassment is, despite having engaged in it for decades as well as having been photographed while engaging in while Vice-President….
  • …a blinding example of hypocrisy and ethics estoppel, since while it is true that Cuomo should resign, Biden, of all people, as a sexual harasser himself, is among the last people on Earth (along with Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein and a few others)  who has any business saying so…
  • …an Olympics-level achievement in ethics ignorance, as it not only pulls down gold medals in Ethics Duncery but also Unethical Quote of the Month, Incompetent Elected Official, Ethics Corrupter, and Jack Marshall Head Exploder (not to mention the blasts, perhaps fatal, also triggered in the craniums of Tara Reade, Lucy Flores, Amy Lappos, D.J. Hill, Caitlyn Caruso, Ally Call, Sofie Karasek, Vail Kohnert-Yount and others who experienced sexual harassment from Biden…

….in addition to the fact that it is an abuse of power and position for the President of the United States to inject himself into the matters of New York State, the justice system, and the fate of a duly elected official put in place by the citizens of New York. Continue reading