Of COURSE The United States Has To Spend Trillions On Infrastructure Renewal, And Of Course Ignorance, Incompetence And Dishonesty Will Screw It Up. Again.

Welcome to the first Russian doll Ethics Alarms post, in which a series of essentially identical essays are nested to shout out a truth that hasn’t changed in decades. That truth is that the infrastructure of the United States is getting progressively worse.

Sub-truths nested in that one include these:

  • This was an urgent crisis 40 years ago, and has only been getting worse since.
  • Both parties and all Presidents since—Nixon? Johnson?—are equally responsible, because they all  participated in “kicking the can” down the rotting road for political gain. This was and is political cowardice. Maintaining the infrastructure is one basic function of government, like national defense and law enforcement, that both Big Government and limited government advocates can agree on. However, since infrastructure rot is only a headline matter when bridges collapse, airliners crash or sewer pipes burst spreading disease and death, it’s a long term expense with benefits that the public won’t see immediately, if at all. Their grandchildren, however, will have better lives.
  • Politicians prefer short-term benefits, like sending checks directly to potential voters (and favored interest groups) under the fantasy of “economic stimulus.” This is a bi-partisan breach of duty and ethics.
  • As with everything else, the news media is stunningly incompetent in explaining the facts. I just heard two Fox News talking empty-heads arguing about whether sewer and water pipes were “infrastructure.” This is because much of the partisan attacks on Biden’s proposal has focused on the relatively small proportion of the financial requirements that will pay for  “roads and bridges.'” Of course sewer and water pipes are infrastructure, and indeed among the most dangerous parts of a nation’s infrastructure to let deteriorate, as ours have in too many major cities to count. You people (Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer in this case) are incompetent idiots, and should be working at a 7-11. Also included in the “infrastructure,” in case you care: canals, airports, railways, public transportation, barges, ferries, waterways, traffic signals, the power grid, and more. You are making the public even more ignorant than they already are. You’re a disgrace. I hate you.
  • Jobs are not infrastructure, but to listen to the advocates of renewal,  you would think that creating jobs is the main reason to undertake the effort. This is disinformation, and also unforgivable.
  • A rotting infrastructure hurts the economy in thousands of incremental, sinister, unavoidable ways, making goods more expensive, people poorer, limiting economic growth, and yes, costing jobs, with all of these effects getting worse over time.
  • No, the nation can’t afford to do what needs to be done–which is what will lead to national disaster if it is not done. That is because we have allowed the national debt to reach the red zone, and again, both parties are to blame, Republicans for irresponsible tax cuts, and Democrats for creating out-of-control social programs. However, whether we can afford it or not, we have to do it, spend the money, raise the taxes, be responsible…or we are dooming the nation. That is the situation cowardly, incompetent, venal and dishonest leadership has created.
  • I see little hope that President Biden’s efforts are any more serious or that they will be any more successful than the proposals that have gone before. It is true that even some infrastructure repair is better than none, but Democrats and progressives have painted themselves, and the nation, into a corner.

For example, the Biden administration has blocked a major highway expansion in Houston, Texas, claiming that the project is racially discriminatory and harmful to the environment. The state was about to begin a proposed widening of certain sections of Interstate 45 that has been years in planning when the Department of Transportation invoked the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to temporarily shut it down pending further review, Politico reported.

The department’s intervention is supposedly  a “test case” for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, has claimed  “racial injustice” in highway construction and vowed to make “righting these wrongs an imperative” under his leadership. Local activists say that the highway expansion would disproportionately harm black and Hispanic communities by displacing more than 1,000 homes, hundreds of businesses, five houses of worship, and two schools along the stretch of highway.

If race, class and the environment are going to be the priorities, then essential infrastructure maintenance is impossible. It is that simple.

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Another Totalitarian Tell: In The House Of Representatives, Only One Party Has To Obey the Rules. Now What?

metal detector

I will not accept this, and if you do, have your prison jump-suit measured.

You’ll be needing it.

Last week, Democrats in the House passed a new rule requiring members to pass through a metal detector before they entered the House floor. After all several Democrats said they were all scared and stuff of those scary GOP members who support the Second Amendment. Some of them even own those evil guns! ,

Some House members tried evading the metal detectors and entered through what’s known as “the speaker’s lobby,” so Speaker Pelosi began issuing fines for that. Rep. Louis Gohmert was fined $5,000 after briefly leaving the floor to go to the bathroom. Then Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Il) —if it had been a Democrat, we never would have heard about it—caught Pelosi herself entering through the speaker’s lobby and avoiding the detectors. Because metal detectors are for the little people. The beaten people. The submissive or soon to be. Sort of like electric collars.

Fox News (of course Fox News-–you don’t think any of the regime supporting media sources would dare report this, do you?) said:

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Rep. Green Has The Right To Her Opinions And the Right To Free Speech. But There Is No Right To Make Laws If You Are An Ignorant, Undisciplined Fool, And Republicans Have A Duty To Treat Her Accordingly

greene

House Democrats moved yesterday to strip GOP Georgia rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments if Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy refuses to do so. Mark this moment: House Democrats are right, and their demand is responsible. Greene is on the House education and budget committees, and she has amply demonstrated that she does not possess the judgment to serve om a PTA rummage sale committee.

If House Democrats being reasonable blows your mind, imagine: Mitch McConnell is also making sense. Calling Greene a “cancer for the Republican Party,” the GOP Senate leader said,

“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality.This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”

Gee, I hadn’t heard about the “Clintons killed John-John” plot! But the Greene theory that came out this week is even better. Eric Hananoki is an investigative reporter at “Media Matters,” which means he’s a partisan hack, but in this case he has found juicy evidence. In a November 17, 2018 Facebook post, since removed, Greene expressed support for the so-called Campfire Conspiracy, which holds that the deadly California wildfires were deliberately set by a cabal seeking to clear land for the high-speed railway, led by PG&E. Here is the whole post that Hananoki unearthed:

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“The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Impeachment” Becomes An Ethics Fiasco: Ten Observations

johnson-impeachment

In this post, “Nancy And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Impeachment “—could it really have just been 12 days ago?—I wrote in part,

Nancy Pelosi came right out and said that her objective in impeaching Trump this time was to stop him from running again. That’s not what the Founders designed impeachment for. She’s admitting that this Congress and her party regard impeachment as just one more political stunt, like ripping up the State of the Union message, boycotting the inauguration, or nominating Kamala Harris. Worse, unless the Senate agrees to rush through a trial the way Pelosi rushed through the impeachment, Trump will already be out of office and a private citizen before he can be convicted—which he wouldn’t be anyway. The Constitution speaks of impeachment and the Senate trial as a means of removing a President, not as a device to say “I hate you! Ooooh, I hate you to pieces!” to an ex-President.

Thus it’s a joke. The first impeachment was a dud. Trump hasn’t been embarrassed, but Congress and the news media have been embarrassed and exposed as fools.

Not that they hadn’t been exposed as fools already.

But “Wait!”—as they say on infomercials–“There’s more!” And it only gets worse:

1. Since the impeachment vote in the House, further investigation of the attack on the Capitol and its time-line has shown that many of the participants had planned to storm the building in advance, in fact had begun preparations before the President addressed the protesters, and had begun to take action while the President was speaking on January 6. Thus the House’s impeachment theory that the President had incited a riot by providing a lit match to an obvious powder-keg is unsustainable n the facts: the powder had already been lit. Nor do the facts support the argument that the President intended to spark a riot, since the words of his speech never suggested violence or alluded to it.

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Comment Of The Day: “On Revenge, Tit-For-Tat And The Biden Presidency”

Donkey-vs-Elephant

I assumed today’s post about Republican revenge would generate some interesting comments. There aren’t many readers of the blog over Christmas week—odd, because one would think this would be a time to think about ethics—but to quote Spencer Tracy in “Pat and Mike,” “what there is, is cherce.”

Here is Steve Witherspoon’s Comment of the Day on the Post, “On Revenge, Tit-For-Tat And The Biden Presidency”:

Jack wrote…”The second most ethical course is now the only ethical course available, and that means that Republicans should give no quarter to Joe Biden, his agenda, and his allies. Not as revenge, mind you, but as the kind of tit-for-tat response that game theory teaches is sometimes the only way to enforce ethical norms.

In my opinion it’s not tit-for-tat, it’s a new precedence. Back on December the 4th, I wrote…

I think it’s really “interesting” how, after the political left didn’t get their way in the 2016 Presidential election, the political left started a new precedence on how a President of the United States and anyone that supports the President should be treated by the opposition and their lapdog media and they continued that precedence for four years straight and now the political left wants them and their President to be treated in a different way than the new precedence that they set? Transparent double standards and open hypocrisy are prominent character flaws of the political left in the 21st century. I’m not much for using a tit-for-tat rationalization myself; however, I’m not going to fault the political right too much for continuing the same Presidential treatment precedence that the political left started. The modern Democratic Party led by extremist progressives and the irrational and violent social justice henchmen they empowered, implemented an unending scorched earth policy against a President of the United States and his supporters for four straight years and those choices are coming back to roost on their pompous-ass heads and dig their talons straight into the foreheads of the political left; choices have consequences. As the rhetorical blood drips down the political left’s forehead they should be forced at every turn to remember that the political left made their bed and is now estopped* from complaining about being treated badly.”

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LATE Morning Observations On Election 2020. So Far…

Screenshot-2020-11-04-at-11.09.15-AM-600x391

Tip: The most important observation is the last one.

1. In the hours between when I started the last post when I got back out of bed two-and-a half hours later, two crucial states where the President was shown leading flipped to narrow leads for Biden. This does not prove or even suggest chicanery, but under the circumstances it looks bad. (“Gee, they cheat fast!” was a comment on one of the conservative blogs following the election live.) The meme above may be unfair, but it accurately expresses what went through my mind when I saw the new totals.

This is why it is unethical to create “the appearance of impropriety” if you have anything to do with the government. People need to trust the government, its institutions, and the fairness and openness of elections. The appearance of impropriety is just as damaging as actual impropriety. We have already seen this in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation and the prosecution of General Flynn.

2.  Both parties have worked to deliberately create suspicion about the political process, and the decision to vastly increase the use of mail-in ballots, in what should have been recognized as a close election, knowing that doing so would delay the process, create opportunity for mischief, and keep the results of the election mired in uncertainty for days and even weeks was either epically incompetent or sinister. Now, instead of the single state having a “too close to call” vote total with the Presidency hanging in the balance as in 2000, we have six, which will presumably multiply litigation and uncertainty. That’s a disaster, no matter what the final result is, and it is a disaster that should have been avoided at all costs. It was unethical and negligent not to avoid it at all costs.

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Ethics Warm-Up, 9/18/2020: Boy, It’s Hard To Write About Ethics When What You Really Want To Do Is Run Amuck With A Bloody Sword

I don’t even want to talk about the last two days, except to note that what has me proto-homicidal has nothing to do with anything we’ve been discussing on Ethics Alarms.

1. Now THIS is incompetent phishing: “Verizon” contacted me to say,

Dear User :Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte. You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.

  • I no longer have any relationship with Verizon.
  • Verizon no longer runs an email service. It sold its email users to AOL.
  • The letter is ungrammatical.
  • I received that email, along with about 50 others at the same time, telling me I was no longer getting email.
  • “Verizon’s” address was “bavaria2@centurylink.net”
  • The “letter” was signed “VeriZon.”

If you fall for something like that, you are a walking, talking mark, and incompetent at life.

2.  Why doesn’t the public trust the news media? It must be all those Trump “fake news” lies!  CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell used a photo from a “Latinos for Trump”  event in Phoenix to accompany a report on Joe Biden’s Latino event in Florida. The CBS’s chyron read, “Biden pitches crucial Latino voters during Florida campaign stop.”

Here was what viewers saw: Continue reading

There Is No Ethics Alarms Category Sufficiently Derogatory To Describe The Corrupt Conduct, Reasoning And Statements Of Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colorado)

Be proud, Republicans!

I know there are a lot of members of Congress who are frighteningly devoid of ethics, but this story, involving  the GOP’s Ken Buck, who is also Colorado Republican Party Chair , is revolting. He needs to be sanctioned, removed from office, disbarred as a lawyer, and repudiated by his party and his constituents. What he did is no better than taking bribes.

At issue is the Republican primary for the District 10 seat currently held by Sen. Owen Hill, who’s term-limited. State Rep. Larry Liston and GOP activist David Stiver were on the ballot.  Liston received 75% of the vote and Stiver just 24%, according to documents filed later in Denver District Court. The law states that to qualify for the November ballot  a candidate must receive at least 30% of the vote from Republicans within the district.

But Stiver complained the election was unfair, and the issue was taken up with the state central committee, which consists of nearly 500 members, including elected officials and county officers. In an April 17 conference call with less than half on the line, the group voted to place Stiver on the ballot for the seat, even though he failed to receive 30% of the district’s votes. The problem with this is that doing so would violate the law.

Nevertheless, after the vote, Buck asked  Eli Bremer, the GOP chairman for state Senate District 10, to submit incorrect election results to get Stiver on the primary ballot for a state Senate seat. The phone call in which this was discussed was recorded.

Bremer refused, and went to The Denver Post to explain what happened.“You’ve got a sitting congressman, a sitting state party chair, who is trying to bully a volunteer — I’m a volunteer; I don’t get paid for this — into committing a crime,” he said. “To say it’s damning is an understatement.” Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

Ugh.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said yesterday, “I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened. Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”

No, no, no. Someone should wash Ernst’s mouth out with soap. That door needs to be slammed shut, and Ernst is a fool for suggesting otherwise, even hypothetically.

What the Democrats did, by deciding from the moment Donald Trump was elected to seek a way to remove him, undermined our democracy and its institutions. It also threatened—threatens-— to institutionalize  a  precedent that would make every  elected President to come a permanent target  of a soft coup by those who lost the contest to decide who was “fit” to be President.  From the beginning, one of the main reasons the Democrats’ undemocratic strategy was so evidently dangerous was the powerful “tit for tat” reflex in politics. Sometimes, the understanding that in politics “what goes around comes around” is a restraining force on irresponsible and unethical partisan warfare. This time it wasn’t, but that does not mean that the Republicans should reciprocate in kind. That is exactly what they must not do. If that is their approach, they will complete the destruction that the Democrats started. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/13/2020: Oh Oh! The Oscars Are Racist And Sexist Again!

 

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

1. Thoughts on the announced Oscar nominations. Well, very few African Americans made it, and no female director despite all the blatant lobbying for “Little Women” director Greta Gerwig.  Thus I have to conclude that the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences DOES have a measure of integrity after all,  because it will catch all sorts of hell for this. Even after adding many voters “of color” and kicking out some ancient, unwoke voters members, it’s still a mostly white field, maybe because the most deserving candidates happened to be the wrong color this year. It doesn’t matter: the Academy will be beseiged again for implicit racism. Watch. And it will seek “reforms.” The problem is that race-based categories looks like apartheid. The only other alternative is to have secret quotas, which is what I thought were already in effect.

It doesn’t help that both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were nominated as Best Supporting Actors for, in Pacino’s case, standard issue Al, and in Pesci’s case, an embarrassingly  flat performance. If the Academy is going to give out legacy nominations, why not some token nominations for minorities? I bet there were 50 “of color” performances this year objectively superior to these two from the dead-fish “The Irishman.”

2. It amazes me that so many Americans defend Meghan Markle’s “Megxit.” I know, I already wrote about this, but her conduct appears to be a continuation of the Obama phenomenon, where a prominent individual exploits her race to declare all criticism as based on racial bias. “Black Britons” as the New York Times calls them, are lining up to support Markel because they allege she was “savaged” by the British tabloids because of her race. Similarly, the Times finds dark implications in the fact that the Royal Family didn’t rally to her side when she came under fire: they must be racists too. All the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they didn’t support Markel because she’s an annoying jerk: Occam’s Razor applies.

If she really married into the Royal Family and didn’t know that the tabloids would be dissecting her every word and move, she was negligent and foolish. Did she consider chatting with Sarah Ferguson, or did Markle think the Duchess of York was attacked because of media bias against redheads?

For once I agree with ex-CNN talking head Piers Morgan, who wrote, “I’ve seen some disgraceful royal antics in my time, but for pure arrogance, entitlement, greed and willful disrespect, nothing has ever quite matched the behavior of the ‘Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’

She has provoked a crisis in the monarchy to further her own goals of unearned mega-celebrity. I have a Facebook friend who argues that since royalty is unethical, Meghan should be praised for setting out to bring it down in England. (Yes, he’s a Communist.) The real Markle is already becoming more apparent. She has said that she will only move back to the U.S. after President Trump is out of office, already pandering to the Angry Woke. Disney announced that it had a voice-over deal with her, with her compensation to be donated to a charity….but she made that deal as a Royal, not a rebel. Disney has the right, but not the guts, to void the arrangement. Continue reading