Obamacare’s Epitaph: “Live By The Rationalization, Die By The Rationalization”

obamacare-gravestoneRemember in 2010, when the Democrats ensured that the Affordable Care Act would clear its final hurdle to passage this way?

Democrats will finish their health reform efforts within the next two months by using a majority-vote maneuver in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. Reid said that congressional Democrats would likely opt for a procedural tactic in the Senate allowing the upper chamber to make final changes to its healthcare bill with only a simple majority of senators, instead of the 60 it takes to normally end a filibuster.The move would allow Democrats to essentially go it alone on health reform, especially after losing their fillibuster-proof majority in the Senate after Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) special election victory in Massachusetts.

Republicans have protested the maneuver as a hyperpartisan tactic to ram through a health bill, and have said that plans to use the reconciliation process make moot a bipartisan summit at the White House this week, where both GOP and Democratic leaders are supposed to present their ideas on healthcare.

At the time, Republicans, as is their wont, over-stated their objections to the maneuver, calling it unconstitutional and a breach of rules. No, it wasn’t quite that, nor was it as unusual as the GOP claimed. It was within Senate rules, but still the first time it was ever used to amend a bill that had already passed the Senate via cloture, and under such contentious circumstances.  Reconciliation was legal, all right, but since the Affordable Care Act was so revolutionary and controversial, its passage needed to be seen as democratic, and it wasn’t. Democrats ignored the Golden Rule, and extended the acceptable use of reconciliation by using a number of rationalizations, as well as “the ends justify the means.”

Let’s see: “Everybody Does It” wouldn’t work, because the problem with using reconciliation was that everybody didn’t do it, at least not very often.  So Democrats opted for 13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”23. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”#24. Juror 3’s Stand (“It’s My Right!”)25. The Coercion Myth: “I have no choice!”28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”31. The Troublesome Luxury: “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now” 40. The Desperation Dodge or “I’ll do anything!”59. The Ironic Rationalization, or “It’s The Right Thing To Do”…and perhaps a few other rationalizations on the list. Continue reading

Four Unethical Dispatches From The 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck: #1

harry-reid

Ethics Alarms must now designate the collective freakout following Donald Trump’s victory and the massive national rejection of the Democratic party as an Ethics Train Wreck, distinct from the two candidates’ individual train wrecks that engulfed their campaigns. So far, most of the passengers leaping onto the metaphorical rambling wreckage hail from the progressive and Democratic ranks, not helping their crumbling national stature at all.

Coming up in four posts are four recent screeds and missives that demonstrate various degrees and kinds of ethics rot. The rot is wide and deep, and helps explain why so many young American think that pointless chanting, shouting and violence is a rational response to a disappointing election result.

I. Nevada Senator Harry Reid

Senate minority leader Harry Reid released this statement about the election of Donald Trump:

I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.

“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear – especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.

“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.

“I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.

“We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.

“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.

“If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”

Observations: Continue reading

Race-Baiting Scalia (For Doing His Job)

Ignore them, Nino.

Ignore them, Nino.

As is often the case with topics here, I heard about the uproar over Justice Antonin Scalia’s controversial question during oral argument on the latest challenge to affirmative action accidentally, when a Facebook friend re-posted a furious message from his friend calling Scalia a moron and a racist. Even reading a second hand account of what somebody read that Scalia said (the transcript hadn’t been released, but never mind: that was enough for my friend’s African-American friend to call a Supreme Court Justice a racist and for my friend, who is a liberal-minded professor, to endorse it), I could tell that the attack was unfair and worse, outright race-baiting.

What Scalia was alleged to have asked a lawyer was whether affirmative action actually hurt blacks by putting them in “more advanced” institutions, that they “don’t belong” in elite schools. I knew, no matter what Justice Scalia really said, that he was talking about some blacks, not all blacks. That’s obvious: if an African American student can be admitted to an elite school without the “thumb on the scale” of affirmative action, obviously he or she is qualified and belongs there. But more importantly, I knew from personal experience that being admitted to a top school when the student’s credentials wouldn’t normally warrant it could be disastrous.

I worked in the administration of Georgetown Law Center in the late seventies and early eighties, as the school was trying to increase its percentage of black students. I was involved in the process sometimes, and was stunned by its unfortunate revelations: for example, some of the black students we accepted from elite colleges lacked basic reading, writing and critical thinking skills. I remember one Yale grad in particular who could not write a comprehensible sentence.

Georgetown Law set up a special class for these minority students (and a couple of  white “legacy” admits who were sons of wealthy alums, one of which I had specifically told his father could not possibly graduate, based on his college grades and test scores.) Then the school was sued by one of the affirmative action students, who claimed that making him take the remedial class was demeaning and racist. Of course he would have been better off in a less demanding law school. Affirmative action did none of these students any favors. In my opinion then and now, their welfare, confidence and self-esteem was  sacrificed so Georgetown could look progressive, and to the dubious objective of diversity for diversity’s sake.

It wasn’t just my Facebook friend’s friend that was bashing Scalia as a racist. It was much of the news media. “Justice Scalia Suggests Blacks Belong at ‘Slower’ Colleges” reported Mother Jones. “Scalia: Maybe black students belong at ‘less-advanced’ schools” reported The Hill. MSNBC’s slur was Justice Antonin Scalia floats ‘lesser schools’ for black students.  A New York Times editorial—the paper has, it appears, lost its mind– said that Scalia raised an “offensive premise which has not gotten such a full airing at the Supreme Court since the 1950s.” The New York’s Daily News  headlined“SUPREME DOPE” over a photo of Nino. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD.)

Cardin

Last week, Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, authored an op-ed announcing his opposition to the Iran Nuclear aggreement. In doing so, he placed himself in the line of fire of President Obama and his allies, including Minority Leader Harry Reid, who, in the words of one observer, were “breaking arms and legs” to ensure sufficient support to get the measure approved and veto proof. The President, disgracefully, had already compared principled opponents of the risky and irresponsible agreement—essentially the apotheosis of the President’s crippling phobia about projecting U.S. power abroad in the interests of peace when it might require threats backed by the willingness to carry them out. (We are seeing the devastating results of this leadership failure in Syria)—as the moral equivalent of terrorists. His allies in the news media had ignored all objectivity to marginalize Democratic opponants of the deal while tarring Republicans as warmongers, and effort that hit ethics rock bottom with the New York Times “Jew-Tracker” that implied that loyalty to a foreign government and faith, not consideration, analysis and principle, were behind opposition to the President’s scheme. Here is the Times graphic…

Jew-tracker-copyNice. Continue reading

Atrocious People, Part II: Harry Reid Thinks Pandering To Political Correctness Is More Important Than Upholding Honesty And Integrity

This is Harry Reid, but I just can't stand looking at the man any more, so I put a bag over his head....

This is Harry Reid, but I just can’t stand looking at the man any more, so I put a bag over his head….

[It’s Atrocious People Day at Ethics Alarms, and no Atrocious People Day would be complete without Harry Reid.]

“I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country,” Senator Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate.

Well, of course he does! After all, Harry thinks that cheating is great, if it works! He justified falsely accusing Mitt Romney of not paying taxes, confident in the laziness and gullibility of the American voter. “Why, he’s the Senate Majority Leader, Mildred! He wouldn’t lie to us!” And, as Harry pointed out, it worked—Romney lost, so Harry did the right thing. No wonder Reid doesn’t see why the NFL would care about Tom Brady pressuring low-level employees so they would help him cheat by secretly make the footballs easier for him to throw in a play-off game—after all, it worked! He won! Brady lied about it? So what? Reid approves of that, too. The statement above is a typical Reid lie: the NFL showed that it was concerned about cheating, lying, sportsmanship and integrity, not “the air in a football.”

But for the lawful owner of a business to be able to keep its 80 year old name that an entire city has cheered, worn on jerseys and caps, and made part of its culture, even though professional political correctness profiteers claimed to be grievously offended by the name because they wanted to be? That, to Harry Reid, is outrageous.*

What isn’t outrageous to Harry—just fair-minded, ethical Americans who understand such concepts as why it is wrong for the government to chill individual rights and the dangers of abuse of power by elected official—-is a U.S. Senator using his high office to attack and harass private citizens who are doing noting illegal, and only doing wrong according to Harry Reid’s Bizarro World values. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Millennium: Senator Harry Reid, Fick

“Romney didn’t win, did he?”

Senator Harry Reid to CNN’s Dana Bash, when she asked him whether he regretted his outright lie during the 2012 Presidential campaign accusing GOP nominee Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes at all for the past 10 years.

As bad as Reid looks, what lies beneath is infinitely worse...

As bad as Reid looks, what lies beneath is infinitely worse…

This is the Unethical Quote of The Millennium because it is literally impossible to say anything that demonstrates more contempt for ethical values. Moreover, Reid announced his ethical void on national TV with evident satisfaction and a complete lack of shame, making him a fick--someone who revels in being unethical.

In the old days, it was called “evil.”

Here, I’ll let Chris Cillizza, a Washington Post political reporter, explain what is so wrong with this despicable quote, the watermark of a totally corrupt political figure and  deplorable human being:

Continue reading

Harry Reid Hatred And The Tit-For-Tat Addiction

mob enforcer

Once again, the ethically disabled in conservative punditry are forcing me to come to the defense of one of the most loathsome politicians extant. Senator Harry Reid’s announcement that he is leaving the Senate after his current term expires in 2016 has inspired a spate of baseless speculation that the serious facial injuries he sustained on New Years Day were not the result of an exercise equipment mishap, and may have been the souvenirs or a beating by Vegas mob goons to teach “Dirty Harry” to deliver the goods when the Godfather ask a favor.

As Basil Fawlty would say, “Oh, thank you! Thank you so VERY MUCH!” I love wasting a good hour of sock drawer organization explaining why its wrong to mistreat the likes of Harry Reid. Continue reading