Showing posts with label Ethics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ethics. Show all posts

Saturday, September 12, 2020

No More QAnon Bullshit


This has to stop:
Police and local officials on the West Coast are battling multiple raging fires. They're also fighting a wave of misinformation from false rumors spread in neighborhood Facebook groups and on far-right websites that antifa activists were setting the blazes.
At least six groups have issued warnings about the false rumors, including some pleading with the public to stop sharing the misinformation.

“Rumors spread just like wildfire and now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON,” the Douglas County Sheriff's Office wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The false claims also became fodder for the now-sizable online QAnon community, which began amplifying various false reports earlier in the week.
Whatever needs to be done to regulate the flow of misinformation and put a stop to it has to start with understanding that it affects public safety. People are dying because they are being mislead intentionally in order to spread a dangerous conspiracy theory/ideology through mass hysteria. This is the kind of actual hysteria that kills people. QAnon is the asshole who yells 'fire' in a crowded movie theater, laughs when people are trampled, and gets away with it because Facebook says its alright to do these things.

This is unbelievable. This is what law enforcement has to deal with? Seriously?

This is a form of domestic terrorism. Not only is it being used to ratfuck an election, it's a threat to public safety.

The attorneys general for these Western states need to have a quick confab and begin with putting together a lawsuit against any social media company that actively entertains and spreads QAnon information. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Fox News -- they are all liable for this. Any Republican spreading it should be liable as well. Start with massive fines and criminal prosecutions for disseminating threats and information that deal directly with public safety considerations.

Once the fines hit, and once these companies realize that they need to de-platform the people who spread QAnon misinformation, it will probably take years to deprogram the acolytes of stupidity. And if this was just about wacky hats and memes on comment threads, that would be one thing. We have individuals with guns ready to shoot people because they are inundated with bullshit that isn't true. Someone better do something fast.

Friday, August 7, 2020

All We Asked For Was Justice

 

The simple act of asking for justice is happening in Louisville right now.  What's extraordinary about this effort is that it even has to happen at all. The lack of justice here is breathtaking. An African-American woman was killed in her own home by overzealous, militarized cops looking for the wrong person. 

How much longer do you think people are going to be polite when this is going on?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Experts Weigh In


Well, do I base all of my decisions on what Megan McArdle thinks or do I adopt Nate Silver's tone of mighty overcorrection and go down with guns blazing?

Listen, the mustard man is on to something here. We should listen to epidemiologists, but perhaps not the ones that are afraid to speak up in case Trump fires them.

Never in American history--and I don't use this comparison lightly--have we been less prepared for a disaster and more inundated with the foolhardy opinions of wankers than we are right now. People who have zero experience, training, or credentials are writing opinion pieces seen by millions without any regard for the harm or disinformation they are spreading.

The coronavirus sure is dangerous, but what's more of a threat are the hacks and weasels who think they understand it better than the experts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Women on The Tonight Show



Sometimes, the best bits of cultural relevancyend up appearing in places where you would never expect to find them:


There's an interesting point to which she refused to appear on the Johnny Carson show because of how women were portrayed on his show. Ride explained to NASA that she wasn't interested, then took off for California to lie low. She didn't explain herself; she just acted.


Women were treated horribly on the Tonight Show; if you were beautiful or old enough to be Johnny Carson's grandmother, you could expect to get on. And even when you did get on, there would be no chance for anything reasonable or enlightened to happen.

The fact that Sally Ride turned down Carson is significant because she was part of a very vocal minority that complained about how women were depicted and treated on the show.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ignoring the Debacle of the Iran Contra Affair





















I took notice of a small bit of intellectual dishonesty wedged into a review of a new hagiography of Ronald Reagan.


Similarly, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker was a “gift” from his predecessor, Jimmy Carter. Volcker curbed inflation, leading to economic growth at “just the right time for Reagan.” Reagan’s overall economic policy and its ongoing impact merit more examination, as do the intricacies of the disastrous Iran-Contra affair.


Fewer than ten words for the single defining scandal of the Reagan era? Really? And how many words did Brands waste on Ollie North, he of the shredder and the office hottie? The fact that Oliver North still appears on television in anything but a prison jumpsuit is proof no one remembers what actually happened and that there has never been a real accountability moment for the Morning in America crowd.


This is quite relevant. In our modern political discourse, Reagan is accorded virtual sainthood and his conservative bonafides will be cited relentlessly in the 2016 election cycle.

What this amounts to is a virtual whitewashing of history. Reagan traded arms for hostages, and the arms went to the regime in Iran. He ignored the will of Congress. He was never held accountable for it, and President Bush pardoned nearly everyone who should have gone to jail.

Change Obama with Reagan, and he would have already been impeached. I laugh when they call Obama a tyrant because, brother, the real tyranny has been right under your nose for decades and no one has done a proper accounting for what went on.

This is an icon worth celebrating? Did any of these people actually live through the 1980s?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This is Now the Gilded Age






Dear Prudence, 
I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?
—Halloween for the 99 Percent

Someone needs to check their privilege at the door and acknowledge that, when you argue that paying more in taxes means you shouldn't have to tolerate the presence of the poor, you're the scum of the Goddamned Earth.

Just so we're clear, lady--your taxes aren't anywhere nearly high enough to compensate for what a parasite you've become.

A Senate Full of Nuts




Are you prepared for the crazies to be in charge of the Congress? You'd better get ready.

As I said before, the fact that Joni Ernst is speaking like an unhinged crazy person will not hurt her one bit with the voters of Iowa. They have checked out. Thirty years ago, she would have been laughed off of the stage, lucky to get 5% of the vote. Now she's well on her way to being Senator Ernst, gun nut and testicle remover.

A statement along the lines of using a gun to defend herself against her own government--that old trope from G. Gordon Liddy where you go for a head shot when ATF agents enter your home--used to mean you weren't leadership material. Now, in Iowa, it means you get to act like Yosemite Sam, only crazier.

If you want to know what's wrong with this country, look at Iowa for a change. It is a highly educated state where the pride and joy of most families is to send their daughter off to a liberal arts college and their son off to receive a Bachelor's Degree in agricultural science (or vice versa, since women have always been our best farmers, by far). It used to be that walking around with a bleary-eyed hankering for guns would be seen as a firm negative and proof that the candidate doesn't have control over their emotions and has no regard for public safety.

There's no need for gun control in a place like Iowa. Everyone there should be free to own guns. The thing that has gone off the rails is this belief that being an irresponsible gun owner is a positive in a leader.

North Carolina's Foundation of Lies




Unbelievable:

For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.


"These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report. He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.


Four employees have been fired and five more disciplined because of their roles. One other former employee had honorary status removed, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday.


Wainstein is the former federal prosecutor hired by UNC to independently investigate the academic fraud brought to light by CNN, the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets.


In all, the report estimates, at least 3,100 students took the paper classes, but adds the number "very likely falls far short of the true number."


Given that this was a pervasive, institutional fraud of a magnitude that is difficult to believe, the death penalty is well warranted for Division I athletics at North Carolina. At a minimum, all victories and championships should be invalidated.





That would mean Roy Williams, for example, would have to look elsewhere for a legitimate national championship title. 





If they find the same thing at Duke, I would invalidate everything accomplished in the whole ACC forever. I mean, damn. How do you get away with cheating like this? I expect this sort of thing out of Kentucky. I didn't expect to find out that a degree from the University of North Carolina isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This is Why We Shouldn't Go to War in Iraq Ever Again


There used to be a thing called a "warblogger."

Mainly, these were folks with a lot of information and little, if any, analytical experience. They knew the military, they knew something about strategy and games, and they figured that was enough to give them credibility when it came to speaking about how America was conducting itself in Iraq before the war was ended by the Obama Administration.

Some of these people went belly up when their wars wound down--there was nothing to blog about. Their audience shrank because they were a one-trick pony and hating Obama was already being done by people with more talent and skill.

This case is a bookend to the Iraq War, a verdict that should resonate for anyone who has ever been criticized by a warblogger or mocked for not knowing that Petraeus would never Betray Us.

How's your war looking now, son? Are you happy for the results? Did we accomplish everything you thought we would? Or did we just manufacture more enemies and create more Veterans than we could ever handle and did we cut loose a generation of mercenaries who simply had too many guns and too many brown skinned people to shoot?

The great blogger Kos actually served in the military, and his response when some Blackwater guards were left dangling off a bridge was to say, in effect, fuck these people. They were mercs and they were out for profit in exchange for sending rounds through bodies. These men inherited the fight, stepped up to the plate, and emptied their weapons into civilians. Fuck them, too,

We will be paying the price for the Iraq War for the next fifty or sixty years, and we will pay dearly for it, and no one will bother to go back and read the ranting and the raving of the cheerleaders for that war, except to have a good laugh and see what could be done about scrubbing the Internet clean of their filth.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Puritans Still Rule America




No surprise here. This is the lesson that people in politics never seem to learn--it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. Everything you think had gone away will always come back around and bite you in the ass. And anything that involves sex will be exposed because the American appetite for naughty news is insatiable:

As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved.


But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged.


The information that the Secret Service shared with the White House included hotel records and firsthand accounts — the same types of evidence the agency and military relied on to determine who in their ranks was involved.


Jack Lew was the White House Chief of Staff when this happened. Covering up the involvement of the White House in this scandal probably went through him. If it did not, then you can plainly see why he did not hold the job for very long.





The Secret Service and the White House are locked in a struggle against one another. No one is well served by this and no one should mistake the impact this will have going forward. The rest of President Obama's turn in office will resemble siege warfare, and, in my opinion, the leaks that will involve this kind of activity will increase.





There is also an undercurrent of a cultural clash here. When you send Americans abroad, no matter how sophisticated they pretend to be, there is simply no way they can handle the customs and the practices found in other countries. We are still a Puritanical society and we bear the imprint made by a long-dead religious sect that flourished in New England on American customs and morals. This is why the Old West shocked people back east--it resembled the way the world still works in many places, with sex between adults treated like a retail transaction and with little regard for what made preachers uneasy.





The direct link to Puritanical values can be found when you laugh at the idea that the actor, Stephen Collins, should be the face of conservative family values. He once had the gall to criticize Jessica Biel for trying to have a viable career in Hollywood. He will likely never work again and the media elements at the level of TMZ will attempt to make the same buck that the Colombian prostitutes made when it was known that they were able to use the law to embarrass the government of the United States.





Everything can be traced back to hypocrisy and Puritan values that are outdated. No wonder the French still laugh at us.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Ethically Challenged World of Senator John Walsh




This is ridiculous. How can someone get away with such a blatant form of plagiarism? And then to use PTSD as a reason as to why plagiarism might have happened is the perfect way to cheapen what others are going through. This kind of logic would be great if you needed to get out of a speeding ticket, and it would be about as effective. What a disgrace.

Senator John Walsh of Montana has a long, proud history of cutting corners and creating opportunities for himself. He is a combat veteran, and we should be grateful for his service. That doesn't mean he should be a United States Senator and he definitely has not earned a higher degree. There's a track record here and it cannot be ignored. No one should get a pass because of their party affiliation or their service.

At a minimum, he should resign and accept the academic discipline that goes with blatant plagiarism, which would include, I suspect, the withdrawal of the degree he was awarded.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Phony Patriots and Ridiculous Rules




Come on. Not another sad old Vet who loves the flag and lives near rich people who hate America:

A veteran could lose his home because of a small American flag he has placed in a flower pot in front of his home.


Larry Murphree explained that his homeowners’ association in the Sweetwater community wants him to remove the flag because it violates home display rules. Furthermore, he is facing $8,000 in fines if he doesn’t take it out of his flower pot.
“I want it to go away. It’s such a minor little thing and they keep coming after me,” Murphree told WAWS. “They just sent me a letter that says I owe them around $8,000 and they put a foreclosure lien on my house.”


Murphree has 30 days to pay the fines and remove the flag or the homeowners’ association will move forward with the foreclosure.


I hate these stories. Buried in there somewhere is usually a telling detail. As in, the dude is a shirtless crank with no money who is mad because they won't let him keep a car with three flat tires in his yard so he put out an American flag just to be difficult.





First of all, Mr. Murphree is being stupid on purpose. When you move into a house in Florida, you are going to encounter the mentality that surrounds exclusionary communities (otherwise known as compounds of scared, semi-wealthy people who fear the hordes outside the gate). They initiate "home display rules" because they don't want anything looking cheap, fake, or stupid to drive the value of their property down in any way, shape or form. When someone sticks the American flag in front of their house, and when they allow it to become tattered and torn and when they display it improperly (like not illuminating it at night), they make the place look run down. Sensible people know that there's nothing wrong with the American flag but there is something wrong with flying it in front of your house in lieu of fixing the siding or keeping the yard looking neat. It drives down property values to have flags and other symbols out in front because it tells the people who come into the neighborhood that there's a VETERAN somewhere around there. And everyone knows that a VETERAN is going to come apart at the seams and start shooting, man, especially if the heroin runs out and a guy named Zeke comes over on a motorcycle to cook meth so you can both buy an electric Harley with a sidecar because your back gives out when you have to put your feet down while riding because your're flipping old.





Second, the fines are a binding aspect of living where there is a homeowner's association so allowing them to climb into the thousands of dollars is immature and foolish. Don't like the rules? Move out. Good luck finding a decent place to live where they want you to fly the flag because then you're going to be all contrary and difficult and assert your free right NOT to fly no damned flag except the Gadsden Flag, which means, when upside down, that Obama is a tyrant and your nephew can't get his pills anymore from the free clinic or something. When you buy a home, you sign a blizzard of papers. Inside of that blizzard is an agreement to accept the rules of a homeowner's association. Good luck fighting that. Just because everyone around you hates flags, symbols, and the cheapening effects of things like a Florida Marlins World Series Victory Banner doesn't mean you can't sit in the privacy of your own home and hum the Battle Hymn of the Republic while watching Bruce Willis movies.





Third, your pride in America does not come from sticking a cheap piece of plastic in a flower pot. It comes from knowing that these phony stories trade on misplaced outrage. Grow up, abide by the rules of your homeowner's association, pay your fines, and stop using cheap local media outlets to draw attention to the fact that you're pathetic and make bad choices. The reporters who write these stories are lazy and can't think of anything to do so they love it when a cantankerous old coot pretends that his dishonorable discharge for going AWOL six times in 1974 when he was stationed in Kansas means he's now a retired Special Forces sniper colonel snake eater bomb expert airborne assassin and HAS TO BE LISTENED TO despite the fact that he marches around with his gut out and can't find his DD 214.





Do you love America? Then love America and stop pretending that it has anything to do with a flag.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Let Someone With a Real Life Write About Being on Drugs




The failure here is not that Maureen Dowd cannot write; the failure is that, when Maureen Dowd writes, her ridiculously privileged life as a working member of the punditry gets in the way of common sense.

If you go to Colorado and do drugs, you will not come up with anything worth writing about it you've already made up your mind to warn kids of the dangers. Real people with a real life can tell you what drugs do and they don't need an old media bag of nuts to tell them otherwise. Ask a grandma on meth in rural West Virginia if she thinks being on a little weed in a hotel room is a bad thing and you might not like the answer. Kids don't care, kids don't follow, kids just wanna get high.

Idiot.

Friday, May 30, 2014

And That's Not the End of It





“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan..."


Shinseki is gone:

In the end, even Eric Shinseki knew he had to go, President Barack Obama said Friday in announcing the resignation of his only Veterans Affairs secretary over a growing scandal involving sometimes deadly waits for care at VA hospitals.


Obama went before reporters shortly after meeting with Shinseki at the White House and said the retired Army general told him that "the VA needs new leadership" to address the widespread problems chronicled in new reports this week, adding that Shinseki "does not want to be a distraction" to fixing the situation.


"That was Ric's judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans, and I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem," Obama said.

When the boss has to leave under a black cloud, it sends a clear message to the underlings--you're next. The reason why it makes sense for Shinseki to leave is because the greedy, incompetent administrators below him need to be washed out of the VA like the fleas and lice they are, clinging to their bonuses and their schemes to profit personally while failing America's burgeoning corps of Veterans.

That's why I called for him to quit or be fired--there's no other way to remove the terrible, terrible management below Shinseki's level at VA. Someone new, someone tough, and someone with a clear mandate to remove incompetence and fraud from the ranks has to be empowered to do so. Shinseki was not that man anymore.

I would think that many of those engaged in malfeasance would have the decency to retire or quit in the weeks ahead. Many of them won't. They will cling to their lifestyle and continue to do nothing to take care of Veterans. They will continue to ride out the clock. They should not collect any more bonuses, however, and every administrator paid a bonus over the last ten years who presided over a hospital with secret wait lists and things of that nature should be prosecuted for fraud. Their bonuses should be paid back and their retirement benefits should be irretrievably revoked.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs is about benefits, after all. I don't think anyone who screwed Veterans and got paid should be able to retire on a comfortable pension and with full health care. I think that they should be cast out into the real world where so many dying and sick and Veterans have lived since coming back from Vietnam and wherever else. They have had no safety net. They have seen the promises made to them turn into a blizzard of paperwork, crushed under the heels of people who don't care about them while making three figure salaries, getting eight weeks off a year, and being paid ridiculously inflated personal performance bonuses.

To them I would say, welcome to the reality you were charged with improving. Screw you. You're on your own.

This does not end with Shinseki. This ends when the frauds and the thieves who cost this man his job are scrambling to find someone to take care of them while they cope with the aftermath of their personal pity party. This ends when a former bigwig administrator from the Phoenix VA Hospital has to use Coinstar to pay for meds at a discount grocery store in the middle of nowhere.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hammering Away at Legacies




Dick Cheney's legacy took another beating at the hands of the people who have been trying to clean up the mess created by his old boss. This is why he has lashed out and called the President of the United States weak:

"Some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint but from our willingness to rush into military adventures without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action or leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required," Obama added. "Tough talk draws headlines, but war rarely conforms to slogans."


President Obama's abandonment of neoconservatism and nation-building means fewer contracts for the companies that saw huge profits under Bush-Cheney. Those people are angrily telling Cheney to say something and use what influence he has because they own the souls of neoconservatives and are demanding repayment for their loyalty. An entire way of life is about to come crashing down and the rush to diversify portfolios and invest in providing solar panels to drowned polar bear researchers has people climbing over one another, trying to get beachfront property in Ohio and bid on the contract to provide security for the next drone base in West Africa.





We finally have a President who only wants to start a handful of moderate-sized wars. We no longer have a President who wants to start larger wars that will break the military. It's a slight change, but it's a big enough change to frighten people used to wider profit margins.

Friday, May 23, 2014

J. D. Gordon is a Jackass of the Highest Order




What is this bullshit?

Here’s another secret the White House doesn’t want you to know about the VA. Al Qaeda detainees get better medical treatment than our veterans.


Say what?


Yes, it’s true. I know because I served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005-2009 and visited Guantanamo Bay Naval Base over 30 times during those years.


Despite the fact that Al Qaeda terrorists carried out the Sept. 11 terror attacks, killing 3,000 people in America, the admitted co-conspirators and their roughly 150 fellow jihadists at Gitmo have approximately 100 doctors, nurses and health care personnel assigned to them.


Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call. Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD? No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.

Guess who gave Gordon his job--the Bush Administration. Guess who was treating prisoners at Guantanamo Bay "better" than all the Veterans created by the insane foreign policy choices of the Bush Administration? Why, one and the same--the Bush Administration. They're the ones who set policy and filled the place with the innocent and the guilty alike. Did you forget who tortured many of those men being treated "better" than our Veterans? The Bush Administration tortured them, repeatedly, and how many of them died? How many of them ended up in black sites and then transferred into Guantanamo Bay, desperately needing basic medical care?

I mean, Jeebus. The brass balls on these people must click-click-click well into the night while they're spitballing and trying to come up with this stuff.

Guess who has tried, repeatedly, to close Guantanamo Bay? The Obama Administration. Guess whose Congress has blocked every attempt to shut it down? Oh, that would be the Republican one, which has had the gall to stick it to Veterans for years. Guess who has been trying to treat millions of Veterans while the Republican-controlled Congress shuts down the government and refuses to pass adequate funding bills? The Obama Administration, of course.

You don't get to break the American military and ruin several countries and then come back a half a decade later and hope people forgot everything you damaged, broke, and mismanaged because of your incompetence and stupidity. The mere fact that Gordon writes for Fox News speaks volumes to the impossibility of giving anyone who worked for the Bush Administration a decent job in the real world.

I'll say this for our Kenyan-born black Mooslim Prezuhdent--at least he figured out that killing them with drones in their beds was better than sending them to Gitmo in a diaper.

This is the perfect example of jackassery--any Bush Administration official who criticizes how we are caring for Veterans should shut the hell up and pray that the amnesia of the American people continues well into the future.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pinch Steps on a Rake



There's a reason why this story matters, and it really doesn't have anything to do with the fact that this is a media story or that these are wealthy, privileged media people who are whining and carrying on in public. This story matters because of how women are treated in the workplace when they ask for equal pay.

I mean, full stop.

This story resonates with the experiences of millions of American women. Jill Abramson found out she wasn't getting paid what her male colleagues and predecessors were getting paid. This went back years. Years of this kind of behavior, which is awful. And when she asserted her rights, they fired her. In violation of every common sense workplace ethic, they pulled the trigger on getting rid of her when they should have addressed the issue and made it right and apologized.

Which is going to be cheaper in the long run?

This whole thing about trying to cover up the fact that they fired her because she brought in a lawyer to talk about her compensation package is the legal nightmare behind the scenes--that's the inside baseball stuff that stood out to legal-minded folks. That's what set people on fire. That's what really drove home the idea that this could be applied to factory workers, retail workers, IT professionals, nurses--you name it. Forget the wealth and privilege of these media personalities--it could be a story unfolding in a company anywhere in America. Women just don't get paid what they're worth. We see it time and again.

And it's wrong. It's fundamentally the wrong thing to do to people.

What stood out to me was that you could write this story in a lot of places where women aren't paid as much as men for the same work--for work that is often better. There was a collective reaction to this story because so many women have experienced exactly what Abramson experienced--that sickening feeling of not being treated right because of only one thing--their gender.

In each and every part of America's work life, that has to stop. It should have stopped long ago. We passed Lily Ledbetter--legislation that addressed these issues--and it still goes on. We see stories about wage theft, and it made me think about what would solve something like this.

Pay women the same as men or lose your business. Steal wages from your employees and you lose your business. I'm not talking about shutting it down--I mean, you lose your property.

Your property is guaranteed to be protected by the law of the land and the infrastructure You Didn't Build that helped you create and run your business. If you don't pay people what they are worth and if you steal the wages of their work, you forfeit your right to enjoy the business you are in. You collect what you put into that business (minus what you cheated someone out of or stole) and you walk away with nothing else. You lose your business. It goes into public trust or receivership and is sold so that nobody loses their job. Whoever buys that business  has to keep everyone employed and has to pay them what is owed to them.

Try that and see if that brings pay up to an equal level and see if that stops wage theft.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Demonizing Jill Abramson




Jill Abramson had the audacity to ask to be treated equally at The New York Times.

It is 2014. Women are still being paid much, much less than men for equal work in far too many jobs and careers. Abramson was at the pinnacle of the American (world?) media establishment and she was still begging to be treated as an equal.

Instead, we're treated to the usual "bitchy, bossy woman" commentary that will render this story a footnote in the days ahead. By this weekend, will we have an actual conversation about workplace equality or will we assume that the wealthy and privileged Abramson will simply have to find work somewhere else?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

No Courage Needed Whatsoever




Steven Mufson rains on the hagiography parade:

Here’s the Kennedy Library’s version of what happened:


“He had promised Americans no new taxes during the presidential campaign two years earlier and he was voted into office with that promise. But, he had also promised to serve his country, and he decided that was the promise he would keep…. America’s gain was President Bush’s loss, and his decision to put country above party and political prospects makes him an example of a modern profile in courage that is all too rare.”


I was covering economic policy for The Washington Post from 1990 through 1993, and things were not that simple. First, making the pledge was a political maneuver that Bush must have known was not sustainable given the mounting federal deficits in the 1980s.


Second, he held out for a long time to avoid breaking the pledge; the deadlock with House Democrats forced the government to briefly shut down. He did not lead the way to a tax deal; he made Democrats push hard for it and let his budget director figure out how to package it.


Third, after signing the budget deal, Bush tried to distance himself from it. Even before the formal signing ceremony, he said at a press conference that he "had to gag and digest" parts of the deal. Later he was pressed by some of his political advisers to renounce the deal when he was campaigning for reelection in 1992. On March 3, 1992, Bush declared in a public appearance and interviews that the 1990 deal was a mistake. "If I had it to do over, I wouldn't do what I did then, for a lot of reasons, including political reasons," he said.


Mufson correctly places this "courage" in the proper context--there was none. This is absolutely critical when making an assessment of American history--without the context provided above, the Kennedy honor becomes the thing that historians will cite again and again because the reality of what happened will fade into memory. What was a reluctant, lazy, dishonest bit of political posturing becomes an anecdote repeated throughout texts for years to come.





There was no courage, there wasn't anything especially honorable about it, and, oh by the way, the President whitewashed his own foreign policy record by pardoning everyone but himself when he left the Presidency, effectively disinfecting both his own and the Reagan Administration of some of the era's worst affronts to the Constitution. If ignoring the will of Congress isn't an abuse of Executive Power, then what the hell is?





Each and every time a Republican screams about the Obama Administration, patiently remind them of a thing called the Iran-Contra scandal, Ollie North, and how the pardons came floating down from Bush's desk to save all the criminals from being indicted and tried for crimes against the Constitution. So far, we don't know of any efforts on the part of the Obama Administration to trade arms for hostages--maybe they're sending tanks to the Taliban to get that jackass malingerer and deserter Bowe Bergdahl back--who knows.





I can't wait to hear how shrill Mufson is being. Leave the poor old man and his nutty socks alone...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Michael Grimm Indicted on 20 Federal Criminal Charges





Michael Grimm, New York Congressman, indicted on 20 federal criminal charges | WJLA.com

Bear in mind, Michael Grimm threatened a reporter earlier this year with physical violence and was once an FBI agent. In other words, he's your typical politician of the week. The law is an inconvenience to these people.