White House ethics sorely lacking

Anyone who knows me knows that I occasionally state that my first rule of ethics is to ask “When they find out what I’ve been doing, how long will I spend in jail?” And the answer had danged sure better be “None!”

When I read Craig Storrs’ Oct. 1 letter to the editor, “Just another big ol’ nothing burger,” claiming that every accusation against President Trump is a “nothing burger,” it gave me a sour feeling because I do not think the White House leadership is acting with this kind of ethics in mind. Sen. Lindsey Graham coined “nothing burger” to describe the whistleblower complaint, and he painfully misses the point. Attorney General Bill Barr first chose to hide the complaint to protect the president. That is seriously unethical on his part, even if technically legal.

Twenty years ago, this same Lindsey Graham said of Bill Clinton, “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Because impeachment is not about punishment, Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.” Clearly Sen. Graham (and others) changes his ethical behavior when it is about his own, and his party’s, behavior?

In the same vein, retired Admiral William McRaven recently stated that “When we think of dignity — the dignity of the office — it is about doing things that are moral, legal and ethical. Ethical, follow the rules. Legal, follow the law. Moral, follow what you know to be right. And my concern with President Trump is that I don’t see him following any of those on a lot of his major decisions.”

To those who agree with Storrs that defending Trump from Democratic Party attacks is necessary at all cost to save this country, I say that you will ultimately regret that cost and the far larger threat to America is (as George Will said) the Trumpublican cult that has so hideously distorted American conservatism to the point that it is now unrecognizable by comparison with William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater, the titans of conservatism a mere generation ago.

As an aside to Mr. Storrs, I also do deny President Trump’s performance both in his business life and in the national economy. He left many people hanging with his well-documented business failures. When he took office, unemployment was 4.6 percent, GDP Growth was 2 percent-plus, we had a record high S&P 500, and the deficit was declining. I think the only accolades Republican policies merit since January 2017 are that our rich folk are richer, the rest of us still tread water and the deficit again approaches Great Recession-era levels. I’d not be crowing too much about this “success.”

KENNETH NAUGLE

Forest

Baliles has no integrity

The beguiling, smiling, liar Gerald Baliles, a man as good as his word, will soon render an account of his stewardship as governor of Virginia to a court far higher than my opinion, public opinion, or the approbation of his peers. What the objective observer notes is a con artist who ran for office under false pretenses — then repudiated his campaign promises — and his honor — with unseemly haste and bald-faced zest.

Stalin asserted that the ends justify the means. As Soviet apologist John Reed said, “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.” Or, in this case, promises.

As a Christian, however, I have to agree with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The ends inhere in the means. Former Gov. Baliles’ lack of up-front integrity will forever taint the memory of his “achievements.”

It is no surprise, however, to note how Baliles’ combination of duplicity and rapacity make him a hero of the lamestream media, who bow to no god but Caesar, and view the political order as the ultimate order.

As the general public loses faith in politics and politicians, we can look forward to better, and freer, days ahead. Jesus is Lord, and he takes ethics quite seriously.

THOMAS C. SMEDLEY

Beford

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