Tag Archives: ignorance

Hoping That Future Presidential Candidates Won’t Be Asked About Whether They Would Kill Baby Trump


I refused to weigh in on the brief and silly ethics question being asked of various Presidential candidates regarding whether they would kill Baby Hitler given the chance via DeLorean or Star Trek gateway or something similar. I am beginning to wonder, though, if candidates to lead whatever is left of the U.S. 50 years from now will be asked a similar question about killing Baby Trump.

I have written…

Donald Trump’s revolting candidacy…cannot fairly be called the most unethical presidential candidacy, but it is early yet. It may well prove to be one of the most harmful. As the United States faces some of the most difficult challenges in its history, Trump has chosen to use the nation’s process of deciding on its leader for his own ego gratification and self-promotion, without  preparation for the job, deference to fair campaign rhetoric, or acknowledgment of his own fatal flaws as a candidate. Exploiting his status as a media celebrity in a celebrity-besotted culture, as well as the news media’s lack of discipline or principle, he is opportunistically advancing his candidacy on the lack of credible GOP contenders, using tabloid headline tactics….Donald Trump is perfectly happy to make a mockery of the presidential nomination and election processes while distorting them too. If he manages to convince enough fools to vote for him, hell, sure…he’d have a blast running for President. If his run peters out, it’s still worth lots of publicity, and increases the value of the Trump “brand.” Even the most unethical of the previous candidacies were based on a sincere, if misguided belief that the country’s welfare would be served by it. Does Trump have that belief? I wonder. No, his can’t be called the most unethical candidacy. But it is reckless, and it is intentionally appealing to the worst in 21st Century American character: fear, celebrity worship, ignorance, and materialism. Meanwhile, every second of attention his candidacy distracts from serious consideration of our nation’s leadership reduces the chances of the public doing its hardest and most important job carefully and competently.

I wrote that five years ago. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership

And The Michele Bachmann Memorial Award For The Most Disqualifying Ignorance Of American History Demonstrated By A Republican Presidential Candidate Goes To….


Ben Carson, of course!

WARNING: the next person who tells me that Ben Carson must be intelligent because he separated conjoined twins is going to get a punch in the mouth, unethical or not.

The award is named for Bachmann because she repeatedly mangled American history on the way to becoming the 2012 Republican Presidential hopeful who most embarrassed her party, her gender, her species, bipeds,  and the American educational system. On the way to losing all respect, credibility and the nomination, Bachmann told her cheering, stupid crowds that the “shot heard round the world” was in New Hampshire, and that John Quincy Adams, a little boy in 1776, was a Founding Father. (Bachmann also confused John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, the serial child killer, and I’m not forgiving that, either.)

Believe it or not, Carson’s award winning statement is worse. Yesterday,on C-SPAN, he said this in his usual inspiring eyes half closed, lips barely moving, droning delivery, when he was asked which of the Founders most impressed him:

“I’m impressed by a lot of them, but particularly impressed with Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react. And he tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”

No, that’s not a slip of the tongue. He specifically mentions Jefferson, and he was not talking about the Declaration but the Constitution, with which Tom had nothing to do—he didn’t write it,he didn’t sign it, and he wasn’t at the Convention.

Dr. Carson’s ignorant, he’s faking it, and he’s an idiot…just like Bachmann, who graduated from law school, remember.

Carson hasn’t bothered to acquire the basic knowledge of his country necessary to become an American citizen, much less to presume to lead  it.

When I interviewed for a job, I made sure that I knew the basics about the company or organization I was attempting to join, because that demonstrated that I was serious and responsible, and at least had a threshold understanding of what my job might require. Carson would flunk a basic job interview, even without being scored down for his terrible presentation—you can’t look an interviewer in the eyes with your eyes closed.

Would it be unfair to require as a prerequisite of running for the leadership of a nation to be able to answer 5th grade-level questions about that nation’s history? You know…who was the first President? Which side won the Civil War? Who delivered the Gettysburg Address?

Which founding document did Thomas Jefferson write????

I don’t think that would be unfair at all.

Here Doctor, you arrogant disgrace, watch this (it’s videoed from a TV screen—tough), since you obviously never read a history book:





Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History

Comment of the Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Week: My Progressive, Rational, Educated and Gay Facebook Friend”


Unlike most Comments of the Day, this one by Penn/Same Penn, who has two aliases here due to WordPress’s inexplicable habit of eating his posts, requires some back-reading to fully appreciate…but it is worth the effort.

The original post is about a Facebook friend’s mass condemnation of the Lone star State as a frightening, bigoted and  violent place where he would never set foot, in part because of his anger over Houston’s rejection last week of a bill that would expand LGBT civil rights in the city. My post noted that painting Texas with such a broad and harsh brush is itself bigotry—a position that cannot be rebutted, I believe—and reader Neil protested that the anti-Texas and Texans sentiment was just.

This inspired P/SP to one of the most eloquent and thoughtful posts Ethics Alarms has ever received, on any topic, and his is complex here, far ranging from its inspiration.

Here is Penn’s Comment of the Day on the post, Unethical Quote Of The Week: My Progressive, Rational, Educated and Gay Facebook Friend: Continue reading


Filed under Comment of the Day, Daily Life, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Facebook, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

Now THIS Is Hate Speech…No, Wait, It’s A Gay Writer Hating A Straight Baseball Player, So It’s All Good

Daniel Murphy


In March, in a post about Dr. Ben Carson’s awful apology for his ignorant statement on CNN about prison turning prisoners gay, I compared his ignorance to that of Mets second-baseman Daniel Murphy, who had just listened to Billy Bean, a former major league baseball player who is gay, and had been appointed as the sport’s “ambassador for inclusion.”  Murphy said,

“I disagree with his lifestyle.I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”

His statement loosely translated means, “I don’t know anything about gays except what I have been told by people who also know nothing about gays but think they do.  I believed all of it, since, honestly, I don’t think about the topic much. But the question was about whether the fact that a team mate was gay would cause me to distrust him or not want to play with him, and my answer is no.”

Later Murphy elaborated,

“Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me. It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride.”

I mentioned Murphy then because he, unlike Carson, is just a baseball player, and his having ignorant ideas about gays (what does “disagreeing” with the fact that someone is gay even mean? He’s gay–you can’t “disagree.” Anyone using “lifestyle” to describe gays has just written his ignorance in sky-writing. If one knows any gays at all, the idiocy of this is manifest. What would ever make an 8 year old wake up one morning and say, “I’ve weighed the options, and made my choice: I want to be gay!” This literally never happens.) and stating the ideas out loud only hurts Murphy, while Carson’s ignorance is relevant to the job he’s seeking and his qualifications for it. Carson is a narrow, biased, irresponsible amateur, and thus unqualified to hold office. Nobody, however, should care what Murphy thinks, as long as he can hit and field his position.

For someone who is clueless, Murphy’s comments are even admirable. He’s not going to judge a man’s character based on “his lifestyle” or wish him ill, which makes him infinitely preferable to Slate’s gay issues blogger, Mark Joseph Stern. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Love, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society

Unethical Quote Of The Week: My Progressive, Rational, Educated and Gay Facebook Friend


“I never want to step foot in Texas. I don’t even want to change planes in an airport there. In fairness to Texas, there are several states in this country that I refuse to visit, not in a political boycott way but in a I’d-rather-not-get-harassed-by-white-trash-or-shot-by-a-gun-nut kind of way. Basically, you won’t be seeing any pics of our family in the Deep South…ever!”

——-Posted to Facebook by a Facebook friend.

It constantly astonishes me that otherwise kind and intelligent people who regard themselves as tolerant, accepting and enemies of prejudice and bigotry can be so devoid of self-awareness that they openly display not only their own irrational bias and ignorance as if it is a badge of honor, but also think that avoiding new data and experiences that challenge their facile assumptions makes them look wise and virtuous.

Bulletin to my friend: This makes you look like a hateful fool, and I know you are not.

I’m waiting to see how many “likes” his post gets; I assume a lot. I don’t know who it was who first observed that as we age we tend to become the kind of human being we hate the most, but it struck me as a perceptive observation the first time I heard it, and I have never read a more perfect example of the phenomenon.




Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Facebook, Gender and Sex, U.S. Society

10 Ethics Observations On The CNBC Republican Presidential Candidates Debate


The transcipt is here.

1. Seldom are the  verdicts on a presidential debate as near unanimous as those on last night’s CNBC affair, in which Gov. John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen.Ted Cruz, and Sen. Rand Paul took loaded questions from the CNBC panel of Becky Quick, John Harwood, and Carl Quintanilla. The questions and interjections from the moderators were so hostile, so disrespectful, so obviously concocted from a biased perspective, that the criticism came from all sides of the political spectrum.

Mostly the work of the CNBC trio was just unprofessional. The rules seemed arbitrary, the three talked over each other, they neither commanded nor deserved the participant’s cooperation. It was, correctly, called the smoking gun of news media bias, and a terrific honesty, fairness and integrity test for anyone watching. If you did and still say that it didn’t stench of a hostile exercise in media bias, then you lack all three. It was an embarrassment for CNBC and journalism.

2. Ironically, though the moderators were terrible, it arguably was the best debate yet for the Republicans. The hapless trio actually gave Sen. Ted Cruz a chance to show that you tangle with him at your peril, and to display his impressive mind and speaking ability. He said…

“Let me say something at the outset. The questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions — Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues? The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every thought and question from the media was, which of you is more handsome and why? Let me be clear: The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense, than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Nobody believes that the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive solutions to people at home.”

Bingo. Cruz’s perfectly delivered reprimand is being sloughed off by many in the press as a repeat of Newt Gingrich’s trick, in the 2012 debates, of routinely beating up on moderators regardless of what they asked. This, in contrast, was fair, accurate, as perfectly delivered as it was impressive. I had followed the debate closely, and I wouldn’t have been able to run down the list of hostile questions like that without checking notes. Cruz is probably the smartest candidate in the race. Too bad he’s a rigid ideologue and a demagogue with the charisma of a chain saw.

3. CNN’s comment on the Cruz slap-down: “Here’s an attack all Republicans can love.” This means, I suppose, that only Republicans care about having a news media that isn’t trying to manipulate national elections. That conclusion should offend all Democrats—unless, of course, it is true. The desire to have an unbiased and competent news media should not be a partisan issue. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Social Media, U.S. Society

Border Patrol In An Ethics Train Wreck At U. Cal-Irvine


Ethics Train Wrecks are situations where nearly everyone involved—adversaries, victims, authorities, and usually reporters and journalists— behave unethically. This story is typical of the breed.

The October 22 student job fair at the University of California-Irvine included many organizations that cookie cutter liberal students have reviled since I was in college, but somehow it was the only  the Border Patrol that was under fire from anti-immigration enforcement activists.

Protesters accused the federal agency charged with protecting U.S. borders of  “unjust killings, …. racial profiling, use of force, and unjust violence.” The Border Patrol, leaving little reason to give us confidence in its general ability to brave more perilous challenges, allowed itself to be run off, and and to permit what may have been non-students to prevent actual students from gaining access to a job opportunity.

“We regret to inform the community that out of concern for the safety of CBP Recruitment Officers, U.S. Customs & Border Protection will no longer be participating in the UCI Fall Career Fair,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ralph DeSio in a statement. The perceived hostility on campus was accompanied by a Change.org petition signed by around 600 people, demanding that the agency be banned from the job fair.  The petition claimed “having Border Patrol agents on campus is a blatant disregard to undocumented students’ safety and well-being” and is insulting to “mixed-status families.”

The petition, like the vast majority of Change.Org. petitions, was moronic—ignorant, irresponsible, silly and unmoored to reality.

The passengers on this ETW: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Facebook, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society