Tag Archives: insults

When A President’s Words Are So Unethical There Is An Obligation To Condemn Them…And Him

obama-angryI have previously referenced President Obama’s outrageous—and I know I may use outrageous hyperbolically at times, but this really was outrageous—twice in recent posts without focusing on it specifically. However, since I believe it might be the single most petulant, unfair, dishonest, un-Presidential public statement ever uttered by any U.S. Chief Executive—certainly abroad—attention must be paid. Obama’s statement reflects directly on his character and leadership.

It is signature significance regarding Obama’s arrogance and narcissism, and more important for those analyzing what went so horribly wrong in his quest for “Hope and Change,” it is decisive evidence rebutting the default excuse offered by Obama’s unshakable supporters that he has been the innocent victim of a Republican Congress that would not work with him. It is the President’s duty to work with Congress, which means that while individual members may say impolitic things about him, it is counter-productive and incompetent for the President to issue blanket insults to the opposition party that he must negotiate with. Every effective President has understood this. Obama has never understood it, and the nation has suffered as a result.

It must have felt good for Obama to say, in a press conference in France…

“These are the same folks who suggested they’re so tough that just talk to Putin or staring down ISIL [will work] … but they’re scared of widows and orphans… First they were worried the press was too tough on them in the debates, now they’re worried about 3-year old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”

A competent President knows when his personal, inner asshole must be switched to silent, however. Such a statement would set off an ethics screening alarm in the brain of any non-totalitarian leader—you know, the kind who doesn’t have to care what anyone else thinks—while it was still being composed  and before it vomited out of the mouth….anyone but Obama, apparently. This really is going rogue, and nothing Sarah Palin ever said in public was as inappropriate, in part because she wasn’t the President at the time and could afford to mouth off.

Let’s identify  the internal ethical breaches here as well as the macro one, which is that Obama was in a foreign country, and it is always wrong to use a foreign stage to attack other elected officials from the U.S. (He has done this before.) Moreover, Obama’s political opposition was not the topic at hand nor what he was supposed to be focusing on. Paris and France had just suffered a devastating tragedy at the hands of ISIS terrorists, but what Obama was really upset about was that his refugee resettlement plan was being attacked at home. This wasn’t about him, in other words, but with pathological narcissists, everything is about them.

As for the statement itself.. Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Leadership

The Mizzou Meltdown: Unethical Quote, Perfect Answer

Anyone who believes this doesn't understand the concept of "free speech." Fortunately, one of the purposes of a liberal arts education is to teach students what...oh. Right.

Anyone who believes this doesn’t understand the concept of “free speech.” Fortunately, one of the purposes of a liberal arts education is to teach students what…oh. Right.

There is no way, I have suggested, that the actions and rhetoric from the protesters at the University at Missouri clamoring for “safety” and an end to incidents of upsetting speech have any place to go except campus censorship by force. To the extent that the African- American students’ conduct has wider aspirations that extend beyond the campus to U.S. society, they threaten free speech, communication and thought in our society as well. Of course, it must have these aspirations: college is supposed to prepare one for the real world, not to render you more vulnerable to its challenges.

Since the defining character of progressive rhetoric in 2015 is double-talk and ambiguity (for example, “immigration reform,” which really means “no illegal immigration enforcement,” or “mass incarceration,” which means “blaming criminal activity on laws and law enforcement rather than too many people choosing to break laws”), it has been hard to get an explicit statement out of sympathizers that confirm my conclusion. Their intent has been clear, as in the episodes where journalists have been muscled away from “safe” places. Others have interpreted the students’ complaints and demands to require censorship by threat of sanctions, as shown by the Mizzou police e-mail telling students to report “hateful or hurtful speech or actions” and their perpetrators, laying the foundation for an elite, racially-based group of campus inquisitors who have the power to define the hate and haters and send them to a metaphorical stake. The students’ words, however, have remained oblique.

Fortunately, here comes Mizzou student body VP Brenda Smith-Lezama to clarify. She was talking to MSNBC about the declared “safe spaces”—which means, for those who need another translation, this means “places on campus where the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply”—and spat out this:

“I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here. I think that it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we are experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past.”

Fortunately, Brookings Institute (That’s the liberal one, remember) Senior Fellow Jonathan Rauch, and the author of “Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought”,  had just offered the rebuttal to Smith-Lezama confused view of education in an op-ed the day before. He wrote in part… Continue reading


Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Leadership, Marketing and Advertising, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Desperately Seeking A Justification For The Unjustifiable Mizzou Meltdown, And Failing


Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Janelle Moss, an African American issues columnist, presented an aggressive, dishonest and insulting justification for the destructive black student protests at the University of Missouri. In an earlier essay, I described them as an “I’m mad at the world and somebody has to pay for it” tantrum. I’m sticking by that description, despite the ennobling spin being put on it by apologists, many of whom are trying to blunt the damage being done to civil rights advocacy by the events of the last several days.

[N]owhere in this still-young week has there been a better example of the tension between the conservative and liberal views of race and the politics around it than behind the podium where University of Missouri President Timothy M. Wolfe stood and resigned Monday,” she wrote.  This is setting up Wolfe’s speech as a straw man. He was forced to resign, and ordered to do it without making matters worse. He was also protecting himself, and, I believe, was a weak and inept leader. How nice to be able to take a hastily written statement by such a dubious representative of any group and declare it the exemplar of “conservative views on race.”

Moss’s introduction was smoking gun proof that this was an example of an advocate picking out evidence to support what she already was committed to supporting, and atrocious evidence at that.

“The Fix is aware that some Americans are inclined to reject, outright, the idea that some words — those that we choose to express our ideas, what we say at critical moments and that which we do not mention — have deeper, often multi-layered meaning, ” she writes.  I don’t know what she thinks she is saying. “Many Americans” reject the idea that words have meaning? “Multi-layered” meanings? Who? Who believes that? What she is trying to do is to justify her next “proof,” which is junk science.

She consulted two minority social scientists, who have clear biases of their own (but coincidentally aligned with hers)  to psychoanalyze what Wolfe said in resigning, and allowing her to use their self-serving diagnosis (one has a book out about “dog-whistle” racism; the other makes his living writing and teaching about how racist the U.S. is) of a short and quickly composed speech to read not just Wolfe’s thoughts but to attribute them to all “conservatives.” The result is, or should be embarrassing. Continue reading


Filed under Education, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Professions, Race, Research and Scholarship, U.S. Society

Bulletin To African-American Activists, Progressives And The University of Missouri : Racial Biases, Slurs, Insults and “Microaggressions” Are Immutable Facts Of Life, And Nobody Can Make You “Safe” From Them In A Free Country

It is clear now, as I initially expected, that what the black student tantrum that brought down the leadership at the University of Missouri wanted is encapsulated by the first gesture by the school’s new puppet regime. This:

Police email

Ah, what a wonderful wonderful world it would be, the race-grievance mob believes, if we could arrest and punish anyone who doesn’t like us, looks at us with a stink-eye, sneers at us or calls us ugly names!  That would make them love their neighbors! The entire Missouri fiasco was nothing but a Kafka-esque satire on this dream. It is one that is constantly fertilized by social justice warriors who increasingly favor totalitarian methods, and who maintain that “hate speech” is immune from the the First Amendment.

The new tactic, apparently, as I read the head-exploding memo above, is to leap right past “hate speech” to banning “mean speech” and “not very nice speech.” Rather than teaching their delicate and misguided students to learn what fat kids, ugly kids, flat-chested girls, 90 pound weakling guys, people with stutters or birth defects,  people who are weak, or not very smart or obnoxious or poor,  people who look different or wear strange clothes or have accents or smell different or who have handicaps or Asperger’s, or infamous parents, or old (my mother complained constantly about the “microagressions” she got from young people)… or, from the other side, those who too smart or too sexy or too articulate or too rich… have to learn in order to become self-sufficient, confident and not to be at the mercy of bullies, assholes and fools all their lives, the University of Missouri (and Yale, and many institutions to come if we can’t successfully humiliate those schools into rationality) are joining with the growing authoritarian wing of the progressive movement to advocate the suppression of free thought and expression. They think this will end racism. They think it is possible to make human beings “safe” from cruel and unjust social interactions.

Not in a free country, it’s not. Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

A Nation Of Assholes: The Ultimate, Undeniable And Crucial Reason Donald Trump Must Never Be President

assholesI have had this essay ready to go for at least a month; I honestly didn’t think it would be necessary to post it. Nonetheless,  I kept in on the bench, just in case. I was confident that the point to be made was too obvious, and that even those bitter, angry, irresponsible, ignorant whateverthehelltheyares who are keeping Trump’s candidacy afloat—and thus making it more difficult to sort out the real candidates—would have figured it out by now. I was wrong.

There are lots of reasons why Donald Trump shouldn’t be anyone’s candidate to be President. He is a narcissist, for one thing, and that is a pathology. Narcissists are dangerous in positions of power. He has no experience in politics, which he appears  to believe, based on his statements, consists primarily of bribing people, since that is what it largely means in his eternally corrupt businesses of construction and gambling, and pitching them things, which is not the same as persuasion.  He seems to think leading a company and leading a nation are similar jobs: they are not, though they involve some common skills. Trump is largely ignorant of most issues facing us, and takes pride in winging it, simply saying the first thing that pops into his mind. What Presidents of the United States say have cascading impact: think about the horrible consequences of Obama’s infamous “red line” statement, which has led to the willingness of despots and terrorists to defy U.S. interests and warnings, confident that nothing would be done by a confrontation-averse President. Anyone assuming President Trump would be different in this regard from candidate Trump is the sort of person who would trust Iran to follow a nuclear agreement, a current monstrosity that is also, in part, the result of Obama’s “red line” gaffe.

The one area where Trump has actually put forth a fleshed-out policy is red meat nonsense, completely unworkable and impractical, as well as offensive to core American values. That is his absurd “Deport them all, build a wall, amend the Constitution” illegal immigration prescription. Yes, the illegal immigration joint negligence perpetrated by greedy business interests and cynical Democratic party strategists who would trade the best interests of the nation and the rule of law for long term demographic trends favoring their party is infuriating and frightening. Still, proposing ludicrous solutions that can’t be accomplished (even if sane people wanted them to be) is neither a mark of intelligence nor responsible leadership.

Beyond immigration, Trump is all generalities and posturing. He’s “tough.” Tough can be good; tough without principles, and Trump appears to have none, is, by turns, bluster, stubbornness, cruelty, recklessness and bullying. Donald Trump really seems to have no regard for ethics at all, which makes him, by definition, untrustworthy. Being untrustworthy is an ethical deficiency no leader can have. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Childhood and children, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society

Out Of 199 Quotes, 40 That Reveal Donald Trump’s Ethics

Slogging through 199 Donald Trump quotes is too much for anyone to endure. Here are the 40 that matter...

Slogging through 199 Donald Trump quotes is too much for anyone to endure. Here are 40 that matter…

I don’t like or trust the technique of cherry-picking quotes from famous people to make them sound stupid, venal, mean or distasteful. First of all, the technique has been  abused by the news media, which uses it against people like Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle, but seldom digs up quotes to embarrass the leaders and political figures they like and support. Many liberal icons—Barney Frank comes to mind—talk so incessantly that it would be easy to make them sound like monsters or fools using the technique, but if it is done to these people at all, it is done by ideological blogs with minimal exposure. Second, those who make such lists often cheat, taking quotes out of context, or worse, making them up. Many lists designed to show that Sarah Palin is an idiot, for example (she is many things, but idiot is not among them) use lines actually said by Tina Fay while lampooning Palin.

Michael Kruse’s feature for Politico called “The 199 Most Donald Trump Things Donald Trump Has Ever Said”, however, deserves a bit more deference. After all, he appears to have waded through a putrid swamp of Trump interviews, books, and videos, which probably left him drooling and giggling in a corner some place; I’ll be relieved when I see evidence that he’s OK. That task took courage, dedication and endurance: attention must be paid. Moreover, this isn’t the usual list of ten or twenty quotes: you could make Stephen Hawking  seem like a dolt in twenty quotes if you chose them maliciously. This is 199. Impressive.

Also horrifying. In selecting the 199 juiciest and most provocative quotes from any prominent American, wouldn’t you expect at least one that was articulate, thoughtful, wise or memorable? I’m not looking for Samuel Butler here, or even Barack Obama, but for someone who is at least for the nonce a “serious” candidate for the highest office in the land, it would be reassuring to find some evidence of wit, perspective, reflection, or a vocabulary beyond that of a typical 8th grader, and it just isn’t there. Has Trump  read any literature? Has he ever seen a play? Is he capable of a relevant famous quote or a cultural reference (saying that Bette Midler is “grotesque” doesn’t count, though “grotesque” may be the most sophisticated word that appears on the list)? If so, there is no hint of it. Maybe Kruse intentionally left out quotes that would reflect well on Trump, and omitted utterances like “I suppose there’s a melancholy tone at the back of the American mind, a sense of something lost. And it’s the lost world of Thomas Jefferson. It is the lost sense of innocence that we could live with a very minimal state, with a vast sense of space in which to work out freedom” (George Will) or “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators” (P.J. O’Roarke) or even“Our political differences, now matter how sharply they are debated, are really quite narrow in comparison to the remarkably durable national consensus on our founding convictions.” (John McCain). I doubt it.

There are three Trump bon mots in the 199 that barely justify quoting, like  #57: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Family, Finance, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Quotes, Race, Romance and Relationships

Morning Pop Quiz On Ethics And Leadership: What’s Wrong With White House Spokesman Josh Earnest’s TSA Quote?

Here’s the quote, from Earnest’s  statement on behalf of the President:

“The President does continue to have confidence that the officers of the TSA do very important work that continues to protect the American people.”

Your pop quiz:

What’s wrong with it?

(It is very wrong.)

I’ll give you a minute (It took me 3 seconds) “Final Jeopardy” style:

Got it?

Here we go…. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Quizzes, Workplace