Category Archives: Citizenship

Of Bundies, Trump, Wikileaks, Rebellion—You Know, The Whole 2016 Election Thing

jury-nullThe jigsaw puzzle of an existential national crisis, a real one, are assembling sufficiently so an image can be distinguished. It is uglier than I imagined.

1. Item:  The Bundy Brothers were acquitted. This was pure jury nullification, because they were guilty as hell. It might be an aberration, but I fear it is not. The jury is a fractal of democracy, and when juries start finding lawbreakers innocent, they are sending a message that those in power ignore at their peril. They say “We don’t like or respect you or your laws, and you better change, or else.” The complete class, regional and ideological estrangement from the Federal government this decision represents shows how completely Barack Obama has divided the nation, and portend a long, long, difficult and, one can only hope non-violent recovery, if some competent leaders emerge who can handle it. As trust in our institutions have collapsed with accelerating speed over the last decade, civility has deteriorated and authorities have increasingly threatened the basic Constitutional rights of citizens while extending privileges to non-citizens for political motives, the connective tissue of our society has been frayed to the snapping point. Responsible leadership, objective  and rational citizens must not shrug this verdict off as just a bunch of gun nuts and cowboys throwing a tantrum.

2. Item: Donald Trump keeps saying that the election is “rigged.” This is beyond irresponsible, in isolation not more irresponsible than what Trump has said about other things, but the timing and sheer intensity of this drumbeat from him is truly horrible….and also likely to be effective.  Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, U.S. Society

The Unethical Candidacy Of Evan McMullin


From Wikipedia:

“McMullin will likely not appear on enough ballots to win the necessary Electoral College majority of 270 electoral votes. However, McMullin hopes to deny a majority of the electoral vote from either of the two major party candidates. In such a scenario, under the the terms of the Twelfth Amendment, the House of Representatives would select among the top-three electoral vote winners. McMullin hopes that he could win the presidential election by finishing among the top-three electoral vote winners, and then winning the contingent election in the House.”

Reportedly, Evan McMullin also hopes to some day be able to burrow to China, like a mole, so he can see the terracotta warriors without paying airfare and going through Customs. (All right, I made that up.)

How ridiculous do  a Presidential candidate’s “hopes” have to be before they disqualify him to be President? Whatever the answer is, Evan McMullin has lapped it. Either he is dangerously detached from reality, or he’s exploiting deperate voters by lying to them. On the chart above, only the orange states have McMullin on the ballot. The yellow states allow write-ins, which mean he is on the ballot exactly as I am, or Donald Duck, Batman, and Britney Spears. In the rest, you can’t vote for him at all.

McMullin didn’t even announce his candidacy until August 8. Why the rush, Evan? This is like the joke about Poland’s greatest comedian being asked what the secret to comedy is, and before the question is completed he shouts, “Timing!” Timing is essential to effective leadership too, as the dithering style of Barack Obama has shown in many tragic ways. [I expect him to give an eloquent speech about the dangers of racial distrust and attacks on the rule of law —as, for example, in this fiasco—sometime in 2018. Probably on a golf course.] It was clear to anyone paying attention that the U.S. was going to be stuck with a Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton binary hell-choice by the end of May, when the Libertarian Party demonstrated to the world that it is a joke. Was McMullin not paying attention? That’s a bad sign, don’t you think?

The U.S. Presidency is important, and elections are important. One of the first times I wrote a post critical of Donald Trump was when he first floated the idea of running for President several cycles ago, and it was clear—then— that he was doing it as a publicity stunt.  This was signature significance, I wrote.  Only a massive jerk (I already knew Trump was a massive jerk, of course) with no concern for his country sets out to confuse and confound the easily confused and confounded American voter by throwing random pollution into the Presidential campaign. After the 2000 election, where the twin ego-driven campaigns of Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan probably changed the identity of the next President by sheer chance, it was obvious that nobody should put themselves on the ballot unless there is a very good reason related to the nation’s welfare. Building a credible third party option over time is a good reason, or can be if the party doesn’t try to do it by nominating an incompetent. Running for President for vanity, or to sell merchandise, or to get speaking gigs, is not a good reason. It is unethical. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Leadership

Donald Trump Is Bouncing Back In The Polls….Why?


Ann Althouse writes in horror that the Bloomberg poll, a poll that polling guru Nate Silver marks as one of the best, has Donald Trump making up most of what was a 9 point lead just a week ago. “How is it possible?” she asks?

Here is how it’s possible. Americans deeply, deeply resent the tactics and unethical methods of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, as well as, and even especially, the biased news media that has, it was just reported, been 91% negative regarding Donald Trump. Althouse anticipated this backlash back in September, when she quoted journalist/author Robert Wright, who said he was concerned that the media would be so “ham-handed” in its pro-Clinton/anti-Trump bias that “it wouldn’t work.”

In the competition of who is more unfit to lead, Trump wins in a landslide. However, Clinton’s supporters, staff, minions and party have earned the “Most Unethical, Undemocratic, Totalitarian” prize, by at least as large a margin:

1. On CNN’s “State of the Union” last week,  Jake Tapper grilled Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, about Robert Creamer and Scott Foval, the  Democratic operatives who were caught in a Project Veritas video sting talking about instigating violence at a Trump rally.

TAPPER: Have you looked into whether or not Democratic operatives paid by the Democratic National Committee were actually instigating these horrific actions, these violent actions we saw at Trump rallies? That’s — I’m sure you would agree, if that’s true, that’s really offensive.

MOOK: Well, violence is unacceptable. These individuals no longer have a relationship with the DNC. They have never had a relationship with the Clinton campaign. And my understanding is that the events that are referenced happened, I think, in February of last year. They didn’t have a contract with the DNC until June.  But, putting that all aside, this was, again, a video that was leaked out for the purpose of damaging the campaign. It’s edited, so we don’t know what the full context is. And there is — there’s no evidence whatsoever that we have been able to find that anyone ever did anything like this when they were working for the DNC.

Wait, what? Mook just admitted that the DNC hired these Nixonian thugs after they disrupted the Trump events. Before that, they were doing this stuff for free? They were only fired after the video was released.  How does the fact that they aren’t under contract any more serve as a defense of their activities? White House logs show Creamer visiting the White House hundreds of times.  Why?

Mook’s “They have never had a relationship with the Clinton campaign” is such a weaselly line. How about an unequivocal denial that the campaign knew about or coordinated with these cheats? Where is that? Then he defaults to attacking the methods by which these operatives were exposed, just as Clinton’s mouthpeices, like Donna Brazile, have tried to blame Wikileaks for what the Wikileaks leaks show.

Do Democrats just shrug off this kind of anti-Democratic activity as standard “by any means necessary” tactics? What kind of leader obtains power this way? I guarantee that independents, conservatives and uncommitted voters are frightened and disgusted by it. If voting for Trump is the only way to register that disgust, then he’ll be the beneficiary of the backlash.

2. Yesterday “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams, who is a Trump supporters, posted this:

I’ve been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.

If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.

If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.

if you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.

On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.

We know from Project Veritas that Clinton supporters tried to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media downplays it.

We also know Clinton’s side hired paid trolls to bully online. You don’t hear much about that.

Yesterday, by no coincidence, Huffington Post, Salon, and Daily Kos all published similar-sounding hit pieces on me, presumably to lower my influence. (That reason, plus jealousy, are the only reasons writers write about other writers.)

Joe Biden said he wanted to take Trump behind the bleachers and beat him up. No one on Clinton’s side disavowed that call to violence because, I assume, they consider it justified hyperbole. 

Team Clinton has succeeded in perpetuating one of the greatest evils I have seen in my lifetime. Her side has branded Trump supporters (40%+ of voters) as Nazis, sexists, homophobes, racists, and a few other fighting words. Their argument is built on confirmation bias and persuasion. But facts don’t matter because facts never matter in politics. What matters is that Clinton’s framing of Trump provides moral cover for any bullying behavior online or in person. No one can be a bad person for opposing Hitler, right?

I admit to having no respect for Trump supporters (as opposed to Never Hillary Trump voters), just as I have no respect for the tactics Adams describes. He exaggerates in the last section, but otherwise, he is accurate. Never before has a political party and its followers, aided by the news media, tried to “otherize” a major party candidate, and to make it dangerous in schools and workplaces to express support of a candidate. That’s not democracy. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

The Unethical Self-Delusion Of Open-Borders Supporters

She was killed because an illegal immigrant didn't want her to report that he was illegal, but her death had nothing to do with illegal immigration., or the fact that her killer was able to kill her because he was here illegally.

She was killed because an illegal immigrant didn’t want her to report that he was illegal, but her death had nothing to do with illegal immigration or the fact that her murderer was able to kill her because he was here illegally.

The New York Times op-ed headline online is (at least until someone at the Times figures out how damning it is)…

“My Wife’s Killer Was Not an ‘Illegal Immigrant’”

Author Andy Ostroy‘s wife, actress Adrienne Shelley, was murdered by an illegal immigrant, and the fact that the Times thinks this headline is a responsible one speaks volumes to the increasing dishonesty from Democrats and the news media on the issue of illegal immigration.

Ostroy ties himself into logical and ethical pretzels while explaining his kindly open-mindedness over the murder of his wife by “a 19-year-old undocumented Ecuadorean construction worker” who feared she would report him and have him deported. Writes Ostroy:

“Given the anger and grief I still feel, I could easily be seduced by Donald J. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that is the cornerstone of his presidential run. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he said as he began his campaign in 2015. And in these final weeks before the election, rather than tacking to the middle, he seems to be doubling down. “We’ve got some bad hombres,” he said in last week’s debate, referring to immigrants who commit crimes.”

First, Donald Trump’s rhetoric is anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric, not “anti-immigrant.” The intentional blurring of these two very different categories is a strategy of deceit. Any writer who engages in it has marked himself as untrustworthy, and any publication that does the same has also flagged itself as dishonest and biased.  The use of the intentionally vague term “undocumented” immigrant is similarly proof of unethical advocacy. The immigrants at issue are here illegally, hence they are illegal. If they had documentation that they were illegal, they would still be illegal, and if they had documentation that they were legal, that would be additionally illegal, since the documents would necessarily be false. Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Note To The Over-Forty Crowd: The Obligation To Be Culturally Literate Has No Age Limit, And The Duty To Be Aware Is Forever

ignoranceIn the Washington Post’s weekly crank section “Free For All,” a reader chastised the paper for not quoting more extensively from Bob Dylan’s works in its piece about his Nobel Prize, writing:

“It may come as a shock to the young people who now write and edit the paper, but there are many of us who are not familiar with the lyrics of “popular” music.”

Granted, in respect to Dylan, the complaint makes no sense. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was written in 1963; I’d expect “young people” to be more unfamiliar with Dylan than seniors. How old IS this guy? Still, the letter raised a crucial ethics point related to life competence, an ethical obligation for all of us. Being willfully ignorant of current popular culture is as much of an ethical lapse, and as great a threat to societal cohesion, as young people not bothering to learn about “Moby-Dick,” minstrel shows, Will Rogers, Stephen Foster, Babe Ruth, Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire or Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1987, University of Virginia English professor  E.D. Hirsch wrote “Cultural Literacy,” making the argument that nations require common cultural reference points for generations to communicate with each other. He argued—correctly— that teaching this cultural vocabulary was a primary duty of the schools, in part because cultural literacy is an inextricable element of individual autonomy and power. Since then, the problem of the fracturing of society and the breakdown in communications between segments of the population has worsened considerably, its deterioration propelled by the loss of common information sources and the rise of the internet. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Citizenship, Education, History, Literature, Popular Culture, The Internet, U.S. Society

Ten Ethics Obsevations On The New Bill Clinton Sexual Assault Accusation

The late Leslie Millwee...VERY late.

The late Leslie Millwee…VERY late.

From Politico:

Leslie Millwee, a former reporter for local Arkansas TV station KLMN-TV, has accused former president Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her three times in 1980, while Clinton was governor of Arkansas…Millwee told Breitbart she interviewed Clinton about 20 times publicly and also met with him in KLMN-TV’s newsroom. She said he groped her and rubbed his genitals on her while they were alone in KLMN-TV’s small editing room.

“He came in [to the editing room] behind me, started hunching me to the point that he had an orgasm,” she told Breitbart’s Aaron Klein. “He’s touching, trying to touch my breasts and I’m just sitting there very stiffly, just waiting for him to leave me alone. And I’m asking him the whole time, ‘Please do not do this. Do not touch me. Do not hunch me. I do not want this.’ And he finished doing what he was doing and walked out….Breitbart also interviewed three of Millwee’s friends, who said Millwee told them in the late 1990s about the alleged assaults.

…Millwee’s accusations are new, and Breitbart, which published a 19-minute video interview with Millwee, has been supportive of Trump and dismissive of the numerous women who have accused him of sexual assault. The site is led by Steven Bannon, who took a leave from Breitbart to serve as CEO of Trump’s campaign.Millwee said she considered coming forward in the late 1990s, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but she was intimidated after seeing how the media treated other women who accused Clinton of sexual assault.

“I almost came out during the Monica Lewinsky and Kathleen Willey situation,” she said. “I watched that unfold a little bit. I was very prepared to go forward then and talk about it, and I watched the ways the Clintons and Hillary slandered those women, harassed them, did unthinkable things to them, and I just did not want to be part of that. I had very small children at the time, I had a job at pharmaceuticals, it was a very conservative situation. I didn’t want to do anything to bring harm to my career and my family.”

Millwee said she decided to finally go public now because she believes that the media still has not held Clinton accountable for his alleged sexual assaults. A Breitbart spokeswoman said Millwee reached out to Breitbart on her own “months ago after Hillary’s ad that sex assault victims have a right to be heard.”


Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Since Nobody In The Mainstream Media Will Flag President Obama’s Outrageous Hypocrisy, I Guess It’s Up To Ethics Alarms. Rats.

I hate this. I really do.

Boy, can you believe Donald Trump suggesting that a Presidential election can be stolen? This guy is a monster!

Boy, can you believe that Donald Trump suggesting that a Presidential election can be stolen? This guy is a monster!

I hate that the astoundingly biased and partisan news media and pundit class refuse to even make a fair pass at doing its job, forcing an ethics blog to place itself in the position of being accused of defending Donald Trump.


[Rueful but amused aside regarding the biased and partisan news media: Late Sunday evening,  Chris Cillizza, who authors the political blog for the Washington Post, tweeted: “Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don’t root for a side. Period.” This was a manifestly absurd assertion, and made me wonder about Cillizza, who may not “root for a side,” but whose own left-leaning and pro-Clinton bias creeps into his work at regular intervals. But the gods of irony were ready: Monday morning the Center for Public Integrity released its 2016 campaign analysis that showed that U.S. journalists gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to  Clinton’s campaign. CPI identified 430 people as “journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors ­— as well as other donors known to be working in journalism.” 96 % gave money to Clinton, according to federal campaign finance filings. That’s 96. Ninety-six. NINETY-SIX. As in “all but 4%.” Got that? Are we clear? Those 430 journalists gave $382,000 to Clinton and $14,000 to GOP nominee Donald Trump. Fifty journalists  gave to Trump; 380 gave to Clinton. Many more members of the media almost certainly donated, and almost certainly in a similarly unbalanced split, but the law only obligates candidates to disclose the names of donors giving more than $200 in a single election cycle. In its report, CPI noted that even though many news organizations have policies against donating to politicians, those organizations’ reporters donated anyway. Poor, naive, Chris Cillizza, having proven that as a reporter, his confirmation bias prevents him from seeing what is all around him, at least had the integrity to follow up his previous tweet (“Period.”) by tweeting…

“Well this is super depressing. NO idea why any journalist would donate $ to politicians.”

Well why don’t you think about it, Chris? I’m sure it will come to you. But I digress...]

I know this is a political campaign and that hyperbole and loose facts are as American as apple pie. However, Barack Obama is President of the United States, and he, even more than most, must not actively seek to re-write history, especially since so many of his supporters have the historical perspective of mayflies. Therefore he must not be allowed to escape proper condemnation for these statements he made  in a campaign speech attacking Donald Trump. Yes, only condemnation will do, for his statements were dishonest, untrue, and constituted hypocrisy as its worst. Presidents should be better.

Obama had the gall to lecture Donald Trump with two head-exploding statements for anyone whose memory extends back before the Bush presidency, and one that should have triggered mass cranial eruptions from anyone conscious during the past 8 years: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society