Category Archives: Leadership

Question: Are There Any Fair And Rational Democrats Who Protest The Fake “Bombshells” And “Breaking News” Purporting To Show Trump “Colluded With Russia”?

A day or so ago, I was watching when a CNN crawl said: “Breaking News….Trump Team Had Contact With Russia.” Then I listened to the actual story. That headline was fake news. (Yes, partisan spinners: when the news media uses a misleading headline to  suggest something is true that isn’t, that is fake news.) The Trump team didn’t do anything. Individuals who were involved with Trump’s campaign had contact with Russians (not Russia) that may have had nothing at all to do with Trump or the election. The headline was intentionally constructed to suggest that the Trump campaign was engaged in something sinister.

This was just an especially glaring example. Earlier this week, John Brennan testified that

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan said  “And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals…”

That statement was similarly spun as a “bombshell,” because to those who have already decided that President Trump must have committed treason to win the election (because why would anyone vote against Hillary Clinton, and besides, Trump is a fascist, evil, scary monster thing elected by deplorable sexistracistxenohobicauthoritarianmorons), so Trump is obviously guilty. In truth, what X is concerned about regarding associates of Y is no evidence of anything regarding Y at all.

The biased media’s’ Brennan spin isn’t an outlier; it exemplifies the entire “Russiagate” narrative.  Another New York Times “bombshell”  reported, based on “three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence,” that

American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence.The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, the officials said. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.

Rachel Stoltzfoos  at The Daily Caller cleanly exposed this bombshell as a dud in her post, “Go Straight To The Fifth Paragraph Of The Latest NYT ‘Bombshell’ On Russia Collusion,” where she wrote, Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Comment Of The Day: “Two Public School Educators Duke It Out In Class: What’s Going On Here?”

Recently minted Ethics Alarms participant Ryan Harkins has his first Comment of the Day, and when I read it, I knew it would not be his last. This one does what my favorite comments do: pick up the baton from my original post, and carry it down the track (or, in some cases, throw it into the crowd.) The topic was the classroom fistfight in an Atlanta middle school.

Here is Ryan Harkins’ Comment of the Day on the post,Two Public School Educators Duke It Out In Class: What’s Going On Here?”:

Jack, the only quibble I have is when you say that you don’t care what the fight was about. I think it is important to learn what the fight was about, because then it gets us into the heads of the combatants, and that is what allows us to start the investigation that goes all the way up. The reason I think this requires a little explanation, so please forgive the lengthy rambling to follow.

I have to admit, my bias in this matter comes from dealing with incident investigations at my refinery, and the various training courses we’ve received in how to conduct such investigations. The one that really stands out the most is called “Latent Cause Analysis”, championed by Robert Nelms. The premise is that all incidents, even if we are speaking of a pump aggressively disassembling itself, ultimately are traced back to human causes. In the case of a pump, yes entropy will eventually have its way with the best-built pump in the world, but the reason the pump failed while it was in service causing a major incident is rooted in human causes.

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Education, Leadership, U.S. Society

Incompetent POTENTIAL Elected Official Of The Month: Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, or, Ethics Verdict: Anyone Who Votes For This Guy Today Is Irresponsible, And Probably An Idiot”

First a classroom fist fight between teachers, and now this.

Last night Republican Greg Gianforte, in a close and closely watched contest with Democrat Rob Quist to fill the open, and only, Montana Congressional seat in today’s special election, snapped and attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian. You can read the account of a witness (from Fox News) here, and the recording above seems to confirm it. The aspiringg statesman was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Good.

Three newspapers, this one, this one and this one, immediately withdrew their previous endorsements of the Republican in the race.

Good.

Good.

Good.

This passage from The Missoulian’s editorial this morning is a succinct summary: Continue reading

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Monica Fails Another Accountability Test

This is the graphic the Times used above the Lewinsky op-ed. You didn’t know that the whole Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was staged by Roger Ailes, did you? Yes, it was all his fault. Really. And since he’s dead, this is the perfect time for the Times to say so.

In an New York Times op-ed prompted by the death of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, Monica Lewinsky demonstrates that she sees herself as a pathetic victim, and blames others for what happened to her after a President of the United States decided to indulge himself and use a star-struck White House intern as his sex toy. Yet Monica’s others barely include Bill Clinton (he is mentioned just once in her screed), who did victimize her. Instead, she is accusing  Ailes and Matt Drudge, who committed the sin, Lewinsky implies, of preventing the mainstream news media from burying the story, as it was in the process of trying to do.

Monica’s attack on Ailes is just the latest in the hate-fest from the Left in reaction to his death. His primary crime, in their eyes, was  interfering with the left-wing media’s ability to spin the news to recruit the public in uncritical and ignorant support of all things liberal. Many of the vicious tweets from reporters (When Al Sharpton stands out for being fair, you know something is amiss) focused on Ailes’s sexual harassment, but it is fair to assume that Clinton, another serial harasser, will not be memorialized by these critics in the same way. Ailes was a sexist, power-abusing pig, but these people work with and cover  and vote for sexist power-abusing pigs all the time. They revile Ailes because he broke up their monopoly.

The Times can only have decided to publish Lewinsky’s jaw-droppingly obtuse and self-serving column as part of its own post-mortem smear of  Ailes, even though it makes Monica look deluded and juvenile. Yes, she is being used again.

She writes in part: Continue reading

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

Comment Of The Day: “Reluctant Additional Ethics Notes On A Manufactured Crisis: The Comey Firing Freakout”

With so much loose talk about impeachment going around (and by “loose” I mean “inexcusably ignorant”), texagg04’s review of the Constitutional standard for the removal of a President is a gift to readers of Ethics Alarms, and one of the most interesting and informative comments ever to appear here.

He was reacting to a New York Times op-ed, cited by another commenter,  by political scientist Greg Weiner (no relation) titled, “Impeachment’s Political Heart,” in which the author concluded,

“The question is by what standards they should conduct this work, and that question provides an opportunity to correct the mistaken assumption according to which presidents can forfeit the public trust only by committing what the law recognizes as a crime. That is a poor bar for a mature republic to set. It is not the one a newborn republic established. And that is why the idea that the conversation about impeachment is simply a political persecution of a man who is technically innocent of a literal crime not only jumps the investigatory gun. It misses the constitutional point.”

Having studied the issue myself, I immediately rejected Weiner’s analysis (which still is worth reading in its entirety) on the ground that a constantly evolving standard of what is a “high crime and misdemeanor” simply means that Presidents can be impeached for behaving, or governing, in ways that enough members of Congress, the news media and the public don’t like. That is what is being advocated now, and that approach would undermine our democracy, the power of elections, and the office of the President.

My gut response, however, is wan and insubstantial compared to tex’s masterful historical review and astute analysis, which (whew!) reaches a similar conclusion.

Here is texagg04’s fascinating Comment of the Day on the post, “Reluctant Additional Ethics Notes On A Manufactured “Crisis”: The Comey Firing Freakout”…I’ll have one brief comment afterwards:

[Weiner] is making an argument from the same source material I mentioned, chiefly the Federalist papers. I still haven’t found Madison’s own specific arguments regarding it, but I think the source is irrelevant as the body of work published by the Founders (“Federalist” and “Antifederalist” alike) should be read as a single work documenting an internal dialogue, to be used as clarification when and where the final adopted documents possibly contain ambiguity. This could very well be one of those cases. That being said, the body of work by the Founders which may aid in revealing their intent or at least how they believed their philosophy of our political system out to be enshrined in the constitution, isn’t the only body of work used to interpret their intent. There is precedence and tradition, which the author of this article disregards when he says “Our tendency to read the impeachment power in an overly legalistic way, which is ratified by 230 years of excessive timidity about its use, obscures the political rather than juridical nature of the device.”

He’s right in nothing but that many of the earliest drafts and proposed language of the impeachment standards were very vague, such as (not an exhaustive list):

Continue reading

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It’s A Comment Of The Day Weekend! First Up…Comment Of The Day: “This Is The Heartbreak Of Anti-Trump Brain Loss…”

I am desperately behind in posting deserving Comments of the Day, and have vowed to catch up. This one, by Zoltar Speaks!, is almost a week old, but fortunately its substance remains very current.

He was responding to the post about Harvard icon Larry Tribe being moved to engage in rumor-mongering and conspiracy theories because of his, and undoubtedly his elite peer group’s, contempt and hatred of the President of the United States. I had been holding it to pair with a long post regarding the daily, embarrassing displays of utter bias and irrationality in the New York Times, based on my forced perusal of the last Sunday edition. That post will arrive sooner or later, but it is unfair to delay wider distribution of Zoltar’s commentary any longer.

I was joking about “Anti-Trump Brain Loss,” but the phenomenon is no joke, and is, in fact, an existential threat to the nation, one more thing that the Trump Deranged are incapable of seeing in their fury. For some reason I was reminded of one of the worst Hollywood  movies ever mad, the hilarious sequel to “The Exorcist,” “The Heretic,” in which we learn that locusts are turned voracious and destructive by being in close proximity with each other. Their beating wings brush against other locusts, and it changes them (we are told) into monstrous forces of destruction. [Note: this is mostly nonsense, but not completely.]  This is like what I witness on Facebook, in the news media and from the more intellectual-limited among Democratic officials, who declare every incident, episode or tweet coming out of the chaotic Trump White House a crisis, then the news media repeats that it is a crisis, and the anti-Trump locusts fantasize about how “the crisis” will finally give them the chance to do what they have been trying to do since November 8, 2016: undo the election.

I was critical of Professor Turley in the previous post, so let me praise his clarity on this topic now. In a post on his blog called “A Question of Law: Calls for the Indictment or Impeachment of Donald Trump Are Transparent and Premature,” he writes,

“Critics increasingly sound like my kids when we drive across country and start to chant “are we there yet?” before we are even a block from the house.  Many view a criminal charge or impeachment as the only hope for America.  However, neither the criminal code nor Article II were meant as post hoc political options for unpopular presidents. Indeed, both are designed to be insulated from public distempers and passions.”

Bingo. Trump hatred has transformed previously responsible adults into children, as well as locusts.  We have never seen anything like it as a nation, and since the infection has mostly crippled an entire political party, the journalism establishment and the pundit class, the risk of permanent harm to the nation is real.  I spent five years warning readers about Donald Trump, and almost two explaining why it was madness to even consider him as a responsible Presidential choice. I did not, however, think for a second that progressive mania in response to a Trump victory—one that arose out of indignation that the Left’s precious agenda would be imperiled by a dolt chosen by the electorate because progressives had become insufferable, arrogant, divisive, cynical, corrupt and increasingly totalitarian—-would create a greater danger than an incompetent President.

Yet that is what has come to pass.  I have always detested the Right’s facile dismissal of liberals as “insane,” as in Michael Savage’s book, “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” because it echoes the indoctrination tactics of the Soviet Union, which placed dissenters in mental institutions.  Dubious political beliefs don’t mean one is crazy, but behaving irrationally and irresponsibly because those beliefs aren’t prevailing can produce symptoms of mental disturbance. That seems to be what we are witnessing now.

The locusts’ wings are beating furiously, changing them, driving them mad.

Here is Zoltar Speaks!’s Comment of the Day, the first of several this weekend, on the post, “This Is The Heartbreak Of Anti-Trump Brain Loss…”:

Continue reading

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Five Reasons Why This Was President Trump’s Dumbest Tweet Yet

(I’m not counting the impulsive re-tweets from white supremacist and anti-Semitic sources.)

1. All tweets from a President of the United States who lacks rhetorical skills, common sense and self-restraint are unprofessional and self-destructive. That’s the foundation.

2. Ex-FBI director Comey isn’t the President’s enemy. Comey has acted, for the most part, with fairness and grace since being sacked. It is absurd to keep attacking him.

3. Threatening private citizens—which is what Comey is now— from the White House is ugly, unseemly, an abuse of power and only harms Trump. He fired Comey from a job he obviously wanted and loved. Isn’t that enough? This appears to be gratuitous harassment and petty nastiness…and appears that way because it is.

4. Tapes? TAPES? Trump mentions secret tapes while his foes and the news media is trying to make tortured comparisons to Watergate?

KABOOM!

This is signature significance for idiocy, or a death wish, or terminal jerkism, or something. TAPES????

5. “When in a hole, stop digging.” How can a man be successful in business and public life and not have learned this basic principle?

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Social Media, Unethical Tweet