Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 1… Ethics Quote Of The Month: President Donald Trump

“It is time for our politicians to summon the bravery and determination of our American ancestors. It is time. It is time to plant our flag and to protect the greatest of this nation for citizens of every race in every city in every part of this glorious land. For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes. Here tonight before the eyes of our forefathers, Americans declare again, as we did 244 years ago, that we will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen.”

President Donald J Trump, speaking at Mt. Rushmore last night, and aggressively defending the United States of America, its Founders, its history and culture.

Bravo.

Last night’s speech, a ringing assertion of American greatness and a defiant condemnation of those who would topple it, despite the inevitable Trump flourishes of exaggeration, hyperbole, and deliberate provocation, was exactly what was needed, called for, and had to be said. It was inspiring, or should have been: I wonder about anyone who could read the transcript and not be stirred. I would ask, “What happened to you?” We also now know why it was appropriate to give that speech by Mt. Rushmore. The President extolled and defended our heroes, and devoted a section of the speech to each of the Presidents on the mountain, including, as CNN said last night to its damnation, “two slaveholders.”

There are about ten passages in the speech that I could have highlighted. I picked that one because it reminded me of this speech by a fictional President in a movie I detest, “Independence Day.” I would not be surprised to learn the speechwriter had that model in mind:

“President Whitmore” is talking about space aliens trying to destroys us. The mobs of America-haters who are attacking our core values and culture remind me of the aliens in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” taking over the minds and bodies of one rational citizens, and terrorizing those who won’t submit to their “conversion.” Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Reflections, 6/28/2020: For The Defense….

Greetings from the Ethics Alarms bunker…

1. I’m current reflecting on a personal and professional ethics conflict. A colleague and long-time professional competitor—I would never call him a friend—has been ousted from his leadership position in the very successful organization he founded as a result of unproven allegations of sexual harassment and assault. It was a “believe all victims” situation, as well as what feels like a successful coordinated effort to “get” someone who had accumulated a lot of enemies, resentment and envy in a notoriously nasty industry once his power was waning.

On one hand, I feel like I should reach out to him and offer my guidance and support (as an ethicist and sexual harassment trainer, not a lawyer, and gratis, of course). On the other, I am pretty certain that he is guilty of at least some of what has been alleged, based on confidential accounts I have recently heard from reliable sources. Ethically, however, his ousting (it appears that he was given the option of “retiring”) lacked due process and fairness, and the organization was guided by public relations motives rather than legal or ethical ones.

Whose side should I be on?

2. Stop making me defend Facebook! As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, the aggressive pandering mode of corporations right now is being exploited by would-be censors of political speech. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced updated election policies and stricter “hate speech” rules in response to employee protests and pressure from activists, whose transparent objective is to silence or constrict any political views antithetical progressive positions and goals. In a message last week, Zuckerberg  outlined plans to police disinformation relating to voting and elections, to flag certain content that risked triggering violence (I wonder what  that standard is like today?) and concluded,

Continue reading

So Apparently This Is The Media’s Rule: What Joe Says, Goes…Even His Big Lies.

A month ago, Professor Turley, who has been gradually losing patience with the totalitarian tactics of progressives and the media, noted that the term “conspiracy theory” was almost exclusively reserved in the media for Trump and his supporters. Yet Joe Biden had repeatedly said that he was certain Trump plans to delay the election this fall. Although this assertion, Turley wrote, “is utterly without factual or constitutional support,” Biden’s fear-mongering, linked to Big Lie #3: “Trump Is A Fascist/Hitler/Dictator/Monster,” was accorded the status of “a prediction” in a Politico article. “It has been peddled by various Democratic figures and commentators for months and is all the rage on the internet, even though it should be sold as a set that includes a tin foil hat and an electromagnetic ghost detector,” wrote the professor.

“Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, and come up with some rationale why it cannot be held,” said Biden. To fair, rational, objective people who have not been disabled by the Trump Hate Virus, this is despicable, and no more acceptable from a political leader than the worst of the President’s tweets, like the one suggesting that Joe Scarborough might have murdered an intern. Compare the news media treatment of Trump’s conspiracy theories and Biden’s.

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias. Continue reading

Tuesday Ethics, 6/2/2020: Stunts, Looting, Bad Great Movies, And “Understanding.”

Happy?

What the hell’s the matter with you?

1. On the President’s stunt visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church. I refuse to second-guess the President’s decision to walk across the street to  St. John’s Episcopal Church in D.C. to make an anti-riot statement, Bible in hand, since I do not believe it matters what he does right now. He will be criticized for it, and I refuse to participate in the gratuitous and destructive effort to make it impossible for him to lead and govern.

The immediate focus was on the fact that his way though Lafayette Park was cleared by police using rubber bullets and tear gas. The President was defying the protesters, and whether it was wise to do so, it was also his right to do so. If the President believes posing outside a riot damaged church is to the nation’s benefit, and that he should walk through protesters to do it, then he gets to make that call. If protesters are in the way or threatening his safety, they have to move. If they won’t move voluntarily, then some degree of force has to be used.

The news media has avoided mentioning it, but the protest was illegal: demonstrations in Lafayette Park require permits, and this mob had none. Moreover, the description of the group as “peaceful protesters” by the news media has to be viewed with skepticism. The past week has shown that “peaceful protesters” suddenly become violent rioters without warning, and even when they do, the news media is still likely to call them “peaceful.”

Other complaints about the episode involved the President’s use of the Bible. Yup, he used it as a prop! That doesn’t offend me particularly, since the Bible is used as a prop so often that I regard that as one of its major cultural functions. Presidents, in particular, have used it as a prop; I would argue that when they are sworn into office using the Bible, it’s a prop. I particularly remember Bill Clinton holding a Bible in photo ops when he was supposedly undergoing “spiritual instruction” during Monica Madness. Trump’s Bible was standard Presidential PR. but this President isn’t allowed to use the same tools available to his predecessors.

2. If you wonder why police appear to have no idea what to do about looters, wonder no more. Read this incomprehensible print version of humming from the Police website, circa 2005. Continue reading

Unethical…And Stupid…Quote Of The Month: Minneapolis Restaurant Owner Ruhel Islam

“Let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.”

—-Ruhel Islam, owner of the restaurant Gandhi Mahal, in Minneapolis, quoted by his daughter in the Facebook post above.

Is it my imagination, or has the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis generated even more idiotic quotes and responses than these events usually do?

The quote from Ruehl Islam sets some kind of a record: dumbest quote ever to be praised by someone who isn’t a closed-head injury victim, perhaps? The now completely ideologically-deranged New York Magazine, wrote of it,

Published on the restaurant’s Facebook page and since widely shared, Hafsa’s post asks people not to worry, and ends the update with a message of support for their neighbors. Hundreds have responded with messages of support and pride, with one person writing “thank you for living your public life with such integrity and continual love for your community.” Many others have shared similar comments about Ruhel, an immigrant from Bahar Mordan, Bangladesh….Ruhel’s words have been shared across social media by everyone from San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho, a former Minneapolis resident, to television host and chef Andrew Zimmern and activist DeRay Mckesson, as a powerful expression of the value of human life over property.

Well, maybe if your goal is to engage in cynical grandstanding and signal warped virtues to a community gone nuts, such a quote isn’t so dumb. Surely regarding it as “a powerful expression of the value of human life over property” is, however. How, exactly, does shrugging off the illegal destruction of private property in a mass tantrum benefit human life? Let’s see: according to a local listing, these are the businesses damaged by the riots, or as CNN calls them, “mostly peaceful protests”: Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“What? Am I — a seeker of truth — just supposed to add it all up and divide by 2?”

—-Blogger Ann Althouse, stating nicely in her eccentric way what Ethics Alarms has been pointing out repeatedly….

…most recently in this post. Or this one. That being that there are no trustworthy news sources. None. And since there are none, a democracy that depends on an informed electorate has no way for the electorate to become informed. The news media, and journalists, are 100% responsible for this. It is deliberate, and that is why designating then as “enemies of the people,” while impolitic, is fair and informative.

Here is what Ann found that led to her question above:

Heres the list of the top political stories at Real Clear Politics this morning:

  • “Uncovering Obama’s Surveillance of His Political Opponents” Lee Smith, NY Post
  • “Why Trump Is Peddling Extra-Strength Conspiracy Theories” Jack Shafer, Politico
  • “Judge Sullivan’s Bizarre, Politicized Order Is a Travesty”” Andrew McCarthy, NRO
  • “Obamagate Is a Distraction From Bad News About Covid” Oliver Darcy, CNN
  • “Was California Special Election Beginning of Red Wave?”Mollie Hemingway, Federalist
  • “4 Reasons Opening Up Businesses May Backfire–and Soon” Brian Resnick, Vox
  • “Comparing Florida and New York Looks Bad for Cuomo Deroy Murdock, FOX News
  • “10 Protections That Should Be in Next Aid Package” Sen. Warren & Rep. Khanna, CNN
  • “Forget Pelosi’s Boondoggle Bill–Take Taxes to Zero Instead” Steve Cortes, RCP
  • “Trump’s ‘I’m Rubber, You’re Glue’ Campaign Plan” Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic
  • “Trump’s Odds of Winning Are Higher Than You Think” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine
  • “Stephanopoulos Just Wants the Tara Reade Story to Go Away” John Nolte, Breitbart…

And so on.

Ann’s complete list is at the link.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/12/2020: I Admit It—I’m Fighting Hard To Avoid Getting Angry, Because I’m Not Ethical When I’m Angry

As we face these challenging times, we at Ethics Alarms salute the heroes, the indomitable, the resolute and the vibrant, who endure with good will and good cheer for the well-being of the community. We are Americans, and we are in this together, and

IF I HAVE to listen to insincere, calculated, virtue-signaling crap like this many more times, something is going to ‘pop!’ in my head and I’ll be  grabbing the nearest long, sharp implement and leaving the confines of these walls to begin the historic Alexandria Massacre.

Go ahead! Test me!

The rule in our house is that any channel that runs a commercial that begins with “In these..” or that shows someone wearing a facemask or looking at a webcam will be switched to another channel, never to be revisited during that day. If everyone follows this simple rule, and makes their policy known, maybe we’ll be able to halt this torture.

1.  What’s going on here? Is the idea now to proclaim how biased the news media is and the double standards it uses and mock those of us who care by showing there’s not a thing we can do with it? Is that it? Governor Cuomo actually said at a press conference yesterday  that the pandemic virus came from Europe in January and “no one knew” about it. “With all the sophistication, with all the public health organizations, with that whole alphabet soup of agencies, nobody knew the virus was coming from Europe,” the governor said, on the same day he finally retracted his deadly order requiring nursing homes to take in infected, elderly residents. Then he called the virus “The European Virus.” He really did. No, seriously. I’m not making this up.

The mainstream news media just ignored this idiocy yesterday, though President Trump calling the virus the Chinese virus, which except for the obscure papers Cuomo was apparently citing, is consistent with what most researchers have concluded about its origin, was attacked as racist because, you know, Big Lie #4.  Cuomo’s atrocious decision to expose nursing homes has also been barely covered in the left-leaning media.

2. If you are wondering why Ethics Alarms hasn’t covered in any detail the apparent emerging evidence that President Obama was intimately involved in the scheme to frame Michael Flynn, it is because there is literally no news source I can trust. Conservative sources are stating outright that Obama is squarely in “What did the President know and when did he know it” territory, with declassified documents indicating that Obama was aware of the bogus investigation and efforts to railroad Michael Flynn. The mainstream media appears to be doing what it did during Obama’s entire 8 years, which is refusing to probe suspicious activities and events, and maintaining the illusion that our first black President must be seen to be  as pure as the driven snow, because he was the first black President.  Unless a non-right wing source or reporter plays the role of the Watergate era Washington Post and “Woodstein” to get the truth out, we will be kept in the dark…and you know what the Post says happens in darkness. Continue reading

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/20/2020: Phantom Patriots Day Edition

The Battle of Menotomy, April 19, 2020.

“One if by land, and two if by sea
And I on the opposite shore will be
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm
For the country folk to be up and to arm!”

Today, the third Monday in April,  is supposed to be Patriots Day in Massachusetts (and  few other states.) It absolutely should be a national holiday, as it celebrates the battles of Concord and Lexington as well as the rides of Paul Revere and his fellow messengers the night before. I typed the excerpt above from Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” from memory; I wonder how many students today  have even heard of the poem, or Concord and Lexington, for that matter.

The original holiday was on April 19, the date of both battles, but Arlington, Massachusetts, where I hail from, was actually the site of a bigger battle than either on the same day. On their way back from Concord after being soundly beaten at the bridge, the Redcoats marched through the town of Menotomy (Arlington now), where 5,100 militia men from surrounding towns had gathered after, unfortunately, the British had marched through the Menotomy on the way to Lexington Green with little resistance.  The volunteers, stationed around houses, stone walls, fields and barns, did considerable damage to the already limping British in the fighting that followed, but Arlington residents have always been a bit sheepish about the timing of the fight, and historians regard it as  anti-climactic following the tragedy at Lexington and the surprise victory at Concord.

Patriots Day is a big  deal in Boston, where the Boston Marathon is run annually on that date. The Red Sox also play a unique 11 am game, so spectators can leave the park and watch the finish of the race. All gone this year, of course.

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t remember, and honor, the heroes, victims and events of 1775 that made the United States of America possible.

1. This is the kind of thing that will lead to serious back-lash against the pandemic dictators. The city of San Clemente was alarmed that some teens, bored with pplaying video games all day, every day, continued to skateboard in a local skate park despite orders that all parks be closed. Its solution?  Fill the park, at taxpayer expense, with 37 tons of sand. The money to build the park was raised by a nonprofit coalition of local families who wanted a place for their kids to be able to skate safely, and they were not even notified that the park would be filled with sand, according to KCAL-TV. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse…And Some Astoundingly Unethical Quotes That Make Her Point

“Does the press have any responsibility for tearing down Trump’s credibility right when we need it? I’d say they should be scrupulously careful not to do any of the ordinary political partisanship that had already badly infected journalism. There’s a lot of ruined credibility out there. Everyone ought to be trying to crawl back toward the truth. I think Trump — in his daily briefings — has been “appeal[ing] to common values and emphasiz[ing] moral standards and solidarity.” But the Trump-hating media will not help him do this. They’re looking for ways to blame him, to worsen his credibility. Why not help?”

——Bloggress Ann Althouse, reacting to one more New York Times Trump-hate piece, this one called “Trump’s ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ Is a Delusion;”yesterday’s (by Obama’s disinformation chief, Susan Rice) was “Trump Is the Wartime President We Have (Not the One We Need)/He should start leading with the decency and resolve that we deserve. I’m not holding my breath” 

The answer to Ann’s rhetorical question is “of course they do,” and I mainstain hope that a sufficient number of citizens will hold them responsible for an unprecedneted breach of tradition, duty and common sense. Attacking and undermining any leader in the midst of a national challenge is irresponsible and dangerous, yet virtually all of the mainstream media is not only doing it but doing it with increasing intensity. (The exception is Fox News, which is condemned for not pitching in.) Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/6/2020: Another KABOOM!, Two Deranged Op-Eds, And Kansas City Police Adopt The Nuremberg Defense

Feeling blue, beleaguered and dispirited: time for my favorite “Good morning” video again:

1. Yes, it’s another KABOOM! to begin the day. The same critics who attack the President every day for his response to the virus, whatever he does or says, have been alternately praising China for its handling of the pandemic or defending it. Now look at these photos  from two days ago, April 4, showing Chinese citizens heading for the Huangshan mountain park to enjoy the great outdoors, as CNN put it.

2. Today in leadership ethics…on this date in 1841, President William Henry Harrison, then the oldest man by far to take the Presidential oath of office (America take note),  died after just 31 days from a cold he caught by grandstanding to show he wasn’t so old (he refused to wear a top coat in freezing weather, and delivered what is still the longest inaugural address in our history). He was the first President to die in office. He also died after being elected in a year ending with a zero,  launching a creepy 120 year tradition of every POTUS elected in such a year also dying in office (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, FDR, JFK)  until Ronald Reagan beat it, though just barely.

Vice President John Tyler was sworn into office amidst mass confusion: the Constitution was unclear about what happens when a President dies. It directed that in case of the President’s death “the Powers and Duties of the said office” “shall devolve upon the Vice President” until a new President is elected. Here the most unlikely of leaders, an obscure figure from the opposition party (Tyler was a Southern slave-holding Democrat  put on the Whig ticket, maybe because “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!” scanned) who had no constituency, looked like Ichabod Crane…

…and who later joined the Confederate cabinet, made a bold decision that changed American history in too many ways to imagine.

While many experts and legal scholars argued that he was only a temporary, acting-POTUS until a special election could be held, Tyler decreed that he was, in fact, the President, and would serve out Harrison’s full term. Congress couldn’t figure out how to stop him, and thus the United States, by accident and the unilateral decree of an otherwise minor political figure, adopted the smooth manner of transition that has served it so well. It wasn’t until the 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967,  that there was anything in the Constitution saying directly that the Vice President permanently assumes the job and finishes out the term upon the death, resignation or removal of the President.

Fun fact:  President Tyler, who was born in 1790, has a grandson living in Virginia. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr., born in 1924, is 96 years old. I once saw him from afar when he was still living at the Tyler plantation, dubbed Sherwood Forest. Continue reading