More On The Obama-Springsteen Exchange, Since Apparently Its Significance Isn’t Sinking In…

Obama Boss

I don’t understand why the recent televised comments by Barack Obama about white citizens haven’t been a major news story. I don’t understand why it isn’t the topic of dozens of columns and commentary pieces in newspapers, on broadcast news outlets, and on the web. There have been few comments about the episode here, and most of those have consisted of virtual shrugs: ‘Oh, as usual, the Obama worshipers and the news media will just look the other way, because he can do no wrong in their eyes.’ End of issue, apparently.

On the site that first publicized the exchange during CBS Sunday Morning, RealClearPolitics,there are no comments at all as I write this. None. A post called “Pét-Nats Are Champagne’s Funkier Cousin. Are They Here to Stay?.” also posted yesterday, has 29, and I have no idea what the hell its about. I know what the Ethics Alarms post is about, though. The former President of the United States looked upon as the most respected leader of the Democratic Party and who received about 98% of the black vote when he ran for President revealed himself as an anti-white bigot.

What he said on CBS to his new pal, Bruce Springsteen, was signature significance: nobody who isn’t an anti-while bigot says it or thinks it. Let me refresh your memory: Obama said to “The Boss,” speaking about a black E Street Band musician that Springsteen admired, “But most of your audiences were primarily white. And they can love Clarence when he’s onstage, but if they ran into him in a bar, suddenly…the n-word comes out.”

Do you know what Obama’s statement reminded me of? It recalled a line from “12 Angry Men,” when Juror 10 says, asserting that it only stands to reason the the young defendant, who is a member of an unstated minority group, killed his father, the victim in the murder trial,

“Look, these people are lushing it up and fighting all the time, and if somebody gets killed, so somebody
gets killed…they don’t care. Oh, there are some good things about ’em too. Look, I’m the first
one to say that!”

Juror 10 is the repulsive, stereotypical bigot on the jury.

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again,” Item #3 (Goodyear Saga Cont.)

[I originally had a video clip here that perfectly illustrated, satirically, the craven instincts of corporate America as it grovels to Black Lives Matter. It is a from a classic “Simpsons” episode, “Deep Space Homer,” in which Kent Brockman, the idiot Springfield news anchor whose intellect  makes Ted Baxter seem like Tim Russert, mistakenly comes to believe that the Earth is about to be conquered by giant ants. He immediately pivots to sucking up to the ants in his broadcasts. Then, just before posting the clip, I thought, wait, is someone going to accuse me of comparing African Americans to insects, when I’m accurately comparing our jelly-spined corporate leaders to a cowardly fool? And I chickened out. Now I’m disgusted with myself. Thus is life in cancel-culture America]

***

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far away, I remember I offered a competition here for the most obnoxious, cloying, blatantly pandering corporate statement in reaction to the George Floyd Freakout. This followed so closely on the heels of a corporate rush to exploit the pandemic with obnoxious, cloying, blatantly pandering messages ( “In these specail/difficult/ stressful times…”) that I realized, too late, that I was risking my sanity. Many, many readers sent  entries my way (thank you), and I slogged through them all, even though all but a handful read like they were written by the same cheap bot that had created the pandemic-licking garbage

I used to work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and got to know a lot of CEO ans their top lieutenants. I left that career chapter convinced that the negative public image of corporations and the people who ran them was shallow and mistaken. The rush of many of the same companies I worked to embrace racist, violent, Marxist Black Lives Matter has erased all of the. These companies and their management are themselves shallow and mistaken, and worse. They are virtually traitors to American ideals—those stories about American industrialists sucking up to Hitler no longer seem incredible as they once did—; they are cowardly; they are venal, and they are stupid, stupid, stupid.

Unfortunately, so many of them have adopted this despicable strategy that we can’t even punish them by switching loyalties to their competitors. And the reverse is true: these corporations are deliberately throwing in with the forces of indoctrination, censorship and suppression.  Where I live, in Northern Virginia, I have seen dozens of Black Lives Matter signs, and many more Biden 2020 signs. I have not seen a single Trump sign, and it is because people are afraid of having their homes vandalized and their kids being called racists at school. This un-American, anti-American environment of fear is what the powerful, influential corporate sector has decided that it is in their scrimey, greedy,  stock option-protecting, collaborationist interests to support. I will not forgive them for that. I always knew corporations were untrustworthy, of course, but I never thought they were this untrustworthy.

Good to know.

Thus I am not ready to let the Goodyear episode go quite yet.  Fortunately, Glenn Logan is on one of his periodic rolls. Here is his Comment of the Day, the second in a row, on  Item #3  in the post,  “Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again.

[Oh: the “best” corporate pander to Black Lives Matter was easily the short-lived,  but immortally bone-headed, Popeyes is nothing without Black lives,”]

Jack wrote:

3. Does Goodyear win the “Trying to Be On All Sides At Once Without Consequences” prize in the corporate division?

They have a lot of company who just did it smarter, in my opinion. But having said that, here’s an observation:

I understand corporate impulses to place themselves on the (please forgive me for this) “right side of history.” During my whole life, we have seen corporate virtue signaling, mostly on television but occasionally in print.

With the advent of social media, a lot of things have changed for the worse when it comes to corporations and social issues. In the instant case, it seems corporations have acknowledged, and to some extent embraced, the unethical Black Lives Matter trope, “Silence is violence.” Certainly, activists on all sides of the debate spend a lot of time raising social issues at corporate leadership, and engaging in various levels of complaints or even boycotts at their expense — in common vernacular, “calling them out.”

I think most Americans with functional cerebra not terminally infected with the passions of the moment would prefer to see corporations stay out of divisive social issues and do what they are best at — produce products or services for our consumption and engage in social issues, especially and mostly at their local level, quietly and competently. The problem is, because so much of our private conversation has become nationalized through social media, a comparatively small number of voices can have a disproportionate impact on corporate behavior, especially when amplified by a media invested in one side of the argument. Continue reading

Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again

1. “Wait…what did he call you? “  Does nobody understand how ridiculous this is? In a recent re-viewing of a “Law and Order” episode from the ’90s, I watched the excellent Courtney B. Vance (later outstanding as Johnny Cochran in the O.J. mini-series) play a Wall Street trader whose defense for killing a white manager in his firm was that systemic racism had driven him to it. When he testified in his trial, he  explained that his victim had called him a. That’s right,  “a.” the word following “a” was censored, even though the word was central to the plot. It is lmost 30 years after that episode first aired, and we are subjected to more censorship than less.

Either air the whole episode, or don’t air it at all, if the word “nigger” is just too horrifying.

The jury found Vance’s character guilty. Good. How can you kill someone just for calling you “a”?

2. And since we’re talking about racial slurs….During an NBA contest, LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell called  opposing player Luka Dončić a “pussy ass white boy.” 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would call that a racial epithet. Any white player in the NBA—there must be five or six—that called Harell an “a” would be suspended or worse. If that’s the new standard—that blacks can make racist slurs against whites while anyone uttering a racial slur against a black man is going to be fired, shunned and ostracized—we sanctioned targets of bigotry and harassment have a right to know.

This is apparently what Black Lives Matter calls “equity.”

I also have to add this obligatory note: most of the media accounts of what Harrell said required me to be a Wheel of Fortune ace. He called the white player a “p**** a** white boy” ? Can I buy a vowel? One source said the phrase was b***ch a** white boy. Does b***ch mean p****? I don’t think so. If the story is news because of what the black player called the what player, then you have to write what he said.

People ask me why I frequently note that most journalists aren’t very bright.  This is one of the reasons. Continue reading

Washington Post Editor Karen Attiah, The Human Smoking Gun

The above tweet was posted two days ago by Karen Attiah, the Washington Post  global opinions editor. After it was immediately and legitimately attacked for what it was—yes, this is res ipsa loquitur— she took it down, but not before her position had been captured in hundreds of screenshots like the one above. Later she tweeted, “Non, je ne regrette rien,” French for “No, I do not regret anything.” (Apparently Attiah believes the foes of unethical journalism are too primitive and uneducated to understand French, or too dim to use an online translator.)

The Washington Post should have given her reason to regret, but it hasn’t, and unless its readers and media critics force the paper to act, it won’t. Since the deleted tweet, the Post has refused to comment on its editor’s outburst, and other than her snotty Gallic tweet of defiance, so has Attiah. Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Alarms, 6/26/2020: Ethics Zoom!

This, as some of you might recall, is the logo for the old PBS kids series, the lively cast members of which are now middle-aged and arthritic. I don’t like to think about it…

I just did a dry run of an upcoming Zoom CLE conference, and other than the fact that I look like hell, I was impressed. If there’s any enthusiasm among readers, I am think hard about holding weekly ethics symposium using the technology. I can accommodate up to a hundred participants, and the time is unlimited (though their patience surely will be.) Let me know if you’re interested!

1. I’m used to cynical, but…The Democrats voting to not even debate the GOP Senate police reform bill was so openly partisan. The party didn’t went to pass anything that would give Republicans credit for addressing the police issue, and they are counting on Pelosi’s House Bill to be rejected by the Senate so they can have another election issue to energize their base. Mark Thiessen writes,

“What Democrats should be apologizing for was their shameful vote on the Senate floor Wednesday to kill Scott’s legislation — and with it any chance of passing police reform this year. Democrats knew exactly what they were doing. As Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), one of three members of the Democratic caucus who voted to advance the Scott bill, explained, “voting against it will end the discussion of this subject in the Senate for the foreseeable future, and leave us with nothing to show for all the energy and passion that has brought this issue to the forefront of public consciousness.””

To be fair, this is “do something” legislation that will not significantly reduce incidents of police misconduct toward blacks or whites. Situations like the Atlanta shooting, mysterious shootings like the traffic shot death of 25-year-old Hannah Fizer, who was white, and falsely reported shootings (“Hands up! Don’t shoot!”) will still occur, because of the nature of police work—unless police simply stop policing out of fear. I suspect that’s what will happen, and many more Americans will die under those conditions.

To date, ten unarmed black men have been killed by police this year.

2. Some call them the “1619”riots. This is the woman the New York Times allowed to lead its inflammatory and false slavery project:

On November 21, 1995, Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote a letter to the editor of the Notre Dame University student newspaper, The Observer,to condemn a November 9, 1995 op-ed. She wrote in part,

“What responsible editor would print an article that applauds and dignifies the white race’s rape, plunder, and genocide of a whole race of people? I find it hard to believe that any member of the white race can have the audacity and hypocrisy to call any other culture savage. The white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world. Europeans have colonized and destroyed the indigenous populations of every continent of this planet. They have committed genocide against cultures that have never offended them in their greed and insatiable desire to control and dominate every non-white culture. Christopher Columbus and those like him were no different [than] Hitler. The crimes they committed were unnecessarily cruel and can only be described as acts of the devil…Africans had been to the Americas long before Columbus or any Europeans….It was not enough for whites to come to the Americas and learn, they looked upon the native people as inferior and a people to be annihilated. Their lasting monument was the destruction and enslavement of two races of people. Using Christianity as their excuse, the white race denied the native people their humanity.”

Bias? Racism? “Hate speech?” People are being fired, “canceled” and shunned in every segment of society for far less bigoted comments that are also older….but those victims of the new “Terror” are all white. The position at Ethics Alarms is that ancient excesses of rhetoric, including offensive jokes, should not be used to discredit anyone, but also that the leaders of the cancel culture should be held to their own rules. Continue reading

End Of Week Ethics Alarms, 10/11/2019: The Liberty Under Attack Edition

Wait…

I’m looking forward to the weekend  even though I’ll be working throughout.

I’m obviously an idiot.

1. My Ethics Alarms doesn’t even “ping!” on this one.  KTVU, the Bay Area’s Fox affiliate, summarized the St. Louis Cardinals’ devastating win over the Braves in Game 5 of the National League Division Series with a chyron reading, “Braves Scalped.” The Horror! Exclaimed the always sensitive Yahoo! Sports, “That’s straight out of the yikes factory. Particularly given the conversation that’s surrounded the Braves recently. A Cardinals pitcher of Native American descent objected to the Braves’ infamous tomahawk chop and the team responded Wednesday by toning down its use of the chop. There’s not any good time to roll out a “scalped” headline, but this was a particularly bad one.” The headline to the story says the headline is “racist.”

OK, why? I want one good reason. If a team is going to call itself something other than “The Baseball Players,” which would be strikingly unoriginal, you have to admit, then metaphors and colorful language relating to that teams’ nickname are automatically appropriate. “Orioles’/Cardinals’/Bluejays’ Wings Clipped!”…”Red Sox/Whie Sox unravel!”…”Tigers/Cubs/ Declawed!”…”Nats Swatted!”…”Giants Dwarfed!”…  “Pirates Walk The Plank!”…”Diamondbacks Rattled!”…”Mariners Sink!” But “Braves (or Indians) Scalped!” is an outrage? The team lost 13-1! The Braves were down 10-0 after the first half-inning; it was an epic slaughter. I could u8nderstand the discomfort if Native Americans never scalped their adversaries, but they did. This isn’t some kind of historical slander. Let’s see…here’s some of a rather scholarly article on the subject of scalping…

…the languages of the eastern Indians contained many words to describe the scalp, the act of scalping, and the victim of scalping. A Catholic priest among the Hurons in 1623 learned that an onontsira was a war trophy consisting of “the skin of the head with its hair.” The five languages of the Iroquois were especially rich in words to describe the act …To the Mohawks and Oneidas, the scalp was onnonra ; the act of taking it, kannonrackwan . Their western brothers at Onondaga spoke of hononksera , a variation of the Huron word. And although they were recorded after initial contact with the Europeans, the vocabularies of the other Iroquois nations and of the Delaware, Algonquin, Malecite, Micmac, and Montagnais all contained words for scalp, scalping, and the scalped that are closely related to the native words for hair, head, skull, and skin. That these words were obviously not borrowed from European languages lends further support to the notion that they were native to America and deeply rooted in Indian life….paintings and drawings reinforce that image. The single most important picture in this regard is Theodore de Bry’s engraving of Le Moyne’s drawing of “How Outina’s Men Treated the Enemy Dead.” Based on Le Moyne’s observations in 1564-65, the 1591 engraving was the first pictorial representation of Indian scalping, one faithful to Le Moyne’s verbal description and to subsequent accounts from other regions of eastern America. The details—sharp reeds to extract the scalp, drying the green skin over a fire, displaying the trophies on long poles, and later celebrating the victory with established rituals by the sorcerer—lend authenticity to De Bry’s rendering and support to the argument for the Indian invention of scalping….[I]n the end, the American stereotype of scalping must stand as historical fact, whether we are comfortable with it or not.”

In summary, the word was obviously not meant literally to refer to a baseball game. Nor was the use of it was in no way libelous to real Native Americans. Yahoo’s pearl-clutching, and that of social media political correctness cops, is more offensive by far than the Fox chryon.

2.  As if you didn’t have to jump through too many hoops to fly already…In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act, which made the addition of a star to state IDs  and drivers licenses necessary to have access to nuclear power plants and federal facilities. Then some genius decided that access to airplanes should be added to the list. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/9/19: “Nothing Can Bother Me Because It’s Opening Day At Fenway Park” Edition

All’s right with the world..

…despite all evidence to the contrary!

At least for today…

1. Psst! HLN! It’s called “stealing,” you morons. According to a recent survey, 14% of Netflix users share their passwords to the streaming service. That’s about 8 million people. I just watched giggling news-bimbo Robin Meade on HLN and her sidekick Jennifer Westhoven go on about how they hoped Netflix didn’t “crack down” and how this was like “ride-sharing.” No, it’s not like ride-sharing at all. If you want your friend to have  Netflix and they can’t afford it, pay for their subscription. This is theft. Talking heads that rationalize dishonest behavior on TV is one of many cultural factors that incapacitates the ethics alarms of a critical mass of Americans.

And Robin? Being beautiful doesn’t excuse everything.

2.  The Alternate Reality solution to race relations! Professor Chad Shomura of the University of Colorado at Denver has  banned discussions of any white men in his course on American political thought. No Locke,  no Jefferson,  no Rousseau, no Madison, no Hamilton, and  no President before Obama .  Such an irresponsible approach to his course’s topic can’t be prevented by the university because of academic freedom, of course: if a professor thinks he or she can teach physics by playing with puppies, that’s up to them. I would suggest, however, that any student incapable of figuring out that such a course is an extended con is a fool and a dupe. What’s the equivalent of this? Teaching the history of baseball without mentioning Babe Ruth?

3.  Pop Ethics Quiz: Is this fair? After legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said on CNN that outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ” will forever be known as the ‘woman who put children in cages,” conservative pundit and ex-Justice Department lawyer T Beckett Adams tweeted, “I doubt it. People have short memories. There’s a reason we don’t call Toobin the “married man who knocked up a former colleague’s daughter and had to be taken to court to pay child support.”  Adams’ description is fair, but is using it in this context ethical?

I tend to think not, but it’s a close call. [Pointer: Althouse] Continue reading

The Theater World Shows How To Embolden White Nationalists: Discriminate Against Actors For Being White

Even white actors, as long as they are willing to be treated as if they aren’t wanted…

“Backstage,” a popular industry website for actors and technicians, recently posted a casting call for an ensemble production Off-Off Broadway in New York City. The post included this…

and this…

It also offered this…

As soon as an enterprising journalist at the Daily Wire began querying the playwright about these discriminatory requirements—of course they are illegal, but he got statements from two Constitutional scholars to pass along—the Back Stage announcement was changed to reflect no racial disparities.

Fascinating. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Ethics Reflections, 8/12/2018: Division And Divisiveness”

Yes, but you have to understand the context…

Well, that was embarrassing. The following epic comment on divisiveness was stuck on the tarmac for a few days, and then I compounded the indignity by quoting a lesser pundit on the same topic in the previous post. If it’s any consolation, Jonah Goldberg gets more web traffic than I do, too. There is no justice.

Here is Chris Marschner’s excellent Comment of the Day on “Sunday Ethics Reflections, 8/12/2018: Division And Divisiveness: 

“Keep being intentionally divisive, and eventually you’ll get division.”

No truer words were ever spoken.

On the anniversary weekend of the incident in Charlottesville the media hammered home the point that I am not worthy to live in their civil ideal society. Why do I interpret their coverage this way you may ask? Perhaps it is because I reject the notion that any person’s opinion should be silenced and I stand with those that reject the proposition that select populations should have the ropes of past injustice be perpetually hung around the necks of those that have neither the personal history, desire nor ability to economically discriminate or oppress anyone. I have no problem with refutations of opinions – I would encourage them – but my tolerance for those that suggest that only they have the right to determine what is good and proper is waning; especially in light that those people often cast wide nets in their sanctimony; which is no different than the behaviors of others they claim results in their oppression.

Why would many marginalize me for my belief that I simply do not believe that because one gender or race is in greater or fewer numbers relative to their overall population than another in a given population it is prima facie evidence of discrimination and bias. For if I did, I would have to believe that males are discriminated against in teaching positions within the primary and secondary grades, in most health occupations today, and within the administrative support positions in many public and private institutions. I would also have to believe that white sports team owners discriminate against whites because they are under-represented on most teams with the exception of perhaps hockey and soccer. Numbers in any occupation are a function of human choices and capabilities. Even if one feels fully capable of running a fortune 500 firm as the CEO, one’s choice is the primary gatekeeper because if one never applies to reach that goal then only those that do stand a chance.

Bias is only ever seen in others and not in themselves.

No group sees bias when deriving benefits of bias as a group. For example, women see no bias when they are treated as superior care-givers and thus courts favor them more frequently in child custody cases. No one sees the abject bias in the violence against women act. Why is that? What makes an assault on a woman worse than an assault on anyone for that matter? I might be able to see different charges based on differential physical stature but not on gender. Why not a violence against the frail and weaker act? I see no outcry from women and minorities when most of the SBA programs favor women and minorities even though the data show that they are creating more new businesses than their white male counterparts for almost the last twenty years. There are no special programs to increase male enrollment in post secondary education even when their numbers are being outpaced by female enrollment and graduations. No one is running to change the selective service rules that create lifetime bars to federal employment, education grants and other federal benefits for failure to register for the draft by age 26 even though women fought for the right to be in forward combat so that promotional opportunities can be afforded to them. Commerce department data show that women control 60 percent of the wealth in the U.S. and 80% of all Consumer spending. One can see the evidence of this in the thematic content in most mass media advertisements. Each of us sees bias through our own lens. Therefore, if a group of white men protest what they think is bias against them that is their right. We can reject or accept their arguments based on the facts presented. When we begin to go down the path of silencing critics we find objectionable we will lose the right to petition for redress of grievances.

Is there any wonder why a growing number of white males may feel less sympathetic to advancing the current notions of progressive policies when the noose of a legacy perpetrated by others is believed to be unfairly tightened around their necks today; which brings me back to Charlottesville. Continue reading