Tag Archives: conservative talk radio

An Ethics Alarms Audit: Who Or What Is At Fault For The Rise Of Donald Trump?

I have intentionally avoided most of the many articles that have used the unsettling rise of Donald Trump as a Presidential contender to attack their favorite targets—talk radio, Republicans, Obama, the Tea Party, the “elites,” the news media, reality TV…it’s a long list. One of the few I did read was this one, by Peggy Noonan. Its main thesis:

“The unprotected came to think they owed the establishment—another word for the protected—nothing, no particular loyalty, no old allegiance. Mr. Trump came from that…What marks this political moment, in Europe and the U.S., is the rise of the unprotected. It is the rise of people who don’t have all that much against those who’ve been given many blessings and seem to believe they have them not because they’re fortunate but because they’re better….This is a terrible feature of our age—that we are governed by protected people who don’t seem to care that much about their unprotected fellow citizens. And a country really can’t continue this way.”

Yup. That’s how populist uprisings always start, and Noonan properly diagnosed this one. Still, it was neither pre-ordained nor necessary that the individual such a movement would unite around had to be such a dangerous, unstable and unworthy one, or that the citizens supporting him would display such complete absence of logic and responsibility.

Reading the debates between Trump supporters and detractors on various websites, I am reminded of the classic “Simpsons” episode where Springfield split into two warring factions, the Mensa group, and the anti-Mensa group. The latter was characterized by angry stupidity, and if a member made a logical and coherent argument against the astute and educated opposition, he would be instantly ejected with the cry, “You’re one of them!”

Herman Kahn, the futurist, used to say that even the best plans, organizations, and systems could be unsettled by “the 2% contingency of bad management or bad luck.” The United States has been very fortunate in its approximately 250 years’ experiment. Bismarck famously said that “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America,” and at times it has seemed that way. When the nation’s management failed, the U.S. has been astoundingly lucky. When it has been unlucky, brilliant leaders have been on hand to manage the problem. The Trump phenomenon illustrates the fact of existence that luck eventually runs out: so far, bad luck and bad management have joined forces to produce the threat of a Donald Trump presidency.

There are many people, groups and institutions responsible for Trump getting this far, and it is dishonest, incompetent and unfair to blame one without identifying the rest. Each was arguably essential to the chaotic mix, and thus nothing and no one deserves to be cited as “the” cause.

Here, in rough but not definitive particular order, are the main miscreants. I’ve limited myself to eleven, but the list could easily be longer.
Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Literature, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Rush Limbaugh And The Right: Still Cheerfully Unethical After All These Years


Yesterday, the grand Pooh-Bah of conservative talk radio chirpily announced that he might “have another installment of Operation Chaos before the Democrat primaries are all said and done.”  If your brain cells have lived that long, you may recall Operation Chaos I, when in March of 2008 Rush directed his zombie followers to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton, who was then, as now, sliding fast. The idea was to stop  Barack Obama from clinching Democratic nomination early, and to maximize the chance of a messy Democratic nominating convention. Rush claims that his dastardly plan “worked”: Clinton won the Ohio and Texas primaries with large pluralities from rural, as in conservative counties, presumably full of Ditto-heads. On the other hand, Obama still won the nomination easily, then the election, and the United States was stuck with an incompetent, arrogant leader for eight years.

If that’s what Rush calls a successful plot, I hope we never see one of his unsuccessful ones.

But here he is again, considering the same tactic, though this time the idea is to have conservatives vote for an incompetent socialist, Bernie Sanders, whom none of them would even consider voting for in a real election even if someone was pulling their fingernails out with pliers. This is, as before, unethical in many ways, and it is particularly revolting to read the likes of Instapundit and Newsbusters cheering Rush on. “At the very least this could help make the Democrat primaries more fun to watch as they stretch on and on and….. ” smirks P.J. Gladney, at the latter.

Conservatives are nomore ethical than progressives, it’s just that their lack of ethics expresses itself in different ways.

Operation Chaos and its threatened sequel could only be devised by someone who thought Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks (which included the treasonous dirty trick of sabotaging LBJ’s Viet Nam War peace talks) were a scream, and could only be applauded by conservatives whose love for democracy just applied when it favors them. Rush’s steaming pile of depraved Machiavellianism is not worth my composing a new brief against it: I did a good job the first time. Here, in part, is what I wrote about Operation Chaos, while gagging in disgust, in 2008. It still stands. I’ll just substitute Bernie for Hillary. I don’t have to change anything else except a verb and pronoun here and there: Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media

Ethics Quiz: The Fick Calls Loretta Lynch’s Bluff


When I read that our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, made this provocative statement—

“The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. Now obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric—or, as we saw after 9/11, violence directed at individuals who may not even be Muslims but perceived to be Muslims, and they will suffer just as much—when we see that we will take action…I think it’s important that as we again talk about the importance of free speech we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”

…my first thought was “oh-oh” and my second thought was, “Boy, Obama’s appointees are as careless with their rhetoric as he is, or Hillary.

For what really was she saying? It sounds like a threat, but is it?  What does “edges towards violence” mean? Violence? Calling for violence? Or rhetoric anti-gun progressives will blame if there is violence? What does…let me rephrase that…What the HELL does “the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric” mean? For that matter, what are “actions predicated on violent talk”? Does an action that would not be a crime without violent talk become one based on the rhetoric that inspired it? You’re a lawyer, Ms Lynch, how about speaking precise English? What exactly are you trying to say?

So my third thought was, “Well, we better find out, since is this our top law enforcement official talking and if she is really saying, as one might reasonably interpret her vague and convoluted statement to mean, that she’ll be arresting anyone who dares to venture a harsh judgment of Muslims, it would be good to know.

Donald Trump, I’m sure, would like to know.

And  lo and behold, here comes former GOP tea party congressman turned radio talk show host Joe Walsh to settle the issue! He provides a rant on his Facebook page: Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Quizzes, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

Hugh Hewitt’s “Gotcha!” On Trump


If the Republicans, conservatives and liberal media can’t torpedo Donald Trump’s ridiculous and destructive presidential quest fairly and based on substance, their problems go a lot deeper than Donald Trump.

Wait a minute—they do!

The attempt to make a big deal out of Trump’s performance on the conservative radio talk show hosted by Earl Warren look-alike Hugh Hewitt is another example of the kind of unfair tactics that will just drive more supporters his way. First Hewitt asked Trump about Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who Washington Post blogger Erik Wemple calls the famous leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Really? Famous? I’ll say right now: never heard of the dude. I will also say that if my ethics business required dealing with Iraq, I’d be briefed on him thoroughly before I had to make any substantive decisions. Trump’s “yeeees…”  indicated that ether he knew a quiz was coming, or had no idea who he was; then he said,  “Go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me.” Then…

Hewitt: “He runs the Quds Forces.” (Listen to this on the Post link. I’m from Boston.  Anyone in my high school would have pronounced “Quds” and “Kurds” indistinguishably)

Trump: “Yes, OK, right.”

Hewitt: “Do you expect his behavior–”

Trump: “I think the Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by us.”

Hewitt: “No, not the Kurds — the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Forces — the bad guys.”

Trump: “Yes, right.”

Hewitt: “Do you expect his behavior to change as a result –”

Trump: “Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds.”

This, apparently, shows that Trump is unqualified to be President.  (He is, but not because of this.) Count on Democrats using the fact that Hillary can run off these names as proof of her superiority, though she was, you know, Secretary of State. Later, when Hewitt tried more quiz questions about the Middle East, Trump objected: Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Is Spouting Nonsense On Talk Radio Unethical?

I know Swift; Swift was a friend of mine. Jan Mickelson is no Jonathan Swift.

I know Swift; Swift was a friend of mine. Jan Mickelson is no Jonathan Swift.

I can’t resist using Media Matters as a source on an ethics blog: the irony is too delicious.

Linked to the e-mailed question, “How outrageous can a radio talk show host be, ethically?” comes a link to this nonsensical gibberish spit out by local Iowa right-winger Jan Mickelson, who suggested on his radio show that illegal immigrants who refuse to leave should be warned, and then used as slaves. Now, Media Matters looks for this junk because its unethical goal is to make the false case that all progressives are angels sent from a Godless heaven with the Only Right and Good Way, that an unethical or mistaken progressive is a contradiction in terms, and that all opponents of these paragons of virtue are cretins, crooks and demons.  Thus an act like Mickelson’s  is highlighted—I had never heard of him, for which I am quite grateful—to show what a typical Republican and conservative thinks. You know: a crazy person.

To be fair to MM, which, of course, believes that Hillary Clinton’s handling of her e-mails was perfect, and that every word she has uttered about it is gospel truth, this guy is pretty outrageous:

 MICKELSON: Now here is what would work. And I was asked by an immigration open border’s activist a couple of weeks ago, how I would get all the illegals here in the state of Iowa to leave. “Are you going to call the police every time you find an illegal, are you going to round them up and put them in detention centers?”

I said, “No you don’t have to do any of that stuff.”

“Well you going to invite them to leave the country and leave Iowa?”

And I said, “Well, sort of.”

“Well how you going to do it, Mickelson? You think you’re so smart. How would you get thousands of illegals to leave Iowa?”

Well, I said, “Well if I wanted to do that I would just put up some signs.”

“Well what would the signs say?”

I said, “Well I’d would put them on the end of the highway, on western part of the interstate system, and I’d put them on the eastern side of the state, right there on the interstate system, and in the north on the Minnesota border, and on the south Kansas and Missouri border and I would just say this: ‘As of this date’ — whenever we decide to do this — ‘as of this date, 30–‘ this is a totally arbitrary number, ’30 to 60 days from now anyone who is in the state of Iowa that who is not here legally and who cannot demonstrate their legal status to the satisfaction of the local and state authorities here in the State of Iowa, become property of the State of Iowa.’ So if you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you’re still here, and we find that you’re still here after we we’ve given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa. And we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.

“Well how would you apply that logic to what Donald Trump is trying to do? Trying to get Mexico to pay for the border and for the wall?”

“Same way. We say, ‘Hey, we are not going to make Mexico pay for the wall, we’re going to invite the illegal Mexicans and illegal aliens to build it. If you have come across the border illegally, again give them another 60-day guideline, you need to go home and leave this jurisdiction, and if you don’t you become property of the United States, and guess what? You will be building a wall. We will compel your labor. You would belong to these United States. You show up without an invitation, you get to be an asset. You get to be a construction worker. Cool!’

Later, when a caller challenges him, saying that this sounds like slavery, this exchange transpires… Continue reading


Filed under Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunce: Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace

You won’t read this on The Daily Caller!

Even the pizza deserves an apology...

Even the pizza deserves an apology…

In a radio interview with conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was riffing on Little Caesars’ bacon-wrapped crust pizza when Gallagher brought up “fat shaming,” which slid into the issue of the current celebrity fat-shaming victim, following in the footsteps of past targets of weight-related ridicule like Kirstie Alley, Roseanne, Adele, Rosie O’Donnell and Lisa Welchel, pop singer Kelly Clarkson.  “Holy cow, did she blow up!” Gallagher said. “She could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while,” replied Wallace. Ethics Foul , and a vile one. Rude, mean, and completely gratuitous, Chris Wallace has no reason to comment on Kelly Clarkson’s appearance. She’s not a supermodel; she’s a singer, and a really good one who has just has a baby. Her weight is none of his business, and for him to pile on what is already an ugly social media and internet gossip game of mocking Kelly’s dress size is using his prominence to endorse the ugly societal obsession with women’s weight that, as he should know, kills people.

He doesn’t just owe Clarkson an apology.

He owes everyone an apology.


Pointer and source: Mediaite


Filed under Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture

Stupid Conservative Talk Radio Host Tricks ( Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Division)


Believe it or not, many conservative radio talk show hosts can be insightful, erudite, analytical and fair. Unfortunately, even the smartest of them have an unfortunate tendency to let their deep-seated ideology lead them to undermine their credibility when an objective analysis might force them to agree that in a particular matter, their most reviled progressive foes are right. The repulsive recent effort by the conservative talkers to paint the NFL and its various woman and/or child-beating players as victims of a political correctness campaign is a  vivid example.

This kind of thing is why so many people hate you who have never listened to your show, Rush. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

I’m going to ignore Sean Hannity, who actually took off his belt and smacked it on his desk to show how he was raised to be the virtuous, patriotic, narrow-minded, low-brow pundit he is today. Both Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, however, who are capable of making coherent arguments, cannot similarly plead intellectual dysfunction like Hannity: they are capable of better. Yet they spent time on their programs defending the NFL from the “liberal media smear” that the NFL is “full of criminals … wife beaters, sexual abusers, murderers, rapists.” It’s not true! In fact, studies show that the rate of violent crime in the NFL is less than that of the general population! Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Sports, U.S. Society, Workplace