Tag Archives: democracy

Comment Of The Day: “Ten Ethics Observations On The Nunes Memo”

I think this is the shortest Comment of the Day yet, a single sentence with an introduction, but it is a brilliant one. I am abashed that I didn’t think of it, but no one else has either, as far as I can determine. Circulate it widely, especially to your Facebook friends who are horrified that anyone would try to impugn a spotless American Institution like the FBI.

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ten Ethics Observations On The Nunes Memo

You may have missed one glaring observation…

Comey, pundits, and Democats decry the Nunes memo as a smear on the FBI, attempts to sully the reputations of our premier agencies but have no problem casting doubt on our electoral process, smearing a bothersome but duly elected person to the high office of president, and telling the world of his transgressions.

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Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quote Of The Month, Terrifying Thoughts Division: Daniel Greenfield”

Conservative journalist David Greenstein made a provocative speech before a Tea Party group in which he posited a “civil war,” defined by him as when a political party rejects a lawful Presidential election and refuses to accept the legitimacy of any government it does not dominate. I admit that offering up such inflammatory analysis for comment is the pedagogical equivalent of tossing a hand grenade in a room, but there is method to my madness, beginning with my conviction, documented here since  November 2016, that much of the Democratic Party is denying the legitimacy of the last Presidential election, and is actively working to find a way to remove President Trump without having to defeat him in the next one.  I believe that this is among the most damaging and dangerous political developments, and ethics outrages, in U.S. history, and one that has been intentionally covered up by an unethical news media with the same agenda.

Greenstein’s speech placed the matter front and center, and I guessed, correctly, that it would get a lot of attention, though the speech has been largely ignored by progressive commentators, even as numerous Democrats, announced that they would boycott the State of the Union message, a traditional yearly symbol of a unified people.  I also assumed that it would pose an interesting challenge for readers here, specifically the challenge of keeping bias out of their  analysis, since, as we all know, bias makes you stupid.

Chris Marschner did an especially good job of this, and here is his excellent Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quote Of The Month, Terrifying Thoughts Division: Daniel Greenfield:

 After listening to his speech I came away with a completely different take on the overall message. To me, he was chastising professional governance. I do not consider it irresponsible demagoguery but an merely the idea that we have gotten away from citizen governance and allowed our governing bodies to be overtaken by a ruling elite that uses its power to obtain more power. In doing so, they have created a civil war that rages within our society which helps them retain power.

Given that the speech was being delivered to a South Carolina Tea Party group his ideas would be readily accepted; and why not? Nationally, Tea Party groups were disparaged by the I.R.S, Anderson Cooper with his vulgar teabagger comments, the Congressional Black Caucus, and left leaning political commentators. Typically, they were characterized as racists, rednecks, rubes, and others that cling to their guns and religion. We know who made the clinger statement. Disparagement and ridicule is the modus operandi of power seekers and those with few abilities or achievements. It works because they know that if someone challenges them the challenger will become the target of ridicule; it becomes psychological extortion.

If asked whether I agree with the statement that the paramount objective of Mueller’s investigation is to remove the President I would have to answer that I don’t know. I do know that current evidence would lead someone to believe that a criminal charge is the objective. I made the point several days ago that seeking an obstruction charge without having the ability to prove an underlying charge of conspiracy is prima facie evidence of not seeking justice but merely to obtain a conviction. This is especially believable given the coordinated efforts to find multiple avenues for removal from office. Continue reading

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Ethics Quote Of The Month, Terrifying Thoughts Division: Daniel Greenfield

“The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here. Trump didn’t really win the election. Bush didn’t really win the election. Every time a Republican president won an election this century, the Democrats insist he didn’t really win. Now say a third Republican president wins an election in say, 2024. What are the odds that they’ll say that he didn’t really win? Right now, it looks like 100 percent. What do sure odds of the Dems rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win.

“It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

“That’s a civil war.”

—–Writer and journalist Daniel Greenfield in a speech he delivered last week.

Oh-oh.

I don’t want to believe Greenfield is right, though I have written essays noting the same phenomenon, and long before “the resistance” tried to take down Trump. This is essentially the reason I decided late in the 2016 campaign that I could not vote for Clinton even though I would not vote for Trump. Since the election, my analysis has been confirmed, though I spend time each day wrestling to the ground the inevitable conclusion that follows, because I don’t want to believe it, so I don’t. Greenfield, however, declares it outright in his next section, saying,

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement.

You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to the left, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate.

The attacks on Trump show that elections don’t matter to the left.

Continue reading

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Comment Of The Day: Public Confidence And Trust (2): Observations On Gallup’s Confidence In Institutions Poll

After Charles Green‘s recent  Comment of the Day on the post, Public Confidence And Trust (1): Observations On Gallup’s Trust In Occupations Poll, I was pretty sure that there would be an encore when I posted Part 2, an overview of the Gallup poll on public trust and confidence in American institutions. Charlie didn’t disappoint, so here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Public Confidence And Trust (2): Observations On Gallup’s Confidence In Institutions Poll:

…I agree with you that this stuff is as mission-critical as anything.

As you know, my life’s work is studying trust, and while I focus on interpersonal trust, you can’t ignore the systemic institutional issues either. In fact, they are connected.

In fact, I agree with your fundamental point that the cure for what ails our institutions must lie in personal behaviors, personal relationships, personal ethics.

Without taking anything away from that fundamental and massive agreement, let me suggest two tweaks to the issue as you have presented it.

The first is that this is NOT simply a US phenomenon. I recommend even more sobering reading from the Edelman Trust Barometer, a study that has been ongoing for over a decade. See the 2017 version here: https://www.edelman.com/global-results/

That survey covers about 18 western countries: fully half of them report the level of distrust in institutions – business, communications, NGOs, CEOs, etc. – not materially different from what we see in the US. Continue reading

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Public Confidence And Trust (2): Observations On Gallup’s Confidence In Institutions Poll

In Part 1, we looked at the implications of Gallup’s 2017 polling on Americans’ beliefs in the trustworthiness and honesty of various occupations.  This post looks at institutions, and what Gallup’s research shows us when those polled answer the question, “Now I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one — a great deal, quite a lot, some or very little?”

As with the occupations poll results, what is most interesting—or depressing— is how the public’s attitude has changed over time. Gallup has been taking this poll at the end of every year since 1993, and in some years, for some institutions, before that.

The most important finding is that Americans have less trust and confidence in our institutions than ever before, and have been in this state for three straight years. (See chart above.) The 32% average confidence level in all institutions measured was one point above 2016, which came in at a record low 31%, but that difference is not statistically significant. This is the third straight year that the number has been under 33%. That has never happened before.

I have written about this issue in the past (and discussed it with professional groups, like newly elected state legislators, in ethics seminars), with the same alarm. For a democracy to lack confidence and trust in its institutions portends disaster, and the danger cannot be understated. Of all forms of government, it is democracy that is most built on a foundation of public trust. This erosion in public trust—the average level of trust has fallen about 26% in just ten years—is collectively frightening. Look at the first line and the last in many of these charts: Continue reading

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Comment Of The Day (8): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies…”

All good things must come to an end. This is the 8th and final COTD that arrived in response to my post about Noah Berlatsky’s disturbing call to gut the First Amendment because Nazis BAD. That idiot gets national publicity on an NBC sub-page called “THINK.” All eight of the authors of the Comments of the Day could squish Noah in Jeopardy, Scrabble, or a moderated debate, and all they got was a post on Ethics Alarms. Not even a lousy T-shirt. There is no justice.

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…

The upside and the downside of the internet is that almost nothing disappears once it’s posted, a lesson I myself should probably grasp before I post in anger. That said, I’m not angry right now, just disgusted with this article and the two I linked to above. (Here and here.) I’m not going to say that all of the left is like this, but it’s clear that a healthy core of the elite at the top of the left and their supporters are interesting in two things before all else: power and control. Some of these may actually believe that they are doing the right thing and helping people, but many, and I think both our last president and his chosen successor belong to this category, simply believe that they know best, and anyone who disagrees is simply wrong and not worthy of a hearing.

The fact is that this country was founded, indeed settled, with the idea in mind that everyone was entitled to be heard and no one’s opinion, no matter how wrong it might be, would be silenced by the heavy hand of government. We threw off the British yoke in part because they had resorted to trying to silence dissenting opinions and trying to arrest those who dared express them. In essence the British had failed to “co-opt” the colonies back into their way of doing things and tried to turn to the mailed fist when the velvet glove had failed.

Since then the U.S. has usually been strong on freedom of speech, even when it’s been odious. We’ve typically only slipped in time of war or national security emergency, with things like the Smith Act in WWI and HUAC during the early Cold War. With the publishing of the Pentagon Papers and the conversion of the journalism industry from a valuable service to unofficial watchdogs of government honesty, even clamping down a bit on freedom of speech in time of war or protecting certain important truths with Churchill’s proverbial “bodyguard of lies” has gone by the boards. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/2017: Climate Change Porn, Stupid Conservative Tricks, A Lifetime Ethics Dunce, And A Jumbo

Good Morning!

Still waiting for Christmas Spirit to kick in, because I need it…

1 Plus it gives too much power to John McCain...No major tax bill, indeed no major bill at all, should be passed without at least some bi-partisan participation and support. This isn’t democracy, but some kind of freakish distortion of it, created by incremental irresponsible acts over time by too many politicians to name. I have my own favorite culprits, Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid prominent among them, but assigning blame can be left to objective historians, if there are any. Right now, what the U.S. desperately needs is a leader with sufficient courage and credibility to force both parties not merely to a table but to a serious and dedicated colloquy, with the objective of signing the equivalent of a peace treaty.

I cannot imagine who such a unifying figure might be, or if one can even exist in a culture where the likes of Jimmy Kimmel is accorded moral authority by a disturbing large segment of the population.

2. Bart Simpson would be proud…no, confused, actually. The latest effort to poison every last public refuge from toxic politics comes from the Right, which is encouraging the jerks among them to troll Starbucks in a variation of the old House of Pancakes gag we used to pull in college when we were drunk. (It also was a running bit on “The Simpsons.”) Starbucks writes the customer’s name on the holiday cups of their ridiculously priced concoctions, so the idea is to force the baristas at the openly progressive coffee shops to place the phony name TRUMP MAGA in view and actually announce it OUT LOUD.

At least the IHop prank names were funny, if you had the sense of humor of a 12-year old. ” I have a reservation for a Hugh Jass!” Bart used that one on poor Moe, too.

Supposedly this is payback from conservatives for Starbucks eliminating religious Christmas imagery from their cups, and this year adding what have been called “lesbian hands,”

….further defiling the holiday. I’m not kidding. People are actually complaining about the hands.

I think I’m going back to bed. Continue reading

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