Now We Know Who Simpson College Is Named For, I Guess.

It must be Homer, because that appears to be the level of cognition being  taught to its students, by equally dunder-headed faculty.

I’ll try to make this short, because we’ve had the same discussion recently. I have made a vow, however, to remark with disgust on such idiocy every time it raises its hole-riddled Homer-shaped head.

John Bolen, a retired professor of religion working part-time at  Simpson College, uttered the dreaded shibboleth “nigger”  during a class. He used the word to discuss the word, of course, and not as a racial epithet, but Homer and similarly handicapped students can’t make such nuanced distinctions. Bolen was using the word to make the hackneyed, stale and simplistic analogy with the Washington, D.C. pro football team’s nickname “The Redskins,” but he triggered mass outage by not using baby-talk (“N-word”) or Pig Latin (“Iggernay”) instead of English as if his audience consisted of  adults and could hear a word used to describe itself without having a psychotic episode because of the color of the speaker. Continue reading

Policy Clarification: If The Subject Of An Ethics Story Is The Use Of The Words “Nigger” Or “Fuck,” Ethics Alarms Will Appropriately Use Those Words And Not “N-Word” And “F-Word,” Because To Do Otherwise Will Be To Enable The Language, Speech And Expression Censors…

…whose real goal is to control thought.

It is a matter of constant amazement to me how many news publications and editors choose to either keep their readers uninformed and confused (by using a vague and ambiguous term like “a racial epithet” or “a vulgarity” when the word in question is central to an episode, or, in my view worse, use the juvenile “N-word” or “F-word” euphemism as if the actual word isn’t what these codes mean, so the pretense that they are anything but the equivalent on speaking in pig-latin because the kiddies are around is an insult to adults everywhere. I wonder: would it be considered benign to use “N-word” as an insult, as in “You stupid N-word!”? Would am employee still be fired if he told his boss, “Oh, go F-word yourself you mother-F-wording  F-word head!”? If the euphemism means the same thing as the word, then why not use the word itself?

This is political correctness gaslighting, and I reject it categorically.  Here is a recent headline from the College Fix:

Another ‘N word’-in-context incident costs a university employee her job

That  headline is over a story about how absurd and anti-free speech it is to punish a professor for using the word “nigger” in a discussion about free speech, and the publication still balks at using the actual word in the context of its relationship to the story it describes while condemning the university’s decision! What sense that does that make? It’s hypocritical and incompetent, as well as cowardly.

Marlon Anderson, the janitor we discussed last month who was summarily fired for using the word “nigger” to tell a student not to call him a “nigger,” said, in the course of his defense, “So if the class is reading ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the teacher is reading the book out loud and it gets to the part where the N-word is, the teacher gets fired?” Continue reading

5 Signs That Your Organization Has An Unethical Culture Brewing…

The Harvard Business Review has published an article describing what it learned from a survey of experts asked to describe the conditions they have observed in organizations later revealed to have serious ethics problems—the symptoms of an unethical organization ethics culture. Here are the five top signs, with the corresponding rationalizations from the Ethics Alarms list where appropriate, as well as related unethical patterns of thinking and relevant organizational ethics principles that are repeated constantly in training sessions by people like me, yet routinely ignored. The news media, meanwhile, often covers the incidents as if journalist have never heard of those principles.

I. Urgency and fear: Following corruption scandals, leaders tend to describe events in terms of pressure, necessity, and what the company needed to do to ”survive.” This perception of existential competitive threats can be used to justify the creation and maintenance of toxic incentives, and it will undermine any efforts to raise concerns.

Rationalization 28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”

An argument for those who embrace “the ends justify the means”—but only temporarily, mind you!—the Revolutionary’s excuse has as long and frightening a pedigree as any of the rationalizations here. Of course, there is no such thing as “ordinary times.” This rationalization suggests that standards of right and wrong can and should be suspended under “special” circumstances, always defined, naturally, by those who defy laws, rules, and societal values. Their circular logic results in their adversaries feeling justified in being equally unethical, since times in which the other side engages in dishonesty, cheating, cruelty, and more is, by definition, extraordinary.

The inevitable result is a downward spiral of conduct, until unethical behavior is the norm. Ironically, the rationalization that “these are not ordinary times” no longer is necessary at that point. Unethical conduct has become ordinary, the new normal. This is, it is fair to say, the current state of American politics.

and…

Rationalization 31. The Troublesome Luxury: “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now”

Ethics is never “a luxury.” It is slyly effective to describe it as such, however, and those who do so usually believe it—which means you should sleep with one eye open when they are around, watch your wallet, and never turn your back. Saying ethics is a luxury simply means that the speaker believes that one should be good and fair when it is easy and benefits him or her, but when problems loom and crises have to be faced, ethics are optional. This attitude is another calling card of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “Bad Man,” the law abiding citizen who will cut your throat for his own benefit if he finds a legal loophole. In a true crisis, ethical values are often the only thing standing between us and catastrophic misconduct in the throes of desperation and panic; they aren’t luxuries, they are life-lines. When you hear yourself saying, “I’ll do anything to fix this! Anything!” it is a warning, and the ethics alarm needs to start ringing hard. Grab those ethical values, and hold on to them. They are the last thing you can afford to be without at such times.

***

II. Isolation: Groups and teams that are far from headquarters—either in geography, access to information, or both—are vulnerable. When a team that is isolated (by accident or design) comes under the direction of an authoritarian, competitive leader, an enterprise has created the baseline conditions for corruption. People are far more influenced by their immediate surroundings than by a code of conduct set at the top.

This is group-think, ignoring the tenets of Professor Zimbardo’s rules that he recommends to avoid the phenomenon:

“Avoid situations where you lose contact with your social support and informational networks, for the most powerful forces of social influence thrive then. You do not want all your reinforces to come from these new sources….Never allow yourself to be cut off emotionally from your familiar and trusted reference groups of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers…

***

Continue reading

The Good Immigrant II: The Loudmouth “Dreamer”

dani-vargas

Ooooh, I bet a lot of people are just going to hate this.

 22-year-old Daniela Vargas decided to participate in a pro-illegal immigrant news conference this week in Jackson, Mississippi. Two weeks before , ICE officials had handcuff her father and brother in the family’s driveway, for they, like her, were Argentines living in the U.S. illegally. Vargas was only 7 years old when she accompanied her father, mother and brother on a three-month visitor’s visa in 2001. The visa ran out, but they stayed in the Palmetto State.

Daniela had been protected as a “Dreamer” (another progressive euphemism designed to not only obscure truth but to make something that is nothing to be proud of sound benign, even cute) when she was 17 in December 2012 and again in November of 2014. She allowed that protection to lapse, and was officially violating the law for the last three months.

Nonetheless she put herself in front of a microphone and TV cameras this week to proclaim her defiance of the law. “Today my father and brother await deportation,while I continue to fight this battle as a dreamer to help contribute to this country which I feel that is very much my country,” she said.

Then, as Vargas drove home,  ICE agents pulled her over,  handcuffed her and took her to join her family as a first step to deportation.

Good.

Are you outraged? Really? This is a key breach of the common sense, “Don’t rub your law-breaking in the authorities’ faces rule.”  I remember my Dad one time, driving me to the airport when I was late for a flight, passing a state trooper who was going over the speed limit himself.  The trooper pulled us over, and was spitting mad. “You had the gall to flaunt speeding right in my face!” he said, barely under control. “That’s an insult to me, and the law. Just cruise by me going ten miles an hour faster as if I was nothing? No respect at all!” he said.  My dad could only say “I’m very sorry, officer. I didn’t intend to be disrespectful, but you are right. It was.” (He got a ticket.)

Vargas was so certain that she was immune from the laws of ” this country which she feels that is very much my country” that she flaunted her illegal status, after shrugging off her obligation to take the required steps to stay here. Like father, like daughter.

In a statement, an ICE spokesman confirmed that immigration officials took Vargas as “an unlawfully present Argentinian citizen,” into custody  “during a targeted immigration enforcement action” after the agency verified that her DACA status had lapsed.

Now the hashtag #freedany is being  spread on social media as an immigrant rights group, United We Dream, are encouraging young  illegal  immigrants  to sign a petition to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly demanding Vargas’s release. Its introduction says,,

“ICE agents detained 22 year old Dany Vargas just hours after she courageously spoke about her fear of deportation at a press conference…Dany came to the U.S. when she was 7 years old and was a beneficiary of the DACA program. She is a manager at a small store and dreams of becoming a math teacher.

Like many beneficiaries of the DACA program, paying the nearly $500 in fees every two years was hard and her DACA status expired. However, she saved up, got the money together and her renewal application is now in the approval process. But because of this technicality, ICE tracked her down, and put her into the deportation pipeline.”

Please.

“ICE agents detained 22 year old Dany Vargas just hours after she courageously spoke about her fear of deportation at a press conference…”

The proper word is not “courageously.” Stupidly, defiantly, foolishly, disrespectfully, arrogantly—ask that state trooper for the right words. Flaunting the law in the faces of law enforcement is many things, but it is not courageous.

“She is a manager at a small store and dreams of becoming a math teacher.” Continue reading

Presenting Rationalization #63, “Yoo’s Rationalization,” And How It Missed Getting On The List This Long, I’ll Never Know

no-means-yesRationalization #63, the eighty-first rationalization overall when you add up the sub-rationalizations on the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations List, is a major one, and should be near the top. (One of these days I’ll re-arrange and renumber them.) It is in evidence almost every day, and embodies the human fallacy of denial, as well as confirmation bias and contrived ignorance. Named after John Yoo, the Bush lawyer who wrote the infamous memo declaring that waterboarding, an “enhanced interrogation technique,” wasn’t technically torture, Rationalization #63, Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is,” is one of the most effective self-deceptions there is, a handy-dandy way to avoid logic, conscience, accountability and reality.*

I saw a prime example of it this morning, in former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s op-ed about the “Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program,” a euphemism for “amnesty for illegal immigrants who arrived as kids with their parents, so they can grow up and vote Democratic.”

She writes,

“This narrative about an initiative that has given temporary haven and work authorization to more than 700,000 undocumented minors, the so-called Dreamers, still has critics howling about presidential overreach, about brazen nose-thumbing at the rule of law and about encouraging others to breach the borders of the United States. But there’s a problem with this take on the program. It is dead wrong.”

What the program really is, she explains, is “prosecutorial discretion,” like the case by case discretion prosecutors have to use to avoid misusing resources.  This is Rationalization #63. Continue reading

When You Consider The Wisdom Of Obama’s Campaign To Destigmatize Felons, Please Also Consider Felicia Menge Kelley

Portrait of a justice-involved individual...

Portrait of a justice-involved individual…

As it attempts to bolster its political support by sucking up to convicted criminals and their families, the Obama administration has been incrementally making it more difficult to distinguish felons from law-abiding citizens, arguing that once they have paid their debt to society, maybe they are no different. HUD, carrying out the Obama administration’s new theory that felons are just plain folks,  has decreed that landlords risk federal investigations if they reject rental applicants based on the applicant’s undisputed criminal record in newly-released guidelines. 

The Justice Department and the Department of Education are now using a euphemism to make convicts and those with rap sheets sound like they have a hobby: the new cover-phrase is “justice-involved individuals.” (Hillary Clinton is apparently a justice-involved individual.)

The problem with all of this is that being convicted of a felony is not like catching a cold, and often provides a strong clue that the individual involved is not quite as trustworthy as the boy scout or girl scout next door. Take, for example, this story:

From the ABA Journal:

A woman with a history of financial crimes in multiple states got a job as an office manager and bookkeeper for a North Carolina law firm, after a background check failed to pick up her earlier convictions under a different name.

That resulted in a loss of more than $150,000 to the firm, Yow, Fox & Mannen, District Attorney Ben David of New Hanover County told the Port City Daily. The firm’s now-former employee, Felicia Menge Kelley, 44, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of embezzlement and was sentenced to a prison term of between 82 and 111 months, the newspaper reports. She will also be required to pay over $145,000 in restitution.

Kelley, who has previously worked for other law firms in the Jacksonville area, was convicted earlier under the name of Felicia Dawn Menge…

But I’m sure she’s just an exception to the rule…and gives a bad name to decent, hard-working, justice-involved individuals. It’s not like they are criminals or something.

 

 

Unethical Government Euphemism Of The Month: “Justice-Involved Individuals”

A "justice-involved individual"

A “justice-involved individual”

At what point did the Obama Administration become immune to recognizing the ridiculous?

In its ongoing effort to make criminals and felons a Democratic voting bloc, the Obama Administration has rechristened them “justice-involved individuals.” Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason was the designated messenger for this official effort to make criminals respectable by creative terminology.  In The Washington Post, she  explained that “many of the formerly incarcerated men, women, and young people I talk with say that no punishment is harsher than being permanently branded a ‘felon’ or ‘offender.’”

Don’t break the law, then. It’s always unpleasant being called what you have allowed yourself to become, and having to avoid that fate is an important element of deterrence.

I heard about this and—I swear—I thought it was a joke. How addled by rainbows and unicorns does a mind have to be to hear a proposed euphemism like this and not react by pointing, laughing, and firing?

To begin with, it’s an inept and ambiguous euphemism that doesn’t effectively  distinguish what it is supposed to describe. I’m  lawyer; I’m a justice-involved individual. Judges, juries and police officers are justice-involved individuals. Criminals, in contrast, are justice-adverse individuals. Criminals and felons are clear words and concepts. “Justice-involved individuals,” in contrast, hides the truth. That’s what cover-phrases like that are supposed to do. They make deception and counter-factual policy-making easier.

Why does the administration, Democrats, Obama, social justice warriors, wackos—who IS responsible for this?—want to make criminals seem like innocent bystanders in their own criminal activities? Here’s is section from a DOE publication that is part of the roll-out of this latest Obama foray into Orwellian Newspeak: Continue reading

Abortion Ethics Train Wreck Update: Trump’s Comments Prove He Hasn’t Thought About Abortion (Irresponsible), Criticism Of Hillary’s Comments Prove Abortion Advocates Don’t Want ANYBODY Thinking About Abortion (Dishonest), and Pundit Criticism Of Maureen Dowd’s Question To Trump About Abortion Makes No Sense (Incompetent)

stages

Good job, everybody!

It is a cliché to say that Americans never talk frankly about race. Yet our aversion to honest talk about race pales compared to the lazy, intellectually dishonest and cowardly way we discuss one of the major ethics conflicts of our age, abortion.

1. For some reason, it took seven months of the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination for anyone to ask Donald Trump about his views on abortion, which is a core issue to conservatives, progressives and feminists, as wellas a major factor in the controversy over the composition of the Supreme Court. Never mind that Trump’s answers were incoherent and contradictory, and that he took  five different positions on abortion in three days last week: what was outrageous about Trump’s answer(s) was that he was obviously winging it. He had never given the issue any quality thought at all (if he is capable of quality thought, which I doubt), and faking it, indeed as he has faked his entire campaign. Do Trump supporters need further smoking gun evidence that he is not only unprepared for the Presidency, but too lazy, irresponsible and intellectually limited to be trusted with the job?

Okay, we know they do, because they are impervious to logic or reason.  Still, this was a stunning display of Trump’s hollowness and incompetence as a candidate.

2. Then Hillary Clinton wandered into the same mine field, a map of which she should be know by heart. “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,” Mrs. Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support.”

To begin with, the statement is false: the Supreme Court has ruled that embryos do have rights at some point, much disputed, before they are born. She was correct, however, that a living, growing organism that left alone and allowed to mature will be born, and will upon birth be a person in the eyes of the law and in the definitions of common sense, is by definition a person prior to that except for the absence of its birth, and thus is, by common construction, an unborn person, or, if you prefer, unborn human being, unborn baby, or unborn child. A bill is an unpassed law. A manuscript is an unpublished book. A law school grad is an unlicensed lawyer….which is to say, not a lawyer until something happens that has not happened yet. Hillary did not misspeak, except that speaking the truth is misspeaking to the pro-abortion lobby.

The problem is that Hillary’s terminology conjures up images of tiny hands and tiny heads, perhaps with tiny mouths sucking tiny thumbs. Hence she was immediately taken to the woodshed and told to be more careful about what she admits to. Continue reading

It’s Corporation For Public Broadcasting Fundraising Time, Which Means Deception At NPR And PBS

The "Car Talk" brothers today, or so we are told.

The “Car Talk” brothers today, or so we are told.

It is fundraising time for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and once again, perhaps more than ever, NPR and PBS are lying to you. If you watch the PBS broadcast of “Downton Abbey” this weekend, for example, you will find the show introduced by a series of promotions for such companies as Viking Cruise Lines. These spots look, feel, sound and smell like commercials, but because PBS describes them with the euphemism “promotional considerations,” it thinks it can magically make them non-commercial, and thus, within seconds of running these ads, and while making its audience wait fifteen minutes to actually see the programming, describes PBS as “commercial-free television.”

If you can sell commercials, guys, don’t tell me that the survival of Western civilization depends on my tax-payer dollars going into your pockets.

Over at National Public Radio, it’s also deception and hypocrisy, but worse. I just turned on WMAU, a local NPR affiliate, and heard the familiar strains of Boston townie accents talking about automotive issues on “Car Talk,” where  the Tappet Brothers made the banter between Cliff and Norm sound pedestrian by comparison. After the last segment, in which “Click and Clack” answered a query from an LA area student about whether he should buy a car (Their answer, after much foolery: “No.”) Tom Tappet came on and explained that if this were commercial radio and they were sponsored by an auto manufacturer, the bothers might have felt pressured to give a different answer, or perhaps been fired for giving the honest one they did. And this is what is so important about NPR being listener-funded, he explained. It is independent radio. NPR is only interested in the objective truth, and isn’t swayed by conflict of interest.

Right, Tom! Ask Juan Williams about how independent NPR is. Continue reading

Nicholas Kristof’s Dishonest, Confused, Cynical, And Astoundingly Naive Gun Control Op-Ed

Safe gun

[UPDATED: 1/18/2016]

Few anti-gun advocates have been as shrill and self-righteous as the New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristof, so pardon me if I find his sudden change of tone insincere. It smacks of “let’s see if this works,” but never mind: it’s a brave effort, or rather, is supposed to appear as one. Titled “Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals,” his article cites the statistics that contradict the hysterical anti-gun rhetoric coming from, for one, Barack Obama, and for another, Kristof,  before this essay. We indeed have more guns and fewer homicides, Kristof admits. Banning assault weapons has little if any effect on reducing violence, and many proposed gun control measures were based on ignorance.

So much for the faux reasonableness.  Kristof then pulls out some deceitful statistics of the sort we often hear, like this:

“Just since 1970, more Americans have died from guns than all the Americans who died in wars going back to the American Revolution (about 1.45 million vs. 1.4 million). That gun toll includes suicides, murders and accidents, and these days it amounts to 92 bodies a day.”

What an intellectually dishonest thing to write. Among those who have died were mobsters, gang members, criminals, murderers, terrorists and burglars. It includes people who would have killed themselves with pills or jumping out of windows had guns not been available. It includes accidents, and people die regularly in accidents involving ladders, bicycles slippery kitchen floors. This the epitome of a junk statistic, devised to appeal to emotion and bypass rational thought. Shame on him. He is just getting started, however.

Then Kristof goes off the reality rails, in familiar directions. Universal background checks will keep guns out of the hands of criminals, he says. No, they won’t. Who doesn’t know that?  We should keep guns out of the hands of those who “abuse alcohol,” he says, citing a study. Meaning what, exactly? It’s not illegal to drink, or to get drunk, or to be an alcoholic. Alcoholics Anonymous is, you know, anonymous, and a doctor treating someone for alcohol abuse, whatever that means,  can’t reveal that information. Does Kristof have any idea just how many Americans “abuse alcohol,” including elected officials, police officers, military personnel, artists, writers, doctors, lawyers, judges, professors, philanthropists, journalists, like about a fourth of his colleagues at the Times,  and law abiding citizens?

“That means universal background checks before somebody acquires a gun,” Kristof concludes, “that” being making guns “safer” and “universal background checks” meaning “intrusive checks that go far, far beyond anything that has ever yet been proposed yet that STILL won’t stop any criminal who wants to get a gun from getting one.” “Why empower criminals to arm themselves?” Kristof asks, plaintively. You see, Nick, criminals don’t have to be empowered, because as criminals, they empower themselves regardless of what the law tells them to do. Why this ridiculously simple concept is so elusive to people like Kristof is one of life’s enduring mysteries….unless, of course, he understands completely, and is being intentionally and dishonestly dense. To what end, you ask?

Hmmmm. Well, here’s another example:

“More than 10 percent of murders in the United States, for example, are by intimate partners. The riskiest moment is often after a violent breakup when a woman has won a restraining order against her ex. Prohibiting the subjects of those restraining orders from possessing a gun reduces these murders by 10 percent, one study found.”

And what about those restraining order subjects who already had availed themselves of their Second Amendment right to own a fire arm? What do we do about those guns?

Guess. Continue reading