No, A Democratic Senator Attending A Party In Honor Of A Trump Appointee He Opposed Isn’t “Hypocrisy”…It’s Called “Statesmanship,” “Sportsmanship,” And “Professionalism”

To be fair, we see so little of either now that many may no longer be able to recognize the two traits any more.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news source wrote,

A Democratic senator who couldn’t “in good conscience” vote for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross still attended a ritzy cocktail party welcoming him to the nation’s capital.On Wednesday, Georgetown socialite and Washington Post editor Lally Weymouth, daughter of the paper’s former publisher, Katherine Graham, hosted a “Welcome to Washington, D.C.” party for Ross at the Georgetown mansion of former Republican diplomat C. Boyden Gray. West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin attended that party, according to Politico Playbook, rubbing shoulders with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Manchin’s attendance marked an about-face for the Democrat, who attempted to block Ross’s cabinet appointment.

In February, Manchin said he could not “in good conscience … give Wilbur Ross a promotion.” The senator credited Ross’s career as a billionaire investor—which earned him the nickname ” King of Bankruptcy”—and his involvement in the West Virginia mining industry for his decision to oppose the appointment along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Following my extensive vetting, meeting with him, watching his nomination and reaching out to West Virginians who have worked with him directly, I cannot in good conscience look the families of the fallen Sago miners or the Weirton Steel workers who lost their jobs in the eye knowing I voted to give Wilbur Ross a promotion,” Manchin said in a statement at the time….

Steven Law, president of the GOP Senate Leadership Fund, criticized his attendance as a sign of “Washington hypocrisy.” “Apparently Joe Manchin’s ‘good conscience’ waits in the car while he stops in for cocktails on the Washington D.C. party circuit,” Law said in a statement. “Senate Leadership Manchin thinks he can fool West Virginia voters with his Washington hypocrisy, but we believe they are catching on to Manchin’s worn-out act.”

So it was principled, then, for Rep. John Lewis to boycott President Trump’s inauguration? It’s principled, then, for Democrats to refuse to respect the office of the President, because they didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Is that what Steven Law is saying?

Do Republicans think before they make statements like this? Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week, Olympics Division: Hope Solo

"Jim Kaat, meet Hope Solo. Hope...Jim."

“Jim Kaat, meet Hope Solo. Hope…Jim.”

“I thought that we played a courageous game. I thought that we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down; I’m very proud of this team. I also think we played a bunch of cowards. But, you know, the best team did not win today; I strongly, firmly believe that. I think you saw America’s heart. You saw us give everything that we had today. Unfortunately the better team didn’t win.”

—-U.S. women’s soccer team goalie Hope Solo,after the Swedish team eliminated the United States from the Olympic women’s soccer tournament in a penalty shootout Friday.

Diagnosis: Jerk.

I remember the first time I ever heard a representative of a losing team use the old “the best team didn’t win today” line.

It was 1967, the best summer of my life, when I spent my last carefree teenage school break following the greatest pennant race in baseball history. My team, the Boston Red Sox, were the surprise underdog in an amazing, see-saw four team race that had its outcome in doubt until the bitter end. The Sox, led by MVP and Triple Crown winner Carl Yasrtzemski, entered the final series at home against the first place Minnesota trailing by a single game. It was a two game series. If the Red Sox won both, they would be American League Champions after nearly 20 years of losing.

They did win both. I was at one of the games, among the most hopeful, raucous, joyous baseball crowd I have ever had the honor to be part of. Both games were hard fought, with surprising twists and turns like the whole season. Still, the Sox won. I was so proud of that gutsy young team, which I had rooted for through every nail-biting inning—the team was nicknamed “The Cardiac Kids”—of their 162 games, and never more happy going to bed after enduring a crucial, nerve-wracking contest.

The next day, I read in the sports pages a post-game statement by Twins pitcher Jim Kaat, who had started the game I attended. He said, “We’ve got to give Boston credit,but I think the best team and the best fans will be watching the Series on television.”

I thought it was an astonishingly  graceless and obnoxious quote by a losing athlete, the epitome of bad sportsmanship, and stupid to boot. If the Twins were so damn great, why were they ending the season tied (with the Tigers) for second place? By definition, the team that ends a season with the best record is the best team, and the team that loses the decisive game has proven that it is not the better team.

Solo’s statement was worse. Continue reading

Unethical Donald Trump Quote Of The Day: His Post-Wisconsin Primary Wipeout Statement, Making Richard Nixon Look Classy By Comparison

nixon-and trump

Of course, Donald Trump makes almost anyone look classy by comparison, including that drunk who threw up on your lap on the subway. (He apologized.)

On November 7, 1962, Richard Nixon made his official concession statement after losing the election for Governor of California to incumbent Pat Brown, Jerry Brown’s father. Nixon had barely lost the U.S. Presidency in one of the closest election ever two years earlier, and earning the governor’s seat in the Golden State was supposed to be the beginning of his comeback. The loss was devastating, but Nixon made it more so with a bitter, graceless, self-pitying concession speech that became part of his legacy. It was a long, extemporaneous, rambling mess. Read the whole thing, by all means, or watch the video, because it really is remarkable.  Here are some highlights: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: The Huffington Post, Which Is Having A Really Unethical Week

KKK assestance

“The photo has gone viral this weekend as netizens praise the officer’s extraordinary show of professionalism and grace under such trying circumstances.”

The Huffington Post, commenting on the photo above, showing black police officer Leroy Smith giving a feeble white supremacist assistance during the Ku Klux Klan rally held at the South Carolina Statehouse over the weekend.

Does the Huffington Post have any idea what professionalism is? Ethical conduct? Increasingly, I have my doubts, and this is just the latest example.

We already know the average “netizen” doesn’t know ethics from shinola, but the Huffington Post is a news and culture commentary site. One would think a basic comprehension of such concepts as duty, fairness, justice, responsibility and ethics would be essential. Well, let me rephrase that: they are obviously essential. One would think the Huffington Post would know that without them, its analysis of pretty much anything is worthless.

Look, you ethics dolts: Smith was doing his job, that’s all. The fact that he personally may have objected to the beliefs and words of the protesters is completely irrelevant to his professional obligations. He must treat all professionals the same. To do otherwise would un-professional, un-ethical, and wrong. Dominique Mosbergen is  apparently  of the opinion that the normal, professional thing to do is to refuse to help people whom you don’t like, agree with, or whose views offend you. Wait—isn’t this what the jerks who refuse to sell cakes to gay couples do? Somehow I don’t think Dominique agrees with those anti-gay marriage zealots or that she feels to just treat such customers as human beings would constitute an “extraordinary show of professionalism and grace.” Why does she think a black cop helping a distressed racist like he would a similarly needy  NAACP member because they are both citizens and as a public servant he is duty-bound to treat them both exactly the same is an “extraordinary show of professionalism and grace,” then?

It is because she is incompetent and ignorant. It is because she doesn’t comprehend what professionalism is. It is because to her, “White Racist Lives Don’t Matter,” so she is just bowled over when an African American acts without employing her biases.

Leroy Smith behaved like any professional would, and should. Nothing more, nothing less. Most cops do their jobs, and do them professionally. There is nothing newsworthy or extraordinary  about the photo, except to people who believe that the primary motivating factor for most people is hate.

_____________________

Pointer: Fred

Ethics Observations On The Selma Celebration “Gotcha’s!”

Selma redux

1. The big controversy as of this morning involved the New York Times front page photo, which managed to be cropped exactly at the point where former President Bush could have been seen. Given the Times’ proclivities, conservative blogs and Fox News presumed the snub was intentional. If it had been intentional, that would have indeed been disrespectful and unethical photojournalism. The Times explanation, however, seems reasonable. It tells us something, though, that nobody at the Times saw this coming. I think it’s incompetence born of bias. “Where’s Bush?” “He was too far down the line, so the photo looks lousy if he’s included.” “Damn. Well, put a note in explaining that.” Bias makes us stupid, and the fact that no Times editor had this conversation is, in fact, stupid.

2. If the NAACP was setting the place cards, and I assume they were, then Bush should have been second row center, and not an MSNBC demagogue and race-hustler who owes the U.S. back taxes. Talk about biased and stupid. The NAACP claims it wants to be a unifying force in the country, but it doesn’t. It promotes divisiveness,and intentionally. It’s good for business.

3. A graceful, fair, respectful and competent President of the United States would have insisted that his immediate predecessor be in a position of prominence, as part of the message that this event was an important part of the history of America and all Americans. It would have been the right thing to do. Bush would have done the same for him. But we do not have a graceful, fair, respectful and competent President. We have an arrogant, petty, self-absorbed and divisive one.

4. …who can, on occasion, rise to give an excellent speech, which he did. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Bill Clinton

Clinton and Bloom

A couple of initial observations on an ironic first Ethics Hero for 2014:

  • President Clinton has been an Ethics Hero before, despite the fact that it was his successful efforts at corrupting the nation’s ethics that led me to launch my first ethics website.
  • As always, when Bill does the right thing, it raises the classic ethics conundrum: did he do the right thing because it was right; did he do it because he knew someone had to do right and he wanted to be first; did he do it because he felt he had a duty to do right; did he do it because he wanted to be perceived as doing right; or did he do it to fool people into believing that he was the kind of person who just does the right thing?
  • Good luck, New York City! You are going to need it.

The speakers lined up for  Mayor Bill  de Blasio’s inauguration’s made one wonder if being rude, arrogant and confrontational is a mandatory qualification for being a New York progressive. Continue reading

World Series Ethics: He Tipped His Cap

What would Ted Williams have done? We know the answer to THAT question...

What would Ted Williams have done? We know the answer to THAT question…

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series last night, making me happy. Something else happened too.

Some background is in order. The great Ted Williams used to give Boston baseball fans the biggest hat tip in baseball as they cheered him after a home run. This was when he was first known as “the Kid’ and indeed was one, as his Hall of Fame trajectory was obvious from the moment he stepped on a major league field in 1939 at the tender age of 19. Gradually but rapidly, a vicious local press and some ugly incidents in response to a few jackasses in the stands caused the Kid to sour on the admission-paying mortals who booed him when he struck out, and he decided to ignore their cheers, refusing to extend the traditional courtesy of a hat tip to the fans as he rounded the bases after a home run—which, since he was Ted Williams, happened frequently. Williams  spent his whole career in the city of Boston playing before those fans who offended him in his twenties, but right up to and after his final home run, which he hit, famously, in his last at bat, the Red Sox fans got no hat tip from Ted. He rounded the bases the final time as they cheered themselves hoarse, and never looked up or acknowledged their praise. Screw ’em.

That was Red Sox pitcher John Lackey’s attitude toward the current generation of Fenway fans, for similar reasons. He had been signed to a rich, long-term contract in 2010 to be a Red Sox mound ace, but arrived in Boston with his arm deteriorating and his abilities diminished. 2010 was a disappointing season for Lackey and 2011 was worse, as he pitched in pain for a team that was short of hurlers. The 2011 Red Sox became infamous for their late-season collapse and underachieving starting pitchers, and no one on that team was jeered on the field or savaged in the call-in sports shows like John Lackey. He missed the entire next Red Sox season recovering from arm surgery after the 2011 collapse, and thus missed the 2012 debacle that was even worse. In 2013, however, Lackey returned with a renewed right arm, a fit body and a fierce determination to finally live up to the big contract. He did, too. He pitched well all season, and became a key factor in the Boston charge to the World Series, as they rose from last place in their division in 2012 to first.

In 2013, Lackey received nothing but cheers from the surprised and grateful Boston fans. Nevertheless, he adamantly maintained the Kid’s attitude—“Screw ’em”—all season long. As he walked into to the Red Sox dugout after being relieved in another fine pitching performance and the Boston fans saluted him, Lackey refused to reciprocate with the traditional hat tip, all season long and through the play-offs. The fans were fickle hypocrites, and their loyalty conditional. They booed him when he was valiantly pitching hurt and embarrassed in 2011, and he wasn’t going to forget it. They were going to get snubbed like they deserved, and that was the way it was going to be.

Last night the Boston Red Sox won their third World Series in the last ten years. It was the first time the home team fans had been able to witness the deciding game since 1918 (as the Fox announcers informed the presumably senile audience over and over and over again), and John Lackey was the pitching star for the home town team. The night was a love fest for Boston baseball fans, as they cheered every move of their frequently star-crossed and quirky team, and no Red Sox player was cheered more loudly than John Lackey, as he walked off the field for the final time in 2013 in the 7th inning, with his team safely ahead by five runs. They stood and applauded and chanted his name, as he moved deliberately to the Boston dugout, head down, grim, just like Ted on that gray day in 1960 when he hit homer number 521.

Then he tipped his cap.

It was a small thing, the smallest really, only a gesture and for most players, most of the time, an automatic one…except that it symbolized the ethical virtues of grace, forgiveness, gratitude, humility and fairness. This memorable, wonderful night for the Boston Red Sox and the grand old city it represents—my home town– was no time to let bitterness and resentment prevail. Unlike Ted Williams (who wouldn’t make his peace with Boston fans until years later, when he returned as an opposition manager), John Lackey found the strength and decency to let it go.

It was, as I said, a small thing. But it took character, and it was the right thing to do.

______________________________
Graphic: USA Today

Ethics Quote Of The Day: Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”

—-Baseball great Lou Gehrig, beginning his farewell speech to Yankee fans on July 4, 1939, as they filled Yankee stadium to say farewell to “the Iron Horse,” who was retiring from the game after being diagnosed with the incurable disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known forever after as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Lous Farewell

Lou Gehrig was only 36 years old when he learned that he was dying. ALS is a terrible wasting disease that has no cure, and in 1939 there was little treatment or assistance that could be offered to a victim as his body slowly ceased to function. It is an especially cruel disease for a professional athlete to face, and even more so one, like Gehrig, who was renowned for his endurance and seemingly indestructible body. When the progress of the illness, still then undiagnosed, caused Gehrig to remove himself from the New York Yankees line-up on May 1, 1939, it ended his amazing streak of 2,130 consecutive games, a baseball record that stood until broken by Cal Ripken, 56 years later.

Gehrig’s speech was from his heart. He was an educated and articulate man, but he had not planned on speaking at the moving ceremony to bid him farewell, as current former team mates, some of the greatest players ever to take the field, gathered to pay their respects. But the Yankee Stadium crowd of more than 60,000 began chanting his name, and after initially refusing, Gehrig moved to the microphone. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Mitt Romney

Mitt, Mitt, Mitt…

Ah, Mitt, Mitt. We know you’re disappointed. We know you don’t like to lose, especially when you feel smeared and misunderstood.We know its got to hurt.

There is only one way to lose a Presidential election, though, and it is to smile, say that the winner ran a tough campaign, that the people have spoken, that Americans are lucky to live in a democracy, and that’s it. Hell, Richard Nixon had this act down in 1960, when he lost to Mayor Daley, the Mob, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr, the Texas machine and JFK. He didn’t challenge the integrity of the process or the wisdom of the voters. He just resolved to fix his own Presidential election as soon as he had the chance.

But Mitt, for you to say, as you did yesterday, Continue reading

Ethics Heroes: Papa Roach

Ethics Alarms’ 2011 Commenter of the Year tgt, who found this story and passed it on, asks,

“How is a horrible stoner rock band more ethical than everyone in politics?”

It’s a great, if sorrowful, question.

A.V. Club has a feature (which could be called “Start a Feud”) in which it asks a rock performer what song he or she hates, and why.  Jenn Wasner, one half of the Baltimore indie-folk duo Wye Oak (“a blend of Southern culture and Northern sensibilities…”) submitted to this invitation to get in trouble, and fingered the song in the video above, “Scars,” by Papa Roach.

Criticizing the work of other artists in the same field is unprofessional at best, gratuitously unkind and disrespectful. Papa Roach’s members would have been within their rights to fire back something less than complimentary in defense, at very least the observation that ethical musicians don’t take gratuitous shots at one another. What the band did however, was this: it sent Wasner flowers. Wasner was convinced it was some kind of diabolical trap, and tweeted as much. The band tweeted back: Continue reading