Tag Archives: Howard Dean

A Concise, Clear, Elegant, And Willfully False Unethical Tweet Of The Month From Howard Dean

Howard Dean wants to make sure the Left’s war on free speech and expression continues, so he decided to misinform trusting Democrats and progressives—who trust the damnedest people lately!—with a Big Lie level tweet. His immediate target was Ann Coulter, whose speaking gig at Berkeley was first cancelled because of the campus’s rampant embrace of “the heckler’s veto” (as well as the “the thug’s veto,” “the bully’s veto,” and”the rioter’s veto,” all increasingly au currant on the Left) by the school’s students, then cleverly re-scheduled by the University to a day when there would be no classes. [Full disclosure: I wouldn’t move from my living room into my dining room to hear Ann Coulter speak.] Dean is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, arguably the worst of a terrible lot, and is an expert on “hate speech”, or at least hateful speech, having engaged in it himself often. Notably, for example, he insinuated that President Trump was a cocaine user during the 2016 campaign because a badly set microphone picked up his sniffling during a debate.

The nice thing about the progressive definition of “hate speech” (it has no legal definition, which is also convenient) is that it only includes statements that progressives disagree with or find disruptive to their world view and fondly held beliefs. Hateful speech from Democrats is just the hard truth, so it isn’t “hate speech.” Hate speech from everyone else is unprotected, and should carry criminal penalties.

There is no question that Dean knows “hate speech,” whatever it is, is protected by the First Amendment, but it suits his purpose and his party’s to imbed the lie that it isn’t in the mushy brains of the easily confused. This will greatly assist the Left’s ongoing efforts to stifle debate and make any dissent with progressive cant as difficult as possible. That’s the plan.

And again: progressives and Democrats should be as offended by this kind of dishonesty by their leaders as I am. Why aren’t they? Do they think Dean is correct? Do they think he should be correct? Or is it just that they believe that the ends justify the means? Democrats? Progressives? Hello? Integrity? Honesty? The Constitution? Bueller?

What the hell is the matter with them?

Constitutional law expert and law professor Eugene Volokh mostly controls his exasperation as he tries to set Dean and his uneducated acolytes straight. He begins a thorough dismembering of Dean’s tweeted lie in the Washington Post thusly: Continue reading

29 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Rights, Social Media, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

“Fake News” Ethics: Top Ten Culprits (And Facebook Isn’t One Of Them)

pope-trump

“Fake News” is now a big topic in the news media, as it tries to lead public attention away from legitimate scrutiny of its own bias and incompetence, Facebook, in particular, is the target of this outcry, because the false narrative (should Facebook also be helped responsible for policing false narratives?) that fake news drove Donald Trump’s shocking victory is more palatable than the accurate narrative that Trump was opposed by the only candidate so corrupt, dishonest and inept that he had a chance of winning.

Here’s an interesting study of how Facebook’s algorithms circulates news stories that are made up. The focus on this kind of fake news, however, creates a fake picture of the problem that over-emphasizes hoax stories, many of which, apparently, come from teens in Macedonia exploiting American online gullibility for profit. The problem is that Americans are so ignorant that when some of them read a story that says  the Pope endorsed Donald Trump, they believe it. (Popes don’t endorse presidential candidates, and if anyone conscious thinks about it for five minutes, they should be able to figure out why.) The problem is that 40% of Americans are so lazy that they get their news from social media (and another chunk gets its news from comedy shows.)

The Blame Facebook theory is that because Facebook is foolishly relied upon by inept and gullible citizens to get their information about the world, Facebook has to take on the impossible task of vetting news items.

Facebook, however, is neither trustworthy nor competent to do this. Facebook is biased. Facebook is overrun with social justice warriors whose idea of what Facebook should censor is anything that offends them. For example:

Mark Zuckerberg had to fend off employees during the U.S. presidential campaign who wanted to censor billionaire Donald Trump’s posts due to alleged hate speech. Controversial statements by Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign in December forced Mr. Zuckerberg to quash a mini-mutiny of staffers who threatened to quit if they could not delete the candidate’s posts. Sources close to the matter told The Wall Street Journal that some of the comments in question involved a plan to ban Muslim immigrants while the U.S. determines how to best combat the Islamic State group.

Biased selections regarding which news to print while censoring the statements of a Presidential candidate are at least as misleading as fake news.

Presumably Facebook won’t try vet the misleading, dishonest news stories, commentary, links and memes I see flooding Facebook every day, courtesy of my nice, friendly, smart, educated, completely left-biased and right-biased friends who throw absolute garbage out as truth and immediately receive dozens of “Likes” for doing so. These are a lot more visible and just as brain-muddling as any Macedonian fiction. Here’s one example from yesterday, and to the good friend who posted it, I love you dearly but you are gullible and irresponsible:

BREAKING: Trump Announces Plan To ELIMINATE Overtime Pay For 20,000,000 Americans

This is completely false, as one would learn, sort of, by reading the story. Republicans are going to review regulations established in the last 60 days and kill the ones they think are ill-advised, as the law allows Congress to do. One that might be in jeopardy is a recent  rule that requires companies to pay time-and-a-half overtime to employees who make under roughly $47,000. The article also eventually says that it is House Republicans who say they are targeting the rule. So, to summarize:

  • Trump announced no such plan.
  • Nothing is being eliminated, since nobody has received any extra pay to be eliminated.
  • The alleged regulation cancellation wouldn’t take away overtime pay, as the headline states, but the requirement of paying overtime plus 50%.
  • Killing the rule wouldn’t take away such overtime or ban it; employers would still be free to pay time and a half at their discretion.

In short, the headline is fake news, designed to attack Trump. This kind of fake news isn’t included in the linked study, and for good reason. If we fairly call misleading headlines fake news, Facebook would be charged with vetting the mainstream media constantly. What about real quotes, from supposedly reliable people, that falsely spread rumors or specious accusations? Jim Comey did not violate the Hatch Act, as Harry Reid claimed. Trump is not a Nazi, as Howard Dean just claimed. Those quotes are just as misleading than nonsense about the Pope endorsing Donald Trump, but they are real quotes, from well-respected people who are being irresponsible. Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Social Media, U.S. Society

Hillary, Her Minions, And Scooby-Doo

Former DNC chair Howard Dean just reinforced his prominent position among the ten most loathsome figures in modern politics with this tweet regarding James Comey’s revelation that the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of her official communications via e-mail was being re-opened:

dean-tweet

Dean’s meaning: since Russian hacks of  various e-mail accounts have provided ugly and often sinister evidence of the corrupt attitudes and practices of Hillary Clinton and her campaign, Comey’s required notification of Congress—required, mind you, by basic ethical principles and the rules of the legal profession—makes him a wrongdoer on par with those fueling Wikileaks. After all, without them, Hillary and her minions—including the outrageously complicit news media—would have succeeded in fooling all of the people all of the time. Yes, Comey, damn him, is now “on the same side” as Putin, because he is stripping away Clinton’s facade of trustworthiness.

Even before yesterday’s surprise announcement, the Democratic defense was in place that because Russia was attempting to influence the US election by revealing the filthy underside of Clinton, Inc., including, among other things…

….the inappropriate melding of Sate Department business, pay-to-play incentives, Clinton foundation fundraising and family enrichment

….discussions among aides on how to cover-up Hillary’s e-mail misadventures

….private speeches to Wall Street contradicting her public, anti-Wall street rhetoric, and most disturbing of all,

….collusion by journalists to assist the campaign

….such enlightening evidence should be ignored. This, those well-versed in the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations list will recognize, is   Rationalization #55, The Scooby Doo Deflection, or “I should have gotten away with it!,” in practice. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Despicable Howard Dean

howarddean-tweet

What can you say about this kind of slimy, unethical innuendo from a former Democratic Party chair? How hateful and uncivil the brand of politics and partisan nastiness that it symbolizes and advances? That it represents gutter political smearing at its worst and most unforgivable? That a party with any dignity and sense of decency would demand an apology and a retraction or cut ties with such a shameless creep? That someone who would do this has never heard of the Golden Rule, much less follows it?

The only remaining question is whether this ugly tweet allows Dean to surpass  or merely  Harry Reid as the most loathsome individual on the political scene, edging past the disgraced Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

I’m trying to think of a similarly ethically irredeemable Republican. Chris Christie hasn’t sunk to this level; Newt Gingrich is close, but he wouldn’t do this. Ironically, the only one I can think of is…Donald Trump.

16 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Unethical Tweet

The Incredible Howard Dean

What does Howard Dean know about Hillary, if he doesn't know it, why is he on TV to talk about it, and if he does know it, why is he lying about it?

What does Howard Dean know about Hillary, if he doesn’t know it, why is he on TV to talk about it, and if he does know it, why is he lying about it?

I admit it: I watched MSNBC earlier this week. I tuned in “Morning Joe,” because the horrible Howard Dean was going to be a guest, and Dean will always say something that puts him in the running for at least an Ethics Dunce post. As far as I can see, he has no scruples or shame at all; he’s like Donald Trump with an MD. Still, I didn’t expect what transpired.

Co-Host Mika Brzezinski raised Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees, and suggested that that high prices she charges colleges undercuts her credibility when she discussed making higher education affordable.  “These kids… will be strapped with $90,000 in debt or $120,000 in debt and she’s making $225,000 in one hour,” she said.

“She’s not getting $225,000 for speeches in front of colleges,” Dean stated.

Mika’s partner, “Morning Joe” Scarborough objected, insisting that she did indeed.

“No, she’s not!” Dean insisted. “Which colleges?” A few minutes later, the Morning Joe executive producer read to Dean two examples, saying, “UNLV in October of 2014, she got $225,000. Then a month later, UCLA, she got $300,000.”

“I stand corrected,” said Dean. That is hardly sufficient, however. Some questions need to be answered. Continue reading

27 Comments

Filed under Character, Education, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Tales of The Corrupted: David Ignatius’s Hillary E-mail Scandal Whitewash

This is how the world ends. The ethical world, anyway...

This is how the world ends. The ethical world, anyway…

I am charting the Clinton Corruption of the Democratic Party and how it spreads to other populations, like progressives, feminists, journalists and voters. I fear that a map of the projected progress will look like one of those scary plague or zombie computer progressions in scenes from movies like “Outbreak,” showing the entire nation turning blood red over a series of progressions beginning with a single carrier in Montana or someplace. “We have 72 hours, gentlemen, until the whole nation is infected!”

Still, there is hope. Last week I was struck by the sad cast of Clinton surrogates that her campaign trotted out to argue that it is ridiculous for anyone to think that a Secretary of State should be expected to follow her own department’s best practices, take proper steps to protect sensitive communications or tell the truth. The most raving was Howard Dean, who essentially adopted the Big Lie approach employed by James Carville. “Look,” Dean told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd last week, “this is, in fact, manufactured partly by a press that’s bored and partly by the Republicans….She can’t be blamed for this. So I look at this as the usual press frenzy, the pack journalism, and I think it’ll go away, because there’s no sense to it.” Dean should have also mentioned the bored FBI, the bored judges, and the hundreds of bored lawyers I have discussed the issue with in ethics seminars. If there is one of the latter group who agrees with Dean (who isn’t being paid by the Clintons), he or she hasn’t had the guts to say so out loud. Then Hillary sent a sacrificial lamb to Fox News, a poor ex-Bill Clinton State official named Ellen Tauscher who looked terrified…

Tauscher

….spoke in a shaky voice,  stumbled and stuttered and made no sense at all, teeing up junk like this…

TAUSCHER: Look, Secretary Clinton has former foreign service officers, civil servants. I did as undersecretary too, that make sure all of this information is protected. It is physically impossible to move things from the classified system to the unclassified system. We are only talking about the classified system, unclassified system. Everything on the classified system is where it belongs and there is no question about that. The Federal Records Act makes very clear that the person that transmits the information is responsible for the classified — classification of the information. And is it possible that Secretary Clinton was passed something by somebody and somebody and somebody? Yes. That would have been true if it had been on the state dot-gov e-mail system. But I mean, I think that we all understand that Hillary Clinton is held to a different standard. But let’s get it straight. Let’s be lawful and let’s be smart about this. We’re talking about unclassified e-mails. We’re not talking about classified e-mails, we’re talking about unclassified e-mails and they are clearly subject to what people interpret…. And there are differences between the State Department and the intelligence community right now.

As Olsen Johnson said in response to Gabby Johnson’s “authentic frontier gibberish” in “Blazing Saddles,” “Now who can argue with that?”

My impression was that no articulate, honest, credible Democrat was willing to defend Clinton, hence the campaign’s reliance desperate resume peddling hacks like Tauscher and principle-free madmen like Dean and Carville.

This week, it was more of the same. On “This Week With Martha Raddatz Pretending To Be George Stephanopoulos,” Hillary’s designated liar was a state senator I had never heard of who refused to answer Raddatz’s questions. My favorite exchange: Raddatz asked her about polls showing that a majority of the public believes that Hillary lies and isn’t trustworthy, and whether this wasn’t a serious concern for the campaign?

“Well, I certainly don’t feel that way!” the surrogate answered, with that frozen smile these people get when they have to stick to talking points and admit nothing.

Still, the Clinton Corruption Contagion (CCC) is spreading to the thoughtful and credible. The venerable Cokie Roberts, on the ABC roundtable today, has embraced the deceptive and misleading media spin that the only issue is whether the e-mail revelations ultimately costs Clinton significant support. No, that’s not the issue at all, at least not the one the news media should be concerned with. The issue is what Clinton did and what she said, and whether being incompetent, conflicted, reckless with sensitive communications and lying about it repeatedly, plus destroying evidence, disqualifies a former Secretary of State from being considered as a legitimate Presidential contender. Cokie Roberts’ analysis has now deteriorated into “Will Hillary’s lies and blame-shifting work?”

Hearing her talk like that is like watching Dana Wynter open her cold, inhuman eyes post-podding in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.”

Then there is David Ignatius, one of the Washington Post’s more trustworthy pundits, who authored an op-ed some CCC infected staffer headlined “The Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘scandal’ that isn’t.” Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Now THIS Is An Ad Hominem Attack! or “Boy, Is Howard Dean An Ass, or What?”

“True, Harry didn’t go to college, but he’s a Democrat.”

People commenting on Ethics Alarms constantly accuse me of making ad hominem attacks, when what they mean to say is “You’re name-calling.” I’ll cop to name-calling. It’s can be a bad habit, but it has its uses, best illustrated when President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” The description was true, and it immediately focused values-based criticism on a government and culture that needed it and deserved it.

Ad hominem, in contrast, is a logical fallacy in which one attempts to counter a substantive argument by attacking the character or other aspects of the advocate that can’t possibly have any bearing on the argument’s validity. For example, “you’re uglier than a pug” does nothing to disprove the substance of your adversary’s position, even if he is. Similarly, Bill Cosby has argued, even before 34 women accused him of raping them, that his advocacy of black community responsibility should not be undermined because of questions about his own rectitude.

There is nothing inherently fallacious, however, about diagnosing the conduct or statements of someone as proof that he or she is a fool, or a liar, or a jerk. It may not be civil, and it may be unfair, but it is not an ad hominem attack. As I have  explained it before, if I say you are an idiot because I think your comments are idiotic, that is a legitimate, if rebuttable assumption. (I may also be using “you are an idiot” as shorthand for “you are talking/sounding/acting like an idiot, and should avoid that.”) If I say you are an idiot, and therefor everything you say must be dismissed and ignored as the rantings of an idiot, that’s an unethical debating technique, ducking the argument by impugning the advocate.

Distinguishing between these very different but similar-appearing phenomenon can be a problem when trying to be fair to someone whose prior statements and conduct have already generated a negative diagnosis, and thus a bias. I have concluded, for example, that Joe Biden is a dolt, that Michele Bachmann is not playing with a full deck; that Sarah Palin is intellectually lazy and irresponsible, that Newt Gingrich is manipulative and untrustworthy, that Bill Maher is a pompous, none-too-bright blowhard and that Howard Dean is a vicious and unscrupulous ideologue. Nonetheless, I have to fight to assess what they say on the basis of merit, not my well-considered assumptions. It’s hard. When an idiot asserts something, is it unreasonable to be more skeptical of the statement than one would if, say, a brilliant, credentialed, unbiased observer said the same thing? (Wow—I can’t think of a single one!) No. And this is why ad hominem attacks, especially coy, subtle, clever ad hominem attacks, work so well in politics.

This brings us to that vicious and unscrupulous ideologue, Howard Dean. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Science & Technology, U.S. Society