Lost Day Ethics Catch-Up, 9/19/2020: Even Ketchup Can’t Cover The Bad Taste Of This Post!

1.  Is it possible that this is real? A couple allegedly sent this email to wedding reception invitees, explaining that their meals would be determined by the value of the wedding gifts they planned on bringing.

Are there really people this crass? Who in their right mind would do anything but send a curt “Bite me!” note to such a couple, and resolve never to waste a second on them again?

2. OK, I don’t see anything wrong with this, at all. The assignment for an Iowa City school district online learning program asked students of all races to write four sentences about what they would do if they were a slave who was freed.

“Think very, very carefully about what your life would be like as a slave in 1865,” the students were asked.  “You can’t read or write and you have never been off the plantation you work on. What would you do when you hear the news you are free? What factors would play into the decision you make?” After an uproar from parents, the assignment was removed and the teacher was placed on administrative leave. A statement from the district called the assignment “inappropriate” and said it “does not support and will not tolerate this type of instruction.”

What would that be? Assignments that call for critical thought and imagination?

Dibny Gamez said her 14-year-old daughter, Ayesha, who is black, would not complete the assignment because it made her feel uncomfortable. “She just starts tearing up,” Gamez said. “And I was, like, ‘No, listen, you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are.’ I said, ‘You are beautiful for who you are. Don’t let not one soul make you uncomfortable for who you are.’” How would that assignment make a rational student be ashamed of who she is?

Justin Grinage, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Minnesota , claims that assignments asking students to role-play enslaved people or slave owners trivialize or distort the actual events of slavery. “The best-case scenario with lessons like this is that students come away with a fabricated lie about history. So, best-case scenario, they don’t really learn anything, or they learn the wrong thing,” Grinage told reporters. “Worst-case scenario is that it’s a deeply traumatic experience for students of color, particularly Black students.”

Why? Because he says so? Such an assignment is an excellent way to open up the topics of slavery, how it persisted, what led to its abolition, and why it is such an emotional and controversial issue, as well as empathy, the Golden Rule, and ethics. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Rep. Maxine Waters

“My first thought was not again, not one more killing. And I’m reflecting on all of the killings of young black men in particular, but of course, black women too, at the hands of the police and at the hands of, you know, these white supremacists….I think that the officer who had his knee on his neck enjoyed doing what he was doing. I believe sometime some of these officers leave home thinking, ‘I’m going to get me one today.’ And I think this is his one that he got today…And I’m thinking about the way that the president conducts himself. In a way, he’s dog-whistling, and I think that they’re feeling that they can get away with this kind of treatment. And I’m just so sorry about the loss of another life.”

—-Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal), in full race-baiting, hate-mongering, Big Lie peddling, mind-reading mode as she sought  to draw damning generalities from the death of African-American George Floyd

I wonder: Has there been a more destructive, vicious, irresponsible and divisive political figure on the American scene over the last 50 years than Maxine Waters?  George Wallace was pretty much through by 1970. Who else? Has there been any such figure, whose rhetoric was even close to this reprehensible, that the news media and Democratic Party were so reluctant to call out for what he or she was? Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca)

When did you first realize Maxine Waters was an idiot? I remember when I did. She was involved in the Block For Bill efforts by House Democrats during the hearings on potential impeachment for then-President Bill Clinton.  Maxine made many jaw-droppingly stupid statements but the best was when she said that we had to do something about “all these young women” tempting male law-makers and leaders, referring to Monica Lewinsky.

You know, the people of Watts have enough problems. They don’t need the added burden of a fool as their representative in Congress. On the other hand, who keeps voting for Maxine, term after term, decade after decade?

But I digress.

The latest display of Maxine’s intellectual limitations and lack of diligence and seriousness occurred to tried to engage in some anti-bank grandstanding sure to cheer the anti-capitalist Democratic base. Waters is the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee , which regulates banks. Nancy Pelosi gave her the post. Think about this next time your favorite Democrat mocks one of Donald Trump’s appointments.

During a hearing on the practices of  the nation’s biggest banks, Waters pointed an accusing rhetorical finger at a panel of seven bank CEOs  because, she said, “more than 44 million Americans that owe … $1.56 trillion in student loan debt…Last year, one million student loan borrowers defaulted, which is on top of the one million borrowers who defaulted the year before.” Continue reading

2018 Ethics Retrospective Poll #2 and #3: “Unethical Profession Of The Year” And “Incompetent Elected Official”

The effort to prompt some input into the 2018 Ethics Alarms Awards will obviously continue for another day or two, as my promise to “be posting these periodically during the day and evening” was foiled by intervening priorities yesterday.  There are two polls this time (here was the first, still open), and again, please don’t hesitate to expand on your votes.

Nominations for “Unethical Profession Of The Year”

Once, there was never any question about the “winner” of this  category: it was inevitably educators or, more often, journalists. One of the horrible consequences the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, however, is that almost all the professions dived into the muck, sought headlines by making the kind of biased and irresponsible statements that society depends on professionals to eschew, and they have continued their self-debasement ever since. While journalists and educators—in this I include all academics as well as teachers and administrators, have still disgraced themselves beyond debate—they have real competition now. Each profession nominated will be linked to a representative Ethics Alarms post. The nominees are… Continue reading

Saturday Afternoon Ethics Smorgasbord, 7/7/2018

God ettermiddag!

Yeah, I know smorgasbord is Swedish and god ettermiddag is Norwegian. I just woke up feeling Scandinavian today. I even had a Danish for breakfast…

1. Trump Tweets. Our President’s petty and juvenile tweets insulting Maxine Waters’ IQ and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Native American fantasy are so obviously self-destructive, necessary and irresponsible. Why why why? These outbursts are literally like the President of the United States going on the roof of the White House and screaming, “You’re all poopy heads!”

Who needs to be told that Waters is an idiot? Res ipsa loquitur applies, and anyone who thinks she is the voice of wisdom and moderation is beyond helping.  Trolling Warren by offering her a million dollars to get a DNA test is even more idiotic. Her fake claims of Cherokee heritage already have frozen her political ambitions, and she knows it.  If the Senator is not eager to take the test for free (Does anyone smarter than Maxine Waters believe she hasn’t taken such a test?), why would she do it for money? And Warren doesn’t need a million dollars: like most socialists in power, she’s rich already. It’s this kind of thing that drove George Will, William Kristol and Jeff Flake nuts.

2. Proof that the New York Times has also lost it. Here’s an inflammatory quote from yesterday’s editorial from the New York Times editorial board, in a screed urging Democrats to use any means necessary to block the President from appointing whomever he wants for the Supreme Court—you know, like the Constitution says he can:

“This is all the more reason for Democrats and progressives to take a page from “The Godfather” and go to the mattresses on this issue.”

Nice. This is a direct call to violence and literal warfare. I assume the Times editors have seen “The Godfather.” Don Corleone’s Family went “to the mattresses” when it started a gang war.

I hope Americans realize the values it will be voting for when they decide to put the New York Times’ editors’ chosen party back in power. Hint: it’s not democracy.

Since November 2016, Democrats and their allies have been courting revolution because they didn’t like the way the election turned out. No matter how loathsome the Republican Party has shown itself to be, it has never done that. Continue reading

A Congress Of Assholes*? Maxine Waters Demolishes Basic Principles Of Ethical Comportment

*The headline relates to this and related posts.

I’ll spare you the horror of having to watch the entire video above, and display the transcript of Watts Rep. Maxine Waters as she abused Treasury Secretary  Steve Mnuchin at a House Financial Services Committee hearing this week. Waters continued to interrupt Mnuchin as he attempted to answer her hostile cross-examination. Her mantra “reclaiming my time” expressed her ridiculous position that any words from the guest of the committee that didn’t specifically address her questions to her satisfaction was an intrusion on her time for shameless grandstanding. Note the committee chairman’s explanation to Mnuchin that while the rules can direct how testifiers should be treated, they cannot dictate how they will be treated. In other words, if a member is determined to behave like a rude, disrespectful jerk, she will.

Here’s the mind-blowing transcript. It didn’t literally blow my mind, hence no KABOOM! designation, because Waters is such a well-known and beyond a shadow of a doubt hyper-partisan fool and embarrassment to the nation that pretty much nothing she might do or say can shock me sufficiently. Does it not occur to Africa-American majority districts that electing Representatives this incompetent, shrill and offensive is not in their best interest, even though the Democratic Party and the news media bend themselves in half to pretend she isn’t a disgrace.

Transcript:

Continue reading

Let Us Praise The Even-Handed Fact Checker

pinocchio_4

Glenn Kessler, as I have noted before, tries. The primary Washington Post fact checker leans to the left, and often his biases get the better of him, but he tries. His bias showed up recently when he balked at directly calling the oft repeated propaganda that Obama had an administration that was “historically free of scandal,” the falsehood that it is, but I give him credit for touching the issue, which has become cant in his world of partisan loyalists. Kessler refused to give the claim a rating, saying that there were arguments for and against the proposition.

Kessler brushed up against reality when he wrote, “One thing that is apparent is that Obama has benefited from the fact that the independent counsel law lapsed in 1999, since in another era some of the controversies that have enveloped his administration might have resulted in an independent prosecutor.” Right. And that’s because there were many scandals—the IRS, Fast and Furious, Clinton’s e-mails, the Bowe Bergdahl exchange, the  pay-off for Iran hostages and its cover-up, the VA—that a complicit press didn’t pursue, and a political Justice Department allowed to fade away. Kessler’s job is to debunk false partisan narratives, and that’s is a whopper of one. He blinked.

He did come through last week with a post on Obama’s biggest lies, Four Pinocchios in Kessler-speak. And today, Kessler chose one of the many, many absurd assertions made at the Women’s March, by one of the truly embarrassing members of Congress. Maxine Waters (D-Ca), who said regarding Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos,

“What about that Betsy DeVos? A billionaire who he is picking to head Education who has never seen the inside of a classroom. She has no experience, she has no background. That’s dangerous for our children.”

Kessler takes the gloves off and not only festoons Waters with Pinocchios, he calls her statement “ridiculous,” which it is. Continue reading

Civility and Integrity Tests For Democrats Are Not Going Well At All

Yup, she's just as good as Michael Steele.

Over the weekend, President Obama sat beaming as Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa’s (that’s Jr….not the dead one whose mob connections sent him to sleep with the fishes. It is touching, though, that the Teamsters are so devoted to tradition and maintaining that organization’s long-time”values”…) call for workers to combat the Tea Party and “take these son-of-a-bitches out.” Last week, Rep. Andre Carson accused conservative colleagues in Congress of wanting to lynch African-Americans. The week before, Rep. Maxine Waters told a cheering audience that “the Tea Party can go straight to Hell!”, and in the weeks before that, other members of the party, perhaps even Vice President Biden, took turns calling Republican’s “terrorists.” None of these comments have been repudiated or criticized by leaders in the party.

This morning on Fox News, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debby Wasserman Schultz made it crystal clear that no criticism would be forthcoming, either. Asked by morning host Gretchen Carlson about her party’s official position on the use of such unambiguously uncivil (and arguably violent) rhetoric by Hoffa, Wasserman Schultz launched into a non-responsive, pre-packaged statement about how everyone had to “focus like a laser on turning this economy around.” Continue reading

Incompetent Sunday Morning Talk Show Host Performance of the Week: David Gregory on “Meet the Press”

"Here's a tough question for you, Rep. Waters, but feel free to answer with any damn thing you feel like talking about."

For reasons known only to the producers, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal.), target of an ongoing House ethics investigation, inveterate race-baiter and general embarrassment to representative democracy, was included in the “Meet the Press” panel on the jobs crisis. Waters was, appropriately, asked by host David Gregory about her inflammatory and uncivil rhetoric during the policy debate, specifically her infamous  comment last week that the “Tea Party can go straight to Hell.”  Is this kind of comment appropriate and helpful, he asked?

Rep. Waters responded that her constituency was frustrated and needed help, but instead the nation was bailing out banks. That was it. No justification from Maxine of her incendiary rhetoric, no explanation, in fact nothing with any relevance to the Tea Party or the comment in question at all. Continue reading

Unscrupulous Rep. Johnson, Lying Through Her Teeth

Which is the more unethical conduct for a U.S. Congresswoman: handing out non-profit money to relatives and friends, or lying about it so flagrantly that it insults the intelligence of everyone within earshot? It’s a tough call. Luckily, we really don’t have to decide in the case of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), because she’s done both. Continue reading