Dear Republican Presidential Candidates Trying To Cast The Charleston Shooting As An Attack On Religious Freedom: Shut Up, Please. You’re Embarrassing Yourselves.

PLEASE-SHUT-UP!

PLEASE-SHUT-UP!

I really thought that nothing could be as cynical and divisive as the President’s attempt to exploit the Charleston massacre for political objectives.

Why do I always underestimate the crass stupidity of Republicans?

“You just can’t think that things like this can happen in America. It’s obviously a crime of hate,” GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum told radio host Joe Piscopo yesterday—yes, that’s what Joe is doing now. Rick waxed on…

“Again, we don’t know the rationale, but what other rationale could there be? You’re sort of lost that somebody could walk into a Bible study in a church and indiscriminately kill people. It’s something that, again, you think we’re beyond that in America and it’s sad to see. All you can do is pray for those and pray for our country This is one of those situations where you just have to take a step back and say we — you know, you talk about the importance of prayer in this time and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation.”

Now here is Lindsey Graham, also running for President: “It’s 2015. There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” Sen. Rand Paul, a reliable dolt, also weighed in with the same theme:

“What kind of person goes into church and shoots nine people? There’s a sickness in our country, there’s something terribly wrong, but it isn’t going to be fixed by your government. It’s people straying away, it’s people not understanding where salvation comes from.”

This is shameless, shameful, and stupid beyond all understanding. Gee, guys, did you notice any other common characteristics of the people attacked? Does that seem like just a coincidence to you? Did you detect any special feature about the killer that might suggest another motivation other than infringing on freedom of worship? Continue reading

Let’s Take The “Deranged And Unethical Ideologues” Test!

keep-calm-it-s-only-a-test-2

Recognizing insanity shouldn’t be that difficult, or impeded by political orientation. Yet as the Rachel Dolezal fiasco proves, it can be. (Now that we know that she previously claimed to be discriminated against because she was white, and heard her tell Matt Lauer that a black man was her father because she thought of him as her father, will all the loyal left culture warriors who chose to die on that silly hill after I warned them that they would regret it learn anything? I doubt it.)

Now, in the interest of improving everyone’s non-partisan wacko-detection and rejection skills, I offer these two examples, one from the left, and one from the right. If either seems reasonable to you, you flunk.

First, from the right, we have… Continue reading

A Directory of Answers For the “Instalanche” on “Funny! But Wrong: The “Harry Reid Is A Pederast” Rumor”

Ethics Alarms just isn’t constructed for large waves of angry commenters, as are occasionally generated when I touch on some interest group third rail. I try to respond to as many coherent comments as possible, but when too many of them arrive on the same topic, my “civilized colloquy on ethics” model breaks down, and I find myself spending too much time writing dangerously hasty responses to trolls, fanatics, web terrorists and others who have as much interest in ethics as I have in stamp collecting. I also have to individually green light every new commenter, and this alone takes up time that could be better spent researching and writing new posts.

Legendary conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds generously linked to my recent post on the “Harry Reid is a pederast” campaign online, and that’s generally a good thing, one that most bloggers would give their right arm for,since his blog Instapundit is one of the most popular (and professional) on the web. This, in turn, triggered the so-called “Instalanche” at Ethics Alarms, which has resulted in this blog getting the equivalent of two weeks of typical traffic in 24 hours. Sadly, the vast majority of the comments following the Instalanche are examples of the kind of thinking this blog was established to combat, and as a whole, the group is a graphic example of why political discourse, and indeed the political system itself is so toxic and dysfunctional. This is no knock on Prof. Reynolds, whose blog I read most days, and who is almost always rational and fair. It is a knock on the majority of his readers (not all) who chose to leave comments here.

The comments were, in addition to being non-ethical in nature, brain-meltingly repetitious in their fallacies and themes. It’s bad enough having more comments than I can keep up with; having to read nearly identical sentiments over and over again is more than I can stand. And since it is clear that most of the commenters aren’t  bothering to read the thread, never mind the links in the posts they are railing about or the rest of the blog, this is not going to cease anytime soon. Yes, I know that most of this breed of commenter doesn’t want a response, because their comments are seldom thought through or carefully crafted, and they are shocked to have their sloppy reasoning called so. (Then they accuse me of ad hominem attacks.) Too bad. This isn’t a bulletin board or a graffiti wall.

So I’m no longer going to answer individually the vast majority of the comments on the post in question, “Funny! But Wrong: The “Harry Reid Is A Pederast” Rumor,” just as most of you will not have the time, stomach or stamina to wade through all the comments to it. What I offer for the convenience of everyone concerned, but mostly me, is this, a directory of the most common comments from the current Instalanche, and my answers to them. I will direct all future commenters on the original post here, and the odds are that they will find their reply waiting for them. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Redstate Blogger Moe Lane

The other Moe, the one who probably COULD use a search engine…

Redstate blogger Moe Lane is offended that I think emulating Harry Reid to get even with Harry Reid is as despicable as Harry Reid, and since Lane hasn’t the wit or diligence to make a coherent argument against the position articulated in my recent post, which has flushed out a covey of mouth-foaming right-wingers, he plays the hypocrisy card, and like most players, doesn’t really know what hypocrisy is. Unlike many players, however, he doesn’t even bother to get his facts right, apparently because the Ethics Alarms search engine is too tricky for him. As I opined that the Right was attempting to “santorum” Reid by associating his name with something unsavory (in his case, pederasty), Lane fulminates that I didn’t express similar objections when Santorum himself was santorumed. He writes:

“…Hence the aforementioned shocked, shocked response from this Ethics Alarms site, which is very disapproving of the whole thing, and goes so far as to call it ‘santoruming.’ For those unfamiliar with the concept, Ethics Alarms provides a footnote: “Thanks to blogger Dan Savage, the former GOP Senator’s name is now a synonym for a disgusting bodily discharge.” And that, of course, is just as bad when it happens to Harry Reid as it was when it happened to Rick Santorum.”…which, given that (as near as I can tell) this seems to be the first time that Ethics Alarms has bothered to mention to the world that, hey, attacking Rick Santorum like that was bad, just indicates to me that the “Reid is a Pederast” meme is having the desired effect. It’s getting self-absorbed, pretentious websites that hate hardcore social conservatives** to stand up for those self-same social conservatives! Without prompting, even! Lo, indeed, truly we live in an Age of Wonders.”

Well, no, Moe, in fact this was not the first time that I expressed disapproval of Dan Savage’s successful effort to slime Rick Santorum, and if you could search the web or my site with the deftness of the typical Special Ed teen, you would have seen that over a year ago I wrote a post entitled, Dan Savage’s Curse on Rick Santorum: Funny! But Wrong. Note that the title was specifically evoked by the heading for the recent Reid post, which would have been a big fat clue for anyone who cared about being fair and accurate rather than being snide and obnoxious, like Moe Lane. Continue reading

Comment of the Day on “The NAACP’s ‘Gotcha!’ Games”

"GOTCHA!"

An exchange between a spirited newcomer to Ethics Alarms, Roger, and me led to this Comment of the Day by Proam [ whom I keep meaning to ask whether his screen name is pronounced “Proam, ” and in “foam,” or “Pro-Am” } Here is his complex take: I’ll have a response at the end. Proam’s Comment of the Day on “The NAACP’s “Gotcha!” Games” :

“My $.02: the NAACP’s and Roger’s objections to what Santorum said are valid “gotchas.”

“It matters neither what Santorum really meant, nor what is the sum of Santorum’s character and values (call that his “heart”). What he uttered (“blacks”), insofar as how it matters to certain recipients, is off-putting and alarming, regardless of its timing, place, vehemence, or other quality, and therefore must matter to all recipients. It was worse than “lazy;” it betrayed a lack of sensitivity that others have (and are justified and deserving in having) about a matter of justice. It only takes one word – even part of one word; even no words at all but some other fleeting sound or sight, like a raised eyebrow – for one to make oneself clear, even clearer than ever had been intended, or than ever could be communicated with many words. Continue reading

Iowa Aftermath: Five Ethics Lessons

The Iowa Caucuses produced a bumper crop of ethics lessons.

Ah, it may look like corn, but but there are kernals of ethics knowledge in those Iowa fields!

1. People may do the right thing for the wrong reasons, but what counts is that they do the right thing. Jaw-dropping statements from some Evangelicals in Iowa that they just couldn’t see voting for a woman to be President had many pundits writing that Iowa was too backward to have such a prominent role in electoral politics. The result of this particular bias, however, was to knock Rep. Michele Bachmann out of the race, a result she had earned with her serial irresponsible statements and half-truths. And it was a bias that she courted, both by her repeated nod to subservience in her own marriage and her self-identification with the Evangelical bloc. The bigotry that helped end her candidacy was a bigotry that she  supported, and that equals rough justice, but justice nonetheless.

2. The news media’s lack of diligence and professionalism warps the process. Continue reading

The NAACP’s “Gotcha!” Games

Somewhere there must be advocates for the African-American community who realize that the practice of lying in wait for white politicians to make a mis-phrased or politically incorrect statement and then pouncing on them with indignant press releases charging racial insensitivity is counter-productive, feeding mistrust on all sides and tempting many on the political right to just by-pass issues of concern to blacks as a lost cause with a hopelessly biased audience. Somewhere—but not in the NAACP, which has relied for decades on playing “gotcha!” games to flex its PR muscles and appeal to its most racially polarized core. I remember poor Ross Perot speaking to the group in 1988, and being pilloried for referring to an his all-black audience once as “you people.” Of course, Perot was appearing with the expectation that he would explain what a Perot presidency would do to address the problems of African-Americans, a group he was not a member of,  yet the completely self-explanatory and accurate, if clumsy, “you people” was attacked as patronizing and vaguely racist.

Now GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is under fire by the NAACP for this statement: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” Continue reading

Trump Follies Integrity Test: The Grades Are In!

Today Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann  declined the invitation to participate in the NewsMax debate, moderated by Donald Trump. All the GOP Presidential contenders have now responded to the opportunity accept some television exposure in exchange for playing pawns in Donald Trump’s tawdry manipulation of the media, public attention and the political process for personal promotion purposes.

The Ethics Alarms grades are in for this integrity test,  based on rapidity in assessing the revolting nature of the exercise, clarity in condemning it, and personal integrity demonstrated by the handling of the whole embarrassing stunt.

Here they are:

AJon Huntsman and Ron Paul get the highest grades for declining quickly and for the right stated reason—Trump.

C+: Mitt Romney was the third to  decline, but also told Trump it was for scheduling reasons, losing points for weasel words, or, in the alternative, really not objecting to The Donald. As usual, who knows what Romney really believes?

D : Perry and Bachmann, for waiting until they knew who else was debating. Perry used the same excuse as Romney, and Bachmann declined “respectfully.” That loses points: Trump doesn’t deserve any respect.

D-: Rick Santorum. OK, he should flunk, but he’s desperate, and only a debate with nobody else at it would give him a chance to stand out. He couldn’t resist temptation. I sympathize.

F: Newt. He has no excuses. Or integrity.

The Cowardly GOP Presidential Field

Cowards. All of them.

In three consecutive Republican presidential debates, members of the partisan audience have displayed obnoxious and callous attitudes in response to questions directed to the candidates. In the first, a portion of the assembled conservatives cheered an accounting of the convicted murderers put to death by the Texas penal system. During the second, vocal members of the audience shouted “Yeah!” to Wolf Blitzer’s questioning whether uninsured Americans should just be allowed to die without medical care. Then, in this week’s debate, the crowd jeered a videotaped soldier who declared himself as gay before asking if the candidates would support the recent elimination of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” as military policy.

Pundit efforts to characterize these outburst as typical of the Republican, conservative or Tea Party constituencies are blatant stereotyping, cynical and unfair. Anyone who has any experience speaking or performing to an audience knows that a few people can dominate audience reaction without being representative of it. No, it is not the Republican constituency that was exposed by these incidents, but the contenders for that party’s and the nation’s leadership. The failure of any one of the assembled candidates, nine in the first two debates, ten this week, to clearly and emphatically condemn the offensive reactions and the “thinking” underlying them suggests that none of the candidates possess the integrity, courage, confidence and values required to be a trustworthy leader of the United States. Continue reading

Tardy and Biased Ethics Half-Hero: National Organization for Women (NOW)

Well, better late, confused, ineffective, biased and hypocritica than never, I guess.

Well, what do you know! The National Organization for Women, after sitting back and tolerating (or perhaps enjoying) comedian Bill Maher’s repeated use of misogynistic language to denigrate women as long as the women—Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin—were anti-abortion and conservatives, finally spoke up and followed their mission when Maher’s show, as it was bound to do, went too far even for NOW.

NOW issued a release condemning Maher and his guests on HBO’s “Real Time” for endorsing rape and sexual abuse, or “angry fucking,” as proper punishment for Bachmann for the crime of not seeing the world as Maher and guests Dan Savage and Marc Maron do. While discussing Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus’s controversial gay Christian therapy clinic, the panel and Maher discussed “Mr. Bachmann’s” sexuality and marriage with Michele.  Marc Maron declared that he hoped Marcus “takes all that rage that comes from repression and denial and brings it into the bedroom. . . I hope he fucks her angrily, because that’s how I would, and I’ve thought about it.” Continue reading