Tag Archives: signature significance

Signature Significance For A Very Sick Culture

And now, a stunning headline from “The Hill”:

Adidas pulls all-white sneaker created for Black History Month after Twitter backlash

Such an event, and such a headline, could only exist if the following were true: Continue reading

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Never Mind The Blackface: Governor Northam Should Resign Because He Is Cowardly, Untrustworthy, Dishonest And Too Weird For Words

And it is unethical for a governor to be cowardly, untrustworthy, dishonest and too weird for words. Virginia’s governor has embarrassed his state, it’s citizens, and everyone who voted for him. He is a source of humiliation for his party. He cannot lead, or do anything but harm while he remains in office.

You host here at Ethics Alarms is still sick and bed-ridden, but I had to crawl to my office for this. Wow. From the moment he appeared in the most unethical campaign ad I had seen from a Virginia candidate for office, appealing directly to anti-Trump derangement and hate by calling the President of the United States a “maniac,” I knew there was something seriously off about Ralph Northam, and, frankly, about anyone who would vote for him. His recent “oh, this is how you go about aborting a baby who has already been born” comments confirmed that assessment, ” but I was not in favor of forcing him out of office because he had appeared in blackface while a medical student 34 years ago. However, Northam’s conduct and statements since initially apologizing for the photo that surfaced this week are not 35 years old. They reveal the current character of the individual changed with overseeing the government of Virginia. That character is intolerable for any leader, and it was not what the Virginians who voted for Northam—I wasn’t fooled, but you can fool some of the people some of the time—believed they were electing.

In today’s Saturday Night Live-ready press conference, Governor Northam, his poor wife by his side, gave a bravura performance in self-character assassination: Continue reading

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Fairness Inquiry: Is Rep. Steve King A Racist?

[This is long. I’m sorry.]

I wrote earlier today that the Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) situation had become a full-blown Ethics Train Wreck, and that is true. It is an ETW because there is virtually no way one can get involved with the controversy in any way and not risk blundering into unethical conduct. If one rushes to condemn the Iowa Congressman without examining the evidence, that is unfair. If one tries to excise him from his position before the end of his term without more than just an objection to his choice of words, one is interfering with the free choice of his constituents regarding whom they want representing their interests in Washington. If one attempts to defend him, there is a risk of rationalizing and excusing bigotry on the part of a lawmaker. If one sides with his critics enemies, one may be facilitating a cynical effort to mis-characterize King and distort his sentiments to use him as a weapon against President Trump, Republicans, and conservatives generally, for “Trump, Republicans and conservatives endorse racism and white supremacy” is one of the loudest narratives that has been promoted since the 2016 election and before.

Let us not forget that King himself started this train wreck rolling with his own careless and defiant rhetoric. His latest was a quote from an elusive interview in the New York Times, in which King said,

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

Despite King’s protestations that he had been misunderstood, Republicans, Democrats and the news media condemned his statement as racist, and he was stripped of all committee assignments by his party, as Democrats readied an attempt to have him formally censured.

It is not difficult to clarify the difference between an admiration for the amazing and undeniable achievements of Western culture, and a belief that the color of the people responsible for building it was a factor in its success. Despite the fact that King raises the issue frequently, however, he has somehow never managed to make the distinction clear. There is therefore a rebuttable  presumption that he doesn’t believe there is a distinction. The alternative is that he, much like the President of whom he was an early supporter, lacks the command over the language to explore such distinctions competently. If that is true, then he is disrupting national discourse and seeding division and hate through incompetence.

I regard King as a less articulate, less intelligent, less amiable version of Pat Buchanan, the conservative gadfly and pundit who helped defeat George H.W. Bush’s bid for reelection and who inadvertently helped elect his son President. Buchanan is an anti-Semite, a xenophobe, a homophobe and a racist. He is very clear that he regards immigration as a threat to what he believes must be a Christian, white, European-dominated culture in the U.S. Unlike King, he is direct and unambiguous about it:

  • “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built,” Buchanan wrote in his 2006 book “State of Emergency.”
  • In “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?,” he wrote, “[T]he decline in academic test scores here at home and in international competition is likely to continue, as more and more of the children taking those tests will be African-American and Hispanic.
  •  Buchanan, though calling Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people  in Norway “evil,”  added : “As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.”
  • From his column “Are Liberals Anti-WASP?” May 14, 2010: “If [Elena] Kagan [President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court] is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this Democrats’ idea of diversity?”
  • Extolling the good old days in “Right from the Beginning”: “In the late 1940’s and 1950’s…race was never a preoccupation with us, we rarely thought about it….There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The ‘Negroes’ of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.”
  • “How is America committing suicide? Every way a nation can. The American majority is not reproducing itself. Its birthrate has been below replacement level for decades. Forty-five million of its young have been destroyed in the womb since Roe v. Wade, as Asian, African, and Latin American children come to inherit the estate the lost generation of American children never got to see…our minority population rose 2.4 million to exceed 100 million. Hispanics, 1 percent of the U.S. population in 1950, are now 14.4 percent. Since 2000, their numbers have soared 25 percent to 45 million. The U.S. Asian population grew by 24 percent since 2000, as the number of white kids of school age fell 4 percent. Half the children five and younger today are minority children….The Anglo population of California is down to 43 percent and falling fast. White folks are now a minority in Texas and New Mexico. In Arizona, Hispanics account for more than half the population under twenty. The America Southwest is returning to Mexico.”  That’s Buchanan just 11 years ago, in Pat’s “Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed are Tearing America Apart.”
  • Also from the same book: “The United States, the greatest republic since Rome, and the British Empire, the greatest empire since Rome, may be said to have arisen from that three-cornered fort the Jamestown settlers began to build the day they arrived. But that Republic and that empire did not rise because the settlers and those who followed believed in diversity, equality, and democracy, but because they rejected diversity, equality, and democracy. The English, the Virginians, the Americans were all ‘us-or-them’ people. They believed in the superiority of their Christian faith and English culture and civilization. And they transplanted that unique faith, culture, and civilization to America’s fertile soil…This was our land, not anybody else’s. But today America and Britain have embraced ideas about the innate equality of all cultures, civilizations, languages, and about the mixing of all tribes, races, and peoples, that are not only ahistorical, they are suicidal for America and the West.”

There are many quotes like these, for Buchanan writes a lot. As you probably noticed, either King reads a lot of Pat’s work,  he thinks the same way without quite being able to express it clearly or perhaps he doesn’t have the courage that Buchanan has to say what he believes and accept the consequences. Some of those quotes sound a lot like King.

What makes it difficult to accurately and fairly define what’s wrong with King’s statements through the years, in addition to his own lazy speech habits, is the ongoing tendency of the leftward, anti-conservative news media to assert that statements that are not racist are, and indeed to obliterate any precise meaning of racism into convenient vagueness. For example, a New York Times article called A History of Steve King’s Racist Remarks” almost convinced me to defend King. It is incredible that the Times would be so dishonest, inflammatory and unfair as to assemble the “remarks” it chose under the description of “racist.” The fact that it would tell us more about the biases and untrustworthiness of the Times than it does about King. The problem is that while the Times and others will claim that almost anything King (or Donald Trump) says is proof of racism, there are enough real racist and xenophobic sentiments in the mix to justifiably conclude that King is Buchanan II.

Here’s the list:

“Mr. King, in the Iowa State Senate, files a bill requiring schools teach that the United States “is the unchallenged greatest nation in the world and that it has derived its strength from … Christianity, free enterprise capitalism and Western civilization.”

Not racist. Not even close.

Mr. King is the chief sponsor of a law making English the official language of Iowa, [and ] Mr. King introduces the English Language Unity Act, a bill to make English the official language of the United States.”

Again, not even close. Many people of good faith, including me, believe that the U.S., its culture, education and commerce would be well served by declaring English to be the official language.

Mr. King sues the Iowa Secretary of State for posting voting information on an official website in Spanish, Laotian, Bosnian and Vietnamese.’

Stupid, yes. Racist, no.

At a rally in Las Vegas, Mr. King calls the deaths of Americans at the hands of undocumented immigrants “a slow-motion Holocaust.” He claims that 25 Americans die daily because of undocumented immigrants, an unsupported and illogical leap from government statistics, which years later influences talking points by President Trump.”

The “slow motion Holocaust” conspiracy theory is a white supremacist trope. Racist.

On the House floor, Mr. King demonstrates a model of a 12-foot concrete border wall topped with electrified wire that he designed: “We need to do a few other things on top of that wall, and one of them being to put a little bit of wire on top here to provide a disincentive for people to climb over the top or put a ladder there. We could also electrify this wire … We do that with livestock all the time.”

Oh, I get the theory: the Times is implying that King is comparing illegals to animals. No, he’s comparing fences.

Mr. King on the House floor, speaking of how law enforcement officers can spot undocumented immigrants: What kind of clothes people wear … what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accent they have … sometimes it’s just a sixth sense they can’t put their finger on.

Apparently the Times thinks that even discussing illegal immigrants is racist. Seriously, how is this a “racist remark’?

Mr. King in a speech opposing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to cover contraception: Preventing babies being born is not medicine. That’s not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birthrate get down below the replacement rate, we’re a dying civilization.

Race isn’t mentioned or alluded to, yet the Times calls this a “racist remark.” Amazing. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

On a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference with Peter Brimelow, an open white nationalist, Mr. King referred to multiculturalism as: a tool for the Left to subdivide a culture and civilization into our own little ethnic enclaves and pit us against each other.

Is any statement to a white nationalist “racist”?

Mr. King on why he opposes legal status for Dreamers, who were brought into the country as children: “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”

I don’t know what to make of that one, but the Times seems to believe that anyone opposing the “Dreamers” is a racist. Continue reading

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Dear CNN: Fire Don Lemon. Or Fire Yourself, PART II: Signature Significance

Many readers were able to guess the impetus for this post; indeed, several readers brought it to my attention yesterday.

Monday, as part of the embarrassing faux speculation by the Trump-Haters in the news media about whether networks were obligated to treat this President’s Oval Office address differently than similar addresses by all other Presidents, CNN host Don Lemon opined that perhaps President Trump’s immigration speech should be withheld, censored and edited before the stupid, gullible, vulnerable American people have their minds poisoned by its lies:

“Do you think it should be, I don’t know, a delay of some sort and then you can — because people will believe it,” the Orwellian CNN host said. “People — the president will say what he has to say. People will believe it whether the facts are true or not… I guess that’s a chance you take with any President. But this one is different, and then, by the time the rebuttals come on, we’ve already promoted propaganda — possibly — unless he gets up there and tells the truth.”

Observations: Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/3/19: Morons, And More.

Good morning!

Still working on the appellee brief in my defense against the frivolous law suit by an angry banned Ethics Alarms commenter whose boo-boo I bruised. How do you write a professional, respectful, effective rebuttal of a 70 page brief that is basically nonsense? I know how to argue against a real good faith legal assertion–indeed, my enjoyment of brief-writing nearly got me stuck in the traditional practice of law. But “this is deranged crap that doesn’t constitute a valid appeal and that wastes the time of everyone involved” isn’t a professional response, just a fair one.

1. “You know…morons!” At least two people—I can’t find the link for the second one, but it was a child—were wounded when spent bullets shot into the air by New Year’s Eve celebrants fell back to earth and hit them. This happens every year. Why do people think shooting guns into the sky is safe? In WW II, my father had to promise a court martial for any soldier under his command who shot a weapon into the air.  This is basic Law of Gravity stuff, but it seems to elude an amazing number of gum owners. I’m only aware of one move that ever featured a death from a falling bullet: “The Mexican,” a failed 2001 Brad Pitt-Julia Roberts comedy.

2. “You know…morons!” (cont.) The Netflix horror hit “The Bird Box,” which involves a blindfolded Sandra Bullock leading her similarly burdened children on an odyssey to escape an apocalyptic threat that only strikes when it is seen, has spawned a web challenge in which people are encouraged to try doing everyday tasks wearing blindfolds. This prompted a warning from Netflix:

“Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”

Boy and Girl are what Bullock’s character’s children are called, because she is so certain they are doomed that she doesn’t want to name them. I am tempted to say that anyone so stupid as to try this challenge should not be discouraged, because their demise will only benefit the rest of us. But that would be mean.

True, but mean.

3. Follow-Up…The Federalist has more on the unfolding Steele Dossier scandal. I do not see how any result of the Mueller investigation can hold up in court, no matter how much the mainstream news media spins it, with the degree of procedural irregularity and prosecutor misconduct we already know is behind it. Presumably this is why the focus has shifted to the extremely dubious theory that Trump violated election laws by paying off a sex partner, something he would have probably done whether he was running for office or not, and also a transaction that didn’t involve campaign funds. The media keeps reporting the latter as if it is an unquestioned crime (apparently because Michael Cohen was induced to plead guilty to it), but it just isn’t a crime, and I believe in the end that theory will be thrown out of court too. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/29/18: ‘Infuriating Stuff I Wish I Didn’t Have To Know About Or Write About’ Edition

Screaming from mountain tops does no good, I know, but this is the life I have chosen…

Good Morning.

(My beautiful Christmas tree is drooping already, despite meticulous care. (Did you know that in Philadelphia it’s called a “Holiday Tree”? Did you know they had gone mad in Philadelphia?) I’ve had some last until February first. Not this one, I fear.)

1. Like most of the journalism establishment here, only less subtle about itDer Spiegel reporter Claas Relotius was exposed this month to be that publication’s version of Stephen Glass, a star journalist who just made stuff up. He, however, made stuff up to play to anti-Trump sentiments abroad, writing multiple stories to show how bigoted and backward the town of Fergus Falls, Minnesota was, explaining why it went for President Trump in the 2106 election.

The New York Times story on the hoax shows how Relotius could have accomplished the same mission using just spin, slanted framing and old fashioned bias. Read the thing: it just drips with thinly veiled contempt for Trump voters, and the President, of course. “The election results speak for themselves,” says the Times, knowing how the typical times reader will take that. The Times reporters reveal that the town isn’t full of racist yahoos as if that is news in itself.

2. Can’t let this pass, unfortunately. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump were taking calls from young children wondering about Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, as part of the NORAD Santa tracker (which I think is a waste of money no matter what it costs, and an example of the government being involved where it should not be), and had  this conversation  with 7-year-old Collman Lloyd which was videoed on both sides;

Collman told the President about the Santa visit preparations underway at the Lloyd household, saying “Probably put out some cookies and then we’re hanging out with our friends, so that’s pretty much all.”

The President: “Well that’s very good. You just have a good time.”

Collman: “Yes, sir.”

The President: “Are you still a believer in Santa?”

Collman: “Yes, sir.”

Trump: “Because at seven it’s marginal, right?” 

Collman: “Yes, sir.”

The trivial exchange triggered more Trump-bashing and a ridiculous amount of negative commentary. This approaches blind hate at a pathological level. The focus of the attacks were that the President’s “marginal” line supposedly destroyed the girl’s belief in Santa Clause. Ugh.

  • She later said that she had no idea what “marginal” meant. We  all know Trump can’t talk: this is Julie Principle territory. The only way one assumes that his intent was to shatter the girl’s innocent faith is if one thinks the President is a monster…which is what the news media wants the public to think.
  • If I had to guess, I would say that he was noting that not all of her friends did believe in Santa—which is, studies say, true. My son was a skeptic at 6. I. in contrast, believed in St. Nick until I was 28…
  • Collman also said that what the Evil Scrooge Trump said didn’t cause her not to believe in Santa, though this could be called moral luck.
  • Even at seven, a personal exchange with the President of the United States would have meant so much more to me than any dents in my Santa Claus beliefs that I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Of course, when I was seven it was the norm that all citizens respected and honored the President, because that was whom our democracy chose to lead us.

Continue reading

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Signature Significance For “The Enemies Of The People,” Part II

Thinking about this since posting Part I yesterday, I have realized that the denial of toxic mainstream media bias, and particularly the media’s efforts to bring down President Trump, is the ultimate Jumbo-–“Elephant? What elephant?” on a grand and unforgivable scale. Want some more elephants? There were oh-so-many of them in 2018, like…

and…

and…

and, in a slightly different context,

The unethical methods used by the anti-Trump mainstream news media to ensure public fear and hostility and to minimize support for the President are familiar by now. They include…

  • Framing facts and events, whenever possible, in ongoing anti-Trump narratives rather than just reporting them.
  • Outright fake news, including misleading headlines, negative spin that distorts understanding, innuendo without evidence, and giving prominence to minor or insignificant stories to imply that they are significant.
  • Using unethical leaks and hearsay without verification to embarrass or impugn the President.
  • Deliberately under-reporting positive developments.
  • Hyping developments by speculating on worst case scenarios for the President.
  • Publishing “future news,” suggesting dire events that might happen.
  • Applying hyper-critical standards to all Presidential words and actions, and actively seeking “gotcha!” fodder.
  • Applying news standards for Trump that have never been applied to past Presidents.

It isn’t necessary to review the whole ugly year of unethical journalism. The steady state of hostility was spectacularly demonstrated over Christmas when CNN and many other news sources reported that President Trump had broken a tradition among recent Presidents by not visiting the troops. Indeed, this embarrassing fiasco could stand as the ugly monument to what our journalism has become.  Wrote NBC:

On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors….By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel around Christmastime.

This was the epitome of fake news, because the President and First Lady were deplaning in Iraq as the false story was published. Only the eagerness of the news media for a negative “gotcha!” can explain such shoddy and nasty journalism. Nobody checked with the White House. The Trump-hating journalists couldn’t wait until after Christmas to report on what the President didn’t do on Christmas, which is as incompetent as it is unethical. Incredibly, some sources have still not removed the original false story.

Once that mode of attack failed, the news media seamlessly and apparently without any self-awareness slipped into attacking the President for making the visit and manufacturing outrage over how the visit was handled.

Both CBS and NBC framed the troop visit in negative terms. CBS Evening News fill-in anchor and NFL Today host James Brown announced,  “But we begin with a historic trip today for President Trump. His first-ever to a combat zone. The President and First Lady paid a surprise visit today to U.S. troops in Iraq. The Commander-in-Chief had been criticized for not visiting a war zone sooner.”

Let me state right now that I think it is certifiably nuts to send Presidents into war zones, ever. Nobody criticized FDR, Truman, or the multiple Presidents who presided over Vietnam for not visiting the troops to boost their morale. That was Bob Hope’s job. Send Bill Maher.

Then CBS chief White House correspondent Chip Reid found a way to compare Trump’s visit unfavorably to President Obama’s time in office, saying,  “It’s the first time the President has traveled overseas to visit U.S. troops in a war zone. Critics say it took far too long, especially compared to President Obama, who visited troops in Iraq in his first three months in office.”

Note the standard “critics say” trope in both instances, which is pure deceit. You’re the critics whose saying it, you hacks.

Next CNN decided, having been among the first to attack the President for not visiting the troops, to bash the President for going! Don Lemon, who no longer even makes a pretense of objectivity, said that he and his family “turned on CNN and we saw the President politicizing a Christmas message, it was like– we kept saying, ‘he’s like the Grinch.’ I’m being honest.”

Every Presidential troop visit is political, of course. It isn’t necessary, it is costly and dangerous, and it is political theater. Only in Trump’s case, however, is this considered a legitimate target of criticism.

Then Lemon attacked the President’s words and demeanor during the visit: Continue reading

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