Tag Archives: speeches

Signature Significance: President Obama’s Farewell Speech Jumbo

jumbo-film

“Now, I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, no matter what some folks say.”

It’s funny: when I was searching Google after entering this quote, I found one site the had as a headline, “2o Quotes From President Obama’s Farewell Speech That Will Melt Your…” and that’s where it cut off.  Which was it, I wondered, “heart” or “brain”? It was heart….and the 20 also included the quote about race relations.

I also checked the Washington Post, which “fact-checks” major speeches with annotations. In the transcript, that line was indeed highlighted—I thought there was a 50-50 chance, knowing the Post’s pro-Obama bias, that it would let that whopper slide. The annotation by reporter Aaron Blake in its entirety:

Obama has seen the polls. A July Washington Post-ABC News poll [showed 6 in 10 thought race relations were bad, and a majority thought they were getting worse](Poll: Majority of Americans think race relations are getting worse)

Now that’s a tentative fact-check! Obama has seen the polls, so …he must know something we don’t? Obama has seen the polls, so…he’s basing this certitude on his own impeccable wisdom? Obama has seen the polls, so….he’s having a little fun with us? Obama has seen the polls, so…he’s lying through his teeth? What is the Post saying?

For this is rather significantly counter-factual. Yet demonstrating the hard-hitting investigative reporting that the Post is renowned for, the paper recently launched an investigation into whether Donald Trump was LYING when he told the Times, in one of his typical, off-hand, “this just popped into my head” moments, “There will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars [at the Inauguration] All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.” AHA!  This is NOT TRUE! This is further proof that the man is NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT! And EEEEVIL!!! A Post reporter actually interviewed multiple dress shop owners, and concluded,

“It’s hard to imagine how Trump came to his conclusion, and a transition team spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But for all of the president-elect’s promises about economic stimulus, it doesn’t seem that he’s making Washington dress-shopping great again.”

In contrast, when the first African-American President of the United States, having seen his performance lead to the devastation of his party and the installment of a new President so antithetical to his world view as to risk the two of them exploding if they shake hands, makes a completely ridiculous assertion about a crucial American problem like race relations, we get a 27 word shrug and a link.

American journalism in 2017. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Jumbo, Race, U.S. Society

Donald Trump’s Acceptance: Good Speech (Wrong Speaker)

Trump-Mocks-Disabled-Reporter-CNN-USA-Today

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention must have been easy to write. Anyone with a modicum of communication skills who had been paying attention the past eight years and isn’t either in denial or thoroughly corrupted could have written it. I could have written it. President Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as their supporters, have provided so much material, or, if you like, ammunition. No wonder the speech was so long: it was the longest acceptance speech since 1972. It easily could have been longer.

There is no honest or reasonable argument to be made against Trump’s recitation of what is wrong in America. Escalating class, racial, gender and ethnic divisions, uncontrolled illegal immigration, handicapped law enforcement, sluggish economic growth, over-regulation, dangerous debt, incompetent foreign policy, weak national leadership, corruption, attacks on individual rights, and more…the speech hit a lot (not all, because there are so many) of the obvious failures of the Obama presidency, one of the most disappointing and disastrous in U.S. history. Most astute of all, the speech correctly painted Hillary Clinton as a candidate pledged to continue disastrous policies and anti-American philosophies. Read the text here.

The criticism of the speech from the left and mainstream media journalists (all together now: “But I repeat myself!”) was both predictable and telling. “Trump delivered a deeply negative speech that described a darkening America,” wrote Politico.” He spoke of spiking crime, “third-world” airports, growing trade deficits, “chaos in our communities,” and terrorism on the home front. Abroad, he said, the situation was “worse than it has ever been before.” On CNN, former Obama “czar” Van Jones said that “What Donald Trump did tonight was a disgrace. That was a relentlessly… dark speech. He was describing some Mad Max America.” Jones continued: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

I know this is like shooting fish in a barrel—dead fish, in fact— but I need some levity about now. Of course it’s no joke, and indeed tragic, that a certifiable fanatic like Gohmert can reach a position of influence in our government, and a greater tragedy that there are so many equally unfit officials, from both parties. Few, however, are willing or able to expose their cognitive deficiencies as deftly as Congressman Gohmert.

When a gay, progressive friend posted the story about this, I assumed that he had been caught (again) in a web hoax. Surely Gohmert isn’t THAT stupid. Nobody is that stupid in Congress, surely. Yet he is, and the story was correct and true.

This happened a while back, during the “general speeches” portion of House proceedings on May 26, 2016. It was little noted, because if it had been, I would hope that GOP leaders would have placed him in a padded room and denied him the opportunity to ever speak for the party again.

Here, in part, was Gohmert’s anti-gay, science fiction rant (the video of his whole speech is above): Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials

Obama’s Remarks On The Charleston Shooting Were Unethical, And Here’s Why:

Because every tragedy is a chance to sell policies on emotion alone...

Because every tragedy is a chance to sell policies on emotion alone…

President Obama’s comments this morning again emphasized his tendency to stoop to reckless, careless and divisive rhetoric when far better is called for.

He said in part:

We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.

And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it’d be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point, it’s going to important for the American to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals….

Observations:

1.  How does Obama know that the shooter had “no trouble getting their hand on a gun”? He doesn’t know that, and it is a misstatement  to say that this assumption of his is a fact. We know that the shooter had a gun when he used it, and that’s all. For all Obama knows, he had a very difficult time getting his hands on a gun. For all Obama knows, it took the killer months, accomplices, money, elaborate maneuvers. Or is he saying that having a gun at all is proof that it was too easy to get one? What does that suggest?

2. Obama waited barely a few hours before politicizing a tragedy, and using it to stump for his gun policies. This was inappropriate, disrespectful, crass and cynical.

3. Reasonable and enforced gun regulations are necessary and rational, but it is intellectually dishonest —and politically inept—to use this kind of an incident (or Newtown) to promote them. Nothing short of outright gun banning will stop people like the Charleston shooter from acquiring guns, and gun banning is not going to happen, ever, nor should it. The anti-gun zealots who would love to see guns banned just respond to the Pavlovian stimulus of this kind of rhetoric, and the pro-gun nuts will see this as an outright effort to repeal the Second Amendment. This kind of statement accomplishes nothing but to gin up “the base,” and, frankly, I think that’s all it’s intended to do. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

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

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Filed under Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics