Ethics Observations On The Melania Trump Plagiarism Fiasco

melania-trump-michelle-obama

1. Republican and Trump supporters who are making excuses for the embarrassing incident sound exactly like the Hillary Corrupted denying that there was anything wrong with using a private e-mail server for official communications. No, the plagiarism isn’t trivial. No, it is not mitigated by referencing how horrible Hillary Clinton is. No, you can’t argue that the similarity was a coincidence because the sentiments in both are generic and common.

2. The incident is especially significant because it shows how spectacularly incompetent the Trump campaign, and the Republican Party under Trump, are. And these are the people who are going to fix “everything,” though they can’t avoid a self-inflicted gaffe like this on the very first night of the convention?

3. This is the first test of whether Trump will enforce accountability, as he claims he will. The speechwriter or writers who permitted this should be canned, as should whoever assigned them to Trump’s wife and oversaw the program. Would that be the campaign manager, Paul Manafort? If nobody is fired (as the current rumor has it), that will be one more indication of Trump’s phoniness.

4. There is talk that this was intentional internal sabotage, designed to make Trump look bad through his wife. I doubt it, but if that was the case, what a miserable, cruel, cowardly thing to do. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Rueful Observations On Obama’s Speechwriters Laughing About Writing Lies To Pass Obamacare”

TRump fans

Chris Marschner tackled the difficult issue of how we should regard the supporters of Donald Trump, in light of so much abuse and blame being heaped on them by pundits, the news media, and, yes, me. He chose a post to do so that discussed the cynical attitude of former  Obama speechwriters regarding how easy it was to manipulate the public and the press. Chris has done as good a job at this as can be done,  and thus earned his Comment of the Day distinction. I believe, however, that explaining the various factors activating Trump supporters, such as the arrogance of power-brokers like the Obama speechwriters, does not in any way excuse Trump voters, justify them, or relieve them from accusations of recklessness and ignorance.

I suppose I should be grateful to Trump and his supporters, because they have clinched two long-standing arguments in my favor. The first is one that has often surfaced on Ethics Alarms: does a responsible voter vote for the character of a leader, or the positions the candidate espouses? Trump proves my point in spectacular fashion. If the candidate doesn’t have a trustworthy character, it doesn’t matter what he or she says.

The second argument the Trumpites win for me is my opposition to those who decry the low rate of voting in the U.S. and want to “fix it.” My reaction to their complaint has always been: the low rate of voting is GOOD. If you are apathetic, lazy,badly informed, ignorant, hateful, stupid, gullible and naive, your vote interferes with democracy, it doesn’t advance it. The Founders believed that civic literacy was essential to a functioning republic. They were right. The Republican primaries illustrated what can happen when a large bloc of voters who are unfit to exercise the franchise suddenly decide they care, but lack the basic cognitive skills and abilities to translate their concern into intelligent and responsible civic participation. They become sitting ducks for con artists, liars and frauds to manipulate and exploit.

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Rueful Observations On Obama’s Speechwriters Laughing About Writing Lies To Pass Obamacare“:

[Quoting another commenter]

“Pundits don’t understand why saying dumb things about women or minorities doesn’t skewer him. I do: His voters don’t care. His voters don’t care where people pee, they don’t care how many abortions the lady down the street gets, they don’t care about racism, sexism or whatever-phobias. They care about taking care of their families. They care about jobs. This is the demographic Bernie and Trump tapped into. People not like us. Uneducated people. People living day to day. Bills to pay and mouths to feed, when nothing in the world is free.”

First let me say that I find Trump’s rhetoric distasteful and I did not vote for him in the MD primary.

Labeling all Trump supporters as “uneducated and unlike us” may be too simplistic. Actually many do care where people pee or how many abortions take place. You might want to consider that it is just a matter of priorities when faced with the possibility that a progressive candidate like Hillary Clinton might get elected leading to further stagnation of their upward mobility while forcing them to succumb to even more government intrusion into their lives.

Perhaps there is also a group of educated voting taxpayers who are tired of being labeled as social misanthropes when engaging in reasonable debate over a variety of issues. Many well educated people who earn more than the median income but less than that which is necessary to be absolutely financially independent understand the economic repercussions of challenging some progressive ideas that are at odds with their own reasoned thinking. How exactly does a conservative faculty member debate a topic when he/she runs the risk of being labeled a racist, Uncle Tom, misogynist or other type of person in what could be called the “Hater” segment of society for not towing the employer’s or the group’s normative thinking. How many business owners publicly regurgitate the progressive ideology or opt for a low profile to avoid the onslaught of protesters that can threaten that which they may have spent a lifetime working long hours to build

Continue reading

Rueful Observations On Obama’s Speechwriters Laughing About Writing Lies To Pass Obamacare

roselaughing

In the wake of Obama foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes boasting about how he managed to hoodwink the news media and the public regarding the negotiations with Iran, this disgusting display is not so much surprising and it is clarifying.

Monday’s edition of  the Charlie Rose show on PBS featured Charlie chatting with former Obama speechwriters David Litt, Jon Favreau, and  Jon Lovett  to discuss their collaboration with the President to assist  his (over-praised) communication skills. Much of the discussion centered on Obama’s stand-up comedy chops—Ah, what might have been! I’d gladly take my chances in that alternate universe—until the discussion turned to this:

CHARLIE ROSE: My point is do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etcetera?

JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: I really like, I was very — the joke speeches is the most fun part of this. But the things I’m the most proud of were the most serious speeches, I think. Health care, economic speeches.

JON FAVREAU, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: Lovett wrote the line about “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”

LOVETT: How dare you!

ALL: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

LOVETT: And you know what? It’s still true! No.

No.

Observations, somewhat diminished because this made MY HEAD EXPLODE: Continue reading

Yes, It’s True: Conservative Warrior Brent Bozell Is The American Mamoru Samuragochi, “The Japanese Beethoven” Who Was Really The Asian Milli Vanilli

This, apparently, is the real L. Brent Bozell.

This, apparently, is the real L. Brent Bozell.

L. Brent Bozell, the outspoken head of the Media Research Center, doesn’t write the syndicated opinion columns that run under his by-line and has not for quite a while. Reporter Jim Romenesko did a little digging, and discovered that the red-headed face of the conservative group, a favorite guest of Fox talk show host Sean Hannity, uses Tim Graham, the MRC’s Director of Media Analysis as his ghostwriter, both for his columns and apparently his recent books as well.

Before the embarrassing deception was exposed, however—-Bozell’s special crusade is exposing and condemning dishonesty in the liberal news media—the company that distributes Bozell’s columns managed to expose its own flawed ethics as well. Confronted with Romenesko’s suspicions, Bozell’s syndicator wrote this response:

“If you know of one of our columnists who supposedly is not writing the column but rather ‘assigning an underling to pen them (an underling who is not credited),’ I think it only fair that you tell us who has been accused of this so we can talk to the columnist. Yes, we expect all of our columnists to write their own columns, though we understand that some work closely with researchers.

Once the evidence appeared too overwhelming to deny (as in “lie away effectively”)—-various Media Research Center employees confirmed that Bozell didn’t write his own copy, with one telling him in surprise, “I thought everyone knew it.”—the defense, predictably, began to evolve into “everybody does it.” Continue reading