Comment of the Day: “Observations On The Illegal Immigration Ethics Train Wreck, The Ugliest Of Them All”

green-cardChris Marschner, the Ethics Alarms master of the long form comment, has delivered another. This is his analysis of what a fair, rational and ethical approach to the nation’s illegal immigration problem might look like. I’ve never read a better one, not that there are many lawmakers, and certainly not many advocates for illegals, who appear to be interested in ethics or rationality where this issue is concerned.

I don’t agree with all of Chris’s conclusions, but I would endorse his approach over any other I have seen floated by elected officials, scholars and pundits. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Observations On The Illegal Immigration Ethics Train Wreck, The Ugliest Of Them All”: Continue reading

Observations On The Illegal Immigration Ethics Train Wreck, The Ugliest Of Them All


Nobody, literally nobody, has managed to stay off this Ethics Train Wreck by now. The over-flowing passenger list includes…

Democrats, who cynically want to encourage law-breaking to tilt the nation’s demographics toward what they think will be a permanent electoral advantage

Law enforcement, which has ducked its duty to keep our borders secure

Big business, which wants to preserve an underground economy that provides cheap and frightened labor that allows it to pay unconscionably low wages;

Conservatives, whose refusal to consider any path to citizenship for the millions we have already allowed to stay here by our non-enforcement of our own laws is irresponsible in the absence of any other realistic plan (mass deportation being too repulsive to contemplate);

Democrats, who have foolishly heralded policies, like the Dream Acts, that  provide an incentive for illegal immigration;

U.S. citizens who happily accept the benefits of services provided by illegals while claiming to oppose the process that allowed them to tend their gardens and care for their children

Hispanic-Americans, who have chosen heritage over country by continuing to support continued law breaking by relatives, friends, and others with whom they may share a language or a country of origin;

Congress, which as been lazy and cowardly and avoided its responsibility for decades;

The Justice Department, which has fought to prevent states from taking action to stem the illegal tide that is overwhelming their social services;

Illegal immigration advocates, who have deliberately clouded the issue by calling anyone who doesn’t advocate open borders (that is, sovereign suicide) as racist, and have used deceitful euphemisms to confound immigration, which the U.S. public unanimously supports and has done so for a century, and illegal immigration, which it has not and should not;

The mainstream news media, which has aided and abetted this confusion, supported the race-baiters, encouraged the deceptive use of euphemisms like “comprehensive immigration reform” (which means, “let’s stop enforcing immigration laws”) and outright deception, like calling “illegal immigration” “immigration, ”  while consistently misrepresented the issue as a humanitarian problem rather than a matter of sovereignty, law enforcement and common sense;

The illegals themselves.

The American public, which despite overwhelmingly opposing “amnesty,” whatever it thinks that is, remains inattentive, feckless and ignorant regarding the issue.

Have I left anyone out? Sure I have: President Obama, who has booked a luxury berth on this train. Continue reading

Predatory Service: A Tale


Once upon a time in Greater Washington, D.C., there was a family-owned hardware, home remodeling and garden store chain. They were big warehouse stores, and pretty much synonymous with hardware, flowers, lawns, leaky pipes, Sunday shopping excursions, and earnest, if not always rapid, service, for decades. The old chain was pretty much the only game in town too, except for a few small stores scattered around in various town squares.

Then, seemingly over-night, several new, big, warehouse hardware, home remodeling and garden stores appeared across the area. They seemed a little cheaper, but not much; what they had, however, was this fantastic service model. The place was crawling with eager young experts who not only helped you find what you needed, but who also knew how you should build it, cultivate it, paint it, or tear it down. The usual “what the hell am I doing and where is that stuff?” anxiety of a visit to the old hardware chain was replaced by a feeling of confidence and being in the hands of friendly masters of their trade. It was wonderful. Continue reading

Explain to Me Why We Tolerate Illegal Immigration, Again?

Yes, I'm in a rotten mood today! Wanna make something out of it??

My cranky Saturday continues with an issue that I increasingly find bewildering: the tolerance, denial, and enabling by so many Americans of illegal immigration, although its unethical character cannot be denied or argued away. I know why Democrats support it—pure electoral cynicism—and I know why the business community encourages it—greed. What I don’t comprehend is why anyone else with a modicum of logic, fairness, and common sense isn’t confronting both of these self-serving institutions and demanding real enforcement of anti-illegal immigration measures. Instead, we get outrageous legislation like the Maryland Dream Act, which institutionalizes incentives for aliens to defy our laws. Continue reading

Allied Against Consumers and Ethics: Google and the Sociopathic Businessman

Today the New York Times extensively documents the unethical business strategy used by the owner of a web-based eyewear business.

After making the discovery that Google does not distinguish between positive and negative mentions of a business on the Internet, he resolved to treat complaining customers as badly as possible to encourage complaints about his company on consumer sites. I do mean “as badly as possible”: the Times relates the accounts of customers who received insulting phone calls, threatening mail, and other harassing and bullying communications from the entrepreneur, who uses multiple aliases. The method works well: since on-line diatribes, complaints and bad reviews have piled up over his poor service, outrageous conduct and often shoddy merchandise, the man’s business is booming. Its name consistently nears the top of Google’s search results when a potential customer types the name of his or her favorite eyewear designer and “eyeglasses,” sometimes placing higher than the designer itself. Continue reading

“How Not To Apologize” by Cook’s Source Editor Judith Griggs

Not many of you chose to read about the “Cook’s Source” fiasco, which is a shame. It is admittedly a tiny blip on the ethics radar screen–a dispute between a writer and a narrow audience website that launched an Internet vigilante movement—but there are many useful lessons to be learned. Now one of the two key figures, “Cook’s Source” editor Judith Griggs, has generously provided us with yet another: how not to apologize. Continue reading

Theft, Disrespect and Retribution: the “Cook’s Source” Debacle

This is another example of how ethical insights can emerge from the most unlikely episodes, as one obscure website stole material from another, and ignited web vigilante justice on a grand scale.

Medieval  food expert and enthusiast Monica Gaudio learned from a friend that the e-magazine Cook’s Source had taken her online article about the origins of apple pie and reprinted it without her permission. Assuming it was an innocent error, Gaudio wrote the site and requested an apology, as well as a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism to make amends for what was a blatant copyright violation.

The managing editor at Cook’s Source, Judith Griggs, didn’t recognize a generous and reasonable offer when she saw one. Instead of proper contrition for taking Gaudio’s work without permission, Griggs decide to go for a new high in arrogant defiance, writing…

“Yes Monica, I do know about copyright laws. … But honestly Monica the web is considered ‘public domain’ and you should be happy we just didn’t ‘lift’ your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. … We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!”

Seldom are so many ethics fouls packed into so few words. Note that: Continue reading

Note to Ethics Alarms Readers: No More Ads! (And I’m Sorry It Took So Long For Me To Kill Them)

Dear Ethics Alarms Readers,

As discussed here last week, I only recently learned that WordPress has been planting ads in Ethics Alarms according to some mysterious formula. Whatever it is, the formula managed to keep me in the dark and deface my blog, giving some readers the impression that I had approved of, or profited from the ads. I never saw them, nor did WordPress ever give me notice what the ads were, how they were being placed, or that they were being run at all. Some of the ads, I learned, were for products that I find objectionable: for example, Barack Obama-mocking T-shirts in questionable taste.

Without checking to make sure, because it is pointless, I will stipulate that somewhere in the vast number of Conditions of Use provisions I must have agreed to at some point in time now lost to posterity, there must have been a statement in fine print giving WordPress permission to do all this. Had I read it, I would have probably agreed to it anyway, and would still be in the same position today, coming late to the realization that because I never saw ads on Ethics Alarms doesn’t mean some readers aren’t. I take full responsibility for this, and I apologize. I have a duty to you, just like WordPress has a duty to me. It should have kept me informed, particularly when their conduct affected the content of my website. It didn’t.

Anyway, I have paid the 30 bucks that buys me, and you, a year of ad-free content. If you see another ad on Ethics Alarms, please let me know. And There Will Be Blood.

Thank you for your patience, passion, loyalty and understanding. In the year since Ethics Alarms began, we have begun to build a diverse community of readers who constantly surprise, challenge, amuse and enlighten me with its insight and opinion on ethics and related matters. I know I don’t express my appreciation to all of you frequently enough; I will try to do better.


Jack Marshall