The Ethical Take

Published: January 8, 2016

By Jim Lichtman
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In this first month of a new year, The Take examines a few stories from the sane… to the inane.

Where’s Colin!? —

Former Joint Chiefs Chairman and Secretary of State Colin Powell has been conspicuously absent from all the activities surrounding the GOP presidential candidates. I kept wondering, what’s his take on all this. Wonder no more.

Colin Powell

According to Britain’s Daily Mail (Sept. 30, 2015), Powell remains a registered Republican “because it annoys them,” [Republicans, that is.]

In a public interview moderated by Walter Isaacson, Powell said, “I think the party has shifted much further right than where the country is and it should be obvious to party leaders that they cannot keep saying the things that they are saying and doing the things that they were doing and hope to be successful in national level elections in the future, not just 2016.”

“Party ID came up,” The Mail writes, “because Isaacson pointed to not just Powell’s support of Obama, but his recent expressed support for the Iran deal and several other stances that are more commonly held by Democrats.

“You didn’t mention the fact that I worked for about five presidents in a row who were Republicans,” the former Secretary of State said. “Yes, I’m still a Republican. In Virginia, you don’t have to declare a party, where I live, but I’m still a Republican.”

“Isaacson pointed to Powell’s pro-immigration reform stance as another way he stood out from his GOP peers, but Powell knocked down that assessment – though used the opportunity to needle Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“ ‘I don’t agree that it’s the Republican position on immigration,’ Powell said. ‘I think most Republicans understand that we need immigration, we are an immigrant nation, it is in our best interest to do it,’ Powell continued. ‘But there are pockets, as I said previously, there are pockets of intolerance within the Republican Party [and] the Republican Party had better figure out how to defeat that.’

“[Powell] encouraged the audience to look around the next time they traveled through Dulles or Reagan, the local Washington airports, and see who was working behind those counters. ‘These are first generation American immigrants who will raise children who will go up to higher things, they’re not mopping floors and waiting tables so their children can do the same,’ Powell said. ‘It’s that immigrant tradition – get started and the next generation will be better and the generation after that will be even better.’

“Looking at modern politics, Powell issued a challenge: ‘If I was around Mr. Trump, … I would say, ‘You know, Don, let’s see what happens – let’s tell all the immigrants working in Trump hotels to stay home tomorrow – see what happens.’

“Powell also reiterated his support for the Iran deal. ‘I thought this was a good deal,’ the former secretary of state said. ‘It seems to me that it was good and not just that we’re stuck with it. I’m sorry it got tied up in politics,’ he said.

When Isaacson asked Powell why that was, Powell just shrugged. ‘Why does everything become totally partisan in Washington these days?’ he said. ‘I don’t know.’ ”

The Ethical Take: cheers to the most astute non-political political leader. I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, he’s too smart to put up with all that c#@p.

Great Caesar’s Ghost, George Wallace lives!

An Alabama judge – chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court – no less, “…ordered probate judges in the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” The New York Times reports (Jan. 7).

Chief Justice Roy S. Moore “who is among the country’s most prominent religious conservatives, argued, in part, that probate judges should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of a State Supreme Court’s decision that upheld Alabama’s marriage prohibitions. The conflicting decisions in Washington and Montgomery, the chief justice wrote, led to ‘confusion and uncertainty’ among Alabama’s probate judges about how to apply the federal court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

“…Judge Steven L. Reed of Montgomery County Probate Court called the order a charade and said he would continue to process marriage licenses to all couples.”

The E.T.: Dear Judge, what part of — the U.S Supreme Court held that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protections Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – appears confusing?


In a Facebook post (that has since been removed), Professor James F. Tracy leads the charge of conspiracy theorists who claim (not a joke) that the 2012 massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary school and other mass shootings are a hoax put forth by the Obama administration in order to advance support for gun restrictions.

“The book, [‘Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,’] Tracy writes, “presents hundreds of proofs that the shootings at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) on 14 December 2012, was a staged, elaborate hoax—-enjoyed brisk sales of around 500 copies since Amazon initially offered it on October 22nd of this year. But it was abruptly removed–banned–by Amazon on November 19th, despite nearly 80 reviews.”

As The New York Times reports (Jan. 7), “Florida Atlantic University, which first reprimanded Mr. Tracy in 2013, dismissed him less than a month after the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., publicly accused the professor of harassment in a Sun Sentinel opinion piece. Lenny and Veronique Pozner, angered by Mr. Tracy’s conspiracy theories, had asked Mr. Tracy to remove a photograph of Noah from his blog, Memory Hole. In return, Mr. Tracy sent them a certified letter demanding proof that Noah ever lived and that the Pozners were his parents.”

Thankfully, Tracy, a Florida Atlantic University professor of communications at Boca Raton University, has been fired by administrators.

University vice provost Diane Alperin writes, “It is the responsibility of the employee to report outside activity on activity forms so that the administration can address potential, actual, or perceived conflicts of commitment or interest.”

“Since Mr. Tracy’s first blog post appeared in 2013,” The Times writes, “shortly after the Newtown shootings, his views have caused the university mounting embarrassment. The university first reprimanded Mr. Tracy that year for failing to make clear to readers and listeners that his views were his own and did not reflect the institution’s positions.”

E.T.: It is appalling that anyone would challenge the life and death of a child, but for a tenured associate professor of communications to repeatedly make clearly offensive statements is reprehensible.

Speaking of Conspiracies –

Yup, they’re still trying to nail that second shooter from the Kennedy assassination. Guess who it is, this time?

As reports (Nov. 13, 2013. I know it was two years ago, but I just received this story from a relative) “A Secret Service agent accidentally shot President Kennedy in the head? …

“The main evidence in favor of the theory, proposed in the 1970s by Baltimore gunsmith Howard Donahue and newly resurrected by Australian detective Colin McLaren, focuses on the third shot at President Kennedy, tearing apart the upper right side of his skull. …

“His calculations put the trajectory over the left side of the trailing car, which was full of Secret Service agents, including one who at some point picked up an AR-15 rifle. Donahue concluded the agent, George Hickey, accidentally shot the president when the car suddenly lurched.

“The theory got little notice, despite a 1977 write-up in the Baltimore Sun and a 1992 book, ‘Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK,’ by Bonar Menninger. Donahue died in 1999.”

The Take: Could Donahue have been murdered to silence the real truth? Hmm, let’s send this to conspiracy expert/professor James “Dick” Tracy for deep, deep analysis.


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