Morning Ethics Round-Up: 7/7/17

Good Morning!

Well this has been the deadest week of traffic Ethics Alarms has seen for a long time. Thankfully those who have visited have kept the quality and quanity of comments high. Thanks, everybody.

1. I am pretty sure that if Donald Trump delivered the oratorical equivalent of the Gettysburg Address, most of the media would find some way to find it offensive and worthy of mockery. On Vox there is an essay titled “Trump’s speech in Poland sounded like an alt-right manifesto.” Sarah Wildman found President Trump’s  call for “family, for freedom, for country, and for God’” ominous, and was especially bothered by his rhetorical question of  “whether the West has the will to survive.”

This is where the Left is heading, apparently. Appealing to Western values and endorsing “family, for freedom, for country, and for God’ makes you a crypto-fascist. Add this to the list of  reasons Donald Trump is President of the United States. Again I ask, how do people like Wildman grow up here and end up like this, and more amazing still, have a widely read forum?

By the way, the odds of President Trump delivering an oratorical equivalent of the Gettysburg Address are about the same as the odds of Flipper singing The Major General’s Song.

2. Reader Neil Dorr sent in some links yesterday, and two of them were stories that I had on the docket and somehow forgot about. One was the announcement that “Hawaii Five-O” supporting actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park  have quit the series after contract negotiations with CBS and CBS Television Studios failed to get them salary parity with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. The actors are framing their exit as a brave stand against racial bias in Hollywood.

Grandstanding and dishonesty. Kim and Park were using unethical negotiation tactics, and are carrying through on their threat to make the rejection of their demands a racial issue. There may be racial bias in Hollywood, but when two supporting actors are paid less than the two series stars, that’s called show business, and there is nothing biased about it. If minority actors (and women too) want to find themselves being cast less, this tactic will be an excellent way to cause that regression. “Hawaii Five-O” is a re-boot of the old Sixties/Seventies series starring Jack Lord and James MacArthur, whose roles have been inherited by O’Loughlin and Caan. Kim and Park have the secondary roles previously played by two beefy middle-aged Asian-American men.  Admittedly, the new models have larger and more crucial roles in the series than the originals, but nobody can watch the series and mistake them for the stars. If  O’Loughlin and Caan left, there would be no series, while Kim and Park can be replaced and will be, I suspect, with no damage to the series. This is why they can’t have salary parity, and why they don’t deserve it.

Note how the Hollywood Reporter story tries to support the minority actors as they play the race card by making it sound like O’Loughlin, Caan. Kim and Park are all equal co-stars in the show. That’s misleading and manipulative journalism.

Yes, it’s everywhere.

3. The other story that Neil rescued from the memory hole was this one, about the Hobby Lobby paying a $3 million fine for illegally buying thousands of ancient Iraqi clay artifacts smuggled into the United States. It’s a legitimate news story because Hobby Lobby is famous since it won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court  holding  that found family-owned corporations do not have to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act when doing so would violate their religious beliefs. However, the current story is being reported with more detail, space,  and prominence because the mainstream media, which opposed the Hobby Lobby opinion, wants to send the message that this is a bad company run by bad people, and hypocrites to boot. It is yet another example of how the news media’s biases warp coverage.

Whether Hobby Lobby is run by angels or demons from the depths of hell has no bearing on the validity of the Supreme Court opinion at all. But the owners of the company dared to foil Barack Obama, and for that they are like the fingered villain in a TV police drama where the hero says, “You got off this time, scumbag. But if you so much as spit on the sidewalk, I’ll be watching.”

4. Did you know that there is a  class action lawsuit on behalf of Bernie Sanders campaign donors alleging that the Democratic National Committee worked in conjunction with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign to beat Bernie, and that it has been contested in court for months? I didn’t. A big reason is that the mainstream media decided to barely report it. This development undermined too many narratives and causes too much cognitive dissonance for Democrats and Hillary bitter-enders. After all, if Russia participating in the hacking of the DNC was so bad, how can that hacking unearthing the information that led to the lawsuit be in the interests of fairness and justice? And aren’t Donald Trump’s claims that the election was rigged just more of his lies?

The suit against the DNC and its former chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz demands restitution for donations made to the socialist Senator’s campaign, citing six legal claims of the party’s deceptive conduct, negligent misrepresentation and fraud, including a violation of Article 5, Section 4 of the DNC’s  own charter by working with a single campaign to ensure the winner of  the Democratic nomination. [Note: I think the donors should sue Bernie. As I wrote during the campaign, Sanders didn’t make a good faith effort to win. His refusal to attack Clinton’s e-mail machinations and lies about them constituted voluntary collusion in his own defeat.]

Here’s the best part: During the most recent court hearing on the case on April 25,  the DNC argued that the organization’s neutrality among Democratic campaigns during the primaries was merely a “political promise,” and thus the party had no legal obligations to remain impartial throughout the nomination process.

It really argued that. And the news media really thinks that this isn’t newsworthy.

(Hmmmm...I guess the theme this morning is again the corrosive, biased, manipulative  and unethical wreck once known as U.S. journalism…)


UGH! Now I can’t get the “Hawaii Five-O” theme—the classic original, not the current, truncated version—out of my head. Best TV theme and opening sequence ever:

44 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Round-Up: 7/7/17

  1. Today also happens to be the 10th Anniversary of Al Gore’s “Private Jets For Climate Change,” I mean, “LIVE EARTH: THE CONCERTS FOR A CLIMATE IN CRISIS 07/07/07.”

    Funniest thing, that posh soirée belched out enough plant food, I mean EVIL CO2 (~ 31,500 tonnes) to cover the energy usage of 3000 Brits for a freakin’ year each!

    In an ironic twist of fate, a 10th Anniversary gift is one of tin or aluminum. For the uninformed, those are both EVIL mined substances irreparably & irredeemably wrested from the fragile bosom of Mother Gaia.

    In an ironic twist of fate 2.0, the event eerily coincides with the beginning of my downward spiral into the despicably low ranks of the Climate Skeptic, verily suffocating with the arrogant belief that we can’t bend Climate to our whim.

  2. “Well this has been the deadest week of traffic Ethics Alarms has seen for a long time. “

    Mid week Independence Day at the height of vacation season can’t help.

    Oh and the utter denial of how abjectly devoid of ethics the MSM is coupled with the anomie coming from wondering why the whole nation isn’t on board the hate Trump train.

  3. 1) “I believe everyone should have free health care and a guaranteed minimum income” -hypothetical Trump


    “what does he mean by “health care”…fascist.”

    “Free? Those kinda of words disturb me”

    “Oh minimum income? There he is with the dog whistles again”

    “Guaranteed…? What a sexist bigot”

    “I believe…? Theocrat!”

    “What does he mean by the word ‘should’? That seems awfully cis-gendered to me!”

    “‘And’…. ‘AND’? What ignorant putz uses that outdated conjunction?!”

  4. Re #2: I watched the new version of Hawaii Five-O exactly once, wasn’t impressed, and haven’t gone back, despite the fact that the sig-o of a beloved former student has worked on the show since its inception. So I can’t say for certain that the Asian-American actors don’t deserve equal billing. But my initial response was precisely yours. Jack. Stars get paid more than featured players, who will still make more per episode than a “guest star” (unless it’s someone who really is a guest star) who actually has a bigger role in that particular episode. That’s the way it works.

    Re #3: The spin I’ve been reading isn’t that Hobby Lobby is evil, per se, but that their religio-moral sanctimony is shown to be a sham. I’ve seen a slew of claims that HL’s actions served to fund
    ISIS, one of whose principal sources of income is the sale of looted artifacts. I haven’t had the chance to check out the validity of these claims, but they seem plausible.

    Re #4: This story has been all over the non-Clintonian lefty press for weeks if not months. New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Daily Kos, etc., were complicit in the effort to prevent a fair primary system, so I’m not surprised that they haven’t done much to cover the lawsuit, but the story–including the excuse that it isn’t the DNC’s job to ensure a fair process–is not news to me.

    But thanks for the reminder. I may need to get working on a piece about this story.

    By the way, I’m not sure the DNC’s “defense” is the most outrageous thing politicos have argued recently in official court documents. A couple of years ago, Texas Attorney General (now Governor) Greg Abbott admitted that yes, the proposed re-districting was designed principally to help the Republican Party, but the motivation for the gerrymandering wasn’t racial, so it was OK. A curse on both their houses.

    Oh, and the original Hawaii Five-O theme song is indeed a classic. I still have it on vinyl somewhere.

    • …Republican Party, but the motivation for the gerrymandering wasn’t racial…

      A little context to that comment from Abbott (not defending him or his statement, just giving the whole story): the Democrats had historically gerrymandered districts for power, and the GOP was simply following the time honored custom when the progressives threw ‘racism’ into the mix, in an attempt to move the goalposts. The real objection seemed to be “we did this and you cannot change it back,” a common refrain when power changes hands away from the progressives. The quote was in response to that background, as this was about power not race. This is a progressive tactic to keep tilting the field in their favor, and Americans are just beginning to wake up to that fact.

      • Meant to add: they are ALL crooks, and this practice is unethical on it’s face, whoever does it. We now have the left doing corrupt things (nuclear option in Senate, for example) and exhibiting open hypocrisy when their opponents follow the Democrat lead.

        Trump just don’t care, and many former Right proponent are taking their cue from him (it is working for him) so I predict that progressives are in for a long, rough ride then next decade.


      • Cannot change it back becomes more like tweak it to fit the new agenda. No one ever reverses a great political power grab and returns power to the people.
        Republicans have lost me, probably permanently, because they’ve adopted too many of the, admittedly successful, tactics of the progressive left. For awhile Breitbartian thought had me, but you can’t change things by becoming the thing you’re trying to change. Even as a temporary measure “until we get it back” it’s too corrupting.

        My Independence Day patriotic high has crashed already and I hate politics worse than ever.

  5. For four… Ethically you might think that the donors should sue Bernie, but legally… Is there an argument there? It seems like the kind of thing that a judge might scold a lawyer for attempting to dirty his docket with.

  6. Evidently Trump can do nothing right…his offer to help Charlie Gard was met with weeping ( self-described) and probably rending of garments on FB this morning, as it was roundly dismissed (with copious profanity) as posing as a decent human being while stripping 22 million Americans of their health care. How dare he! Pretending he cares!

    He could be unmasked as the second coming of Christ, and people would still throw rocks.

    I am quite enjoying these Morning Ethics Round-ups. Thank you.

    That is one creepy orange…

    • “He could be unmasked as the second coming of Christ, and people would still throw rocks.”

      Terrible analogy… the actual 2nd coming is not going to be enjoyed by the world anyway…even when it is the real Christ.

      But I get your point.

      • I know (grins). I was grasping…I really think that Trump could perform miracles and people would still bitch. I regularly unfollow the most hysterical of my FB friends, and I’d just re-followed one when he started railing this morning about Trump pretending to care about a baby. I need Jack’s exploding cranium graphics more days than I like to think about.

    • I bet if it turns out Trump is really a moderate at heart who historically espoused democrat friendly positions and policies and for the most part is slightly left of center politically, they’d still hate him violently.

      Oh wait… he is all those things! And they do hate him anyway…

    • Sorry for plagiarizing in the event I heard it here first, but if Trump walked on water today, CNN’s headline tomorrow would read :

      Trump Can’t Even Swim

  7. “This is where the Left is heading, apparently. Appealing to Western values and endorsing “family, for freedom, for country, and for God’ makes you a crypto-fascist.”

    Yup, Jack, and, with respect, they’ve been heading that way for years now. The left’s dirty little secret, as I have mentioned before a few times, is that they aren’t really interested in doing good by anyone – they are interested in controlling as many people as they can. That’s why they love black people…as long as they stay in the ghetto. That’s why they love Jewish people…but they hate Israel. That’s why they love immigrants…until they become citizens. These are the kind of people they can control with a few handouts, implying just do as they say and the handouts will continue.

    That’s also why they love dominant personalities like Obama and Hillary and they aren’t too fond of family, freedom, country, and God, because they want their person and their values to be central to people’s lives. Anything that dilutes that centrality is a problem. They want people to be so into their leaders that they post “every day I wake up and I’m glad Barack Obama is the President of these United States.” To me that just smacks of saying “we wish long life and health to the reddest of red suns, Chairman Mao.”

    At this point they have lost the bully pulpit, however, and Schumer, Pelosi, and Warren are poor substitutes for President Obama. So they substitute fearmongering for bullying rhetoric. Where last year they were saying there’s nothing to fear, because the old white conservative guys’ time is almost up, this year they are saying there’s EVERYTHING to fear because apparently the old codgers have now morphed into camo-clad, confederate-flag-belt-buckle-wearing, well-armed, bearded, angry men who’ve still got a lot of life in them, and they’re coming for the left.

    The speed of change is almost pathetic, when you think about it. Today dissent is patriotic. A year ago it was racist. Today the left’s ideas are in deep peril. A year ago they were unstoppable. Today the president is illegitimate and must be pushed out, whatever it takes. A year ago he was the messiah.

    As an interesting side note, for those of us old enough to remember the Cold War (I was born 1970, so it was winding down when I was in college): Thirty years ago we on the right were constantly on the watch for the Soviets/Russians (we used the terms interchangeably), and the left was constantly telling us not to be paranoid, they aren’t everywhere, they aren’t as powerful as you think, they really aren’t such bad people, etc. Today it’s the left who sees Russians under every rock and in every shadow, maybe even pulling the strings at the White House, despite having even less evidence than we on the right could produce 30 years ago. It’s not about what’s actually happening, and it’s not about consistent danger (though we on the right have not gone soft on the Russians by any stretch), it’s just about what can you make political hay with.

    • There’s a story here, that Soviet disinformation from the 60s, and even dating from the Stalinist era, has matured in the hands of 60s radicals to become the intellectual underpinnings of the modern Left. The ideology collapsed in its homeland, it’s now doing battle within America against both its old foes: American capitalism and Russian nationalism.

      • Oh it dates back even further to the days of John Read spreading that disinformation. You are right, it is supremely ironic that now even the Russians want no further part of that unworkable ideology, and it’s sputtering in South America now that Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have both departed this world and there is no charismatic figure to rally around.

        • Socialism… a failure everywhere it has been attempted. Yet there are always the arrogant who think it will work THIS time because they are smarter than everyone else. Hubris

    • Warren is a real mystery to me. How did she ever get to presidential contender level? The Democrat machine is broken.

      • Pretty much the same way Obama did. She was a law professor specializing in bankruptcy before Obama tapped her as a special assistant in the early days of his presidency, and she then parlayed that into becoming a Senator, where she’s done little except raise her own profile. Frankly I don’t see her as being a serious contender though, any more than someone like a Bernie Sanders. She could carry a lot of college towns, but in the end she would not turn the center. I can’t see her carrying Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania in the current climate.

      • The bankruptcy thing is part of it: she was a “wonk” (I think that’s the right word) in the lending field just as the financial meltdown hit. Obama installed her as the person in charge of setting up the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Republican Scott Brown won the special election to serve the last two years of Ted Kennedy’s term, and Warren was the Democratic candidate to take back the seat in 2012. A first term senator, she’s two years younger than Hillary Clinton, and will be 71 on Election Day 2000.

        • Election Day 2020, but close enough. That’s part of the Democratic Party’s problem, their leadership consists pretty much entirely of old socialist farts.

  8. Thanks for linking to the Five-O version with the closing credits. They’re necessary to full appreciation of the theme’s awesomeness.

    4. “I think the donors should sue Bernie. As I wrote during the campaign, Sanders didn’t make a good faith effort to win. His refusal to attack Clinton’s e-mail machinations and lies about them constituted voluntary collusion in his own defeat.”

    Wikileaks gave us evidence of some sort of “agreement” that Bernie was party to that included restricting what he could say about Clinton finances:

    1. “…about the same as the odds of Flipper singing The Major General’s Song.”

    To be fair to the fish, his range is more in line with Buttercup.

  9. I listened to some of the speech yesterday and though he sounded vaguely presidential. I’m sure he’ll ruin it by tweeting about how fat people are in Poland or some such nonsense though.

  10. “Again I ask, how do people like Wildman grow up here and end up like this, and more amazing still, have a widely read forum?”

    My husband and I speculate about this often. The conclusion we most often come to goes back to education. Progressive thought has taken over education so completely that people under 40 don’t know the founding truths of our history. And by now they not only don’t know, when they find out they actively reject them as truth.

    My age cohort probably remembers The Children’s Story by James Clavell. When that came out I remember everyone was concerned about thought control, brain washing, etc. It was a simpler time and nothing quite as dramatically obvious happened. Instead it’s been very subtle and very slow. Until now. Now there’s nothing subtle about it. It’s in your face and over the top. It didn’t happen between the first bell and the Pledge of Allegiance, but it sure happened.

    I hate how paranoid that sounds.

  11. Jack,

    Thank you for the Morning Updates. They are greatly appreciated, as I get a lot of current topics with less investment when I am busy. Then I can dive in when I have time.

    2. Park is a Cylon, and Kim is Lost. Sorry, could not resist the pop references. Not surprised either took this track, as they are progressives (based on interviews over the years) who believe that a) they are somehow owed their success, and b) that the rules they want others to follow should not apply to them, because they are better (progressive, virtue signalling, shiny happy people) than those they (would) rule over.

    Kim had a role in the TV show ‘Lost’ which was filmed in Hawaii, and he moved there permanently and refused acting jobs that were not in Hawaii, so this show was great for him. Wonder if he will have to move back to Cali to still work, and if anyone will have him now? Hollywood holds grudges, you know.

    Park starred in Battlestar Galactica (reboot) as a mediocre role requiring a hot chick. This was the same role in Hawaii Five-0, and her age is beginning to show. her acting skills have improved somewhat, but (like many before her) her looks were more important than any other consideration, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of ‘hot chick’ actresses who could take that role without a blink from the audience. Again, given Hollywood’s known propensity for grudges against those that bite the hand that feeds them, how will she work in TV again?

    Both have overblown opinions of their acting ability and importance to the show and the world, and have now set themselves up to find out otherwise. While I do not hope bad things upon them personally, there is a great possibility their little mechanizations result in that comeuppance. Good, in that they can be a lesson to others.

    4. The donors are going to have a difficult time finding a line of judges who are not beholden to the DNC (who cannot allow this precedent be set and continue their socialist agenda) who will support this suit. My observation is that people who make large donations have so sort of expectation resulting from the donation, and if the progressives will not stay bought, have little motivation to donate again (or the first time.) This could turn into a lose/lose for the DNC, who already has been outed as laughing and mocking their base and donor class in the same leaks this lawsuit resulted from. Popcorn is popping.

    From ‘granny:
    people under 40 don’t know the founding truths of our history. And by now they not only don’t know, when they find out they actively reject them as truth.

    I find that this is true even of my brother, who was taught these facts in school (he is 44) but sometimes has to be reminded of the truth. He generally recants when reminded, but his addiction to Facebook taints his perceptions. Those younger than 40 get ‘progressively’ harder to reach the younger they are. My 20 year old son knows the facts, yet can come off with irrational, illogical positions until I remind him to do a little critical thinking. Thank God I taught him how, even if he won’t use the skills sometimes! 🙂

    I am working harder on his young sibs, as the first born was our practice run (my wife and I tell ourselves)

      • As a second-born, I find that very interesting, wg. Hah. Thanks. Maybe it explains our first-born child who has always mystified my wife and me.

        • ”As a second-born, I find that very interesting,”

          Copy that! I’m not only the 2nd born, but the 2nd son of a 2nd son.

          That throwaway thing suggests I may abandon my plans to usurp my older brother, right to primogeniture be damned.

          • Hah. Although I have to speculate that being a first born is no bargain as near as I can tell by observation, Paul. There are privileges but there also seem to be burdens that don’t fall on the subsequent kids. I have always found birth order really interesting. My Dad was a first-born and he and my brother (first born) were tight in a unique if understated way. It’s as if first-borns are members of a secret society. They just nod quietly to each other. My first born daughter is closer with my wife’s first born sister than she is with my wife, her mother. As a second born, I get along great with my second born son. Funny.

            • “As a second born, I get along great with my second born son.”

              My Dear 92 year old Father, Bill, (whence the “W”) would say the same thing. I still live but 1.5 miles (3.3868 km) away. Funny? Yup, but not “funny ha ha,” inexplicably curious kinda funny.

              I was never the student he was, MSW in 4 years. That would’ve been my older brother: UW valedictorian, graduate work @ Columbia & NY Poly, post doc UC/Berkeley, etc., etc., etc.

              But I was the athlete both my Father and my older Bro never were; make of that what you will.

              You want interesting?

              Fredo told Michael at that Havana sidewalk bistro (“how do you say Banana Daiquiri?”) that their Momma told him he wasn’t her child but left on their doorstep by Gypsies.

              If, like me, you believe that, then Michael was the 2nd son of Vito Andolini/Corleone, who was himself the 2nd son of Antonio & Carmella Andolini.

              Pivoting to “The Godfather,” (and who wouldn’t?) you don’t need no stinkin’ “Six Degrees To Kevin Bacon” shit, am I right?

  12. > Note: I think the donors should sue Bernie. As I wrote during the campaign, Sanders didn’t make a good faith effort to win. His refusal to attack Clinton’s e-mail machinations and lies about them constituted voluntary collusion in his own defeat

    I don’t think Bernie had much to gain by going after the emails, except to look like a spoiler, a role already given to him since he wasn’t a Democrat.

    Everything he could have done wrt emails was better done by outside critics.

    That said, I think some of his wording could have been better. He gratuitously let her off the hook with “no one cares about your damn emails”. He says that making that statement wasn’t great politics, but I think the reverse, his statement WAS great politics for the politics of that month and his reasonable demand that the media and pundits talk about other very salient issues.

    But it put him in a corner where he could no longer ever say anything about the emails.

    I wish he had said, “I am not here to talk about her emails, I want to talk about the middle class and trade policy…”

  13. Surely Jack, you of all people will recall the Media response to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address?

    The the Chicago Times:
    “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he
    reads the silly flat and dishwattery [sic] remarks of the man who
    has to be pointed out as the President of the United States. … Is
    Mr. Lincoln less refined than a savage? … It was a perversion of
    history so flagrant that the most extended charity cannot view it
    as otherwise than willful.”

    The Harrisburg Patriot & Union:
    “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.”

    The London Times:
    “The ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the sallies of
    that poor President Lincoln. Anything more dull and
    commonplace it would not be easy to produce.”

    To be sure, others lauded it, but you can hardly be surprised that Trumps opponents criticize his speeches!

  14. My comment (#97?) in Variety following CBS’s restrained response to Kim and Park walking out on the offerings of (undisclosed, but known to be) substantial raises. Of course they had to do so: it’s all-or-nothing time, isn’t it?

    PennAgain says:
    July 15, 2017 at 4:35 am

    Enjoyed the the roles they played, but no, they were not CO-stars; they were actors in supporting roles. They have the right to make requests/demands for raises on the basis of their professional standing in the show, their history with it, and their talents — but not to pull the race card in a blackmail attempt. That is beneath contempt. CBS will get it in the neck anyway because that’s the way knee-jerk opinion works these days: if you are a person of color, you have a duty to use that fact to compel extra or undeserved perks? What price merit then, for anyone of any color?

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