1 Well THAT took an excruciatingly long time! Ethics Alarms finally reached its high water mark in followers this week, and has held the line for a change. Traffic has been disappointing in 2017; this will be the first year in which visits have fallen from the previous one. I blame the anomalous lack of any viral posts, which usually number two or three a year, (and are completely unpredictable), and the Trump-and-Hillary-driven polarization of the web. I have seen a significant net drop in followers every time Ethics Alarms unequivocally criticizes one “side” over the other, no matter how richly the ethics criticism is deserved.
People really do prefer echo chambers. It’s dispiriting.
Update: Right after I posted this, EA lost a follower.
2. Speaking of echo chambers..It is incredible how quickly the Democrats and progressives on Facebook started defending Sen. Al Franken in the exact same terms, excuses, rationalizations and fallacies used all week by Roy Moore’s unprincipled defenders. The timing is suspicious…it’s only one time…this is politically motivated…we need his vote regardless…I believe him, not her…it was a long time ago…why did she wait so long?…he wasn’t in politics then…What about Trump?...everybody does it. In many cases they mocked virtually the exact same statements by Republicans spinning for Moore that they are now making themselves.
Those who aren’t quite so hypocritical nonetheless praise Franken’s deceitful and manipulative apology. I guess Al’s supporters and journalists are exactly as dumb as he’s betting they are. The news media has also swallowed that apology whole. If they would just read Ethics Alarms, they wouldn’t embarrass themselves. Well, not so much and so often anyway.
(I’m sorry. The traffic stuff is getting to me…)
3. Read this, and get a surprise! Here’s an interesting website: Your Morals. Org. It has a list of studies you can participate in online—there’s a registration process that isn’t too time consuming— that gather data while purporting to measure your values, political leanings, tolerance for opposing views, and “morality.” I took the political orientation and attitudes survey.
I scored almost exactly in the center, leaning juuust a smidge…Democrat!
4. NOW they tell us! I’m sorry, but I don’t care to hear Democratic politicians say that Bill Clinton should have resigned during the Lewinsky scandal. Senator Gillibrand, who brought “Mattress Girl” to the State of the Union, has the immense gall to say that, 20 years after the issue became moot. Of course he should have resigned. He lied under oath, lied to the American people, directly, calculatedly and intentionally, and obstructed the investigation, legally and illegally. But Democrats and feminists threw their principles into a big bonfire for political expediency, and it is a cheap, transparent and nauseating tactic to reverse themselves after all the damage Clinton’s pass for his “personal conduct” —I remember all the doges and rationalizations–did to the culture.
Paul Mirengoff, a prominent Maryland-based lawyer who handles labor and employment-law cases, does an excellent job debunking a current Democratic talking point being used to explain why the party’s disgraceful posturing and enabling for Clinton was the result of sexual harassment “not being taken as seriously as it is today.” He concludes,
Given the history I’ve just described, the argument that feminists and Democrats shrugged off claims of sexual misconduct against Clinton because of “the times” is unsustainable. The argument that, if Bill Clinton were president today, feminists and Democrats would believe Clinton’s accuser, or even just treat them with a modicum of respect, is unpersuasive.
The claims against Clinton were brought at a time of intense consciousness of the problem of sexual harassment. If anything, that consciousness subsided after Clinton’s presidency, thanks to the unwillingness of feminists and liberals to take his sexual misconduct seriously.
That unwillingness cannot be defended on the theory that times were different.
An aside: I saw that Move-On.Org has called for Franken to resign. Hilarious. The organization was created to argue that the nations should “move on” from the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and let Bill off the hook. I invoke the Ethics Alarms principle of Ethical Estoppel. This group, of all groups, may not argue that any politician should resign after allegation of sexual misconduct. Ever.
5. For the record: Senator Franken should not resign. That would set a chaotic precedent. His misconduct did not occur while he was in office, nor did he engineer a cover-up while he was in office. If the revelation of past misconduct is going to mandate resignations from the Senate, then the witch hunt torches will be lit and the nooses knotted, with contrived accusations being employed as political WMDs.
When Franken comes up for election, his past conduct can be considered by Minnesota voters, or not. That’s their choice.
6. Stop it. Some are saying that if Franken doesn’t resign, Roy Moore will win in Alabama. Such incoherent logic makes my head hurt. Moore would be a disgrace to the Senate if he had the sexual history and morals of Increase Mather. Remember my metaphor about his creepy teen stalking while an assistant DA being the equivalent of “poison frosting on a crap cake?” It is apt. Do not let Moore use this issue to brush his other problems under the rug: the fact that he’s an idiot, for example. He thinks the Bible trumps the Constitution. He supports religious discrimination. He defied laws he disagrees with. He was a lawless, fanatic judge. He is not merely a homophobe, but a proud and vocal homophobe.
It is an open question whether the Republican Party will be wounded more seriously if Moore loses or wins. In either event, nobody should feel any sympathy for this ship of fools. The Republican Party had inflicted on Alabama a corrupt, incompetent and horny governor who lied about an affair, then made a deal to make the Attorney General supposedly investigating him a U.S. Senator to get the law off his back, and that irredeemable hack, Luther Strange, betrayed the public by taking the bribe, which is what it was. The Senate seat was open only because our newly elected Republican President, whom an honorable and non-stupid party would not have allowed to be nominated, appointed the incumbent Alabama Senator, Jeff Sessions, a suspected racist, U.S. Attorney General in a terrible decision that led directly to the appointment of a Special Counsel pledge to hound the new administration, as if it wouldn’t have enough problems. Sessions had been a member of Trump’s campaign team, thus infecting him with a conflict of interest in any Justice Department investigation of “Russiagate.”
This brilliant move created an opportunity for Moore, who, having been twice kicked out of office as a judge, would be shucking oysters on Perdido Beach for a living if Alabama had a sufficient proportion of voters who could count to six. One of the problems with being an ostentatiously unethical and idiotic party, however, is that such a party risks attracting unethical idiots as members. Thus, faced with a primary between Strange and Moore, Alabama Republicans apparently got confused and thought they were supposed to vote for the worst of two embarrassingly unfit candidates, rather than the better of the two.
The entire Republican Party membership should be walking around with paper bags over their heads after this sequence.
7. Oh, great: the President called Franken “Frankenstein” in a tweet yesterday.
Given the level of sophistication and wit in the party I just described, I bet lots of Republicans are chortling over this. “Duh, Frankenstein! Uh-huck! Boy, Trump really nailed it!” When do you suppose little Al Franken had heard that infantile jibe for the thousandth time? By the time he was 10? 8?
If any other President had tweeted this, I would have assumed that he had suffered a stroke.
8. Be kind. We are now up to 8 women who have accused Bush 41, now in his nineties, diminished, wheelchair bound and not long for this world, of groping them. Is anything served by embarrassing the old man at this point? Other than giving satisfaction to hateful hyper-partisans, that is? Can’t we wait until, say, six months after he’s been buried and eulogized and then have a mass “In addition to being a weak and feckless President, George H.W. Bush was a privileged sexist pig” press conference, hosted by Gloria Allred?