It just feels like a gliddy glup gloopy nibby nabby noopy kind of day…
1. Musings on the illness of George H.W. Bush. Perhaps I am over-sensitive, but I found the long segments and speculation on cable news this morning about George H.W. Bush suffering from “broken heart syndrome” sensational, intrusive, and wrong. The man is 93, and he’s suffering from a blood infection. As my Dad said often after his 80th birthday, and eventually proved, when one is 80 or more. you can drop dead at any moment, for any reason. Yes, we all know of long-time married couples of advanced years who perish in close proximity. However, the “broken heart syndrome” is anecdotal, without clinical proof, and, essentially, fake news with a romantic tinge.
If vile people like Professor Jarrar will attack Barbara Bush when she dies, imagine what George H.W. Bush has in store. The elder Bush is near the bottom of my Presidential ranking, in the general vicinity of his son, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama but The Ethics Alarms position is that every single President of the United States is owed respect and a debt of gratitude for accepting the overwhelming challenges of the job, and doing, in every case, what he felt was in the best interests of the nation. Before Harry Truman, even taking away the assassinations from the mix, the Presidency was regarded, accurately, as a killing job, with more Presidents than not dying soon after leaving office. That’s not true any more, but the job is still a terrible physical, emotional and mental burden. The first words out of any American’s mouth when a former President is ailing should be “You have the best wishes of the nation,” and the first words when any former President dies should be “Thank you.”
2. And this has to do with “collusion” how? The raid on President Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen revealed that Fox News host Sean Hannity owns millions of dollars worth of real estate across several states, with links to several shell companies that bought $90 million on 877 residential properties. This is all confidential information, and should never have been jeopardized by the Special Counsel’s effort, coordinated with New York State prosecutors, to gather as much dirt on President Trump as possible—all the better to impeach him with. That this information was leaked to the press indicts the investigation, the process, the judge who allowed the fruits of the raid unrelated to Trump to be obtained, and the lawyers involved. Of course, the fact that Cohen had these records also rebuts Hannity’s claim, obviously disingenuous from the start, that he wasn’t Cohen’s client, but never mind: Hannity should not have been placed in the position where there was anything to deny.
3. More stupid judge tricks. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals FINALLY ruled this week in the ridiculous case of a crested macaque named Naruto, who snapped her own picture that photographer David Slater subsequently published in a wildlife photography book. This dispute has been going on since the money took the selfies in 2011, after Slater left the camera unattended on a game reserve in Indonesia. The culprit in all of this was PETA, the unethical organization for the ethical treatment of animals.
After seven years and needless expense to Slater, the Court ruled that monkeys couldn’t own copyrights. Duh. As I wrote about this beyond stupid case when it was argued in July,
“These judges are amusing themselves with legal theory masturbation. PETA is grandstanding as usual and trying to grab some revenue it does not deserve. The combined effect of this unholy alliance has meant that Slater, who should have been able to profit from his good fortune, is being ruined by a random conspiracy of too technical bureaucrats, bored judges and unscrupulous animal rights fanatics. The photographer is, he says, now broke from all the legal fighting. He couldn’t afford to attend the hearing, can’t pay his lawyer or even afford his photography equipment. He says that he may have to walk dogs to feed himself.”
In case I haven’t made it sufficiently clear in the past, let me do so now: PETA is a bad organization, possessing an important mission that they habitually undermine and abuse as a result of their leadership’s fanaticism, arrogance, and lack of proportion. Anyone who contributes to this group is funding a lot of unethical conduct in flawed pursuit of important ideals, and, increasingly publicity at all costs. Like so many organizations, it is the embodiment of Rationalization #14…
A corollary of the Saint’s Excuse is “Self-validating Virtue,” in which the act is judged by the perceived goodness the person doing it, rather than the other way around. This is applied by the doer, who reasons, “I am a good and ethical person. I have decided to do this; therefore this must be an ethical thing to do, since I would never do anything unethical.” Effective, seductive, and dangerous, this rationalization short-circuits ethical decision-making, and is among the reasons good people do bad things, and keep doing them, even when the critics point out their obvious unethical nature. Good people sometimes do bad things because they are good people, and because of complacency and self-esteem they begin with a conviction, often well supported by their experience, that they are incapable of doing something terribly wrong. But all of us are capable of that, if our ethics alarms freeze due to our environment, emotions, peer pressure, and corrupting leadership, among many possible causes. At the end of the movie “Falling Down,” the rampaging vigilante played by Michael Douglas, once a submissive, law-abiding citizen, suddenly realizes what he has done. “I’m the bad guy?” he asks incredulously. Indeed he is. Any of us, no matter how virtuous, are capable of becoming “the bad guy”…especially when we are convinced that we are not.
…as well as the popular paraphrasing of Eric Hoffer’s famous observation that “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
4. If a college demonstrates that it is managed stupidly, why should anyone want to be educated there? From CBS:
“Penn State University says it has banned its near-century-old outdoor recreation club from going outside because it is too dangerous out in the wilderness. The 98-year-old Penn State Outing Club announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management made the determination that the hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky.”
Meanwhile, the most heavily supported and promoted student activity on campus is…football.
5. From the “Fallen Hero” and “Yecchh!” Files: Peter John Dalglish was decorated in 2016 as a member of the Order of Canada, for “his efforts to alleviate child poverty worldwide, notably by establishing and leading Street Kids International.” Dalglish and two others launched Street Kids International in 1988. The charity focuses on helping street youth to lead better lives, and in 1994, it received the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation. In 2008, Dalglish received an honorary degree from Dalhousie University in recognition for “his visionary work helping children around the world.”
Now 60-years-old, Dalgish was arrested in Nepal this week for suspicion of child sex crimes. Police arrested Dalglish at a domicile in a district north of Kathmandu. Two girls, 12 and 14 years old, were also removed from the home. Police allege that the children were lured with promises of education and foreign travel before they were sexually abused.
What’s that? Why yes, now that you mention it, Dalgesh had been a U.N worker!