Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/4/18: The Good And The Bad, And If Janus Had A Third Face, It Would be Ugly

Good morning!

1. Looking for biased but reliable progressive news aggregators! I have a long secret list of story sources, but my online leftist news aggregator supply is drying up. That’s where I can find the stories that reflect badly on the Right but that the conservative news sources choose to ignore. The key problem is “reliable.” Sites like Raw Story, ThinkProgress, the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos have all violated Ethics Alarms standards of basic honesty, fairness and trustworthiness—much like Breitbart, Red State and the Gateway Pundit, none of which I will  read or cite unless directed to a particular post, from the other side of the spectrum. The Daily Beast was long my favorite online leftist source, but now it requires a subscription, and I’m certainly not going to pay for biased analysis—beyond what I already get from the Washington Post and New York Times.

Memeorandum remains the most balanced and non-partisan online news aggregator, by far.

2. Retire, Pat. It isn’t just Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein who try to hold on to power long after their advancing age makes it unethical to do so. The GOP has its irresponsible geezers too. Today Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks) will announce whether he plans to end his political career or run for another term in 2020, which would take him to his 90th year if he survived it. The man is 82: he should not have run for his current term.

Of course, it doesn’t help that 85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is providing an unethical role model for all elected officials and judges by ostentatiously refusing to retire and obviously resolving to leave the Supreme Court feet first.

3. Slapping down Big Brother in Oregon.U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman issued a permanent injunction against the Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying that tried to fine Mats Järlström, who has a degree in engineering and years of experience in the field, $500 for describing himself as “an engineer.”

The judge ruled that this was a violation of the First Amendment, which it clearly was. This wasn’t a case where the First Amendment right to lie came into play, because Järlström wasn’t lying. He was fined for going on television to talk about public policy issues while describing himself as an “electronics engineer” and writing the phrase “I am an engineer” in a letter. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying claimed he was practicing engineering without a license.

As government regulations proliferate without end,  they inevitably strangle individual liberty, expression and enterprise.

4. Speaking of which...Perhaps this is a propitious time to note that the Trump Administration has issued the fewest new regulations in a comparable period of any Executive Branch in decades, autocratic monster that President Trump is. This is still not enough for the libertarians, and is affirmatively bad in the eyes of the Left. Here is an amusing New York Times article from last year, in which the paper focuses on Trump’s “lie” that “No President has ever cut so many regulations in their entire term, O.K., as we have cut in less than a year,” a fairly typical example of the President’s addiction to puffery. The article goes to great lengths to minimize and spin the undeniable fact that Trump’s Administration has reduced the amount of regulation, reversing a long-standing trend. But that doesn’t matter—what matters is that he isn’t accurate when he describes the achievement.

5. Gotta finish that article on life competence before someone dies…In St. Paul, Minnesota, a 34-year-old man sank to the bottom of an indoor pool at an apartment complex. He was about eight feet under water, “floating with his hands stretched out and his mouth and eyes wide open.” Lalitha Mareddy saw the developing tragedy and called for help, but none of the nine men standing around the pool could swim. So she told her son, Advaik Nandikotkur, who can swim thanks to having taken swimming lessons, to rescue the man.

Advaik is 11 years old and weighs 80 pounds.

Nonetheless, the fifth-grader jumped into the pool, swam down, grabbed the man’s wrist and pulled him to the surface.  Advaik’s father and others on the scene helped pull him from the pool, where Advaik’s uncle, Suseel Kumar Nandikotkur, pushed down on the unconscious man’s chest and breathed  into his mouth. After about three minutes, the man showed signs of regaining consciousness. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital, and he made a full recovery.

For heaven’s sake, everybody: learn to swim, and teach your kids to swim too! It is a basic life competence skill.

The next day, the drowning man visited the Nandikotkur family to thank them, and gave Advaik a $50 Macy’s gift card.

No comment.

6. Fake news, and signs of the unethical madness to come: As the Democrats took over the House majority yesterday, they grandstanded a bill described by ABC News and others as “House votes to end shutdown despite White House veto threat.” The House can’t end the shutdown by any means other than passing a spending bill that funds a border wall. The House unilaterally voting to “end the shutdown” is like the House voting to change the name of the United States to “Mike.” It’s meaningless. Those headlines like ABC’s just make the public stupid.

Naturally, the new majority also had an impeachment bill introduced.

More grandstanding on the first day: Representative. Steve Cohen (D-Tn.) a bill to eliminate the electoral college—if you lose, change the rules–and another to prevent Presidents from pardoning themselves or their family members. Both bills are unconstitutional without Constitutional amendments that are as likely as the odds that the new “woke” House won’t embarrass itself and all of us before it’s through. Cohen, not for the first time, is just virtue-signaling his Trump-hate as the “resistance” slobbers with joy. Then there was Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D, Mich.), who told supporters last night that Democrats would “impeach the motherfucker,” meaning, of course, the President.

You may recall that Democrats demanded that a GOP Congressman be censured for calling Barack Obama a liar during a State of the Union address. Trump, of course, has weakened our institutions by violating “norms.”

Meanwhile, the old hands in the House appear to be emboldened by the new blood. Rep. Hank Johnson, the sage veteran Democratic Congressman who once asked a general whether Guam might “tip over” because so many troops were there, began the year by telling a church group,

“Americans elected an authoritarian, anti-immigrant, racist strongman to the nation’s highest office…Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again followers…want to return America back to a time when white men and white privilege were unchallenged and where minorities and women were in their place … [they]are older, less educated, less prosperous, and they are dying early. Their lifespans are decreasing, and many are dying from alcoholism, drug overdoses, liver disease, or simply a broken heart caused by economic despair…right-wing ideologues gain power by playing on people’s economic despair, pitting working people against each other, inflaming racial tensions by blaming economic hardship on people of color…The Jewish people understand tyranny. Charismatic and a good public speaker, deceptive and cunning, Adolf Hitler rose to power to lead Germany in 1932 after democratic elections. He rode a wave of nationalism and antisemitism to power. Replace antisemitism with all the Latinos crossing our borders are rapists, drug dealers and murderers.  Does that sound familiar?”

It’s good to see, though, that Democrats aren’t inflaming racial tensions.


Filed under U.S. Society

40 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/4/18: The Good And The Bad, And If Janus Had A Third Face, It Would be Ugly

  1. 6) It would seem less apt to describe the incoming Senators and Representatives as the “Freshman class” and more appropriate to describe them as the “Kindergarten class”. Holy cow I haven’t seen this much juvenile behavior by adults in a long time.

    As for the House vote to “end the shut down”, this is all gearing up for the Media to run interference like they did on behalf of Obama and the Democrat Senate during THOSE shutdowns (shuts-down?), when the Republican house was obstructionist in face of the progressive and dignified Houses of the Senate and magisterial excellence of the Presidency.

    Now the narrative will be how the Republicans in the non-representative Senate and the dictatorial Presidency are grossly obstructionist in face of the “People’s” House.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Of course, under a decade ago, when the people of 31 states had voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the refrain on the left was that the people couldn’t be trusted. When Senator Lautenberg died suddenly and NJ governor Chris Christie appeared poised to appoint a GOP senator to fill out the rest of that term, the Democrats said “have a special election as soon as possible, or we’ll sue.” But when James McGreevey was outed in 2004, but chose to stay in office just long enough to avoid a special election, well, there was a lot of chatter, but no decisive action, since keeping the seat was all-important – although Jon Corzine wound up the third one-term wonder from that party here since Brendan Byrne. Not to mention when Bob Torricelli had to drop out of the Senate election before that with all deadlines past, the Democrats fought tooth and nail to get Lautenberg in position to run, and the judges, dependent on McGreevey’s good graces when looking for reappointment, went along with it. The partisanship is so transparent you could wrap hard candy in it.

  2. I would love to have in place some penalty for lawmakers introducing a bill just on symbolic measures, knowing it has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing both Houses and eluding a Presidential veto. However, I know that introducing a bill to make those penalties would incur those penalties, were they already in place…

  3. Other Bill

    Growing up in Miami, Florida, the land of ubiquitous sheer-sided canals and rock pits, our parents made sure we learned to swim at public swimming pools or in private lessons. The kids who didn’t tended to drown.

  4. I wonder why so many Democrats in the House want to follow in the footsteps of Steve King.

  5. The Wednesday Woman

    4. What the heck is an 11-year-old boy going to do with $50 Macy’s card, buy socks? This smacks of regifting. How spectacularly tacky.

    Thinking of changing my handle to “The Small Stuff”, btw.

    • I said “no comment,” but if I made a comment, it would have been pretty much like yours. The guy thinks his life is worth 50 bucks, apparently.

    • James M.

      We have no idea how much, or little, money the rescued man possesses. I’ve had plenty of years when I’d have been hard pressed to buy a suitable reward for anything the week after Christmas, much less a suitable reward for someone who saved my life.

      Hopefully, the kid will receive other rewards for his heroism.

      • Other Bill

        Who knows, maybe the kids has parents the equal of Kamala Harris, Ph.Ds all around and a diplomat grandfather. Maybe his parents are ER doctors? Maybe they own motels or convenience stores. Indians aren’t helpless idiots and they know their way around higher education and its monetary benefits.

      • ”Hopefully, the kid will receive other rewards for his heroism.”

        The inestimable acclaim of a positive EA recognition is worthy of mention, no?

  6. Arthur in Maine

    You may recall that Democrats demanded that a GOP Congressman be censored for calling Barack Obama a liar during a State of the Union address. Trump, of course, has weakened our institutions by violating “norms.”

    I presume you mean CENSURED?

  7. adimagejim

    6. The corner of ignorance and arrogance is a terrible corner to stand on, yet one party in particular plays there with astounding frequency. It is where many bad things begin with condescension and end in ruins. As for newly elected US Representative Tlaib, I wish her failure in her newly chosen vocation.

  8. Rip

    Sent you an email if you have an apple product you can get daily beats though thier news app

  9. Rip

    Both my Granfather died shortly after retiring. My dad was still working, he was planning on retiring later that year, my mother was forced into retirement, by stroke, my greatgrandfather went up stairs to die the day of his force retirement. Some of us define ourselves by our work. I agree it is not the best idea, but it is ingrained.

    • PennAgain

      Rip, I think you’ve proven you have something other than work to keep you involved … or else you wouldn’t be posting here.

      I know what you’re talking about. One grandfather was an exception to the rule of his immigrant generation in the 1890s. He was a hard worker but only when he was the boss. He was an early widower, sold his business in Brooklyn after his three daughters were off and married, bought a dairy farm “upstate New York,” named his cows by the girls who’d ignored him as a boy, enjoyed the hard work until the developers bought up the rights to a through-road on his property, so he said “It was the same on the Other Side: the East is always too serious. I will go again West” and packed one suitcase and took his first and only flight to Venice, CA, where he bought bought a small house and rented all but his bedroom to hippies, who, he reported on postcards, paid the rent by painting very colorful pictures on “the top of the wall,” on the floors and ceilings, and the garbage cans, too. He died a month short of his 100th birthday, out at the local airport, watching the planes come and go. The airport authorities reported that he asked every pilot he saw if the man would give him flying lessons.

      On the other side was the grandfather who went to a chair in his living room the day he retired (or had been forcibly retired by his youngest sons) and sat there and ate there and looked angry and defeated (a sad combination) every day until he died in that chair a few months later. (Gran got in trouble with the police when she (somehow) picked up that chair and heaved it out the third story window, spraying the areaway with glass and nearly crushing a neighbor taking out his trash.) My dad died in harness, after three heart attacks and probably 300 scoldings from his best friend, a cardiologist. I hope, had he lived into his 80s, he wouldn’t have been a Ginsberg-er, but I’m afraid he would have tried to keep a hand in anyway, even though he had plenty of hobbies.

      I think the men in your family and my granddad in his chair and a father who literally worked himself to death at 57 were a different breed of another generation. They grew up into steady jobs by choice or by need or both, and they stayed in the same jobs until they retired or the jobs disappeared. They bought houses if they could, and they stayed in them. Often, they didn’t make time for anything frivolous, like a passion for gardening or photography or skee-ball. Work, family, religious observance. That doesn’t happen now. It’s even hard to find a job that you can hold on to for ten years, much less 20, 30 or even 40 years as most employers don’t want you to stay long enough to acquire higher salaries and benefits, much less full pensions. And a lot of job-seekers don’t care: they move laterally with the same skill levels from company to company, and from city to city, renting, taking full advantage of sick leave, easily distracted, easily bored. For those who would choose the more physical trades there is almost nothing left: farming, steelworking, automaking, and the like are almost gone or fully automated. There is little reward in terms of respect or admiration and much frustration for those who take jobs with today’s hypercritical public: teachers, police, bus drivers, firemen (well, they come off pretty well ever since 9/11 but the public’s memory scarcely lasts a generation): no one is permitted to be above reproach and everyone is a reproacher. Even the arts are not immune to nitpicking and constant correction from the fickle and bullying audiences demanding more or more likely “something different” every day. It’s a strange world we live in and it’s getting stranger.

      I hope everyone here is holding on tight. It’s gonna be another bumpy year; maybe a whole bumpy generation. I would say we can count on the sun coming up tomorrow but that would just remind me of that awful song from Annie.

      • For those who would choose the more physical trades there is almost nothing left: farming, steelworking, automaking, and the like are almost gone or fully automated.

        Plumbers make $50 to $75 thousand a year in Texas, and the average age is 58.

        Electricians make a bit more, and the average age is 55.

        [Note that the cost of living index places Texas (including the expensive cities) at 91% where most coastal and New England states are well over 100%. This means the money goes farther in Texas]

        There are fields in the physical trades that are wide open, and where the knowledge base is dwindling. It is a good time to be a welder!

  10. Phlinn

    1. I get nagged to subscribe to the Daily beast, but they aren’t forcing it so far. I can close the nag window and move on, so you might be able to continue using them.

    I’ve seen multiple websites with an option to keep perusing without support if you really want to. Daily Caller has presented something similar when i follow links to it, and I seem to recall you complaining about their site as well.

  11. JimHodgson

    #6.: Long an embarrassment to most Tennesseans since his days in the state legislature, Rep. Steve Cohen isn’t from the “real” state of Tennessee; he represents Memphis (Shelby County), which is about as much like the rest of the state -politically speaking- as the night is from the day. Shelby County and Davidson County (Nashville) are the last two Democrat strongholds in the state, and were the only two of Tennessee’s ninety-five counties who voted for Hillary in 2016. Rep. Cohen was also the guy who wanted to give FBI agent Peter Strzok a purple heart for his “wounds” sustained during Congressional questioning. Just about everything Cohen does is pandering and/or virtue-signaling. He has already announced plans to run for reelection in 2020 and 2022, just to scare off potential opponents.

    • Other Bill

      He strikes me as the Adam Schiff or Jerry Nadler of Tennessee, Jim. Probably a Red Diaper Baby who blew into Tennessee during college? Vanderbilt? I need to revisit his wiki page.

      • Other Bill

        Ah! Jewish family. Physicians. Went to Coral Gables high same time I was in a nearby high school in Miami. Oy, what a lefty.

  12. See, this is the kind of post where I miss last year’s combatants who would comment, “But he IS a motherfucker, and I hope they DO impeach him!” I wonder what those once rational, normal, people are doing now, since hate has eaten their brains and they no longer come here for therapy? Going to Maxine Waters rallies? Streaming Colbert and Samantha Bee? Following Keith Olberman and Larry Tribe on Twitter? Running around the house on all-fours, drooling and growling? Screaming at the sky?

    I worry about them.

    • Arthur in Maine

      You’re a kind man, Jack, but you can’t help them. They will either find their own ways back, or they are lost forever. Either way, it isn’t your problem.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      To what end? Ethics is supposed to be cold-blooded, rational, and even-handed. It isn’t supposed to be about hate eating your brain and doing verbal battle with others you despise.

  13. Zoe Brain

    At age 11, it was part of my primary school curriculum to learn how to swim and also gain a Red Cross First Aid certificate in resuscitation. I still have it, framed, though have had to requalify several times since.

    At age 14 I managed to get someone swept out to sea back onto shore, although 7km away from where I’d entered the water, due to the “rip”. It was a long walk back along the coast carrying a styrofoam board. Don’t try to fight the current.

    My one attempt at CPR worked, and the patient recovered after being taken to intensive care. Just luck, it only works 25% of the time. But you have to be in it to win it as they say.

    Bottom line; learn basic first aid, learn to swim, learn how to fight fires.

    Over the course of 60 years, I’ve directly saved 5 lives. I think most people who have very basic training – and quite a few who don’t even have that – will be put in a lifesaving situation several times during their own lifetime, and save lives.. Often car accidents, stopping bleeding (something I’ve not had to do) . Sometimes just stopping well meaning helpers from making things worse.

    I repeat : learn basic first aid, learn to swim, learn how to fight fires.

    • Sometimes just stopping well meaning helpers from making things worse.

      Amen, Zoe. I was recently among the first at the scene of a bad car accident, where the driver of a little car ran a light and was T-boned by an older (and thus much heavier) SUV. She was unconscious, wrapped in metal, bleeding, and hanging by her seatbelt. Back and/or neck injury were almost a given.

      After calling 911, I had to stop well meaning passers-by from removing her from the car. I asked them if they smelled gasoline or fire (there was none) and therefore leave her in the car for those with the proper tools and training to extract her, who were less than 5 minutes away.

      Trying to pull her out of a shattered windshield by her arms would have been a bad idea.

  14. PennAgain writes: “I hope everyone here is holding on tight. It’s gonna be another bumpy year; maybe a whole bumpy generation. I would say we can count on the sun coming up tomorrow but that would just remind me of that awful song from Annie.”

    One has to define what the issue is, and what the problems are, before one can make a statement about what is going on and why.

    So far, on this Blog, there is not ONE PERSON who has offered any sort of encompassing statement about this. What there is though is a great deal of looking at symptomatic issues.

    Ethics is supposed to be cold-blooded, rational, and even-handed. It isn’t supposed to be about hate eating your brain and doing verbal battle with others you despise.

    [Except when you are fighting *Nazis* and other malefactors. Then you will use any and all means necessary as the anarchists openly say].

    …cold-blooded, rational, and even-handed.

    That sounds as if it must be right, but said that way it can’t be right. If you really wanted to get ‘cold-blooded’ it would mean to become completely unemotional and non-sentimental. But in order to have such a motive energy one would have to be entirely clear about what policy one pursued. By ‘policy’ I mean an entire framework. Political, philosophical and also religious (if taken in the widest possible sense of ‘life-praxis’). This does not exist. Therefore, ethics cannot be defined.

    Our present shows us Hyper-Liberalism and its logical outcomes. Defining that (expanding on the generic term ‘hyper-liberal’) requires a great deal of backgrounding. One has to have developed a comprehensive plan, a vision, of what Hyper-Liberalism is and what it does — what it is doing now and what it will do in the future — and counter it with a rational plan. But what plan? No one has it, no one talks of it. Just endless complaints. To be more fair one could modify that to ‘unending noticing of the symptoms of the problem’.

    Yes, it will take not one generation (25 years?) but a number of generations to reverse the destructive results of Hyper-Liberalism. That involves developing a counter-proposition to

    1) Multi-culturalism and an ethic of race-blending and a re-animation of believing in the value and the purpose of ‘whiteness’. To confront this in América now will amount to a revolution. It is developing but it has not been properly defined;

    2) Recognizing the attack on ‘whiteness’ is a genocidal ideology and to counter this means locating, attacking and defeating those of us, and those of us in government, who desire this result. That means seeing it as a real and present danger. Taking it seriously. It is not ‘them’ but us who needs to turn from this project. Once that happens, 75% of the battle will have been handled;

    3) Reversing the low birthrates in European and white cultures. That means political action to advocate for social policies that will value and encourage larger families. It will mean (it can only mean and it can only take place when) more white people opt in to reproduction and to ‘family value’. A complete restructuring of cultural life to sponsor the family. Doing so will likely decrease a great deal of mental illness which goes un-understood. That is, isolation, anxiety, loneliness and anomie. The family is and will always be the center. Not seeing that, not understanding that, is a sickness of perception all to itself.

    4) A complete remodel of education. What is taught and why it is taught. This means, more or less literally, a revolution within the schools. A recommitment to European categories. This is philosophical and also spiritual.

    5) Reconsideration of the destructiveness that has resulted from the so-called Sexual Revolution. This involves a re-imaging of sexuality and sexuality’s purpose. This involves redefining gender questions, not expanding those possible categories indefinitely. The same is so in respect to homosexuality. The conscious effort to de-glorify it. More or less to push it toward the fringes again. Not to locate it at the center. To *deplatform* it. As Paglia says such sexual confusion and disfunction has always come up when society enters decadent phases.

    6) Reconsideration of everything — everything — that has come out of the Feminist Revolution. Meaning, a deep consideration of what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a man, in the context of the family.

    7) A complete, honest and a fearless examination of all the *impositions* that function in our present. That is, of all the areas mentioned above, but more in relation to the entire established goal of globalism as designed and determined by groups within our own culture with the power to mold social ideology and the direction of civilization. This means education, of course, but opening a conversation to include many considerations and ideas that are pushed to the fringe.

    8) Some sort of program or plan to see, isolate and defeat what it is that now undermines all of the above. What is the term? I do not know. Radical Liberalism? Radical Cultural Marxism? Marxism? Simple rebellion? To *see* this, to describe it, to counter-propose to it, yes, will entail suffering a ‘bumpy ride’.

    • Michael R.

      What people don’t want to admit is that the left is not liberal in the United States. Currently, liberalism is a right-wing phenomenon. If you believe in equality, equal rights under the law, individual rights, and the Bill of Rights, you are right-wing (maybe even extreme right wing). The left wing in the US is totalitarian socialist. They are entirely collectivist.

      The left wing in the US is composed of Communists and Fascists. To seize the power they desire, they must destroy Western Civilization, because Wester Civilization is built on Western liberalism. You can’t enslave people who have rights, who don’t need the government for much. So, you must destroy everything that supports those people and make them depend on the government. You must make the single mother, supported by the government, the ideal ‘family’ unit. You must get rid of all institutions that support the people (Churches, the Boy Scouts, etc), and you must destroy education because educated people won’t fall for it and educated people can get meaningful jobs and don’t need the government for much. Western Civilization brought people out of the miserable oppressive societies and allowed them freedom like never before, freedom that resulted in incredible advances in prosperity, standard of living, knowledge, and technology. The left wants to reverse all of that and their main weapon is ‘multiculturalism’.

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