Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/7/19: Fleeing The US, Exploiting The Golden Globes, Spinning The Shutdown, And More

Best wishes for an ethical week ahead!

1. They just can’t help themselves. Golden Globe hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh went out of their way before the show to sell the idea that last night’s Golden Globes Awards would avoid political grandstanding, but sure enough, there was Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical winner Christian Bale, who plays Dick Cheney in “Vice,” accepting his honor by saying that he was “cornering the market on charisma-free a—holes … What do we think, Mitch McConnell next?” [Pointer: Zoltar Speaks!]

If I were the producer or on the Golden Globes board, I’d ban him from future ceremonies. Bale, who is probably the best actor still acting now that Daniel Day-Lewis has retired, was just virtue-signaling to the left-biased Hollywood crowd, and willing to annoy a lot of his audience to do it. There’s nothing productive or profound about calling two public servants, one of them retired, “a-holes” on national television; it’s just uncivil and rude. Not only that, but Bale is a genuine hypocrite: Less than a month ago, the actor spoke glowingly about Cheney, telling Fox News, “He was a wonderful family man — he’s a great dad, he’s an avid reader, he has a brain like a vice and he constantly reads history.” It sounds to me like Bale cuts his opinions and words to fit the audience he’s addressing.

2.  From the Ethics Alarms “How Dare You Make Me Act Like A Jackass?” Files: The mainstream media has been using a Gallup poll showing that 16% of Americans polled say they want to leave the country as an indictment of President Trump. The spin is based on the narrative that anything negative is Trump’s fault, and anything positive that occurs is dumb luck, a late result of Barack Obama’s brilliance, or because Trump’s real objectives were foiled. In truth, the uptick in citizens saying they want to leave is a direct result of non-stop anti-American propaganda, in the schools, the colleges, in the news media, and from activists who pretend that the nation is an oppressive, autocratic, Fascist Hell where every woman is at risk of being raped, white supremacy is rampant, and African Americans are hunted down and shot on the streets for “living while black.” This state of mind has been seeded and cultivated entirely by “the resistance” and the ideologues who created it.

As several others have pointed out, Gallup’s summary that “a record number of Americans want to leave the U.S.” is fake news, and in multiple ways. There is no “number,” just a percentage of the group Gallup polled. That percentage, moreover, represents the alleged pollees who say they want to leave the U.S., not the ones who really want to, which would be demonstrated by some proactive steps to accomplish that objective. Women, under-30s and the poorest Americans make up the bulk of the 6% jump from the 10% of Americans who said they wanted to flee while Obama was President. I  attribute the result to 1) the despicable, constant fear-mongering by Democrats, as in the ridiculous claims that Brett Kavanaugh would send the nation’s women into “A Handmaiden’s Tale”-style sexual slavery; 2) the general civic ignorance of millennials, too many of whom who get their knowledge of national affairs from Stephen Colbert and social media, and who have been conditioned to think that trading liberty for nanny state socialism would be a rational trade;  3) the false narrative, pushed by the news media,  that President Trump is a racist; and 4) the fact that it is traditionally the progressives who threaten to leave the country whenever the Democrats aren’t in power, not conservatives when their star is waning. (Why is that?)

Ethical and civically literate Americans recognize that they are responsible for changing their nation for the better, whatever “better” is. Leaving is a cowardly and unpatriotic act, and my position is that if someone thinks losing an election is justification to leave for foreign shores, the U.S., its society and its politics are better off without them.


3. Re: The Shutdown. How many news sources have reminded their readers of this? Old friend and EA commenter Michael pointed out on Facebook:

There have been shutdowns in the Reagan Administration, the Clinton Administration, the George HW Bush Administration, the Obama Administration, and now the Trump Administration. The longest were under Clinton (21 days) and Obama (17 days). The shortest was George HW Bush, a weekend. For those on the left and right who are sharing misinformation, here’s a summary from Wikipedia: “During the Ronald Reagan administration, there were a total of eight shutdowns lasting four days or less. Reasons were arguments over the fairness doctrine, welfare package, water/crime fighting packages, foreign aid cuts, MX missile funding, needed spending bills and cuts in defense. A funding gap in 1990 during the George H. W. Bush administration caused a weekend shutdown. During the Bill Clinton administration, there were two full government shutdowns during 1995 and 1996 lasting five and 21 days respectively, based on disagreement on whether to cut government services. During the Barack Obama administration, a 17-day government shutdown occurred during October 2013 over Democrats and Republicans not coming to an agreement for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare.[1] Three shutdowns have occurred during the Donald Trump administration: a three-day shutdown during January 2018; a funding gap that occurred overnight on February 9, 2018, which did not result in workers being furloughed;[2][3] and an ongoing shutdown that began during December 2018, over proposed funding for a US–Mexico border wall.[4][5]”

In almost every case, it was the President who “won” these stand-offs, and Congress that received the bulk of public criticism. Most involved Presidents wanting to fulfill campaign pledges. President Trump announced that he would accept responsibility for this impasse, but inevitably local voters start to see no benefit to them as they miss government services, and then hold their representatives responsible for sacrificing their constituency’s welfare to abstract principles and political warfare. Border control and national security are macro-issues that affect the President’s nationwide constituency, and this President isn’t swayed by polls or media hostility.

Already news notes are surfacing that point out that the government shutdown will soon cost more than the price tag on the “wall.” Internet memes are surfacing saying that Democrats care more about the non-Americans who want to enter the country illegally than about the law-abiding citizens who are already here. Each new episode in which an illegal immigrant kills an American, or worse still for the Democrats, a legal immigrant, makes the Pelosi position less tenable. As the shutdown is increasingly seen as a personal vendetta against the President, public support from all but the open borders crowd will collapse. Eventually the only thing keeping Democrats from capitulating will be the realization that letting Trump prevail will spark a civil war in their party.

This episode is mass incompetence by Democrats. Well done! Imagine the fix they would be in if Trump wasn’t a lunatic idiot….

4. The bell begins tolling for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Good. Ethics Alarms has previously noted that the once honorable SPLC now functions as an anti-conservative speech and policy hit group, labeling as “hate groups” organizations that differ with it philosophically,thus allowing the mainstream media to slime such organizations with the damning clause, “which has been categorized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Last month, a  lawsuit was filed against the SPLC arguing that it should have its 501c3 tax-exempt status revoked, that it owes the plaintiff restitution for racketeering, and that it should pay $6.5 million in damages to an individual whom the group falsely labelled a racist. The suit also accuses the  group of undermining free expression, which, in fact, seems to be ist objective. In an August 2016 interview with The Washington Post cited in the lawsuit, SPLC Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich spoke of watching the plaintiff “like a hawk” because he had “the worst ideas ever created.”

It is not the business of the SPLC, or any organization, to suppress “ideas.”

(Remind me to point this out to Facebook as it censors Ethics Alarms..)

“This East Europe Communist thought-crime surveillance mentality is antithetical to fundamental American cultural and Constitutional principles protecting freedom of expression and association,” the suit says, in the process of exposing the SPLC’s strategy of branding its ideological opponents “hate groups” and orchestrating campaigns against them. Earlier this year, the SPLC was forced to apologize to one of its targets and retract its characterization. As I wrote in 2017,

“Hate group” has no accepted definition, but SPLC defines a ‘general hate group” thusly: “These groups espouse a variety of rather unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that are not easily categorized.” Got it. The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group by its own definition. To be a reliable arbiter of whether a group is promoting hate rather than a just a controversial policy position, a group would have to be non-partisan, objective and politically neutral. all things that the SPLC is not. This is an organization that designates groups that espouse views that it hates as hate groups.

I hate that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the SPLC epitomizes Eric Hoffer’s observation that every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. Other examples: The Republican Party, the NAACP, the ACLU, and the Roman Catholic Church.

24 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/7/19: Fleeing The US, Exploiting The Golden Globes, Spinning The Shutdown, And More

  1. #1 How did you like this other statement from Bale, “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration to play this role.”

    Was Bale calling Cheney Satan, as I read somewhere, or was he pandering to the left telling them not to blame him because “the Devil made me do it”?

      • That’s okay. I understand Bale is going to call Jeremy Corbyn and Prince Charles assholes at the BAFTAs. Given his dual British and American citizenship, he can play the ugly American as well as the snotty Brit. And hey, he’s a method actor! Easy peasy.

  2. 4) the fact that it is traditionally the progressives who threaten to leave the country whenever the Democrats aren’t in power, not conservatives when their star is waning. (Why is that?)

    The why is because the United States is unique in the world. We have a fundamental distrust of government in the United States; in the rest of the world, they view government as a solution to all problems.

    The 1st amendment is unique in the world. Everywhere else in the world has succumbed to political correctness enforced by government. You can be prosecuted for “promoting hate” and they’re OK with it because they trust the government to be an benevolent power protecting people. You can be prosecuted for what you say or write about politicians or other public figures. In a place where tyranny has reigned, they still trust government with the power to police thought.

    The 2nd amendment is unique in the world. Self reliance and self defence are deeply rooted in American lore and psyche. Self defence isn’t considered a right in European common law. England prosecutes women who beat or stab their rapists! Liberals will argue that private citizens have no power against a government with F15 fighter jets and tanks while ignoring Vietnam, Afghanistan (who’s uniquely defeated TWO world superpowers as we leave without winning after 17 years), and Iraq. Just ask any rural sheriff in the United States if they’d be willing to participate in disarming the American populace. Universally, they’ll tell you that they’ll turn in their badge and take their family into hiding rather than try.

    Conservatives have nowhere to go that offers either of those unique rights granted to citizens here.

    Liberals want to turn the United States into a Canada / European nation. What they want already exists in many places. I so wish they’d leave.

  3. As the shutdown is increasingly seen as a personal vendetta against the President, public support from all but the open borders crowd will collapse. Eventually the only thing keeping Democrats from capitulating will be the realization that letting Trump prevail will spark a civil war in their party.

    Trump is going to ‘win bigly’ as he likes to say. Neither side is going to back down, because who loses is going to be hurt badly.

    People can’t get tax returns during the shutdown. The bulk of the constituency of the democrat party is the poor and the upper middle class through the obscenely wealthy. The republicans have the in-between. Among the poor, many of them have no withholding during the year but get a refund from their earned income tax credit. This is a big freaking deal to them. They have no alternative other than to wait for the shutdown. Among those a bit better off, they have the ability to check the box “Apply to my 2019 taxes” and adjust withholding (for employees) or reduce the 1st quarter payment (for small business owners – the most reliable republican constituency). The goal among most better off folks is to always have +/- $500 at tax time and when that’s less than 1% it’s not a big deal.

    Medicare is direct aid and is funded already. If that lapsed, it would be death to any incumbent as the elderly are a key voter to both parties through high voter participation.

    Medicaid is state administered but also already funded. It’s the SNAP, WIC and other programs that are also going to have a disparate impact on the poor and it’s going to be democrat representatives and senators that are going to get the most pressure. Many of those are state administered, and the states are likely to keep the benefits rolling rather than cut off people. New York and California aren’t going to be doing too well when paying out but not getting reimbursed. In the middle run, those states are going to make a lot of noise, and then in the long run their going to cut benefits.

    Put those together, and I don’t see how Pelosi can keep going.

    • Just to clarify, to a certain extent people will be able to get at least some of their tax return. The big tax firms will advance people up to around $3K of their refunds, getting paid back when the IRS processes the returns. This is something they’ve done for at least a couple years now.

      For people who get Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credits, by law the IRS cannot start issuing refunds until February 15th. This was enacted at the end of 2015 with the PATH act.

        • Yes slick, I heard the reports after posting this. Now the democrats are trying to block Trump from doing that.
          Total tone deafness there. Do you really want to be on the record as objecting to sending out refunds.

          • Yeah I splurged tonight and bought the WSJ so I could read that story. The last paragraph of it is very interesting, too:

            “In a statement late Monday, the IRS said it had consistently thought it could issue refunds but had been directed not to by OMB in the past.”

            So interesting the difference between an administration that is trying to maximize the pain of a shutdown and one that is trying to minimize said pain.

  4. “He was a wonderful family man — he’s a great dad, he’s an avid reader, he has a brain like a vice and he constantly reads history.” This quote describes my late father. Also, my father objectively was an asshole. Cheney was devoid of charisma. Everything Bale said is dead-on accurate and his statements do not contradict each other.

    Before this can be taken as a defense of Bale, let me add that Bale objectively also is an asshole and also appears to be devoid of charisma unless he is acting.

    I think Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston can give Bale a run for his money in the best actor category — off the top of my head. I’m also a huge fan of Bradley Cooper. And if you haven’t checked out Richard Madden in The Bodyguard, you are really missing out on what I think was some of the best acting of 2018.

    • Seems that I remember in early 2017 that Canada was complaining about American immigrants taking advantage of their system. They also did not like the fact that many of the new arrivals had no positive contributions to society.

      Be funny if AMERICANS caused their system to break down.

      • I hear coon too. I am not sure I hear proof that this was what he intended to say or that he didn’t just utter a nonsense syllable while mixing up “King” and the “ooo” sound in Luther.

        Good issue.

        • To my ear, he tangled up “King” and “Junior”, and unfortunately, stopped himself at the worst possible time before finishing what would have been “kunior”. There have been other examples of newscasters doing this in the past, but the 2019 twist on it is now you get fired.

  5. When it comes to organizations like the SPLC, I wonder if they were ever ‘honorable’. As I grew older, I realized how many lies I was told about Democrats and left-leaning organizations. The SPLC has been like this for at least 25 years. I wasn’t old enough to really see through the veil of lies much before that, so it is entirely likely that they have always been like this. Trump has just made all the pretenses fall away from many leftist organizations and more people can see them for who they truly have been.

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