And as May sinks slowly into the west, we wave farewell…
(All in all, it’s been a discouraging month on the ethics front, and I will not be sorry to see it go.)
1. I just unfriended someone for political reasons, which I never have done before. Not because of what the guy’s stated beliefs are, because I emphatically and unalterably hold that ethical adults should be able to resist cognitive dissonance and maintain good relationships with those whom they believe are obviously, tragically, dangerous wrong about anything from baseball to abortion, but because he demands one-way dialogues.
He wrote me requesting that I not challenge his posts or the assertions of his seal-like followers, yet routinely comments on my page, and his many dubious positions pop up on my feed routinely. Essentially he wants me to be complicit in his enabling the largely Leftist bubble that Facebook has evolved into, and to allow people to cheer on illogical and biased posts without having to defend their barely-thought out screeds.
To hell with that.
2. What a surprise! From Jezebel:
“…Biden still seems unable to keep his hands to himself.Indeed, at an American Federation of Teachers town hall in Houston on Tuesday night (where he unrolled a pretty decent education plan, to be fair) Biden pulled out another Classic Biden Move, per Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez .“In a somewhat odd moment at tonight’s AFT town hall, Biden tells a 10-year-old girl, ‘I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking,’” she tweeted. “He takes her over to the assembled reporters, then stands behind her and puts his hands on her shoulders while he’s talking.”
To anyone who believed that Biden had instantly reformed from a career- and life-long addiction to touching, hugging, sniffing, and otherwise behaving disrespectfully, presumptuously and assaultively to women and, ick, young girls, a) I told you so, and b) you’re too gullible to go through life without a keeper.
Is the feminist-dominated Democratic Party really going to let this creep represent it in the 2020 elections? I find that impossible to believe, polls notwithstanding, but maybe I’m giving Democrats credit for integrity that they long ago proved the party no longer values or possesses.
3. Trump Derangement makes you stupid. I prominently featured Joe in a recent sexual harassment session, and apparently received some criticism from some of the attendees that this meant that I was signalling support for the President. (Can’t have THAT!) I wish these snipers had the guts to speak up at the session itself: that argument is insulting and idiotic, and I would have told them so, right there in front of their colleagues. (But anonymous, after the fact criticism is so, so much safer.) The point of the Biden remarks was that a Vice-President engaging in repeated acts of sexual harassment on camera undermined efforts by people like me to try to get the culture to accept that such conduct was unacceptable in the workplace and harmful to women. Naturally, I immediately got the “whatabout..?” pushback: “What about the current President?”
“Has President Trump harassed or inappropriately touched a woman on camera?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Has President Trump been accused by anyone of engaging in harassing behavior while in office?”
“I guess not, but…”
“Then your question is a deflection and irrelevant to my point, which is about high office holders and role models reinforcing and rationalizing harassing conduct. The question of whether we should prioritize this issue so highly that such conduct before seeking office is regarded as disqualifying is a completely different question, and one that I don’t have time to explore today. However, I will point out that such a standard would have disqualified most recent Presidents, and not only Donald Trump.”
This was a smart and educated group, but as we all know, bias makes you stupid.
4. I can complain, but Democrats can’t. President Trump is, of course, behaving unethically, unprofessionally, uncivilly and un-Presidentially by publicly trolling Biden with insults about “Low-IQ Joe.” Members of the “resistance” and Democrats, however, are estopped from complaining about it after almost three years of their calling the President dumb, crazy, mentally unbalanced and so cognitively disabled that the 25th Amendment should be activated. They are also foolish to dwell on such attacks. “Tit for Tat” is unethical, but the unfortunate fact is that most Americans don’t believe that, or admire and trust leaders who turn the other cheek when they are denigrated by opponents.
Americans admire strength in their leaders, and always have. Allowing themselves to be pushed around and disrespected generally signals that leaders will allow the nation to be treated similarly. This is one of the reason Trump won after eight years of Obama dithering, erased “red lines” and general fecklessness. It is interesting that Gallup’s polling shows that more Americans today (40%) than two years ago (33%) believe President Donald Trump has the personality and leadership qualities a President should have. Well, he pretty clearly does NOT have the personality and leadership qualities a President should have, but he does have some leadership qualities that the last President did not have.
5. Ethics Tip: As Bill Clinton proved, when you have to resort to technical definitions to defend unethical conduct, you’re pretty much sunk. Rep. Liz Cheney and the President, among others, have referred to the unfolding evidence that Obama’s Justice Department and intelligence agencies illicitly conspired to sabotage Trump’s campaign and later his Presidency as indicating “treason.” Rather than defending the conduct, which is indefensible, or denying it, which at this point is unwise, some Democrats are taking the Clinton route, as in, “It depends on what the meaning of treason is.” (Democrats have just gone through a round of this, indignantly arguing that secretly surveiling a citizen —or a Presidential campaign—isn’t spying. ) Ex-U.S. attorney Preet Bharara tweeted,
Elected officials keep making casual, ignorant, idiotic accusations of “treason.” Trump does it. Just saw Liz Cheney do it. Read the Constitution and knock it the hell off.
People who speak English tend to use English words, and English words have meanings. The first definition of treason in most dictionaries is “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.” That’s not a bad description of what the effort to frame President Trump as a conspirator with Putin to steal the Presidency was. The most common second definition is “betraying someone or something.” Again, that certainly fits.
What the furiously back-pedaling resistance Democrats are saying is that the architects of the anti-Trump machinations weren’t technically engaged in treason, since the Constitution’s narrow definition limits the federal crime to levying “war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere.”
This technical definition, for some reason, never seemed to stop the same sticklers from saying that Trump was guilty of treason by “colluding” with Russia, with which we are not at war.
23 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/29/2019: “It Depends On What The Meaning Of _____ Is” Edition”
I had much the same kind of issue with a few Facebook friends, I chose to disregard their request and respectfully speak my mind on their posts and all but one of those friends chose to unfriended me. The one that didn’t unfriend chooses to delete any of my comments that conflict with his ideological bubble; personally I think it’s wrong and I’ve told him so but it’s his Facebook page not mine and he can do what ever he likes with it.
Just one of (but likely the primary one of) the many reasons I avoid Facebook like the plague. Have all baby boomers been radical leftists throughout the last fifty years? Depressing.
Yes. I bet Jack was a few posts shy of getting unfriended. Has happened to me several times.
I predict it will happen again soon.
2. Is the feminist-dominated Democratic Party really going to let this creep represent it in the 2020 elections?
The party of Bill (a sexual predator) and Hill (the woman he bearded in return for being his enabler)? Heck yeah!
Accusing someone of equivocation by ignoring the obvious voice in which the term in question is spoken and can be interpreted validly isn’t only the fallacy fallacy, but, I argue, is itself an equivocation. Evil bites its own legs off in defiance yet again.
1. Speaking of Facebook…
Has anyone else recently been “chosen” for a popup survey from Facebook, regarding likes, dislikes, suggestions for improvement, etc.? Mostly “…on a scale of 1 to 10…” questions, but with a few places open for comments, explanations, and suggestions.
In the unlikely hope that they were perhaps becoming concerned with aspects of their status beyond how much personal information they can mine and sell, I included the following (along with other comments):
“Dislike Facebook policy that often suppresses links, speech, ideas, subjects, etc. that even mildly deviate from general left-of-center acceptability. …Usually with no real effective way to determine why, much less contest the actions.
Dislike processes like shadow banning and other biased content policing. Would suggest warnings rather than deletion to “protect’ users from ideas they might not want to encounter. Otherwise, would support full liability for content if Facebook cannot act as a neutral platform in the US.”
Today, my Facebook page still works….
“Today, my Facebook page still works….”
Which is a sure sign that they did not read what you put, and the ‘survey’ was a sham with ulterior motives.
2. There’s an episode of “The Office” in which Michael Scott is trying to avoid new employee, Andy, who is so intent on winning Michael’s favor that he is obliviously alienating Michael instead by constantly bugging him. Michael, who is the king of cluelessness under normal circumstances, hides in his office and tells the camera, “I don’t understand how someone could have so little self awareness.”
That line describes the Democratic Party. I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t nominate Joe Biden if they thought he had the best chance of beating Donald Trump.
I don’t usually unfriend people on Facebook, even when their political posts become annoying, but I have unfollowed several people so I’m not tempted to reply to their constant nonsense. I did unfriend one person who called me a racist and a bigot. One person unfriended me after I refuted some vegan propaganda she had shared, and another unfriended me after I refused to apologize for what he characterized as “name-calling” (I had not called anyone any names).
Ah, I found today another person unfriended me when I pointed out that AG Barr didn’t contradict himself between his congressional testimony and CBS interview, and was reminded that my uncle unfriended me some time ago after I expressed disagreement with some progressive meme or other. (Sigh)
Oh, and speaking of Russian collusion, Mueller is back in the news: In announcing his resignation, he said, “If we had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” More ammunition for the Resistance.
He also literally said that he was saying nothing not already in the report, and would say no more that had not already been said. More blanks for the resistance to fire….
You’re not wrong, but Mueller didn’t have to give them more blanks.
Can special prosecutors do frontier gibberish? So Mueller DIDN’T investigate Trump for obstruction, because he thought it pointless since he couldn’t indict a sitting president. He then finds it necessary to point out that if he had confidence in Trump’s innocence he would have said so… somehow having gained said confidence while NOT conducting any such investigation?
I’m not on Facebook, so I can’t unfriend anybody. But inspired by Jack, I finally did block a (former) friend from texting me today after the following exchange, which is in tone exactly like all of the other text conversations that I have endured with him for over three years:
Since I blocked him, I have been brooding about the countless hours I have wasted texting with him and others like him about Trump and the poisonous effect that all of this has had on our relationships. I actually sat for almost three hours today checking the text of original documents and carefully composing replies that I truly thought would persuade my former friend that, on this one minor issue, at least, he was wrong. Insanely, even though nobody has ever changed their mind about even the smallest point as a result of any thing I have said, I have kept acting as if someday they will. Instead, any attempt to persuade them just makes them angrier. This person used to be a real friend — somebody I went places with and had fun with — not just a Facebook friend. But for almost three years, he and I haven’t spent a minute in each other’s company or exchanged a word about any topic other than Trump, which is why I finally decided today that I needed to acknowledge that our friendship came to an end long ago.
Great and sad COTD.
Sad to say but it sounds to me like your former friend has got his fingers in his ears and acting like a child throwing a fit. Your former friend is intentionally being obtuse because his bias and outright hate for Trump has completely destroyed his ability to reason.
I’ve had so many similar experiences over the last 19 years that I’ve stopped counting. I’ve lost friends too. I can only attribute the changes I’ve encountered to growing fears being ingrained in the populace, fears of not being safe. It seems like everyone’s always looking over their shoulder hunting for the bogeyman since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and they’re now seeing their friends as their enemies simply because they disagree about something. When a person is actively looking for someone to blame for their paranoia and fear and someone to target their hate towards, they will certainly find it.
Those terrorists knew from past experiences that fear would start to dominate and control the populace once their feelings of national invulnerability were shattered. Paranoia and fear will destroy the stability of the USA from within just like paranoia and fear destroys a persons psychological stability from within.
Sequel to this exchange: Mueller’s office and Barr’s office issued a joint statement saying that I was right.
For a moment, I was tempted to unblock my former friend, quote the statement to him and take a victory lap. But then I saw this analysis in The Week:
There is no point in talking to these people. Nothing — not the clearest and most unequivocal statement by Mueller that could possibly be made, not the Angel Gabriel descending from heaven with a statement written by the finger of God on tablets of gold — nothing at all will ever change their minds about even the smallest detail of their convoluted fantasy.
Re: No. 2; Handling Joe Biden.
I am going to have to give Joe Biden a pass on this one. The criticism is overblo…. Oh, forget it. I can’t even type that with a straight face. Good lord, someone has got to rein him in for his own sake. I watched the video – he was here in Houston yesterday, talking up public education to public school teachers union members – I think his proposed plan will cost something in the neighborhood of $5 billions dollars (why is it that the only way to fix public education is to throw a whole lot more money at it?).
So, he works the crowd and spots a nice girl in the audience and talks to her. It is charming up to that point. She declares she wants to be a journalist, whereupon he stands up straight and declares that he will need to be on his best behavior, pointing to national journalists in the back, writing down every syllable as it each one was manna from heaven. The crowd laughs because, well he’s Joe Biden and people like him.
He then pulls the youngster out of the crowd and chats with her. Still, fairly amusing – if Biden is anything, he is charming, which is usually just one step away from his perennial shooting himself in the foot. If he had stopped there, he would have won the crowd – they liked him anyway, which is apparent from the jovial nature of their reactions.
But, no. Biden, as only he can, snatches defeat from the jaws of victory as he leads this girl around the room by the hand. At some point, they stop, he bends down to hear what she is saying, laying his Biden hands on her shoulders and puts his ear up to listen to comments. Not too awful, yet he lingers way too long listening to her with his hands on her shoulders! Then, he stands up, makes some pithy remark about something, and returns to the front of the room. But, he left the girl in the back of the room, not bothering to return her to her waiting mother! And, to top it all off, she is African American!
Cue the outrage police: “Clearly, Biden is awash in white privilege. He drags a young girl away from her mother, and as only those awash in white privilege can showing his wokeness, he leads this girl of color around the room, stopping to do his best Thomas Jefferson impersonation, and leaves her to crowd when he no longer had any need for his prop.”
My, oh my!
PS: Do the Ethics Alarmists remember the story I posted in another thread last week about the poor missing 4 year old black girl in Houston? Well, I thought I would bring you up to date:
1. The girl is still missing, and EquiSearch has called off their further searches until more concrete evidence comes in. Those members of EquiSearch deserve a ton or praise. They are volunteers and mobilize quickly and efficiently to help law enforcement locate missing persons. They have a large network in the Houston area and, oddly enough, do not step of the police’s toes.
2. The story has faded to the second seven minute section of the nightly news, and is no longer the top trending story. In fact, there has not been a vigil for at least six days – which is good because all of those balloons released have been wreaking havoc with flight paths at Intercontinental Airport. But, the newscasters, standing in appropriately figure flattering attire (both male and female) and still looking somber and demure, nightly declare that they won’t give up hope until our “baby girl” is found.
3. Remember I told you about the Local Shakedown Artist Quannell X*? He has been representing the mother for over two weeks. Remember that? Well, sadly, he declared that he has terminated his representation of the mother, effective yesterday. We are not sure why, although he did state that he believed that the mother has not been “truthful” with him. Now, did any of those intrepid reporters think to ask him, “Uh . . . Quannell? Whatever do you mean by that? How has this grieving mother not been truthful with you?” Nope. I suspect it mean that the lady doesn’t have any more cash to pay him so he dropped her like a hot potato.
*Ed. Note: Now. a bit of a back story on Quannell. Quannell is not originally from Houston. He was born in Los Angeles and his real name is Quanell Ralph Evans. He moved to Houston with his family in when he was in high school. He quickly developed a reputation as a badass drug dealer. In July 1992, Quanell found his brother Quinten Evans dead in his apartment with three others, all with bullets to their heads. Quannell has a history of causing a kinds of mischief. He angered the local Jewish community when he was talking about the “Black Holocaust”. Not backing down, he said, “I say to Jewish America: Get ready … knuckle up, put your boots on, because we’re ready and the war is going down. … The real deal is this: Black youth do not want a relationship with the Jewish community or the mainstream white community or the foot shuffling, head-bowing, knee bobbing black community. … All you Jews can go straight to hell.”
Now, Quannell, while not entirely stupid – he’s as obnoxious as hell, but he is not stupid, has gotten a bunch of local stories wrong. For instance, in 2007, a local fellow by the name of Joe Horn shot and killed to two “unarmed” “Black” men on Mr. Horn’s property, targeted style. Local news showed photos of the assailants, who looked a bit like Quannell. So, Quannell heaped a whole pile of outrage and protest at Mr. Horn, accusing Mr. Horn of racism and racially targeting these poor, unfortunate souls for execution. As life would show on so many occasions, everybody got the story wrong.
It turns out that Mr. Horn did not, in fact, “execute” two unarmed Black men. Nope. He was at home when these two fellows broke into his home and Mr. Horn, defending his home, property, and family as is his right in Texas, filled them full of lead. It also turned out the innocent souls were not necessarily so innocent Black guys – they were illegal aliens from Colombia and were members of a local gang known for breaking, entering, and stealing people blind. The fun part of this story is the Quannell stormed Mr. Horn’s residence with the usual cadre of protesters only to find out that Mr. Horn was also a good friend of the leader of a local biker gang. The bikers heard Quannell and his Merry Protesters were on their way over to Mr. Horn’s place so they decided to defend their friend. Picture the scene: Quannell and his Protesters were overwhelmed by several hundred bikers defending their friend, not with violence, but by revving their motors. It was delicious.
Appreciate the follow up. You have a knack for making this narrative fun to read, and interesting to this fellow Texan
I have to give a heartbreaking follow up to the follow up: Quannell X met with the ex-boyfriend for over two hours where he being held in custody. He finally got the guy to tell him what happened and where the girl is. Now, Quannell is a big guy, and tends to spout off like a raging lunatic and I tend to dismiss him as a blow-hard. To his credit, he got this guy to tell him what happened. The guy told him he accidentally killed the girl and dumped her body on the roadside. Turns out he took this little girl to Arkansas (some 300 miles north of Houston) and dumped her – he wrapped her body in a black trash bag and threw out in Arkansas. Now, the Houston/Harris County Medical Examiner will have to identify the remains and confirm it is her, though the Texas EquiSearch Team feels 90% certain it is her based on items found with the body. Sadly, the poor child’s body was thrown in what appears to be a turnout and the landscaping crews mowed the area at least twice.
As for Quannell, I have to say that he did a great job. He jettisoned the mother when he found out she was aware that her boyfriend physically abused this child (he did not go into details but he did say that she “chose this monster over her own daugther” and based on his reaction, it is not hard to imagine the kinds of horrors this child suffered at the hands of this maniac and her useless mother). There is a 35 minute interview with him on the KHOU.com website but based on his comments, and the real tears running down his face, I am not sure I have the capacity to hear what may have happened to this child.
Heh. This reminds me of my days as a blogger. There was always some guy in the comments who would, after some back-and-forth, demand that I stop responding to him. I would then become relentless, and inform him if he didn’t like my comments to him, he could go elsewhere. That usually prompted a action which got the person banned, but if not, I just kept right on commenting, whenever I felt appropriate, and ignored his request.
I hate the kind of thinking that motivates people to tell you to shut up speaking to them in a public forum. I have, and always will reject it utterly. If I were you, I would’ve redoubled my comments, keeping them well within ethical bounds and as required by his remarks, and forced him to unfriend you.
Look, I get it — such people are unethical and totalitarian in their thinking. But I’d never surrender my position to a person like that. I just hold it too dear, I guess.
2. Creepy Uncle Joe
Is the feminist-dominated Democratic Party really going to let this creep represent it in the 2020 elections?
You do realize that the Democratic party, when it comes to Trump, would sacrifice a virgin by cutting her throat into the fire if someone could guarantee victory over him, right? As long as Biden is in a position of strength in the polls, the Democrats will excuse all but the most offensive behavior.
Their insanity over Trump has destroyed any sort of integrity they may have possessed. TDS is fatal to reason, integrity, honesty, and any other virtue you can name.
3. More TDS
So it’s rationalization #2 (or is it #32?) that is their reflexive, go-to objection? I thought you dealt with lawyers. Did they quit teaching logic in law school?
4. Strength in leadership
He has some leadership qualities a President should have, although his personality is manifestly un-Presidential. He’s decisive, persistent, and generally consistent. He also has many more qualities a President should either not have or should suppress. But as we know, Trump can’t suppress any part of his personality, even the most petulant and offensive.
But the three I mentioned are pretty big ones, and compared to Obama’s lack of any of them, it’s no wonder they seem outsized, and appear to offset his many undesirable characteristics.
5 What “is” is
I both agree and disagree with Bharara.
Treason, when it is described as a criminal act, has a very specific meaning. When something is described generally as “treason” and not in reference to a crime, it’s different.
Cheney’s choice of words “And it could well be treason” can be read to suggest she meant the crime of treason. Well, then she would be wrong. But in the general sense, as a suggestion their conduct was treasonous, I would agree. It’s a fine point, but I think it’s important that discussion of treason as a criminal act be confined to the four corners of the US Constitution. Describing it as a kind of coup is certainly apt.
Yeah, funny how Bharara seems to just ignore that part in his tweet. Probably because, you know, TDS has destroyed whatever objectivity he may or may not have had.