1. Regarding the President’s military pardons. This story is now a month old, and my post about it got derailed, so let me be brief. The uproar over these pardons was overblown, and yes, by the media. I never read any mention in the various reports, for example, about how Jimmy Carter, then Governor of Georgia, announced his outrage when Lt, William Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre . Carter instituted American Fighting Man’s Day in support of Calley, and asked Georgians to drive for a week with their lights on. Calley only served seven years of his sentence.
It is important for the military to insist on discipline, and I think President Trump was wrong to interfere with it in these cases. Each of them has a different set of facts, but the President’s statement about the inherent unfairness of training human beings to kill, placing them in deadly situations and unimaginable stress, and then punishing them when their fury and programmed violence erupts in illegal violence and other acts (like posing in a photo with a dead enemy combatant) has validity. My father, who had been in combat in World War II, regarded such crimes as the equivalent of “battle fatigue.” He hated General Patton for slapping the GI suffering from what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in a field hospital, and felt that harshly punishing soldiers for the kinds of incidents Trump’s beneficiaries engaged in was wrong and hypocritical.
Any time any convicted American is pardoned, there are arguments that clemency undermines the justice system. In the end, this is a policy dispute. The military has good reasons to object to such pardons, but President Trump’s decision is defensible, and would probably be considered so if he were anyone else.
2. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is now in Bill Cosby territory. Seven more women have come forward to accuse the popular actor of sexually assaulting them. This brings the total number of accusers up to 22.
In one court filing, a woman alleges that after she met Mr. Gooding at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in 2009, he took her to a concert, where he began to kiss her in a secluded hallway as she was attempting to leave. Then he placed his hands on her buttocks, and pushed onto her crotch so forcefully that her tights ripped. The woman bit Mr. Gooding’s cheek so she could escape. Another woman accused the 51-year-old Gooding of sliding his hand down her pants and grabbing her buttocks at a restaurant in 2011. Yet another accuser says that he grabbed her vagina twice at a restaurant in in 2016, according the court filings.
Gooding’s legal team argues that the new claims are from women looking to cash in due to his celebrity status. maybe, but history and experience suggests otherwise.
Whatever the culture is that gives men the idea that they can act like this and that there is nothing wrong with it needs to be rejected, since it obviously came special delivery from Hell. I would no more have done any of those things, even in the prime of youth, than I would have ridden a pogo stick into church with a wombat on my head. I assumed everyone was raised like that.
3. Another contestant for the Ethics Alarms “Asshole of the Year” title: Shelby Gash decided to assault her Kansas neighbors by shaping Christmas lights into a giant penis over her house.
“Sorry neighbors … I felt the need to make a giant dick on the roof,” Gash wrote alongside photos on Facebook. “‘Tis the season!”
Nice. There is no conceivable excuse for doing something like this, at any time of year, but especially Christmas. Gash told WDAF that the display it was light-hearted reaction to how “uptight” her neighborhood has become. “People think it’s hilarious,” she insisted. “People are stopping in the middle of the night taking photos and laughing. People think it’s so much fun.”
Right. She’s missing essential ethics alarms, including basic consideration, civility, and civic responsibility.
What an idiot.
4. There is hope! A new Monmouth University poll shows Senator Elizabeth Warren’s once thriving campaign is collapsing. The ex-Harvard prof scored 28% among Democrats in September, and has fallen 17 percent in December. Combined with the elimination of Kamala Harris, the two Democratic candidates who had most distinguished themselves by demagoguery and dishonesty finally were taught a variation of Lincoln’s maxim: You can’t fool enough of the public all the time.
I still find it impossible to believe that the party of women, youth and radical progressiveness will go into the 2020 elections with ancient, mentally failing, women-groping, moderate Joe Biden as its standard-bearer. Still, it speaks well of Democrats that they can detect two blatant phonies when they see them.
In related news, Warren said yesterday that “We know that one Democratic candidate walked into a room of wealthy donors this year to promise that ‘nothing would fundamentally change’ if he’s president, ” according to a story in the Washington Post.
She was apparently referring to Biden. Why does she assume that most Americans want “fundamental change”?
5. Stop making me defend Bette Midler! The outspoken and politically illiterate celebrity tweeted out this:
..with the caption, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
A twitter mob rushed to the defense of the teens pictured, CNN reported:
“Nothing is wrong with this picture since we don’t know what the backstory is,” author Katrina Ray-Saulis countered. “They could be contacting their parents after spending hours there. They could be reading about the history of the art on the museum’s website. We assume too much if we’re upset by this.”Her comment mirrored a wave of reaction that met Midler’s initial tweet.Perhaps the girls tired out after spending a day in one of the world’s largest art galleries, are taking a much-needed reprieve in the European paintings gallery before heading back out to consume more art, one user suggested.Or maybe they just weren’t that into centuries-old art in the first place? Comedian Jaboukie Young-White posited that the trio were on their phones because “classic art gets old so fast.”Or maybe the star’s criticism was all wrong — those devices hold more information about the artworks in question than the labels stuck next to them.