Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/4/20: Abortion, Ann Althouse, A Big Lie And The Big Stupid

Good morning!

We’ve started a year without a dog enriching each day for the first time in over three decades. Don’t like it much.

1 . Lobbying the Supreme Court against abortion.  207 members of Congress — 39 senators and 168 House members from 38 states — filed  an amicus  brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold a Louisiana anti-abortion law when it hears the case in March, stating they “have a special interest in the correct interpretation, application and enforcement of health and safety standards for elective abortion by the people of the states they represent.” In the brief, the mostly GOP legislators (two Democrats also signed on) implore  the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court’s decision to let stand a Louisiana statute that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is being performed. SCOTUS declared virtually the same law unconstitutional in Texas; the argument for this law is that Texas is bigger than Louisiana.

I’m serious.

The Center for Reproductive Rights argues that the Louisiana law is really an effort to “regulate abortion out of existence,” claiming that only one physician in the state would be able to  provide abortions if the law is allowed to stand.

Oh, I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on.

2. Another Big Lie. When I went to a local cineplex to see “Ford vs. Ferrari,” I was stunned at how few employees were in evidence at a movie house with 18 screens and hundreds of people buying tickets. There was one human being selling tickets, the rest were dispensed by automated kiosks. There were no ticket-takers at all; we figured out that we could have just walked into any of the theaters without showing a ticket to anyone. To buy drinks and snacks, I  had to stand in a line for over 20 minutes, because only one person was filling orders.

This is, of course, due to the artificial inflation of the minimum wage beyond the worth of certain low skill jobs. This is not rocket science: when it becomes cheaper to use technology than human beings, or one over-worked employee instead of three, rather than raising prices, these are the competent and responsible—and predictable—steps businesses will take. Every rise in the minimum wage  eliminates jobs. There’s no such thing as a movie usher any more: an earlier wage hike killed that job.

Later in the week I read a stunningly dishonest article claiming that the well-recognized process above was a “myth” because unemployment has dropped despite minimum wage increases in many states. Unemployment has not dropped for the skills-free, however, though these articles never break those statistics out. In addition to costing jobs, the new human being-less establishments are unpleasant and stressful. Airport eateries increasingly have only one person to wait on tables; orders are given using iPads at your table. That movie theater was chaotic, with many patrons confused about what to do and where to go, with nobody to talk to. I had barely launched into my rant on the subject when the young African American in front of me joined in. “That’s absolutely right,” he said, “and the politicians lie to us, assuming we’re too stupid to understand that when you raise the cost of a service above what it’s worth, a business will eliminate the service.

“And you know what?” he added. “Most people are so ignorant that the lie works.”

3. I wonder about Ann Althouse sometimes. My favorite objective blogger (now that Ken White at Popehat has gone on to greener pastures) implied that she liked Mike Bloomberg’s statement on the Soleimani killing. Ugh. How could anyone like this?

It’s naked pandering to the “Orange Man Bad” crowd. Worse, the statement duplicates the unethical mindset that the “resistance” has tried to impose on public opinion: “we know the President had bad motives and employed flawed reasoning because that’s just how he is.” Presumed guilt, presumed incompetence.

Ann also wrote that she “is kind of okay” with Bloomberg, a sentiment I don’t understand at all. If his edict that his news service deliberately avoid criticizing Democrats or objectively covering his campaign isn’t disqualifying, I don’t know what could be.

4. Today’s “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…or outright dishonesty and stupidity!” notes:

  • Emma Vigeland , the host and producer of TYT Politics, wrote,

“Imagine the Iranian government assassinated Mike Pompeo with a drone, at the direction of the president, and called it self defense. That’s exactly what the US did by killing Soleimani — an act of war. The only difference is Iran’s self defense claims would be more legitimate.”

Yup, that’s the only difference, except that Pompeo wouldn’t have just planned an attack on the Iranian embassy, hadn’t been responsible for years of terrorism taking many hundreds of lives, and taking out an enemy leader who is in territory you are authorized to defend and protect isn’t an “act of war.”

Good analysis otherwise, you lying  yutz.

Qasem Soleimani was no ordinary general. The U.S. classified him as a terrorist but in Iran, he was a national hero. Specifically, Soleimani was in charge of spreading Iranian influence around the world, and he was extremely good at it. Smart, charismatic, ruthless and bold, Soleimani knit together a loyal network of armed groups from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon to Afghanistan. Any time Iran attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and then denied it or attacked oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and denied that, too. U.S. officials saw Soleimani’s handiwork. His power made Iranians proud. Today, Iranians in the thousands came out to show their love and their anger. Soleimani was arguably Iran’s most popular leader.

THEN we get what should have been the lede:

For years, Soleimani operated in the shadows and spilled a lot of American blood. He was the secret architect of a long campaign against U.S. troops in Iraq after the 2003 invasion killing hundreds[.]

  • Journalist Rania Khalek called the killing of  Soleimani “the equivalent of Iran taking out Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Captain America all in one.”

Enemy of the people.

5. And now for something completely stupid...It’s not as moronic and un-American as poor Rose McGowan’s twitter meltdown (“Please don’t kill us!”), for nothing could be. However, actor John Cusack’s tweet is special:

Here’s how cognitive dissonance works for me. I like John Cusack as an actor (I like his sister Joan too.) I also believe that actors have a duty to those who employ them and audiences who watch them not to broadcast what dunderheaded jerks they are to such an extent that it interferes with them doing their jobs. I don’t care that an actor or actress is an ignorant loudmouth who abuses his or her celebrity to influence their fans who can’t distinguish between artistic talent and intelligence…until a certain line is crossed, and a tweet like Cusack’s crossed it for me. From now on, I won’t be able to watch him in anything without thinking about what an arrogant, brain-dead asshole he is. So he joins De Niro, Streep, Rob Reiner and others whose political shrillness has, for me at least, drowned out their talents.

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8 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/4/20: Abortion, Ann Althouse, A Big Lie And The Big Stupid

  1. I had a dream the other night that we had a beagle puppy and named him Rufus…for some reason. Still haven’t replaced Lucky. Christmas morning wasn’t the same without him digging into his paw-shaped stocking first.

    2. My nephew has been working at a local movie theater for years and does a good job. When he came back from school for Christmas break, he told me he was looking for something else. He said the theater eliminated the ticket booth (where he typically worked) and cut their perks (like the number of free screenings they received). And we’re in Indiana. A $15 minimum wage here is as likely as a hurricane.

    4. When Trump is in conflict with a foreign government, he’s about to start a war. When Trump behaves diplomatically, the dictator is his buddy. This is nothing more than, “Because it’s Trump”. If we made a list of everything that is now wrong because Trump is doing it, it would include everything he’s done since taking office.

    5. We met John Cusak at a convention a few years ago. We try to get the celebrities to do jazz hands with us so no one looks like a prop in the photo. Not everyone goes for it and that’s cool. Everyone has the right to look the way they want to in a photo. Cusak kindly turned us down and stood behind us while we did the jazz hands. He’s got a hilarious derp-face expression, though.

    We went to another convention late last year where he was a guest and got into the last part of his Q&A session in order to get a good seat for the next celebrity who would be appearing on stage. Some audience member praised him for his support of journalists. Cusak made some comment about opposing a President who puts “kids in cages”. I stopped listening. Audience Q&A’s at these things are the worst, but celebrity politicking at them annoys the heck out of me.

  2. Having lost two dogs over the last three years, one to long time health issues and one to wheels disease when she forced past me as I was putting the bin out, I sympathise. I always think of Sir Isaac Newton being called a moron, actually because he was a Christian, but ostensibly because he stated that he loved his pet pigeon and she loved him. He was right; his critic was the moron!

    #1.
    I’m strongly anti-abortion, I’m one who sees it as murder. I find the argument that I’m a hater and a misogynist because of my stand, and especially the argument that I’m being self serving, to be vile and evil. I keep thinking that, if I was politically motivated on this issue, I’d be encouraging abortion. I would assume that more ‘progressives’ favour and practice abortion than conservatives. Surely if I were politically motivated I’d want them to be thinking out the herd of my opponents? I’m also furious that supporters of abortion suggest that because I’m male I can’t have an opinion on this matter. What, these kids don’t have fathers? Then to add insult to injury I am made complicit in this evil because my tax dollars are used to pay for the process!

    However, these lawmakers should be voted out, simply because they are clearly incompetent at lawmaking; they are unfit for task! I applaud them looking for ways to reduce the number of abortions, but: “the argument for this law is that Texas is bigger than Louisiana.”; OH PULEEZE!

    Mind you, the defence is just as lame; there is only one doctor in the entire state who practices within thirty Miles of a hospital, REALLY? Who do they have in the hospitals, barbers?

    #2.
    I agree, but also remember that the theatres get next to nothing of the take during the first few weeks of a release. They make virtually their entire income on the ‘tail’. That’s why, on the rare occasions I go to the theatre to watch a movie, I wait for the last week of the showing. It’s getting rarer by the way because an actual quality movie that I’d want to watch, let alone pay to watch, is entering hen’s teeth territory.

    #3.
    Yep, the situation should be de-escalated; by Iran. Iran was always going to kill y’all regardless. Now the TDS crowd will just blame POTUS for it; oh wait, THEY were going to do that anyway too!

    #4.
    Killing Soleimani is nothing like assassinating the US VP. Suggesting so is proof positive of ‘Enemy of the people.” I commented on this on a previous post. He was a totally legitimate target and I’m glad to see some top legal minds agree with me!

    Having said that, I actually have some sympathy for NBC’s statement. To Iranians, at least the crazy Iranians, he WAS a hero. He was very effectively promoting their evil goals around the world. However, to the rest of the world he was a cockroach and thoroughly deserved to be stepped on. To fail to mention that little fact in their propaganda release is telling.

    Kesselring was a great military leader, beloved by the Germans, no one else cried for him at Nuremberg!

    Killing Soleimani is nothing like assassinating the US VP. Suggesting so is proof positive of ‘Enemy of the people.”

    #5.
    As I have pointed out before, actors are professional liars. They, like all successful con-artists, are very convincing at pretending they are someone or something else. We make them rich because the entertain us with their lies, with our full consent, in the same way that conjurers do. They seem to think that because there is a witless fan-base that hangs on their every word and nose wipe that the world values their opinion on politics – or coffee!

    I do wish I could get my hands on a video clip (I’m ….. appreciating …. actors ….?) from the Get Smart movie.
    The scene where Siegfried and co are fleeing their nuclear bomb set in Hollywood and the henchman says: “But what about all the actors?” Siegfried: “Yes, where will we be without their insightful political commentary!” The movie was worth it for that ten seconds!

  3. (1) The Supreme Court has rightly determined that the right to regulate is the right to destroy. However, they allow the regulation of speech, religion, and firearms ownership. They allow the regulation of just about every Constitutional right imaginable. So, why is abortion any different? It makes you wonder if abortion is above the Constitution in the laws of the land. It definitely isn’t treated the same as other Constitutional rights, it is treated as something more. You might say “but they have good reason to regulate all those things” and you would be right. However, the requirements of requiring abortion clinics to pass health as safety checks, just like any other surgery center, is pretty reasonable as well. Since serious complication can result, requiring a physician to have admitting privileges seems pretty reasonable. You might say “But these aren’t honest attempts to make abortions safer, they are blatant attempts to make abortions more difficult”. Again, you would be right, but this is also true of virtually all gun control legislation. Rifles and shotgun often are used in less than 500 murders each year. Regulations on the appearance and magazine capacity have no effect of the number of people killed each year, but the laws remain. I would say the proposed abortion restrictions actually do accomplish the excuse they are based on (looking out for the health and welfare of women in abortion clinics) than any of these gun control measures.

    Now the abortion lobby’s “but there won’t be anyone who can provide an abortion in the state if you do this” argument seems pretty common and as far as I can tell, it is a lie. What they mean is that there won’t be any physicians who ONLY do abortions. I live in a very red state and there are physicians at every hospital that I know of that provide abortions. The key is that an abortion and a D&C procedure are the same billing code (the only difference in the procedure is that the fetus is alive for one and already dead in the other). In red states, most physicians don’t specifically state that the procedure is an abortion, it goes under the abortion/D&C code. We don’t have any abortion clinics, but you can get an abortion at just about any hospital big enough to have OB/GYN services.

    (2) It don’t think it is that people are too ignorant to see through it, I think they are too weak-willed. They are told by the media, teachers in school, and their politicians that this is the way things are. Even if they can see it isn’t true, they can’t go against the ‘consensus’. They are afraid of being called racist, or deplorable, or stupid. They know if they don’t go along with it, they will be ostracized, accused of hate speech, lose their friends, etc.

    3,4, and 5. I have been thinking about the left and how it is destroying civilization. These are all in the typical pattern of the left to defend America’s enemies and attack America itself. In the ideal of cultural relativism, they view every government just as legitimate as ours, every other culture just as good as ours. But then, they put it on the slippery slope and decided that every other country and culture on the planet is superior to our own. I see article after article that says that demographically, civil liberties, Western Civilization, and freedom itself is doomed in this country. The infuriating part is that the articles all treat it as a good thing. They attribute all these characteristics of American society to white, European Civilization and therefore they need to be destroyed. Isn’t this treason? I mean, not legally treason, but being a traitor to your country? Then I realized, to the left, there is no such thing as being a traitor to your country. In yet another example that you seemingly can’t come up with a slippery slope argument that the left won’t actually bring true, they took the idea that criticizing your country isn’t unpatriotic or treason and converted it into the idea that liking your country isn’t patriotic and is just for deluded, stupid, deplorables. Think about it. These people don’t just think that we need to root out corruption, or that we need to do a better job at educating and providing good economic opportunities to the poor, the left hates everything this country stands for. They hate democracy, they hate freedoms, they hate the very civilization that makes this country what it is. In any other country, you would immediately see them as being enemies of the society, but here, we treat it like it is admirable to try to destroy the very foundations and all the traditions of your own country. If they were Iranian, imagine if they proclaimed “I love Iran, but Iran has some problems. One of the biggest problems in Iran is the Muslim faith, which causes untold suffering in the country. The other problem is the power structures of the Persian and Arabic races and culture in Iran that marginalizes all other groups. We need to get rid of these despicable power structures in Iran by importing vast numbers of Indian Hindus and Chinese Taoists until they make up the majority cultures in Iran.” Iranians would not call these people patriotic. They would immediately see that these people don’t seek to make society better, they seek to utterly destroy it.

    • I just don’t think the Texas and Louisiana regulations are honest and in good faith, Michael. If they were, then similar regulations would be turning up in pro-abortion legislatures. The analogy is excessive gun registration requirements.As you say, regulations can crush civil rights, and less regulation is more conducive to liberty than more.

  4. 2. What if it WASN’T the minimum wage that was causing the problem, but rather the business owners trying to figure out just how low they can staff and still make all kinds of money?? Similar to A.M above, there is not much likelihood of a $15 minimum wage in W. Michigan, either, but we have the same situations here: McDonald’s ordering kiosks, a very low-staffed theater, etc. Since the industrial revolution, the “job creators” have been trying to figure out ways to ELIMINATE jobs in order to make more money. Machines, robots, ordering kiosks, etc. It’s all part of the same thing. (OK, I don’t think I am really that cynical, but I’m not far from it; I think my idea has merit.)

    Add to that, unfortunately, the idea that there are so many people who refuse to do many menial jobs. I am not sure why that is; I will blame 21st century parenting, perhaps. But I had students that would totally turn their noses up at working at a fast food joint; they’d rather not have a job. But if you don’t have enough employees, you can’t properly staff your business. A friend of mine used to own the two DQ restaurants in town. They had to have 40 people on the payroll (at each store) to make sure they could fill all of the part-time shifts available – and they never had more than ten people working at a time. This was due largely to the number of student employees they had, who were all busy doing all sorts of things besides a part-time job. If you don’t have those 40 employees, you have to close some shifts. Which our two Big Apple Bagel stores have done: they now close at 2 p.m instead of 6 p.m. because they can’t staff. Unemployment is low, so people get to work the jobs they want. If I can make 12 bucks an hour working at the local Aldi part time (not sure if that is a real wage, but I know they pay well), why would I do the same hours at the movie theater, where customers bitch about popcorn prices and then leave trash all over that I have to clean up (my daughter was employed by AMC Theater in town for a year or so), for three bucks an hour LESS? Want good people? You have to PAY them. But in this historically low unemployment that everyone keeps bragging about (you know the one – it’s when you have to work two or three jobs compared to the one that your parents had to work in order to achieve the same result), people can choose from any number of crappy jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet.

    4. If you are considering TYT (The Young Turks, right?) to be part of the “mainstream media,” then we need to have a discussion about definitions…

  5. Too much and too early for a Sunday (when I’m reading this) for my brain to be in full gear, so I’ll just pick Cusak. He’s another example of moronic, unethical (and sinful?) stars ending up in my personal Hall of Shame. Since Woody Allen married his adoptive daughter, I have not watched one Allen film, even brilliant old ones on TV, because I refuse to put another dime in his pocket. Same with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why actors think we care about their personal political opinions is beyond me: they should stick to what they know (and may know well) — acting. This reminds me of a comment made after Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens said something ridiculously stupid: “Come on, he’s called ‘Rocket Man,’ not ‘Rocket Scientist,’ Consider the source…”

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