That’s a perfunctory good morning, to be transparent. Mourning would be more accurate. Yesterday’s news that Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a man who had impressed me with his leadership ability, personality and, yes, ethical values, was exposed by an investigation as the primary instigator of cheating schemes that involved two baseball teams and World Series champions (the Astros and the Red Sox), disillusioned two fan bases, harmed his sport, and led, so far, to the fall of two of the games most successful and admired management figures. Cora is also the first minority manager the Red Sox have had, and was regarded as a transformational figure for the team and the city, both of which have long and troubled histories of prejudice and discrimination. Smart, articulate, creative, funny, brave, knowledgeable—all of his positive qualities, rendered useless by the lack of functioning ethics alarms.
1. Congratulations to Ann Althouse…on this, the 16th anniversary of her blog. With the demise of Popehat, she supplanted Ken White as my most admired blogger, and most quoted by far. The fact that her fiercely non-partisan analysis of ethics issues so frequently tracks with my own is a constant source of comfort for me , particularly during these difficult times. Ann has an advantage that I don’t—“I only write about what interests me” is her description of her field of commentary— because this blog is limited to ethics and leadership. Fortunately, Ann is interested in ethics, though she seldom says so explicitly.
2. Bernie vs Liz. Feeling that Bernie Sanders was pulling away as the standard-bearer of the Leftest of the Democratic base as her own support appears to be waning, Elizabeth Warren went low, and had her aides reveal the content of what was supposed to be two-hour a private summit between the fake Native American and the Communist sympathizer in December 2018. According to them, Bernie told Warren that he disagreed with her assertion that a woman could win the 2020 election. Bernie denies it. Observations:
- This kind of thing stinks, though it is kind of fun to see Democrats dirtied by it instead of President Trump. Anonymous accounts of what was said in phone conversations and private meetings in which the participants reasonably believed they could speak freely are unreliable, untrustworthy and unethical.
- The Warren camp’s spin on Bernie’s alleged statement is that it shows he’s a sexist. That makes no sense. If I say that I can’t win the election in 2020, does that mean I’m biased against myself? There is no logical reason to assume an opinion like “A woman can’t win is 2020” represents bias, though it could. I will state here and now that a gay man can’t be elected President in 2020, even if that man weren’t a pandering asshole like Pete Buttigieg, but I am not anti-LGBTQ is any way. The statement reflects my objective analysis of the state of the culture.
- I suspect that Sanders meant, “YOU can’t win in 2020, nor can Kamala Harris nor any of the other equally weak announced female candidates.” The truth may hurts, but that doesn’t make it biased
- (Psst! Bernie! A delusional septuagenarian socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union can’t win either!)
3. No, the fact that there are no more African-Americans running for President doesn’t mean an African-American can’t win. It means weak African-American candidates like Cory Booker, who just dropped out, and Kamala Harris, who is long gone, can’t win, not because of their race, but because they can’t convince voters that they could do the job.
It has been noted that there will be more billionaires on tonight’s debate stage than minorities. That just means that spending millions like Monopoly money can keep an obviously hopeless candidate like Tom Steyer (and Mike Bloomberg) around a bit longer.
4. Are the Oscars about artistic excellence, or diversity? The reaction to yesterday’s nominations were as I assumed they would be: indignant and incoherent. How many people care what the demographic and gender mix of the nominees are? I sure don’t, and never did. How many people pay attention to whether a film’s director is male, female, black, white or Asian? All that matters is whether a movie is entertaining, and whether the actors are effective in their roles. Yet to read the various articles today, one could easily get the impression that the mission of the Academy Awards is to distribute the honor equally among demographic groups. The root of the problem is an ethical one: all award systems are warped by bias, because people are biased, and bias is a large factor in personal taste. The complaints about diversity can be reduced to “You should use our biases instead of yours.”
5. That the Democratic Party’s leaders have been somehow maneuvered into supporting Iran in order to condemn President Trump should go down in history as one of the great cognitive dissonance disasters of all time. One reason the scale is so powerful is that in addition to Trump being aligned on the opposite side from Iran, President Obama, who must never be criticized, aligned himself with Iran. Obama did nothing to support the people of Iran when they tried to rebel early in his administration; he made an unconscionable deal with the terrorism-sponsoring state. (“…the Democrats are not pro-terrorist. They’re simply intent on protecting the historic agreement that legalized the nuclear weapons program of a terror state,” writes Lee Smith in Tablet.) The result of the dissonance has been startling. Democrats and their journalist allies have sought to mitigate the documented crimes of a dead Iranian general. They have argued that the President was responsible for the Iranians shooting down a plane with 176 souls on board while its military was trying to kill American soldiers. As another round of protests against the government erupts in Tehran, as reports suggest that the regime is using live ammunition against them, not one of the Democratic Presidential candidates has so much as tweeted support for the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Iran State TV’s news anchor resigned saying, “It was very hard for me to believe the killing of my countrymen. I apologize for lying to you on TV for 13 years.” Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, defected, saying, “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran…They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me. I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools.”
And still the Democrats are lending support to the mullahs. While proudly gay Pete Buttigieg was flogging the party’s dishonest talking point that the dead airline passengers constituted blood on the President’s hands (after Iran’s cover-up attempt failed), the Jerusalem Post reported,
The Islamic Republic of Iran publicly hanged a 31-year-old Iranian man after he was found guilty of charges related to violations of Iran’s anti-gay laws…the unidentified man was hanged on January 10 in the southwestern city of Kazeroon for… sexual intercourse between two men, as well as kidnapping charges…Iran’s radical sharia law system prescribes the death penalty for gay sex[.] …”The LGBT community in Iran has lived in terror for the last 40 years,” said Alireza Nader, CEO of Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization New Iran. “Next time Foreign Minister Zarif speaks in Washington, the host and audience should ask him why his regime is one of the top executioner of gays in the world.” Iran’s mullah regime executed “between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians” since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Pandering Pete (I should suggest that nickname to the President) has found no time to condemn Iran for slaughtering gays, though he has lectured Christians about their hypocrisy for not supporting gay marriage.