Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/18/2020: ARRRGH!!!


Well, that’s my reward for setting the all-time ethics Alarms record for posts yesterday (8): I wake up to find my desk top won’t connect to the internet, sending me into Verizon Customer Service Hell. Then the tech puts me in safe mode, where I can connect to WiFi, but my password stops working, and I can’t get out of safe mode. I’m doing this post on my laptop, or as it affectionately known on Ethics Alarms, the Typo Machine. Other asides:

  • The Get Well bouquet Other Bill sent my wounded wife on behalf of the blog’s commentariat after her fall finally withered after exactly three weeks. It brightened our home and her spirits, and we are very grateful.
  • We joke about Trump Derangement, but the phenomenon resembles an actual illness, unlike its predecessors, the Clinton, Bush and Obama Derangement Syndromes. What has changed is the news media, which feeds and magnifies the mob-mentality and blind hatred with its daily, sometimes hourly, click-bait outrage stories aimed at the President. The Deranged immediately post them to a throng of “likes,” spawning the usual insulting comments. Imagine, a daily game based on denigration of the President of the United States, played daily and gleefully by millions of Americans. It is not healthy, responsible, respectful, or fair.

1. Wow, the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal is  making people angrier as time goes on. MLB is taking measures to protect Astros players from retaliation from pitchers, as dark comments have been made about how the competition will inflict punishment on the cheating players even if Commissioner Rob Manfred has not. Yesterday, a poll participated in by thousands of baseball fans favored the Astros having to forfeit their 2017 World Championship by a three to one margin. (Please  recall that taking away the title was my recommendation when the scandal first broke.)

I also find it disturbing that while the Astros players and owner have been on an apology tour (though not a very effective one), deposed Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was identified by the MLB investigation as the mastermind behind the sign-stealing scheme, has said nothing–no confession, no apologies, no statements at all.

Another scandal related note: the MLB Network’s Brian Kenny expressed amazement at the difference between players angry reactions to the sign-stealing revelations and the way they closed ranks and largely refused to condemn the steroid cheats. “They say now that they weren’t playing on a level playing field with the Astros knowing what pitches were coming,” Kenny said. “Level playing field! What did they think was the situation when the batters were juicing?”

2. There’s no denying it any more: Barack Obama really is a jerk. His attempt to claim credit for President Trump’s economy is signature significance. Obama’s stimulus package (“Shovel-ready projects!” )was an expensive, budget-busting failure; his recovery after the 2008 meltdown was the slowest recovery from a recession in US history, in part because his administration was so openly hostile to business that corporations accumulated profits rather than re-investing them in expansion and employment. Throughout his first term, Obama repeatedly blamed his predecessor for all his administration’s setbacks, something Presidents before him had the decency not to do. Now that he’s out of office, he’s trying to do the reverse.


3. And while we’re on the topic of O…Alan Dershowitz told an interviewer that has documents showing that President Obama asked the FBI to investigate an unnamed person on behalf of George Soros. Dershowitz, who is obviously ticked off at Democrats, also said that the only difference between Trump and other Presidents is that his predecessors influenced their Justice Depratments quietly, while Trump is blatant about it. This, as we have discussed, is the main theme of “the resistance”—what have been accepted practices by past Presidents are suddenly “high crimes” when this President engages in them.

4. Once again, the unethical nature of sex-offender lists. Reason points us to “Untouchable,” a documentary by David Feige, that tells the story of a woman who had a sexual encounter with a 14 year old boy when she was 19, and as a result, is a registered sex offender, apparently forever. She has lost jobs when employers have  learned about her status, and has to deal with the suspicions and harassment among her neighbors when they see online that she engaged in “lewd or indecent proposals/acts to child” on a national online database.

The sex offender registry has always been the bluntest of blunt instruments, overly broad in application, unjust in its scope.

5. Will they finally stop NPR and PBS funding? Once again, the President’s budget plans a phasing out of federal funding for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and cries of pain and outrage are being heard throughout the land. The demographics for both the radio network and the TV stations who affluent, educated citizens who don’t need this handout. It’s not a taxpayer cost, but it’s an awfully hypocritical one.

6. President’s Day hangover: When I heard that a historian i had never heard of, Alexis Coe, had written a contrarian biography of George Washington, attacking his character and complaining about his “deification,” I reproved myself for thinking, without knowing, “Oh, brother. This historian is black, and her whole approach begins with the fact that Washington owned slaves.”  But sure enough, I was right: that’s exactly what is going on. Her agenda is to show that Washington having the same attitudes toward blacks as his class, his colony, his age and and 99.9% of his countrymen proves that he has been unfairly lionized by “white, male historians.”

Washington’s slave-holding is completely irrelevant to any fair assessment of his qualities as a leader and an American icon. I don’t blame current day African Americans from not being eager to accept that, but until they do, they are handicapped in their ability to understanding their own country and its history.


13 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/18/2020: ARRRGH!!!

  1. I am always frustrated that PBS wants me to pay to stream their shows when I am already paying subsidies for PBS. The nice thing about living in N. Alabama is that to survive our NPR station has to focus more on music than all talk. But the shows I used to enjoy for culture and humor have severe TDS and they are now off my radio.

  2. 1. “What did they think was the situation when the batters were juicing?” What the fuck did they think? Are you kidding me? They’d all been juicing since high school! That’s what they’d all been thinking. Everybody was doing it, even the pitchers! Does “Roger Clemens” ring a bell? And the owners and managers looked the other way because it was good for business. Ken Caminiti dead? Oops, not sorry.

  3. Guys, I’ve solved the Astros ’17 Championship problem.

    Step 1: Strip the Astros of the championship.

    Step 2: Give the Yankees and Dodgers 7 days notice that a 3-game WS re-do will take place.

    Step 3: Advise NYY & LAD that they have to use their 2017 roster, players that don’t want a chance at claiming that prize can’t be forced to participate. Vacancies can be filled by any player not on another roster at the time.

    Step 4: If NYY & LAD refuse to participate in this spontaneous 3-game WS do-over that will take place in 1 week, the title will revert back to Houston.

  4. 3. I actually *really* dislike this move. It’s in essence the same “I know something bad about someone, but I can’t tell you about it” song and dance routine that Adam Schiff was parroting every 23 seconds until the Mueller report broke, but on the other shoe and maybe with a smattering more credibility.

    If this ends up not being true, it’s probably the closest thing to actionable defamation a politician can get away with. And Dersh isn’t a politician, I’m just saying. If it is true, figure out how to tell us and effing do it. Lord on His Throne, Give it to someone at the FBI so they can store it in the same colander they stored the Mueller file in and we can all read it the next day.

    • HT
      I could not agree more. My question is what laws may have been violated if Obama had asked the FBI to investigate one citizen on behalf of another. If there is no violation of law I would suggest we start by making it illegal for an elected person to investigate any particular individual.

      Further, if there is no law Dershowitz should make public the documentation he has so that the accused has the ability to contest it.

    • Yes, I don’t know why Dersch didn’t just make his valid point about all President’s making their desires known to Justice. The tease is unethical, and if it never materializes, sanctionable, except…The King’s Pass.

  5. “. . . the only difference between Trump and other Presidents is that his predecessors influenced their Justice Departments quietly, while Trump is blatant about it. This, as we have discussed, is the main theme of “the resistance”—what have been accepted practices by past Presidents are suddenly “high crimes” when this President engages in them.”

    I am of the belief that Trump’s Tweets about things he sees as injustice are nothing more than that. He is making the same statements that many of his supporters are saying. Who else will? We cannot rely on the media to call out differential treatment. Trump is exposing the behavior of the swamp.

    Lets examine the facts:
    The FBI looks the other way as HRC destroys devices (cell phones, laptops) that may contain evidence which were subject to Congressional demands to preserve evidence.

    The FBI storms the Stone home with assault weapons drawn and CNN in tow. Stone gets convicted by a jury headed by an vocal anti Trump Democrat and the prosecutors who were part of the Mueller team probing Trump seek the maximum sentence for a process crime.

    Gen. Flynn is pleads guilty to lying to investigators about contacts with Russian Ambassador Kysliak even though the initial investigators did not think he was being untruthful. But now we hear that the same Senator who pushed that Flynn violated the Logan Act and the Russian inquiry Chris Murphy (D) Connecticut travels to Europe and engages in private meetings with Iranian officials. He is exempt as a Senator but the incoming National Security Advisor (whose job it will be to meet with foreign officials) is committing a treasonous offense.

    Some 1100 federal prosecutors sign letter demanding Barr resign because he is giving the appearance he is protecting the president but Eric Holder is quoted as saying he was Obama’s wingman and they are silent.

    Loretta Lynch meets with Bill Clinton while HRC is still technically being investigated about that server on her private plane and no consequence. Right out of the gate, Sessions is castrated as AG because he is forced to recuse himself leaving Rosenstein and McCabe in charge of the Justice Department. Barr makes a statement looking into the predicate of the FISA warrants and he is deemed unethical and compromised so he must resign.

    Trump’s Tweets about exposing the goings on in government is ok with me. I do not care much for ad hominem Tweets but silencing Trump’s tweets will allow the propagandists of the left to thrive.

      • Unless the DOJ can find a way to get venue outside of the District of Columbia, there’s a very good chance that every member of the anti-Trump resistance who is brought up on charges will be acquitted regardless of the strength of the evidence, or at the very least will get off with a hung jury. Likewise, any Trump supporter brought to trial in DC is overwhelmingly likely to be found guilty. That’s the consequence of having a jury pool that’s 95% Trump-haters.

        • Bring them to trial, any time, any place. Let the nation see that they get prosecuted just like everyone else.

          Let the nation hear the evidence against them. Just like happens when a Trump supporter is prosecuted. If they get off, so be it. At least justice would be served, as perverted as she may be.

          This would go far to avert the coming Civil war.

        • It has been striking to me how similar these events have been to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. Blacks couldn’t get a fair trial in the Jim Crow South because the police, judges, and juries were all severely prejudiced against them. It took the federal government to come in and restore civil liberties. We currently have the police, judges, and juries all prejudiced against conservatives and especially anyone close to Trump. None of them can get a fair trial. I mean, they threatened to put Flynn’s son in jail (on what the judge decided were ‘Trumped’ up charges), the main witness against him was Strzok, the judge was a friend of Strzok (signed off on FISA warrants against the Trump campaign and had private meetings with Strzok about the Flynn case before trial. Same with the Stone case. I sympathize with Barr, but I don’t see why Trump would trust the DOJ to actually work towards justice. Yeah, it complicates the matter, but I can’t really condemn Trump for tweeting about this stuff until the DOJ and the FBI clean house.

          Complaining about Trump’s tweets in the Stone case is like complaining about criticisms of blacks being wrongly convicted in the Jim Crow South. Change my mind.

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