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.