Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2020: “Macho Man” Rights, A Billionaire Jerk Contest, And More

Good morning!

Not thrilled to be up before Virginia’s sunrise, but looking forward to it…

1. It’s sad what happens to Ethics Alarms expatriates...One upon a time, uber-progressive blogger/cartoonist Barry Deutsch, aka Ampersand, was one of the most prolific, open-minded, articulate and reasonable commenters here. Then Barry banned himself because he didn’t like my pointing out that his blog is an echo chamber, after he censored my comment there noting that his SJW throng’s  position on the Trayvon Martin-Zimmerman affair was intellectually dishonest.  So Barry retreated to his self-made bubble. I check in on him now and then, and that admirable open-mindedness has disappeared in the marinade of relentlessly woke and intolerant fans.

Here’s how bad it is for Barry: this what he wrote on his “Alas! A Blog”recently: “Conservatives are against all immigrants (or at least all non-white immigrants), not just unauthorized immigrants.”

Tragic. Barry Deutsch now believes that anyone who disagrees with his far left world view is a racist. The Ampersand who followed Ethics Alarms would never think such a thing, much less publish it.

2. The trouble with billionaires. The class warfare being fomented by Bernie Sanders and others for a cynical and destructive power grab is an old formula that, when it works, always brings chaos in its wake. Throughout history, it has succeeded more often than basic economics and common sense would dictate in part because so many of the ultra-rich persist in being jerks. Does being a jerk make one more inclined to get rich, or does becoming extremely rich have a tendency to make one a toxic jerk?

That’s a question for the ages, but the behavior of people like billionaires Peter Nygard and Louis Bacon make things easier for class warfare demagogues like Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, just as it did for Lenin and Robespierre before them. This story, about their absurd and costly feud, illustrates how extreme wealth can permit one’s ethics alarms, not to mention sense of proportion, go dead.

From the Times:

The Bahamian pleasure palace featured a faux Mayan temple, sculptures of smoke-breathing snakes and a disco with a stripper pole. The owner, Peter Nygard, a Canadian fashion executive, showed off his estate on TV shows like “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and threw loud beachfront parties, reveling in the company of teenage girls and young women. Next door, Louis Bacon, an American hedge fund billionaire, presided over an airy retreat with a lawn for croquet. Mr. Bacon preferred hunting alone with a bow and arrow to attending wild parties, and if mentioned at all in the press, was typically described as buttoned-up.

The neighbors had little in common except for extreme wealth and a driveway. But when Mr. Nygard wasn’t allowed to rebuild after a fire, he blamed Mr. Bacon. Since then, the two have been embroiled in an epic battle, spending tens of millions of dollars and filing at least 25 lawsuits in five jurisdictions. Mr. Nygard, 78, has spread stories accusing Mr. Bacon of being an insider trader, murderer and member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Bacon, 63, has accused Mr. Nygard of plotting to kill him.

Read the whole thing.

3. An ethics lesson from…The Village People?: In the music business, one way you signal your virtue is to throw a fit when any Republican, and especially the President of the United States, plays your music at a rally or other political event, which in most cases constitutes “fair use.” The contrived argument when performers like Van Halen  and Bruce Springsteen issue their snotty protests is that they don’t want anyone to think they personally endorse the candidate involved. In reality, they just want to take a cheap shot at conservatives, who, as Barry will tell you, are all the spawn of Hell.

Standing for a more reasonable and ethical approach, in contrast, are The Village People. After the Trump Deranged began pounding on them to object to the  Trump’s recent use of “Macho Man,” the group issued a statement that said in part,

With the latest use of “Macho Man” in India, we are being inundated and can no longer remain silent. Since our music is not being used for a specific endorsement, the President’s use is “perfect[ly]” legal. He has remained respectful in his use of our songs and has not crossed the line; if he or any other candidate were to use any of our songs in a manner that would suggest our endorsement, or in a promotional advertisement, that would cross the line.Like millions of Village People fans worldwide, the President and his supporters have shown a genuine like for our music. Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the YMCA dance, regardless of their political affiliation.

4. Well this is certainly depressing:

What is wrong with someone who is impressed  with Bernie Sanders, or a doddering fool who says on national TV that half the population has been slaughtered with guns?

In the first case, I would suggest utter ignorance and ideological, anti-American indoctrination. In the second, utter desperation.

And for that matter, what does it say about Democrats that 25% of them were impressed with the dead fish performance of Mike Bloomberg? How can anyone, even the Billionaires Fan Club, be impressed with that? Is the Democratic Party crawling with aficionados of “My Mother the Car” reruns, bad frozen pizza, the movie “Cats,”  Moxie and Milli Vanilli?

Here’s a conservative website that has been running a useful series on just how extreme Sanders is.

5. Finally, today’s incompetence on the job note. In Jacksonville Florida, Carlos Mattei got into a dispute with a security guard at a Walmart after the security guard told him he wasn’t eligible to park in a handicapped  spot. The security guard insisted that Mattei’s disabled driver tag was fake. This is Carlos:


Sources: News4 Jacksonville,


69 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2020: “Macho Man” Rights, A Billionaire Jerk Contest, And More

  1. That poll doesn’t make sense to me. If the question was “who,” picking a single person who impressed, how do these percentages add up? It appears that this poll was run as well as the debate was moderated.

    • I think the poll allowed multiple selections. The question isn’t “who impressed you the most”, it’s just “who impressed you”, which allows a person to say that they found Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren “impressive”, but thought the rest were lackluster.

      Such a person, however, should not be wasting time on polls and should be seeking medical attention for the blunt-force brain injury they would have to have in order to find any of these candidates impressive in that debate (or in general).

      Or perhaps respondents were using a literal definition of “impressive”, as in “made an impression”. I felt that all of the candidates made an unmistakable impression that they are horrible people who would be absolutely awful as president. Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell also made an impression that they are incompetent dimwits who shouldn’t be hosting a toddler beauty pageant at a local shopping mall, much less a presidential election debate.

  2. 1. Barry was a jerk at heart, same as most SJWs. Charles was a little better, but also a jerk, when you come down to it. Sparty displayed some real jerkiness about 4 years ago when Scalia died. Valky is at times a real jerk, although she has slowed down a little in recent times, she also spoke openly of violent revolution after the last presidential election, and said Mitch McConnell should be castrated and burned. Chris was the heir to the throne of the kingdom of jerk, putting it plainly but politely. SJWs can be articulate, they can be knowledgeable, they can be charming, but, deep down, under all the window dressing, they believe that anyone who does not agree with them is an idiot at best, evil at worst. Admittedly, some of us on the right aren’t exactly civil, and, although the long-gone Scott was probably the rudest, I at times have been pretty darn close behind. However, this goes back to the issues of being able to say what you want, when you want to, with no consequences, the coarsening of the culture from that, and the “nation of assholes” issue arising from both. A lot of folks just want to hear what they say and others giving it right back to them. “If you don’t have something to say, then say nothing,” has given way to “If you don’t have something liberal to say, then shut up, bigot.”

    2. Of course it is, as you point out, this is the age-old incitement of the have-nots against the haves. No one likes it when someone else has more than they does, and it’s easier to say “no one should be able to live like that” than it is to say “I want to live like that.” Those who want power, stoke those feelings. It really boils down to wanting to tell other folks what to do. I actually have a fairly extensive collection of historical miniatures, some of them quite expensive. A one-time friend of mine was horrified at the thought that I paid $400 for a mounted figure of the Grand Master of the Templars, and pronounced it “unbiblical” that anyone would spend that kind of money on what was, essentially, a luxury item, rather than say, sponsoring a third world family. Thanks, but I already contribute enough via taxes, you don’t get to tell me what to do with my money.

    3. Interesting, considering most of that group were gay, and, by default thinking, should loathe Trump and all he stands for, but, then again, they came to be in the 1970s, before everything got so fractured and polarized.

    4. I’d suggest another thing: there just aren’t any good choices, so they picked from what there was. Bernie looks like a winner right now, maybe even the start of a blue wave.

    5. Sooo, was this security guard some big dude with meat between his ears who didn’t make the cut for the NFL, some Hitler Jr. too dumb or too unstable to pass the police exam, or some old fart with too much time on his hands who thought this was the next step up from being a busybody community watch guy? He needs to be sacked forthwith.

    • If Chris was the heir to the throne, tgt was the officeholder. As I remember, he was sharp, clever, methodical in dissembling an argument – and would start foaming at the mouth whenever anything religious came up. No offense to our host, whose quality and volume keep me coming back for years now, but it was tgt and Mr. Pilling’s arguments that first drew my attention to this corner of the web. Watching those two politely and carefully attempt to murder each other while dodging the rationalizations list landmines… that was fun, although likely less so to them!

    • If you were successfully indoctrinated to believe that Socialism can be successful and the United States is the most racist country in history, you probably will be unable to figure out why it is wrong to accuse a man with an artificial leg that his handicapped tag is fake.

    • (1) I have always assumed that you need to be a sociopath to do really well in many fields, like business. You can run a small family business, care about your employees and be modestly successful. However, to run a large company, you need to be more ruthless, you will have to shut plants and lay off and ruin the lives of hundreds or thousands of your employees. You may have to do everything legally possible to get an edge on your competitors, hoping to put them out of business and ruin the lives of their employees. You may have to use accounting tricks to ship all your company’s profits to Ireland, hurting your own country. Not many people could do that and sleep at night.

      My area has a ‘celebrity’ defense attorney. If there is any high-profile criminal case, he is the defense attorney. I always wondered why because he has lost every single one of those cases that I have noticed, even the one where the prosecution evidence was all fabricated (different attorney figured this out later). In his current case, he has argued that the defendant, who was driving after 13 drinks (0.24 BAC) only hit the victim because the victim’s tail lights weren’t on. Now, multiple witnesses say the lights were working, you can tell forensically if lights were on when broken, and there appears to be a dashcam video from another driver. He also is claiming the turnpike auto-ticket data that shows he travelled 6 miles in 3 minutes is wrong because that is over 200 mph and faster than the defendant’s car could go. I now suspect this person is the ‘celebrity’ attorney because no one else is willing to blame the dead victim in the face of evidence to the contrary and misrepresent evidence (6 miles in 3 minutes is 120 mph and an AMG Mercedes is definitely capable of that).

      U.S. Grant won the Civil War because he was willing to spill men’s blood like water. He continued to pour men into battle despite horrifying losses when his predecessors just couldn’t do it. He could stand the carnage of wasted life when other’s couldn’t. That made him successful.

      Why are billionaires jerks? It may be a prerequisite.

      • Grant also knew that if Lee lost as many men as he did, the North would win. It was a war of attrition. The ironic thing is that Sherman had the reputation of being ruthless, but he had the lowest % of casualties of any Union commander.

        • Sherman was ruthless, but Grant was often reckless, as at Cold Harbor. He later “regretted” the Union losses, but regret is a poor substitute for sound tactical judgement.

        • Sherman was ruthless to the plantation owners in Georgia although he ordered his troops to leave the ordinary folks alone. How he could be considered a sociopath eludes me.
          The idea of corporate sociopaths is an interesting one. I don’t think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates could be considered such, although they were quite ruthless at times.

        • But Grant, during the 1864 campaign was also constantly trying to outflank Lee. And he did it, too, at Petersburg, but the generals on the scene blew their one chance of breaching the Petersburg lines before Lee was able to redeploy and man them properly.

          Where Grant was unique, amongst the various generals leading the Army of the Potomac, was that he refused to be defeated. He arguably was beaten in the Wilderness as severely as Hooker had been the year before, but when they marched away from that battle they headed south — never again would the Army of the Potomac retire in defeat from Lee’s army.

          Grant realized that, as long as he could keep Lee’s army engaged, Lee would never have the chance to riposte. Lee was forced to dance to Grant’s tune, and ultimately his army was destroyed.

          Of course, it also took someone like Lincoln (and the victory at Atlanta) to stay the course and support Grant. They were determined, bitter-enders the like of which are seldom seen.

      • Your first paragraph is laughable. Ideally we out compete all in the market and hire all their best employees. In reality, we carve out a niche, attempt to expand it by doing more or doing better while differentiating, and, when possible, enhance our customers’ spending while desperately trying to hang onto the customers we started with. Big and small businesses hire and fire every day, all day. It’s just the scale is different.

        Are there a bunch of assholes in business? You bet. Just like in the clergy, the law, the medical profession, entertainment, and wherever there are humans. There are delightful people who drive Bugattis as well as Kias and everything in between.

        If these idiots want to sue each other into oblivion, let them. It’s a sign of having more money than brains.

        Class warfare is something I didn’t expect to see much of on this site.

          • You know how triggered I get when I get disrespected. Unfortunately I’m not Tony Soprano and I can’t clock someone who disrespects me and then give him a curb-stomp, knocking out most of his teeth.

              • Despite what you might think, violence isn’t really something to dial “O” on the little pink telephone to. My point is that I’m NOT that guy.

                • Then find a healthy way of dealing with your shit instead of picking fights with me. Go jogging, hit a heavy bag, write really bad poetry, something that allows you to leave me the fuck alone.

                  • All right, valky, whatever your rl name is, you listen to me, and you listen good. As long as you are on this board, you’re as much a part of the discussion as anyone else. If I choose to engage with you, I will do it, although I am trying MIGHTILY to use my wisdom rather than viciousness. I don’t know what your problem is, although I previously indicated where I think it comes from. I may be way off base, but, as I guess you’ve figured out, I don’t think it really matters. I don’t think you’re well-liked around these parts. It’s not because you’re liberal, and it’s not because you’re feminist. It’s because, like Chris, you are rude most of the time.

                    There’s a way to exchange ideas, even diametrically opposed ones, that doesn’t involve rudeness and disrespect while getting the point across. I don’t think Chris was capable of being other than rude. I know you are. The thing is, if you are capable of doing better and you don’t do better, you are choosing not to do better. Your posts bear it out. You choose to be rude and disrespectful, and I don’t respond well to disrespect, although I can’t enforce respect like a Tokugawa Ieyasu, a Tony Soprano, or that jerk jock who could already outrun everyone in first grade. If I feel like punching a bag, or getting on the treadmill, or banging out some little ditty, I’ll do it, but I will not simply leave you alone, and certainly not in response to foul-mouthed posts that are a lot less than what you are capable of. Try again.

                    • This is what gaslighting looks like.

                      I wasn’t here, I wasn’t doing anything. And you Olive decided to pick a fight. You said remember valkygrrl? Yeah, fuck valkygrrl.

                      You don’t get to start a fight complain about being disrespected.

                      You don’t get to complain about being disrespected at all, you don’t show respect, you haven’t earned respect and so long as you model yourself on a fictional violent criminal you don’t deserve respect.

                      Go eat a bag of dicks.

                    • Yes, I confess that I have yet to understand what brought this on. I feel like I missed a set of comments somewhere. It’s very confusing. Could someone, anyone, point me to comment zero? I feel like I’m being gaslighted. (Gaslit?) The key ethics question is “What’s going on here?”

                      What’s going on here?

                    • (and if you were gratuitously attacked out of the blue, VG, and that’s what it looked like, I apologize on behalf of EA. As I said, I don’t understand at all. But then Neil just called me a jerk and an asshole for no good reason that I can see, so maybe something’s going around.)

                      And it was kind of nostalgic to be reminded of Scott’s signature kiss off.

                    • Thanks, VG. I remember you asking for Zoe to contact you..I remember trying to decide if I should email her for you. Surely THAT couldn’t have triggered all of this…checking…

                    • Steve-O: I took down your latest reply in the flame war with Valkygirrl. That level of venom just mars the blog, discourages visitors, and embarrasses me personally.

                      There’s no excuse for it. You know your contributions are valued here, but I can’t be a part of that kind of outburst.

                      Yes, Valky’s intentionally provocative use of the E-phrase was similarly inflammatory, but I’m not sanctioning her for several reasons. One is that I tolerated that exact line for many months with a prolific male commenter who managed to convey thoughtful opinions using weirdly vulgar and sexist prose, and I (Stupidly, I later concluded) allowed it because of my strong preference for not censoring commenters based on their mode of expression. The men here lead the women in uncivil outbursts by about a million to one. Valky rates a pass.

                      She also rates a pass because, as she just wrote, you really did verbally assault her out of the blue. She has every reason to feel aggrieved. I don’t know what gets into you sometimes.

                      I haven’t taken down a comment by a non-banned commenter for a full decade, so I don’t do this lightly, and you should regard it in that light. I believe that the occasional surfacing of Bad Steve is generally more than compensated for by the contributions of Good Steve, but a less veteran commenter would be gone after a comment like the one I just read to begin my morning.

                      You’re on probation. I expect good behavior from now on, and indeed insist on it.

                    • Mmhmm, part of this I’ll chalk up to accidentally skipping necessary medication (email me if you want details) for one day (a little too focused on a key hearing and left the house without it), and part of it I’ll chalk up to another attorney threatening me personally and professionally this past week to the point my chief had to talk me down from filing criminal charges. However, that’s probably only about 30%. I started out trying to point out how all too often liberalism and jerkiness go together, which I stand by, and you read the rest. Maybe naming and shaming by pulling examples from here wasn’t the wisest thing to do. Yes, I remember Scott, who you described as “a deeply unhappy young man,” and I am aware both of why you tolerated his ah, colorful talk as long as you did and of your later expressed regret for that course of action. I think he is probably a good part of that million to one, but a few of us are working toward catching up to him, which, I admit, is not a laudable goal.

                      I make no bones about the fact that there are some people here that I do not like, and I don’t apologize for it. I am also aware that some people here don’t like me, and it doesn’t bother me even a little that they don’t. That said, I admit, this isn’t an open forum for vilification of or spewing venom at others, and I lost sight of that. It isn’t the first time I’ve done that, either. It IS, however, probably the first time I decided not to just fight back, or one-up someone, but to intentionally attack another poster unprovoked, and that was something I shouldn’t have done.

  3. As a tangent to #2, I don’t think one can rise into middle management of a publicly traded company without one of the multiple DSM recognized mental conditions that leaves one devoid of typical empathy.

    I could pragmatically make the call to lay off people if the business was fundamentally in trouble. I’ve had to do it, it sucks and I hated to do it. To make it into upper management, however, one needs the ability to say: “I realized we could lay off 1,500 people two weeks before Christmas and use the new vendor I found in Bangladesh and I’ll get a big bonus. We’ll make even more money, let’s do it.” They have to have no reservations about making those kinds of calls or they’ll never make through the ranks.

    The real problem they run into is when their own total jerkiness creates a public backlash. Ironically they create the conditions where someone like Trump and someone like Burnie Sanders can win. Obviously there is the anti-capitalist Sanders support. Also the Trump support because things like the H1B visa abuse creates anti-immigration sentiment and offshoring creates protectionism sentiments.

  4. #5. Flashback!! For a few years in the late 1990s, my agency provided state-mandated training for armed and unarmed security guards, and I was the designated supervisor for this program. Large security firms and business-proprietary security departments usually provide their own training, but smaller firms usually utilize private trainers that are state licensed. The only licensed private provider in our area retired, and our sheriff made a political decision that we would fill this need. After receiving my security trainer’s certification, we began running classes for between 10 and 20 new guards per class, about one class per month.
    It became immediately apparent to our training cadre that, while there were many fine people who were hired as security personnel, fully 40 – 50% of those sent to us for training were unsuited (either tempermentally or, uh, intellectually) for the work. Of course, we were only the training provider and could only document our concerns and recommend to the employer that they be prepared to exercise their option to dismiss without cause during the questionable employee’s probationary period (if they managed to pass our class)..
    As trainers, we assumed some vicarious civil liability for the actions of those we trained, and we were not anxious to be sued. (We utilized hold harmless agreements, but I was never confident that we were fully off the hook.) I was glad when a local retired police trainer established a private security training firm, and we were able to extricate ourselves from providing this training after a bit more than three years. We had some…interesting experiences at the range trying to teach some of those folks how and when to shoot. On the other hand, several of our best “graduates” later transitioned successfully into law enforcement careers.
    One of the tangential things I learned was that some businesses tried -often successfully- to circumvent the security guard licensing requirements by classifying personnel as “customer service” employees, although their real purpose was security. (State enforcement of the regulations was spotty and at times inconsistent.) These “security, but not security” personnel essentially received no relevant training and were frequently involved in customer confrontations and complaints.

  5. 1. Get woke, go intellectually bankrupt.

    2. The trouble with billionaires

    Well, the trouble with Sanders and Warren et. al. is the old saw, “First they came for [X], but I did not speak out because I was not an [X].”

    For now, it is billionaires, because they are few. Next, it will be multi-millionaires. After that, millionaires, and so on until we are all living in a free house eating free food with free healthcare, working for free and have absolutely no freedom. In common vernacular, we have a couple of words that describe this condition — it is called “imprisonment” or “servitude.”

    Socialists can never find enough of other people’s money.

    3. This brings “It takes a village” a whole new meaning. Good for them for not being intellectually bankrupted by the “woke” politics infection. It’s far more contagious than Covid-19, and far more deadly to mental acuity.

    4. See 3 above.

    5. Jack, you’re so out of it. He’s not disabled, he’s “differently-abled.” Therefore, he’s not eligible to park there. Just one more “woke” security guard doing his “woke” best not to forget to breathe.

  6. 1, I find “echo chamber” an essentially meaningless epithet. Sparty considers EA an echo chamber. What’s she saying? I think she’s saying she doesn’t agree with most of the people in the EA commentariat. So what? Does she mean the commentariat is comprised of mindless sheep simply because many of the commentariat have come to similar conclusions about various things? Again, so what? Tossing around “echo chamber” like a squib is just a dead end.

    • This is definitely a conservative space, and it’s overtly hostile to progressive intrusion. To believe otherwise is to bury your head in the sand; Every time a progressive pops up to make even the most innocuous of points, they’re responded to about a dozen times with comments that range from meaningful disagreement to a drive by lol-ing. You know who you are. Even progressives who weren’t explicitly removed probably didn’t feel too welcome. And progressives have notoriously thin skins.

      Barry’s blog’s comment section (Alas! A Blog) is definitely a progressive space, but it doesn’t have the same overt hostility to conservative commentators that we see here. Instead, conservatives are just censored. It’s his right to do it, it’s the space he wants to foster, but call a spade a spade, it’s what he does. Under the guise of calling the comments rude, derailing, off topic, or blatantly verboten, Barry has meticulously weeded out certain thought patterns, most of them happen to be conservative, and weeding out those conservative thought has basically guaranteed a homogeneity to the thoughts expressed.

      I don’t think it’s unfair to call this space an echo chamber, what happened here was comment-driven where in Barry’s space it was moderator-driven, but at the end of the day, it amounts to a very similar outcome. Intent matters, but so does reality.

      That said, the content Barry provides has been waning lately, both in quality and quantity. Probably half the posts on his blog over the last six months are guest posts from regular commentators that are mostly made up of poorly drawn pictures of cats that (and I couldn’t make this up if I tried) are presented as characters from a roleplaying game (which I am assuming, for the sake of my own sanity, is a tabletop roleplaying game like DnD). Barry has always struggled with depression and insecurity, if anyone knows him in real life, I legitimately think the guy is in need of a wellness check.

      • I view the absence of the progressive voices here self-indictment. I welcome well reasoned and well-documented positions wherever they come from. I keep a record of the banned, and none have been kicked off for a point of view (other than the outright racists), only their manner of presenting one. Oddly, most of the dings I deal with at the outset, the first-timers who never get through, are right wing nuts.

        I can’t control who chooses to comment. I recently had a ridiculous exchange with a Deranged Facebook Friend, and the wild assertions and irrational points suddenly rang a bell. I checked: it was one of the progressive departed here, whom I never had identified before.

        Fatty, Charles, Chris, tgt, deery et al. were always welcomed here by me—if they couldn’t defend their own positions, or felt they had to relieve their frustration by denigrating me, that’s not my fault, and I won’t apologize for it.

        Nor is rejecting the effort to undo the election a conservative position. Opposing anti-Democratic Leftists doesn’t make one a conservative. As I have said many times, the conduct that I’ve been documenting, including the bias of the media, should be rejected by progressive and conservatives both.

        • Believe me, I know. I still think you cut Chris an awful lot of slack, but, your blog, your decision, and I know I’ve overreached a few times, like taking a leaf from “Hasan Minhaj, Homecoming King,” and referring to Obama as “the current president’s poo-colored predecessor” in a foolish attempt to one-up the outrage factor, and, admittedly, targeting valky unfairly and painting a VERY unflattering picture of her because I didn’t like some things she said, like I was back in high school tearing her apart in front of the rest of the class.

          • I still think Chris was a paid Dem talking point spouter. His arguments never made any linear sense, they just ran down the talking points, one after another. He sounded like a Dem pol appearing on MSNBC.

            • I don’t think so, because I remember when he came in, and he was not doing that right off the bat. That happened later, and, I have to say, the more prolific his posts, the more Democratic Party formulaic they became.

      • “This is definitely a conservative space….”

        Having posted here beginning in October of 2012 (I know many more were present long before, like Tim LeVier)…I can confidently say that the blog’s regular commentariat, by quantity was probably actually ever so slightly left of center. I think more conservatives began arriving in my first few years. It seemed that the commentariat was pretty evenly spread across the spectrum- left, right and center. But during that time frame some incredibly divisive societal arguments had sprung up: ObamaCare, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and a few other topics.

        Having witnessed tgt (and often times sparring with him ad nauseum because I wasn’t going to let him get away with his level of dissection) dissect to infinitesimal degree some of the assertions made by right wingers, I can attest that the left side of the group was highly aggressive, vocal and present in numbers.

        But quite a few of the new conservative arrivals were just as aggressive. Frankly, I think many of left had enjoyed not being opposed aggressively and several couldn’t stand the pressure and bailed. I think others bailed simply because the extra crazy that left wing politicians had become was increasingly impossible to defend but the commenter’s pride got in the way.

        While the commentariat, on average is clearly more conservative, the blog itself is not. Unless of course that the Left has gone so bonkers that even middle of the road analysis and observation counts as conservative. But that’s a judgment on progressivism…not on the blog.

        “and it’s overtly hostile to progressive intrusion”

        Meh. The commenters were overtly hostile to conservative “intrusion” until a balance was achieved. Then they left.

        Let them come back and sink or swim. But again, I don’t think their pride will allow them to admit alot of conduct by “their people” is absolutely indefensible and simultaneously don’t want to try to defend them.

      • Yes, I think it’s fair to say the EA commentariat is a conservative space. I prefer to think of it as an island of sanity in the middle of a world that’s gone nuts. Bad ideas aren’t too often present here because… they’re bad ideas.

        But “echo chamber” implies an idea is put out and then simply echoed mindlessly by the inanimate walls. I think there’s a lot of consensus here that runs against progressive cant. But isn’t that refreshing? What’s good about diversity of opinion when it simply includes a lot of bad opinions? It’s analogous to diversity in institutions. What’s the inherent goodness of diversity unless the ideas or people aren’t inherently sound and of the best quality for the task at hand? We need mediocrity or down right inferior stuff around to make something better? Makes no sense.

        • I feel like I need to remind everyone of what I said:

          “I don’t think it’s unfair to call this space an echo chamber, what happened here was comment-driven where in Barry’s space it was moderator-driven, but at the end of the day, it amounts to a very similar outcome. Intent matters, but so does reality.”

          I think part of our disagreement is in the definition. I’ve always assumed that an echo chamber is a place where you hear the same thing over and over again. What you’re hearing isn’t necessarily wrong, or bad, it’s just similar. It can be that way for many reasons, whether the moderators ban all dissenting opinion a la Reset Era or Alas!, or the comment section is too spicy for thin skinned progressives a la here, what doesn’t change is the fact that I can’t think of a whole lot of Bernie supporters in this comment section.

          I think, for instance, that Bernie is a batshit crazy commie who has never found a dictator he couldn’t write a love letter to… And I don’t think there’s anyone here that’s going to disagree with me on that outside of maybe objecting to the hyperbole. Meanwhile, Bernie won a plurality at the Nevada Caucus with more than 45% of the votes cast. This space, for whatever reason, is not, and frankly never pretended really hard to be, neutral or representative…. And that’s not bad. It just is.

          I agree with the first part of Jack’s response where he calls it an indictment of Progressives. Generally, my take on them is that they’re exceptionally intellectually lazy,. I can’t stress this enough… Much of progressive thought is shallow. Their idea of a breakthrough is a bumper sticker of an idea that sounds good, and makes them feel good, and lets them signal their virtue far and wide, with all the strength of 1000 suns…. But has only a tenuous grasp on reality. And when challenged on things like math, economics, sociology, biology, climatology or basically anything that doesn’t end in -ianity or -ism, they pack up and take off, hoping to find an audience stupid or friendly enough to peddle their bad ideas off unchallenged. I’m not saying there aren’t conservatives just as willing to ignore reality, I’m saying I can’t think of a single progressive I think demonstrates an actual sense of curiosity for the truth.

          • Over at Althouse, the same phenomenon is underway. Ann is what she likes to call “cruelly neutral” but her commenters, and she has a lot more than I, include exactly two with a Left-orientation—and both are more trolls than true commenters. They are also constantly mocked by the rest.

          • I think the problem is that a lot of progressives think they have already reached the truth, and are doing the rest of us a favor by letting us catch up to them. Occasionally some cut loose like Melissa Bynum (see post concerning her), and we see what their real way of thinking is. Then they get surprised when some of us hit back and use the same tactics.

        • I am active in some actual ‘conservative echo chambers’ IRL and am viewed as the token moderate. This site is not a conservative echo chamber and it is not very conservative. Jack is definitely a moderate in my view, not a conservative. However, in a day and age where Trump seems to be considered an arch-conservative, I can see why someone might view this site and its comment section as a ‘conservative echo chamber’.

  7. 3: That’s not at all what fair use means.

    Fair use is using bits for criticism. Fair use is parody. Fair use is incidental inclusion such as a person walking down a street of historic buildings talking about what she sees while in the background an ice cream truck’s speakers tinkle out Tutti Fruity.

    Public performances of previously recorded tracks just for the sake of playing them are not fair use any more than the school that sold tickets and played a Disney DVD. The venue had to pay the license fee.* Fair use applies to the news networks that covered the event. They were reporting news and music just happened to be on in the background, they would have a defense if anyone came and tried to collect a fee for the song showing up on Fox or CNN or MSNBC.

    Bands can choose not to license their performances.**

    *Venues–American ones that is–typically pay banket yearly license fees that cover any music played there.

    **They can’t prevent covers from being preformed though, that falls under statutory licensing, a weird loophole in copyright that applies only to music.

    • Playing a recording in public without charging for it is not necessarily a licensing violation because it is routinely permitted/ignored. Playing it as part of a theatrical performance is a violation, but tickets are sold; still, I literally have never heard of a rights owner complaining or seeking fees, even though this is done without permission just about everywhere except on Broadway. I would make a case that if I can play an album outside at my cookout,so can Donald Trump, no matter how many people show up. A disc jockey doesn’t have to pay to play records at a wedding reception. What’s the difference between a wedding reception and a rally? It hasn’t been challenged, and there’s a reason: I think the license holders know they might lose.

      And if a band routinely allows public playing of recordings for others without permission, they will have trouble suddenly claiming a licensing violation. As the Village People point out, groups benefit from people hearing their music. The groups aren’t claiming licensing violations, because the money they would get is minimal, and it’s not worth chasing. They are claiming instead that playing a song is an endorsement, which is silly.

      All that said, you are right: it is not technically fair use. But as things have evolved, it is.

        • I am writing this reply under duress, because valkygrrl is getting paranoid again. I am aware of the situation in the link, which has nothing to do with the “look the other way” tradition/practice of music copyright holders when it comes to their songs being played at public events when no money changes hands as a result.

      • Did you just open with Everybody does it?

        You can get away with playing an album at your cookout. You won’t get caught, everybody does it.

        The owners of the ballroom that hosts the reception have paid a yearly fee. In the US, the location of a rally will have paid a yearly fee. That’s what makes it legal. Read Wayne’s link if for no other reason than it contains this link .

        • In the law of property, when everybody does it, there are legal consequences.If everybody takes a shortcut through your property, it becomes a public easement. If everyone uses your product name as a generic name, you lose you ownership of the name. Thus there are situations like community theaters videotaping their shows,and selling copies at cost to cast members. Rights holders benefit from that, because it publicizes the property, but if they are officially notified (or asked beforehand) they must say no, or risk losing the copyright. So, I was instructed by an Arnold and Porter specialist, tape the show, don’t ask permission, and it’s treated as fair use, but informally. The license holder will not sue or send a demand letter, because they want the practice to continue, which it only will if there is no looming threat. Playing songs at rallies is the same thing.

          • No Jack, this is your third mulish retreat into musical socialism having ignored both me and Wayne–whom you apparently don’t disdain.

            If you want to play a song from your favorite band at your rally you really do need permission. There’s good news about that though.

            1: You don’t need to hire an entertainment lawyer and fly out to Canada to negotiate with Nickleback. You can just buy permission the same way you buy balloons and little flag pins for your rally. There’s a set fee.

            2: When you rented out the Rose Bowl so 100000 people can come and cheer you on as you lecture about the Astro’s sign-stealing scandal and then play a recording of Nightmare Hippy Girl, part of your rental fee went toward the blanket music license that the venue subscribes to every year. This means the Rose Bowl already negotiated with the rightsholder. This means Nickleback does get paid in actual money for your public performance instead of in the exposure that you think is good enough.

            And a good thing too, just try paying for your groceries in exposure for Piggly Wiggly and see how far that gets you. Even better just using all the exposure EthicsAlarms gets to pay for milk and eggs.

            Now a few minor points…

            If everyone uses your product name as a generic name, you lose you ownership of the name.

            That’s trademarks, not copyright.

            Rights holders benefit from that, because it publicizes the property, but if they are officially notified (or asked beforehand) they must say no, or risk losing the copyright.

            No that’s now how copyright works. You are confusing two similar but distinct aspects of the law. Rightsholders are free to charge different fees to different parties and even allow some parties to copy or perform a work gratis. Imagine a hypothetical. New hot rock opera the musical seels for a fee to only one troop per country outside the US, inside the US they allow two national tours and charge half as much, there’s a high school version and any school that wants it pays only $500 and finally any school at any level that wants to do the one song that everyone’s talking about, can do it for free so long as it’s a student who sings.

            The last provision doesn’t stop them from collecting fees from all the others or from a TV network when a non-student sings the song on tonight’s episodes of the masked voice bachelor idle.

            Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take your idea of How-Things-Should-Be for it. Google ‘public performance venue fees’

            • What I described is absolutely true, and I have the written (though informal and confidential) legal opinion to prove it. If you don’t want to learn, don’t. Read what I wrote. A nationally televised use of a copywritten song is not in any way analogous to a rally. Songs on TV earn money. The rights holders have to protest those. I said that officially you are correct, but in reality, you are not. If copyright holders wanted to stop the use of their songs in public events, carnivals, and minor league baseball games (that aren’t televised), they easily could. They don’t, because they don’t want to. This why the vocal objections to songs being used default to the “it implies an endorsement” nonsense. They could sue, and then their songs wouldn’t be uses at anyone’s rallies. The rallies would use the songs of someone else.

                • As with parody, where some, like Weird Al, choose to pay to avoid even potential hassle, the fact that some choose to pay doesn’t mean they will be harassed if they don’t. Bill Clinton campaign did not pay Fleetwood Mac for using “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” as his unofficial campaign song because the band knew they benefited from it. I researched in 2008 how many of the 90 professional theaters in DC paid for recordings they played before shows and in intermissions, plus as background to the plays shows themselves. I found three: The Kennedy Center and two others. I also found that none of the others ever got any flack. So in effect, as I said, it is treated as “fair use,” though technically, it isn’t one of the official, judicially recognized, examples of fair use.

                  This kind of anomaly is not as rare in the law as you might think.

            • Google has no practical experience in these matters. I do. About 30 years worth. You really think the Village People didn’t consult their lawyer before writing their response? You can’t do the YMCA dance unless someone is playing the music, but that’s why they referenced the dance only. Yes, its an example where rigid enforcement is waived for practical reasons. That doesn’t mean the law has changed; it does mean that how it is enforced in practice is not what the words alone suggest. Everybody benefits from the loose enforcement, making the unwritten accord ethical.

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