Ethics Comes In Like A Lion Warm-Up, 3/1/2020: Dead Ethics Alarms In New York, London, And Washington, D.C.

That’s my father’s favorite March!

Mine too.

For some reason there has been a breakdown of civility in the comments lately. This has happened from time to time; something in the air or too many social media rants or something; I don’t really care. You all know where the lines are; you cross them intentionally when you cross them. I appreciate the use of a vulgar word or harsh phrase as much as anyone; “asshole” is particularly tempting, because there is no non-vulgar term that quite captures the essence of its meaning. I also prefer to keep moderation light here, and for the most part, the select commenters who have passed my standards and answered the three questions at the bridge correctly usually make me proud, especially when I see what crawls onto other sites’ comment sections.  The would-be Ethics Alarms participants who send in entries like “Your a Trump-loving fuckface LOL!are all stacked up in the spam vault, and you would not believe how many of those I have to read to maintain the high level of participants here. I do not care to read that kind of gutter residue on the blog itself.

I just trashed a full comment by a regular commenter here, something I have not done in over ten years, and I’m not happy about it. Let’s keep that lapse the anomaly that it is.

1. From the “When ethics alarms don’t ring” file. Pop Quiz! If you were on the staff of a fashion show about to begin at what the New York Times calls “New York’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology”—which I have never heard of—and several of the models appeared backstage preparing to go out looking like this…

…what would you do?

The answer is that no matter how high or low you were on the metaphorical totem pole, you would be obligated to throw a fit, phone the brass, tell everyone in sight that they are out of their minds, and do everything short of calling in a bomb threat to halt what you know without a shadow of a doubt will result in a public relations disaster.

Incredibly, not a single person raised the obvious objection except an African-American model-who refused to don the giant lips and monkey ears. After the predictable uproar, two F.I.T. administrators were suspended, and  the school’s president, Dr. Joyce Brown (who is African-American) issued a public statement admitting that the Feb. 7 show, intended to demonstrate the work of recent graduates of the school’s M.F.A. program, “failed to recognize or anticipate the racist references and cultural insensitivities that were obvious to almost everybody else.”

Wait—if they were obvious to almost everybody else, why were they not obvious to anyone involved in the show?

2. This is how you become an ethics corrupter. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds announced on Saturday they are expecting their first child together. The couple have been living together in Downing Street since Johnson became prime minister in July. Symonds is the first unmarried partner to live openly with a British leader since the bad old days of the Tudors.

If you want a nation to have fractured families, children without fathers and a general deterioration of the crucial societal building block of marriage, this is the way to do it. No, I am not impressed by the fact that the couple says it is engaged. Marriage first, children after. Any other sequence is irresponsible, placing the children and society at risk.

3. In case you missed it: That Chuck Schumer tweet that was supposedly deleted and that I highlighted yesterday was a hoax. You can read the correction and explanation here.

As is often the case, the hoax was convincing because it was consistent with the unconscionable carping by Democratic leaders (and the news media) at anything and everything the President and his administration has done and is doing to keep the Coronavirus at bay as much as possible. The concerted effort to undermine the efforts of the government has the inevitable effect of increasing anxiety by reducing trust in the competence and expertise of those dealing with the problem. It is dangerous and inexcusable. The number of false claims is shocking. Headlines have falsely claimed that the CDC experts have been “muzzled,” which they deny. The President’s selection of Vice-President Pence to oversee the outbreak control measures has been ridiculed because, among other things, he isn’t a doctor and is religious. Pence has experience overseeing health emergencies as a governor, and one does not have to be a medical professional to set up an efficiently functioning system. No, the President did not call the virus a “hoax.” No, the administration had not cut the CDC’s budget, as Joe Biden and others falsely claimed.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal on the partisan weaponizing of a health problem that should not be partisan (but if the Democrats think it can tale down Trump, “all’s fair”):

The evidence so far of bipartisan cooperation in response to the virus isn’t promising. Actually, it’s depressing. …Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocked Vice President Mike Pence, named by President Trump to lead the government’s response, as a science denier. Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the Administration’s “bungled response to the coronavirus outbreak is a mess.” Mike Bloomberg…chimed in that leadership is “sharing the facts, demonstrating control and trusting the experts. Unfortunately, not Trump’s strong suit.”….Sen. Schumer, almost at the same moment he was joining Speaker Pelosi in a plea to stop playing politics, went onto the floor of the Senate to re-rip into Mr. Trump, recycling his “towering and dangerous incompetence” line.

At his coronavirus news conference… Trump was joined by Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. These are the government officials expected to plan and execute the U.S. response to the virus. Addressing the challenge, Dr. Schuchat said, America’s “aggressive containment strategy has been working and is responsible for the low levels of cases that we have so far.” She said we should expect more cases and now is the time to prepare.

….We suppose it’s to be expected that Members of Congress would default to arguing over coronavirus spending levels, parsing whether the right amount is $2.5 billion, $4 billion or $8 billion….But first the scientific community will have to better understand the nature of the virus, its ability to spread, and whether in fact it constitutes an extraordinary threat to the American people requiring extreme containment measures. Dr. Fauci said at the White House that we don’t even know whether the virus could survive the warmer months and reappear next year. He said they’re working faster than they ever have on developing and testing a vaccine that would be ready if it returns.

It’s a big challenge, but getting those answers right won’t be any easier if the coronavirus becomes no different than any of the other political footballs kicked constantly around the capital these days.


33 thoughts on “Ethics Comes In Like A Lion Warm-Up, 3/1/2020: Dead Ethics Alarms In New York, London, And Washington, D.C.

  1. I can only imagine the amount of ‘spicy’ comments that get randomly left in the comments section.

    I applaud your efforts at keeping things civil and ethical in an increasingly uncivil political world.

    Funny story, it was your criticism of Snopes that lead brought me here, as for a while-at least since the 2016 election, I had began to smell something rotten there.

    Anyways, ways keep up the good work Jack.

  2. 1. Wha? (scrunched up Kermit the Frog face)

    2. With respect Jack, Prime Minister Johnson and his gf are just the latest outbreak symptom of an illness that’s been in place for quite a while in Europe and the European influenced countries. I think part of it comes from the idea of having a king or queen who’s a non-partisan head of state who acts cleanly (at least publicly) and does the ceremonial stuff, and then a prime minister and legislators who no one expects to have much in the way of character who do the dirty work of actually governing. Now a lot of the kings are gone, some voted out, some other ways, but the politicians rule on, and govern their personal lives just as they please. Putin’s divorced and flashes gfs around. Jacinda Ardern of NZ is unmarried and welcomed her first child with her “partner” while in office to lots of applause in the press. Macron of France’s wife is old enough to be his mom. Let’s not forget that Italy elected a porn star (Ilona Statler) to Parliament and Silvio Berlusconi’s relationship with a 17-year-old Moroccan prostitute was the stuff of tabloids, a trial, and a successful appeal, which may see him hold office again.Bloomberg’s been living with a gf for years, Corzine used to leave NJ on the weekends to be with his gf in NYC, and no one bats or batted an eye.

    I will say this, I find it ironic that liberals, who pushed so hard for the institution of marriage to be open to same-sex couples, generally scoff at it among heterosexual officeholders, politicians, and so on as unnecessary, quaint, and generally nobody’s business. I think it’s not without merit to say that that push wasn’t done so much to make things fair to gay people (who I believe should have the same rights as everyone else, but shouldn’t be able to weaponize those rights), as to score a win in the cultural wars.

    3. Unfortunately, this is also just a further outbreak of a long-standing problem – namely the politicization of any problem and the attitude that “you never let a good crisis go to waste.” Problems are not to be solved so much as they are to be used to generate political capital and score points against the other side. You mark my words, if tomorrow a huge wildfire erupted in Colorado and threatened to take out a large town, or a hurricane hit Orlando and trashed the place, or someone plowed a truck loaded with explosives into the Lincoln Memorial, the first words out of the Democrats’ mouths wouldn’t be “how can we help?” They wouldn’t be “we’re all Americans here.” They DEFINITELY wouldn’t be “thoughts and prayers,” which phrase they scoff at now as worthless and not doing anything. They’d be “Trump cut the National Forestry Service’s budget,” or “Trump doesn’t believe in climate change, so NOAA wasn’t on this,” or “Trump was asleep on the watch.” Next thing you know Rashida Tlaib is standing in front of burned out houses saying “Mr. President, this is on YOU!” or AOC is hugging flood victims and saying “This is the way the president treats black and brown people.” or Schumer is saying “Trump couldn’t even protect the memory of the president he can’t hold a candle to!” Doesn’t do a damn thing for the victims, but maybe it moves the political ball.

    • The sodomites already had the same rights as everyone else. It’s not like normal people could marry someone of the same sex but they couldn’t. What they did was change the definition of marriage. Now there’s no reason to not keep changing it.

      • That argument has been properly dismissed as silly and contrived. Civil marriage subjected itself to Equal Protection the second it gave special privileges for those engaging in it. A man allowed to benefit from marrying a woman could not have a benefit that a woman could not get from marrying the same woman. The law of the land, as interpreted from the Constitution by SCOTUS, is that marriage is open to same sex couples. A Church is still free to refuse to sanctify same sex marriages, or mixed religion marriages. Denial is not a useful advocacy posture.

      • Freddie Haff wrote, “What they did was change the definition of marriage.”

        Marriage is a legal civil union between two consenting adults in absolutely all aspects except in the point of view of religion and bigots and they want marriage to be strictly framed within the confines of their religion or their bigotry. The United States of America is governed by the Constitution NOT by religion and bigots. No Freddie, no one changed the definition of marriage, they’ve enforced the individual rights that are granted in the United States Constitution and put an end to bigotry as it relates to marriage.

        The Constitution wins and bigotry looses – again!

        All hail the Constitution.

  3. Funny how Ocasio-Cortez calls Pence a science denier when she herself claims that gender is a “social construct.”

    • Funny how Ocasio-Cortez calls Pence a science denier when she herself claims that gender is a “social construct.”

      Hello there!

      A small interjected note: those who deal on these issues describe gender as a social construct because the gender roles are influenced by and in many cases determined by social conventions.

      For example it may have been at one time impossible to have imagined a woman as a bulldozer operator or a boxer. Those are examples ‘constructed identity’ that can only see (and allow) a man to do such things.

      In many ways gender roles are socially constructed. Modernity allows for ‘gender roles’ to become very fluid.

      Biological sex, of course, is another issue! Though there are exceptions, one is either born a woman or one is born a man. The biology that determines physical sex has not been socially determined. It is determined by nature.

      Pence could be a ‘science denier’ because of his, and the administration’s, and many so-called conservative’s, assertion that man-made climate change is a fallacy. (I assume she is referring to that).

      [Apparently, the progressive-left *weaponizes* the narrative of climate change and injects into it many other social and political concerns. The conservative right seems to want to have no part of that. The managing class and the industrial class also desires no controls to be placed on their activities. As many of us know so-called ‘corporations’ can do tremendous harms but then seek to avoid all responsibility. It simply has to be stated that even if ‘man made climate change’ is a real thing, many of these people do not care. (Myself I think it is from sunspot activity!)]

      But going further with the ‘science denier’ thing: Pence is a Christian and Christian metaphysics are based on ideas that are *unscientific*. They have no place within a *scientific worldview*. I doubt that AOC is referring to that, but many within the Progressive movement see Christianity as an antiquated, destructive, fallacious belief-system that needs to be rewritten and re-imaged in newer, progressive terms (where the metaphysical dimensions are subtracted).

      • In defense of Bobby Hill’s comment:

        I think that the terms ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ get often times confused-with ‘gender’ referring to social and cultural traits, and ‘sex’ dealing with biological distinctions, i.e. male or female.

        So I would agree that, according to the definition, gender is a social construct-though where the science denial comes into play (and where it can be compared directly to climate change denial from conservatives) stems from the progressive/radical left who go so far as to flat out deny the existence of biological sex, claiming that it too, like gender, is a social construct and therefore does not exist. See University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne, and trans studies professor Nicholas Matte for examples.

        It is and idea that has been gaining wider acceptance in the social sciences ( women’s studies, gender studies, trans studies, ethnic studies) fields which sometimes outright reject objective science. Many of these fields subscribe to the “blank slate” theory, which denies that evolution has had any effect in shaping the human mind. See Steven Pinker for a thorough debunking of the theory.

        • …stems from the progressive/radical left who go so far as to flat out deny the existence of biological sex, claiming that it too, like gender, is a social construct and therefore does not exist. See University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne, and trans studies professor Nicholas Matte for examples.

          I scanned an article on Coyle in The Chicago Maroon. It did not touch on his views of biological sex but I see where he comes from: the absolute reduction of man to a totally determined being “no more free will than a bowl of sugar”.

          This is why, of course, I continually make reference to metaphysics. We live in a time of radical and competing metaphysics, and thus thoroughly radical ideas that flow from each predicate-set.

          • Caught me in a mistake-I had meant to include Coyne with Pinker, not with those on the side of denying the existence of biological sex.

            That was an oversight on my part.

            If you want to get down in the metaphysical weeds-look to the ongoing battle between free will vs. determinism.

            (I happen to fall into the determinist camp myself)

            • I’d be happy to examine any link you might present!

              Glancingly, I came to think that determinism is likely quite right in all cases having to do with surrounding phenomena. The point or place where I think strict determism is challenged is within the world of conscious being. If that is so it places extraordinary value on 1) consciousness and 2) decisiveness.

              I think that one of the functions of certain developments in the present, insofar as these turn against ‘consciousness’, and against the human being as a willing entity, is to develop technology which effectively reduces *man* to an entity to be manipulated by *machine*. The end of Man is the beginning of Machine.

              The undermining of *man* (a conscious, willing agent capable of making moral choices) is therefore of paramount importance. If this is so it explains a war against man and also against consciousness and sovereignty.

              To undermine man one must undermine *intellectus* and therefore the attack is directed to man’s imaginary world: the world of his imagination: his capacity to *visualize a world*. To conceive of the world in certain ways. The point then becomes to overpower imagination, and to essentially control what can be imagined.

              I happen to fall into the determinist camp myself

              Oh dear . . . 🙂

      • Referring to climate change, Alizia says “(Myself I think it is from sunspot activity!)]” Made me laugh. I’d forgotten that that was the popular belief before the current one. Not so long ago, everything from freckles to region-wide electrical outages — not to mention an increase in alien monster arrivals — was blamed on sunspots. A sky-watching friend of mine opined that we have a new solar cycle arriving the end of this year. (They’re every 11 years: primary school data) But alas and alack, the scientists put an end to that hope; it seems we’re headed toward the lowest level of sunspot activity since accurate record-keeping began in 1750.

        Try again, Alizia.

        • I’d forgotten that that was the popular belief before the current one.

          Funny as it may seem, the prevailing alternative to the carbon dioxide hypothesis is that the warming/cooling trends are due to the cycles of solar output. I’ve seen some correlations which looked a lot more convincing than the carbon dioxide models even five years ago. They’ve since been “adjusting” the raw temperature data to try to keep the narrative alive; I wonder how they’d compare now…

        • The way I look at things is that we often require an *explanation* even if that explanation is no explanation at all. We have to interpret. And if we have at least some sort of interpretation at our disposal, it helps us to get through a world of impending chaos.

          But I was not entirely joking about sunspot activity. I made a minimal effort to research the climate-change thing. I realized I could not ever get to the bottom of it because the entire argument take place within *arcana*. And when minds inclined to reason confront *arcana* it produces untoward effects. I think one of those effects is the reaction that results in *hysteria*. I define that as the channeling of extreme uncertainty and fear (discomfort, unsettledness) into a *symbol*. For those inclined to hysteria the whole world begins to tremble and the solidly we demand is felt to be threatened.

          This seems to me the reason why climate-change hysteria becomes so easily intertwined with the sort of emotional unbalance we notice in that Swedish girl (“How Dare You!”) It is metaphysical uncertainty when you examine it closely. Not only do the ground tremble but the atmospheric gods send frightening omens and presages of doom.

          What’s a girl to do? 🙂

          See I think the entire question of loss of metaphysical ground is a root cause of many different things. But of course I am iNsAnE!

          But stilll:

          Jan 8, 2020

          Two new sunspots have ended a long period of relative quiet on the surface of our blazing host star, heralding the start of a new 11-year cycle of sunspot activity — resulting in sometimes dramatic space weather that could disrupt communications and power grids here on Earth.

          The two new sunspots, designated as NOAA 2753 and 2754, were seen on Dec. 24 by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — a satellite that monitors the exterior and interior of the sun from a geosynchronous orbit more than 22,000 miles (more than 35,000 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface.

      • Thanks for that explanation. If AOC were to say “gender roles” were a social construct, then l would agree. But she only says “gender,” which is part of illogical transgender ideology and implies that, as you stated, biological sex is not determined by nature.

        If Progressives were intellectually honest, they would treat Muslims with the same rancor they treat Christians.

  4. For what it is worth, I did not catch the imagery of the photograph in number 1. Could not tell if the Asian woman was wearing fake Mickey Mouse ears or Princess Leia buns and the lips looked like something off a cheap inflatable sex doll. And, the sort of white robes made me think of Leia.

    Maybe you had to be there (or maybe I have a Carrie Fisher fetish)..


    • Same here, I thought of Ms Fisher because of the mass of white and head silhouette at first. Only when I noted the lips did I realize the other interpretation. Either way, it’s rude and I hope they’re enjoying reaping the whirlwind from the other side.

  5. Coronavirus, like just about everything else, is, again, a horrible indictment of just how bad the American press has become. All fear mongering, and trying to make catchy headlines- just about zero information. Because I have a small son, I decided I better figure out the risk factors for myself- as the press is absolutely useless and won’t tell me.

    I discovered no one under the age of ten has died, there is .02% of death between ages 10-39. A .04% chance of death ages 40-49. 1.3% for ages 50-59. 3.6% for ages 60-69. 8% for ages 70-79. And 14.8% chance of death at the ages over 80. I’m not exactly quaking in my boots over here.

    Obviously, this doesn’t mean it’s not a threat and shouldn’t be taking seriously, but frankly, a disease that’s killing old people doesn’t really frighten me much. (My grandparents might say that’s because I’m not old.) This clearly isn’t the flu epidemic of 1918, which was devastating not just because of how many it killed, but also because of the age range in which it killed.

    Frankly, I’m much more scared of the terrible job the press is doing than of the virus itself.

    (This is the same press that insists on calling every friggin’ snowstorm *Snowpocalypse* or *Snowmaggedden* where I live in UPSTATE NEW YORK, and then when it’s over we all realize it’s just a normal blizzard of the type we get EVERY single year. It’s annoying because when Snowpocalypse really does happen, I’ll only be prepared for a regular type blizzard.)

    • Once l realized that media exists to sell ads, l began my journey into more niche areas like this website. Especially nowadays, traditional media is useless.

  6. #1: Sorry, I don’t see it. The costume is bizarre, but whether it’s monkey-like or not seems largely an “eye of the beholder” thing. Even if it were, is every monkey/ape-like costume or action by a human now only to be interpreted as some sort of slight directed at black people? Of course, the perpetual offense seekers tend do so, but that’s well into “niggardly” territory.

    • Just on the basis of what has caused racial-sensitivity uproars recently, that should have been flagged. It doesn’t matter whether you see it. It matters what the reaction of others is sure to be.

      • We don’t cede a heckler’s veto to the irrational woke on other issues. Why do it with this? It just allows them to expand their reach on such nonsense.

    • I saw it and just moved on. I didn’t notice the ears were ‘monkey like’. I just saw that it was ridiculous, it involved the ‘high fashion elite’, and moved on. No matter how aggravating they are (taxpayer funded ‘Piss Christ’), I just don’t feel that the arts or fashion scene doing stupid things is worth my time.

      Now, the tax-dodge aspect I do care about, but I know that nothing will be done about it. The latest King’s Pass post shows that too well.

  7. With regard to Boris Johnson, my concern is someone having no legal connection to the office holder with access to a great deal of confidential government information. I realize this is true for many office holder relationships, but a head of state is especially troubling considering the potential fallout.

  8. Regarding 3.

    Jack wrote,
    You can read the correction and explanation here.

    I think your explanation needs a correction because:
    a. the explanation is factual NOT correct, or
    b. the explanation is factual correct but written in such a way that I think it is NOT correct.

    To be more specific, in your explanantion you wrote:

    We now know that the tweet is a hoax because ProPoblica, a nonprofit journalism organization, maintains a database of tweets deleted by politicians called Politwoops that uses Twitter’s Streaming API to find tweets from politicians that have been deleted. Schumer;s tweet is in the database […]

    Assuming that the above statements are correct (in logic terms: true),then the conclusion you wrote is Not correct ( in logic terms: false)

    […] thus we know it wasn’t posted.

  9. Here is an article worth blogging about.

    man who criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policies in the name of progressive Christianity was killed last week by an undocumented immigrant who avoided deportation by hiding in a local “sanctuary church.”

    Sean Buchanan, a father of five from Colorado Springs, was driving his motorcycle on Highway 83 when Miguel Ramirez Valiente swerved into his lane and killed him. The immigrant was charged with reckless driving with a revoked license.

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