Mid-Day Ethics Stimulus, 4/16/2020: Ethics? Never Mind Ethics, I Got TOILET PAPER! 26 Rolls! TOILET PAPER! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Sorry, I lost it a bit there for a moment…

Where was I?

Oh, right..the post.

1. Incompetent elected official of the moment, since there are so many revealing themselves lately I can’t keep up with them…it’s New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy! Asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson if he realized  the Bill of Rights prohibited his order prohibiting religious gatherings,  the Democratic leader said,

“That’s above my pay grade, Tucker.I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”

Then he blathered on about how he consulted “experts” and religious leaders.

2. I don’t understand this story at ALL. NASCAR star Kyle Larson was competing in an iRacing event on Sunday when he lost communication with his spotter on his headset.

Larson was participating in the Monza Madness iRacing exhibition race over the weekend. Video from another competitor’s twitch stream caught Larson blurting out “nigger” across the audio channel where drivers can talk to all competitors. When a driver speaks on that channel, their name appears on each driver’s screen. In the video, Larson said: “You can’t hear me? Hey nigger…” Another driver said: “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.” “Yep, we heard that,” said another. Yet another said, “Yikes.”

Larson issued an apology the next day, saying that there was “no excuse” for his comment, and he apologized in a video posted on his social media accounts.

Never mind. Larson was fired the day after his apology by Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson’s sponsors, McDonald’s, Credit One Bank and Fiserv, a financial services technology company,  terminated their sponsorship deals, and Chevrolet terminated their relationships with him. It is estimated that the episode may cost the driver 8 figures in income, and that he may never race again.

This wasn’t even a real race. The NASCAR season was suspended after four races because of the pandemic, so NASCAR  created an iRacing league of virtual racing for television. The platform allows drivers  to  join one another on a livestream where they trash talk, make jokes and discuss the race as fans  listen through the gaming app Twitch.

The reaction to a single lapse—a word–is wildly excessive. Larson didn’t do anything, or harm a single individual. He is, by all accounts, a well-liked driver and a good guy. By what possible logic or sense of proportion is someone’s entire career and reputation destroyed by the inadvertent use of a slur–it doesn’t even seem to have been directed at anyone—that Dave Chappelle uses a hundred times a special on Netflix? This is insanity...rank injustice rising to cruelty.

The problem, of course, is that NASCAR is entirely driven by corporate sponsorships, and corporations are terrified of boycotts and grandstanding protests. So they are ready to ruin a man’s career because of single, one word outburst. Few crimes involve an 8 figure fine, and this wasn’t a crime.

I must also point out that I had to check six sources before I could find one that specified what Larson said, and  even then it was in code–“N-word.” The other sources just said he uttered a racial slur, and we were supposed to guess which one.

Madness.

3. The President was a busy bee the last few days, and setting off controversies left and right:

  • The President’s name will be printed on the stimulus checks the Internal Revenue Service is sending  to 70 million  Americans. When recipients open the $1,200 paper checks the IRS will send out, “President Donald J. Trump” will appear on the left side of the payment. Reputedly he wanted to have his signature on the actual checks themselves, but he wasn’t authorized by law to sign them.

The Trump Deranged are sputtering with rage, but this is one of a million ways an incumbent President has tools to use in an election year that confer an advantage. It’s audacious, but it’s smart, creative politics. Bravo.

  • President Trump threatened yesterday to force Congress to adjourn so he could fill his administration’s vacancies without Senate approval, telling reporters during his daily briefing,   “As the entire US government works to combat the global pandemic, it is absolutely essential that key positions at relevant federal agencies are fully staffed, and we’re not allowing that to take place through our Congress,. They’re just not giving it to us. We have many positions that are unstaffed because we can’t get approval.” He said there were 129 nominees “stuck in the Senate because of partisan obstruction.” Surprise! The President has the power to do this.

Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says the President “may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper.” If this isn’t an extraordinary occasion, what is?

The Democratic Party/”resistance”/mainstream media collective doesn’t want Trump to be able to use any of his powers, so they are obviously hysterical over this one. I think he’s using it as leverage, but I hope he really does it. The power has never been used before, but like the check-signing stunt, it’s worth it just to show Congress who’s in the White House, and to, once again, provoke them into an over-reaction. I can’t wait to see Adam Schiff try to impeach Trump for using a constitutionally sanctioned power.

  • Heads were also exploding over the President’s statement that he had “total” authority over the decision to reopen the country, overruling governors. I and more informed Constitutional experts than I question that assertion, but people never seem to learn that Trump just says stuff, and whether he means it, will change his mind, or is just messing with his enemies—in his case, they really are enemies—is anyone’s guess. The President later said  he would work with the governors to reopen the country, when the time was right.

No, I don’t approve of this leadership style, and deliberately upsetting people by claiming sweeping powers he doesn’t have is unsettling and irresponsible.

24 thoughts on “Mid-Day Ethics Stimulus, 4/16/2020: Ethics? Never Mind Ethics, I Got TOILET PAPER! 26 Rolls! TOILET PAPER! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  1. Any person whose reaction to Trump’s name being printed on the checks isn’t, “Sure, why not? Let him put whatever he wants, so long as the checks can still be deposited,” needs to check their priorities and turn their attention to actual problems and how to address them (or stop causing them).

      • Most will be direct deposit. The funny part is those getting paper checks are those without checking accounts. Many of them are minorities.

        • Look at the next beautiful clusterfuck just waiting to blow up in his face:

          According the CARES, the money will be deposited directly into accounts where yearly tax refunds are deposited. That’s right. Sounds good, eh? But, wait, there just might be a problem. See, lots of people go to H&R Block and other tax preparers who efile their returns. H&R Block and other tax preparers take a percentage of the tax refund. Well, tax preparers being tax preparers, they don’t do tax returns on charity or a future promise to be paid by the taxpayer. See the problem? Well, that refund gets deposited into . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . H&R Block’s tax account! That’s right. NOT THE TAXPAYER’S account. Oh the humanity.

          Now, H&R Block might sitting on tens of thousands of dollars and won’t know what and to whom to pay the payments. So, the local news people will start rolling out scores and scores and scores of news stories about afflicted taxpayers who haven’t received their fair share of stimulus money. The IRS won’t know how to handle the problem because they can’t talk about taxpayers on account of privacy laws and Orange Man Bad will take the blame.

          jvb

  2. On the last point. He said he ha total authority. He did not say if that was de facto authority or de jure. He may lack the legal power to compel states to “open” , but he does have the legal right to end the national emergency.If that occurs reopening may become a de facto authorization as the money from the feds will begin to dry up.

    I don’t think he ever planned the country would flip a switch and all states would open. That statement about total authority came as a result of be badgered about him not having the right to make such decisions. The statement was a dumb move in reaction to a malevolent badgering. Personally, I would bet that few people in this world would be able to maintain as much composure in the face of daily attacks while caring about doing a great job as he has. I would have thrown a chair at Accosta or Alcindor weeks ago

    • Ann Althouse carefully parsed what Trump said yesterday about his authority. https://althouse.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-state-of-trumps-view-as-of.html

      Trump was very careful to say, over and over again, that the decision to open the economy would be the governors’ but that Trump had total authority to force them to close again or to open more slowly than they wanted. Yet this is being almost universally portrayed by the media as an attempt by Trump to force the governors to open against their will, because he wants to kill people to please Wall Street.

      • Agreed. But Trump backtracked on the “total authority” line after Legal Scholar and All-Around Good Guy Chris Cuomo explained Tenth Amendment nuances to him from his basement (either before, during, or after Cuomo berated a Jersey neighbor for calling him out for breaking quarantine). It’s true. Really.

        On a side note, where were these people between 2008 and 2016 when St. Barack declared that, if Congress didn’t do his bidding, he would use a pen (probably a blue Bic ink pen) and a piece of paper (Office Depot brand?) to issue executive orders to implement his plans? Oh, and weren’t they the same ones complaining when Orange Man Bad rescinded Obama’s executive orders in the same way (except Orange Man Bad used fat Sharpie and nice stationary)?

        On a third note, I am becoming addicted to the smell of Lysol.
        jvb

        • On a third note, I am becoming addicted to the smell of Lysol.

          Handy stuff, that. So here’s a tip for the EA community. Lysol spray is impossible to find. So are Lysol Wipes. But you CAN make your own, because Lysol itself still turns up from time to time.

          Dilute the concentrated stuff with water to about 3:1. You can put that in a plastic spray bottle for a spray replacement. It won’t mist as nicely as the can, but you can spray and wipe done effectively.

          Here’s the hack for the wipes. Buy some packets of non-woven fabric from Amazon (an example follows). The ones I got were bigger than needed, so I cut them in half. Stack them and roll the stack. Place it in a plastic food storage container with a screw or snap-top lid. Add your diluted Lysol solution. Let it soak, squeezing it through a few times. These work pretty well!

          You can use the same fabric if you can’t find soothing clothes for your nether regions. You make up the formula (though there are many available online).

  3. 1. We watched a good portion of that interview last night. There were numerous jaw-dropping, head-scratching, whisker-rubbing (that last one was just me, not my wife) moments in it. Infringing on and, in some cases, completely denying the rights of citizens has never been easier than it is now.

    I can’t remember which Founder – Sam Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison – said something like “giving up freedom for safety costs you both freedom and safety”, but whoever it was had it exactly right.

    • My wife asked me what “above my pay grade” meant. I told her it was a shorthand, cavalier way of telling the questioner to move along, that focusing on silly things like laws, executive power, and separation of co-equal branches of government is worrying about the Devil in the details. I told her St. Barack made the statement fashionable when he was asked when life began, dismissing the question as irrelevant.

      jvb

  4. Ah, that was Franklin. His phrasing indicates that whoever gives up essential liberty in the name of safety deserves neither. He hates us from beyond the grave. Personally, I hope there’s a Tutankhamen-style curse attached to that. Maybe his remains will slink from governor’s mansion to governor’s mansion in the night doing what our defunct militias should have done in the 30’s (if not sooner, of course).

    On the other hand, given that phrasing, maybe his remains will don a golden mask and make itself the unquestioned totalitarian safety-emperor, ruling America ruthlessly and extending his reach by military conquest. Our only hope to escape his terrible reign would be to awaken the frozen cadavers of Lenin and Disney and pray they annihilate each other.

  5. 3(b): The Supremes ruled against Obama declaring Congress was actually in recess, when they said they weren’t, and making appointments. How would that differ from what Trump is proposing to do?

  6. About reopening the economy, my liberal friend, bless her heart, asked me whether trump cared about the tenth amendment.

    You know it’s a topsy turvy world when liberals are fretting about trampling on states rights!

  7. 1. Gov. Murphy

    Well, I applaud the fact that he admitted exactly what his thinking was. I also applaud that he appears to imply that he doesn’t care about the Bill of Rights.

    Honesty is the best way to get rid of these idiots, and any idiot willing to aid in his own ultimate demise is a blessing.

    2. Larson

    It’s easy and cheap for corporations to fire public figures. Comes with the job. Those sponsored should take note, and arrange their sponsorship contracts better. In other words, he got what he deserved, not because he really deserved it, but because he agreed to terms that left him vulnerable to such PC nonsense. Better no sponsor at all than a feckless one.

    3. The President:

    a. Agreed.

    b. Agreed. I really want him to do it, the tears of outrage would keep me drunk on schadenfreude for the duration of this Kung Flu panic.

    c. I laughed, and cringed, when Trump made this claim. I looked over at my wife and said, “He can no more do that than I can.” But acting like a fool just to piss off other fools is not very smart, let alone presidential. I think on balance it did him harm, and made me think less of him. This is not the time to look foolish, even in the service of tweaking the unhinged left.

    • I laughed, and cringed, when Trump made this claim. I looked over at my wife and said, “He can no more do that than I can.” But acting like a fool just to piss off other fools is not very smart, let alone presidential. I think on balance it did him harm, and made me think less of him. This is not the time to look foolish, even in the service of tweaking the unhinged left.

      Exactly.

  8. Re Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, how can the President force both houses to adjourn? From my understanding from reading it the President can only decide when to adjourn Congress if both Houses of Congress can’t agree on a when to adjourn. As neither House are wanting to adjourn at the moment then there is no disagreement between them so therefore no date for the President to decide.
    As for extraordinary Occasions that clause is for Convening Congress not adjourning Congress.

    • I should have gone into more detail. Here’s how it has to work: For the president to use the Adjournment Clause to adjourn Congress for the 10 days needed to make recess appointments, there needs to be a formal disagreement between the Senate and the House. The Senate would have to pass a motion of adjournment for at least 10 days. Under Senate Rule 22, such a motion isn’t debatable, so it requires only a simple majority vote. McConnell would have to call all of the Senators back to Washington for a vote.

      That approved adjournment then would need to be formally transmitted to the House. If Pelosi refused to act on it, it would, theoretically, be considered a “Case of Disagreement” sufficient to satisfy the Adjournment Clause.

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