Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/4/2020: Three Out Of Four Positive Items!

Good morning to you!

1. Let’s start with some good news! In April of last year, I wrote about Massachusetts judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, who  was charged with obstruction of justice, along with another court officer, for helping an illegal immigrant (and criminal) elude arrest by the ICE. The story is here. It looks like the judge is going to trial.

U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin has now denied the judge’s lawyers’ motions to dismiss in a July ruling. “After careful consideration, the motions to dismiss are DENIED because the Indictment alleges the elements of the offenses and sufficient supporting factual detail,” he  wrote . Joseph’s attorneys are claiming was that she is protected by judicial immunity, though that should only apply to actions a judge engages in under judicial authority and in the course of her duties. Instructing a court employee to help an illegal immigrant evade being taken into custody by ICE agents  after his hearing on criminal charges, including drug possession, is not known as “being a judge.” It is known as “obstructing  justice.” Even if the judge avoids punishment, her days as a judge are over.


2. What’s this? MORE good news? I have been looking for cracks in the monolithic mainstream media, with defections by individuals in the midst of the journalism’s abandonment of its duties to democracy in favor of news manipulation and partisanship. Less than a month ago, New York Timed editor Bari Weiss called out the oppressive culture of partisanship and conformity at the her paper, earning her Ethics Hero status.

Last month MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary quit the network, arguably the most unethical of all the broadcast news outlets, and yesterday she published a blog post explaining why. “I simply couldn’t stay there anymore.” She wrote:

“My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis….It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would ‘rate,’ The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing. But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done…I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. Therefore, it’s particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions. I’ve even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.”

She claims to want to be part of a solution to this dire situation. We shall see. I reached out to her in an email yesterday, offering my guidance and expertise, gratis of course.

3. On the theory that transparency is good news, it was nice to see Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, supposedly one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, demonstrate how dim-witted she is and unqualified to be President, though at this point even she could probably beat poor Joe Biden in a spelling bee. Over and over, on several Sunday news shows, she repeated her previous explanation for praising Fidel Castro , telling Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” for example, regarding calling the brutal dictator’s death a “great loss to the people of Cuba,” that she “wouldn’t do that again. Talked immediately to my colleagues from Florida and realized that that was something that just shouldn’t have been said.”

Astounding. She wouldn’t say that what she said was wrong, outrageous for a member of Congress and demonstrated inexcusable ignorance, but that she should have kept the opinion to herself.  Todd, of course, being one of the worst hacks in captivity, didn’t bother to press her on the point for the benefit of members of his audience who can’t recognize signature significance when it’s right in front of them.

Biden, or whoever his ventriloquist is, is officially trapped in ethics zugzwang. The only reason Bass is even being considered is that Biden has to select a black (George Floyd!) woman (#MeToo!) as his VP, and all of his remaining options are horrible by any objective standard. This will be a flaming lesson in the foolishness of placing physical characteristics over ability, experience and character, a perfect example of  why affirmative action doesn’t work and will never work. Bass is a light-weight, but Biden’s two other options are Kamala Harris ( whose ugly Ethics Alarms dossier is here), and <ack! choke! yecch! barf! gag!> the even more horrible Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s ethics-free acolyte. Her dossier is here. She would be the most sinister Vice-President candidate since Aaron Burr.

I have to poll this: Who is Joe’s best choice among this unethical trio?

I’m not going to allow “None of the above,” because I don’t think he has that option, or at least doesn’t have the integrity to insist on choosing a qualified candidate who has the wrong tint or chromosomes.

4. Finally, to end on a downer, the Unethical  Non-Trump Tweet of the week.  Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only NBA player not to kneel during the National Anthem, and also refused to wear a “Black Lives Matter” warm-up like  the rest of his teammates. In Sunday’s game, he tore his ACL, a season-ending and career threatening injury. ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard then ran a poll on Twitter asking, “Is it funny the guy who refused to kneel immediately blew out his knee?” 

When the poll was pulled, about 45% of respondents said that it was funny, which tells you all you need to know about NBA fans and Black Lives Matter supporters—the genuine kind, not the grovelers. Le Batard issued a phony apology, Level 10 on the Apology Scale.

“We apologize for this poll question,”  he wrote. “I said on the front and back end of the on-air conversation that I didn’t think it was funny. Regardless of the context, we missed the mark. We took the tweet down when we realized our mistake in how we posed the question to the audience.”

Lies and more lies. They took the tweet down when it was clear they were getting slammed for it. If he didn’t think a young athlete getting injured was funny because he dared to oppose the BLM mob, why would he think anyone else would? When is someone getting hurt who has done nothing wrong and who did not do something foolish to cause the injury ever funny?

44 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/4/2020: Three Out Of Four Positive Items!

    • Her or Oprah. I’m not sure they are interested but both are extremely popular. They may not be qualified, but it seems the Democrats are not interested in that.

      • When we look honestly at the front runners of the black women possible VP candidates I’ve just gotta believe that Biden, or those advising him, have enough common sense not to pick any of them. What do you think of Biden surprising everyone by going down a slightly different road either picking a black woman that’s completely outside of the DC swamp and not on anyone’s radar like a CEO etc in the business world or how about choosing a black man from Congress?

    • Someone’s conspiracy theory was that he was going to name Hillary as his running mate under the guise that she was the “choice of the people” in 2016…but then all the Bill Clinton / possible sexual abuse of children whilst cavorting with Epstein came out during the week Biden would announce his pick… prompting the delay of the announcement.

    • I’m gonna fill out my form and submit it to the pool.

      Mark me down for Anita Hill. What do I win if I’m right?


      P.S. Would Condoleezza Rice be a bridge too far?

      • If SloJoe should win this election, the Republicans’ best chance for a comeback might be to play the democrats’ identity group game and run something like a Ted Cruz and Condi Rice ticket (either one in either position). The dems would wet themselves trying to figure out how to get around that. I’d love to see Rice run for something, but it doesn’t seem she’s interested…maybe she could be persuaded…

  1. “Who is Joe’s best choice among this unethical trio?”

    Harris. Similar to HRC, her positions seem like dust in the wind, taking her wherever public opinion goes. But of the three, I think she’s probably the most competent (low bar, but still) while remaining not quite as dead-eye sinister as Rice.

    Gotta admit… If the ticket is Trump/Pence v. Biden/Harris, I think, as things stand, Biden wins in a landslide. The more progressive elements of the Democrats won’t be happy with Harris, but who the hell else they gonna vote for, and I think Harris plays well with centrists looking for someone who isn’t bloody insane.

    • Oh, I think you could not be more wrong. Trump-Pence winning in a landslide is far more likely. Neither Biden nor Harris meets the ideology of BLM, nor Bernie Bros. People will just stay home. One polls rated the enthusiasm of Biden supporters only 70% of that of Trump supporters. I doubt its that high, Meanwhile, whether Biden weasels out of debates or does them, he’s screwed. The polls show a lot of Trump voters disapproving of Trump, but they will still vote for him over the ridiculous positions Biden is stuck with.

      I thought Trump was likely to win easily a year ago, and I am more sure now than then.

      • Jack wrote, “I thought Trump was likely to win easily a year ago, and I am more sure now than then.”

        Isn’t that the same kind of things the Democrats, the polls, and the media were saying about Hillary’s preordained “coronation” a couple of months before the election in 2016?

        • Yes. And if you recall, I said, all along, that one way or the other, she would never be President. Furthermore, she was not an incumbent, was not running against a socialist, racist party with a candidate who was both old and senile, and on a theory that hate conquers all. Moreover, Hillary had to get over 50% of the vote to win. Trump can win the Electoral College if he loses the popular vote by even more than last time.

        • It’s important to remember that while individual states were wrong, nationally, the national polls were actually kind of close. They called for Clinton winning by several million votes, and she did get several million more votes than Trump, they just weren’t spread out like it had been assumed. Those polls are significantly worse for Trump now than they were going into November 2016.

          I also want to remind everyone that I was a contrarian here during the 2016 election, saying that I thought people were writing Trump off prematurely, and that the election would be close, and could go either way, long after some of the right leaning voices and all of the left leaning voices had written him off.

          It’s still possible that Trump wins, we have a few months before November, Biden hasn’t even picked his VP yet, and the American public has the collective memory of the average goldfish. I just think, looking at everything available to me, that this chances this time around seem worse.

          • True, but the polls in August 2016 were significantly worse for Trump than they were going into November.

            I was just looking at the favorability polls on Real Clear Politics — they show Clinton vs Trump and Biden vs Trump — they look broadly similar, at least to my eye.

            And Clinton was in possession of all her faculties. She may have lost the debates to Trump, but at least she knew what a debate was.

          • It should be noted that, contrary to the common narrative, Hillary did not “win” the popular vote (she got less than 50% of the total). In raw numbers, Republicans + Libertarians outpolled democrats + Greens. What that might mean and how it might affect this years vote, I can’t guess.

      • I think that assumes a whole lot more intelligence than your average voter exhibits.

        Look at Black America, they vote, on average, in excess of 80% to Democrat candidates, despite Democrats failing them utterly at every level of government. Look at Flint, Michigan: Democrat Mayor, Democrat Council, Democrat House, Democrat Senate, Democrat Governor, been that way longer than I’ve been alive. But you know who’s at fault for those lead-lined municipal pipes? Trump. Obviously. All these police departments we’re worried about now? Democrat Mayors, Democrat Councils, Democrat Houses, Democrat Senates, Democrat Governors, been that way longer than I’ve been alive. At fault? You got it! Trump. Democrats have been inoculated against facts for a very long time, I don’t see why 2020 should be some great awakening for them, particularly with how horrible Trump is.

        That said, I can only say “upwards of 80%” because Trump was able to manage to peel off more black support than any republican has gotten in a very long time, so that trend might be changing. I think that’s part of why Democrats are so shrill on racism right now. But this idea that enough people will stay home to swing it for Trump… I don’t see it. I mean, give it a few months, and reality might assert itself and I’ll have to admit I was wrong, but I don’t think that progressives will just stay home, and I don’t think centrists will find Biden as offensive as Clinton.

    • There’s a certain grim, dark humor in contemplating how far into the video one can make it before realizing it’s actually satire.

  2. *sigh* I’ve got to say Harris, if those are the only choices. They’re all awful, but the other two are awfuller.

    Truly a lesser of evils type of choice — which is a hell of a note to be choosing a Vice President on.

    I can but hope that whatever his choices ends up being, it proves to be irrelevant. Can’t even snag the first person of color on a major party ticket, that’s been done.

      • Burr has usable, real-world experience and is pro-2nd Amendment. Sure, there is a bit of scandal around him, but compared to President Trump’s predecessor and his 2016 opponent, Burr looks pretty solid, if not positively angelic.

        I still cannot believe I desperately wished for Joe Biden to be a candidate in 2016.

  3. 4. Hey Dan. Fuck you. I hope you tear your ACL falling off a bar stool some afternoon. It will change your life. Take it from someone who tore his all to hell in eleventh grade.

    3. I’ve seen a headline where Karen Bass is quoted as saying “I’m not a communist.” Funniest thing I’ve seen in years. Tells you how far left the Democratic party has travelled. Hilarious. The Dems, rather than Trump and the GOP, have brought the McCarthy era back to life. Bravo!

    • I completely ruptured my ACL at 23. That hurt like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I’m not the kind of person who gets all wound and make a fuss when hurting as I figure it serves no purpose. When they ran my blood pressure in the ER, it was 190 something and the nurse said, it hurts, huh? Yep! A little morphine and it was back down to 120 something.

      I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  4. 1. That this should even be happening says a lot. Judges are constrained by the law and their role is to see that the law is followed. It is not their role to aid others in breaking the law. However, if judges are elected, as I believe they are in MA, then they are politicians, playing to what they think will get them reelected. In notoriously liberal MA, which elects the occasional GOP governor but hasn’t sent a Republican to Congress in who knows how long and hasn’t voted for a Republican president since 1988, this would make her a hero. Her days as a judge may be over, but she’ll probably avoid a custodial term. She’ll have her license suspended for a year or so, then some “public interest” law firm will pick her right up at a nice salary and she’ll do quite well on the lecture circuit.

    2. We’ll see. The left is notoriously unforgiving to those who break ranks with it. Since this is a woman no former coworker will pop up to accuse her of harassment, but she’s in for a rough ride.

    3. I voted that they are all equally unfit, but ultimately I think Kamala Harris is the best bet. Karen Bass’s pluses do not outweigh her minuses (which could cost Joe the state of Florida, a must-win), and Susan Rice just brings too much unsettled baggage with her, in effect bringing in none of the Obama administration’s pluses (Obama) and even more of its minuses (almost everything else). Right now Biden is doing well because he’s like that girl you have a crush on but haven’t met. You don’t know her so you use your imagination to fill in the blanks, maybe even ignoring what you hear from others. Then finally you do meet her, and you find out she falls way short of what you thought. It’s just a question of can he keep that going for three more months. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think this race is going to be a landslide for either side, I think it’s going to be a squeaker, and it might well be another 2000.

    4. Just more proof that the left is typified by dicks. It’s a dick move to say something like that. In middle school it was considered dickish to say “ah-ha-haha” when someone got hurt through no fault of their own, even if you hated them. It’s a dick move to say someone deserved to get hurt. It’s an even bigger dick move to call it karma because the person didn’t go along with the cause du jour. They can spin it any way they want, but the dickishness remains.

    • “Right now Biden is doing well because he’s like that girl you have a crush on but haven’t met. You don’t know her so you use your imagination to fill in the blanks, maybe even ignoring what you hear from others.”

      I hate you a little bit right now for putting that imagery in my head. Thank you.

      • Well, Jeff, in the alternative, let me compare Biden to that garage sale you see from the roadway. From a distance, it looks like it might be interesting and even exciting. You know from experience it’s probably just a lot of junk and worthless stuff, because you’ve been to these things before. Do you stop and browse in the hopes that this time it will be different and you’ll find some prize, or do you decide it’s likely to be a waste of time, step on the gas, and keep driving? I’m biased against going to yard sales, because my mom was one of those people who couldn’t resist stopping and browsing, sometimes no matter what the original plan was or what anyone else wanted, but even without the bias, it’s been my experience that you won’t find that prize.

    • Steve, judges are NOT elected in Massachusetts. They’re appointed by the Hack-o-Rama that is the State government. Someone serves a few terms in the legislature – or bundles enough campaign donations to one of the Solons in the State House, they get a judgeship or the title of Chancellor, University of Massachusetts at [some obscure town where it used to be a two-year technical school].

      Remember, this is the state that appointed Billy Bulger, brother of notorious mobster Whitey Bulger, to lead the UMass system after he got tired of governance. Or until he figured out that he could double-dip with his pension from leadership in the Massachusetts Legislature AND earn a nifty salary as an “educator.”

      • Ahhh, so the judges are hacks like here in NJ, where the way onto the bench is to suck up to your state senator and be of the same party as the governor. $10 says she was a Patrick appointee.

    • Right now Biden is doing well because he’s like that girl you have a crush on but haven’t met. You don’t know her so you use your imagination to fill in the blanks, maybe even ignoring what you hear from others. Then finally you do meet her, and you find out she falls way short of what you thought.

      How do you deduce this?

  5. Re: #4, gosh, I am torn (in no way like an ACL).

    As someone who strives not to say stupid thing, I often fail, in spite of my successes.

    As someone who sees humor in just about everything, this “joke” is fair game.

    A certain corollary of humor is that it should not make light of cruelty or suffering. I know formulaic (emphasis on formulaic, even though I provided no emphasis) jokes about slavery and the Holocaust. As far as the formula goes, they are funny. But, because the joke makes light of human suffering, it is less funny.

    But, humor often relies on stereotypes. It has to. It has to be relatable.

    Jokes about stupid people are all pretty much formulaic. You just substitute Polack (it’s okay, that is what they call themselves, stupid Polacks!), blondes, or Iowan (I’m from the State Mondale Won, what can I say) and the joke is the same.

    But, you want a real Polack joke: why do so many Polish names end in “ski?”

    Because they can’t spell “toboggan.”

    Get it? Because they are dumb. (Of course, I had to look up the spelling to make the joke). There is a funny scene in Raiding Arizona that parodies this mindset.

    You can’t substitute blondes (or even Iowans) in that joke. It is a genuine Polack joke.

    It is a unique joke. It plays on a stereotype. But, it is not cruel. It does not try to make light of pain and cruelty.

    The ACL year is fodder for humor. But, not a joke I would make.


    • I still don’t understand where the whole dumb Polak line of jokes came from, but I have a couple of jokes for you:

      Q: How many Poles does it take to change the world?

      A: Only one or two, if their names are Walesa or Wojtyla.

      Q: How many Poles does it take to save Christendom?

      A: 27,000, give or take. (King Jan III Sobieski led 27,000 of the famous Polish winged hussars to break the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, and end the possibility of any further Turkish conquests in Europe, although it would be about a century and a half more before Europe threw them out of the Balkans altogether).

      Now, let me ask you this: if you were injured, would you think it was ok if someone made your suffering into a joke? Probably not. Look, we can all laugh, including the victim, if someone takes a dumb fall that hurts nothing but his pride. We can all laugh at Charlie Brown tripping over his ghost costume with a big “KLUNK!” or Tom getting bludgeoned by Jerry with a frying pan, or Ernie removing Bert’s nose for the umpteenth time. In real life getting badly injured isn’t funny, and laughing at someone else’s suffering is a dickish thing to do.

      • It came from the fact that, when they came to the US, they were very trusting, typically peasant types, and could not speak the language (even worse than the French or Germans). So, they were easy to take advantage of. It made them seem stupid of foolish. I think that is where the stereotype came from. (Coincidentally, I understand that many slurs, wop, kike, and wetback, are slurs relating to immigration status.

        • Most likely, also the Poles tend to work hard and drink hard. Yes, as an Italian-American I am familiar with wop (without papers), dago (actually a Spanish term cut down from hidalgo) and so on. I’m also familiar with wetback, who isn’t? And I know that kike comes from the Yiddish word for “circle” which arriving Jews from Eastern Europe who were illiterate or couldn’t write in the Roman alphabet signed papers with, since the “X” looked too much like a cross. These days most of the insults have to do with distinctive appearances: raghead, towelhead, dothead, slant, pull-start/push-start, etc.

  6. I appreciate the discussion here, but you all seem to assume that the Dems will run Biden as the candidate in November. I don’t believe that and think that what is happening behind the scenes right now is groundwork for either a VP candidate they can move to the top of the ticket or a VP candidate the Dems can match with their replacement once it becomes apparent that Hollow Joe isn’t capable of assuming office even if he wins.

  7. Harris is the least worse of the three (tragically). Others have already explained.

    Trump is a one-term president. I am sticking to that – have stuck to that since my first comment here about his 2-term prospects. Whether or not I vote for him does not matter. I tilt toward agreeing with Humble Talent’s reasoning, including:

    “… I don’t think that progressives will just stay home, and I don’t think centrists will find Biden as offensive as Clinton,” and

    “[T]he American public has the collective memory of the average goldfish.”

    To add my own reasoning and assessment: In just four years, national demographics, and the predominant viewpoints within those demographics, have shifted enough so that Trump will have more votes against him than he had in 2016. Boomers and those older who voted for Trump have died in large numbers, or have become disengaged unlike they were in 2016. Not all the silence from the political right is intentional violence against Trump; some of it is simply “why bother?” Participation rates among 2016 Trump voters will sag, and even switch. He won’t win in the Electoral College. He will lose in several more states in which he won in 2016.

    Even if Trump did somehow manage to be re-elected, his presidency would be destroyed by his enemies rather quickly. Deeper levels of hell await both the governing and the governed.

    • You’re believing the bad polls and the propaganda, Lucky. Moderates are not going to vote for Black Lives Matter, the Green New Deal, and four years of coups. It took much less tolerance of crazy policy ideas to vote for Hillary.

      As soon as Joe picks one of the three stooges, he loses a chunk of voters. One debate will will bring him down more. As the economy opens, people will stop being mad at Trump.

      • Among the working people and family in my acquaintance, there’s only one TDS hh. Most are quietly angry at things the Left has been pushing like extending shutdowns for ‘just one life.’ Their lives and incomes to support their families have been badly affected by Dems already in power. They are working the warehouse jobs in hazmat suits who cannot breathe or fixing the wrecked Amazon delivery vehicles from a wobbling like stilts economy and they are the seniors who cannot get f2f preventative care because of panic about vaccines that may take years. When the apolitical get pissed, all bets of this topic are off.

  8. Above, I deliberately excluded the election-year truism that was so popular in 1992.

    To update the ’92 Bill Clinton campaign slogan vs. incumbent George H.W. Bush, with consideration of (1) how much more the electorate has become mired in the swamp of a Nation of Assholes, (2) the coronavirus troubles and impacts, and (3) the gloves-off, win-by-any-means-necessary warfare of the “resistance” against Trump:

    It’s the stupid economy, smarties!

  9. I think it’s an indictment of the depths that the Democrat party has sunk that Tulsi Gabbard isn’t even being considered. That is presuming that part Samoan counts as “person of color”…

    I think she’s one who would raise Biden’s odds with the overall electorate more than it would tick off the thin slice of the electorate that rejected her in the primary. She is the sole person who lost because she was too far right, ever other one was too far left for the party to accept.

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