Furious Ethics Catch-Up, 1/4/2022: “I’m Not Dead!” Edition

Well, there I was last night, showing my wife my favorite “Schoolhouse Rock” segment (“Interjections,” a Grammar Rock episode) and getting ready to post an evening ethics potpourri when the Disney Channel, which I only have because I wanted to see the “Get Back” documentary, kicked out. The snow storm’s aftermath had caused an outage in our phone and internet connection (at least we had power, and weren’t stuck on I-95 like hundreds of motorists in Northern Virginia were last night), and Comcast didn’t get everything back up until a few minutes ago. A totally lost day for ProEthics and Ethics Alarms, but the sage words of my friend Tom Fuller kept echoing in my brain like all the Tara lines coming back to Scarlet after Rhett walks out on her. “When you have no options, you have no problem,” Tom always says, and this was a classic example. We were snowed in, and had no communications (not even a newspaper since the second); might as well relax: Snow day!

I was able to get a head start on some items, at least. I apologize for the void…and for any comments marooned in moderation (as well as the inevitable mermaidmary comment unjustly spammed).

But at least I’m not dead.

[That’s the correct Mark Twain quote above, incidentally. He also said, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”]

1. Apparently conservatives really want J.K. Rowling to be cancelled so they can complain about it. First, we had this fake news debacle, where the Guardian was falsely accused of killing a reader poll when it threatened to lionize the celebrated author-turned-pariah in the eyes of the LGTBQ lobby. Then there were the reports that Rowling had been cut out of the HBO “Harry Potter” reunion special, which, pundits assured me, was because the ungrateful brats who her books made movie superstars and others had betrayed her for maintaining that trans women and biological women were distinct. But Rowling did make an appearance on the show, albeit in a previously recorded segment.

2. And this is the apparent culture at the nation’s “newspaper of record”: In the year end review of 2021’s “comedy highlights,” Times critic Jason Zinoman lauds as the “Best Opening Bit” a Roy Wood, Jr. routine on his Comedy Central special about “things that feel racist but aren’t,” like “when white people use the term “forefathers,” and when there are “too many American flags.” “How many American flags equal one Confederate flag?” Wood asks. That’s easy: none, unless you’re an anti-American race-baiter like Wood, in which case the answer is probably “one.”

The routine that the Times critic thinks is so hilarious is, in fact, based on a false premise: there is no distinction on the left between something “feeling racist” and “being racist.” All it takes is for one opportunist to decide that something “feels racist,” and whoever is responsible will be quickly tarred as racist. Examples include wearing dark make-up to portray a “character of color” on stage or screen, reading a Supreme Court opinion that quotes someone using a racial epithet, and wearing a MAGA hat.

3. New York City got what it deserved. Bill de Blasio left office last week widely decried as New York City’s worst mayor yet, but he was no worse in his second term than he was in his first. New Yorkers kept voting for him because of his socialist rhetoric and non-stop pandering to minorities, even as the city turned back the clock to the ugly days of the 1970s, when Times Square was a cesspool and the murder rate soared. Now we learn, not that it comes as a shock, that de Blasio was corrupt as well as arrogant and incompetent.

Right from the start, in 2014, de Blasio called two large real estate developers and strong-armed them to “contribute” large sums to his non-profit slush fund, “Campaign for One New York.” It was an outright violation of the city’s conflicts of interest laws, which prohibit a mayor from requesting funds from people and entities with which the city does business. This attracted a formal warning from NYC’s Conflict of Interest Board, with de Blasio told never to try the “pay to play” stunt again. But de Blasio kept the warning letter (and a subsequent one) from becoming public, and continued to shake down government contractors.

Typically, the companies he pressured to contribute were fined, but no action was taken against de Blasio himself. Laws are, after all, for the “little people.”

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that de Blasio is planning on running for Governor of New York.

4. Sadly, this is not a surprise.  Veteran trial attorneys told the ABA Journal that jurors today, particularly those younger than age 40, are much more likely to be forgiving when a witness is caught lying that in days of yore. Why wouldn’t they, when they have observed one national leader after another lie flagrantly, only to be excused by their party, supporters, and the news media?

It probably also helps that the definition of “lie,” like many other words (such as “racism,” #1 above!) has been so spun and stretched from misuse that it doesn’t leave the stain it once did. A broken promise isn’t a lie. Stating something that turns out to be untrue isn’t a lie, unless the speaker knew it was untrue at the time.

5. However, this trend was no help to serial liar and con artist Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO and founder of failed blood-testing startup Theranos, who was found guilty on four of 11 federal charges related to fraud and conspiracy. Good.

6. How low can they go? The Dallas Morning News published a story last Thursday claiming that Texas Senator Ted Cruz was in a “predicament” because his daughter had said on a social media account that she disagrees with “most of his views.” Caroline Cruz is 13 years old. Not only is it hardly newsworthy for a teen-age daughter to disagree with her parents on anything, a 13-year-old has insufficient knowledge, experience or wisdom to have respectable opinions on almost anything. For a major city newspaper to deliberately use a child to set up conflict with her public figure father is unfair and irresponsible to everyone concerned. But then Cruz is a Republican and a conservative, so it’s OK.

Some natural Cruz-haters had the decency to blow the whistle on the News:

  • “I cannot imagine any reason why media outlets would write a story about a politician’s 13 year old child—especially when it pits child against parent for political purposes,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said.
  • “Public officials are fair game. Our children are not,” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said.
  • “Dumb & divisive. The notion that it’s news when someone’s views differ from their parents’ is bizarre. I’m a 32 yr old autonomous person w/a decade+ career in politics & some reporters still refuse to accept my views cd possibly differ from my father’s. Lol (it’s also sexist),” CNN commentator Alyssa Farah Griffen wrote.
  • “What a 13-year-old says about her dad on TikTok — in an account that had been made private prior to publishing this story — is not newsworthy, absent some extraordinary revelation. And I say this as someone who despises him,” former Obama administration official Eric Columbus said.

7. Didn’t everyone see this coming? Speaking of Cruz (who I’m not too crazy about either), he said on last week’s episode of his podcast, “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” that there would be “multiple grounds” to impeach Old Joe Biden if the Republicans take back the House in 2022.

Great. This is 100% the fault of congressional Democrats who essentially removed impeachment as a serious and necessary Constitutional measure to deal with genuine Presidential malfeasance by using it as a destructive weapon of partisan warfare against Donald Trump. The disreputable Maxine Waters actually said that all a party needed to justify an impeachment was a majority.

This virtually guaranteed that Republicans would use their first majority to apply tit to Pelosi’s tat as a matter of pure payback. It would be constructive if the GOP could be better than that, but it almost certainly won’t.

8. An Althouse note: Ann ran a poll on her blog asking Trump supporters (which I am not and have never been) to vote on whether they think he should not run himself but rather support the younger, ascendant Ron DeSantis. Almost 70% of those who responded said they wanted Trump to “stand down” and give the Florida governor a clear road to the nomination.

Observations:

  • I have a related post in the works, but that’s encouraging. Another four years of Trump would be disastrous in too many ways to count.
  • You know: polls.
  • There’s a long way to go. I wouldn’t bet on DeSantis being the GOP front-runner when the primaries start.

43 thoughts on “Furious Ethics Catch-Up, 1/4/2022: “I’m Not Dead!” Edition

  1. #1. And now Jon Stewart is complaining about Rowling’s presumed anti-Semitism because the goblins in Gringotts in the movies seem to be caricatures of Jews. (I confess that I haven’t read the books. Maybe there’s something there, but the complaint was specifically about the films… and about Rowling, who didn’t exactly direct the movies.)

    • Oh, that again. Like the similar complaints in Star Wars Episode One. At least the latter you could put the blame on Lucas. How is Rowling at fault for character design choices made by film-makers?

      • “Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,” Stewart said on the podcast episode. “Talking to people, here’s what I say: Have you ever seen a ‘Harry Potter’ movie? Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank? Do you know what those folks who run the bank are? Jews! And they’re like, ‘Oh, [that illustration is] from ‘Harry Potter!’” And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.’ J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’ It’s a wizarding world…we can ride dragons, you can have a pet owl… but who should run the bank? Jews. But what if the teeth were sharper?”

        So, Jon, tell us exactly “where the Jews still are.” David Heyman produced the Harry Potter movies: (from wiki) His paternal grandparents were German Jews who left Nazi Germany and emigrated to England prior to World War II, while his mother’s family was English.

        • “If you see the Jew coming, you must be careful of his teeth, you must grab him by his horns, then we have a big party.”

          Sacha Baron Cohen as “Borat.”

  2. The bank is run by goblins.

    Short.

    Sharp teeth.

    Pointy noses.

    Generally ugly.

    I guess they are kind of what you would expect a goblin to look like.

    Or a troll.

    I figured goblins were used as bankers because they guard and horde treasure.

    It also lent something exotic to the story. They were introduced early while the world was new to the readers.

    Had everyone been human. The world would seem more familiar.

    I just wish Stewart would stop associating Jews with Bankers

    -Jut

    • Exactly. If someone sees an imaginary character represented as an ugly, non-human, obsessed with money creature, and thinks “That’s just like a Jew”. there’s a problem…but not with the character.

  3. How does one say they are not and never have been a Trump supporter after they vote for Trump?

    Does that make sense to anyone? Pretty sure voting for someone or something literally makes you a supporter of that thing.

    Very odd spin there.

    • I assume you are smarter than that comment makes you seem. An election is a binary choice: your job as a citizen is to make the best and most responsible choice available. That’s not “support,” in the way “Trump supporter’ is typically used. It is technically support in that every vote provides “support” in the effort to hold the Presidency. Another sense of “support” is that I support whoever is President in the sense that I want him to succeed in the nation’s best interests. In that sense, I supported Obama, Clinton, Nixon, Bush, Carter…

      However, I do not and never have believed a man like Donald Trump should be President; however, I believe that a mentally compromised man who was never that bright to begin with under the thumb of a party as corrupt and dangerous as the Democratic Party has become is even less desirable in that office. So in the contest between two undesirables I chose the better.

      In 2016, I did not vote for Trump, nor his opponent.

      This isn’t really hard; you’re just playing “gotcha.” I repeat, I have never supported Trump in the sense of wanting him as a leader or trusting him to make key decisions for the nation or to represent it.

      • Nope I’m actually an idiot. So you better brace for my comment. (Also, do you always start your retorts by using passive aggressive insults? You do it often and it makes you look silly.)

        I’ll agree you probably don’t own a MAGA hat, but I disagree that voting for Trump doesn’t make you a Trump supporter. It absolutely does. You’re trying to distinguish yourself from MAGA hat supporters, but you can be a supporter of Trump (as you are) and NOT support every single thing he does or says or stands for.

        You’re trying to let yourself off the hook and not take responsibility for actually voting for someone and camouflage it as “oh I’m voting AGAINST X” but that’s just saying the same thing as “So I support Y.” It’s spin and no one buys it.

        You could have just not voted like you did in 2016, which was much more admirable. The fact that your hate of Biden didn’t also translate into disdain for Trump is telling.

        Your decision wasn’t binary. You could have voted for Trump, voted for Biden, not vote, or vote for a third party. Your vote for Trump is a vote of support.

        • It isn’t, and your argument is weak. OK, I no longer believe you are smarter than this line of attack. Congratulations. What makes someone look silly is contrived arguments.

          “I disagree that voting for Trump doesn’t make you a Trump supporter. It absolutely does.” Then you don’t know what “supporter” means. I think your comment came in while I was writing my previous one, and that answers your argument. 2016 was not the same as 2020 for many reasons. In 2016 there was no distinction between Clinton and Trump: neither was a responsible choice. Trump, incredibly, was the worse human being (even than Hillary); the Democrats were the more dangerous party. I couldn’t vote for either in good conscience, and viewed either as an equally risky choice.

          In 2020, Democrats had engaged in what I believe was one of the most unethical, anti-democratic, destructive assault on the Presidency, Constitution and rule of law in our recent history: they deserved to lose. Trump, meanwhile, had proven himself less horrible than I expected, and now had experience, which he lacked before. He was clearly a more responsible choice than a potential POTUS approaching senility and a VP chosen because of her EEOC categories.

          Of course the decision is binary, because only one of two can win. When I have felt that a vote was not binary, I have occasionally chosen a third party, as with Perot over two main party candidates I did not trust in 1992. ‘Support,” as in “Trump supporter” implies general support in a vaccuum, and in general, I do not support Trump, never have and never will. Might I support one or some of his policies? Sure, and I do. I would also support those same policies if another leader was advocating them.

          Go ahead: click on the Donald Trump and President Trump tags from 2011 on and read what you find. If that’s what you call being a “Trump supporter” then I don’t know what language you’re speaking.

          • You said “ I have never supported Trump in the sense of wanting him as a leader or trusting him to make key decisions for the nation or to represent it”

            But you did want him as President…instead of Biden.

            You’re trying to redefine “support” to skirt responsibility. And you think voting for someone isn’t showing support and I dont buy that.

            • Wrong. You are using an absurd and intellectually dishonest definition of support to distort what is clear to anyone who has followed my (excessive) writing about Trump. If the election was Hitler against Mussolini, I would hold my nose and cast a vote for Il Duce, but that would not make me a “Mussolini supporter.”

              End of discussion. At this point, you’re just trolling.

              • You don’t know what trolling is. And anytime an argument brings up Hitler, they automatically lose the argument. Don’t argue from extremes…it make you look foolish.

                Anyway…

                One purpose of labeling you as a “supporter” is in relation to moral responsibilities, which I believe you are trying to avoid.

                You’re a Trump supporter because you provided aid to Trump (and to that extent are responsible for the bad things he does, which you helped to bring about).

                You’re ignoring that aspect entirely. And that’s wrong.

                You’re claiming you’re not a supporter AT ALL because you don’t endorsed his beliefs and want Biden to lose…even though you actually do endorse some of Trump’s beliefs and supported his candidacy.

                You’re trying to narrowly redefine what “support” means.

                And I’m saying that that rationalization and redefinition is bs.

                • I know what you’re saying. It’s both illogical and counter to basic English. I also know what trolling is, and this is it: relentless hammering on trivial and dubious assertions to be annoying, and to no other end.

                  You are also modeling the current Democratic/progressive desperation tactic of defaulting to Trump derangement as the sole answer to the mass incompetence we are now witnessing. It’s transparent and lame, and it’s remarkable that you can be so pompous while engaging in it.

                  Of course I support some of Trump’s policies. Enforcing immigration laws, for example. Appointing qualified conservative judges. Resisting climate change propaganda. Cancelling Obama’s deal with Iran. Confronting China. Opposing the statue-toppling. Standing up to Black Lives Matters. Calling out the media for what they have become.

                  Essentially you are advocating the NeverTrump stance, which has seen classist conservatives maintain that it is better to support policies and an ideology that they have spent their professional lives battling because they find a prominent adherent personally repulsive. I find their tantrum irrational and unethical.

                  Now, again, I have read your accusations and found them wanting. I have responded. I am now directing you to move on to substantive matters. If you want to maintain that anyone who voted for Trump to reject the despicable Joe Biden/Harris scam and to avoid what we have seen in 2021, fine. It’s a dumb opinion, but you can have it. I have defended Trump when he has been unfairly accused and unfairly treated, and supported his positions when they warranted supporting. I have never supported him, or the idea that he should be President, and never will.

                  If you continue to flog this dead horse, I will ban you. I’ve wasted too much time on you already. If you want to continue as a voice of the Left here, be a good guest. It’s entirely in your hands.

                  • The crew that has joined the conversation under pseudonyms since your survey of political leanings a few days ago has been interesting. I’ve been trying to guess which commenters they *were*. They seem to familiar in style to not be older self-exiles.

        • He does have a MAGA hat.

          You’re still wearing it right Jack? I’d be very disappointed if you ever appear in public without it.

          • Never had one. I object to caps and T-shirts with messages on them. The exceptions here are various Boston Red Sox caps. I have been tempted to get a MAGA cap just to deal with the people who think it’s a just provocation for harassment, but that would be unethical.

            • Haha, don’t come around here with those caps. This is Yankees territory. I have a MAGA cap I bought in deep red Trump territory in PA, but I seldom wear it. I’m more of a ship and squadron hat/shirt wearer, but I do own one or two anti-Muslim shirts that say things like “72 virgins coming right up!” and “Armed Infidel, keep back 200 feet, use of deadly force authorized.” 😀

      • His question isn’t as stupid as it seems though…. If you voted for Trump, but when presented with a choice between Trump or DeSantis, would vote for DeSantis, then that’s a material data point.

        In the 2016 election, I would have voted for Trump and felt good about it. In the 2020 election, I would have held my nose and voted for Trump, but the choice was so obvious that I wouldn’t have even performatively gone through the exercise of appearing conflicted. Trump and DeSantis? DeSantis all the way.

        • In 2016, I would have voted for any one of the GOP primary alternatives over Trump, even dim bulb Ben Carson, theocrat Mike Huckabee, and corrupt Chris Christie. If Biden had run instead of Hillary, I would have voted for him, too. I believe it was an unforgivable betrayal of trust for the GOP to give him the nomination. In 2020, Biden had declined below trustworthy levels. Trump had demonstrated what his package was; good instincts on policy, good results, guts, horrible, divisive, destructive leadership. That still was a better gamble than what the Democrats were displaying.

  4. @ a lib… just like most did with Biden, you didn’t vote for the person, exactly, you vote against the other guy. You’re basically saying “they are worse”. You can vote for people and not really want to. In fact, most of my adult life, I’ve voted against someone instead of for a particular candidate.

    • Yeah, that’s b.s. and an unconvincing argument. It’s also just word games. Like… your vote supported their bid for the presidency. It’s a vote of support.

      Framing it like “oh I just wanted to NOT support the other guy” isn’t convincing.

      Voting for someone is supporting them.

      • Of course, you’re the one playing word games. I would have voted for Trump in 2020, as a President with 4 years of experience, over a pet rock too; and probably would have voted for Biden over said rock as well. So in your deliberately contrived definition of “support,” I would be a supporter of both Trump AND Biden. Nonsense.

        A Trump supporter is one who wants him to be President, period, regardless of the alternatives, not only in comparison to a baboon or a wad of gum.

        • No. You’re the one playing word games.

          In normal parlance, voting for someone means you supoort them.

          Now you can try to conveniently change how the word “support” is used 99% of the time and say it ONLY means
          “endorsing their beliefs” …while also claiming you don’t support any of Trump’s beliefs (which is not true).

          But now this is just a semantic question and the answer depends on the definition of “support”

          But we all know you both voted for Trump AND endorse some of his beliefs, in addition to hating Biden as well.

          All 3 of these things can be true…and are.

          The totality of these 3 facts make you a supporter of Trump.

          I guess you can argue how MUCH of a Trump supporter you are. But you are most definitely a Trump supporter…having voted for him, and being a proponent of some of his positions.

          It’s just silly to claim otherwise.

        • I also wanted to say that, one purpose of labeling you as a “supporter” is in relation to moral responsibilities, which I believe you are trying to avoid.

          You’re a Trump supporter because you provided aid to Trump (and to that extent are responsible for the bad things he does, which you helped to bring about).

          You’re ignoring that aspect entirely. And that’s wrong.

          You’re claiming you’re not a supporter AT ALL because you don’t endorsed his beliefs and want Biden to lose…even though you actually do endorse some of Trump’s beliefs and supported his candidacy.

          You’re trying to narrowly redefine what “support” means.

          And I’m saying that that rationalization and redefinition is bs.

          • It seems that what you really want is for our host to admit to being responsible for the “bad things” Trump has done. This seems to be a growing trend with the left: “You have done something to benefit who I think is a bad person, therefore YOU are a bad person, unless you apologize and disassociate yourself from them 110%”

            Also, I’m getting increasingly tired of the notion that every business you patronize, every politician you vote for, ever person you associate with, must match your values (or at least the values of the social justice warriors) EXACTLY, or else you are supporting wrongthink. A politician I vote for may do things others think are bad, but I don’t. They may do things I think are bad, which I did not expect them to do when I voted for them. They may do things I think are bad, which I always disagreed with based on their platform, but I still thought they would be a net positive vs. their competitor. In any case, I don’t think anyone should be compelled to apologize or “take responsibility” for choosing who they believe is the best candidate, in accordance with their values.

  5. One thought the story about JK Rolling being updated, my thumbs get tired from all the scrolling so I rarely go past the newer stories here that I haven’t read. This caused me to be unaware that an update had been made to the original story.

    I would suggest if another story had been posted in the mean time that a short snippet update with a link to the original story that carries the detailed update/retraction/correction.

    Also, the snacks here are stale and I don’t like the color of the flooring here. 🙂

  6. 8. So… Althouse is suggesting that a representative sample of “Trump supporters” (however defined) are readers of her blog? I am skeptical.

  7. “Some natural Cruz-haters had the decency to blow the whistle on the News”

    I wonder if they would have rushed to Cruz’ aid if the Dallas Morning News was more significant than it was. As it is, I imagine it ranks pretty low on the Left Wing propaganda totem pole – even worse, being from Texas they probably assume it’s just some sort of conservative-lite rag.

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