Lazy Ethics Afternoon Afterthoughts, 7/6/2022: Things…Including A Former “Resistance” Activist With Integrity! [Corrected]

I have a post coming up related to the long-time discrimination against women in the U.S., which I, growing up in the Marshall household, was completely unaware of into the first part of my adult life. July 6th is one of many significant dates in the long struggle of women to gain equal rights and equal treatment with men, as well as proper respect in the culture. On this date in 1957, it was a woman, Althea Gibson, who became the first African-American to win a championship at Wimbledon, when she won the women’s singles tennis title, and in 1976, women were admitted into U.S. Naval Academy for the first time.

Discriminating against women just never occurred to me. I had a younger sister who could do anything I could, but often better. My mother was talented, funny, and self-evidently an equal foil for my lawyer father, who always treated her as an equal in every way. He had been raised during the Depression by a fiercely independent single mother, and while I never knew Lullabelle (what a great name!), my amazing maternal grandmother, Sophia, whom I knew very well, was a family legend, coming to America from Sparta at 15, working to bring the rest of her family over to the States as well, raising eight children, and never, ever taking any crap from anyone.

Early on I read the correspondence between John Adams and his brilliant wife and partner in all things Abigail; the whole concept of regarding women as less capable or deserving of opportunities to do and be whatever they chose never dawned on me for a ridiculously long time, and the extent of American discrimination against half the population is still surprising me even now.

As is often the case, the vehicle of my current enlightenment is baseball. A fellow fan and friend gifted me with a membership in SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research. The Spring issue of its journal is substantially focused on the travails of women who played baseball or wanted to, and the stories are horrifying, all the way into the 1970s.

I’ll have more on this topic coming up.

1. Okay, the commentariate has insisted that Kamala Harris does not deserve Julie Principle treatment on Ethics Alarms, so I feel obligated to report that while speaking about the recent mass shooting in Illinois, the Vice-President—the first woman Vice-President!—said this:

“We have to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take this seriously.”

[Notice of Correction: Another, exaggerated version of this quote has been circulating, and I originally fell for it. Thanks to Neil Dorr for spotting the mistake]

I think this is serious: there is something the matter with her. She does this kind of stuck-needle thing frequently; I don’t understand it. She can’t possibly be as dim as these episodes suggest. She did get through law school, after all. It is demeaning to women that the mainstream media lets this stuff pass, when Dan Quayle was regularly skewered for garbling his words in public statements. The low standards most of the media holds the Veep to is a form of condescension, and the benign neglect probably keeps her from addressing the problem, whatever it is.

2. The Georgia U.S. Senate Race is officially the most unethical contest in the country. Ethics Alarms has covered some (I’m sure there are more) of the ways GOP nominee Herschel Walker has proven himself untrustworthy and unfit for the Senate. Now comes the news that his Democratic opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock used campaign money to pay for legal expenses related to a lawsuit arising from his time his conduct as a church minister. The Federal rules governing personal use of campaign funds by candidates only allow such use when the litigation arises from campaign-related activities. This did not.

As Politico lays out, the Warnock campaign’s claims that the lawsuit is related to its activities despite the fact that it involves facts that are 17-years-old, long, long before Warnock was elected Senator, are weaker than weak, legally and logically.

How hard is it for the two major parties to present to the public qualified, trustworthy, honest candidates for important national and state offices?

Apparently too hard.

3. In Philadelphia, a leadership ethics failure. After two Philadelphia police officers were shot on the Fourth of July, Mayor Jim Kenney (D) said, “I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor, and I can enjoy some stuff.”

He has to resign. A leader, no matter how frustrated he or she is, no matter how overwhelmed he or she feels, must never express feelings like that in public. When you don’t want to be leader any more and feel unable to do your job, the ethical obligation is to quit and allow someone else try. In fact, keeping your head “while all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you” is a cornerstone of leadership. Great leaders are at their best when all looks bleak, but even barely adequate leaders can never indulge their fears and insecurities by publicly giving in to despair. Thus it is not surprising, and in fact is encouraging, that members of both parties in the City of Brotherly Love (where violent crime is rampant) are suggesting that Kenney hang up his mayor’s hat and go fishing. Kenney’s official statement trying to backtrack on his unforgivable gaffe is not much of a defense:

“I’d also like to clarify some of the comments I made at the press briefing last night at Jefferson Hospital. In a late-night, overwhelming moment of frustration, I said I was looking forward to no longer being mayor. Let me be clear, I’m incredibly grateful to be mayor of this great city and for the people who elected me to lead. Cities and city leaders across the country have felt the impacts of the pandemic and the escalating gun violence epidemic for years now. There has been so much tragedy in this country of late, and many of us are dealing with the trauma and our feelings of frustration, anger, and deep sadness about the issues plaguing our society. I ran for Mayor with the goal of helping every Philadelphian reach their potential. As mayor, I feel personally responsible for the well-being of every Philadelphian, and it’s a weight I carry with me every day—every waking moment. And I know that far too many residents worry daily about their safety and their loved ones too.”

Awwww. The weight of official responsibilities is too much for the poor guy!

Then he should quit.

4. Look! A progressive Democrat with integrity regarding Donald Trump! I don’t know who Sasha Stone is, but I’m tempted to subscribe to her substack newsletter and podcast as a reward for her having the guts to speak the truth. She is a confessed Hillary Clinton supporter and former “resistance” activist who has come to understand what Ethics Alarms has held to be the case since 2016. She writes in part…

The January 6th hearings look a lot more like the show trials in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Witnesses would only be called if they backed up the accusations made against various prisoners of course. They would be found guilty, of course, because dissent was not allowed, nor was a fair defense…

…The same team that tried to impeach Trump after January 6th are back in the Season Finale, this time to drive the DOJ towards criminal charges against Trump….For four years, the Left, the Never Trump Republicans, and the mainstream media have been actively attempting to undo the results of the 2016 election that put Trump in power for four years. It wasn’t just his slim victory, it was the kinds of people who supported him. They pretended it was about “white racist trash” but really? Wasn’t it just about their refusal to adopt the ideology of Obama’s America? A fast-moving social justice movement that was changing almost everything?

Never before in the history of this country has a president been under attack by so many forces at once from Day One, with not just the largest protests in American history, but protests abroad. A “resistance” that aligned social media, the richest people in the world, corporate America, Hollywood, Big Tech, the Democrats, and the Never Trumpers all to discredit, destroy and remove a sitting president.

Why isn’t anyone talking about it?

“Anyone”? ANYONE?  What am I, chopped liver? I’ve been talking (as in writing) about this exhaustively for more than six years! I’ve made that very same point, with evidence, so frequently that Ethics Alarms has lost readers who claim I’m giving the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck too much attention. I read something like that and I feel like I’m just wasting my time. I feel like Mayor Kenney.

But I digress. Back to Sasha:

I genuinely believed Biden could have beaten Trump fair and square. It wasn’t until the Summer of 2020 that I realized the media was manipulating the narrative to ensure Trump’s loss. It started with the Tom Cotton essay debacle at the New York Times. During the protests, I kept urging the Democrats to try to stop the violence because I thought it would make them look bad and put Trump in power. It was completely ignored by the media, memory-holed by the blue-checks on Twitter. It basically didn’t happen.

It was such a red-pill moment for me. I guess I always thought journalists would still get the story no matter what. But that summer, and that year, the media became part of the “resistance” and that was that. Two years later, they still behave like activists and mouthpieces for the Democrats. I trusted all of them. Now I can’t trust any of them….

We need a better investigation of January 6th, one that isn’t the season finale of Catch Trump if you Can.

At this point, I no longer care who runs or wins the presidency. What I want back is truth in art, in science, and in journalism. We can survive having a corrupt government, plenty of countries do. But when we lose touch with the truth, there is no coming back from that.

I urge you to read the whole thing. It is spot on and terrific from start to finish. Now if there were only a few hundred thousand former “resistance” members with ethics alarms, truth, fairness and justice might have a chance. (Special thanks to Paul W. Schlecht for bringing this post to my attention.)

Why isn’t anyone talking about it”…grrrrrrrr!

15 thoughts on “Lazy Ethics Afternoon Afterthoughts, 7/6/2022: Things…Including A Former “Resistance” Activist With Integrity! [Corrected]

  1. Jack,

    I would love to know where you got that quote, because the one I see with any video evidence says: “We have to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to take this seriously”.

    It’s not much better, but also not quite the word garbage originally quoted. The quote you present appears to have come from a Twitter user lambasting her speech. Please provide appropriate evidence if I’m mistaken. Thank you!

    • What she said in the video isn’t quite the same as the quote above, but it’s still in the ballpark of her normal word salad.

    • Nope, your version is right. I saw the video, didn’t check it before I wrote the post considerably later, and used the printed quote, not from the tweet, but from another source that apparently got it from the tweet. Ticks me off that I can’t trust these people. Anyway, it’s fixed.

  2. The Kamala speech reminds me of the conclusion of Criswell’s introduction at the beginning of Plan 9:

    If you hadn’t block-quoted those portions of Shasha’s essay, I would have believed you wrote them. Bravo for her seeing the light and kudos to you, Jack, keeping your head (and the heads of many of your readers) above the derangement flood line. She definitely deserves positive attention for using her breaths above the waters to help others who have been drowning for more than four years.

  3. The Kamala quote is… I mean. The Julie principle *does* apply, so I don’t think we should get too excited about it, but I think we still need to talk about them.

    I’m not convinced that Kamala Harris is not mentally handicapped. She has never said anything particularly sharp, she has never written anything particularly deft, and yes… She has operated as a Senator and a DA, she has gotten her JD, but unless the liquefaction of her brain is recent, we’re left having to consider if she bought or (sorry) slept her way into everything, because she just doesn’t seem to have the RAM to get through it on her own.

    If, and I actually think that this is the less likely option, but if she was actually competent and capable enough to make a go of her career on the merits…. Then what the actual hell are we looking at? Is she mid-break? And regardless of whether she’s stupid or crazy, because those really are the choices, where the hell are her handlers? Is the White House leaving her hanging because every gaffe she makes as VP distracts from the dumpster fire of Joe’s failing cognition?

    None of this would matter if we at least had competent administrators. The White House has survived a literal shadow presidency between Woodrow’s October 1919 stroke and the 1921 transition specifically because his inner circle was competent enough to keep the wheels on. If they’re going to weekend at Bernie’s Joe Biden around his own administration, they need people better than the eminent physician, Dr. Jill Biden III, equire, Kamala “rugburns” Harris, and Ron “Re-tweet” Klain. But that’s the clowncar we have.

    If you think things are awful now…. Just wait. Crop input prices doubled this year. Fuel is $5 a gallon, Urea is $1000 a ton. Why is that? Partially because one of the main components of synthetic urea is natural gas, and gas prices are through the roof. Partially because of Covid lockdowns and increased demand. Partially because of the commoditization of urea and lack of competition in that market leading the way for profit takings. But that means that the fields growing right now had input costs *twice* that of the food we’re currently eating. What happens in 2023 when inflation hits more than 50% on food? Because I promise you that’s coming.

    I’m not sure how much of an effect an administration could have, but it would sure be nice if there were competent adults in the room.

  4. Regarding Kamala, I think here is her issue: she is trying to sound profound.

    She thinks that speaking simply and repetitively will drive home some profound point she is trying to make.

    It is a form and manner of speaking that can work, but she is not good at making it work.

    I have to presume she is a smart person. She would be much better off trying to string a few thoughts together instead tying knots around a single word or concept.

    However, if she is also bad at speaking extemporaneously, we have probably seen the best she has to offer.


    • “She would be much better off trying to string a few thoughts together instead tying knots around a single word or concept.” (bolds added)

      Ya think?

      Harris’ 07/05/2022 comment summarizing the Highland Park events: “This should never have happened […] We talk about it being senseless; it is senseless. It is absolutely senseless.”

      Your correctly identifying the problem doesn’t supply much comfort; not for me, leastways.

  5. Harris is nearly the platonic ideal of a person whose ambition exceeds her ability. That she’s managed to fail upwardly so spectacularly is a serious indictment of our society, seriously.

    I think her public speaking problems are largely due to the fact that she has nothing to say. She is an incurious dullard who doesn’t have many thoughts about the subjects she’s called on to discuss. She hasn’t thought about any of the issues facing us, because she has been laser-focused on self-advancement for her entire career. When you’re climbing a ladder, the only thing you can see is the next rung right in front of your nose.

    These repetitive gaffes are her stalling for time. She hasn’t thought about what she’s going to say, or even really thought about the topic at all beforehand, so she gets into a verbal cul-de-sac and has to vamp while she searches for a way out. In these moments, she clings to a word or phrase that sounds good to her and repeats it, hoping the repetition gives a gloss of profundity to the nonsense. It’s a trick that can work, but only for very skilled public speakers. Amateurs attempting to employ it usually sound stupid.

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