Spuds is feeling needy, or something, and though he usually sleeps on the sofa in the breakfast room, he decided to creep up to our bedroom and slam himself against me. Even though I’m exhausted after a three-hour legal ethics seminar last evening, I just can’t get to sleep, and don’t want to kick him out: something’s troubling him. So here I am in the office…
Because of all the prep yesterday for that seminar, which was not only brand new but also covered a lot of complicated issues, I missed an ethics milestone that Ethics Alarms cannot ignore. I started my first ethics website, The Ethics Scoreboard, in disgust at the ethically ignorant and inert commentary by the news media regarding Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Something must have been lurking in my brain, because I alluded to Clinton’s practiced deceit in last might’s program, describing a lawyer’s technical excuse for unethical conduct as “Clintonian.”
On August 17, 1998, President Clinton becames the first sitting president to testify as the subject of a grand-jury investigation. His testimony came after a four-year investigation into Clinton and his wife Hillary’s alleged involvement in several scandals. One could argue with some fairness that Clinton was the first President targeted with a long prosecutorial fishing expedition by partisan foes determined “get him” one way or another.
The independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, uncovered an affair between Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, as well as evidence that it had been covered up by a coordinated effort. Clinton famously denied that he “had sex with that woman,”, which prompted Starr to charge the him with perjury and obstruction of justice. After his August 17 testimony, Clinton addressed the nation on live television. He admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with Lewinsky—it was, in fact, sexual harassment under the terms defined by Clinton’s own feminist supporters— but insisted that he had given “legally accurate” answers in his testimony. Later the President claimed that while he had not been “helpful” to the grand jury, he hadn’t lied.
1 How can supporters of the Democratic Party look at themselves in the mirror? CNN correspondent John Harwood, as openly partisan a reporter as one can find, admitted this week that the “Inflation Reduction Act” title to the massive tax and spending bill just signed into law by President Biden was a “marketing device” designed to gull Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) into supporting the bill. “No, it doesn’t live up to its name,” Harwood said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Let’s be real: They called it the Inflation Reduction Act as a marketing device, in part to lock down the vote of Joe Manchin or to reassure Joe Manchin that they were focused on his issue.” “It is going to have a negligible effect on inflation,” Harwood said, now, after the trick had worked. “If it does anything, it might reduce inflation a tiny, tiny bit, but that’s not what it’s about.”
So the new euphemism for lying is “marketing device,” eh? Economists and candid commentators have admitted that the law will do nothing about inflation and wasn’t designed to. The deliberately misleading title of it presumes that either Manchin is stupid (and hasn’t read the bill, which he probably hasn’t) ,the public will believe anything, or both. Bills from both parties have been given absurdly exaggerated names, but this is a new and dastardly low: pick an issue the public is concerned about, and slap it on a bill that has nothing to do with that issue, simultaneously deceiving the public about what the bill really is, and lying by pretending that bill will address their concerns.
Why didn’t the news media research the bill and blow the whistle on this deception? How can a political party get away with treating the people and the system so cynically and dishonestly?
2. Unethical Pastor of the Month. Carlton Funderburke, the senior pastor at Church at the Well in Kansas City Missouri, was angry that his flock didn’t show its appreciation by buying him an expensive watch, and told them so. In a video clip of his sermon posted on the web, Funderburke berated his church members for not properly honoring him with a Movado watch. “This is how I know you’re still poor, broke, busted and disgusted, because of how you been honoring me. I’m not worth your McDonald’s money? I’m not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain’t worth your St. John Knits — y’all can’t afford nohow. I ain’t worth y’all Louis Vuitton? I ain’t worth your Prada? I’m not worth your Gucci?” Funderburke tells the congregation that a Movado watch can be bought at Sam’s Club. “And y’all know I asked for one last year. Here it is all the way in August and I still ain’t got it,” he said. “Y’all ain’t said nothing. Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters.”
When my father became disgusted with priests or ministers, he got up from the pew and walked out. He would have bolted on this jerk—in fact, any churchgoer who didn’t is a fool. Busted himself, Funderburke said this week that his comments do “not reflect my heart or my sentiments toward God’s people.” Ah! He was possessed then!
3. What the hell is going on in baseball? Earlier, Ethics Alarms cited the absurd case of the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros standing by as a player was given four strikes by an inert and incompetent umpire. Now we learn that during a game between the Angels and Mariners this week, home plate umpire Laz Diaz forgot the count and let a player walk to first base after only three balls. As in the Braves-Sox game, neither the players, nor the coaches nor the other umpires noticed. Ugh. Unprofessional, incompetent, lazy, disrespectful to the game and embarrassing.
Baseball fans know Laz Diaz as one of the very worst umpires, not just currently, but of all time. The only conceivable reason he hasn’t been fired—and won’t be now—is “diversity.” This is what such policies reap. [Pointer: JutGory]
4. Tales of the Great Stupid! Ezra Miller, star of “The Flash, has been charged in recent months with disorderly conduct in a bar, assault after allegedly throwing a chair at a woman, and felony burglary after allegedly stealing alcohol from a Vermont home. Miller “identifies” as non-binary, so when he woman Miller allegedly choked was sharing her account with “Variety,” the magazine’s concern was that she wasn’t using her attackers favored pronouns, writing, “At the time of the interview, it was unclear whether the woman was aware Miller uses they/them pronouns.” Then it edited what she said to make certain it read sufficiently “woke.” Thusly:
“I think it’s just fun and games — but then it wasn’t,” she said. “All of a sudden, [they’re] on top of me, choking me, still screaming in my face if I want to fight. My friend who’s filming sees [they’re] obviously not joking and it’s actually serious, so he stops filming, and pushes [them] off me as [they’re] still trying to fight me. Two guy friends of mine are actually holding [Miller] back as [they’re] screaming, ‘This is what you wanted! This is what you wanted!’”
Heck, why not interpolate “that sick son-of-a bitch” for the pronouns?
5. And now for something completely deranged.…Net Zero Co is offering a “washable and reusable toilet paper” for protecting the environment and battling climate change. It’s a reusable cloth towel to be used instead of toilet paper. A piece can be pulled out of the dispenser, folded in thirds and used after wetting it with water. Afterwards the piece of toilet cloth is to be folded inwards, stored in a wet basket or bag, then thrown into the washing machine. After that, it is to be re-folded and reused! “These washable and reusable toilet paper provides a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to clean yourself without creating waste or spending a mini fortune over time,” the company website states.
Like so many other measures devised to change the environment if only everyone would engage it but won’t, this disgusting innovation will just make those who use it miserable while allowing them to puff up their chests and feel virtuous by “doing something” to save the planet, even though it won’t. Meanwhile, most people will not so engage, thus rendering the heroic efforts of those who do futile and pointless.
This earns a Sidney Wang: