Autumn Afternoon Ethics Leaves, 10/25/2022: Hope, Harvard, Fakes, And Weenies.

So far, at least, Biden’s spectacularly incompetent and unethical Cabinet hasn’t seen anyone indicted, though there are good arguments that at least two of them should be impeached. This date in history, October 25, marks the day in 1929 when Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, was found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office. Fall was the first Presidential cabinet member to be so humiliated. There would be others.

Fall accepted a $100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company in exchange for Interior granting him a valuable oil lease in the Elk Hills naval oil reserve, which together with the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve in Wyoming, had been transferred to the Department of the Interior as part of Fall’s scheme to profit by receiving bribes. The Senate Public Lands Committee launched an investigation that revealed not only the $100,000 bribe that Fall received from Doheny, but also a $300,000 bribe that Harry Sinclair, president of Mammoth Oil, had given to Fall for use of the Teapot Dome reserve in Wyoming.

Yet Fall was only sentenced to a year in prison. It’s comforting to know that laws were only for the “little people” 100 years ago too, don’t you think?

A Cabinet member who betrays the public trust like that belongs in prison for decades, if not life.

1. There is hope! At least one committed progressive activist of note has the integrity to be revolted at what her party of choice is doing. Susan Sarandon, a charter member of the Hollywood Left, posted this on Twitter:

Good for her.

2. It’s not a reason to vote for Crist, but DeSantis should have been able to answer the question. Last night’s debate between former GOP Florida governor-turned convenient Democrat Charlie Crist and Gov. DeSantis was by most accounts a decisive rout by the Republican, but Crist had a “moment” when he asked DeSantis to pledge that he would serve a full term as governor when most expect him to be Donald Trump’s main competition to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. It speaks poorly for the governor’s staff and power of preparation that he didn’t have an answer ready; DeSantis just stood mute. First of all, Crist’s question is a standard ploy any time a candidate has buzz ticketing him or her for the White House. Second, it’s not hard to answer: “I am running to serve the people of Florida as governor and continue the work I began in my first term. If and when my country calls upon me to provide the kind of sound guidance and effective leadership I am dedicated to giving Florida, I will of course do what I can, like any patriotic American.” Simple.

Crist, meanwhile, went on Fox News and when asked about his support for the Biden open borders policies, said that the swarms of illegal immigrants were the GOP’s fault for not helping to pass “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is the kissing cousin of “sensible gun regulation.” This is a transparently dishonest answer. Crist (and other Democrats) is arguingthat if the current laws are inadequate or flawed, it’s acceptable to violate them. Naturally, the Fox News talking heads didn’t have the wit or professionalism to press Crist on what he was really saying.

3. She should have run for the Senate in Massachusetts. Sasheen Littlefeather, whom the Oscars felt it necessary to formally apologize to in a special event on September 17, died just two weeks later, on October 2. Academy Award audience members booed Sasheen when she took the stage as the “Native American activist” Marlon Brando sent to accept his “Godfather” Best Actor statuette in 1973. Now it appears that she wasn’t really a Native American at all, putting the perfect crap frosting on a foul-tasting pandering, grandstanding cake. Now I really don’t feel guilty for writing in that previous post linked above,

Booing is always uncivil–some members of the Academy crowd also gave derisive Indian whoops—but if anyone ever deserved such treatment, it was Littlefeather and Brando, who was the one really being jeered. Her appearance was rude in itself, assisting in hijacking the awards ceremony for pure political grandstanding. (She shouldn’t have been allowed to take the stage.) Now that Hollywood is so woke it is helping to kill the movie business, the Oscar crowd gives ovations to minority actors who slap comedians for un-woke jokes. Personally, I hold that the jeers of 1973 were more ethical than Will Smith being applauded for defending “black women’s hair” or the lack of it.

4. I report with sadness the apparent death of Radley Balko’s integrity. The libertarian journalist, once a stalwart at “Reason,” has apparently joined the mainstream media’s mad effort to gaslight the public regarding Democratic policy disasters. In his latest substack salvo, Balko makes a series of disingenuous attacks on Marc Thiessen’s column in the Washington Post about crime and cities run by Democrats. There really is no route to an honest argument that the current crime wave from coast to coast isn’t a consequence of progressive policies and rhetoric. Granted, as a libertarian, Balko tends to think that there are too many laws, but even that bias can’t excuse his desperate rationalizations for increased crime. It is Democratic District Attorneys in Democrat-run cities who have championed the non-enforcement of laws, turning San Francisco, New York City and Portland into dangerous cesspools. It has been the Democratic demonizing of police, begun during the Obama administration and by Barack himself, that has police forces understaffed, demoralized and hesitant to engage in proactive police work. It was entirely the Left that sanctioned rioting and violence across the nation during the George Floyd Freak-Out. It is Democrats who have allowed illegal immigrants, many of them peddling fentanyl, to cross our borders unmolested. It is Democrat-run cities allowing alleged violent offenders to be released as a symbol of “bail reform” and to fight “over-incarceration.” There are many problems that can legitimately be blamed on both parties, but not this.

Well, there’s one more analyst I trusted who has been corrupted. I’m running out fast.

5. Gee, I wonder why Harvard is attacking the Supreme Court? My Nov.-Dec. Harvard Alumni magazine’s cover and primary article is devoted to “The Court’s Crisis.” Huh. You don’t think this might have something to do with SCOTUS taking up Harvard’s racial discrimination in its admissions process, do you? Since I published here, exactly one year ago,my reunion book statement on why I would not be celebrating my Harvard graduation with my roommates and friends, the school has only slipped farther into The Dark Side. The book finally was mailed out last week; I have received one, but only one, message from a classmate thanking me for saying what he was feeling.

6. “Weenie” is banned by Yahoo!…My wife, perhaps infected by my Ethics Alarms rhetoric, wrote a comment on a Yahoo! News story in which she opined that our leaders were “weenies.” She was informed that her comment would not pass moderation unless “weenies” was replaced. She demurred. No weenie she.

31 thoughts on “Autumn Afternoon Ethics Leaves, 10/25/2022: Hope, Harvard, Fakes, And Weenies.

    • Sarandon has been openly critical of the Democratic party before, especially so recently. She’s beyond-Bernie-Sanders-left, so her criticism comes from that direction, but she’s no fan of the D party.

      • Thanks—that was my perspective as well. Sanders hangs out with the D’s for strategic purposes, but all progressives and socialists are not Democrats. I don’t think an attack on the current Democratic party by Sarandon is necessarily out of character.

      • https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Eric-Swalwell-and-Susan-Sarandon-debate-abortion-17148239.php

        Back during the Great Roe Freakout of 2022, Sarandon called out the Dems thusly:

        “Dems are going to use this to fundraise and get you to vote for them again despite sitting on their hands for the last two years. Instead of actually standing for anything, their only strategy is scaring you into voting blue.”

        She’s been going on like this since her boy Bernie got bamboozled in 2016. She’s one of a small group of progressive types who have more fury for the Democrats than they do the Republicans, because they see through the Democrats’ empty promises to the far left and feel like the party has sold out to moneyed interests and cares not one bit about the average person.

        I don’t agree with the left-wing politics of people like Sarandon and comedian/podcaster Jimmy Dore, but this is one thing they’re definitely not wrong about. They have correctly identified that the problem is not one of red vs. blue, it’s elites vs. everybody else. Russell Brand has begun a journey down the same road, but he seems to be heading into a more libertarian direction with it, rather than far-left.

    • You beat me to it. Desantis appeared to be waiting for the moderator to call out Crist for violating the agreed upon rules

      • Well, he better get over THAT habit. Do you think Trump would have just stood there without responding? Debates always have gotcha questions. Shouting “Moderator!” doesn’t look very impressive.

        • … Shouting “Moderator!” doesn’t look very impressive.

          Hence the story of the Celtic v. Rangers match in Glasgow. A visitor asked why he only heard shouts of “F*** the Pope!”. His host replied, “Have you ever tried shouting ‘F*** the Moderator of the Uniting Church of Scotland?'”

          Plus what other commenters have remarked about Susan Sarandon’s possible position (no double entendre intended).

        • Jack, are you advocating that a politician should ignore the agreed upon rules? Isn’t that a race to bottom, where no one wins? The moderator recognized Christ was out of order and Desantis let her actually do her job. That the main slime media creatively edited the encounter is in the same category as the editing and “whitewashing” of that Hispanic guy in the great skittles shootout.

          • I’m advocating that a politician’s job in a debate is to inform the public, and if moderator bias or malpractice gets in the way, fix it. These aren’t college debates with point scores; they aren’t games. Moderators constantly distort debates with biased questions and incompetent moderation. They aren’t like umpires: none of these people are trained as moderators. The viewers want to assess the candidates, and if the rules get in the way of that process, then a candidate has to adapt.

        • Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I don’t think a parsec of time will pass again before a retort.

    • Everyone knows Crist is a weasel. Debaters can’t complain that a question from the opposing candidate is “out of order” without looking weak. And Crist’s hypocrisy is irrelevant at that moment.

  1. Jack,
    Are you sure Sarandon’s comments aren’t about the right? I’ve seen that same meme used in anti-Trump contexts more than a few times, and she gives no commentary indicating who it’s about.

    • Am I sure? I guess not. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and begin with the presumption that they are neither insane of morons. Sarandon is far left, but she’s no dummy. Who even on the Left seriously argues that Republicans “control the media”? With that as the first line and the contextI assumed she only could be talking about Democrats. The other items are pretty obviously ID for the Democrats today too—whose President called members of the other part fascists just last month? But you could be right, and that’s very disturbing.

      • “I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and begin with the presumption that they are neither insane of morons.”

        Cue Dan Akroyd: “Jack, you ignorant slut.”

  2. I’m gonna chime in here and say it seems doubtful to me that ol Susan (Jack Abbot) Sarandon would say something like this about her team.
    The Left seems to have developed a really shocking level of cognitive dissonance. Remember: there’s no such thing as cancel culture, no one is teaching kids CRT or Gender Theory, and no one ever literally meant Defund the Police (these are all Fox News conspiracies).

    • Why, though? People are supposed to be critical of “their team” when their team is in the wrong, or they are obligated to leave the team. I’m giving an articulate progressive credit for honesty and objectivity. The alternative is to conclude she is deluded or stupid. Which is an Occam’s Razor solution: assuming she is seeing the opposite of what is right in front of her, or that, as an American, she is alarmed by the rhetoric and actions of those she has supported? Isn’t that quote a call to not be blind?

  3. . The Twitter responses are interesting. Most on the right assume she is unaware that she is describing “her side”. Most on the left c!aim she is accurately describing the right. It’s not beyond belief she shares their delusion.

    Some blame her for Hillary’s loss, and antisemitism (supporting Palestinians). Some ask if she’ll be blacklisted like Gina Carano for making a holocaust comparison.

  4. Re Sarandon: Churchill once said (paraphrasing) that all young people are liberal, then conservative when they grow up. So if she is to be taken seriously in her twitter, it has taken her a long long long time to grow up. I think her twitter was intentionally vague, was in fact talking about Republicans/conservatives, though since her facts are all wrong it was easy to read it as a damnation of liberals/Democrats. Perhaps she just can’t express herself clearly; perhaps she wanted readers to see what they wanted to see in her post. From what I know (little, I admit), I just don’t see this kind of total about-face. Actually, she is not worth even this short response.

    Frankly, I don’t think she’s smart enough to play with language so effectively. Safe to assume someone else wrote the twitter for her.

    Enough on Sarandon. More on other topics -in Marshall’s post – all, and almost everything — more important than Susan Sarandon, a minor personage at best.

  5. It’s not a reason to vote for Crist, but DeSantis should have been able to answer the question.

    I believe the debate rules prohibited candidates from asking each other direct questions. Therefore, DeSantis not answering this question was proper.

  6. Regarding Sarandon’s twitter post, she’s just as liberal as she always was. However, perhaps just like Bill Mahr, another life long card carrying liberal, she recognized what’s controlling the media, many corporations, schools, colleges, Hollywood, and many government positions are radical totalitarian leftists who aren’t anything resembling liberalism.

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