Ethics Dunce: Unethical Groveler Kelly Stafford

It’s really simple. If you don’t have the fortitude to stand up for your opinions, resist bullying and tell the social media mobs to go fry an egg, then shelter in your metaphorical womb, check with the Woke and The Wonderful about their latest agenda items and directives so you can parrot them accurately, and shut the hell up.

At least Galileo was threatened with torture by an authority that wasn’t bluffing before he retracted what he knew to be true. What was Kelly Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, afraid of? Yet she quickly followed up her video, which was 100% correct, with a nauseating retraction on Instagram, as she wrote,

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“How Is Rewarding Unethical Behavior Ethical?”

Every now and then a comment on Ethics Alarms that I have not answered personally sticks in my brain like a musical earworm, literally keeping me awake at night. This was one of those times. That proclivity is one reason I have made over 50,000 comments on my own blog among the 300,000 here in the decade Ethics Alarms has been in existence. The vast majority of bloggers don’t do that; most don’t comment at all. I do it because, in addition to the biological need for sleep, I designed this forum to be a colloquy and an ongoing ethics seminar as much as a platform for my own analysis.

This time, the comment that stuck in my brain like “Thank-You Girl,” the Beatles’ all-time earworm, began,

“How is rewarding unethical behavior ethical?”

The comment came as a response to yesterday’s post explaining why it would be best for all concerned  if President Trump would stop claiming that the election was “stolen” or “rigged” (though it was both) and concede with graciousness and honor now that the chances of his prevailing in the Electoral College are vanishingly small.

I could answer that question in two sentences, or with a book. I will try mightily to come much closer to the former than the latter.

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NOW President Trump Should Concede [Corrected]

live_map_president

When I noted in last night’s ethics update that North Carolina’s Electoral College votes had been added to the Trump column, I was not aware that that Georgia had been called with Biden in a small but likely uncatchable lead (nonetheless, a recount is underway that will be complete on Wednesday: thanks to James Flood for the correction). Without Georgia, there is no sliver of a path for the President to be re-elected now. The Biden-Harris ticket has 307 EC votes, well above the 270 threshold required for election. RealClearPolitics, one of the very few news sources that did not display open bias and worse, a desire to push the election to a conclusion they favored, has the race marked as decided.

President Trump should make his concession speech today. He has a duty to concede as soon as possible, for the good of the country, in fairness to President-Elect Biden, and, though I doubt anyone could convince him of this (though I would love to have the opportunity to try), himself.

The President should do everything in his power to establish a clear contrast with the irresponsible conduct of Hillary Clinton after her defeat in 2016. She set out to undermined Trump from the beginning by refusing to accept that her loss was genuine and legitimate, thus setting the stage for a four-year effort by Democrats, the “resistance,” and the news media (the “Axis of Unethical Conduct”) to withhold national support of his leadership and wreck his term in office by unscrupulous and despicable means.

One reason this conduct by Clinton and her supporters was so destructive is that it created a precedent that risked being followed going forward to future elections, permanently weakening what had been a strength of American democracy. The President can go a long way toward undoing that damage. I think it is crucial to our national health that he do so, and the sooner the better.

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Remember Kristallnacht, And Why Should I Even Have To Write That?

kristallnacht

On November 9, 1938, in an event that we now recognize as the beginning of the Holocaust, Hitler’s  Nazis began their campaign of terror against Jewish people by destroying their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. About 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, with many of them sent to concentration camps for several months until they promised to leave Germany.

The November 7 murder of a German diplomat in Paris by a 17-year-old Polish Jew became the provocation for the Kristallnacht attacks. On, 1938, Following the episode, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels ordered German storm troopers to carry out “spontaneous demonstrations” against Jewish citizens, with local police and fire departments ordered not to interfere. Terrified by the sudden outpouring of official hate, some Jews, including entire families, committed suicide.

In a clear demonstration of the state of German ethics and justice at the time, Nazis blamed their Jewish victims for Kristallnacht and fined them 1 billion marks (or $400 million in 1938 dollars) for the low-level diplomat’s  death. This allowed the government to seize Jewish property and any insurance money owed to Jewish people for the destruction. The Nazis then enacted policies and laws that excluded Jews from all aspects of public life.

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Election 2020: The Appearance Of Impropriety Or Real Impropriety? Part I, Georgia On My Mind

Georgia vote Count

I woke up this morning to find that overnight (at about 4 am) Georgia, a state President Trump had to must win to wend his way through the tiny window now open to his re-election (Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) had flipped to the Biden side with a less than a thousand vote edge to the ex-VP. This now makes three crucial states (the others being Wisconsin and Michigan) that switched leads in the dead of night…possibly a coincidence, but not a good look for Democrats, or the nation.

Of course this is substantially the result of mail-in ballots, which the Democrats championed. Anyone capable of thought could figure out that the system was a recipe for fraud, manipulation and chaos, so it is basic logic to presume that this is what the Democrats (and their allies, the news media) wanted. As I have read in maybe ten places this morning alone, the longer and more convoluted a process is, the easier it is to rig it. That is true.

See the tweet above? It appears that Democrats in Georgia organized to “get out the vote” after the election. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation, but 1) you can’t blame people for being alarmed 2) there are no such tweets from the Republicans.

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Decided: The Ten Reasons I’ll Be Voting To Re-Elect President Trump; A Preface

Trump 2020

The Eleventh Reason is that I started feeling like I was drawing things out and avoiding being honest with myself, while also acting like my decision should matter enough to keep anyone in suspense. Nobody should vote for a candidate because of what anyone else does or thinks. One is obligated to use ethical principles and sound, unemotional reasoning to make decisions that become part of the course of our republic, but it must be a personal decision. It must also be made according to what a citizen really believes is in the best interests of the nation, society and culture in which he or she lives, not personal best interests, or according to what vote will permit you to deny responsibility for a choice that has to be made.

To hell with it. The vote in 2020 is important, and needs to be made for real reasons, not symbolic reasons, not reasons rooted in ego or professional ethics or what your Facebook friends will say or other irrelevant factors and considerations. All of us can keep our votes secret, but that choice isn’t open to me, really. I’ve written too much about the Trump Presidency and the election. Telling inquirers, “That’s for me to know and you to find out!” at this point would be cowardly; so would telling people what I think they want to hear.

There is only one question to answer: which candidate is the most responsible and ethical choice?

On that basis, the decision is easy and obvious—not pleasant, but easy and obvious.

I will be casting my vote, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, for President Donald J. Trump.

I’ll have the details in the post to come.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/30/2020: Zoomed Out

Zoom

Why is it that running a Zoom seminar from my office is far more exhausting than standing up and talking for three hours?

On the positive side, I was actually allowed to post an Ethics Alarms link today! I wonder if Sean Lennon reads Ethics Alarms…

1. And this woman was an early participant in the Democratic primary debates, in case you’re wondering how the party ended up with Joe Biden. New Age guru Marianne Williamson tweeted,

Williamson debate

Oopsie! Missed that “Thou shalt not steal” thing. So she came back with, “Actually, ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is of course in there. But my point about priorities remains the same.”

Wait, what point would that be? A) It sounds a lot like Rationalization #22. So because stealing isn’t as bad as murder, stealing is OK? B) Is she making a technical legal point that a man waving a knife around and refusing to drop it is “innocent” because he hasn’t been proven guilty? Or is her point that because the victim in the Philadelphia shooting may have been out of his mind meant that he couldn’t form the “mens rea” to be technically guilty of a crime? By these calculations, nobody who is shot by the police is ever guilty, because they are resisting the arrest that would eventually put them on trial.

2. Actual quote from Joe Biden yesterday: “Spending! We’re gonna roost. And we are gonna reduce prescription drug crisis experts acknowledge.”

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“Abducted In Plain Sight”: Maybe People Really Are Too Stupid To Be Trusted With Democracy

Abducted

If that title sounds harsh, by all means watch the Netflix true crime documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” Otherwise, I’m not sure the ordeal is worth it, since it may throw you into a depression from which you never recover. That’s where I am now.

With the nation facing what might be—“I do believe in people, I do believe in people,” he says in his best Cowardly Lion imitation—an existential election, I really did not need any more reason to despair of the life competency deficit and declining mental state of the nation’s voters. In fact, I decided to watch “Abducted in Plain Sight” to take my mind off of The Big Stupid, with its ongoing efforts by the news media to keep Americans ignorant of the Biden scandal, the brain-melting tale of the Zoom adventures of He Who Must Not Be Named, and polls that seem to show that most of the American public is incapable of paying attention to matters that will effect their lives, family and nation.

Big mistake. What watching the 2017 award-winning documentary did was vividly remind me that normal, decent, religious middle-class Americans like those you live and work with may well be too moronic and irresponsible to be entrusted with children, never mind make decisions about leadership and public policy that will affect the rest of us.

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Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Ethics Train Wreck

train wreck - b

That’s democracy falling over…

  • Lawyer/blogger Ken White, in his new incarnation of Popehat, has a useful, informative but misguided post about the misunderstanding of the law as it applied to Twitter and Facebook manipulating the news to push Joe Biden over the finish line. Yes, it’s true: there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about the social media platforms choosing to censor communications they don’t like, even if its objective is to “rig”—in President Trump’s term—the election. It is still, however, wrong. Ken is usually a bit more nuanced in recognizing the critical law vs ethics problem. Okay, I got it” members of Congress and conservative pundits arguing that Section 230 requires social media platforms to be fair and unbiased are wrong. They, are, however 100% right that the current conduct of those platforms threatens to undermine democracy. You can’t, as one of the links White points readers to does, call Section 230 “the internet’s First Amendment” and then complain that politicians think the law ought to prevent partisan censorship.

Boy, I sure hope Trump Derangement hasn’t gotten Ken too…

  • Imagine if the Hillary Clinton server story was buried by the news media the way it is trying to run out the clock on the Joe Biden/Hunter Biden influence peddling story. That tells you just how far the news media has deteriorated in four years (and also how much more certain journalists were that Hillary would win no matter what they reported).

I’ll wait to see what kind of coverage the story gets on the CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Sunday shows, but even if it is adequately covered, those programs have a relatively select viewership. By past standards, the Hunter Biden emails should be front page, above the fold material, and yet only a conservative New York City tabloid and its ilk are making it so.

And one more time, this should not be pigeon-holed as a “conservative” lament. All Americans of any ideological persuasion should fear and loathe the news media trying to slam its heavy fist on the electoral scales this way. Why don’t they? Are that many citizens really willing to see elections “rigged” if their favorite party wins? If so, theRepublic is lost no matter what happens in 2020.

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Mid-Day Ethics Flashes, 10/16/2020: Casting Ethics, Celebrity Threats, Free Speech Suppression, And Conservative Clickbait

Flashes

1. The good brother. It’s not worth a full post, but Ron Howard deserves a call-out for being a good brother. Last night I finally watched “Frost/Nixon,” and wondered if, since it was directed by Ron Howard, Opie’s hideous younger brother Clint Howard would be in the cast. Sure enough, he was. Clint, like Ron, was a child star, most prominently in the TV series “Gentle Ben.” Unlike Ron, Clint was not treated well by the puberty fairy, and once his goofy looks stopped being cute, he had a face that was usable, if at all, in cheap horror flicks and in bit parts playing various creeps and thugs. Clint’s not a bad actor, he’s just not very versatile, and relentlessly hard on the eyes. He would probably not have an A movie to his credit were it not for the fact that his brother, the rich and famous star director, puts him in the cast whenever he can.

Well, good for Ron. Sure, it’s nepotism, but Clint is serviceable, and certainly capable of playing the parts he’s cast in, like one of the NASA guys in the control room in “Apollo 13,” or a referee in one of the less important Jim Braddock fights in “ Cinderella Man.” Getting such roles in Ron’s prestige films make Clint more attractive for the parts he’s up for in his usual vehicles, like the upcoming “Hell of the Screaming Undead.”

2. On a related casting issue, I watched the Netflix production “Enola Holmes.” It was fun, but the “anti-racism” casting was already in evidence: African Americans were scattered through Victorian London in odd and ahistorical places. It didn’t undermine the quality of the productions: all of the black actors and actresses were pros, but it did make the piece seem set in some fantasy land that never existed. If you know history, it is jarring; if you don’t, then it has no impact at all. I did find the non-traditional casting half-hearted: in virtually all cases, the actors “of color” were relegated to extremely minor roles a step above the extras. You know—like the parts Clint Howard plays in his brother’s movies.

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