Everyday Ethics: The Really Nice People You Are Indebted To Who Come For A Visit And Refuse To Leave

That was the classic SLN skit from the Seventies that kept going through my mind today, and I felt guilty about  it. After all, it wasn’t a rude John Belushi who had come to our house. It was the wonderful woman who had rescued our dog from neglectful owners, taken him to her home, nursed him to health, and allowed us to adopt him. We are so grateful to her for her compassion and kindness, so when she and her friend, who also had been involved in the rehabilitation of Spuds, asked to stop by and see how he was doing after being a member of the Marshall family for three weeks, of course we said yes.

Spuds was, predictably, thrilled to see them, and they were emotional about seeing him in such good health and spirits. We invited the two women in, of course, offered them refreshments, engaged in conversation about our dog’s progress and adventures.

How long would you say would be a reasonable time for such an encounter? They stayed for three hours, from 2 pm to 5.

We showed them the house, Spuds’ toys, and the neighborhood. I allowed them to take the dog for a walk, with me as guide. The only topic of conversation the entire time was this dog and other dogs, because we have nothing else in common really, though it’s not as if they wanted to talk about anything else. Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 9/18/2020: Boy, It’s Hard To Write About Ethics When What You Really Want To Do Is Run Amuck With A Bloody Sword

I don’t even want to talk about the last two days, except to note that what has me proto-homicidal has nothing to do with anything we’ve been discussing on Ethics Alarms.

1. Now THIS is incompetent phishing: “Verizon” contacted me to say,

Dear User :Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte. You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.

  • I no longer have any relationship with Verizon.
  • Verizon no longer runs an email service. It sold its email users to AOL.
  • The letter is ungrammatical.
  • I received that email, along with about 50 others at the same time, telling me I was no longer getting email.
  • “Verizon’s” address was “bavaria2@centurylink.net”
  • The “letter” was signed “VeriZon.”

If you fall for something like that, you are a walking, talking mark, and incompetent at life.

2.  Why doesn’t the public trust the news media? It must be all those Trump “fake news” lies!  CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell used a photo from a “Latinos for Trump”  event in Phoenix to accompany a report on Joe Biden’s Latino event in Florida. The CBS’s chyron read, “Biden pitches crucial Latino voters during Florida campaign stop.”

Here was what viewers saw: Continue reading

The Name Game

It’s “racist” to get someone’s name wrong now?  What will the grievance bullies think of next?

The latest irritating aspect of life that has been appropriated to serve as a “microaggression” and proof of the U.S.’s “systemic racism” is people mispronouncing names. The complaint has gotten a boost from mispronunciations of Kamala Harris’s name, although I’ve never heard one. (I just call her “that phony” or “the jerk” and largely avoid the problem.) This is a continuation of the current trick: if something bad happens to a “POC,” like, say, getting shot while resisting arrest, it’s racism; if the exact same thing happens to a white person, that’s just bad luck, or the dude deserved it, or “Who cares?”

Admittedly, I am especially unsympathetic to the name game. My parents both were terrible at pronouncing names; it was a running joke between my sister and  me. It wasn’t just people’s names either. There was an ice cream store on Cape Cod called “Emack and Bolio,” and we used to ask Mom about it just to hear her say “E-MACK-a-Bowlee.” Because my mother was Greek, all ethnic names magically became Greek names to her. A Boston Red Sox infielder named Gutierrez became “Gouttarras.” My father mispronounced names like he mispronounced many words, and it didn’t matter how many times he was corrected. He thought, for example, that the words “fiasco” and “fiesta” were the same word, “fiesca.”

But in the New York Times weekly column “Work Friend,” this phenomenon was used for race-baiting, aided by the new narcicsism in which everyone’s name is some kind of badge of honor. “Call me what you want, just don’t call me late for dinner!” Dad would say when the misnaming issue came up. Of course, that Jack Marshall, like this one, went through life being called “John” and seeing his name spelled with only one “L.” He didn’t take it personally. He knew that what matters in life is what you do, not what you are called while doing it. Continue reading

“What’s Going On Here?”: The Rasmussen “Production Error”

What the hell?

In 2016 around this time I took Ethics Alarms to the woodshed for using unflattering photos of Hillary Clinton, like these.

It’s a dirty trick, essentially. Photos capture a split second of life and falsify it by freezing it forever. The news media has been using this tactic against Donald Trump with wild abandon, having essentially given up any pretense of fairness and objectivity. However, the Rasmussen graphic above wasn’t a photograph, and it was employed by the supposedly conservative-leaning polling service. Yet it could have been designed by the Democratic National Committee at its most nasty, portraying the President as a snarling, vicious threat, and Joe Biden as a calm and professional statesman.

Rasmussen was quick with a retraction that raised more questions that it answered:

  • Why did Rasmussen have the snarling Trump graphic at all?
  • What kind of “production error” would cause that?
  • If the company is so careless with its tweets, what else is it careless about?
  • Was a “rogue employee” the culprit? Again, this does not speak well for the company’s management, trustworthiness or culture.
  • Any organization that sends out tweets without a vetting and review process is incompetent. Yes, that includes the White House. Especially the White House.
  • Is Rasmussen really blaming the social media criticism of its botch? Or Trump supporters who have seen enough flagrant anti-Trump bias for a lifetime, and who expressed their anger at this example? The company needs to apologize, not blame the victims of its own system breakdown  ineptitude.

________________________________

Pointer: Althouse

Big Lie #4 Has Never Looked So Desperate…

“Repeat after me: Our riots are all Trump’s fault! It’s all Trump’s fault! He’s a raaaacist! A raaacist!”

As noted here more than once last week, Democrat/”resistance”/mainstream news media (The AUC) attacks on President Trump are becoming more shrill and desperate, and I expect them to keep getting more so as November approaches. They really appear to be going with the “The riots that have taken place overwhelmingly in Democrat-run cities having been organized by Black Lives Matter (a Democratic party endorsed group) and inflamed by the antifa (an anti-Trump domestic terrorist group) after being provoked by police-involved incidents in those Democratic Party-run cities are President Trump’s fault!” They really are. Well, good luck with that! It’s an all-in bet that the American public is made up of morons.

I’ll take that bet, and so will Abe Lincoln.

The panic and hysteria—it turns out that those polls showing Joe Biden winning by a lap despite his many problems weren’t so solid after all! ARGHHHHHH!—has caused, naturally, a stamped to the Big Lie store, the inventory of which is listed here.

Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler grabbed himself an armful of  Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist,”  the first and one of the most popular,  unconscionable and predictable of the Big Lies (and it is a lie, as explained in detail at the link above). Then he revealed just how ridiculous he is yesterday, saying in part as he attempted to blame his own city’s riots on the President,

“President Trump, for four years, we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people, we learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women,We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We’ve had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists. We’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats. And we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants. We’ve listened to you label Mexicans — rapists. We’ve heard you say that John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a prisoner of war. And now you’re attacking Democratic mayors and the very institutions of democracy that have served this nation well since its founding. Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division. President Trump, you bring no peace. You bring no respect to our democracy. You, Mr. President, need to do your job as the leader of this nation. I, Mr. President, will do my job as the mayor of this city. We will both be held accountable as we should. I’m calling out every other elected official in Oregon to join me. Not only in defeating racism but helping me to stop the violence as we are and will continue to be held accountable by all of our residents.”

I hate being blunt and vulgar, but what an asshole! Continue reading

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…

1. Oh-oh…Ethics Alarms has been and will continue to use “Wuhan virus” rather than various versions of Covid or corona virus as a matter of principle. China inflicted this contagion on the world and greatly abetted its spread by its cover-ups and lies, and pandemics and flus usually are identified by their site of origin. Furthermore, the political correctness edict against using the province where the first outbreak (we know of occurred) was yet another anti-Trump ploy, simultaneously covering for a brutal foreign adversary.

Syracuse University placed chemistry Professor Jon Zubieta on administrative leave and will be investigated by its Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution because he used the terms “Wuhan Flu” and “Chinese Communist Party Virus” in his syllabus. In a joint statement from Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Karin Ruhlandt and Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu, explained,

“Syracuse University unequivocally condemns racism and xenophobia and rejects bigotry, hate and intolerance of any kind. The derogatory language used by a professor on his course syllabus is damaging to the learning environment for our students and offensive to Chinese, international and Asian-Americans everywhere who have experienced hate speech, rhetoric and actions since the pandemic began.”

There is no racism here, and the theory, much in vogue, that  irrational people reacting to factual statements by persecuting others justifies suppresng the truth is unethical and perverse.

2.  Res Ipsa Loquitur. This is the letter Portland mayor Ted Wheeler sent to the President of the United States.

Wow. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Wind-Up, 8/29/2020: Bias Makes You Stupid, Stupid Makes You Incompetent, Incompetence Makes You NBA Commissioner, And My New Dog Makes Me Happy…

“Good eeevening!”

Many TV series from the black and white era seem hopelessly dated today, almost unwatchable. The Westerns hold up well: “Gunsmoke” is still excellent. “The Rifleman” is smart, ethical, and terrific. Of the dramas, “Perry Mason” and “Peter Gunn” among others still work. “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show” at their best, which was often, are brilliant. “The Twilight Zone” is probably the most acclaimed show from that period, and I love many of the episodes, but the duds, and there were quite a few, seem even duddier today. To be honest, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” which ran from 1955 to 1965, may hold up the best of all.

I thought about the show this week, after the story came out about the woman who was delivered to the funeral home and about to be embalmed when they found out she was alive. Now THAT’s incompetence! But it also echoed a famous  “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode, in which Joseph Cotton played a man  involved in a bad traffic accident that leaves him so paralyzed–eyes open, mouth in a rictus of horror, as Stephen King likes to say—that when help arrives they think he’s really dead.  Cotton narrates his plight in real time, as we hear the desperate man’s thoughts. He tries to signal using his little finger, the only part that works, and the medics move him so he’s on top of his hand. They are zipping up the body bag when…well, you should see the episode.

Another classic is when a young Steve McQueen plays a compulsive gambler whose car breaks down in front of crazy Peter Lorre’s home. Lorre bets Steve he can’t light his lighter ten times in a row. If he can, Steve gets Lorre’s car. If the lighter fails before flame ten, Steve loses a finger. Lorre stands over McQueen’s tied down left hand holding a hatchet. You could not possibly guess the ending. 

1. “Well,” as Elaine would say to George on “Seinfeld,” “That’s because you’re an idiot.” In an interview with Mediaite, Don Lemon said that CNN is not biased. The CNN anchor said in part,

I don’t really understand how people will say CNN is biased and focuses on the negative of Trump.How is being factual, bias? How is taking evidence and someone’s own words and their own actions, and their own policies, and just presenting it back to the public on television or whatever medium, whatever journalistic medium you happen to be in, how is that bias? …

As head-exploding as that statement is, it is only remarkable in that it is such a guileless indication that someone prominent in a profession where objectivity is essential literally doesn’t know what bias is, and is incapable of recognizing it.

Bias makes you stupid, but it is also true that being stupid—and Lemon is a very stupid man—makes it easier to be biased. Continue reading

‘All You Need Is Hate, Hate—Hate Is All You Need’…The Sequel!

That was the title of a post on February 19. That title is appropriate now, and so is the beginning of that post…

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”

It is ironic that President Richard Nixon’s most profound quote, an ethics quote, in fact, should have come as he left the Presidency, in his farewell remarks immediately after resigning his office in 1974 as impeachment and removal seemed unavoidable. It is doubly ironic that his words so prophetically apply at this moment to the target of his own hate that destroyed Nixon, the Democratic Party.

That the entire, ugly spectacle of a great political party shredding its own ideals and capitulating to unreasoning, all-consuming hate as its sole reason for being is not a new observation at Ethics Alarms, but it has reached its apotheosis… the final, total corruption of the party that once styled itself as the herals of peace and love was cleared and paved once Democrats, pushed by the fanatics of the “resistance,” abandoned policy commitment and fealty to America ideals and principles. The party devoted its energy and passion to making its attack on Donald Trump entirely personal, betting that never ceasing ad hominem rhetoric abetted by the now almost completely submissive left-biased media would be sufficient to bring down the Trump Presidency, hopefully without the messiness of an election, but if not, then at the polls in November.

Never before has  the brief for defeating an incumbant President been based on sheer hatred and little else. The reason why this is true becomes more evident every day, for Nixon was right. Hate is destroying the soul of the Democratic Party and its members. Its  strategy of employing the  atomic version of the politics of personal destruction, which the decried during the Clinton years, has torn the country apart to an extent that may have rendered it ungovernable.

There! Thank you, February Jack! You just saved August Jack the trouble of composing over 300 words. Now let’s talk about the hate assault of the Democratic allies..

  • Bette Midler. What a great talent she was, and what a vile creep she is. Midler is also typical of the Hollywood elite and once-elite—who constantly show why performers should shut up and reform. They are, however, fine examples of their non-famous compadres on social media. Here was Midler’s tweet about Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

Hypocrisy is the coin of the realm up and down the Democratic Party. These fake progressives weep for the plight of illegal immigrants who avoid sufficient involvement in American society to speak English at all. Yet they think they can seamlessly use insults  they would declare racist, sexist or otherwise proof of some form of cancel-worthy bigotry if they issued from a Republican, conservative, or heaven forfend, the President, and yet turn around and employ the same weaponized verbiage against those domestic enemies” (per Nancy Pelosi) with impunity. Continue reading

I Don’t Care If The Axis Of Unethical Conduct Is Panicking, Their Rhetoric Is Unforgivable (CONTINUED)

[The beginning of this article is here.]

You know her comments crashed over any line pf decency, propriety and civility because the mainstream media largely ignored them. “We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Pelosi said on MSNBC. “And, sadly, the domestic enemies to our voting system and honoring our Constitution are right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their allies in the Congress of the United States,” ,Of course, being a den of hacks, no follow-up could ever occur on MSNBC. Only Fox News, the New York Post, and some conservative outlets thought the Speaker of the House declaring an entire political party and its President “domestic enemies” was something the public has a right to know.  CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC News, Politico and other AUC members buried it, though such rhetoric is a call to insurrection and violence, coming from the same party that wouldn’t rebuff Maxine Waters and others who called for the harassment of Trump administration officials in public places.

No, this is not the equivalent of  President Trump calling the mainstream media “enemies of the people,” which, it should be noted, caused that same mainstream media to decry the words as a prelude to an authoritarian take-over.  The media is not the government, and all citizens can do to journalists who betray the trust the Founders put in the Fourth Estate to keep the public objectively informed is to stop believing them, which, thankfully, a large portion of the public has.  In contrast, for a powerful elected official to call the party in the White House “domestic enemies” is indescribably wrong, and I say that because my inner thesaurus fails me.

“I was shot because of this kind of unhinged rhetoric,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise said. Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) called  the statement were “gross and divisive;” while Senator Kelly Loeffler called them “appalling.”  Not bad, but those adjective still don’t measure the amazing breach of democratic norms Pelosi’s words represent. (Remember, Democrats have been saying it  is Trump who endangers democracy by his breach of “norms,” like firing an unethical and incompetent FBI Director.) Pelosii’s hateful rhetoric is only slightly less divisive than the beating of Charles Sumner on the Senate Floor.

Her words were  also flamingly hypocritical. Pelosi’s Democrats have orchestrated one attempted coup after another, working to deliberately undermine the public’s faith in their government, nation and Constitution, and using leaks, conspiracy theories, falsified documents, support for lawlessness and manufactured narratives to to it. No party has done such damage to America  since the Civil War. Even the news media’s efforts shouldn’t be able to keep cognizant Americans from figuring out “what’s going on here.” Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/23/2020, As If Anyone Needs To be Warmed Up Today…

Hot enough for ya?

1. False narrative, bad analogy. The popular media narrative is that President Trump is in a similar position to George H.W. Bush in 1988, when polls at this point showed him trailing Democratic Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis by a large margin. Conservative media had cited the comparison earlier this summer to make the simple point that being behind in the polls in July is relatively meaningless. Lately the mainstream media has been flogging the analogy in order to continue its doomsday prediction for the Trump campaign.

“Bush ’88 rally could be map for Trump ’20” is somehow deemed worthy of a front page spot in the Sunday Times. To begin with, that’s fake news of the “future news” variety. (“…or, it might not be.”) More importantly, it’s straw man: the article exists to to show that President Trump may not be able to prevail, because, you see, having begun with the false assertion that his situation is similar to Bush’s, the Times explains that the situations aren’t that similar at all. The bad analogy is created to rebut it.

In fact, the differences between the Bush challenge in 1988 and Trump’s in 2020 mostly favor the President. Bush was never a popular figure; he was distrusted by conservatives, and only was nominated because an epicly popular President, Ronald Reagan, anointed him as his approved successor. (Barack Obama, in contrast, avoided “anointing” Biden.) A strong Democratic opponent would have beaten Bush; Dukakis was weak. He was ahead in the polls when nobody outside of Massachusetts knew what  he was like. Trump has a large base of passionate supporters, something Bush never had. He is an incumbant (Bush was not), and if they run, incumbents almost always win. Bush was an awful debater; Trump has proven effective in debates. And while Dukakis was completely supported by the liberal wing of the party, Biden has critics on the hard left, among feminists (the non-hypocrite faction), and African Americans. The Democratic party of the 1980s had not spent four years trying to overturn an election. Moreover, polls are less reliable now than they were before news media bias began warping them, and Trump’s support, as the last election showed,  is especially hard to measure. Continue reading