Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/12/2021: It’s The Great Stupid, Charlie Brown!

Gypsy moth

1. Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Guess who! Yes, of course it is VP Kamala Harris, and this would be a stand-alone post if I hadn’t begun the day with another Kamala story. You may have heard about this one, if you don’t depend on mainstream media.

The Vice President suggested during an interview at the end of last week with BET News that voter ID laws will make it unacceptably difficult for rural voters who do not live near Kinko’s or OfficeMax to cast ballots. “In some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them,” she warned. “Of course people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are.”

Naturally the interviewer, the historically unobjective Soledad O’Brien, who was the worst talking head at CNN before the whole network went to Journalism Hell, just smiled and nodded as if Harris had said that the world was round. Elsewhere, Kamala’s idiotic statement got the reaction it deserved. Harris had managed to insult rural America and show her own ignorance in one single gaffe. Kinkos hasn’t existed for several years; it’s called FedEx Office now. Wrote PJ Media’s Bryan Preston, his tongue piercing his cheek,

“Rural Americans have access to these things called ‘smartphones,’ which they can use to scan and send their IDs if they need to. They also have access to these things called ‘scanners,’ ‘printers, and these amazing devices that can scan,  print, and even digitally transmit information wirelessly. It’s like magic, really. Rural Americans also have this amazing communications tech called ’email.’ They also have various means of getting their information from where it is to where it needs to be — in physical form! There’s even a whole government service dedicated to moving physical pieces of paper and even packages from place to place called the ‘U.S. Postal Service.’ We truly live in an age of miracle and wonder.”

One Tweeter writes, “She’s so misinformed and so ridiculous. It’s absurd.” Yes, It’s that trademark Harris smug laziness, all right. If she is going to keep up the dishonest Democratic talking point that voter ID is racist and a means of “voter suppression,” it would be prudent to check some facts. Harris doesn’t do that very often. The episode was reminiscent of President Bush the Elder expressing amazement at a grocery store checkout scanner, causing widespread mockery in the media over how out of touch he was. Yet I can’t find any mention of Harris’s telling botch outside of the “conservative media.” Gee, why is that? When poor Dan Quayle was VP, the fact that he misspelled “potato” was news for a week. Harris shows that she thinks of rural America as a primitive wasteland, and it isn’t newsworthy at the Times, Washington Post, CNN, CBS and the rest.

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“Is We Getting Dummer” Or Is The News Media Deliberately Trying To Make Us Dumb?

Ethics Alarms has occasionally referenced the Arthur Herzog novel “IQ 83,” in which mutant DNA infests the U.S. population and lowers its average intelligence disastrously. “Is We Getting Dummer?” a typo-riddled New York Times front page asks. In the novel, the news media is one of the victims of the virus; today, it appears to be spreading the equivalent, and perhaps doing so intentionally.

Less than two weeks ago, we discussed a jaw-dropping (technically “head-exploding”) op-ed in the New York Times that criticized President Biden for giving poor Vice-President Harris assignments that were too darn hard for her, thus undermining her chances at being President, which was much to be desired. “[Biden] had to know that in choosing her as his vice president, he was making her his heir apparent. But based on how things look now, her work as his No. 2 could end up being baggage more than a boon. Mr. Biden and his team aren’t giving her chances to get some wins and more experience on her ledger. Rather, it’s the hardest of the hard stuff,” the Fordham political science professor wrote.

I thought this was about as incompetent an argument as I had ever seen published in a supposedly trustworthy publication, and even sinister in that too many readers lack the intellectual wherewithal to recognize its non-logic for the dog’s breakfast that it is. Prof Greer obviously thinks that Kamala Harris is qualified to be President, though why she does remains vague. But imagine an op-ed that takes the position that Harris is being unfairly “sabotaged” in her Presidential aspirations while simultaneously making it clear that she is obviously unqualified (which, of course, she is.)

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KABOOM! The New York Times Op-Ed Page Is Trying To Kill Me (And, Apparently, The USA)

jackheadexplosion

Once again, we have an opinion piece that an objective, serious newspaper that respects it readers and is committed to the idea of promoting good government and a responsible citizenry would read upon submission and say, politely holding back giggles, “Come on! We can’t print this: it’s ridiculous.” Not only that, but the author, Christina Greer, is actually employed by a university to pass along her brand of “reasoning” and “analysis” to innocent, unsuspecting students, who pay for the privilege. She’s an associate professor of political science at Fordham.

I hate beginning the day with dire thoughts of hurling myself into a woodchipper in despair. It’s been happening a lot lately.

This is the title: “Dear Kamala Harris: It’s a Trap!” And this is its thesis: Mean, possibly sexist and racist President Biden is setting up the Vice-President to fail by giving her really hard assignments that she isn’t qualified to pull off, and this is likely to adversely affect her chances of being elected President. No, I’m serious: I wouldn’t make that up. I couldn’t make that up. Prof. Greer really argues that in an essay that tries to turn so many basic premises of political and social reality on their metaphorical heads, it made MY head blow up. [Once again, much gratitude is due to reader Steve Witherspoon, who constructed that GIF.)

Here is the crux of her argument:

Addressing the root causes of migration is one of several jobs President Biden has handed Ms. Harris, who had no deep expertise with Latin America issues or the decades-long quandary of federal immigration reform. He has also asked her to lead the administration’s voting-rights efforts, which are in a filibuster limbo. According to The Times, he has her working on combating vaccine hesitancy and fighting for policing reform, too, among other uphill battles….

“Ms. Harris, at this point, can’t seem to win for trying. She is a historic yet inexperienced vice president who is taking on work that can easily backfire as so many people sit in judgment, with critics sniping (especially right-wing commentators) and allies spinning (like with official statements about “success”).

“And all the while, the clock is ticking. Most political observers think that if Mr. Biden decides not to run for re-election in 2024 (when he will be 81), Ms. Harris most definitely will. He had to know that in choosing her as his vice president, he was making her his heir apparent. But based on how things look now, her work as his No. 2 could end up being baggage more than a boon. Mr. Biden and his team aren’t giving her chances to get some wins and more experience on her ledger. Rather, it’s the hardest of the hard stuff.”

The translation for “historic but inexperienced” is “unqualified.” Being a historic VP is just box-checking. It doesn’t get the job done, and there is no excuse for making “historic” a candidate’s only asset, which is definitely the case with Kamala. (Electing a wombat, a coma victim, or a lawn chair would also be historic.) Harris has no executive experience. She was a prosecutor, and a pretty bad one, who rose in California politics by sleeping with a powerful pol. Joe Biden chose her as his running mate because his party had painted itself into a corner and decided that it was more important that he have a female, sort-of black running mate than someone actually qulaified to be President. She prevailed because the alternatives—Stacey Abrams was the least horrible of her competition— were even worse than she was. She was chosen entirely for her lack of a y chromosome and her skin shade, even though it was clear, or should have been, that Biden would be the most fragile President elected since an irresponsible FDR ran for a fourth term knowing he was a goner.

I shouldn’t have to explain this to a political science professor, but being President of the United States is hard. Being delegated difficult aspects of it is an opportunity for a competent VP to show that she is capable of handling the challenge, and any individual in the position of Vice-President should relish the chance. If the Vice-President isn’t up to any task under the President’s list of responsibilities, then she wasn’t qualified to be in the job in the first place. I cannot imagine Greer’s complaint being made on behalf of Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, George H.W., Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and many other previous VPs; it would be an insult. She appears to think that the objective is to sneak an unqualified, certified screw-up into the White House for the same reason she was allowed to run for Vice President, to be “historic.” Somehow, I think most Americans would like a little more reason to place the fate of their nation into a leader’s hands.

Having pre-exploded my head with her basic premise, I was spared later eruptions when Greer suggested that giving poor Kamala tough jobs to handle shows how racist and sexist we all are. Look at this sophistry:

“This country has yet to have an honest conversation and reflection on the ways in which race and gender play out in electoral politics. There are voters who look at Ms. Harris and immediately believe she is unqualified for the job because of her gender, her immigrant parents and the color of her skin. Republicans tend to say the quiet part loud, but if we are being honest, far too many Democrats would never be able to vote for a Black woman at the top of the ticket, no matter how qualified.”

Uh, Professor? Harris isn’t qualified, and your essay makes that clear, not that it already wasn’t obvious. So this is all obfuscation and misdirection. What your essay argues is that voters should favor a candidate who isn’t qualified just because of her gender and color—which is idiotic. Greer blathers on,

Many white liberals like racial and gender equality in theory but get a little gun-shy when asked to make room at the table for others on a long list of issues — school integration, housing, homelessness, incarceration, policing and executive leadership among them. And for those of you scoffing, ask yourself why you can list almost every major and minor flaw of Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to name just a few. Many liberals struggle with issues of gender and race in practice; they may not admit to having a problem with Ms. Harris per se, but many still expect her to conform to certain standards and judge her harshly when she struggles on issues that are difficult to begin with.”

Boy, I’m sure lucky my brains were all over the ceiling before I read THAT paragraph. I can list the major flaws—we don’t need to get to the minor flaws— of Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who all have thick files on Ethics Alarms) because I pay attention. Hillary is the best of that terrible group, and she was a candidate for President only because of her husband, ran arguably the worst campaign in American history, and had been a notable failure as Secretary of State.

The nonsense continues; read the rest if you dare. Two final points:

  • If you found yourself guessing the author’s race, you would be right. And articles like this do no favors for the cause of “diversity and inclusion.” The essay, to be blunt, is incompetent and biased, with a female, black scholar making a self-evidently foolish argument driven by her own loyalties. Academics have to be better than that, and if they aren’t, the raise a rebuttable presumption that they were hired for reasons that have nothing to do with their skills, erudition, or the “content of their character.”
  • Hilariously, Ezra Klein, whom we recently visited as he inflicted his own biased distortion of reality on Times readers, found Greer’s analysis spot on, tweeting, “This seems right. Kamala Harris will probably be the Democratic nominee in 24 or 28. Biden’s team should be giving her portfolios that make it likelier she’ll win. Instead they’re giving her impossible problems that will likely become liabilities.”

I’m in a “How could this happen?” mood today, I guess. How did progressives get this stupid and confused? I really can’t understand it. Nobody would have written an op-ed like Greer’s ten years ago. If someone did, it would have never been published, and if the thing were published, it would have been mocked mercilessly across the political spectrum.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/21/2021: Happy Birthday U.S. Constitution! [Corrected]

Constitution signing

On this day in 1788, habitually cantankerous New Hampshire became the ninth and last required state to ratify the Constitution of the United States and make it the law of the land. December 7 of 1787 had seen Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Connecticut quickly signed the document. But Congress had voted that at least 9 of the 13 former colonies had to sign on before the document was considered adopted. New Hampshire, Massachusetts and the remaining states opposed the document, as it failed to reserve sufficient powers to the states and did not protect individual rights like freedom of speech, religion,the press, and the right to bear arms. In February of 1788, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and other states agreed to ratify the document with the promise that necessary amendments would be developed and proposed. The Constitution was ratified based on the compromise by Massachusetts, Maryland and South Carolina, making 8. New Hampshire made nine. The first Congress under the new Constitution adopted 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, and sent them to the states for ratification. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on slavery, was the last hold-out; the U.S. government had to threaten to sever commercial relations with the state to force it to sign on. Finally, on May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted to become the last of the original 13 colonies to join the United States of America.

Today the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world, and the only one predicated on ethical principles, thanks to the Bill of Rights.

I would have preferred to see Constitution Day made a national holiday over “Juneteenth,” since it was the principles laid out in the Constitution, along with the Declaration of Independence, that eventually led to the elimination of slavery, and the document has been the backbone of our republic’s epic success in other respects as well.

1. “Larry Vaughn Day”? I regret not noting yesterday that it was the anniversary of the release of “Jaws,” a milestone in American cultural history. It is also an ethics movie, and one that pops into my mind often, since the irresponsible conduct of the weaselly mayor of Amity, Larry Vaughn (Played by Murray Hamilton, who made a career of portraying human weasels), remains SOP for so many elected officials, locally and nationally, and also the leadership of corporations, associations, industries, sports, universities and <cough> religious organizations. Ethics Alarms has a Larry Vaughn tag, and I should have used it in dozens more articles than I have. He is the perfect symbol of leadership that, in the words of Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) will always “ignore this particular problem until it swims up and bites you in the ass.”

The U.S. could benefit greatly from a “Larry Vaughn Day” on June 20 in which every elected official and organizational leader be required to watch “Jaws.”

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Res Ipsa Loquitur: “State Election Board Report –November 13, 2020 Unabridged Notes Detailing Everything Witnessed Nov 2-Nov 7, 2020”

Report

Tell me again how there is no reason to doubt the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election, and how President Trump’s claims that the election was “stolen” are baseless, and how any skeptic who states that the vote totals may have been manipulated is “lying.”

A private report from a contractor hired by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to monitor the Atlanta-area election process” was released yesterday by Just the News.

The report chronicles seven days of problems, unexplained behavior, and ominous irregularities.

Constructed like a minute-by-minute diary, contractor Carter Jones cited double-counting of votes, insecure storage of ballots, possible violations of voter privacy, the mysterious removal of election materials at a vote collection warehouse, and the suspicious movement of “too many” ballots on Election Day.

“This seems like a massive chain of custody problem,” Jones warned in the memo delivered by his firm Seven Hill Strategies to Raffensperger’s office shortly after the election. (Why we are only seeing it now is a topic for investigation all its own.) That obervation occured at 4:00 p.m. on Election Day, as Jones observed absentee ballots arriving at the county’s central absentee scanning center at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena “in rolling bins 2k at a time.” “It is my understanding is that the ballots are supposed to be moved in numbered, sealed boxes to protect them,” he wrote. They weren’t. He also observes, “Too many ballots coming in for secure black ballot boxes,” he observed.

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Unethical Email Of The Month: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot email

That obnoxious, bullying, uncivil and unprofessional memo from Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, is signature significance. Competent and effective managers don’t write and send memos like that, not even once. As a subordinate, I would resign after receiving such an email. As a supervisor, I would place a staffer who sent that memo on probation after requiring her to apologize to the recipient.

Chicago is one of the most difficult American cities to govern. Lightfoot is currently facing legal problems as a consequence of her discriminatory announcement that she would only do interviews with “journalists of color.” The email, just another of many pieces of evidence showing Lightfoot’s arrogance and incompetence.

This is what happens when voters elect officials based not on their management experience and revealed leadership skills, but on their gender and skin shade.

[Instapundit’s Ed Driscoll had a funny line about the email: “CHICAGO’S MAYOR MORPHED INTO JACK TORRANCE SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED…”

San Francisco’s Hard Lesson In Unethical Ethics

It shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp, but history tells us it is: idealism unmoored to human nature and reality lead to disaster with depressing consistency. Thus “ethical” plans and motives that rely on fantastic and contrived versions of how the world might works under ideal circumstances are in truth not ethical at all. They are incompetent. They are irresponsible.

And thus we have the current fiasco in San Francisco, where the progressive voters left their hearts while their brains AWOL. The Martian leader of the invasion in “Plan Nine From Outer Space” has it right. Meet Chesa Boudin, the City on the Bay’s visionary District Attorney, elected in 2019.

Boudin had, it is far to say, no qualifications for the job of the head prosecutor of a major U.S. city with a growing crime problem. He had never prosecuted a case. But then he didn’t think most cases should be prosecuted. He dreamed of something kinder, gentler, that didn’t require anything so crass and mean as “punishment.” His experience with America’s judicial system showed him that there had to be a better way, as Robert Redford’s clueless idealist in “The Candidate” kept saying. He is “the son of jailed Sixties radicals,” and his kind and caring parents are the inspiration for his campaign against what civilizations have known for eons, but America’s progressives have chosen to forget: bad people abound, and if society doesn’t stop them, they will stop society.

In my value system, and one I am proud to say has been consistent on this issue all my life, Chesa Boudin’s parents, his role models, were bad people. They were members of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist organization that bombed banks and government buildings, including the US Capitol. They wanted to bring “The Man” down, man. The Weathermen were too mild for Mom and Dad, so they formed the May 19th Communist Organization, more violent and anti-American still. In 1981, the Boudins took part in the armed robbery of a bank truck. A security guard and two policemen were killed, and Chesa’s parents were convicted of felony murder. At the trial, they explained that the stolen $1.5 million was needed to fund the creation of a black nation-state in the American south. Good plan!

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Memorial Day Ethics Warm-Up, 5/31/2021…

It will be interesting to see if the news media discusses the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 any more this May 31 than it has in the past. Discussing this horrible mass murder of blacks in Oklahoma over Memorial Day weekend has always been seen as sufficiently tasteless that the story has suffered the equivalent of a historical airbrushing. When did you first learn about it? I didn’t encounter the episode in elementary school, high school, college or law school. I was 50, and furiously researching the life of Clarence Darrow so I could churn out a one man show (that was already in rehearsal) after Leslie Nielsen pulled the rights we had paid for on the Darrow show performed on Broadway by Henry Fonda. I was looking for the context of Darrow’s epic closing argument in the Sweet case (1925), in which he referenced examples of white mob violence against blacks. That was my introduction to the tragedy. How was this possible? I was and am a voracious consumer of American history, movies, and television. Yet the facts of the Tulsa Race Massacre never entered my consciousness.

Here’s one useful resource…there are many others available online. A brief summary: After World War I, Tulsa’s African American community was notable for its affluence. The Greenwood District was known as “Black Wall Street.” But on May 30, 1921, an incident between a white woman and a black man on an elevator—nobody knows exactly what happened—was reported in the Tulsa newspapers as an attempted rape. The young African-American, Dick Rowland, had been arrested, and members of the community believed that he might be lynched. When an angry white mob gathered in front of the courthouse, a group of over 70 back men, some of them World War I veterans with weapons, confronted them. A gun went off in a struggled, and chaos descended on Greenwood. A white mob of thousands overran the Greenwood District, shooting unarmed black citizens in the streets. It burned an area of some 35 city blocks, and more than 1,200 houses, numerous businesses, a school, a hospital and a dozen churches. It is estimated that 300 people were killed in the rampage, though official counts at the time were much lower. 300 is the same death toll as the 1871 Chicago fire. I knew about that tragedy by the time I was 8.

1. IIPTDXTTNMIAFB! That’s short for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…”, introduced here. The current example: during a speech at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Langley,Virginia two days ago, President Biden began spontaneously complimenting a pre-teen girl who had joined her parents and two older brothers on the stage after her mother had introduced Biden to the crowd. Biden said, inappropriately and creepily, “ I love those barrettes in your hair, man. I tell you what, look at her. She looks like she’s 19 years old sitting there like a little lady with her legs crossed.” Republicans pounced, as the MSM cliche goes whenever Democrats are legitimately criticized. The episode was barely mentioned by the media dedicated to propping up Biden—that is, almost all of it—at all. IIPTDXTTNMIAFB…and President Trump didn’t even have a photographically preserved series of encounters like this:

Creepy-Joe-Biden-President

2. AHHHH! It’s a virus ! Get a gun!!! The headline on the front page of the NYT website yesterday read, “Pandemic Fuels Surge in U.S. Gun Sales ‘Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen.'” Incredible. People bought guns for the first time because rioting was going on all over the country, and in many places the police were doing little or nothing to stop it. Buildings were burning and being looted; citizens were being threatened. Who gets a gun to fight a pandemic? (There was never any threat of the kind of civic breakdown from the virus like that portrayed in the movie “Contagion.” Toilet paper riots?)

The degree to which the Times—the “paper of record’!—continues to distort reality to mislead the public and warp public opinion is astounding. Later in the same article, the Times said, “While gun sales have been climbing for decades — they often spike in election years and after high-profile crimes — Americans have been on an unusual, prolonged buying spree fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, the protests last summer and the fears they both stoked.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: The U.S. State Department

Upsidedownflag1

I don’t think I should have to explain what’s unethical about this disgusting document. It was leaked to Human Events. I’ll just repeat what I have accurately written since the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck started rolling, apparently to hell:

  • There is no evidence that this was an example of racism or police targeting black citizens.
  • It has yet to be settled whether George Floyd was murdered, much less “brutally murdered,” as this despicable document states.
  • Black Lives Matter is a Marxist, anti-law enforcement, anti-American, racist organization that employs lies and violence as standard tools.

For the US. Government to openly endorse Black Lives Matter abroad or anywhere else is an abdication of truth, fairness, justice, patriotism, and responsibility.

The document in its entirety is below. The link is here.

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Ethics Miscreants In Yet Another Police-Involved Death Ethics Train Wreck

Ronald Greene

Another death of a black man in an encounter with the police has re-emerged from 2019, this time from Louisiana. It has even more of the unethical elements of past tragedies/botches/fiascos than usual, and the cast of characters are all playing their now familiar parts to maximize the likelihood of protests, riots, political grandstanding and confusion, not to mention more deaths and further damage to race relation and law enforcement. Good job, everyone!

This is a true ethics train wreck, because nobody, literally nobody, who has been involved with the episode so far has behaved ethically. At this point, I see no hope that the mess can be cleaned up, but maybe we can learn something from how thoroughly another Police Meet Black Lawbreaker disaster has been mishandled by everyone to ensure the worst conceivable outcome. In no particular order, here is a list of those responsible for the Ronald Greene Ethics Train Wreck.

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