Another IIPTDXTTNMIAFB Classic: Biden On Vaccinations!

Biden town hall

IIPTDXTTNMIAFB is Ethics Alarmseese for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden.” I could probably feature such stories every day, but that would be as boring as these episodes are infuriating. They all come under the sub-heading of “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias,” which I could justifiably update to “Nah, the mainstream news media didn’t steal the Presidency for Joe Biden.”

This one was so egregious that the AP even did a “factcheck”, but muted its description so absurdly that it is a perfect IIPTDXTTNMIAFB.

You see, President Biden said, in a CNN town meeting during which he periodically babbled incoherently, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die…You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

That is a lie. It’s a lie because it is demonstrably false, and like so much else involving the pandemic, it is deliberate misinformation to manipulate the public. The Democrats, after all, fervently believe that the ends justify the means in all things. Apparently the truth, which the Biden Administration knows and thus its head is responsible for knowing, just isn’t good enough to move the herd along as its masters desire, so the strategy is to lie.

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Gallup’s Institutional Trust Poll

who-can-you-trust

Gallup has another of its yearly trust polls out, this one covering institutions. It should surprise no one that virtually every institution covered showed a decline in public trust. This is a long-term trend, and for a democracy, an existential threat that our leaders in all of those institutions have not been taking sufficiently seriously. The one surprise in the survey is that the only institution that showed a rise in public trust since last year: the police!

Here is the list:

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Translation Of White House Message: “When Social Media ‘Disinformation’ Supports Our Policies, It’s Fine; When It Doesn’t, It’s ‘Killing People’.”

shhhh

The first ethics take-away from President Biden’s attack on Facebook for “vaccine disinformation” is that the Left’s totalitarian tendencies and embrace of censorship become more obvious and less hidden every day.

The second ethics take-away is that Joe Biden, of all people, has a lot of gall complaining about social media disinformation when he is in the White House in large part because of it.

The third is that the entire Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck has been dominated by outright propaganda and intentional manipulation of public opinion by the news media, federal agencies, medical organizations and “experts,” and Democrats are particularly ethically estopped from complaining about the same process that they have been employing for more than five years to their advantage.

As he boarded Marine One for a weekend at the ol’ Presidential hide-out at Camp David in Maryland, President Biden was asked what his message was to social media platforms regarding vaccine disinformation.

“They’re killing people,” he said. “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that — and they’re killing people.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Barack Obama

 

Obama portrait2“Trump is for a lot of white people what O. J.’s acquittal was to a lot of Black folks — you know it’s wrong, but it feels good.”

Barack Obama, quoted in “After the Fall,” a new book by former Obama aide Ben Rhodes

James Traub, who reviews Obama acolyte Rhodes’ book for the New York Times Book Review, calls the quote “funny” and an example of the ex-President’s “almost unearthly equanimity.” I guess that’s one way of describing it. I tend to think the quote is more evidence that Obama is a bigoted asshole.

Despite being labelled a racist by the “resistance”/Democrat/ mainstream media alliance for his entire four years in office, Donald Trump has never had any quote attributed to him as clearly racist as this one. Nor, despite being a undisputed narcissist, has Trump revealed the level of narcissism necessary to equate rejection of his policies or leadership with allowing a double murderer to escape punishment, which is what Obama literally was saying.

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Sunday Ethics Shots, 7/11/2021: A Rescue, Larry Vaughn In Tokyo, Joe Trippi Trips, And “La Bamba” Meets Calvinball

Alexander Hamilton died on this date in 1804, in a bizarre episode in U.S. history with profound ethical and political implications. There Aaron Burr fatally shot dead the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury and essential political thinker in an illegal duel at Weehawken, New Jersey. It was, of course, unethical to break the law, especially for these two men, who qualified as national leaders. Hamilton’s son had died defending his father’s honor in 1801 at the exact same spot (What was Alexander thinking?)

According to Hamilton’s “second,” Hamilton deliberately fired his weapon into the air rather than at Burr, a gentlemanly gesture and also a profoundly stupid one, if Hamilton believed half the things he had said and written about Burr’s character for years. This was why they were dueling, after all. Burr’s second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed, and the more I’ve thought abut this, the more I’ve come to believe that this is the more likely scenario. Hamilton was anything but naive, reckless or stupid. Yes, he was a crack shot, but anyone can miss. Even if the gesture of “throwing away his shot” as “Hamilton” puts it, would have impressed some adversaries and been seen as a display of mercy and an offer of reconciliation, it made no sense at all with this adversary. Moreover, Hamilton considered Burr a threat to the nation—he was right about that—why wouldn’t he shoot him? Whatever really happened, Burr, who had the second shot, killed Hamilton with a ball that went through his stomach into his spine. Hamilton died the next day.

This ended Burr’s political career: Would killing Burr have ended Hamilton’s? Probably, but Burr was the one who had issued the challenge. Maybe Hamilton would have been excused by the public. Maybe he would have ultimately become President; all the Founders of his magnitude except Ben Franklin did. For good or ill, Alexander Hamilton would have been a strong and probably transformative leader. But if he hadn’t died at Weehawken, it’s unlikely that we would have “Hamilton” the musical….

1. Baseball, hotdogs, and a bystander hero. Dr. Willie Ross, the father of Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, saved the life of a choking fan midway through yesterday 10-4 Giants win over Washington at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Ross saw that a female spectator was choking, and when Ross came over to her seat to check on her, she couldn’t talk. Ross helped dislodge two pieces of a hot dog by using the Heimlich maneuver, then reached into her throat to take out the third and final piece. The woman, who is a nurse, could breath and speak at last. Ross received a standing ovation from nearby fans.

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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.

Unethical Quote Of The Month: American Bar Association President Patricia Lee Rufo

Rufo

 

The American Bar Association is deeply troubled by the recent proliferation of hate speech directed against members of the Jewish faith and at LGBTQ, Asian American and Muslim communities. Such hateful behavior, coming in the wake of attacks on African Americans and other groups, have serious consequences as studies show a correlation between exposure to hate speech and the increase in hate crimes. Hate speech also serves to legitimize intolerance, reinforce stereotypes and further discrimination. We must not let any messages of hatred be normalized if we hope to advance the rule of law to achieve an inclusive society.

Patricia Lee Rufo, the 2021 president of the American Bar Association, in an official statement last week.

This is disgraceful, and in so many ways. Imagine: the head of the largest lawyers’ association in the country authored that collection of vagaries, buzz words and wokisms in a naked virtue-signaling exercise with no substantive value at all, but with significant sinister potential. Worse, nobody at the ABA had the guts or integrity to tell her, “Uh, Patricia, that’s just plain embarrassing. We can’t put our name on that!” Also…

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Baseball Has A Cheating Problem …It Is Relevant To More Than Baseball (Part 2): Unethical Quote Of The Week: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora

Cora

“I come from suspension and I know how embarrassing that is and how tough that is, not only on you as a person but your family, your friends and the people that love you. Ten games, a year, two years, three years, it doesn’t matter. Being suspended is hell and you don’t want to go through that. I was very open to them and hopefully they understand that.”

—Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Major League Baseball’s threat of 10 game suspensions for pitchers  caught cheating by using sticky substances on baseballs , a practice that has been against the rules  for a hundred years.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote that Alex Cora, then serving a one year suspension from Major League baseball, didn’t “get it,” it being why cheating is wrong, what ethics is, and why it is important to act ethically in all aspects of life. He still doesn’t get it. Cora (you can catch up here) was suspended because he engineered and oversaw a  season long sign-stealing scheme as bench coach in 2017 for the Houston Astros, who used it to inflate their offense and ultimately win the World Series. When it was finally discovered, Cora was the acclaimed manager of the Boston Red Sox, who succeeded the Astros as World Champions in 2018. The Red Sox had been cheating in their triumphant season too, though not as extensively, and  an investigation blamed it all on a low-level coach., not Cora, though Cora was his supervisor, and the whole thing seemed oddly reminiscent of Cora’s cheating in Houston. Continue reading

Good Ethics News! It Is Fair To Say That Vice-President Harris Will Never Be Elected President

Holt and Harris

There is no question about it: fraudulent personalities and con artists have been elected President of the United States in the past. However, that challenge isn’t easy, and being able to fool the public most of the time isn’t the only skill required to pull it off.

Kamala Harris is one of those truly awful politicians who radiates phoniness and opportunism. She has no true principles other than dedication to her own ambition and narcissism, and it is fair to conclude that if she ever had access to the power of the Presidency, she would create a bipartisan disaster.

Fortunately, Harris can’t fool anyone, at least not enough. She isn’t smart or dexterous. Her insincerity glows like an LED bulb. This is why she was such a spectacularly unpopular Presidential candidate when she ran in the Democratic primaries. The Vice-Presidency was handed to her based on nothing unique or admirable about Harris, just her color and her chromosomes. This provided her with a second chance to make a good first impression, but she just can’t do it.

Good.

This episode is in itself minor, but it features such a spectacularly dishonest and bumbling performance by Harris that it should erase any fears that anything short of Joe Biden’s demise will put her in the Oval Office.

During an interview with NBC News yesterday, Harris, who has been criticized for not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border despite being delegated the job of overseeing the mess there, was asked whether she had any plans to do so.

Harris: I – at some point – you know – we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border. So this whole – this whole – this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.

Or as Ralph Kramden would say, “Huminahuminahumina…”

When Lester Holt protested that despite her use of “we,” she had not, in fact, been to the border, her lightening-fast retort was…

Harris: “I – and I haven’t been to Europe! And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”

That’s it! That’s proof positive that Harris is too dim to hide her own dishonesty even to fool some of the people some of the time, or to get past a mildly challenging question from a Democratic ally like Holt. After trying deceit to duck the point Holt was making (“We’ve been to the boarder”—see, it depends on what the meaning of “we” is!), she resorted to a grade school level deflection (‘I haven’t been to lots of places! What’s your point?‘) The point is that her job doesn’t require her to go to Europe, but the boarder crisis does mandate that she go there and learn something. As she knows. And the best she can do is a virtual Jumbo, as in ‘I have no idea what you are referring to!’

This is Kamala Harris. She’s not just inept, she’s an inept phony. She may fool a few people with cognitive disabilities or who don’t give a damn, but most Americans will see through someone who talks like that, and they don’t want such empty suits as their leaders no matter what their political affiliations are.

She’s never going to be President.

Isn’t that nice?

Saturday Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 6/5/2020

Giant ants

And what’s a picnic without ants?

June 5, the day before D-Day, is another date chock full of ethics history. It doesn’t count, but Ronald Reagan died on this date in 2004: I was just thinking that the Great Stupid would have killed him. In Presidential history, this was the day, in 1888, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill that would have given a pension to war widow Johanna Loewinger, whose Civil War vet husband died 14 years after being discharged from the army. He was discharged a little less than a year after enlisting for what the army surgeon’s certificate called chronic diarrhea. Loewinger received his pension until he cut his throat in 1876. When Johanna applied for a widow’s pension it was denied; his suicide was not considered to be caused by his military service. Johanna argued that the death was part of the insanity triggered by his war service, and appealed to a member of Congress to petition Cleveland with a bill. But the President declared all previous inquests into the former soldier’s unfortunate death to be satisfactory. Mrs. Loewinger got no pension.

I always thought this was gutsy of Cleveland (or something), since he had paid someone to serve in the Union army for him after he was drafted. But there were bigger ethics landmarks on June 5:

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