Ethics Observations Upon Watching “Ford v. Ferrari”

My son is an auto tech and car enthusiast as well as a lover of speed (sufficiently to get him in trouble), so when he told me that I should see “Ford v Ferrari” and that he loved it, it was no surprise. I knew nothing about the film other than its title: no reviews, no background. My son said he would eagerly see it again, and was our guide as my wife and I attended a New Year’s Day afternoon showing (which was packed, incidentally.)

To get the basics out of the way up front, “Ford v Ferrari” is a wonderful movie. It immediately takes its place as one of the great sports movies of all time (with “Rocky,” The Natural,” “Hoosiers,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Sea Biscuit,” and a few others we could argue about), but it is also just a great movie. Christian Bale is astonishing, as usual, and the rest of the cast is uniformly excellent, as is the direction, film editing and screenplay. It is the best film I have see this year, easily leaving such critic’s favorites as “The Irishman” and “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” in the dust.  That, however, is beside the point….

Observations: Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: What Does The Public Learn From These Things? Can They Figure It Out Themselves?

[This is the successor to a completed post that WordPress, for some reason, deleted beyond recovery when I hit “publish” at about 6:30 am today, thus robbing me of 90 minutes of my life and nearly my sanity. My inclination was to let it stay in cyber-hell and forget the whole thing, especially since the viewership here has similarly vanished lately and I feel like I could be more productively catching up on my “Everybody loves Raymond” episodes, but that would be petulant.]

There are a lot of dots to connect, but it shouldn’t be hard for the unbiased and attentive. I know they are out there, even if the Democratic Party is certain they are not.

So here are the dots…Let’s begin with the attack against a group of Jews celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York over the weekend. Grafton Thomas used a machete-like blade, and stabbed five celebrants.

  • The attack, which officials said began after 10 p.m. this past Saturday, was the 13th anti-Semitic incident in three weeks in the state and the most recent in a string of violence targeting local Jewish communities in the region.

Earlier this month, four people were fatally shot in  an attack on a Jersey City kosher grocery store.

  • On Friday the 27th, the day before the Monsey attack, Tiffany Harris, like Thomas an African American, was arrested for  punching and cursing three Orthodox women awhile shouting, ‘Fuck you you, Jews.’

Harris then was released on her own recognizance, and a day later arrested for another attack.

  • NYC’s Democrat mayor Bill de Blasio immediately shifted blame and accountability to…well, guess.

You’re RIGHT! He told Fox News, “An atmosphere of hate has been developing in this country over the last few years. A lot of it is emanating from Washington and it’s having an effect on all of us.. Not just the President — I’m saying, but we have to be clear. We need a different tone starting in Washington.”

  • OK, let’s be clear. The members of “The Squad,” Rep. Tlaib, Rep. Omar, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, have been making anti-Jewish pronouncements since they were elected in 2018. Many member of the Congressional Black Caucus, including the recent co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, have had friendly ties with Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan, who regularly refers to Jews as vermin. Maxine Waters has openly greeted Farrakhan with hugs. New York Democrat Thomas Lopez-Pierre’s campaign slogan was stopping “Greedy Jewish Landlords.” A  black Trenton, New Jersey City Council Chair used the phrase “Jew me down;” a black Jersey City School board member opined in the wake of the kosher market massacre that Jews for were at fault for living in that neighborhood. The “Women’s Marches,” “resistance” protests all, had the endorsement of Farrakhan, and at one of them speaker Tamika Mallory referred to him as the “Greatest of All Time.”

Writes Debby Hall on a pro-Israel site,

Demonization of Israel on the left has also contributed to whipping up the people who would ultimately commit these attacks. BDS, a movement calling for Israel’s destruction, is essentially letting people know that Jews have no right to self-determination and as a result, no right to live.

  •  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released this boilerplate:

     Nice. Of course, that “zero-tolerance thingy was somewhat undercut by the  release of Tiffany Harris into the community. The Governor also has not been a practitioner of  inclusion and diversity himself, raising the question of what he means when he uses these words. For example, this year he said in part, “These extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay…if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” In a similar vein, Cuomo has said that those who do not support same-sex marriage don’t belong in his diverse, inclusive state.

Orthodox Jews do not support same sex marriage.

  • Finally, an NBC fact-checker tweeted,

This is, I repeat, a fact-checker. Rationalizations are not facts. From the Ethics Alarms list: 46. The Abuser’s License:  “It’s Complicated”…”The implication is that “yes, this looks bad, but if you knew all of the details, history and considerations, you would understand..If [an act] was unethical, it is important to say so, to make certain that nobody labors under the misconception that it was the right thing to do when they face similar decisions. “It’s complicated” is also lazy…. Complexity doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of seeking the right approach to these matters. “It’s complicated” is an ethics cop-out.

After she was roundly condemned on Twitter, the fact-checker buried the fact of her own bias, taking down the tweet, making her account private, and finally taking down her account.

Observant Americans should be able to connect these dots, though the mainstream media and politicians, counting on the public’s own biases  and certain that they can fool all of the people all of the time, will try mightily to spin, obscure, bury and otherwise interfere with accurate perception.

___________________________

Sources: Victory Girls, Pittsburgh  Post-Gazette, PJ media, Twitchy, Libertarian Republic, Daily Wire, Washington Post, Israelycool

 

Christmas Eve Ethics Stocking Stuffers, 12/24/2019: All Right, It’s All About Impeachment…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night…

1. In the spirit of the season, I did not post this on Facebook with the note, “Good plan, everybody!” But I wanted to…According to Gallup, Trump’s approval is at 45 %. This actually beats Barack Obama’s approval rating of 42%  from Gallup at the exact same point in his presidency.  Obama went on to win reelection the following November, against a much stronger opposition candidate than anyone the Democrats have in the running. True, it helped that his IRS knee-capped conservative groups that might have helped Romney, but still.

Meanwhile, more bad news for the “everything is terrible” gang: Bloomberg reports that holiday shopping last Saturday sales reached $34.4 billion, the biggest single day in U.S. retail history.

2. Meanwhile, Trump Derangement reached a critical stage: Continue reading

Day Before The Night Before Christmas Ethics Package, 12/23/2019, Now UPDATED With The Meme I Stupidly Didn’t Post Despite Polling On It (Sorry!)

Merry Christmas!

TWICE yesterday store employees returned my “Merry Christmas!” with  a “Happy Holidays!” that was delivered in a tone that to my ear was intended to convey, “No, THIS is what you should say.” Both times, I was tempted to call them on it, but did not. Maybe I was being hypersensitive, maybe that wasn’t their intent…but of course it was. The next clerk or cashier who does that to me might get a “No, Merry Christmas. Do you have a problem with that?” back.  I’m that close…

1. ARGHH! “Baseball” censorship! Here’s another nauseating example of the capitulation to the word-banners. The MLB TV channel, which, like its satellite radio counterpart, is challenged to come up with programming this time of year. (The radio version held a quiz last week in which we were challenged to identify expressions of despair and horror as either coming from Cleveland Indians fan tweets about the trading of ace pitcher Corey Kluber, or from reviews of “Cats.”) Yesterday the channel was showing Ken Burns’ terrific documentary “Baseball.” In the segment on Ty Cobb, we were told about in infamous incident in which Cobb jumped into the stands to beat up an abusive fan, who, it turned out, had no hands. When the crowd shouted this fact at the infuriated player, he reportedly replied that he’d throttle anyone who called him “that” even if he had no legs. What was “that”? Why, it was that Cobb was a “half-BEEEEEEEEP!” Yes, a loud, high-pitched beep was injected into the narration instead of the word itself, which was in Burns’ original work (I own a copy.) Morons. If the word is  discernible from the context, then the beep equals the word, so just use the word. If it isn’t clearly indicated—and while I was pretty sure, knowing the story, but uncertain enough that I had to check—then it is incompetent to leave viewers wondering. Half-crazy? Half-wit? Half-lizard? Half-breed? No, Cobb was called “half nigger,” and the exact word is essential to understand the incident but also a key component of Cobb’s character. Did Burns approve the marring of his soundtrack? I doubt it.

This has got to stop.

2. Great: colleges are now free to bribe students to renege on their promises. In a proposed agreement announced this month in response to Justice Department antitrust accusations, the National Association for College Admission Counseling said it would allow its member college and university counselors to recruit students even after they have committed to another school and would permit members to encourage students to transfer after they have already enrolled. From the Times:

Now, colleges will be free to offer perks, like special scholarships or priority in course selection, to early-decision applicants, students who are less likely to need tuition assistance and use the process to secure a spot at their first-choice schools. …Institutions will also be able to continue recruiting students beyond a widely applied May 1 deadline that is typically imposed for students who have applied through a regular decision process and are considering offers based, at least in part, on financial aid packages.

The promises to commit to a school that gave you an early admission were never legally binding, just ethically binding. And they still are. Any college whose applicant reneges on such an agreement after being seduced by another college should send a letter telling him or her, “Thank you for voluntarily withdrawing your acceptance. Our school wants only students of good character, who are trustworthy, honest, and value integrity. Now that we know that you do not honor commitments, we realize that we erred in accepting you. We’re sure you will fit right in at the school you chose, however, and wish you the best in your years there.” Continue reading

Trump and Turkey [CORRECTED]

None of this is impeachable, but it’s certainly inexplicable.

President Trump’s conduct and rhetoric regarding Turkey and its autocratic ruler  appear to be incompetent and irresponsible. In November, the President said he was a “great fan” of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Since Erdrogan’s regime has been notable for its restrictions and attacks on basic civil rights, such praise is certain to stir the embers of the “Trump is a secret fascist dictator just waiting for his chance” narrative. Maybe that’s the idea, and this is more intentional trolling; who knows? Does Trump play three dimensional chess? Does he just say stuff without thinking, and then backtrack just as quickly?

Over recent months, the President also sided with Erdogan in rejecting Congress’s bi-partisan resolution officially labeling  the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as genocide. Turkey’s official position has been that the deaths were a product of war, and not illegal. Trump called it  “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century” on Armenian Remembrance Day, and after the Senate passed its side of the resolution,  State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement,“The position of the Administration has not changed…Our views are reflected in the President’s definitive statement in April.”

It is worth noting, since the anti-Trump media won’t tell you, that the ‘horrible but not genocide’ approach follows decades of US policy designed to avoid angering Turkey, a NATO ally. Former President Barack Obama also did not refer to the killings as “genocide” during his tenure. Continue reading

The Cowardly Courage of Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii Congresswoman who is engaged in a quixotic effort to win the Democratic nomination for President from the relative center, became the fourth House Democrat not to vote for both articles of impeachment, instead voting “present.” Here is her statement explaining the non- vote:

Throughout my life, whether through serving in the military or in Congress, I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interests of our country. Not what’s best for me politically or what’s best for my political party. I have always put our country first. One may not always agree with my decision, but everyone should know that I will always do what I believe to be right for the country that I love. After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.

I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present. I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing.

I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country. When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor. Tragically, that’s what it has been.

On the one side — The president’s defenders insist that he has done nothing wrong. They agree with the absurd proclamation that his conduct was “perfect.” They have abdicated their responsibility to exercise legitimate oversight, and instead blindly do the bidding of their party’s leader.

On the other side — The president’s opponents insist that if we do not impeach, our country will collapse into dictatorship. All but explicitly, they accuse him of treason. Such extreme rhetoric was never conducive to an impartial fact-finding process.

The Founders of our country made clear their concerns about impeachment being a purely partisan exercise. In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton warned against any impeachment that would merely “connect itself with the pre-existing factions,” and “enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other.” In such cases, he said, “there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

Donald Trump has violated public trust. Congress must be unequivocal in denouncing the president’s misconduct and stand up for the American people and our democracy. To this end, I have introduced a censure resolution that will send a strong message to this president and future presidents that their abuses of power will not go unchecked, while leaving the question of removing Trump from office to the voters to decide.

I am confident that the American people will decide to deliver a resounding rebuke of President Trump’s innumerable improprieties and abuses. And they will express that judgment at the ballot box. That is the way real and lasting change has always occurred in this great country: through the forcefully expressed will of the people.

A house divided cannot stand. And today we are divided. Fragmentation and polarity are ripping our country apart. This breaks my heart, and breaks the hearts of all patriotic Americans, whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.

So today, I come before you to make a stand for the center, to appeal to all of you to bridge our differences and stand up for the American people.

My vote today is a vote for much needed reconciliation and hope that together we can heal our country. Let’s work side-by-side, seeking common ground, to usher in a bright future for the American people and our nation.

If you expect Ethics Alarms to award Gabbard an Ethics Hero designation for such equivocation, you don’t know me very well yet. Continue reading

Impeachment Ethics Update, Holiday Edition, Part Two: The President’s Letter

The President’s epic and historic letter to Speaker Pelosi on the eve of the vote to impeach him is nothing if not audacious and to someone who has been making many of the same points the President’s letter does, satisfying. I bet Bill Clinton wishes he had thought of it, except that he had a problem Trump does not: Clinton had in fact committed felonies by lying under oath, something a President must not do. (As I said at the time, without ever hearing a satisfactory rebuttal, if a lawyer would be disbarred for such conduct, as Clinton essentially was—he was forced to quit the Arkansas bar before he was fired from it—how can a President be held to a lower standard?).As President Trump’s letter correctly states, “The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence. They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever.”

Well, they are recognizable under some bad and dangerous Constitutional theories, many of which have advocates in the House and among the “resistance” punditry. For example, even now, prominent Democratic House leader Maxine  Waters admits that she has no facts to back up her conviction that the President had a deal with Putin, she’s just sure he did. Waters said she was “ready to talk about” impeachment in February 2017, three weeks after Trump was sworn into office.Her theory later became that an opposing party House majority could impeach a President at will, and didn’t need any reasons other than as assertion that he was “unfit.”

That appears to be what Nancy Pelosi allowed her team to settle on, lacking anything better.

Naturally, the letter has prompted the Democratic Party/”resistance”/mainstream media coup team (what Ethics Alarms calls “The Axis of Unethical Conduct,” or AUC) to have a collective head-explosion orgy. The mainstream print media would not even report on the letter  fairly, in most cases not giving readers the chance to make their own assessment and publishing it with “factchecks” attached, many if not most of which were just partisan spin as rebuttals. For example, in the New York Times version, the section I quoted above was linked to this: “The articles charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But an impeachable offense does not have to be a specific crime.” Well…

  • That’s an opinion, not fact. Every previous impeachment has involved a specific crime.
  • As Prof. Dershowitz pointed out, the “obstruction of Congress” referred to in the Articles of Impeachment  cannot be called misconduct, since the Supreme Court has deemed the President’s power in this regard an open question until they rule on it—next June.
  • As Jonathan Turley (and Trump) pointed out, “abuse of power” is too subjective a standard to use as an excuse for impeachment.

Characteristically, as we have seen the past three years, the attacks on the letter have focused on style at least as much as substance. (On substance, however, the letter is difficult to rebut.)

On yesterday’s CNN Newsroom,  the spectacularly hypocritical John Avlon (who once pretended to lead a “no labels” movement as a neutral non-partisan) claimed  that the President’s letter  would cause Republican Senators to raise questions about his “mental state.”  This is rich: Impeachment Plan S is blowing up in Democrats’ faces, so Avlon pivots to good old, evergreen, Plan E : ”Trump is mentally ill so this should trigger the 25th Amendment.”

Yeah, boy, putting out that letter laying out exactly what the impeachment is in language anyone can understand was crazy.

Avlon’s foolishness does raise a question: did the President really write the letter himself? I doubt it. I think someone–Steven Miller has been mentioned as a prime suspect—did an excellent job channeling the President’s unique style and tone, but the letter is too well constructed to be Trump’s alone. Hey, John: if someone else authors a letter for the President that he signs, and you think it’s an “unhinged rant”  and “the definition of not presidential,” does that mean he’s crazy? Can you delegate crazy?

As with so much that has gone before, the President has triggered his foes into broadcasting their own derangement.

A typical, measured, lawyer-checked, restrained Presidential letter would be far less effective. Ann Althouse figured this out, writing, Continue reading