Friday Ethics “Kung Fu” Reflections, 9/13/2019: “Seek Not To Know The Answers, But To Understand The Questions.”

Welcome, Ethics Grasshoppers!

Come to think of it, grasshoppers are not particularly ethical. Does anyone even recognize references to “Kung Fu” and Master Po any more?  It had a Caucasian actor (David Carradine) playing an Asian hero, so I guess it’s considered racist now.

Never mind.

I need a drink…

1. One more note about last night’s debate...I was listening to NPR’s efforts to spin the debate this morning. A Democratic consultant, who hardly could have been surprised by the question, was asked “Who won?” He paused, stammered and said, unconvincingly, “The Democratic Party?”  Exactly! As conservative wag Stephen Kruiser wrote today,

They don’t want you armed and able to protect yourself.

They don’t want you taking care of your children.

They don’t want you making your own decisions about your healthcare.

They want you to pay more in taxes for the privilege of losing your freedoms.

What’s not to like?

2.  The new book “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement” reveals more details about the efforts by lawyers David Boies and Lisa Bloom (the victims advocate and daughter of Gloria Allred) to protect Harvey Weinstein from having his predations on women revealed. In one memorable memo the book shows to the world, Lisa Bloom wrote to Weinstein in December 2016 laying out a multistep playbook on how to intimidate accusers or represent them as liars. Regarding actress Rose McGowan, who claims to have been raped by Weinstein and who has since become a visible activist regarding his conduct and that of other Hollywood figures, Bloom wrote,

“I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them….We can place an article re her becoming increasingly unglued, so that when someone Googles her this is what pops up and she’s discredited.”

Not surprisingly, McGowan is furious, and said of Bloom, “Her email is staggering. Staggering! …This woman should never work again. Lisa Bloom should be disbarred. So should David Boies.” Continue reading

Let’s Play “Desperate, Gallant, Or Offensive!” Today’s Contestant: Actor William H. Macy

Welcome, Ethics Alarms readers! It’s time for that exciting game show, “Desperate, Gallant, Or Offensive!,” where the audience judges whether its celebrity contestants have stayed within ethical boundaries!

Today’s contestant is celebrated actor William H. Macy, not to be confused with Bill Macy, who played Bea Arthur’s long-suffering husband on “Maude.” William H is one of the most honored and respected, not to mention versatile American actors. He has won two Emmy Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his memorable performance in Fargo.” Since 2011, he has played Frank Gallagher, the main character in the Showtime adaptation of the British television series “Shameless.”  Most relevant now, however, is his 22 year marriage to actress Felicity Huffman, who is about to be sentenced for her participation in the so-called “Varsity Blues” college admission scandal.

Ready to play? All right! Here is what loving husband William wrote to the judge preparing to sentence Huffman: Continue reading

Mark Of The Demagogue: The Ignorant And Dishonest Appeals To Emma Lazarus

Friends and followers: Don’t let anyone get away with this. Using “The New Colossus,” the 1883 poem that appears on the Statue of Liberty as authority in any current debate over national policy is either fatuous, ignorant, dishonest, stupid, or a cynical effort to appeal to the emotions of those who have no grasp of history or logic.

There is are periodic outbreaks of silly Lazerus worship every now and then, and we’re in the middle of another one. Indignant memes showing Lady Liberty and some or all of Emma’s one hit poem are popping up all over social media. Anyone who posts one is either an ignoramus, a liar, or shamelessly trying to suck up to progressive friends who are dishonest and ignorant, hoping that nobody will notice. I notice, and so should you. Call them on it. Appealing to the words of “The New Colussus” is approximately as  valid as extolling the words of “Imagine,” “Jabberwocky,” or “Me So Horny.” Anyone who tries it should be mocked and shamed.

The Trump administration issued a final rule yesterday empowering federal officials to deny green cards to legal immigrants who have received certain public benefits or who are deemed likely to do so in the future. Good. This is sensible and responsible policy, and while polls are inaccurate and the public doesn’t understand what it says it approves or disapproves of much of the time, it is also policy about 3/4 of the public seems to agree with.

Of course, Democrats are calling it “racist,” since anything that the Trump administration does is racist. The negative stereotype of the immigrant who dashes to the welfare office the second he becomes a citizen has been around for decades…

but Americans don’t find the behavior funny, and should not. Expecting new Americans given the privilege of using our individual liberties to succeed to the extent their abilities, creativity and diligence will take them to be self-sufficient is completely reasonable and responsible. It also is 100% consistent with the expectations when Emma Lazarus wrote her poem. There was no welfare, public housing, food stamps or other public assistance waiting for those  tired,  poor,  huddled masses yearning to breathe free. There was just the air to breathe free, and the opportunity to succeed or fail. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Catch-Up, 8/11/2019: Cape Cod Dreams And Nightmare Jerks

Sigh.

This would be the week that my dad typically took his vacation. At this moment, when I was 10, I would be on a beach in Dennisport on the Cape, sampling the sandwiches my mother packed,  sitting in bathing trunks on my father’s army blanket that he carried all over Europe during the war, and listening to Curt Gowdy describe the Red Sox game on mt transistor radio  . Nothing could have been farther from my mind than ethics. Those were the days…

1. Once again, 7-11 ethics in Alexandria, VA.. I’ve written about several ethics encounters at my  local convenience store. This time I was patiently waiting for a space to open up (eventually I am going to tell one of the jerks who have finished their errands and sit in the space texting and surfing on their smart phones while others are desperately seeking parking spaces that he or she is an antisocial blight on the community) when a car backed out almost in front of my vehicle. before I could slide in around him from the right, an SUV that just entered the parking lost quickly moved into the space. The driver had seen me; he just did it because he could. As the young black male moved toward  the store, I got out of my car and shouted: “Classy. You knew I was waiting for the space, and you jumped in ahead of me anyway. You’re an asshole.”

Two thirty-something African American women exited the car in the space next to the one I have just lost. “Sir?” one said. “My girl friend just said exactly what you did. He is an asshole. Some black men just don’t care abut anybody, and I can say that, because I’m black. It really pisses me off. Look—take my space. I can park across the street. Please.” I told her that really wasn’t necessary, but she insisted.

My wife came back to the car after she had purchased the items we came for, and as we drove away, I could see the Good Samaritan giving hell to the young man who had snatched my space.

2. Hollywood ethics, confused as usual. Universal is temporarily cancelling the release of “The Hunt,” an R-rated satire in which progressive elites hunt “deplorables” for fun.  The film was scheduled to open in September. The reason for the cancellation was apparently the recent mass shootings. “While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for “The Hunt,” after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the studio said in yesterday’s statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

Interesting question: what is the “right time” to release a film like that? The answer, I would think is either “never,” or “now is as good a time as any.” It’s an ugly, tasteless, offensive idea for a film, but Ethics Alarms will defend to the death Hollywood’s right to make ugly, tasteless, offensive films. On the other hand, maybe releasing this film while the antifa is roaming the fruited plains and Democrats are encouraging people to harass and attack anyone wearing a MAGA cap is a tiny bit irresponsible. On the other hand—there I am with three hands again—if we are going to go down the road of speculating what bad behavior movies and TV might trigger, we’ll end up with Care Bears, Smurfs, and not much else. Continue reading

Bill Maher Ethics And Resistance Big Lie #5

HBO’s Bill Maher has exercised a downward force on national ethics since he started taking himself seriously as a pundit. We haven’t check in on Bill for a while. The non-news is that he’s as reflexively smug and vile as ever, and that his pose as a comedian is still used as cover to permit his often sociopathic political views to escape the condemnation they warrant. Let’s see…

  • In his latest show, Maher had this exchange with Democratic columnist Josh Barro:

Maher: “I’ve been hoping for a recession – people hate me for it – but it would get rid of Trump.”

Barro: “Recessions are really bad. People lose their jobs and homes and we shouldn’t wish for it.”

Maher: “I know. It’s worth it.”

Unless you think this was a hilarious exchange, you must recognize it as the position of a hateful, Machiavellian fanatic. He detests the President so much that he wants there to be a disaster harming the U.S., families, businesses and the economy  so  he can rid the nation of the President. This is no different from wishing for a plague, race riots, a terrorist attack or a war.

  • Closing his show, Maher made this pitch:

“Fatigue is the best thing we’ve got going for us. The majority of Americans aren’t tired of winning, they’re tired of looking at his fat fuckiing face! It’s hard to beat an incumbent in a good economy. Every incumbent since FDR has won if they avoided a recession leading up to an election year and consumer confidence is sky high. … The voters that Democrats need to win, moderates who have Trump fatigue, will vote against a good economy, I think, just to get back to normalcy, but they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism….”All the Democrats have to do to win is to come off less crazy than Trump — and, of course, they’re blowing it! Coming across as unserious people who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in ‘America sucks.’ It’s the fatigue, stupid! Let’s make it hard for Trump to play on voters’ fears and let the fatigue win the election for us. We’ll get to the revolution, but remember, put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child.”

Continue reading

From The Mouths Of Babes…Cultural Poison

A recent question to Phillip Galanes, the advice columnist whose “Social Q’s” feature for the New York Times has frequently sparked Ethics Alarms essays, was fraught with larger significance.

A mother said that her 12-year-old daughter had a a sticker on her water bottle quoting Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” The girl’s friend told her that  systemic racism made that statement false for many Americans, so the sticker was racist. The daughter then peeled off the sticker. “What’s a mother to do?” was the gist of the inquirer’s appeal. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “The Big Lies Of The Resistance: A Directory. Big Lie #4: ‘President Trump Is A Racist’”

A rat problem AND a police brutality problem…plus the Orioles are terrible.

As Democrats and the news media try to make the argument that it is racist for the President to refer to Baltimore as a rat-infested mess when it is, in fact, a rat-infested mess (From the Baltimore Sun’s report : While canvassing an East Baltimore neighborhood with city leaders, video footage captured by WBFF-TV showed [now -resigned Democratic African American Mayor] Pugh looking upon endless vacant and run-down housing.  “What the hell? We should just take all this shit down,” Pugh said. “Woah, you can smell the rats,” she said. “Whew, Jesus.” Later, while walking through one of the area’s most violent neighborhoods, Pugh said: “Oh my God, you can smell the dead animals.”], here is frequent commenter Chris Marschner with an illuminating  Comment of the Day on the post, The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: A Directory. Big Lie #4: “President Trump Is A Racist”:

I have a unique perspective on the issue of Cummings district. Upon graduation from the University of Baltimore in 1987 I took a job at a community development organization called COIL-CEDC. My role was to foster business development in West Baltimore. This area was then nothing but blighted slums and the what was left of the business community was a handful of small shops operated by whites that chose to stay in their familial business home of generations past, Lake Trout lunch shops, with Rasta and second hand shops dotting the blocks of empty storefronts. The Schaeffer administration wanted the area redeveloped and the BDC secured a commitment from Safeway to build a grocery along W.Pratt street near the B&O museum. I assisted with publicising the grand opening event along with other new business openings. I can tell you that none of the Mitchell clan (Clarence Mitchell and hid son Parren preceeded Cummings in Congress) attended any business opening events.

Playing the race card is not new in Baltimore. The Mitchell clan refined the concept to such a degree no one would question them. The Mitchells always made the problems within the community the result of “prejudice” . That was the term used then. The people learned from their elected leaders that if not for prejudice all their problems would go away and opportunities would abound.

Well along comes a 30 year old guy eager to help people achieve success. What an awakening. Continue reading