When I was challenged to name a woman I would feel comfortable seeing elected President and stated that there were none, two of my less-than-completely deranged progressive female associates pronounced their approval of Amy Klobuchar, proving my point. During the 2019 and 2020 candidates debates and in many settings before and since, Klobuchar had proven herself a pandering, dissembling light-weight, and her statement today on MSNBC was just another example. Behold:
“We just did something about climate change for the first time in decades. That’s why we have to win this as that hurricane bears down on Florida. We have to win in the midterms.”
How stupid does she think the public is (to be fair, MSNBC viewers are special), or, in the alternative, how stupid is she? The Democrats have done nothing “about” climate change, or taken a single step that will affect the global climate one iota, just spent a large amount of money as climate change virtue-signalling. In focusing on hurricanes Klobuchar has chosen a perfect example of the weakness of climate science: we have been told for many years that man-made climate change would lead to a dramatic increase in deadly hurricanes, and it simply hasn’t happened. Why? Because science isn’t as good at predicting the long-term results of global warming as climate hysterics, hucksters and patsies claim.
Klobuchar’s statement is signature significance for someone who shouldn’t be allowed to advance beyond the Senate.
Much gratitude to the commenters who responded to my appeal for a lively Open Forum after previous September Fridays had yielded wan participation. It’s now at 51 posts and rising; more importantly, the posts are provocative and useful. Thanks.
Today marks the anniversary of the first televised debate between Presidential candidates in 1960. Such debates, with all their flaws, are a boost for effective democracy, but the exaggerated belief that optics rather than substance caused the single Nixon-Kennedy debate to lose the election for Nixon put the feature on ice for 16 years. Beginning with the 1976 Ford-Carter debate, it can be argued that Presidential debates have been decisive in tilting elections more often than not: Ford’s claim that Poland wasn’t an Iron Curtain country, Carter’s obviously dishonest tale about his nuclear weapons chat with Amy, Dukakis shrugging off the hypothetical murder and rape of his wife, President Bush check his watch as if the chore of having to campaign bored him, Al Gore’s bizarre debating performance…and more recently, President Trump’s botching of one debate against an obviously handicapped opponent and his foolish rejection of another. The questions posed to Kennedy and Nixon were objective and fair: if only that element could be restored somehow, televised debates could be the unequivocal boon to democracy they should be.
A baseball note: Over the weekend, Albert Pujols hit his 699th and 700th home runs, joining Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth as the only sluggers in U.S. baseball history to do so. (All right, Barry Bonds reached 700 too, but he cheated.) This is the first time in ten years that Albert has performed to a degree that justified his contracts, and that’s mostly because he is only being paid $2.5 million as a part-time DH by the Cardinals, his original team. That the prospect of achieving a major milestone inspired Pujols to a level of performance most assumed were gone forever doesn’t excuse his hanging on long after his predecessor greats would have said, “I quit. I’m embarrassing myself.” To be fair, none of them were guaranteed $30 million per season, either.
1. Oh yeah, this is the ethical problem the NFL should be concerned about. Apparently in the NFL, rookies are expected to foot the bill for a luxury dinner for their teammates, with the tabs reaching as high as $50,000 with tips.
In June, veteran NFL player Torrey Smith tweeted, “Dudes come into the league with no financial literacy and real problems but folks think 50k dinners are cool! NAH!” Now the league, players, fans and commentators are engaged in ethics soul-searching. Is the tradition just a ritual of team bonding, or a form of hazing that can have damaging financial consequences?
Gee, what a tough question! It’s obviously hazing. It’s bullying. It’s robbery. It’s unethical.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka. the Mormons has been much on my mind of late thanks to the horrific Netflix documentary “Sins of Our Mother,” about a sensational double child murder in 2019 that will have a presumably sensational trial early in 2023. I have had a great deal of experience with members of the church, almost all of it good. One of my Freshmanroommates in college was a devout Morman; a long-time high school crush was a not-so-devout Mormon, and one of my bosses in my first job out of law school was a Mormon. It’s a fascinating culture with a unique history. On this date in 1890, the Church’s leaders issued, under duress, the “Mormon Manifesto” commanding all Latter-day Saints to uphold the anti-polygamy laws. Polygamy is unethical, but it never quite vanished among Mormons, justgoing underground. In the last half-century or so the Sixties mentality hangover pretty much caused law-enforcement to ignore all but the most egregious examples, and it looks as if the acceptance of same sex marriage in the law and culture may eventually slippery-slope its way to making polygamy legal too. That would be a diresocietal ethics misfire, but as with the current transsexual mess, feminists will be torn between their “woke” loyalties and the fact that polygamy degrades and abuses women. Based on how feminists have handled the transgender wave so far, I am not optimistic.
1. Sure, these idiots were going to pull off an “insurrection”…Doug Jensen, an Iowa man who was one of the first ten rioters to enter the Capitol ( “during the insurrection” says NBC, thus injecting Democratic propaganda into an alleged news report) was found guilty this week on seven counts, including felony charges of civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers. The evidence indicates that Jensen didn’t realize until 24 hours after the riot that he had been part of a siege of the Capitol rather than the White House. But he was a supporter of Donald Trump, and that’s crime enough….
2. Speaking of desperate and unethical excuses, disgraced GOP congressional candidate J.R. Majewski, who was outed by the Associated Press as misrepresenting his military service resulting in the GOP pulling his campaign support, now says that there is no evidence of his combat experience because “All of my deployments are listed as classified.” Why was he boasting about them in his campaign literature, in interviews and in speeches, then, if they were classified?Continue reading →
The second question in the headline is based on an Ethics Alarms core principle: it isn’t ethical to propose policies and social changes that are impossible. Would it be possible to eliminate public school education, after it served the nation so well for so long? Still, another Ethics Alarms core principle is “Fix the problem!” Public school education is a serious problem for the nation, the culture, democracy and the future, and it is getting worse. If the problem can be fixed without eliminating public schools entirely, then it should be, though I am dubious about the practicality of that too. If the only way to fix the problem is to come up with a new model and fight for it, ethics tells us that it would be irresponsible not to make the effort.
I am thinking about this as a result of a few things. One is my own unshakeable conclusion that public education now is in a state of irreversible rot, and does more damage than good. I see evidence of this literally every day, and, as regular readers here know, we pulled my smart, curious, knowledge-hungry and authority-resisting son out of public school and eventually out of private school as well, having witnessed just how horrible the process of education was thanks to the institutions and the people who now provide it. Another thing is the now open embrace by schools, teachers and local governments of a deliberately anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-Western culture indoctrination.
A third prompt comes from the recent writings of conservative science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt, Glenn Reynold’s usual late night blogsitter for Instapundit. Sarah is a bit extreme for me most of the time—here’s her Ethics Alarms dossier—but I always take notice when a serious thinker starts thinking the same thoughts I’ve been thinking, or the equivalents thereof.
I did not expect this; heck, I never expect this: an ethical, responsible decision, quickly and without public pressure, by the national Republican Party. The House GOP campaign organization canceled a $960,000 promotional campaigntargeting Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), whom the GOP candidate, JR Majewski, was regarded as a good bet to unseat. But as your friendly neighborhood ethicist explained today, Majewski was exposed by the Associated Press as having fabricated his military record. The GOP was right to shun him, but it is unusual. The Democratic Party took no such action when it was revealed that Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal had lied for years about his service in Vietnam. Blumenthal is now a two term U.S. Senator from Connecticut.
I did not mention it, but Majewski has lied about other aspects of his career as well, describing himself as an “executive in the nuclear power industry,” which his former employer did not substantiate. Why do people do this? It is certain to be discovered. And why don’t political parties properly vet their candidates?
Morons. Our nation is in the hands of morons.
Also disappointing is the fact that most of the conservative media and rightish blogs were apparently going to ignore this story as long as possible. Instapundit, for example, the granddaddy of conservative blogs, hasn’t seen fit to mention Majewski’s disgrace yet, though it has had multiple notes about Stacey Abrams’ various ethics misadventures. This is a site that routinely mocks the mainstream media for burying stories that reflect poorly on Democrats, posting these two ancient tweets as a running joke:
What, you well may ask, is a photograph of Dylann Roof doing in Ken Burns’ latest documentary, “The US and the Holocaust”? Good question. The answer is, frankly, disgusting.
In the last of three parts in the film, shown tonight on PBS stations nationwide, the now familiar Burns historical story-telling is converted into a partisan, negative, political campaign ad, and not even a fair or respectable one compared to the ugliest attack ads you will see in the coming month. Apparently the tax-payer funded pubic broadcasting corporation decided that the perils facing of its patron Democratic Party in the upcoming election were dire enough to justify turning a legitimate and mostly admirable piece of documentary craft into supplementary material to Joe Biden’s indefensible attack on Republicans as fascists and “clear and present dangers” to democracy.
Burns, to his eternal shame—I will not watch any future Burns works—agreed to betray the trust of his viewers and the integrity of his art by using the last 10 minutes of “The US and the Holocaust” to draw an intellectually dishonest and virtually libelous analogy between the anti-Semites in Roosevelt’s State Department that blocked European Jews from escaping to the U.S. before Hitler sent them to the showers, the Nazis themselves, and those who oppose pro-illegal immigration policies in the U.S. today. Continue reading →
“If we — we individual Americans — can’t handle random snark from varied unknown sources, how can we live with the internet? Who cares if some foreigners are writing crap intended to deceive us into feeling more roiled up and divided than we’re able to do damned well on our own, often with the nudging of the New York Times?”
The day after I complained about how often Althouse has been picking the same topics to write about as I am lately, she did it again. This time, I saw that front page story about 2017 and immediately thought, 1) “Who cares?” and 2) “Boy, I’m sure glad I stopped paying 90 bucks a month for the paper version of this full-time, declining, hyper-partisan propaganda rag.” And as I started to post about how the Times deems it front page worthy to go back five years and try to prove that Russian social media “disinformation” undermined an anti-Trump demonstration that was ridiculous to begin with, something made me check Ann’s blog.
Clearly, she was genuinely ticked off by the story. Althouse doesn’t really write that much in most of her posts, but she did this time, seeing this as entirely contrived and pretty obviously another stretch to swipe at Trump (and the legitimacy of his election): after all, Times readers (and reporters) all think that he was in cahoots with Putin regardless of what the evidence says. Two of Ann’s points,
Unless lists are based on on hard numbers, they are all subjective, based on opinion only. The worst lists are the ones that are opinion but that claim to be based on hard data. Lists are unethical when they mislead the lazy and ignorant, which is to say, most of the public and those who pay attention to internet lists. Again, as in today’s warm-up, the ethics issue is incompetence, and often breaches of honesty and responsibility as well.
The first of the unethical lists was this one, click-baited as “The Smartest Presidents, Ranked By IQ (Guess Who’s No.1)” It’s hard to imagine a worse hash could be made of that topic than the article prepared by Esther Trattner, who must have difficulty spelling IQ herself. This topic became popular during the Trump administration and the previous campaign, because Donald kept boasting about high his IQ is (which is a stupid thing for anyone to do.) There are a lot of these lists (Trattner’s is the worst, but they are all bad.) To begin with, IQ doesn’t measure “intelligence;” it measures, as one psychologist told me, “what IQ tests measure.” There is so much more to intelligence than what that test indicates that conflating the scores with intellect is absurd. Indeed, the man who invested the IQ test condemned using his creation to measure above average intelligence, since its purpose was to assess intellectual deficits.
Interesting issues, dead traffic yesterday…just thought I’d mention it…
I’d like to propose this date, September 18, as National Incompetence Day. On this date in 1962, preening slug of a Union army commander General George B. McClellan blew a golden opportunity to end the Civil War early, and for the usual reasons: he over-estimated the size of the enemy, and, some have concluded, he just didn’t like to fight. The Battle of Antietam had ended the day before after the bloodiest day of fighting ever to occur on North American soil. Lee’s forces were exhausted and depleted; McClellan’s army had just welcomed fresh troops. McClellan had an estimated three times as many soldiers as Lee after the battle, a stalemate, and was in a perfect position to wipe out the Confederate forces and end the war. But, as usual, he stalled. Certain that Lee had many times the men he actually had, (or havingconveniently himself so he could rationalize not continuing the battle) the Union commander allowed the Rebels to retreat from Sharpsburg, Maryland, and head back to the safety of Virginia unmolested, as Lincoln fumed. It was a real chance to deliver a knockout blow and end the Civil War quickly, but George didn’t believe in knockout blows. He specialized in training armies to deliver theoretical knockout blows. To be fair, the training came in useful when a general with guts and ability finally got McClellan’s job: Ulysses S. Grant.
Incompetence isn’t as sexy a breach of ethics as, say, disloyalty or dishonesty, but it probably does more damage than either. McClellan is as perfect a symbol of the often destructive influence it has has on U.S. history as I can think of. Like so many of his ilk, the tendency to screw up didn’t impede the general’s career as thoroughly or quickly as it should have. Amazingly, Lincoln put him in charge of the Union Army twice and the Democratic Party nominated him for President. Fortunately, the party has learned not to try to put total incompetents in charge of the government in the ensuing years…
1. Speaking of ethics incompetence…Faced with having to recognize an LGBTQ student group until its appeal of a lower court ruling worked its way through the courts, Yeshiva University announced last week that it was suspending all undergraduate club activities, punishing everyone in order to get away with discrimination. The issue is, again, religious freedom: Yeshiva’s claim that the New York civil rights laws don’t apply is shaky because the university is incorporated as an educational institution and not a religious one.