Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/11/2020: Epstein And Facebook And Barr, Oh My!

It’s Thaturday!

Time, once again, to salute the courage of Karen Carpenter’s much less talented brother Richard, who nonetheless had the courage to offer, as his only notable solo offering for the Carpenters, a song that highlighted his speech impediment. Why did he do this? We’ll never know.

And yes, I have “The Wizard of Oz” on the brain. It was so much better when that wonderful movie was only on TV once  a year: then it was special. Now, especially over the holidays (and what it has to do with Christmas, I don’t know) I had to repeatedly change channels to avoid it. Well, after Judy sang “Over the Rainbow, anyway…

1. Is it really so unreasonable and a “right wing conspiracy theory” to wonder about how Jeffrey Epstein, who could have implicated such powerful people as Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew in criminal activities, ended up dead in his cell?

The latest forehead-slapping development: The video  made outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan jail cell when during his failed suicide attempt seemed to be missing, and even possibly destroyed. The jailhouse video turned up, however, muting suspicions about whether Epstein’s successful  suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center wasn’t something more sinister.  Prosecutors confirmed that the video had been saved. This week, however,  prosecutors revealed that the jail staff  had preserved video from the wrong jail cell, and the Epstein footage no longer existed.

Meanwhile, two guards who were on duty when  Epstein killed himself are being charged with falsifying records and conspiracy. The guards surfed the internet and dozed instead of checking on the prisoner every half-hour, as they were required to do.

Conspiracy or not, this is epic incompetence, and rather convenient incompetence at that. Hanlon’s Razor, however, applies. I guess.

My only other observation is that government efficiency and job performance is obviously so reliable that I don’t know why Bernie Sanders isn’t running away with the Democratic nomination race. Of course we should put government employees in charge of our lives. It’s a no-brainer. Continue reading

Fevered Thoughts While Hanging The Christmas Tree Lights…

(…which is NOT going well. At all.)

Even Andy Williams blaring out “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” couldn’t stop my mind from flowing into dark places.

Anything can happen, of course, but it is not too early to seriously consider what will happen if Donald Trump sweeps to victory next November. All the signs point that way now. The Democratic Party/”resistance”/ mainstream media axis’s plan(s) to take destroy Trump and force him out of the White House have not only failed, but made him stronger and more defiant. Those who voted for him deeply resent the way their choice for President has been treated—more disrespectfully and disgracefully than any previous POTUS—and are substantially more enthusiastic about their support than ever. Many of those who did not vote for him—like me—have seen their alarm over the increasingly radical, bellicose and anti-American drift of the Democratic Party slowly overcome their visceral revulsion at Trump’s style, manners, character and rhetoric. In the meantime, either by good fortune or good management (or a combination of both), the nation is doing well in many respects, and the President deserves credit.

The Democratic Party’s reliance on Big Lies to counter that, as was on display most recently in the PBS/Politico debate, is transparent, unconvincing and damning. Joe Biden, the alleged front-runner for the nomination, said that the economy is “out of kilter.” High employment, low unemployment, higher wages and a booming stock market is only “out of kilter” to socialists, who measure success in the relative terms of “How dare anyone do better than I’m doing! That’s not fair!” Unfortunately for Democrats but fortunately for us, most Americans don’t think that way–enviously, greedily, avariciously. They don’t resent the success of others; they don’t believe is absolute equality of outcomes. Well, high employment, low unemployment, higher wages and a booming stock market is only “out of kilter” to socialists…and liars. Continue reading

Ethics Recovery, 12/19/19, Post Op Edition: Terrible People

Here I am, I think! Hello?

I’m still groggy from the anesthesia, and the doctor said not to do too much, and definitely not to make any important decisions. I remembered that advice just in time, when I was tempted to watch the Democratic Candidates’ debate, and realized I must still be disoriented. Then I turned to ABC, and thought I saw the Miss America Pageant, which is impossible in enlightened 2019, so I was definitely hallucinating. I’ve also been off my blood-thinner for two days, and could stroke out any second.

1. On Pelosi’s desperate stunt. The House of Representatives adjourned before voting to send the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Apparently Democrats are refusing to forward the impeachment to the Senate until they receive assurances the trial will be “fair” in their eyes. You know, like the partisan impeachment in the House, which began with closed hearings overseen by Adam Schiff, and no witnesses who had anything to offer but opinions and hearsay, and ended up with Articles that failed to assert impeachable offenses. Fair.

The Democrats have been following through on this insane scheme hoping to get as much TV time as possible showing Democrats insulting the President, hoping that more repetitions of “Orange Man Bad” supported by the seven Big Lies will somehow change enough votes to avoid a disaster in 2020. They know that absent some presently unknown smoking gun, there is no way they can get the two-thirds super-majority to convict (they’re wishing and hoping for that, too) and knew this all long. The plan now is to try to discredit the Senate acquittal in advance.

This requires a belief that the non-Trump Deranged among the public (think of the rest as the equivalent of the infected in “World War Z”) have the IQs of annelid worms, and the short-term memories of mayflies. The party really believes that after Pelosi and the rest said it was imperative to impeach Trump as soon as possible because the nation and the Constitution is in imminent peril, the decision now to stall the impeachment process won’t be seen as proof that the whole exercise was a cynical, dishonest, hypocritical sham. This is more than irresponsible and incompetent. This is a parody of irresponsible and incompetent.

2. More…It also illustrates the dishonest and insincere nature of the Democrat/”resistance”/mainstream media’s three-year  narrative about President Trump ignoring “democratic norms” and the Constitution. Prof. Noah Feldman, who made it clear when he testified that he wants to see Trump impeached and is willing to warp his interpretation of the Constitution to get it done, isn’t willing to endorse this trick. He wrote,

If the House votes to “impeach” but doesn’t send the articles to the Senate or send impeachment managers there to carry its message, it hasn’t directly violated the text of the Constitution. But the House would be acting against the implicit logic of the Constitution’s description of impeachment.

A president who has been genuinely impeached must constitutionally have the opportunity to defend himself before the Senate. That’s built into the constitutional logic of impeachment, which demands a trial before removal.

To be sure, if the House just never sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate, there can be no trial there. That’s what the “sole power to impeach” means.

But if the House never sends the articles, then Trump could say with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send.

Alan Dershowitz, who has derided this impeachment from the beginning,writes.

“It is difficult to imagine anything more unconstitutional, more violative of the intention of the Framers, more of a denial of basic due process and civil liberties, more unfair to the president and more likely to increase the current divisiveness among the American people…President Trump would stand accused of two articles of impeachment without having an opportunity to be acquitted by the institution selected by the Framers to try all cases of impeachment. It would be as if a prosecutor deliberately decided to indict a criminal defendant but not to put him on trial.”

Civil rights attorney lawyer Harvey Silverglate described Pelosi’s gambit as  “manipulation of the system.” The whole impeachment sham has been a manipulation of the system, and now Pelosi’s defenders will have to go deeper into denial to defend it. Professor Turley, no surprise, also condemned the maneuver.  “Articles of impeachment were not meant to be articles of barter,”  Turley wrote.  “Just as the House elected not to seek to compel the testimony of critical witnesses, the Senate can make the same decision for its own house.” Continue reading

What’s A Blogging Ethicist To Do?

How would regular Ethics Alarms readers expect me to say about this story?

An Arlington High School student (in Arlington, Mass.) filed a complaint with  police. alleging that a teacher history teacher assaulted her during school hours. Sadie Earegood confirmed with NEWS 7 that the teacher involved in the incident is Bernard Arthur, though the Arlington School District has not confirmed with us that the allegations against  him are true. Earegood claims ripped a “Dream Big, Fight Hard”  Elizabeth Warren pin off of her shirt…”He grabbed it and I pulled and I tried to push his hand away and he grabbed my shoulder, just kind of put his hand there, and then he started pulling more and more and I just started backing up.” The teacher then put the pin on his own shirt, upside-down, and said it “belonged that way.”

As regular readers know, I regard Senator Warren as one of the worst of a horrifying Democratic field, an unprincipled liar and a demagogue. Still, the ethics call on this incident would be unavoidable. No teacher has a right to touch a student and steal her property, not does one have the right to mock her for a political statement, however foolish it may be. If the story is true, the teacher has behaved unethically, and probably illegally. No one should support or sympathize with the teacher, or try to rationalize his conduct.

Well, the story isn’t true…not quite. It didn’t take place at Arlington High School (my alma  mater), but at Mason High School in Lansing, Michigan. The teacher is named Paul Kato. Oh..,one more thing! The button that the young student was wearing said “Women for Trump.” Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Yes, It’s Open Forum Time Again!,” And Reflections On The State of Our Democracy, Part 2

Part I, and Michael R’s Comment of the Day, are here.

The embedded government bureaucracy has always been recognized as a necessary evil, because the pre-Civil Service system of cleaning house after every election was inefficient and an invitation to cronyism. It cannot be denied, however, that partisan biases and loyalties within the “Deep State” create other serious problems, including individuals taking it upon themselves to undermine and  sabotage policies they disagree with.  Usually the phenomenon is subtle and not routine, but the partisan hysteria weaponized it against Trump, with anti-Trump government employees with influence and power felt more justified in betraying the President than ever before. Prime among this group has been the judiciary, the intelligence community, the State Department, and the diplomatic corps.

Seduced by a partisan narrative, spread daily by the mainstream media, that an illegitimate President who was elected by racists and morons was poised to destroy the country, and maybe the world, because of his greed, stupidity–and insanity!–once unthinkable levels of disloyalty and active opposition to a President by those paid to support the leader chosen by the people were not only justified, but necessary. This attitude quickly metastasized into a coup mentality. This too is routinely derided as a Fox News talking point, but denial only works for so long. In this case, time is almost up.

I finally concluded, early in 2017, that Trump’s election showed that our democracy works and remains vital. The nation was being dragged into a new culture which was violently contrary to core American principles and values that have made the nation what it was, in great part because of the Left’s ideological  capture  of American institutions, notably education, the legal profession, journalism, and the political elites. Somehow, in the inexplicable wisdom of crowd, the ignorant, confused, misinformed and emotion-driven U.S  public found a way to say “Enough!” in the most startling, obnoxious, disruptive way imaginable.

Lincoln was proven right. You can’t fool all the people all the time. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/10/2019: Be Warned, I’m In One Of Those “The Morons Are Everywhere, So Why Do I Bother?” Moods…

Hi!

Why is there a picture of a Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich here, you may well ask? It is here because it symbolizes how weird American priorities are. That was last week’s ad. This week, being ignorant of Popeye’s recent promotions, I offered to cheer up my wife, who was not feeling well, by driving up King Street (usually about a 10 minute trip) to the local Popeye’s for some dark meat fried chicken, her favorite.  As soon as I got on King, however, I was in gridlock. It took over a half hour to get to the restaurant, and it’s parking lot was in chaos. It turned out that the whole traffic disaster was being caused by the jam in the Popeyes drive-up line, which spilled into the street. I crawled up past Popeye’s and parked by the 7-11 a block away. Then I walked to Popeye’s—I would be damned if spent all that time in traffic without coming home with my wife’s treat—and the restaurant was packed wall-to wall. I was informed by one customer that the end of the line was out the door. “What’s going on?” I asked. “It’s the chicken sandwich!” he said. “All of this is for a fast-food chicken sandwich?” I asked, incredulous. “Yup!” he said, smiling.

“You’re all idiots,” I said, and left.

More than half of American won;t take the time to vote, or bother to investigate the vital issues and events that are shaping their lives, but they’ll waste hours of their lives to spend $4.50 on a Popeye’s chicken sandwich. Then, presumably, take pictures of it with their smartphones and put them up on Instagram.

1. Dog ownership ethics: Anyone who can’t figure this out on their own shouldn’t have a dog. What a surprise! Researchers have shown that screaming at dogs traumatizes them over the long term, and that love and patience lead to better training results. Science Alert reports that a team biologist Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro of the Universidade do Porto in Portugal tested 42 dogs from dog training schools that used reward-based training, and 50 dogs from aversion training schools. The dogs trained  with shouting and leash-jerking were more stressed, indicated by higher levels of cortisol in their saliva.

“Our results show that companion dogs trained using aversive-based methods experienced poorer welfare as compared to companion dogs trained using reward-based methods, at both the short- and the long-term level,” the researchers write in the paper published by biology news service bioRxiv.

Duh. Routinely shouting at dogs is animal cruelty. Our sensitive English Mastiff Patience would hide under the sink in one of our bathrooms any time anyone in the house raised his or her voice to anyone. If my wife and I argued, we had to coax Patience out by hugging each other as she watched.

2. Is the 2020 election a mass “Bias makes you stupid” experiment? Two  terrible  (and unelectable) potential candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and even worse, Obama “wingman” Eric Holder, are reportedly exploring joining the still-crowded field. Why? They recognize that none of the current candidates look like they can attract broad-based support from Democrats, much less the rest of the electorate. A short way of describing this phenomenon is to say that if either Bloomberg or Holder are an improvement over the current crop of socialists, totalitarians and septuagenarians vying to run against President Trump, the Democrats are in big trouble.

A week ago, a New Times/Siena poll showed President Trump highly competitive in the six closest states carried by the President in ’16. The New York Times’ Nate Cohn wrote about it, and didn’t sugar coat the message: even with a 24-7 news cycle bashing the President on all fronts, and even with the impeachment push giving Democrats the opportunity to soak the public’s brain with denigrating quotes, President Trump still looks like a formidable opponent.

Well, of course he is, and it should be obvious to all why. Yet Ann Althouse, who flagged the article, posted the two highest  comments to the revelation from Times readers:

This is the most depressing article I’ve read in a while. The idea of a second Trump term is literally terrifying. Who are these people that like him? How can it be? Fox News, owned by a soulless Australian, is destroying this once great country.

Second highest:

I simply cannot fathom this. How is this even possible? Also I live in Michigan and my sense is that Trump is deeply unpopular here. Are these polls using the same techniques that were used to predict a 97% chance of victory for Hillary? Perhaps the polls are wrong? I sincerely hope so because the alternative is unthinkable.

Wow! How cocooned does one have to be in Leftist echo chambers, false narratives, fake news. conventional wisdom, “resistance” talking points and Big Lies to write things like this for public consumption? If reality is that far from permeating the biases of such people—-after three years of a mass effort to effectively disenfranchise citizens who rebelled against the media-progressive bullying of the Obama years and the blatant dishonesty and corruption of the Clinton candidacy—-they must be permanently damaged. Continue reading

KABOOM! “Human Sacrifice, Dogs And Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria!”… If I Hadn’t Seen This, I Wouldn’t Have Believed It, And My Head Wouldn’t Have Exploded

Remember, Donald Trump is the fascist who is trying to crush democracy. Just repeat that to yourself as you consider this, and maybe…no, it still will still make your head explode.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, in the persons of  Biden’s top aides Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield, sent a letter  to the heads of the major news and cable networks, as well as top news anchors, demanding that they refuse to book Presidential advisor Rudy Giuliani. It read in part,

“We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump. While you often fact check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough. By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation, We write to demand that in service to the facts, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump who has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative…Giuliani is not a public official, and holds no public office that would entitle him to opine on the nation’s airwaves.”

Then the letter demands that if the former mayor is put on the airwaves, “an equivalent amount of time” be given “to a surrogate for the Biden campaign.”

Frankly, I still can’t believe Biden approved this, but of course, he must have. What’s going on here?  Incredibly, this: A former Vice President and current (though doomed) Presidential hopeful is asking the news media to actively censor a political critic. Continue reading