Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2020, Part 2: It’s “Know Your American History Day”!, The Usual Ethics Mess

The theme from “Rocky” topped the charts on July 2, 1977. Remember that Apollo Creed won the fight, so maybe “Rocky” won’t be banned as racist.

1. Stop making me defend Alyssa Milano! Not that I don’t enjoy watching the obnoxiously woke being hoisted by their own petards, but the has-been actress turned Twitter scold is being accused of appearing in blackface because of this:

Alyssa is irate, tweeting at the “gotcha!” critics, “Hey, assholes! The picture is me parodying Jersey Shore and Snookie’s (cq) tan. Snookie’s tan (she is a sweetheart by the way) is worthy of parodying as is Trump’s ‘tan.'”

“Snookie,” in case you have a life and never watched “Jersey Shore,” is Italian, not black.

Milano’s defense is solid, except that her woke allies seem to regard dark make-up as blackface when it suits their needs. Wasn’t the dark make-up that prompted the Washington Post to get a D.C. woman fired for her 2018 Halloween Party costume satirizing Megyn Kelly? What are the rules here?

2. What will it take for CNN to finally admit that Chris Cuomo is an idiot and an embarrassment to the network, his profession, and homo sapiens, and fire him? In the latest episode of “I Love Fredo,” the CNN anchor accused St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey, who used his guns to confront a mob of George Floyd protesters who had broken through an iron gate to access his private property, the “face of white resistance”  to the Black Lives Matter movement. McCloskey responded,

First of all, that’s a completely ridiculous statement. I am not the face of anything opposing the Black Lives Matters movement. I was a person scared for my life, who was protecting my wife, my home, my hearth, my livelihood. I was a victim of a mob that came through the gate. I didn’t care what color they were. I didn’t care what their motivation was. I was frightened. I was assaulted and I was in imminent fear that they would run me over, kill me, burn my house.

Why wouldn’t he think that, based on what we have seen in the last couple of week?

Then Cuomo argued—he’s also a lawyer you know—that  the McCloskeys committed wrongdoing by “pointing a loaded weapon at a group of people who were walking past. They did not go up your steps. They didn’t go to your house. They didn’t touch you, they didn’t try to enter your home or do anything to your kids, but you say you were assaulted.” But it was a mob. A mob advancing on one’s home is inherently a threat.

Prof. Turley has an extensive analysis of that issue here. In one of his equivocating moods, Turley concludes, to the extent I can decypher his overly careful discussion,  that a conviction on the facts of the case would be a long-shot at best. Continue reading

Follow-Up: To Be Fair To Alyssa Milano, Some Professional Pundits Aren’t Any More Competent Than She Is

In the previous post, I pointed out that Milano’s recent column on Tara Reade’s allegations about Joe Biden was devoid of effective critical thought, as well as soaked with crippling bias. I feel that I should note that many actual pundits are not much better at coherent analysis than the ex-TV starlet turned social media auteur.

Consider, for example, Bill Palmer, the self-described political journalist who writes The Palmer Report, more or less a left-wing equivilent of The Gateway Pundit which is banned on Ethics Alarms.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes broke ranks this week by mildly suggesting that “personal admiration for the individual or their work, or political admiration, someone on our ‘side'” should not keep the news media from treating allegations like Tara Reade’s against Joe Biden seriously. The Horror. Hayes’ statement was basically an affirmation of what was once known as “journalism,” but the progressive mob immediately demanded that Hayes be fired. The last time an MSNBC host dared to buck the channel’s agenda, Chris Matthews had a Tara Reade of his own suddenly surface, and he was forced into retirement.

What a coincidence!

Enter Palmer, who wrote a blog post every bit as intellectually lame as Milano’s, and more dishonest. Read it here; I don’t want such junk on the blog. But here are some bottom of the barrel scrapings: Continue reading

Alyssa Milano Gives Us A Sad Reminder That Celebrities Are Usually Over Their Heads When They Try To Opine On Policy, Law, Or Ethics [CORRECTED]

This raises the disturbing question of why anyone in their right mind is influenced by such celebrities. Presumably it is mostly those who are even more limited intellectually than the celebrity in question, or, in this case, big fans of “Who’s the Boss?”

Milano’s guest column in Deadline explaining why the #MeToo shill still supports Joe Biden is signature significance for someone who desperately needed to get a better education, or at least read a lot more before trying to “explain” anything, much less hang out a virtual shingle as an opinion-maker.

She outs herself as a victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect right off the bat (I miss baseball). There’s no need to read on after this becomes obvious, by the third paragraph of her essay:

“As an activist, it can be very easy to develop a black and white view of the world: things are clearly wrong or clearly right. Harvey Weinstein’s decades of rape were clearly wrong. Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults were clearly wrong. Brett Kavanaugh’s actions, told consistently over decades by his victim (and supported by her polygraph results), were clearly wrong. So were Matt Lauer’s, Bill Cosby’s and so many others. As we started holding politicians and business leaders and celebrities around the world accountable for their actions, it was easy to sort things into their respective buckets: this is wrong, this is right. Holding people accountable for their actions was not only right, it was just. Except it’s not always so easy, and living in the gray areas is something we’re trying to figure out in the world of social media. But here’s something social media doesn’t afford us–nuance. The world is gray. And as uncomfortable as that makes people, gray is where the real change happens. Black and white is easy… Gray is where the conversations which continue to swirl around powerful men get started…. It’s not up to women to admonish or absolve perpetrators, or be regarded as complicit when we don’t denounce them. Nothing makes this clearer than the women who are still supporting Joe Biden even with these accusations. Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren have all endorsed Biden and like me, continue to support him…. This is the shitty position we are in as women….  Believing women was never about ‘Believe all women no matter what they say,’ it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default…. I hope you’ll meet me in the gray to talk and to help us both find the way out.”

Wait..what? Obviously—well, “obviously” if you know what the words you are using mean—“Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults” are not “clearly wrong,” because they are alleged and unproven, so we don’t know if they occurred. If they didn’t occur as claimed, they aren’t “clearly wrong.” Continue reading

Hump Day Ethics Hunches, 4/29/2020….There Must Be An Ethics Analogy For A Five-Headed Shark

1. Idiotic movie ethics. Last night I watched “Five-Headed Shark Attack,” hoping to discover a new all-time bad horror movie. First, it wasn’t that terrible, meaning that it was a total waste of time. Mainly, however, the title was a shark bait-and-switch. The preview (and the posters) said the shark had 5 heads and was shaped like a starfish. No, it had four heads, and looked exactly like a Disney cartoon character’s glove.

Late in the movie, we saw that the monster’s tail had a mouth (once we saw it gobble a foot that slipped by the four heads), but it had no eyes, guided the shark like a tail, and no character in the film ever saw it, so the creature was never once called a “Five-Headed Shark.” My wife and I had an argument over my contention that just because a tail has teeth, that doesn’t make it a head.

2. I think we can fairly conclude now how serious progressives and Democrats are about standing up for women and fighting against sexual assault and harassment: They’re not . #MeToo and #TimesUp are clearly political weapons to be used against conservatives, Republicans and abortion opponents, real or otherwise, and certain groups, like black Democrats, are immune, even from adverse opinion.

Nice. A lot of women are going to suffer because of this, and they can blame their own alleged advocates.

In Maryland, right next door to Virginia where African-American Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax is still in office despite having been credibly accused of rape and sexual assault , Democrat Kweisi Mfume easily won a special election yesterday to finish the term of the late Elijah Cummings, retaking a Maryland congressional seat he held for five terms before leaving to lead the NAACP.  Mifune had to leave the NAACP after it was revealed that he dated one staffer while its president, and another alleged she had been sexually harassed by him and was passed over for a promotion after she rejected his advances, according to the Baltimore Sun. She then threatened to sue the organization, so the NAACP paid her a $100,000 hush money payment in 2004 to avoid the lawsuit. This was the sort of scandal that drove Bill O’Reilly off Fox News. Continue reading

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of #MeToo

If Joe Biden actually retains sufficient marbles to acquire the democratic nomination for President, a proposition appearing increasingly dicey, we can be sure that the #MeToo movement, feminists and the refrain “believe all women” will pass through even more hypocrisy than the self-righteous trio has already, which is, when you think about it, astounding.  One would have thought that the longest-running of the alliance, the feminists, had already, as Will Parker sang in “Oklahoma!,” “gone about as fer as they can go” when they continued to cheer Bill Clinton after (and during) Monica Madness, and go on to anoint his enabler, Hillary Clinton, as the Coming Thing.

As I tried to point out on NPR in 2018, getting me blackballed for daring to explain a real phenomenon that could be used to benefit a President my hostess hates, whether or not sexual harassment or sexual assault is “unwelcome” and whether a particular woman should be believed often—let’s make that too often—depends on whether the man being accused is someone the Left doesn’t like or not. Unfortunately, this pervasive hypocrisy has undermined the credibility of such accusations, allowing the real predators who #Me Too should be squeezing out from under their rocks into the daylight to benefit from public cynicism.

This brings us back to Joe Biden, and his outspoken and none-too bright fan girl feminist, Alyssa Milano. She’s the washed-up  TV star on the left above, not letting men regard her as a sex object. Continue reading

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

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: When You Are Tempted To Beat Your Head In With A Claw Hammer As You Read These Items, Think Of Buddy Mercury

GOOD MORNING!

Honestly now, how can anyone get depressed about ethical the state of a world with Buddy Mercury in it?

1. Yes, I know that this is just a has-been ex-child star with an inflated concept of her own wisdom and authority, but it’s significant anyway. Alyssa Milano, 46, late of “Who’s the Boss” and “Charmed,” tried to promote a female sex strike against men to protest recent anti-abortion bills  in several states. This stunningly stupid idea–but classical!—was rightly attacked from both the Left and Right, but it is worthy of note for one reason: it illustrates how progressives are increasingly favoring boycotts, force, intimidation, violence and bullying as the mean of achieving their policy objectives, and abandoning reasoning, elections and law. This attitude suggests a growing hostility to democracy, and that is worrysome.

When the Lysistrata-inspired #SexStrike that she declared would deny men sex “until we get bodily autonomy back” (think about that for a minute) protest fell flat, Milano threw a self-reported tantrum on Twitter and pivoted to an appeal to emotion that omitted the legal and ethical realities. The new object of her outrage was a CBS report about an 11-year-old rape victim who couldn’t get an abortion under Ohio’s yet-to-be-signed fetal heartbeat bill. Milano, like all abortion rights absolutists but especially loudly, appears to be incapable of perceiving or admitting that anti-abortion legislation is not an expression of hostility to women at all.  Right or wrong, it is based on a sincere and ethically defensible (under reciprocity and Kantian ethics) argument that a human life, even a nascent one, must have priority in the utilitarian balancing involved when a pregnancy is unwanted by the mother. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/13/2019: The Defending The Unsavory Edition

Good morning from Alexandria, VA.!

I love Atlanta, but it sure is good to be home.

1. I just posted this note on Facebook to make my “friends'” heads explode:

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez:: “I know when I was growing up, I didn’t see any women like me in positions of leadership, And so when you’re only seeing white dudes just like, running the world, you think you need to act like a white dude to run the world.” She’s a stone-cold bigot as well as arrogant and ignorant. There is no “acting like a white dude” any more than acting like a black dude, or a gay dude, or acting “Asian,” or “acting like a girl.” The woman is an idiot, and is being given a pass by progressives and the media…and many of YOU. She embarrasses her party , the House and her generation just about every time she opens her mouth. Ocasio-Cortez even manages to be an embarrassment to Socialists, which I didn’t think was possible.

2. Now Stop making me defend AOC!Ocasio-Cortez Blames Pipeline That Hasn’t Been Built Yet For An Oil Spill” is a typical headline around conservative media today. It’s a cheap shot: the lively Miss O-C got here South Dakota pipelines mixed up, as would I, as would you. This is the kind of biased and petty “gotchas!’ that these same pundits complain about when the mainstream news media uses them on President Trump. Hypocrites, all of them. The exact same principle applies to Trump and Ocasio-Cortez: they say enough things that genuinely deserved to be criticized without manufacturing targets for mockery.

3.  And stop making me defend Pete Davidson, too! SNL’s Pete Davidson, the same smug jerk who mocked candidate, now Congressman, Dan Crenshaw for wearing an eyepatch (he lost an eye in combat) is under fire again for this joke: Continue reading

The Nauseating Caravan Apologists

As usual regarding illegal immigration, there is no “other side,” only rationalizations, dishonesty and Trump hate and emotionalism. Still, the Left’s…and the media’s but, you know, same thing… rhetoric response to the happenings at the border over the weekend represented a new low. I may just let my deranged Facebook friends stew in their own hateful craziness for a while, so I avoid snapping and telling them exactly how they are acting, which might be ethical but wouldn’t be civil. Here’s international law and human rights expert Alyssa Milano, former witch and Tony Danza’s daughter on Twitter:

“You tear-gassed women and children, asswipe! And on Thanksgiving weekend, you piece of shit, asshole, motherfucking, evil-creature-person!!”

Now, I count at least five ways this is unforgivably moronic (It’s not unforgivable to be a moron, but it is unforgivable to make moronic statements in public), but maybe you can find more that five. It is also, except for its exact choice of words, pretty much the same level of logic as most of my lawyer friends on Facebook: yes, they have been reduced by Trump-hate to the abysmal level of a washed-up celebrity with (I think) a high school education.

One: women who break the law and participate in violent attacks on law enforcement officials are as legitimate targets of non-lethal response as men. Funny how feminism evaporates when it is convenient to the feminist.

Two: Using children as human shields is child abuse, and essentially what sops like Millan are arguing is that an adult with a child should be subjected to different law enforcement standards and more lenient ones than anyone else. Wrong. Also unworkable. Also stupid. There were pictures coming out of yesterday’s chaos of men holding up toddlers as literal shields. Nice. By all means, Alyssa, let’s make that an effective tactic.

Three: Democrats, reporters and Facebook sillies were using “gassed” to describe tear-gassing as if the U.S. was breaking the Geneva convention with chemical weapons. Tear gas and pepper spray are legal, useful, necessary alternatives to deadly force in riot situations. My college classmates were subjected to tear gas twice while I was in college, and deserved it.

Four: Wait, did I miss the new law that says that violent illegal immigrants get a pass on a holiday they don’t acknowledge? Or the one that says that other laws are suspended on Thanksgiving? Or the one that says that besieged law enforcement officials are supposed to throw stuffing and cranberry sauce at their attackers?

As for Five, I offer this to Alyssa and any other hypocrite who had no complaints when this was going on, but who now excoriate Trump in vulgar terms: this link, where we find, Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/19/2017: ‘Due Process? We Don’ Need No Stinkin’ Due Process!’

Good Morning!

(Lights on the tree about 30% done, and the prickle wounds aren’t infected so far..)

1 Now, now, let’s not forget the wisdom of Joseph Goebbels...More questions about the objectivity, professionalism and fairness of the Meuller investigation are roiling D.C., even though the President isn’t about to fire the Special Counsel, though the mainstream news media went out of its way last week to make you think he was.

For example, were you following the Bruce Ohr fiasco? The former associate deputy attorney general, who was supposed to appear yesterday before the leaky Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday but didn’t, was demoted by the Justice Department when it was revealed that he had not disclosed that he had met with with officials from Fusion GPS, the people who prepared the salacious and discredited “Trump dossier.” Ohr had been part of the Meuller investigation too, but then it was learned that that his wife not only worked for Fusion GPS,  she worked on the anti-Trump opposition research that was apparently paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Is it partisan to question  how Meuller allowed people like Ohr and Strzok to be on his team in the first place? No, it’s not. In fact, it’s partisan NOT to ask that.

Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers have challenged Mueller’s grab of transition team e-mails as a likely breach of attorney client privilege. (This will be in my next year’s Government Lawyer Ethics seminar for sure.) Writes attorney Robert Barnes, in part, on LawNewz:

According to published reports, Special Counsel Robert Mueller engaged in a mass seizure of all emails of the Trump transition team without even a warrant or a subpoena. In my opinion, a mass seizure – as is alleged here against Mueller – cannot conform to either Fourth Amendment standards or attorney-client privilege protections. The questions boils down to this: was there a reason for the individuals communicating by email, including with their lawyers, to believe their communications were private or privileged? Or, did the individuals forever waive or “implicitly consent” to any future search or seizure of their emails?

…The Mueller search runs afoul of many…established court precedents and Fourth Amendment privacy and privilege principles. First, it appears Mueller searched and seized every email, without any kind of categorical or keyword search. This is exactly the kind of search the Supreme Court made clear was not allowed under the Fourth Amendment. This means Mueller can only prevail if he didn’t seize a single email of a single individual that the individual could have any expectation of either personal privacy or attorney client privilege in.

The primary excuses proffered so far for the broad seizure is the faulty assumption the use of a government server waived all privacy and all privilege of every email ever made over that server. As identified above, that has never been the law…

These are legitimate issues, yet the media, as usual, is soft-peddling them and spinning them as mere Trump obstruction. Worse, however are the multiple Democrats, including a Senator on CNN yesterday, who I have heard repeat a version of the despicable statement that recently earned New York Times editors a collective Ethics Dunce: “If he’s innocent, he has nothing to worry about.”

Please, please reassure me that we don’t have a major political party that is circulating that motto of despots, grant inquisitors, dictators and the Salem witch trial judges as a talking point. Please!

Continue reading