Afternoon Ethics Infection, 3/18/2020: Only 3 Out Of 4 Wuhan Viwus Wewated Wefewences! These Days, That’s Not bad…

Good afternoon!

1. I missed this: Roman Polanski, with his “An Officer and a Spy” won the directing, and screenplay awards at the French Cesar awards last month, and the results were greeted by protests. After Polanski’s best-director award was announced, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” actress Adele Haenel and director Celine Sciamma walked out of the theater.

It was Polanski’s fifth Cesar in the directing category, He’s scum and a rapist as well as a fugitive from justice, but he is and has always been a great film director. Polanski did  not attend the ceremony because, he said, he anticipated it would turn into a “public lynching.”

Haenel  shouted, “Well done, pedophilia!” as she left the hall. In an interview with The New York Times about his nominations, she had said, “Distinguishing Polanski is spitting in the face of all victims,” she said. “It means raping women isn’t that bad.”

Think about that statement a bit, if you have to. It makes no sense at all, but articulates the logic of the cancel culture. The film is the film, just as a song is a song and a painting is a painting. None of these are the same as their creators. Just as the fact that art created by a saint doesn’t make it any better, the fact that other art is created by vile human beings doesn’t change the quality of the art for the worse.  The law punishes people for bad deeds. Society punishes them in many other ways. What artists build, accomplish, and contribute to society are independent of the artists personally.

Bill Cosby’s albums are still funny, and nobody is saying that raping women isn’t that bad by enjoying those classic performances or by honoring Cosby as a performer. Harvey Weinstein produced too many great films to boycott.

Personally, I refuse to support Cosby, Woody Allen, Polanski and others who disgust me, but their work remains what it was and is, and burying it punishes the culture. Continue reading

Ethics Notes On The CNN/Univision Bernie-Biden Debate

The showdown  was supposed to be Sanders’ last stand, with his sole hope of stopping the Biden surge being to dazzle viewers and show Slow Joe to be too far gone to be a viable candidate. Sanders didn’t do that; he didn’t even come close.  The major ethics takeaway is that this time, at least, Joe Biden did not appear especially more addled than Vice President Joe did, in marked contrast to his quickly aborted cyber-town meeting, in which he often seemed confused and at one point wandered out of camera range.  I know that it seems pathetic to make “not looking senile” an accomplishment in a debate to determine who should be President, but that’s the corner the Democratic Party painted itself into.

Other Observations:

  • Sanders says the same thing over and over again, indeed the same things he said in his debates with Hillary Clinton. To some extent clearing the stage of the flotsam and jetsam candidates just exposes the formulaic and rote nature of his candidacy.

I don’t understand how anyone sentient could seriously support this man for any elected office. With the kids I could understand it, but I know lawyers in their forties without closed head injuries who are Bernie Bros.  It’s inconceivable.

  • Conservative pundits were slamming CNN for not confronting Biden about his fantasy meeting with Nelson Mandela, which was exposed since the last debate. It isn’t the news media’s job to come up with gotchas!…where was Sanders? As with his debates with Hillary in which he adamantly refused to raise her email deceptions, Sanders seems to be less interested in winning than in making his various Marxist talking points. It’s peculiar. It’s also a betrayal of those passionate, if deluded, young supporters who have worked so hard for him.

Why doesn’t Bernie mention Biden’s groping and sniffing problem? Same thing. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/11/2020: Bad Marks…

Good morning!

Time for Gordon MacRae again. It’s been a while…

1. The mark of a poor loser. No doubt about it, the Democratic Party losers are terrible at that accountability thing. Now it’s Bernie Sanders. Before him, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar blamed sexism for their own inadequacies; Harris and Cory Booker blamed racism. Sanders has all sorts of villains, anything to avoid admitting that he and his campaign have been talking irresponsible, undemocratic nonsense for months, indeed years…

  • The “corporate media”
  • The Democratic Party establishment
  • His own youthful (read naive, deluded and ignorant) supporters, who just don’t vote as often as old people.

Maybe this is Presidential conduct now. Obama blamed everything he could on President Bush, and his followers blamed every critique on racism. President Trump is hardly any better at accepting accountability. The all-time winner, or rather all-time loser who beats them all at blaming others for losing is Hillary Clinton.

Perhaps the single most persuasive reason to leave up all those Robert E. Lee statues and memorials is to remind current leaders and future generations of the general who, as his battered, bleeding and defeated troops returned from the field of battle after Pickett’s Charge, one of the worst debacles in U.S. military history, met them saying, “It was all my fault.”

I could respect a leader like that. Are there any?

The “corporate media” bit also is annoying. A Facebook friend, mainstream media bias-denier used Bernie’s lament yesterday to mount a false dichotomy, saying that conservatives blame left-wing media bias while the Left blames the “corporate media.” Sanders indeed received negative coverage, but not because “the corporate media” fears his brand of social justice. The progressive mainstream media is desperate to defeat Trump, and to preserve the Democratic Party, and any idiot can see that running a pro-Castro, Soviet Union rationalizing Marxist would be toxic to both objectives. Even running a deteriorating dementia victim is a better bet, though not an especially good one. Fox News loved the idea of Bernie running against President Trump.

2. The mark of a coward. Sanders  declined to address his disheartened supporters last  night after Joe Biden pretty much ended his hopes of prevailing at the Democratic National Convention by winning decisive primary victories. Before the results were called for the Western states of North Dakota, Idaho, and Washington, the Sanders campaign announced that  Bernie would not be addressing his supporters that evening. Continue reading

The Democratic Party Debates And The Appearance Of Impropriety

If the Democrats want their nominating convention to descend into chaos and result in a disastrous split, I’d say they are making all the right decisions. If they want to bring a united and confident organization into the 2020 battle with the GOP and President Trump, however, they are botching things badly.

The ethics issues at play here are fairness and competence.

The Democratic National Committee now says that the next debate,  finally a  head-to-head showdown between socialist Bernie Sanders and whatever-he-is-at-the-moment Joe Biden, will have both candidates seated as they take unplanned <cough!>questions from undecided voters in the audience, unlike the previous debates which had the candidates  challenged by questions from professional journalist moderators while standing behind  podiums for hours.

Brilliant! What could go wrong? Except that some in the Bernie Sanders camp are convinced that the format has been deliberately engineered to minimize the exposure of Joe Biden, who appears to be aging as quickly as  poor Walter Donovan after he chooses the wrong chalice in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/8/2010: Daylight Savings Time Edition

Well, It SHOULD still be “Good Morning!”, but it’s not…

1. The most unethical Presidential campaign in recent history.  This profile of in Wisconsin, nicely illustrates the central ethics rot at the core of the Sanders campaign and his appeal. Michelz, we learn, is desperately in debt. He is therefor banking on Sanders to solve his problems by taking money from other people and giving it to him.

This is where the hyping of “income inequality” leads, and it is the basis of Sanders’ unethical message. It is inherently unfair that other people make more money than you do, so the government should use its power to “equalize” income and wealth. We learn in the course of the piece that in last week’s California primary, 47 % who said income inequality was their most important issue picked Mr. Sanders. 13% voted for Joe Biden.

How do individuals brought up in the United States, a nation built on the belief in personal liberty and the responsibility for choosing and making one’s own path in life, come to believe that there is an intrinsic right to a level of wealth and success, regardless of personal choices, industry, talent and character?  We don’t need to ask how we came to have a Presidential contender whose strategy is to appeal to such people and exploit their unhappiness with their current state in life. That is a market-tested approach to acquiring power that has been effective around the world, with disastrous results.

2. Thank you, 1960s! From the res ipsa loquitur department: A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. From the study:
Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/3/2020: Super Tuesday Edition

Excited?

1. The Super Tuesday tragedy. I can’t find it online, but this supposedly crucial day in the 2020 Democratic Party nomination race yanked out of my mental archives a cartoon in the old National Lampoon that ran in 1972. It showed Richard Nixon saying, “Vote for me! I’ll make Southeast Asia look like the bottom of a used Shake ‘n’ Bake bag!”, and on the other side, showed George McGovern saying, “Vote for me! I have a spine like a wet bed of kelp!” That was the first election in which I could vote, and I refused to do so as a matter of principle. I had good friends who were passionate about McGovern, and I felt sorry for them. He was decent man, but so obviously not a rational choice for President of the United States.

All four of the Democrats (sort of…two of them are pretending to be Democrats) still in the race today are just awful options for anyone with their eyes open and not overcome with hatred of Donald Trump, which, it is clear, a distressing number of once-intelligent people are.  In the end, the Democratic Party is accountable for allowing things to come to this, just as the Republican Party was accountable for allowing itself to be swamped by Donald Trump, a real estate mogul who began his campaign as just one more branding opportunity, and hit the jackpot. How can any Democrat defend a vote for Michael Bloomberg, when part of the “resistance’s”  hate for President Trump is based on his alleged autocratic ways and threat to a free press, and they know that the former New York mayor has ordered his own news agency not to criticize him and is betting that his money alone will give him the White House? How can any Democrat defend a vote for Joe Biden, after that  party has claimed for three years that President Trump is mentally unfit and sexist,  and hearing Joe Biden sound more and more like Grandpa before he was put in a home, and seeing  photo after photo of women and girls wincing as Joe exploited a photo op to kiss, hug, grope or sniff them? How can any American defend a vote for Bernie Sanders ( and if I have to elaborate, you’re hopeless)? Finally, how can any Democrats filled with hate for  the President because of his lies, real or imagined, vote for Elizabeth Warren, whose career and campaign have been built on a foundation of lies?

Continue reading

Amy’s Exit, Joe’s Door-Hanger [UPDATED!]

1. Senator Klobuchar eliminated the “none of the above” option from Democratic primary voters by dropping out today. This makes little sense: she’s dropping out because Biden won in South Carolina, where he was expected to win all along? Then she endorsed Joe Biden, which is irresponsible. Biden is a slowly devolving wreck, and every member of the Democratic Party has an obligation to at least try to present a mentally capable candidate for the public to consider. At his current rate of decline (let’s see, not to complain, just to be up-to-date, what did he say today? Nope, nothing, He must have been resting),

UPDATE! Joe wasn’t resting, so he did have brain synapse issues. From the Washington Examiner (Pointer:  77Zoomie):

2020 Democrat Joe Biden stumbled over his words as he attempted to recite the Declaration of Independence ahead of Super Tuesday. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” the former vice president said during a campaign event in Texas on Monday. “All men and women created by — you know, you know, the thing”….he also accidentally referred to Super Tuesday as “Super Thursday” before correcting himself.

Joe will be a walking, babbling appeal to the 25th Amendment before November rolls around.

Ah-HA! Could that be why Amy endorsed him? Biden’s Vice-President choice will be scrutinized more carefully than any #2 since Richard Nixon in 1956 when Ike was running for a second term following a heart attack. (My wife asked today what Mrs. Biden was like, referencing Mrs. Wilson secretly taking over for Woodrow after his devastating stroke. Biden presumably has to pick an African American or a woman as his running mate.

Her choice is also a betrayal by the sisterhood of Elizabeth Warren, who is still hanging around, hoping for intervention from The Great Spirit, or something. Biden is a serial sexual harasser and assault master. The feminist, #MeToo wing of the Democratic Party  are as hypocritical in its support of Joe as the NAACP is in its support of Michael Jackson imitator Gov. Ralph Northam. In all the debates, neither Warren, nor Klobuchar, nor Kamala Harris, nor even pariah Tulsi Gabbard had the guts and integrity to confront Biden on his dirty old uncle routine. No Democratic woman should endorse Biden; it’s as unethical as cheering Bill Clinton. Oh, right…

The consensus among pundits right now is that Klobuchar’s endorsement signals that the Democratic establishment is desperate to stop Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination. That Joe Biden is their “firewall” tells us just how spectacularly the party has failed its job of finding a competent and trustworthy candidate, just as both parties failed in 2016.

2. Klobuchar’s withdrawal won’t have as much impact on tomorrow’s primaries because so many states allow early voting. This is one more reason early voting is wrong, and should be banned. It deceives voters into making a crucial decision without all the data is in, sometimes rendering votes null and virtuously void.

3. The party of women, minorities and the young somehow has managed to reach the nomination’s final laps with four white candidates, with Senator Warren being the only woman and the relative whippersnapper at 70. Of the remaining three men, one isn’t a Democrat (Sanders), one served in his only significant elected position as a Republican, and the other is relying on his connection to the inexplicably popular Barack Obama, whose failure to endorse him is a neon indictment.

Yikes. Good job, everybody! Continue reading

What A Coincidence! Chris Matthews Breaks Ranks With The Far Left, And Now He’s Accused of Sexual Harassment!

Oh, I’m sure these are unrelated occurrences, just like it was a coincidence that a progressive college professor suddenly sort-of remembered a school days attempted sexual assault by teenaged Brett Kavanaugh just in time to accuse him  during his Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings. You’re sure too, aren’t you? No progressive would be so vicious as to try to weaponize #MeToo to “cancel” an MSNBC pundit for pointing out that Bernie Sanders sounds like a crypto-Communist, right? Come on. How ruthless do you think these people are?

Hot on the heels of Chris Matthews reminding young, naive and ignorant MSNBC viewers who don’t know Khrushchev from Orange Crush that the Cold War was fought with people who have the same world view as Bernie Sanders, even comparing Bernie’s rise to the Nazis marching into Paris (THAT was a bit excessive, but Chris apologized), a progressive journalist suddenly decides that Chris’s long ago flirtatious bantering with her was, come to think of it,  really unwelcome, especially coming from someone who doesn’t trust Bernie. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2020: “Macho Man” Rights, A Billionaire Jerk Contest, And More

Good morning!

Not thrilled to be up before Virginia’s sunrise, but looking forward to it…

1. It’s sad what happens to Ethics Alarms expatriates...One upon a time, uber-progressive blogger/cartoonist Barry Deutsch, aka Ampersand, was one of the most prolific, open-minded, articulate and reasonable commenters here. Then Barry banned himself because he didn’t like my pointing out that his blog is an echo chamber, after he censored my comment there noting that his SJW throng’s  position on the Trayvon Martin-Zimmerman affair was intellectually dishonest.  So Barry retreated to his self-made bubble. I check in on him now and then, and that admirable open-mindedness has disappeared in the marinade of relentlessly woke and intolerant fans.

Here’s how bad it is for Barry: this what he wrote on his “Alas! A Blog”recently: “Conservatives are against all immigrants (or at least all non-white immigrants), not just unauthorized immigrants.”

Tragic. Barry Deutsch now believes that anyone who disagrees with his far left world view is a racist. The Ampersand who followed Ethics Alarms would never think such a thing, much less publish it.

2. The trouble with billionaires. The class warfare being fomented by Bernie Sanders and others for a cynical and destructive power grab is an old formula that, when it works, always brings chaos in its wake. Throughout history, it has succeeded more often than basic economics and common sense would dictate in part because so many of the ultra-rich persist in being jerks. Does being a jerk make one more inclined to get rich, or does becoming extremely rich have a tendency to make one a toxic jerk?

That’s a question for the ages, but the behavior of people like billionaires Peter Nygard and Louis Bacon make things easier for class warfare demagogues like Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, just as it did for Lenin and Robespierre before them. This story, about their absurd and costly feud, illustrates how extreme wealth can permit one’s ethics alarms, not to mention sense of proportion, go dead.

From the Times:

The Bahamian pleasure palace featured a faux Mayan temple, sculptures of smoke-breathing snakes and a disco with a stripper pole. The owner, Peter Nygard, a Canadian fashion executive, showed off his estate on TV shows like “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and threw loud beachfront parties, reveling in the company of teenage girls and young women. Next door, Louis Bacon, an American hedge fund billionaire, presided over an airy retreat with a lawn for croquet. Mr. Bacon preferred hunting alone with a bow and arrow to attending wild parties, and if mentioned at all in the press, was typically described as buttoned-up.

The neighbors had little in common except for extreme wealth and a driveway. But when Mr. Nygard wasn’t allowed to rebuild after a fire, he blamed Mr. Bacon. Since then, the two have been embroiled in an epic battle, spending tens of millions of dollars and filing at least 25 lawsuits in five jurisdictions. Mr. Nygard, 78, has spread stories accusing Mr. Bacon of being an insider trader, murderer and member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Bacon, 63, has accused Mr. Nygard of plotting to kill him.

Read the whole thing. Continue reading

Seven Ethics Observations On The Chaotic South Carolina Democratic Candidates Debate.

CBS hosted the debate, and its transcript is here.

1. Well that was embarrassing. I tried to find a YouTube clip of all the candidates simultaneously shouting,  talking over each other and waving their arms; I couldn’t, but I’m sure there are several, and I’m sure they will be used in Republican campaign ads. This group is objectively horrible even when they are coherent and well-behaved, but as I watched this debacle, I thought, “Boy, Facebook is really going to be cranky tomorrow.”

2. It’s not just the candidates who are to blame, of course. The story of the night was just how incompetent the CBS moderators were: timid, unprofessional, passive. In a situation like that, you have to blow a whistle, stop and warn everyone. You tell the group that if they don’t behave, there won’t be any more questions. You cut their mics if necessary. The moderators have a duty to do whatever is necessary to keep order, because the debate, which is supposed to help voters decide who our next President should be, is literally useless unless there can be an orderly and audible exchange of ideas.

Once again, the inept Gayle King was at the center of a televised mess. Oprah Winfrey’s “gal pal” <cough> has her job for one reason, and it’s her connections <cough>what is this in my throat?–and no other good reason. She’s a local TV news mediocrity elevated  beyond her merits, an example of the Peter Principle in action with a the ugly element of unethical influence added.

Usually the impact of King’s  glaring lack of ability is minimal, but in a case like this it does actual damage. Ann Althouse picked up on one example last night that annoyed me as well. Late in the debate, the moderators again asked the seven candidates to take a break from shouting over each other, and Joe Biden said, “Why am I stopping? No one else stops. It’s my Catholic school training.”

…Gayle King responds, “Vice President Biden, you’re a gentleman. Good home training. Thank you, sir.” But Joe Biden doesn’t want to be Gayle King’s good little boy. He says, “Yeah, gentlemen don’t get very well treated up here.”

 Good home training. Ridiculous. Biden was making a criticism — “Why am I stopping? No one else stops. It’s my Catholic school training” — a justified criticism, and Gayle King understood or pretended to understand that to be supportive of her and justifying her bonding with Biden, like the 2 of them are well bred and polite, but he cut her off.

“Gentlemen don’t get very well treated up here” — that’s superficially polite, not telling King she’s not doing her job, but the treatment in question is from the moderators.

He’s saying: I have been polite and gracious, but you’ve presided over an event where rudeness wins. Catholic school may have taught me good behavior, but you, Gayle King, are teaching bad behavior.

… it’s interesting that King changed “Catholic school training” to “home training.” She cleaned the religion out of it for him. She erased his Catholic identity. And if it’s home training, the implication is domestication by a woman.

Continue reading