Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/2/19: While Basking In The Glow Of Another Life Lesson From Baseball

Go Nats!

The Washington Nationals had never won an elimination game in the National league post-season. They were 0-6 in such games going into last might’s do-or-die single Wild Card play-off at home against the Miracle Milwaukee Brewers. Following the script many Nats fans dreaded, the team’s Hall of Fame-bound ace, Max Scherzer, quickly gave up three runs while the Brew Crew’s storied bullpen kept the offense at bay save a solo homer from National shortstop Trey Turner. Heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Nationals had to face closer Josh Hader (he of the Hader Gotcha), who gives up hits less often than some pitchers give up runs.

Then, as they say, fate took a hand. With one out, uninspiring Nats pinch-hitter Michael Taylor reached first illicitly. A 3-2 pitch from Hader hit the knob of Taylor’s bat and immediately ricocheted onto his hand. It should have been called a foul, but the umpires ruled it a hit-by-pitch, sending Taylor to first base. Hader struck out the next Nats batter, then aging Nats slugger Ryan Zimmerman was called upon as another pinch-hitter. He barely connected with a pitch out of the strike zone, breaking his bat, but his weak “dying quail” bloop dropped in just over the head of the Milwaukee second baseman for a cheap and fortunate single. (On TV, Zimmerman could be seen smiling and shrugging sheepishly.) That meant the tying runs were on base for the Nats best hitter, MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. Hader gave him what is known as an intentional unintentional base on balls in order to face 20-year-old Juan Soto, a left-handed batter. Lefty Hader allowed left-handed batters to hit .143 this season. But young Soto lined a pitch into right center, and Brewers right fielder Trent Grisham, one of the heroes of the late-season Brewers play-off drive, did a Bill Buckner. The single got past him (he was charging the ball in what would have been a futile effort to throw out the tying run at the plate) , and all three runners scored. Incredibly, the Nats now led 4-3. After the Brewers went down in the top of the 9th without scoring, they, and not Milwaukee, moved on to the next round of the play-offs.

Lesson: In baseball, as in life, it is as important to be lucky as to be good. Chaos lurks in every second, and the illusion of control is just that, an illusion. A bad call, a fluke hit, and a horribly-timed fielding botch that the same outfielder avoids 99 times out of a hundred, and so much changed for two cities, two fan bases, and the 2019 post-season, affecting jobs, careers, reputations and commerce.

This is why we should never give up, never despair, and never get cocky. It is also why we should strive to live as ethically as possible. We can’t control whether we win or lose, but we can control how.

1. Again we must ask: when did the Democratic Party decide to abandon freedom of speech?  Yesterday, we learned that Joe Biden’s campaign wants the news media to censor adversary commentary from Rudy Giuliani, while claiming that no one who isn’t a public official is qualified to opine on TV regarding public policy.  Now Senator Kamala Harris, who also aspires to be President, says President Trump should be banned from using Twitter because he  uses the platform in an “irresponsible” way. Harris, in an interview with CNN host Anderson Cooper, also called for “other mechanisms” to make sure Trump’s words “do not in fact harm anyone”—you know, like harming her party’s election prospects by exposing its Big Lies and open coup attempts.

I wonder if the public sees how ominous the repeated Democratic calls for censorship are. Maybe the President will tweet about that.

Of course, the President’s use of Twitter is often irresponsible, but also a necessary end-around media propaganda aimed at unseating him and undermining democracy. It is remarkable that Harris, a Senator and a lawyer, somehow missed  that the First Amendment proclaims the importance of free speech to our society. It doesn’t only endorse the right to engage in responsible speech. I think, for example, that advocating censoring the speech of the President of the United States is irresponsible, but I’ll defend Harris’s right to do it—and my right to conclude that because she does it, she is an ignorant, dangerous fool. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/14/2019: “You Made Me Slam You (I Didn’t Want To Do It)” Edition

Welcome!

1.  To be fair to Kerry Roberts, while we should not and cannot eliminate colleges, this is also trueFrom The American Thinker:

….Sarah Sanders made one of the best observations in recent weeks when, reflecting on the Democrats running for president, she observed, “I’m pretty sure they don’t even like America.”  She’s right.  They don’t.  For those who are wondering how the Democrats could have produced such a distinguished slate of the sanity-challenged, it is because of radical liberal control of America’s colleges and universities.  The Marxist radicals of yesterday became college professors of today, seizing ideological control of much of America….American universities are radicalizing an increasingly large share of America.  This is aided by the fact that nearly 70% of kids now go to college, where most of them are taught not to think. Every candidate on stage is convinced that the lion’s share of Democrat primary voters are radical Marxists.  Sadly, they’re all largely right, which is why any candidate who sounds remotely reasonable is running about the same percentage of voter support as you.  These candidates should know their voters, since every one of them is likely a product of America’s universities.  It is hard to overstate the damage this institution is inflicting on America but that outcome was on full display during the Democrat debate.

2.  Stipulated: Using PolitiFact as an authority in any political debate is proof that the user is either so biased he can’t recognize partisan slant when it’s right under his nose, or lying. I remember how most of the Ethics Alarms boycotters from the progressive collective, before they turned tail and ran, liked to cite the obviously manipulative fact-check service, the worst of the worst, if you don’t count Snopes. (FactCheck.org, though leftward tilting, is by far the fairest one of all, according to my magic ethics mirror on the wall…) Kudos, then, to Ted Cruz, who took the time to point out in a tweet:

“Just a reminder, when I said it, PolitiFact (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DNC) rated ‘Beto wants to take our guns’ as FALSE,.” “Maybe they should buy one of his new t-shirts.”

You know..these:

Now I’m tempted to imitate Cruz’s tweak with my Facebook friends who indignantly protested when I described their favorite party as the champion of open borders, gun confiscation, and late-term abortion. Continue reading

The Novelist Is Scared By Red Caps. What’s The Ethical Response To That?

“AAAAAAAIIIIIII!!!! Take it away! TAKE IT AWAY!!!”

Rebecca Makkai, an American novelist of moderate success, tweeted,

Fascinating!  And her tweet raises some trenchant ethics questions:

1. How should good Americans regard someone who suggests that it isn’t normal to support the elected President of the United States?

Answer: As a bad American, as well as stunningly arrogant. The impulse is fascist: those who don’t agree with the political positions of Makkai and her ilk are not merely wrong, mistaken or misguided, but abnormal. It is particularly subversive to pronounce those who are behaving exactly as U.S. citizens have behaved and have been expected to behave since 1789 as not being normal, while Makkai, one of the divisive and destructive members of the “resistance” attempting to undermine the nation’s unity and institutions, pose as respectable.

2. Does an individual’s aversion to red caps because one variety carries a slogan deemed objectionable to the Trump Deranged qualify as a sensitivity anyone is obligated to observe in their choice of headgear? Continue reading

Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/25/19: The Rotten Standards Edition

I feel like hearing my favorite hymn this morning.

1. How TV makes the public ignorant and unethical. On a 2008 “Law and Order” episode, “Knock Off,” a New York Assistant DA tells a lawyer that since his former client is dead, attorney client privilege no longer applies. “The privilege does not survive the client,” he says, authoritatively. This is exactly 180 degrees wrong. Privilege and client confidences do survive clients; lawyers are bound by them forever, with some rare exceptions.

The show had legal advisors.  There is no excuse for this. What were Law and Order’s standards? Would it deliberately misstate law and regulations just to accommodate the plot? Apparently so.

2. According to the New York Times, we’ve been mistaken. People don’t kill people, Guns kill people, apparently all by themselves. One of the infinite ways news organizations practice unethical and biased journalism is by falsely framing facts and issues to encourage a particular public perception. The “paper of record” just went for a new record in this event with a piece titled “One Handgun, 9 Murders: How American Firearms Cause Carnage Abroad.”Incredibly, the article personifies a gun:

She came to Jamaica from the United States about four years ago, sneaking in illegally, stowed away to avoid detection. Within a few short years, she became one of the nation’s most-wanted assassins. She preyed on the parish of Clarendon, carrying out nine confirmed kills, including a double homicide outside a bar, the killing of a father at a wake and the murder of a single mother of three. Her violence was indiscriminate: She shot and nearly killed a 14-year-old girl getting ready for church.

With few clues to identify her, the police named her Briana. They knew only her country of origin — the United States — where she had been virtually untraceable since 1991. She was a phantom, the eighth-most-wanted killer on an island with no shortage of murder, suffering one of the highest homicide rates in the world. And she was only one of thousands.

Briana, serial number 245PN70462, was a 9-millimeter Browning handgun.

The thrust of the rest of the article is that the terrible murder rate in Jamaica and other third-world counties is the fault of the U.S. for guaranteeing its citizens gun rights, and not the corruption, weak government, poverty and rotten cultures, not to mention the killers they produce, in those nations themselves. “Law enforcement officials, politicians and even gangsters on the street agree: It’s the abundance of guns, typically from the United States, that makes the country so deadly,” the article says. “And while the argument over gun control plays on a continual loop in the United States, Jamaicans say they are dying because of it — at a rate that is nine times the global average.”

That’s right: all those murderous Jamaicans would become as harmless as lambs if the United States would just get with the program.

This isn’t news reporting, it’s anti-gun propaganda. Continue reading

An Ethics Mystery: How Can Progressives And The Resistance Continue To Accuse The President, Conservatives, And Republicans Of “Spreading Hate” And “Seeding Violence” When So Much Hate Is Coming From Them?

This phenomenon touches on many themes we have explored on Ethics Alarms: double standards, hypocrisy, Big Lies, mainstream media complicity in disinformation, the increasingly unavoidable conclusion that a large mass of progressive activists, pundits and public figures are just plain terrible people—our culture’s “bad guys.”

Item One: Bill Maher on David Koch

In his monologue  on this week’s Real Time on HBO, the former comedian-turned-permanent-Leftist-asshole commented on the death of billionaire Republican donor and philanthropist David Koch  from  cancer at age 79 by saying (to the usual hoots of approval from his usual seal-clapping audience),

“Fuck him… I’m glad he’s dead…I guess I’m going to have to re-evaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer…As for his remains, he has asked to be cremated and have his ashes be blown into a child’s lungs. He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades. So fuck him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”

Of course, this was on a comedy show as part of a stand-up routine, so it’s all OK; it was just a joke, right?

I am reading similar sentiments from the Deranged Facebook Borg, but Maher is on television, and a major entertainment company employs him. I don’t understand how an ethical, responsible American and human being can continue to pay premium prices to a company that allows itself to be associated with pure hate like that, no matter how much they like “Westworld.”  Have some responsibility for the culture. Write HBO and tell them that you are cancelling your subscription until it publicly rejects that kind of rhetoric in the public square. I wish I had a subscription so I could cancel it.  I wish I didn’t oppose organized boycotts so I could  launch a Facebook page and organize one.

Rick Moran wrote, quite correctly,

Forget ideology. Forget politics. How does a civilized human being get to the point where voicing such sentiments is believed to be acceptable by anyone in society — even political allies? Thinking such thoughts is bad enough. Most of us would be ashamed of ourselves for celebrating anyone’s demise and hoping “the end was painful.” It’s barbaric. The words are disconnected from conscience in a way that makes Maher less human.

Celebrating the death of a political adversary suggests that the deaths of adversaries are to be desired, and thus sought and facilitated. I am not aware of any similarly ugly  sentiments coming from the other side of the political spectrum, while the projection of violent ends and painful beatings has been a continuing theme from the “resistance” for years.

In contrast, President Trump and those who support enforcing our laws were accused of inspiring the El Paso killer because the shooter adopted the term “invaders” for all immigrants. This dishonest effort to blame the shooting on Trump’s language required all sorts of deceit, as well as withholding the shooter’s manifesto so the public couldn’t connect the dots that proved what a grand lie the accusation was. The shooter regarded all immigrants, including legal ones, as “invaders.” Neither the President nor anyone else outside of the lunatic Right has ever used the term for anyone but illegal immigrants, who are, in fact, invaders by definition. The shooter did not advocate killing immigrants, but frightening them into self-deporting with mad acts such as his: he explicitly rejected genocide in his largely unseen manifesto. Never mind; those are just facts, and what matters to Democrats, as their Presidential front-runner so sagely reminded us,  isn’t facts, but truth.

The real truth is that in Left-Land, double-standards reign.Thus the news media and Democrats howled that a single word—invaders—neither implying nor suggesting violence, prompted mass murder in El Paso. When one of their own acolytes directly extols death and painful death as a desirable means of eliminating adversaries and prevailing in policy debates, it is shrugged off as amusing.

Item Two: Marcie Blanco on men. Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Actress Rosanna Arquette

Observations, besides the obvious and obligatory, “What an idiot!”…

1. This is signature significance for a stupid woman, desperately virtue- signaling to her peer group. No fair or intelligent person would say or think such a thing.

2. The tweet is declaring that an entire race should be ashamed of itself. This is bigotry; this is racism. Arquette lacks the intellectual skill to figure that out, though it is startlingly straightforward.

3. One of the responses to the tweet, which helps us define the kind of person who would follow the likes of Rosanna Arquette on Twitter, wrote, “Please don’t. I understand the inclination but this is actually more harmful than helpful. POC are not trying to shame decent white people for being white. This feeds into a right wing talking point that this is what we want. I don’t. I want allies who see my humanity. That’s it.”  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