Noon Ethics Warm-Up, 9/10/2019: Fat-Shaming, Race-Baiting, And Terrorist-Tarring [UPDATED]

ARRGH!! Half-way through the day, and not out of my pajamas yet!

1. Here’s the kind of comment that won’t get an aspiring  new commenter approved…From Erik Guettler: “It’s sad that you think you actually know anything about ethical behavior by criticizing Bill Maher, while Donald Trump’s the most unethical, openly racist and corrupt president Americans have ever had.”

The comment fails on many levels. To begin with, it’s stupid (there is a stupidity justification among the Ethics Alarms banning tenets.) Criticizing Maher for his frequent absence of functioning ethics alarms cannot make me think I know anything about ethical behavior. The opposite is true: it is because I am an ethicist that I criticize Maher, though it hardly requires an expert to recognize his unethical conduct.A relatively well-raised 17-year-old could do it.

Second, the comment breaches basic ethical analysis principles, not to mention common sense: President Trump’s conduct is irrelevant to how unethical Maher is, as is my criticism, or not, of the President. Third, his list of Trump failings is—oooh! Let me finally use this!NPC junk. Neither he nor anyone can find me any “openly racist” conduct or statements on the President’s part, for this is one of the Big Lies (#4, to be exact.) I have gone through this dance with many Trump Deranged Facebook friends. Challenged to back up the “openly racist” lie, they babble about how he challenged Obama’s birth certificate, and go downhill from there. The statement that he is the “most unethical” President, personally or professionally,  is proof of historical ignorance and bias. Unethical he is, but whether Trump’s lack of ethics is more or less substantive than that of Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton is a matter of legitimate disagreement. The “corrupt” accusation is also non-substantive, unproven, and based on supposition and bias rather than evidence.

But never mind all that: the claim that Ethics Alarms has somehow ignored Donald Trump’s ethics deficits is so easily disproved that the insulting comment is an example of reckless disregard for the truth.

Bite me, Erik.

And don’t come back.

2. While we’re on the topic of Mr. Maher’s ethics…Here is the professional asshole in his most recent HBO episode:
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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

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.”

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Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/2/2019: Dark Thoughts And Good Reasons For Them

Looking forward to the ethical week ahead, certain that I’ll be disappointed, and bitterly, based on last week…

<Sigh>

1. The Ethicist’s Dilemma. I’m preparing for a couple of legal ethics CLE seminars for government lawyers, and raised  an ethical dilemma facing me to my sister. The last time I included government lawyer ethics issues related to the multiple controversies in the Mueller investigation, the FISA process, and the Michael Cohen clown act, I received several critical evaluations that were entirely partisan and political. And, in the session itself, there were a couple of participants obviously set at “hair-trigger” to register accusations and objections that any criticism–based on pure legal ethics analysis on my part—that found fault with the lawyers involved revealed me as a dreaded “Trump supporter.” I asked my sister, who is a retired government lawyer with extensive Justice Department experience, if I should nonetheless cover such issues as Robert Mueller flagrantly violating Rule 3.8 of the D.C, Rules with his public statement last week,  or what a White House Counsel’s ethical obligations are regarding communications from the President (since the “who is the client?” complexities of that role continue to confound legal ethics experts, my position is that the WHC has an ethical obligation to make it crystal clear to any President when he is covered by attorney-client privilege and when he is not, to cite one example.)

Her depressing advice: Don’t touch any of it. People, even lawyers, are not capable of keeping their emotions and political passions under control these days, she said. No matter how accurate and fair your analysis is, she emphasized, you risk allowing these hot-button issues to derail the seminar and even harm your professional reputation.

Yet I believe that I have an obligation to cover these issues. I also have a lifetime bias for doing what people tell me will be disastrous when I am convinced that it is the right thing to do. Then my father’s voice comes out of the mists of time, reciting his favorite fake obituary, a ditty about sailing:

This is a story of John O’Day
Who died maintaining his right of way
He was right, dead right, as he sailed along
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.
I’m thinking.

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Aaaand THEY’RE OFF! The Week’s Ethics Race Begins, 4/1/2019: No, Ethics Is Nothing To Fool About…

Good morning!

(and I’m not fooling…)

1. Why is this result considered good news? McLaughlin & Associates, a research firm, conducted a poll online March 18-25 asking the question, “Would you favor or oppose an executive order ensuring that free speech would be protected on all college campuses?” With 1,000 likely 2020 voters thus polled, the results showed 73% in favor of protecting free speech on campus, 18 % opposing, and the typical 9% of slugs who said they were “unsure.” McLaughlin and Associates found “no statistically significant difference by education level, with college graduates favoring the executive order 72 percent to 21 percent and non-college graduates favoring 74 percent to 16 percent.” Similarly, men and women both favored  the executive order at a rate of 73%, and there was no significant difference by party affiliation either.

The fact that less than 75% of American citizens whole-heartedly support freedom of speech in higher education is no less than horrifying, and shows how badly the ahte speech and thought-control termites have gotten into our foundation.

2. Speaking of those inherently untrustworthy polls a Washington Post-Schar School poll found that nearly two-thirds of registered Democrats reject special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding of no collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It’s a “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up!” classic, and also demonstrates how believing the mainstream news media agitprop because their biases fit neatly with yours—except you’re not paid to be objective and indep…oh, never mind. Why do I bother?—eats your brain. What in the world to these alleged (poll assertions are always alleged at best) skeptics base their beliefs on, other than the fact that, like Rachel Maddow, they so,so,so want our President to be an impeachable traitor? Mueller spent three years shaking down people and crushing them with his  prosecutorial boot to get evidence of Trump collusion that would stand up in court, and failed. And those Democrats know better? Continue reading

Ethics Emanations From The Great Mueller Report Disappointment

The mainstream media—mostly–continues to disgrace itself in the wake of the Mueller report, as do others, like the despicable Bill Maher. I can’t wait to see how Stephen “Cockholster” Colbert tries to spin it, while being hilarious, of course. Remember, this was a destructive smear on the character, patriotism and loyalty of a newly elected U.S. President, launched without any justification other than the fact that Democrats , and especially Hillary Clinton, cannot accept the fact that someone like the real estate mogul/ reality TV star could beat the party’s coronated successor to the Great Obama. Surely, some sinister conspiracy had to be at work. Based on this, and nothing else, we have  seen a nearly three-year, oppressive inquiry interfering with the President’s ability to govern, while subjected to a non-stop barrage of news reports finding looming impeachment in every leak.

Ethics Alarms flagged it as the coup attempt it was from the beginning. This didn’t require any special acumen. All it required was objectivity, common sense, and a rueful appreciation of how totalitarian the Democratic Party has become in its values and tactics.

Some notable and illuminating reactions, and some heroes and villains…. Continue reading

Groundhog Day Ethics Warm-Up: 2/2/2019

Happy Groundhog Day!

1. Gov. Northam ethics Updates  a)There are reports that Virginia’s beleaguered governor will resign tomorrow. b) Then again, maybe not. The Times has this amazing story:

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, facing intense pressure to resign from fellow Democrats after admitting that he posed for a photo in a racist costume as a medical student more than 30 years ago, was calling state Democrats on Saturday to say he did not think it was him in the picture and that he would not resign… in phone calls on Saturday morning he said he had no recollection of the yearbook image of two men, one in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan robes….

In addition to calling state Democratic officials, Mr. Northam has been calling former classmates at Eastern Virginia Medical School in an effort to determine more information about the picture — and to survive a crisis that is threatening his year-old governorship, according to a Democrat familiar with Mr. Northam’s calls.

This Democrat said the governor was determined to prove it was not him in the photograph and was even considering using facial recognition software. The governor, the Democrat said, had wanted to take responsibility on Friday night, which was why he apologized for appearing in the picture without acknowledging which person he was in the image.

Now he has to resign because he has proven that he’s an idiot. He began by admitting that he was definitely one of the two men in the photo and apologizing. If he wasn’t, does that mean that there’s another photo of Northam in a Klan get-up or in blackface? Why would he admit to dressing up in blackface or as a Klansman if he never did so? Was this so routine for him that he wouldn’t remember if he did it or not that particular time? Was he lying when he admitted that he was in the photo–and why would he do that?—-or lying now in a desperate attempt to save his career? Ugh. Show some dignity, man.

c) Conservative bloggers and pundits are enjoying this revolting spectacle way too much. Allahpundit: “Killing babies on the table is one thing, but an old blackface photo is where America draws the line.” Charlie Kirk:

David Bernstein: “The standards on past indiscretions confuse me. If we had had a picture of Ted Kennedy driving a car off a bridge and leaving his passenger to die while he planned a cover up, would he have had to resign?”  And when Planned Parenthood demanded that Northam resign, we got this…

d) Ann Althouse, as I assumed she would, is dubious about the fairness of condemning Northam for an unexplained use of blackface 35 years ago. “Here‘s the Wikipedia list of celebrities who’ve done blackface, ” she writes. ” Would those who want to exile Gov. Northam agree that all of these people should be shunned retrospectively (even the dead ones)? Fred Armisen, Fred Astaire, Dan Aykroyd, Jack Benny, Fanny Brice, George Burns, Johnny Carson, Joan Crawford, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., Judy Garland, Alec Guinness, Rex Harrison, Jimmy Kimmel, Dean Martin, The Marx Brothers, The Lone Ranger, Carroll O’Connor, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton, Grace Slick, The Three Stooges, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Gene Wilder.

Of course, as Ann must recognize, all of those individuals, unlike Northam, were or are performers whose use of dark make-up was related to a particular role, skit or musical number. Continue reading