Sunday Evening Ethics Nightcap: 5/3/2020: It Isn’t What It Is

Good NIGHT!

Yoo’s Rationalization, or “It isn’t what it is” seems to have become popular in recent weeks, and this collection reflects that hellish development.

1. Some things just aren’t true because you want them to be. In Great Britain, Freddy McConnell gave birth after transitioning (but obviously not completely, correct?), so he is fighting in the courts to be officially listed as his child’s father rather than his mother. His argument has been repeatedly rejected, most recently when he unsuccessfully appealed the court decision that he could be registered only as his son’s mother. He now wants to take his case to Britain’s Supreme Court.

What is it about people who think that the law can and should declare up to be down (because they prefer down) and why do they feel it is reasonable and ethical to take up time and resources to try to force the government  to endorse an eccentric  interpretation of reality? This reminds me of the argument that Bruce Jenner’s victories in the Olympics should be recorded as wins by his future female alter-ego. But women can’t compete in those events, can they? Similarly, the human being that gives birth to another human being is that individual’s mother, by definition. Like Abe Lincoln’s quip about how a dog doesn’t have five legs just because you call its tail a leg, McConnell can call himself anything he likes, and have his child call him what he likes. But he’s still kid’s mother.

Own it, dude, and stop wasting everyone’s time.

2.  Wait, what? The New York Times has a story headlined, “‘Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet/Sightings of the Asian giant hornet have prompted fears that the vicious insect could establish itself in the United States and devastate bee populations.

Explain, please, why it’s somehow racist to call the virus that came from the Wuhan Province in China “the Wuhan virus,” or the Chinese virus, but the same paper that has championed the cheap Trump-bashing  tactic of condemning the naming of a pandemic after its place of origin refers to a “vicious insect” from Asia the “Asian Giant Hornet’?

Then there is this head-exploder: In China, Wuhan has passed Beijing as the top domestic destination for Chinese tourists. It ranked only eighth before the pandemic.

The hashtag “武汉成为疫情后网民最想去旅游的城市,” roughly translated as “Wuhan is the top city netizens want to visit after the epidemic” has become viral on Chinese social media. Why? Apparently it’s because something momentous happened there. History!

So to sum up: Chinese people regard Wuhan as the origin of the pandemic, and that makes it more attractive to them as a tourist destination, but if Americans identify the same area with the pandemic here, they are racist. 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

The Amazing, Depressing But Not Especially Surprising Tara Reade Hypocrisy Rolls

Amber Athey of the American Spectator did a service for  open-minded Americans who care about integrity and who were under the impression that the Democratic Party had any.  She assembled a list of 35 enthusiastic Democratic endorsers of Joe Biden as the party’s 2020 nominee, and tracked down their passionate exclamations regarding Christine Blasey-Ford’s less-corroborated allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh.

Her list is quite long, but essential reading: a more stomach-churning demonstration of grandstanding (then) and hypocrisy (now) would be difficult to find.  In some cases, it is amusing: these hacks could be so self-righteous about the holy credibility of a woman accusing a Republican, and decry the blackened souls of anyone who didn’t immediately accept her as  an unquestionable truth-teller, yet they won’t even acknowledge Biden’s equally female and more than equally credible accuser. Not only that, they are apparently certain that such blatant double-standards won’t trouble the progressive herd.

Well, maybe they are right. We shall see. we shall see just how corrupt that herd has become.

The list reinforces Reade’s words in an interview on Fox News over the weekend. She said in part,

“I’d like my history with Biden to be examined in a dignified way that’s not slanted by political bias or sensationalized. I’d like a deeper conversation about the fact that sexual harassment and sexual assault do not have a political party, agenda. “It’s an equal opportunity offender….I mean, it doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is, and it shouldn’t as far as the media coverage regarding claims.”…

“Blasey Ford, because it was a conservative candidate they were going to put in the Supreme Court, was treated with much more deference by most of the media outlets… I’ve basically had no substantive support from women’s groups that are considered liberal or Democratic. I’ve had no support from any Democratic candidate, although I’ve reached out. And I’ve received either slanted reporting that ended up being talking points for Biden’s campaign or silence from the mainstream media… what I would like to say to them at this point and some of the silence from some the candidates Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren that at this point, if you continue to silence me, if you continue to engage in protecting a powerful man without giving my case a closer look, you are complicit in rape”

Normally I’d append my observations after such a list, but this one is just too long. There is also material here for dozens of Ethics Dunce, Incompetent Elected Official, and Unethical Quote posts—an embarrassment of embarrassments, you might say. Here are a relatively restrained number of rueful observations:

  • In addition to the obvious hypocrisy, and repulsive grandstanding these quotes represent, they also raise the question of whether some or perhaps any of these people really care about sexual harassment and sexual assault at all, or if it is just mass posturing and virtue signaling for short term political gain.

I do not see how any genuine feminist or anti-sexual harassment and assault activist, inspired by Blasey-Ford’s testimony, could make the sweeping statements about victims, women, justice, and the importance of the position Kavanaugh was seeking that you read below, and then, when their party’s  presumptive nominee for President is accused of an even more shocking assault,  ignore the  alleged victim and proceed with a pro forma endorsement. How can they do that? How can they not be embarrassed? How can their supporters, or anyone, ever trust or respect them again?

  • I  raise the same question regarding the #MeToo leaders, feminists, female Democrats, and men who, like me, support efforts to take sexual harassment out of the workplace.  The feminist movement lost me–I was once a NOW member—when it reversed its position on sexual harassment by male bosses to protect Bill Clinton when he was lying about Monica. (Bill was pro-abortion, you see.) This is worse. The emotional outcries of feminist activists in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations were absolute and unequivocal. Where are the  #MeToo leaders to take up the cause of Tara Reade? Where is Tarana Burke, Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon, Mira Sorvino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep,  Patricia Arquette, Angelina Jolie, Alyssa Milano (Well, we know where she is—pretending that her continued support for Biden in light of her #MeToo fanaticism doesn’t make her, and the movement, look ridiculous), or Fatima Goss Graves  of the National Women’s Law Center? Where, for that matter, is Hillary Clinton? If they believed what they said they did, if they weren’t lying and posturing before, they would be supporting Reade.

Heck, I argued in sexual harassment trainings eight months ago that women and Democrats supporting Joe Biden with his photographic record of harassment…you know…

were undercutting public support for and understanding of  sexual harassment laws. It’s more than hypocritical. It’s stupid.

  • Which of the hypocrites below deserves special contempt? It’s hard to top Elizabeth Warren, the party’s Demogogue Queen, who has announced that she would be proud to be Handsy Joe’s VP. Yet she said, “Many survivors of sexual assault choose not to speak out, for a thousand different reasons. But when they do, they deserve to be heard. The events described by Julie Swetnick, Ms Ramirez & Dr Ford are absolutely heart-wrenching.’

Boy she’s awful!

The fake complaints of Swetnick and Ramirez, now thoroughly discredited, broke her heart, but she snubs Reade as if she were a descendant of General Custer. Then there’s Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who proclaimed, “This is a serious allegation, and we have a responsibility to listen….For too long, our political system has shut out the voices of women & silenced the stories behind the #MeToo movement.” How can he look at himself in the mirror after endorsing Biden?

Well, don’t get me started,. As I said, there are dozens this bad.(But be sure you check out Rep. Barbara Lee.)

  • The words you will keep reading are “bravery,” ” all women,” “credible,” “victims,” “right to be heard,” “speaking truth to power”…all of which apply at least as much to Tara Reade as the did to Blasey-Ford. What’s the difference?

You know what the difference is.

  • It’s a silver lining, I suppose, that the fiasco chronicled below is useful as a great unmasking, although the most exposed are generally those whose lack of integrity should have been obvious anyway. Here, for example, is the hideous Senator Hirono:

“…we are standing together because we #BelieveWomen…this is why the #MeToo movement is so important, because often in these situations, there is an environment where people see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing. That is what we have to change.”

Well, I could write about this forever, and I’m tempted.  But it’s time to view the hypocrisy parade…beginning with Barack Obama (Michelle? Has anyone heard from Michelle? Hello?) , and the Speaker, who endorsed Joe Biden yesterday.

Continue reading

From The “Stop Making Me Sort Of Defend Joe Biden!” Files: Oh, Look..As Soon As Democrats Finally Conclude That Joe Will Be A Disastrous Candidate, A Woman Accuses Him Of Sexually Assaulting Her 27 Years Ago. How Unexpected!

Seriously, how long will it take women and feminists to realize that repeatedly and transparently using sexual assault and sexual harassment accusations as suspiciously timed political weapons undermines the credibility of legitimate victims and their cause generally?

In fact, why has it taken this long?

We have now seen this scenario so many times: accusers haul out old and unsubstantiated alleged episodes of sexual misconduct conveniently timed to do maximum damage to an individual who has become a problem for the Left. Chris Matthews. Brett Kavanaugh, the most obvious example. Now, the same week in which President trump’s ratings rise, Joe Biden’s bunker broadcasts have even the most dedicated deniers wondering about his acuity, and New York governor Andrew Cuomo is being whispered about as a promising last ditch replacement for Joe if only there were some way to pull it off, and this happens (From Reason):

Despite his public pronunciations on the subject of never touching women without their explicit verbal consent, Biden has previously faced accusations that he was too handsy with people. But now the former vice president is facing a much more serious accusation of sexual assault, from an alleged former staffer named Tara Reade…Reade says she worked for Biden in the early 1990s and asserts that she was unambiguously assaulted by him in 1993. According to Reade, he began kissing her without her permission, pushed her against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers.

“He said ‘come on man, I heard you liked me,'” Reade recalled to Halper in the interview. “For me, it was like, everything shattered. I looked up to him, he was like my father’s age, he was this champion of women’s rights, in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It was surreal.”

…She said she once tried to talk to a supervisor about what had happened, but this person shut her down before she could tell the whole story. She also said she filled out an official form detailing her assault, but does not know what became of it.

A year ago, Reade—who supported the campaigns of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.)—attempted to come forward with stories of sexual harassment in Biden’s offices. As detailed in an Intercept piece, she reached out to Time’s Up, a project of the National Women’s Law Center that provides support to alleged #MeToo victims. Time’s Up declined to assist Reade; the organization’s official excuse was that a feud with a national political candidate could jeopardize their status as a 501(c)(3) non-partisan group. But as The Intercept also notes:

“The public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign. A spokesperson for Biden declined to comment. The SKDK spokesperson assigned to Time’s Up referred questions back to the NWLC.”

Hey, nothing to see here, move along! Continue reading

Is This The Most Unethical Book Review Ever?

It has to be close, because I don’t know how a book review can be more unethical.

The book in question is Ruth Marcus’s unconscionable hit piece on Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “Supreme Ambition.” The forum is the book review section of the New York Times, which has been trying to smear Kavanaugh since he was nominated for the Supreme Court, and even since the contrived attempt to defeat him by ancient and uncorroborated accusations of misconduct when he was a teenagerwhen he was a teenagerwhen he was a teenager (no three times is not enough repitition to emphasize how despicable this was) failed, as it should have. The objective, trustworthy reviewer the Times chose to assess the book was Adam Cohen. He writes speeches for and advises New York’s socialist mayor Bill de Blasio, and authored “Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America,” coming out next month.

Yup, the perfect guy to provide an objective review of an anti-Kavanaugh book.

It is clear by now that progressives and the mainstream media have added the Brett Kavanugh confirmation hearing to the shooting of Mike Brown, the death of Trayvon Martin, and the fake Russian Collusion theory as narratives they will falsely characterize until the stars turn cold. Incredibly,  Cohen writes at the end of his review,

“As important as the Kavanaugh battle was for the court, however, there was something even more profound at stake: whether, on the most important questions, our nation is capable of putting the public interest ahead of partisanship, and whether the truth matters. The forces aligned for partisanship and against truth are stronger than ever.”

Cohen’s review is a prime example of the condition he claims to be condemning. What “truth”? Not a single fact was produced during the hearing that had any relevance to Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice. His record as a judge was impeccable and beyond reproach. Ah, BUT…Marcus and Cohen point to this: Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/8/2020: War, Defamation, Bias, Abortion…What Fun.

ARRGH!

Another day, another “crisis”…

Current reports indicate that Iran regards its casualty free missile strikes last night as a sufficient “tat” for the killing of their master terrorist “tit.” If so, the “ARRGH! WORLD WAR III!!” anti-Trump hysterics were, as usual, wrong, and just embarrassed us, nothing more.. Meanwhile, Iran is refusing to hand over the black box of the Ukrainian airliner that just coincidentally crashed right around the time the missiles were flying. The fact that so many Democrats have allowed their brains and loyalty to rot to the extent that they defend  this awful place in order to attack their own nation’s President is all we need to know about the trustworthiness of their party.

1. Wrapping up the Golden Globes’ ethics issues…Michelle Williams is getting predictable hosannas from her acceptance speech at the Goldden Globes, in which she thanked abortion for her success. She said she wanted a life “carved by my own hand” and “wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.” The New York Times called these words “potent.” I call them deceitful. I’ll praise an equivalent speech when the woman has the integrity and courage to thank the human being who involuntarily gave up his or her chance to carve out a life with their own hand. The use of “choice” as euphemism for “I get to kill someone who stands in my way” is self-deception.

2. Thinking about Trump’s threat...The President backed down from his threat to target Iranian cultural cites in retaliation for any attacks on Americans after being informed that this would be a war crime under international law. I confess, I did not know this was prohibited, and I am not certain what to think about that. I knew the destruction of ancient architecture and important cultural cites became an issue for the Allies in World War II, but this has yet to make sense to me. The whole concept of the “nice” war is ethically incoherent. The idea of war must be to win as quickly as possible, minimizing deaths and chaos on both sides, especially one’s own. If the prospect of losing a nation’s treasured cultural structures is a deterrent to war, then to say that has no “military value” is simply not true. If you can’t tolerate risking your cultural treasures, don’t get into wars.

The values involved in this controversy are also incoherent. In “The Monument Men,” George Clooney’s sort-of accurate account of the special forces whose job was to track down and rescue great artworks stolen by the Nazis, the question is asked repeatedly, “Was retrieving this painting or statue worth sacrificing a human life?” I have no problem voting “Sure!” If the question is changed to refer to a thousand lives, or 10,000, I’m not so sure. Continue reading