Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month, As Trump Derangement Eats Chuck Schumer’s Brain [UPDATED]

Luckily, the Senator was hammerless…

NY Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader (who sure seemed like a nice, reasonable guy in my two brief encounters with him), apparently needs an intervention.

According to witnesses, Schumer became enraged this weekend when he encountered Joseph A. Califano Jr. (former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Carter)  and his wife, Hilary, having a quiet dinner at the stylish Upper East Side restaurant Sette Mezzo. Schumer, dining with friends, began shouting at the couple and Califano’s wife in particular, saying, “She voted for Trump!” The Califanos left the restaurant, and the distinguished Senator followed them outside, continuing to harass Hilary Califano, saying,  “ ‘How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!’

Mrs. Califano confirmed the account. “Sen. Schumer was really rude . . . I should have told him that Hillary Clinton was a liar, but I was so surprised I didn’t say anything.”

A spokesman for Schumer denies this occurred, saying, “[He] and his wife ate at the café on Sunday, engaging in unremarkable conversation with patrons who approached their table. There were no heated exchanges with ‎anyone.”

Once again, almost all “conservative” media reports that Schumer was ranting at Califano. No left-leaning media has covered the story at all (so far), except The Hill. How do we know what happened, with journalism rejecting objectivity? The mainstream media actively works to bury stories that don’t serve their agendas, while the other side habitually over-hypes. If we take the MSN’s silence for the truth, then the episode becomes “old news,” and is effectively muted.

I have to maneuver this disgusting swamp every day. In this case, I’m going with the New York Post Page Six account, first because it’s the local paper; second, because I find it hard to believe that any paper would try to manufacture an incident in a crowded restaurant; third, because Mrs. Califano confirmed it, and finally, because Democrats have been increasingly unhinged for months.

Update: when that post was written, no leftward mainstream media sources reported the incident, though it was unquestionable newsworthy. If Senator McCain or Mitch McConnell, and certainly Sarah Palin, had behaved this way, it would be on every front page and CNN would be leading with it every hour.  I noted that this was a perfect example of how the polarization of news sources works today; I also wondered if the story would ultimately be debunks or credibly denied. The story  hasn’t been debunked, and the Left’s media pals have ignored it. From now on, I think I’ll ask any desperate denier of news media bias try to explain this.

So… Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Hawaiian Airlines

I find this story hard to believe, and yet it is consistent with the disturbing trend of people and businesses taking unfair advantage of captive audiences and markets—what I recently termed the “The Hamilton Effect.” The attitude is, “we have you, you’re trapped, and you have no choice but to accept what we give you.” It is a breach of respect, fairness, autonomy, and the Golden Rule.

Before I saw this story today—it is a few says old, but I missed it–I was going to write about a more mundane example I encountered at the airport in Sacramento. I was getting on a long flight and an early one, so I bought more items than usual at an airport news store: a large bottle of water, a granola bar, orange juice, some yogurt, two newspapers and a magazine. After I paid, I asked for a bag, as I always do, and was told that it would cost 25 cents. I never heard of such a thing. I literally had more than I could carry without a bag, and told the clerk that if they were going to change the rules, I should have advance notice. There was no real option, however, unless I wanted to be thirsty and hungry on the airplane for a couple of hours, as well as bored with nothing to read.

All of the airport is like that, of course. Commentators as diverse as Jerry Seinfeld and Ralph Nader complain about it: you are suddenly in some alternate universe where everything costs twice as much. I bought a large size bag of M&Ms in Chicago that cost over seven dollars. “We have you, you’re trapped, and you have no choice…”

A 66-year-old man on a Hawaiian Airlines flight that had just left the West Coast for Honolulu found the cabin temperature chilly, and requested a blanket. He was incredulous when he was informed that there would be a $12 charge. I wouldn’t buy a typical airplane blanket for that, and this was a rental! It’s gouging, plain and simple, and the passenger said so. He then demanded to talk to an airline official, and was given the corporate phone number. During his irate conversation, the man told the company representative, “I’d  like to take someone behind the woodshed for this.”  That’s an old, barely used term for reprimanding or punishing someone, but it apparently frightened a culturally ignorant flight attendant, who informed the pilot that a passenger was threatening the staff.Naturally, the only thing to do was to dump excess fuel in the Pacific, turn the flight around, and go back to LAX. This cost about $12,000, and delayed the flight for nearly four hours.

Continue reading

A New Way To Be Unethical On An Airplane, Courtesy of “The Hamilton Effect”

I’m in O’Hare, with about 20 minutes to post something, and amazingly, I just witnessed something of ethics significance.

As my United flight from Sacramento was at the O’Hare  gate, with passengers waiting for the jetway to be set up, a young man stood up in the middle of the plane and launched into a loud sales pitch for his depression counseling services!

Let’s call this ‘The Hamilton Effect,” in which people assume that a captive audience is there to be inflicted with their particular rants, business promotions and other intrusions.

The flight attendants had no idea what to do.  He was behind me, and I didn’t feel like fighting my way to him, intervening, and telling him, “You’re depressing ME. Shut up. We’re not your infomercial audience, and we didn’t consent to being bombarded by propaganda or marketing blather.”

Now I’m ticked off that I didn’t. Next time, I’ll be ready. This has to be nipped in the bud.

Oh, this probably wasn’t really sparked by “Hamilton’s” ambush of Mike Pence, but I’m going to blame the production and cast anyway. And all the ethics-challenged theater professionals who applauded this breach of trust.

On another topic, David Cay Johnston,the journalist who revealed the President’s 2005 tax returns, offers a rebuttal to my recent post, here. What fun!

Now THIS Is An Unprofessional Airline Pilot! (Also, I Fear, Nuts..)

freakoutAs the Wall Street Journal James Taranto used to say on his late, lamented blog, “Everything seemingly is spinning out of control!”

United flight 455 from Austin to San Francisco was scheduled to depart Austin’s Bergstrom airport when the pilot, who was not in uniform, began ranting over the plane’s intercom first about her divorce, and then Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Police removed the pilot from the plane, a new pilot was assigned to the flight, and the plane departed approximately two hours late. United Airlines apologized to its customers “for the inconvenience.”

Gee, United, how about apologizing for frightening the passengers to death by giving them good reason to believe they were about to be trapped in an airborne jetliner with an unraveling madwoman at the controls?

Of course, had she merely complained about President Trump to her trapped and captive audience, she would have been well within “Hamilton”  ethics.

(And no, I am not letting that fiasco go until every one of my friends from the theater world admit how wrong they were to make excuses for that miserable betrayal of theater ethics, and those who called me on the phone to shout at me and hang up apologize to my face, and maybe on their knees. I haven’t decided yet. They entirely relied on emotion and about twelve rationalizations, attacked me for being objective and not allowing my standards, unlike theirs, to be swallowed whole by ravenous partisan bias, and I will not soon forget it.)

___________________________

Pointer: Fred!

 

From The “When Ethics Alarms Are Devoured By Hysteria And Partisan Hate” Files: Jezebel Readers React To The JetBlue Harassment Of Ivanka Trump

love-hateHere are some comments reacting to the JetBlue incident from Jezebel, the feminist website. These are not the outliers. These are typical. I’ve checked some of the other progressive sites.  At Talking Points Memo, the consensus seems to be that it’s “fake news.” So far, the vast majority of the coverage is from conservative sites. Most of the left partisan sites don’t report embarrassing conduct by their compatriots if they can avoid it….or perhaps they just don’t want to inspire comments like these.

Jezebel’s blogger set the tone by invoking the “Tit for Tat” and “They had it coming” rationalizations with this coda to the post:

Given Donald Trump’s unabashed love of heckling people in front of a crowd—he singled out NBC reporter Katy Tur so many times she had to get Secret Service protection—I’m just surprised the administration didn’t give Lasner’s husband a cabinet seat right then and there.

From the comments…

I know i’m supposed to feel bad for Ivanka, but I can’t. Fuck her. Fuck her husband. They are going to make billions off the american taxpayer and have no shame or remorse or anything resembling human emotions. I might feel the slightest bit of pity for the kids, except then I remember they’re all fucking rich and will get whatever their bratty asses demand for their entire lives. So i guess i’ll save my concern for the millions of men and women of various races, creeds and sexual orientations whose lives will begin to become progressively worse on January 20th.

***

She knew exactly what she was doing and what the potential outcomes were from flying commercial. Part of me thinks Bannon set this up so this exact incident would occur and everyone would feel sorry for lil Vanky.

***

FUCK THAT NOISE.

If I saw a Trumpsatzgruppen member on a flight, I would be in jail right now, b/c I would not shut the fuck up about it the entire flight.

***

Seriously. Let’s not forget:

— At last count, 838 products in Ivanka Trump’s line, and not a single one made in the US.

— She’s already used her father’s position to further her business by selling dresses and jewelry, and she’s sat in on meetings with leaders of countries in which her business stands to benefit.

— It took more than a year for employees at her company to convince her to establish a maternity policy; she told one employee that when she had her baby, she was only out of the office for a week (she neglected to mention her in-home nanny when explaining this).

— For several months now she’s posted a job on her site for a Freelance Graphic Designer, a full-time job, Monday through Friday, 9-6. But as freelance, this person will not receive any benefits, including healthcare and maternity leave; and the contract is month to month, allowing Ivanka Trump’s company to cut that person loose at any time with zero notice. That’s some fine job creation right there.

In short, fuck Ivanka Trump. She’s a hypocrite just like her father, and while I would try to find a way of doing it without getting kicked off a plane, I’d have no problem telling her so.

***

Yeah the French should have just said “This cake is really good, don’t upset the Queen.” Or the people of Boston should have just drank the tea and asked politely to not be taxed. Fuck the trumps, they should be called out at every opportunity.

***

Going high hasn’t worked for us since what – 2000? i am sick of it. i am sick of us having to be the reasonable, rational ones. fuck all of that. they go low and they win. they go low and they obstruct a president for an entire 8 years. it is time to go low.

***

Fuck her and her three small children.

Late Nominations For 2016 Jerk Of The Year: Lena Dunham And Daniel Goldstein, Ivanka’s Jet Blue Harasser

jet-blue-tweet

I’m pretty sure the Ethics Alarms 2016 Jerk of the Year Award was locked up a while ago, but two new challengers for the title at least strengthen the field:

1. Daniel Goldstein, attorney

Goldstein, in the cabin of a JetBlue flight on which Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, was also a passenger, verbally accosted the soon-to-be First Daughter before take-off. Holding a child in his arms, the New York lawyer started shouting, “Your father is ruining the country!” Then he asked, “Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private!”

Ivanka, who had her own kids in tow, tried to ignore him and attend to her family until he was removed from the flight by JetBlue personnel. “You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?” he yelled as he was led off the plane.

What a rude and obnoxious jerk.

Other observations: Continue reading

The Jerk On The Plane: Boy, I Hate It When My Hypotheticals Come To Life…

It would have been OK, if he was black and his rant was scripted by a genius...

It would have been OK, if he was black and his rant was scripted by a genius…

On a recent Delta flight from Atlanta, a young man stood up before take-off and started harassing his fellow-passengers with a pro-Trump rant,  yelling “Donald Trump baby!” and “We got some Hillary bitches on here?” while pointing at individual travelers. He also said, “Donald Trump is your President. Every god damn one of you. If you don’t like it, too bad.” Delta initially removed him, but returned him to the cabin. According to one witness, upon returning the man said, “This is what you get for being a patriot.”

He’s an idiot, of course, and there’s no excuse for his conduct. And yet…

How different is what he did, and what the “Hamilton” actors did? Not much. Neither the “Hamilton” audience members nor the passengers bought tickets to be subjected to this. Both were captive audiences. The conduct in both cases constituted harassment. The clearest distinction was that the jerk on the plane wasn’t an employee; if he had been a flight attendant, the incidents would have been even more similar. The jerk on the plane didn’t single out a particular passenger by name, making his conduct better, not worse, than what the “Hamilton” cast did.  On the plane, passengers hadn’t previously jeered the Hillary Clinton voters among them, so the intimidation factor Pence experienced was absent, and it was only one passenger, not a passenger with an imposing  line of others backing him up, like the wall of actors behind Brandon Victor Dixon. Continue reading

Note To Conservatives On The “Hamilton” Cast’s Harassment Of Mike Pence: I’ve Got This. You’re Not Helping.

grandstand-hamilton

The problem is that, as you might guess, Trump-supporting Republican and conservatives are as ethically clueless as the Democrats attacking them.

Now there is a backlash against the “Hamilton” actors who singled out an audience member (who happened to be the Vice-President Elect) for specific abuse last week, because, the theory goes, elected officials who a cast doesn’t like shouldn’t be able to attend live theater without entailing the risk of being harassed. Ethics Alarms has been very clear about why this is wrong in every way, and all rebuttals have boiled down to “But we don’t like Mike Pence or Donald Trump, so we should be able to suspend ethics!”

Keep telling yourselves that.

Now it has been discovered that some of the “Hamilton” grandstanders probably didn’t vote in the election, and the actor whose mouth was used to issue the lecture to Pence had himself authored some Trump-like misogynist  rhetoric in a tweet or two. This is supposed to prove hypocrisy, and undermine the legitimacy of the cast’s ambush.

It doesn’t do this, because the cast’s stunt had no legitimacy at all, votes or not, hypocrisy or not.

Is the whole Trump term going to be like this? I fear so, since the incoming President literally is bewildered by all concepts ethical, and his defenders appear to be similarly disabled.

Look: if it is per se unethical and wrong for a theatrical production to turn on audience members without consent or warning to humiliate, threaten or accost them, the qualifications of the cast members engaging in this harassment can’t make the unethical act more or less so. Continue reading

Opening The Door, Tit-For-Tat, And The Drunk In The “Hamilton” Audience

opening-the-door

All right, all right, maybe this is the final word on the “Hamilton” controversy.

What do we make of this?

A supporter of President-elect Trump reportedly interrupted a Saturday-night performance of “Hamilton” in Chicago with profane shouts at the show’s cast. According to BroadwayWorld, somebody seated in the balcony shouted, “We won! You Lost! Get over it! Fuck you!” during the number “Dear Theodosia,” which is about Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr coming to terms with what being a father meant in the newly formed United States. The audience member was escorted out of the theater by security after a brief altercation.

Rueful thoughts: Continue reading

The Last Word On The “Hamilton” Cast’s Harassment Of Mike Pence

death-of-a-slaesman

In the end, after several posts and a large number of comments about this incident, I am convinced that, more than anything, it shows how little the American public, even well-educated, culturally-engaged members of the public, and even participants in the entertainment profession understand and respect the importance of live theater.

This, at least, is no surprise. The New York Times recently reported that a survey had revealed that symphony orchestras no longer are viable without charity: fewer and fewer, mostly aging, patrons bother to attend concerts any more. Live theater is heading down the same path, probably irreversibly. Theater will never hit rock bottom, of course; it will always be possible to put on a show like Judy and Mickey, and live theater can exist as long as there is a single talented performer, a street corner, and a crowd. But theater is dying as something relevant to society, and that is a tragedy. Each generation goes to live theater events less and less. I have not seen the up-dated figures, but in the Nineties a study showed that Americans under 30 were more likely to have called a phone psychic at least once in the past year than to have attended a single live theater performance in their entire existence on earth.

The role of theater in society has  been extolled by Aristotle and social critics through the centuries as a unique and important community activity in which citizens of all social strata engage in the ancient ritual of sitting together in a darkened theater, and not only experience the events being portrayed on stage but experience it communally, hearing and feeling the reaction of others. Now that social force has receded to the vanishing point. A vacuum has taken its place. Movies seldom explore serious issues any more, and younger audiences have increasingly retreated to watching films online, and often alone. The potentially life-altering experience that is being lost is hard to describe when someone hasn’t experienced it. The power of the medium to communicate ideas and concepts vividly and to change minds and lives is unmatched, and unmatchable. I have seen it. I have experienced it. I have even helped make it happen.

The department store mogul Bernard Gimbel attended an early performance of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway in 1949. The plight of Willy Loman, an aging traveling salesman being pressured out of the only employment he had ever known, so shattered Gimbel’s world view that he couldn’t sleep. The next day, he called his managers together and told them and all of his stores that no over-age employee was to be fired. Alfred C. Fuller of the Fuller Brush company asked Miller to dinner to seek his guidance on how to  keep his Fuller Brush salesmen from quitting. That’s power. That’s wonderful. We should want influential people, elected officials, business owners, policy-makers, bankers, investors and corporate executives to see that kind of theater. In today’s New York Times, Ben Brantley, the Times drama critic, explains…
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