Comment Of The Day: “A Brief But Significant Addendum To “I’ve Looked And I’ve Tried And I Believe In Civility, But The Only Fair Descriptive Word For These People Is ‘Asshole’”

Steve-O-in-NJ has given us his thoughts on the continuing assault on the President of the United States as he does his best to deal with the unprecedented Wuhan virus crisis. (Reader Pennagain has expressed a preference for “Pangolin virus.” The prejudice against scaly anteaters is wide and deep, and when we start hearing reports of thugs beating up pangolins while shouting anti-pangolin slurs, we’ll know who to blame. )

The inspiration for Steve’s Comment of the Day was Hillary Clinton’s mocking tweet that put her on the current Ethics Alarms Asshole List, though I’m not sure she ever left it. I’ll also mention here that no less a luminary than John Kerry has apparently joined those of us who believe that “asshole” is sometimes the only description that will do.  Commenting on GOP House member Thomas Massie’s absurd stand temporarily blocking passage of the epidemic emergency legislation, the former Senator and Secretary of State tweeted,

Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!)

Here is Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on the post, “A Brief But Significant Addendum To “I’ve Looked And I’ve Tried And I Believe In Civility, But The Only Fair Descriptive Word For These People Is ‘Asshole’”:

I am not at all surprised. I’m also not surprised at Joe Biden’s recent tweet in which he said that when he was president he would put science first, implying what many have stated outright, that Trump disregards science and is afraid of smart people (which all liberals are, of course, they only wouldn’t be liberals if they weren’t). Basic decency went out the window on the left when Trump was elected, although it had been hanging out the window for a while.

A lot of the open rudeness and contempt seemed to start in the Clinton era, maybe together with the rise of the internet. Now anyone could say anything he wanted and send it around the world in a few seconds. A lot of people did just that, no matter how dumb, how rude, or profane, or how unfair what they had to say was. Then the refrain was that your character didn’t matter as long as you were successful and had the right views. The other side of that, though, was that if you had the wrong views you were beneath contempt.

As we moved into the administration of Bush the younger a whole “anger industry” developed. I know, because my bookshelves are groaning under the weight of a huge number of anger-based books that I gleefully devoured at the time to feed my contempt of the other side. I’m not just talking Ann Coulter, either.

David Horowitz’ “Left Illusions: An Unholy Odyssey” and “Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left,” Daniel J. Flynn’s “Why the Left Hates America” and “A Conservative History of the American Left,” John J. Miller’s “Our Oldest Enemy,” and a lot of similar materials have all made my night table. On the other side there’s Al Franken’s “Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them,” Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men,” and so on. People paid money to have their anger stoked and their reasons for being angry confirmed. Continue reading

High Noon Ethics Warm-Up, 3/19/2020: O.J. Being O.J., Honestly Unethical Journalists, A Zealous Defense Lawyer, And Pandemic Jerks

Y-y-yup!

Started this one at precisely 12:00. Finished at exactly 1:30 pm.

An administrative note: I don’t censor comments by the regulars, but I’m going to be more aggressive in sending off-site notes of displeasure when homophobic, sexist and gratuitous ad hominem insults turn up. (Note: it is always acceptable to refer to someone as an idiot who has written something idiotic, if you explain why it’s idiotic.) We’ve never had a problem here with racist language (in part because I keep spamming comments from the Chimpmania mob), and I will continue to allow wide latitude regarding comments that are self-indicting (making fun of Hillary’s legs, for example, is a jerk move). But while no forum where intelligent participants exercise sharp critical judgment on lazy assertions and knee-jerk positions will ever be “safe,” no one who comes here should ever feel personally attacked or denigrated. I need to do a better job making sure of that. All assistance will be appreciated.

1. Wuhan Virus jerk update:

  • This (Pointer: valkygrrl):

I assume everyone now knows that O.J. is a stone-cold sociopath, but it’s considerate of him to keep reminding us. At least he didn’t say that he was furious that the Wuhan Virus restrictions on travel were impeding his search for Nicole and Ron’s killer.

  • “You know: morons!” Jennifer Rubin, the completely Trump Deranged NeverTrump conservative whose constant eruptions of hate and anger regularly embarrass the Washington Post, recently wrote that more Republicans than Democrats would die in the pandemic because the former slavishly follow Fox News. Uh, no.  If she’s right, it will be pure demographics. The Millennials  appears to be, like all of its predecessors at a similar age, dumb as bricks. CBS reports that the kids are flocking to Florida for Spring Break, while posting and saying things like this from Brady Sluder, spring breaker from Ohio and moron: ,”If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying. We’re just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.”

This does explain the intellectual basis for Bernie Sanders’ support, however. Continue reading

Ethics Note To Feminists: When You Don’t Protest Misogyny Against All Women, We’ll Doubt Your Motives The Rest Of The Time

This is Tom Arnold. You remember him, right?

Like accusations of racism and xenophobia, claims of sexism, gender bias and misogyny are increasingly useful to activists as swords as well as shields. Especially egregious recently have been the claims of Elizabeth Warren and her supporters that it was bias against women, and her not her own redolent awfulness as a candidate and a human being, that had the Massachusetts Senator running behind an ancient Marxist and poor, addled Joe Biden.

This is a problem when the objective is to build a fairer and a more ethical culture. Contrived accusations of sexism makes society more leery of genuine and justified complaints. Worse still is when alleged women’s activists shrug off or ignore the sexist attacks on women who they don’t admire or agree with.

The hypocrisy was in evidence when the repugnant HBO progressive scold Bill Maher referred to conservative women Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann as “cunts” and “twats” while his audience of enablers hooted. Feminist groups were silent until criticism from people like me (not me, but people like me who actually have more readers than the population of Mayberry) prompted a couple of them to make mild statements chiding Bill. Two years ago Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond made a disgusting sexist joke about Kellyanne Conway, no feminist activists, nor Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris or any prominent progressive women, criticized Richmond. Conway, like palin and Bachmann, deserved to be denigrated because of their gender, apparently.

Over the weekend, B-list celebrity Tom Arnold issued this tweet:

Nice. Continue reading

Ethics Comes In Like A Lion Warm-Up, 3/1/2020: Dead Ethics Alarms In New York, London, And Washington, D.C.

That’s my father’s favorite March!

Mine too.

For some reason there has been a breakdown of civility in the comments lately. This has happened from time to time; something in the air or too many social media rants or something; I don’t really care. You all know where the lines are; you cross them intentionally when you cross them. I appreciate the use of a vulgar word or harsh phrase as much as anyone; “asshole” is particularly tempting, because there is no non-vulgar term that quite captures the essence of its meaning. I also prefer to keep moderation light here, and for the most part, the select commenters who have passed my standards and answered the three questions at the bridge correctly usually make me proud, especially when I see what crawls onto other sites’ comment sections.  The would-be Ethics Alarms participants who send in entries like “Your a Trump-loving fuckface LOL!are all stacked up in the spam vault, and you would not believe how many of those I have to read to maintain the high level of participants here. I do not care to read that kind of gutter residue on the blog itself.

I just trashed a full comment by a regular commenter here, something I have not done in over ten years, and I’m not happy about it. Let’s keep that lapse the anomaly that it is.

1. From the “When ethics alarms don’t ring” file. Pop Quiz! If you were on the staff of a fashion show about to begin at what the New York Times calls “New York’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology”—which I have never heard of—and several of the models appeared backstage preparing to go out looking like this…

…what would you do?

The answer is that no matter how high or low you were on the metaphorical totem pole, you would be obligated to throw a fit, phone the brass, tell everyone in sight that they are out of their minds, and do everything short of calling in a bomb threat to halt what you know without a shadow of a doubt will result in a public relations disaster.

Incredibly, not a single person raised the obvious objection except an African-American model-who refused to don the giant lips and monkey ears. After the predictable uproar, two F.I.T. administrators were suspended, and  the school’s president, Dr. Joyce Brown (who is African-American) issued a public statement admitting that the Feb. 7 show, intended to demonstrate the work of recent graduates of the school’s M.F.A. program, “failed to recognize or anticipate the racist references and cultural insensitivities that were obvious to almost everybody else.”

Wait—if they were obvious to almost everybody else, why were they not obvious to anyone involved in the show? Continue reading

New Week Ethics Jolt, 2/24/2020: Uncivil Gravestones, Conflicted Zamboni Drivers, And Unintelligent Intelligence Experts

Hello, mates!

That hilarious novelty song, a big hit in the same year Kennedy was shot, is now too politically incorrect to play in the U.S. Is it also song non grata Down Under?

1. Unethical Headline of the Day. From the Washington Freebeacon, a conservative news site: Dem Megadonor, Gun-Control Activist Harvey Weinstein Convicted on Rape Charges. This unethical device is used a lot now, though seldom this flagrantly. It’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale gamesmanship, attempting to smear positions that the headline-writer opposes by linking them to conduct that they have no relationship to.  There is no logical reason why gun control or the Democrats should be implicated in a headline to Weinstein’s rape conviction. I’m not even sure the connection belongs in the news story at all.

2. Gee, I wonder why the President doesn’t trust his intelligence specialists. The Russian collusion conspiracy theory flared up again among the Trump Deranged after Shelby Pierson, the official in the intelligence community charged with election security, apparently botched her briefing to Congress.

Three national security officials told CNN that the briefer falsely (wrongly, mistakenly) said that Russia was planning to help Trump win re-election:

The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia’s interference this cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump, the officials said. “The intelligence doesn’t say that,” one senior national security official told CNN. “A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it’s a step short of that. It’s more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he’s a dealmaker.”

Since this comes from CNN, otherwise known as Bash The President Central, it cannot be dismissed as administration spin. My Facebook Friends reacted to the original story with utter glee, gloating that they knew Russia viewed Trump as a Russian asset.

If Trump fired her, and I wouldn’t blame him, he’ll be accused of a “purge.” Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Joe Biden

“You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier!”

—-Fading Democratic Presidential nomination front-runner Joe Biden, lashing out at a New Hampshire voter whose questions annoyed him.

First, the important question: what the hell is a “pony soldier”? The answer is “nobody knows.” Nor does anyone know why this insult, epithet, whatever it is, leapt into Joe’s mind, but then it’s Joe Biden. Who can say what vestigial RNA from his prospector ancestors are knocking around in Biden’s gray matter? He thinks “malarkey” is hip slang; I’m waiting for him to start shouting “By crackie!, “Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!” and “Tarnation!”

I found a website that attributed “pony soldier” to a John Wayne movie—no, you morons, the Duke’s movie was “The Horse Soldiers.” “Pony Soldier” is a forgettable 1952 Western starring Tyrone Power. Nobody, but nobody, quotes  Tyrone Power movies, and Power had as much business starring in a Western as David Niven. So it looks like this is just a spontaneous nonsense insult, like in “A Few Good Men” when Tom Cruise shouts, “You’re a lousy fucking softball player, Jack!” at Kevin Bacon after an argument  that has nothing to do with softball.

Now on to the incident itself. Today Biden was handshaking and chatting at a pre-New Hampshire primary stop in Hampton. A woman asked him,“How do you explain the performance in Iowa and why should the voters believe that you can win a national election?”

It’s a fair question, since the only reason on God’s green earth that anyone would seriously  consider a doddering, blathering, fading and rapidly aging old pol like Biden as a  rational nominee is that he would be preferable to the Doomsday Meteor.

“You ever been to a caucus?” Biden replied. When the voter said she had,  Biden snapped, “No you haven’t. You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier!” Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/8/2020: “Procrastinating To Delay Writing About Another Debate” Edition [CORRECTED]

Good morning.

Way, way too much ethics-related politics this past week. I keep getting complaints about all the political content, and it annoys me too, but I don’t know what kind of alternatives I have. Back in the sane days, the idea of a House Speaker planning on tearing up the official copy of the State of the Union speech would have been the stuff of Saturday Night Live…when SNL would make fun of Democrats, anyway. I’m trying to keep the politics to a minimum. I swear.

1.  The Astros cheating scandal, cont. Would you wonder about this answer? A.J. Hinch, the ex-Houston Astros manager who was fired and suspended by Major League Baseball for allowing an illegal sign-stealing scheme to be used by his players for the entire 2017 World Champion Astros season, finally sat down for an interview.   When he was asked whether Houston players had utilized buzzers in their uniforms to receive signsduring the 2019 season as some have claimed based on inconclusive evidence and rumors, Hinch only would answer, “The Commissioner’s Office did as thorough of an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible.”

Why not “No”? That was what reporters term a “non-denial denial.”

2. If they advised her to run her sick child through the washing machine and he drowned,  would that be their fault too? The death of a four-year-old boy named Najee is being blamed on an anti-vaxx Facebook group.

The boy had been diagnosed with the flu and the doctor had  prescribed Tamiflu. His mother sought advice from the Facebook group “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” on how to treat her son’s’ illness. The members told her to give the boy vitamins, botanicals, zinc, fruits and vegetables, and to skip the medicine.

“Ok perfect I’ll try that,” she responded. Later that night, Najee had a seizure and died. Continue reading