Late Morning Warm-Up, 1/22/2020, Because I Wasted Two Hours Arguing With Trump Deranged Lawyers On Facebook, And Yes, I’m An Idiot

That’s me. The bee is Facebook…


A really low blow (among the other low blows, like the jerk who accused me of getting all of my ideas from Drudge) came from a former commenter here, who accused Ethics Alarms of being an “echo chamber.” That truly ticks me off. If the Trump Deranged don’t have the wits or open minds to test their biases where intelligent, informed, articulate adversaries are likely to  respond, that’s not my fault, and it’s exactly what the left side of the blog’s commentariat did. They didn’t rebut the position here, proven correct, that the Justice Department’s handling of The FISA warrants were part of a dangerous effort to undermine the Trump campaign and his election: they just accused me of “drinking the KoolAid” and quit, or were insulting. They never tried to argue away the smoking gun evidence of the soft coup plans A through S that I have meticulously documents since 2016, they just act as if the current impeachment excuse is justified and offered in good faith, when it is so clearly not. It’s all denial, spin, dishonesty and mob mentality. I ended up in today’s piranha tank by pointing out to a lawyer that the the fact that Trump was intemperate at a meeting of generals was not sufficient to trigger the 25th Amendment, and that lawyers, like her, shouldn’t be misleading the public by making such lame arguments. I posted the amendment, and said that “Unable” to perform the duties of the office doesn’t mean, as she and others are arguing, “Unable to perform the duties that way she and other would prefer them to be performed” and stating that approval polls do not reflect the degree to which the impeachment charade is helping to re-elect Trump.

These are the smart Deranged. Imagine what the others are like.

1. Resistance porn. “A Very Stable Genius” is the latest “tales out of school” anti-Trump book. In this it is no different from those that have gone before, from Omarosa’s tell-all on up the ethics evolutionary scale. This one was authored by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, so naturally the news media is celebrating it as if it is somehow different. What it is a collection of mostly anonymous accounts of people who have axes to grind and scores to settle against Donald Trump, and are violating basic professional ethics to do it. Are all of the stories true? I’m sure some are, maybe most—they don’t sound out of line with what we knew about this President before he was elected. Yet they are by very nature distorted by the theme of the book and the presumed anti-Trump bias of the book’s audience. What is so alarming about Trump’s eagerness to have a meeting with Putin?  So what if he questions why U.S. businesses shouldn’t be allowed to engage in bribery abroad, when it is the accepted norm in many countries? There’s an answer to the question, but it’s not a dumb question; in fact, its one international ethicists still debate. And do you really think Trump saying to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi,  “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border” wasn’t a joke?  Taking it as otherwise is classic conformation bias and disrespect. It sure sounds like a typical Trump joke to me. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Derek Jeter

Jeter Farewell

Once upon a time, there were three young shortstops.

They arrived in the majors nearly at the same time, completely different in style and skills, but each carrying the promise of greatness. Nomar Garciaparra, with the Red Sox, was the flashy and charismatic one. Alex Rodriquez was the youngest, and held the most potential. Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees, was a finished player from the moment he stepped on a major league field: poised, purposeful, and a winner.

While once it seemed certain that all three would meet at the Hall of Fame, it was not to be. Garciaparra won two batting titles, but his aggressive moves and spidery form made him injury prone. His reign as an elite shortstop ended prematurely, and so did his career. Rodriquez, as he matured, went from The Kid to A-Rod to A-Fraud, his reputation and life scarred by controversies, illegal steroids, lies and the habits of a sociopath. He sat out this season, at a time in his career when he had been expected (and paid) to be chasing the all-time home run record, with a humiliating suspension. He is the most unpopular player in baseball, and one of the most reviled of all time.

So then there was one shortstop, Jeter, and his life on and off the baseball field has been extraordinary enough to make up for the disappointments left us by his former shortstop colleagues. Last night, at the age of 40, he played his final home game at the position for the Yankees. His career statistics show no batting or home run titles, it is true, but shine brilliantly nonetheless: a .309 lifetime average, 3461 hits (3000 makes a player a lock for the Hall of Fame even if he doesn’t play the most difficult position on the field, as Jeter has ), just short of 2000 runs scored (10th all-time), twelve All-Star games, five Golden Gloves (as the American League’s best fielding shortstop), five Silver Sluggers (as the best hitter at his position), and most of all, seven World Series, five of them on World Champions.

Apart from the stats, awards and titles, Jeter was just as exemplary. He played in an era when it is impossible to hide as a celebrity: if you are a jerk, everyone will know it. He wasn’t a jerk. He was, in fact, the personification of the perfect sports hero. Jeter has been a leader and teacher by example to his team mates and his admirers, though his one-time friend, Rodriguez, would not absorb the lessons. He has had no personal drama, no tawdry sexual episodes, no bastard children. He was never arrested or suspected of using drugs, performance-enhancing or recreational. There were no DUI charges or petulant interviews. Derek Jeter never had to ask “Do you know who I am?” because he never acted as if he was special, because he made himself special by never acting that way, and because everyone did know who he was. In every way imaginable, from his public comportment to his ability to rise to the occasion under the pressure of a national audience, a rich contract and the hopes of millions, Derek Jeter has embodied the ideal of the athletic hero. Continue reading

Adam Wainwright’s Foul All-Star Ethics

"Boy, I'm  glad Wainwright threw me a pitch a Little Leaguer could hit, because I'm just about done. I sure hope he tells everyone about it,.."

“Boy, I’m glad Wainwright threw me a pitch a Little Leaguer could hit, because I’m just about done. I sure hope he tells everyone about it,..”

St. Louis Cardinals pitching ace Adam Wainwright lost MLB’s 2014 All-Star Game for the National League (though he was not the official losing pitcher). He gave up three quick runs in the first inning, and his squad never overcame the deficit, losing 5-3. As a result, his league’s champion at the end of the season, which could conceivably be his own team, will labor at a disadvantage: the league that wins the All-Star game get the home advantage, which recently, at least, has been decisive.

None of that reflects poorly on the pitcher. He got hit hard by a group of likely Hall of Famers (Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera) in an exhibition game that doesn’t count in the standings. So what?

This, however, does reflect poorly on Wainwright:

The game began with a long ovation for AL lead-off batter Derek Jeter, the Yankee shortstop who is retiring after this season following a storied career. Wainwright, in what appeared to be a class move, placed his glove and the ball on the mound in Minnesota’s Target Field and  stepped off to applaud, becoming, for a moment, just another fan giving a well-earned tribute to an all-time great. Then, three pitches into Jeter’s at bat, the living legend lined a ringing double to right field as if scripted, giving the crowd another chance to cheer, and triggering the American League’s winning rally. Later, in the dugout being interviewed on live TV, Wainwright announced that he had given Jeter “a couple of pipe shots”—that is, grooved his pitches so Jeter could get a hit.

Horrible. This is wrong in every way, no matter how you turn it—poor sportsmanship, disrespectful to Jeter, damaging to the game, and dumb: Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Derek Jeter

Roger Clemens is now on trial facing perjury charges. Barry Bonds has been convicted of obstruction of justice. Pacman Jones has just been arrested again; Tiger Woods hasn’t won a golf tournament since he was exposed as a serial adulterer. Through the travails and embarrassments of all of these and many more tarnished athletes who were once looked upon as cultural heroes, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter has remained a constant— a team player, a clutch player, and an undeniably great player who has maintained his integrity and high values of competition and sportsmanship, never betraying the trust of his fans, his city, his team, or his game.

Yesterday Jeter reached 3000 hits, the watermark of the greatest of the greats, becoming the only lifetime New York Yankee to do so. He achieved the magic number with the flair only special players can muster, rising to a grand occasion like Ted Williams, hitting a home run in his final at bat, or Cal Ripken, marking  his passing of Lou Gehrig’s “iron man” record for consecutive games with a homer. Yesterday, Jeter passed 3000 in a rush, going 5 for 5 with the hit # 3000 being, yes, a round-tripper. Continue reading

Update: Derek Jeter Is Now A Full-Fledged Ethics Dunce

In an earlier post, I noted that Yankee legend Derek Jeter could do the right thing and accept the New York Yankee’s generous offer to pay him about twice what he’s worth, or become an Ethics Dunce (qualifications: greed, ingratitude, selfishness, unfairness, abuse of power ) by trying to extort the team for millions of dollars he neither needs nor deserves.

He has chosen the latter. Sorry, Yankee fans. Derek’s a Dunce after all.

I really thought he was better than this.

One Word Removed From Ethics Dunce-hood: Yankee Shortstop Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is not an Ethics Dunce yet, and all those who admire the career of the great Yankee shortstop—even grudging Red Sox fans like myself–have to hope and wish that he does nor become on. He is perilously close, however—one word away, in fact. The word is “no,” and if he utters it in response to the reported contract being offered to him by the New York Yankees, it is time to replace his NY cap with a tall, pointy one. Continue reading

Dishonoring Honors: Tina Fey, Derek Jeter and the Death of Award Integrity

We should have seen this coming. Once the most prestigious award of all, the Nobel Peace Prize, was bestowed on President Obama because, to paraphrase Sally Field, “They liked him! They really liked him!,” it was clear that the whole concept of maintaining the integrity of awards was being abandoned. More dispiriting proof arrived yesterday in the fields of comedy and baseball, when the Mark Twain Prize, given to artists who have made major and significant contributions to American comedy, was awarded to Tina Fey, and the Gold Glove Award for the American League’s best fielding shortstop went to New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Continue reading

Darek Jeter, Rob Neyer, and Baseball’s Traditional Deceptions

ESPN blogger Rob Neyer has once again called for baseball to punish “cheaters” which he defines as, among other things, “lying to an umpire” and faking an injury, though there are no rules against either. His impetus was an incident in last night’s Rays-Yankee showdown, in which Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter convinced the home plate umpire that he had been hit by a pitch, when replays showed that the ball actually hit his bat. The subterfuge led to two runs for the Yankees and the ejection of Rays manager Joe Maddon, who argued the call to no avail.  Jeter later admitted that he had fooled the umpire, and seemed to be rather pleased with himself.

This has Neyer rather confused. He writes that Jeter ought to be punished for his dishonesty, because ” it wasn’t fair that Jeter was awarded first base. It wasn’t fair to pitcher Chad Qualls, or to Qualls’ teammates or his manager or to the thousands of Rays fans watching and listening to the evening’s dramatic events.” Yet then Neyer immediately points out that Jeter did “nothing wrong.” So Jeter should be punished because he did nothing wrong? If what Jeter did is in fact dishonest and unfair, of course it is wrong.

But it’s not, any more than bluffing in poker is unfair and dishonest. Continue reading

Jeter, Bob Sheppard, and Funeral Ethics

Bob Sheppard, the “Voice of God” who announced batters in games at Yankee Stadium from Joe DiMaggio to Mark Teixeira, died this month at the age of 99. Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter announced that henceforth he would be introduced by a tape recording of Sheppard’s distinctively cultured tones, and the tributes from former players and current team members were generous and loving.

But when Sheppard was finally laid to rest over the All Star Game break, no Yankee player, past or present, took the time to attend his funeral. The team itself sent appropriate representation, and General Manager Brian Cashman spoke. Still, some journalists, bloggers and New York sportswriters found fault with the complete absence of the Yankee players, considering Sheppard’s iconic stature and their stated admiration of the man. The Daily News’ Bill Madden called it a blatant lack of class.

Perhaps. I’d call it coldness and insincerity. Continue reading