Afternoon Ethics Wind-down, 11/17/2020: Greenwald, Kelly, Typical Irresponsible College Professor, And “Name Withheld”

windingUp

1 Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias… Glenn Greenwald, the gadfly journalist who was cut off at the metaphorical knees for not supporting the media black-out of the Biden family influence peddling story in the waning days of the campaign (Hey! It worked, so it must be ethical!), is apparently just warming up in his campaign to expose the mainstream media’s hypocrisy and bias. Here’s a recent thread on Twitter.

Of course, it’s just a matter of time before Twitter suspends his account…

2. I LOVE this guy! He’s the perfect example of so much that’s wrong with academia, Black Lives Matters, and the entire race-baiting phenomenon! (But why is he allowed to teach anyone?) Bucknell University will be featuring a scholarly debate over the new film “What Killed Michael Brown?,” with participants considering “whether the idea of systemic racism today is a truth about what needs to be addressed in shaping a just America, or a ‘poetic truth’ that as a strategy exacerbates social division in America.” (Strange…it is beyond question that what killed Michael Brown was his fatal and perhaps drug-aided decision to resist arrest, try to grab an officer’s weapon, ignore a lawful order to stop, and to direct his entire bulk in a charge at a police officer. It will be a short webinar.) Roosevelt University journalism Professor John Fountain, one of the participants, asserts that “questioning the existence and impact of systemic racism in the United States is itself offensive and racist.”

3. Whew! I almost lost this one. From an October 6 column by “The Ethicist.” “Name Withheld” writes: Continue reading

Ethics Alarms Verdict: The AUC Stole the Election, Or Attempted To Steal The Election. It’s One Or The Other.

trump-election-2020

Frankly, this is an easy conclusion. It is overwhelming likely that the first is correct: President Trump has lost the election, and the #1 reason was the four year strategy by the Axis of Unethical Conduct—the Democratic Party, the “resistance,” the mainstream news media, and more recently, the tech giants and social media platforms—to employ unconscionable, unethical means to accomplish that end.

If, by some miracle, the attempted theft fails, it will only be as a result of moral luck. The destructive and democracy-wrecking actions of the AUC are already completed. Their culpability is the same whatever the final election result is.  This is why in criminal law an attempted crime often carries the same penalty as a completed crime. What the criminal did was just as wrong whether he or she was ultimately successful or not.

Before President Trump even took office, a full-on campaign to remove him by any means possible was underway, along with a similarly relentless effort to make it impossible for him to function as the nation’s leader. This continued with no respite from the 2016 election right through to the 2020 election. No President of the United States has ever been sabotaged and savaged in such a manner; indeed I am going to add the denial of this fact to the Ethics Alarms list of the Big Lies of the Resistance. It will be #10, right behind the lie that President Trump caused pandemic deaths in the U.S. (Andrew Cuomo definitely killed people, but not President Trump.) The lie: “Progressives treated President Trump no worse than conservatives treated President Obama.”

Big Lie #10 is different from the rest because it usually is used by ordinary citizens rather than Democratic Party officials, flacks and pundits; the reason is that the statement is so false that even Trump’s worst critics won’t go that far. Their alternative position is that he is so evil that he deserved to be abused. But I hear Big Lie #10 regularly from the social media Borg and my Trump Deranged friends and relatives when they are cornered and feel they have to deny what is literally undeniable. Big Lie #10 is a Jumbo: “Bias? What bias?”

The record of the effort to steal/rig/fix—choose your favorite word, but the objective was to make sure this President never had a chance to succeed, and if he somehow did succeed, that he would never get credit for it—the 2020 election is right here, tracked by the Ethics Alarms tag, 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, which I hereby retire after a wild four-year run. It took me twenty minutes to just scroll down through all of the posts that carry that tag; if I attempted to read them all, it would take weeks.

The first entry was here, when I announced and christened the Train Wreck, almost exactly four years ago, on November 13, 2016. In that post and three succeeding ones I highlighted four ugly examples of how the President-elect was being denigrated and undermined immediately, following the first post with this one, this one, and this one. I could not suspect that the efforts to demonize the newly-elected President of the United States would metastasize to the extent they did, with every late night TV show devoting large chunks of time every installment to insulting and denigrating him, with the vast majority of major newspaper columnists attacking him personally to the point of obsession, and all previous rules of decorum and official respect being not only suspended by the Democratic Party, but trashed, even to the point of elected officials calling the President a “motherfucker” in public without any penalty or reprimand, and the Speaker of the House making live theater out of tearing up his State of the Union message on TV.

Continue reading

The Ethics Arguments For Voting For President Trump And Joe Biden, Part 2

2020 election

Part I is here.

At the end of this post, I will repost, from the archives, my Ethics Alarms essay from November 7, 2016 titled, “Donald Trump: A Pre-Election Ethics Alarms Character and Trustworthiness Review: 2005-2016.” I’m going to comment on how and why my assessment now is different (and how it is not) before the piece, because it’s long, and to some extent out of date.

Reading over the essay below, I had two thoughts immediately. One was that it was more vociferous than I remembered, and the other was amusement, looking at it again, of how many times I have been accused of being a “Trumpster” and a “Trump supporter” over last four years.

My assessment of Donald Trump has changed over that period in the following respects:

Continue reading

Rueful Points, Updates and Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Scandal, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Ten Points, updates and observations:

  1. Both the FBI and the Department of Justice agree that Hunter Biden’s laptop and its emails are not some foreign effort at disinformation, which means that the media treatment of the New York Post as lepers for seeking to inform the public was disgusting. The FBI is indeed in possession of the laptop with Hunter’s emails, and they appear genuine. Yesterday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters that his staff has independently verified their authenticity. “Our staff has had conversations that authenticate that the fact that these emails are real, and that as reported I believe by Mike Emmanuel as well, that the Big Guy is a reference [to] the former vice president,” he said.

2. Meanwhile, Biden and his campaign did not and do not have plausible denials for what the evidence appears to show. Instead, the candidate’s response has been to attack the messengers, including the rare reporter who dared to pose the kind of question that must be asked. When a Wisconsin reporter asked Biden this week if there was “any legitimacy” to claims that Hunter Biden “profited off the Biden name,” Joe snapped, ”None whatsoever! This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman, it’s a last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family.”

Biden then cited 50 former intelligence officials who, shamefully, signed a purely partisan letter vouching for Biden’s innocence, though they are currently out of the loop and can have no basis to support Biden, other than the fact that they support Biden.

3. Biden continues to insist that he had no involvement in his son’s use of the Biden name as a meal-ticket. Who believes that? Hunter Biden received a high-paid position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company despite having zero experience in the energy sector or in Ukraine! Gee, what a lucky kid. He must have found a genie or something.

4. Recently we learned that Hunter Biden’s signature appeared on documents from “The Mac Shop” in Wilmington, Del., where the laptop was dropped off, and that his name appears in the “bill to” section for a cost of $85. John Paul Mac Isaac, the shop’s owner, has worked with the FBI on the case. Isaac also received a subpoena to testify before a U.S. District Court in Delaware on December 9, 2019. One page on the FBI documents appears to show serial numbers for a laptop and hard drive. Yup, the New York Posy was publishing rumors, all right.

Continue reading

Rueful Points, Updates and Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Scandal, Part I

NPR screenshot

It is not as if anyone with integrity and respect for the democratic process should need more reasons to vote against Joe Biden, the party he represents, and the attack on American values and institutions his party represents.

Biden alone, without the implications of the s-l-o-w-l-y emerging scandal, is obviously unfit to be President as a matter of health, character, and history. He is, to begin with, too old to be President (as is Donald Trump); he is also, unlike the President, suffering from obvious cognitive decline. Biden is a proven sexual harasser and accused of sexual assault: by the vigorously stated principles of his own party and the smug Woke and crusading feminists it purports to support, he should be not merely disqualified as the party’s candidate but targeted as its enemy.

Biden’s sole argument for his candidacy once was that he was one of the few non-crazies among the Donkeys, but he has obliterated that excuse by embracing almost every radical position the worst elements of his party have put forth. Biden has shown that he has no integrity, and that his past positions and stated values are now, as they used to say in the Nixon administration, non-operable. The sole argument for Biden personally was, if you were really gullible, that he was a decent man (and obviously Donald Trump isn’t). Now that this fantasy has been stripped away, Biden is revealed almost literally as a human “none of the above” carton past an expiration date. The Democratic Party did not even have the respect for the public and the Republic to nominate someone who could be trusted to do the job.

As spoiled frosting on the cake, it appended to Joe an unqualified and generally despicable understudy chosen solely because of her color—not even her race, since she isn’t African American—and her lady parts. When given the chance to support Kamala Harris for any more substantive reasons, party primary voters held their noses, which unlike their consciences, apparently still work.

We knew, absent denial or stupidity, that Hunter Biden was engaged in influence peddling, and that Joe Biden’s fevered lies were just that. The Democrats even went to the extreme length of contriving an impeachment because the President took steps to investigate the disturbing evidence that a Vice President of the United States had acted against the interests of his country to assist his surviving, addict, loser son. Now the truth is dripping out, and, in what is for me the best reason of all to make certain the Democrats and their corrupt allies lose, the mainstream media and social media is actually , actively, traitorously burying the story.

Continue reading

The Amy Coney Barrett Hysteria, PART 2

Part I is here.

More on this disturbing (but not  surprising) unethical phenomenon:

  • The Return of Anti-Catholic Bigotry. Who saw this coming? In 1960, the attacks on John Fitzgerald Kennedy for his Catholic faith were considered—by Democrats!—the equivalent of Cro-Magnon-level bias. Founded substantially by Protestants, the U.S. once viewed Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Spain with suspicion. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. wrote that anti-Catholicism was “the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people.”

Funny, I thought the election of JFK finished that particular bias off for good. Nobody talked about religion as an issue when Bobby Kennedy ran, or in connection with Ted Kennedy. Other than the Kennedys, how many even know that these announced candidates for the President in the past were Catholics: Eugene McCarthy, Edmund Muskie, Jerry Brown, Bruce Babbitt, Patrick Buchanan, Tom Harkin, Alan Keyes, John Kerry, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Martin O’Malley, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Bill de Blasio , Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O’Rourke…aaaaand Joe Biden.

Nobody cared, cares, or  should care. Yet in the New York Times, regular cop-ed writer Elizabeth Bruenig endorses anti-Catholic bigotry as a tool to block Barrett using  weasel words, saying attacks on Barrett based on her religion attacks may “not be entirely baseless.”  Why the shift? Why, it’s because Barrett must be stopped by “any means necessary,” and Democrats and progressives are willing to abandon any principle in that pursuit.

Incidentally, there are already a majority of Catholics on the Court: five, with Sonia Sotomayor, Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh all being raised in the Church. There were nine Catholic Justices before them, including liberal icon William Brennan, and conservative icon Antonin Scalia. Their faith was not an issue in either of their confirmation hearings. Continue reading

The Amy Coney Barrett Hysteria, PART I

We knew that whenever it was that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to be replaced (and those of us who have not completely forgotten the immutable rules of mortaliy were not shocked when this occurred sooner rather than later) we knew that the Left would freak OUT. That they—by “they” I mean Democrats, “the resistance,” the Trump Deranged, pro-abortion fanatics, feminist ideologues and the substantial segment of social media that can be counted upon to react like the cattle in “City Slickers” when Billy Crystal turns in his battery-powered coffee grinder—would freak out quite this embarrassingly, however, I did not foresee.

This is only because I am an idiot, of course. The way the left has reacted and is reacting to Donald Trump’s election should have prepared me. Surely the despicable way they treated Brett Kavanaugh should have prepared me. It’s just that I find it hard—maybe I should say “painful”— to believe that one whole side of the political spectrum is capable of it all.

Need I mention that metaphorically running around screaming nonsense with one’s hair on fire is unethical? It is irresponsible citizenship, it is neither competent nor prudent, and it upsets the less-intelligent members of the herd, and it is wildly unfair to Judge Barrett.

Let’s just stick with that proposition, and concentrate primarily on examples that are res ipsa loquitur, meaning in this case that if you have to be told why some things are nuts, then you’re nuts too.

  • Senator Gillibrand’s tweet:

The fact that this outrageous statement is not out of character for the Junior Senator from New York doesn’t make it any more tolerable. The statement itself is another iteration of The Big Lie. Of course Barrett is qualified for the Court. Her former colleagues say so, the ABA says so, and and the current membership of the Court itself says so, since there are more than one Justice whose qualifications upon being confirmed were considerably less impressive.

Gillibrand represents the dangerous brand of anti-democratic thought her party is now peddling, albeit more openly and flagrantly than most of her compatriots, who are smarter than she is. That false principle is that only those who bow to Leftist cant are “qualified” to have any influence, legitimacy or power at all. Continue reading

Ethics On A Sunday Afternoon, 9/27/2020: Baseball And Rainbow Hearts [Corrected]

1. For the first time since I was 12, I’m glad to see the regular baseball season come to an end.

Not only was the 60-game make-shift schedule played before empty stadiums,  with fake crowd noises and cardboard cut-outs a farce, but it looks like some of the accommodations made to adjust to Life Under Lockdown will stick, cheapening the game forever. The worst is the expanded play-off system, which, like the National Hockey League version, basically makes the regular season irrelevant. Maybe the habitually wrong-headed owners will reject it for future seasons, but I’m not sanguine. The extra-innings gimmick of starting each half-inning with a player on second is an abomination, and only slightly less offensive are the seven inning games in double-headers.

Meanwhile, I haven’t watched or followed a Boston Red Sox game since the team joined the one-day wildcat strike to protest the racist, brutal shooting of Jacob Blake, which was neither racist in motive nor an example of police brutality. I’ll be writing a long letter to the team this week: if it alienated me, it’s not only in trouble, it doesn’t know its fan base. And if I get anything approaching the “you’re just a racist not to believe that black lives matter” response that I got from idiot Boston sportswriter Pete Abraham, I’m burning all my Red Sox memorabilia, and burying the stuff that doesn’t burn.

Meanwhile, the club showed its ethics deficits in other ways. Before today’s merciful finale, the team announced that manager Ron Roenicke would not be returning in 2021, a move that was inevitable but that certainly didn’t have to be made now, before the season was even over. Roenicke did nothing to distinguish himself in the lost 2020 season, but he was a good soldier, doing his best—which appears to be mediocrity personified—to guide a snake-bitten team that began by losing its popular manager, Alex Cora because he’s a cheater, then traded its best player, superstar Mookie Betts, then lost its star pitcher to arm surgery and its second best pitcher to the complications from Wuhan virus. The Boston team began a 60 game season by quickly falling ten games under .500, guaranteeing no post season slot, and several of the veteran players started going through the motions. Roenicke, in short, never had wisp of a chance, and the team would have crashed if he were a combination of Casey Stengel, Earl Weaver, John McGraw and Connie Mack

Boston fans, even those that are not disgusted with the team for slapping huge racist, Marxist, lie-based slogans inside and outside Fenway Park, will not want to be reminded of this season, so Roenicke’s demise was mandatory, but he deserved to be treated with some respect. Not even waiting until the season to dump him was over has a “this guy is so bad we can’t stand having him around another second” stench to it, and he did not deserve that.

Well, there’s always the Yankees... Continue reading

On Distributing The Wuhan Vaccine: An Old Ethics Dilemma With No Solution

I was waiting for this one.

Back when ventilators were the rage (before we found out that once you were on a ventilator, you were pretty much toast anyway–Science!), I had filed an article about the likelihood that Down Syndrome sufferers would be deemed unworthy of high priority when scarce equipment was being rationed. I never got around to writing about it, but I knew, like the giant swan in “Lohengrin,” the issue would be sailing by again. Sure enough, as the prospect of a Wuhan virus vaccine seems within view, the same basic question is being raised: if there aren’t enough vaccines for everyone, who gets the first shot  (pun intended)?

Well, there is no right answer to this one, unfortunately. All debates on the topic will become that popular game show, “Pick Your Favorite Ethical System!” or its successful spin-off, “What’s Fair Anyway?” That’s fun and all, but the debates are completely predictable.

The issue is essentially the same as the “meteor or asteroid about to hit the Earth” dilemma in movie like “Deep Impact,” where only a limited number of citizens can be sheltered as a potential extinction event looms. If you follow the Golden Rule or the John Rawls variation, you end up with survivors being chosen by lot, or pure chance. Kantian ethics also tends to reject any system that sacrifices one life for a “more valuable” one. Competent and rational public policy, however, has to take into consideration more factors than these over-simplified (and this appealing) ethical systems can.

Like it or not, a decision in the rationing of a vital resource problem has to come down to utilitarianism, or balancing. That means winners and losers, and the losers in such decisions always feel that the winners being favored is unfair. From their perspective, they are right. Policymakers, however, have a duty to society as a whole, and the long-term best interests of the whole population. Being human, they also have biases, and how they weigh the various factors involved in balancing interests inevitably is affected by their own agendas.

If the job of determining who got the vaccine first was delegated to Black Lives Matters, how do you think it would approach the problem? Continue reading

Further Reflections On “What Do We Do With Jeffrey Previte?’

The reason I posted the Ethics Quiz about the consulting company CEO caught on a security camera beating a small dog is that I genuinely do not know what society is supposed to do with people like that. The conduct is sick and evil, and as I noted in the post, Previte’s comments showed that he neither regretted his actions nor understood what people were upset about. The poll was included to get a sense of the assembled, and it has been one-sided:

It is the esteemed veteran ethics warrior Michael West who focused on the question from a practical viewpoint, and, after all, this is a practical ethics blog. In a series of comments he wrote,

I voted for the apology route because there’s no choice between apology and appropriate punishment that incorporates aspects of both. His conduct is gross and indicative of his character, but our society is getting to a point where we don’t allow for any rehabilitation ever. And that’s not a good development.

I had posited to another commenter a public official caught on camera terrorizing his family to counter the argument that it was unfair for this conduct to be made public, and Michael countered,

I think psychologically terrorizing family combined with being a public official changes the scope of invested parties and certainly justifies a larger body of people interested in knowing about the behavior. In this case, while not absolving him of being scrutinized and shunned by an appropriate section of society, “it’s just a dog” does guide the level of this man’s infamy as compared to your hypothetical. But yes, once the video is out the video is out. But, if, after appropriate demonstrations of genuine remorse, repentance and change of character and appropriate consequences are leveled against this man and…such as reduction to mere data entry job…I don’t think I would “take my business elsewhere” if I discovered he happened to be the man entering the data I need entered.

I mean at some point the “shunned by society” is clearly disproportionate…should grocery stores refuse his ability to buy food?

Continue reading