Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/15/2019: Of Ficks, Flicks, Fairness, And. Yes, “Fuck”

 

Suffering from low blog traffic hangover…

I know I complain about traffic here too much, but it’s the only place I where can complain about it. Either because of Trump Derangement, ethics apathy in a Nation of Assholes, my exile from NPR (for telling an undeniable truth that was accused of being a defense of Donald Trump), Facebook’s sabotage, or sunspots, Ethics Alarms readership is down significantly since the high point of 2016. Yesterday, the usually lively day of Tuesday did a credible imitation of Saturday, when tumbleweeds roll through here, and I can’t find any reason why. Kept me up much of the night, so now I’m going to be slow, cynical  and cranky all day….

1. Speaking of a nation of assholes…Stephanie Wilkerson, the certifiably awful human being who kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of the Red Hen restaurant, was given a forum (disgracefully) by the Washington Post to boast about her “resistance.” Of course she frames herself as a victim, then celebrates the fact that she received support from many Americans who are as hateful, bigoted, and un-American as she is. Depressingly, many of my Facebook friends “loved” or “liked” her nauseating column, which is nothing more nor less that a hard tug on the loose threads on the seams that hold our nation together. These phony advocates of “inclusion” actually favor discrimination and prejudice based on political affiliation and personal viewpoints, which is no less unethical and destructive than discriminating based on race, gender or creed.

Stephanie Wilkerson’s Post column marks her a fick, an individual who is unethical and proud of it.

But I would still serve her in my restaurant.

2. Here’s another topic I’m sick of writing about: We TV, that august cultural institution that features the beneath the bottom of the barrel reality show, “Mama June, From “Not” to “Hot.” is the latest product to use the hilariously clever device of implying variations of “fuck” in its marketing, because saying but not quite saying “fuck” is inherently witty and memorable. The word being so used by We is “flicks.” Get it?? Continue reading

Anna Sorokin—Fick, Ethics Corrupter, And The New York Times Thinks She’s A Victim

A New York jury this month found Anna Sarokin guilty of grand larceny in the second and third degrees and other charges that  netted her a sentence of 4-12 years in prison. In previous years before being caught, she posed as “Anna Delvey,”  a fictional German heiress with a trust fund, and parlayed her scam into a luxury life-style  of long stays in boutique hotels, a closet full of  designer clothes, and late-night parting  with Manhattan’s glitterati.

 Sorokin, 28, was really an attractive  Russian immigrant with brass. She ducked bills, conned the trusting, , and once tricked  a bank employee into giving her $100,000 she never intended to pay back. She couldn’t have done any of this for so long or as successfully if she weren’t young and comely, and also a stone-cold sociopath. I’d guess her story will soon be made into  at least a Lifetime cable movie, if not a big budget vehicle for Jennifer Lawrence.

Anna is also a fick, that rare species chronicled on Ethics Alarms that openly revels in unethical wickedness. In two interviews with the New York Times, she made it clear that she’s a shameless predator, telling the paper yesterday after her sentencing,

“The thing is, I’m not sorry. I’d be lying to you and to everyone else and to myself if I said I was sorry for anything. I regret the way I went about certain things.”

She’s still playing her con.  Anna says she always intended to pay back the  hotels, a private jet company and the banks she said,  which she cheated  out of more than $200,000. She just missed  bilking  a hedge fund into giving her a $25 million loan.

Well, yes, if you want to get technical about it,  she had falsified some bank records, but only because she was in America and has big dreams. Don’t all Americans? She wanted to start a $40 million private club, and potential investors pushed her to open it before they  put up their own money. If you think about it, it all was really their fault, not poor Anna’s.

Sorokin said was always fearful that she was vulnerable to men who would “cheer me on” and then seize control of her vision for the club, which she called the Anna Delvey Foundation.  “My motive was never money,” she said. “I was power hungry.”

Oh! Well that’s all right, then!

If her friends thought she had millions of dollars, it was just a misunderstanding. She said she never told anyone she had that kind of money. If they just jumped to conclusions—well, how is that her fault?

At least she has some self-awareness, telling the times, but unapologetically,  “I’m not a good person.”

Yet the Times published a long essay sympathetic to Anna Sorokin, a head-exploding piece (for me, so be careful if you read it) titled in the print version—I warned you—“Women Take The Cosmic Fall For Male Greed.” It is a solid contender for the most unethical feature of the year, with rationalization-stuffed statements like these:

  • “Real justice,” in this instance, is the prospect of more than 15 years in prison for defrauding wealthy acquaintances and financial institutions of $200,000, the sum of which would barely allow you to buy a studio apartment in Queens. “She stole from banks,” one of the prosecutors argued during the trial as if to suggest she had taken oatmeal from the mouth of a baby. “She tried to steal from a hedge fund.”Setting aside the dubious rhetorical gambit of soliciting sympathy for banks and hedge funds, Ms. Sorokin was clearly going to take a fall even if so many other white-collar villains still had their freedom.”

(I confess: after reading that idiotic paragraph a week ago, I stopped and filed the article to return to when my cranium had healed.)

  • “Here is where we might recall that only one financial executive in the country, Kareem Serageldin, was ever sent to prison in conjunction with the collapses of moral judgment that caused the undoing of the global economy in 2008. Accused of concealing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses of mortgage-backed securities, to inflate his bonus at Credit Suisse, he also faced real justice. He was sentenced to 30 months.”

All of which has nothing to do with Sarokin, or gender. Sarageldin made a plea deal, and got one because there was not a clear route to convicting him under existing laws. Sarokin’s crime, in contrast, was as old as the hills, and she embraced it with gusto.

  • Increasingly, it seems, the law has provided an able hand to a culture that takes perverse, outsize pleasure in spectacles of female desperation. Like many young women, Ms. Sorokin had an insatiable desire to be something that she wasn’t: in her case, someone other than the daughter of a Russian HVAC salesman. She had come to New York without the pedigree or capital that buoys you in a city poisonously obsessed with status. New York is a transactional place, and Ms. Sorokin had nothing to trade, so she made herself into a rich, clubby, entrepreneurial German and lied and cheated a system already allocating so many unfair advantages….”

If you are keeping count, just these three paragraphs employ all or whiffs of these rationalizations from the Ethics Alarms list, with more to come:

1. The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”
2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad”
2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or “They had it coming”
6. The Biblical Rationalizations
“Judge not, lest ye not be judged,” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
13A The Road To Hell, or “I meant well” (“I didn’t mean any harm!”)
19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”
22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
23 A. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”
38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
48. Ethics Jiu Jitsu, or “Haters Gonna Hate!”
55. The Scooby Doo Deflection, or “I should have gotten away with it!”
63. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is”
68. The Volunteer’s Dodge, Or “You Don’t Pay Me Enough To Be Ethical!“

The hopelessly muddled ethics of the writer, regular Times columnist Gina Bellafonte, is independently valuable as a throbbing example of how woke sensibilities distort and rot basic concepts of justice and the rule of law. She is, in fact, more of an ethics corrupter than the smug sociopath heading to jail. Bellafonte is telling Times readers that a predator is really a victim, because of her gender.

I wonder how many people believe her?

_________________________________

Source: New York Times

Pre-Red Sox Opening Day Ethics Warm-Up, 3/28/2019: A Jerk And A Fick

Happy Day!

Just got home from a very well-received legal ethics seminar in time to get off a post, walk Rugby, pull on the ol’ Depends and settle in while the Boston Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners in their first game defending their 2018 World Championship…

1. Humble Talent is back. Humble Talent, an Ethics Alarms  Commenter of the Year a few years back and one of the all-time outstanding participants in the ethics wars here, just registered his first comment in almost four months. Mu joy and relief are unalloyed. Welcome home, my friend.

2. A Keith Olbermann note. If you’ll forgive me for mentioning one of the biggest jerks in captivity twice in a day, Olbermann managed to enhance his reputation with this display of mega-jerkness. A Mississippi hunter  shot an unusual turkey completely legally, and KO decided that this was sufficient justification to ruin his life…

The editor of the paper had the proper bemused response, writing, “Keith Olbermann says Brian Broom should be fired for writing this story. What was I thinking? I guess I should have fired our outdoors writer for writing about a hunter killing an unusual turkey during turkey hunting season.” What kind of human being calls on the social media mob to make someone’s life  a living hell because he engaged in a legal act harming no one that that human being disagrees with? A really bad one—arrogant, cruel, irresponsible, and unfair. The Washington Free Beacon got a statement from ESPN, which currently employs Keith (when he’s in the mood, he’s an unusually astute and amusing baseball reporter), and they responded, “We have spoken to him about not making personal attacks.” Gee, that doesn’t seem to be working, does it?

3. A Fick sighting! Almost as rare as a white turkey is an Ethics Alarms Fick, a special designation for the peculiar ( and disgusting) breed of unethical person who is unethical, knows it, and rubs it in everyone else’s face, without regret or shame.

The Fick is pop star Cardi B, whose old Instagram video that resurfaced recently features her saying that she used to drug and rob men. The video, which Cardi says was made three years ago,  features the singer reminiscing about the time when she worked as a stripper — a time when, she said,

“I had to go strip, I had to go, ‘Oh yeah, you want to fuck me? Yeah, let’s go back to this hotel,'” she said an an Instagram Live broadcast filmed three years ago. “And I drugged niggas up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do.”

When the immediate reaction was a series of attacks on Twitter, Cardi B doubled down, making it clear that she was perfectly at peace with her past crimes, tweeting to critics,

I never claim to be a angel I always been a street bitch Ya be glorifying this street rappers that talk and do that grimmey street shit but they can’t stand a street bitch!

and…

IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE,IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE ❤️ 😝and I love it 😍🥰🥰

Theeeeeen the criticism got a little too hot, and apparently the hip hop star’s publicist pointed out that defiance in this case might not be the smartest strategy. So then we got this:

Is that a wonderful parade of rationalizations and ethics rot, or what?

  • Nobody has to drug men (or women)and rob them.  That’s not an “option” for anyone with a conscience. No, she did not have to harm and rob men “to survive.” Millions of people in dire circumstances find legal ways to survive that don’t require harming others.
  • The men she drugged and robbed were “conscious and aware” that they were going to be drugged and robbed? Does anyone believe that, including Cardi B?
  • “Right or wrong”? “Whether they were poor choices”? Psst-–moron! It was wrong, and they were poor choices!
  • “I never claim to be perfect” is an especially dumb variation of Rationalization #19. The Perfection Diversion, or “Nobody’s Perfect!” and “Everybody makes mistakes!” We’re supposed to applaud because someone who drugged and robbed men doesn’t make the bananas claim that she’s perfect?  I bet she never said she was a walnut, either. So what?
  • “I always speak my truth” means she wouldn’t know truth from a bag of gummi worms. “My truth” is signature significance for an adherent of ethical relativity: whatever she thinks is right, is.  Cardi B. is a narcissist and a sociopath.

Several commentators claim that this junk shows that Cardi regrets her past. Boy, I wish I had more Brooklyn Bridges to sell. I doubt that she even wrote this herself. I also doubt that those sympathetic critics noticed what she tweeted before she was told to stop doubling down. Meanwhile, what would happen to a male singer who admitted that he needed to drug and rob women to survive?

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/22/2018: Blemishes

Goooood Morning!

1. What is so hard to understand about the concept of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly? The Daily Beast negligently covers a story about how some alt-right groups are planning some kind of anniversary/reunion event in Charlottesville. (Funny, I thought we celebrated anniversaries of good things) and how some activists are plotting to block them. I especially like this sentence:

“Activists warned Charlottesville last year that the Unite the Right rally could turn violent. Now they’re determined to keep neo-Nazis out of their city for the anniversary.”

The rally turned violent because the counter-demonstrators turned it violent with help from authorities, who couldn’t, couldn’t, or didn’t want to keep the alt-right and the antifa demonstrations away from each other. This is the Berkeley trick: “Your speech will incite violence from us, so its irresponsible for you to speak. This issue was supposedly settled when the ACLU fought to allow Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois 40 years ago.  In the end, the Nazis didn’t march but the principle that they couldn’t be blocked because of their message was made clear. I wonder if the self-righteous, speech-restriction fans represented by Black Lives Matter activist Lisa Woolfork even know about that case, given such ignorant quotes as,

“[Charlottesville authorities] seem to have gotten the message that white supremacist ideology is dangerous, but they are not willing to take, I believe, the truly moral step to say Kessler’s rally is a white supremacist Nazi rally, and therefore is inimical to our values and that we can ban that.”

No Lisa, you can’t ban that. You can’t ban ideas, no matter how dangerous you think they are, or how dangerous they in fact may be. The theory that the government should ban speech based on morality is infinitely more dangerous than anything these alt-right jerks say, but you still have the guaranteed right to promote such democracy-rotting garbage. Another Lisa quote:

“We did not ignore the white supremacists and let them proceed to go about their business undisturbed without any censure. These ideas are harmful, and they lead to horrible consequences in the real world.”

And I repeat: What is so hard to understand about the concept of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly? It sure seems to be especially hard to understand for the Left recently. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “From The Ethics Alarms ‘Horrible People’ Files: The Vile Progressive Professor (Yes, Another One, and Yes, I Would Fire Her)”

More interesting musings on the proudly vicious Fresno State prof, who is the current poster model for many things: the ugliness of today’s political divide, the abuse of freedom of speech and academic freedom, and the arrogance of academia. I just realized that Randa qualifies as a fick, someone who “openly and blatantly violates social norms of responsibility, honesty or fairness without shame or remorse.”

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, From The Ethics Alarms “Horrible People” Files: The Vile Progressive Professor (Yes, Another One, and Yes, I Would Fire Her):

I’m seeing an absolute deluge of comments online rehashing the general theme of: “You free speech activists sure seem to discard your principles when it’s convenient.” And It’d like to take a moment to dissect that.

Before I get too far into these weeds, I want to make a distinction: I think the cleanest comparison between the left and the right on this issue would be the left’s protection of Randa Jarrar from firing, and a situation where the right protected someone who had invoked the ire of the left—let’s assume a Nazi. I don’t think there’s a large contingent of people lining up to say that employers should retain people who are openly anti-Semitic. There might be some, but I feel this would be the exception as opposed to the rule, and that these people would be warping the principle of free speech to things they shouldn’t. This means that almost by nature, the people saying variations of “You free speech activists sure seem to discard your principles when it’s convenient.” are almost certainly comparing apples to oranges.

But I think that those people don’t really understand the distinction that makes that true. Following that… Cast Iron Pot, meet Stainless Steel Kettle.  It would be great if just for once progressives actually lived up to their own ideals. If they believe, as they’ve been telling us for years now, that free speech has consequences, and they believe that this case is actually synonymous to all the other cases that they think prove the abject hypocrisy of the right, then by all means point out that hypocrisy, but do so in a way that doesn’t protect Jarrar… Because you’re admitting what she did wasn’t protected. Look, there’s a possibility that someone in any situation might be able to define a difference between two situations that you might not see. They might be wrong, but there could be at least a semblance of internal consistency, even if it’s flawed… If you think that this is the kind of situation that the free speechers would normally be defending but aren’t for partisan reasons, while simultaneously defending what you admit you would normally not specifically for partisan reasons, then you don’t even have the fig leaf of internal consistency and should hide your head in a sack. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/25/18: “March For Our Lives” Hangover Edition

Good Morning!

1 Exploitation carnage. I feel so sorry for David Hogg. No teenaged male so obviously locked into the arrogation asshole stage of the maturation process, should be exposed to public scrutiny like this. His intemperate and foolish rhetoric will haunt him for the rest of his life. He will either be humiliated when his brain cells kick in, or he will develop into a full-fledged monster. What if he wants to go in a different direction in his life and career? I wouldn’t hire him. Who would? He’s restricted to left-wing activists until he changes his name or does a high-profile mea culpa and goes on a reinvention tour. Celebrity, as Paul Petersen has spent his life trying to teach us, is disastrous for kids; never mind: the cynical, ruthless partisan operatives who made Hogg into their weapon and shield don’t care about him, just the momentary political advantages he represents. When he is chewed up and spit out, as he certainly will be, they will have forgotten his name.

2. A half-Fick sighting! A (she says) transgender woman who calls herself “Lauren” on Twitter claimed to be drugging attendees of a conservative conference in Phoenix, Arizona yesterday, tweeting

“I love my job at the phoenix convention center starbucks and i love slipping my spare estradiol pills in the coffee of anyone wearing a #WesternConservativeConference lanyard.”

Ethics Dunce And Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Ted Lieu

Lieu, one of California’s more out-there Democratic Congress members, tweeted,

“How quaint that some folks are more concerned about kids speaking respectfully than the fact that 17 kids were slaughtered with an assault rifle.”

The incorrect use of “assault rifle” is a tell: it means that the speaker doesn’t know enough about guns to be talking about them, or, in the alternative, just thinks that all guns are bad, and that this is sufficient.

Several people corrected the Congressman, and explained that his terminology referred to banned, military automatic weapons, not the semi-automatic AR-15. Wrote co-founder of “the Federalist,” Sean Davis,

“You said “assault rifle”…Words mean things. If you don’t know which words mean which things, don’t use those words”

Lieu’s signature significance reply:

“NO. I will keep saying assault rifle if I feel like it. I will not let you define what I can or cannot say. In any statute, the term assault weapon or assault rifle would be defined. But in ordinary conversation, I will use assault rifle interchangeably with assault weapon.”

Wow.

Translations:

‘ I’m going to keep saying what sounds the most menacing even though it isn’t true, because that’s what will get people upset.’

‘You have your truth and I have mine.’

‘Automatic, semi-automatic, guns, schmuns, they kill people, OK? Get off my back.’

‘My constituents and the anti-gun zealots don’t know the difference, so what should I care?’

‘The ends justify the means.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with ‘alternate facts” if they are MY facts.

‘I have no shame or integrity. Let me do my job.”

‘I am the moron! Goo goo G’joob.’

____________________________

Facts: Twitchy