The current theory is that the mainstream news media is suddenly questioning Biden’s gray matter because the grand scheme is to get him out of the White House and Kamala Harris in using the 25th Amendment so she can burnish her credentials before the 2024 election.
As always, Kamala rose to the occasion! Here is the “historic” but completely inept Veep in South Korea yesterday…
Kamala: "The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea." pic.twitter.com/eEfIAOnhgW
At least the President has an excuse for being confused: he’s old, feeble, and battling dementia. Harris has no excuses, unless you count being lazy, careless, and incompetent.
Naturally, the networks didn’t think the gaffe was newsworthy, like they would have if, say, Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle, or Donald Trump had made it. Do you think “Saturday Night Live,” or Colbert, or Trevor Noah will note this telling mishap? Nah.
[Notice of Correction: I chose…poorly. Noah was the only TV comic that did mock Kamala.]
Nonetheless, if Biden can’t hide his dwindling brain cells as President. Kamala will have no more luck hiding her lack of enough of them to begin with. If the Democrats really think having her front and center for a year or more will improve their chances of keeping power, they are even more deluded than I thought.
What an unbelievable idiot. Miller’s clean-up team issued a predictable explanation, telling the Associated Press that the first-term Illinois Republican misread her prepared speech and meant to declare the Dobbs decision a victory for the “right to life.” “You can clearly see in the video … she’s looking at her papers and looking at her speech,” her spokesman said.
Ah! The Elmer Fudd excuse—meant to say “right” but could only say “wight”! It could happen to anyone. Wiiiight...I mean, “right.” Continue reading →
I have to give W. credit for a good recovery, though, or at least as good a recovery as anyone could manage.
Still, the ethics issues is competence and responsibility. Seventy-five or not, if you are in the public spotlight and a former or current President, there are some gaffes you either must be sure you don’t make, or you stay away from the podium.
Race-baiters, ruthless activists and cancel culture bullies are lurking and waiting to pounce on any public figure whose public statements (or revealed private ones) can sustain accusations of racism. Two recent examples from the world of sports help define when such comments are signature significance for an individual who is racially biased, and when they should be excused with little more than a raised eyebrow.
Over the Line: The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden sent an email in 2011 came that attacked NFL Player’s Association head DeMaurice Smith, an African-American, by writing to Bruce Allen, who was the GM of the Washington Football Club, then called “The Redskins,” “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires.”
Nice. At least Gruden recognized what he would be facing once the Wall Street Journal reported on his leaked email, and shot out an apology, though not a credible one. He said he was “really sorry” and suggested that it was all a big misunderstanding. You see, Gruden refers to liars as “rubber lips.” Sure he does. You hear that phrase all the time in reference to Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, and James Comey. Rubber lips! Makes perfect sense. “I don’t think he’s dumb,” Gruden protested to the Journal. “I don’t think he’s a liar. I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”
I’m not sure what a “racial bone” is, but I assume he means that he isn’t racially biased and has proved it by his conduct. As we have discussed on Ethics Alarms often, racist beliefs and racially biased conduct are distinct in many ways, and one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other. One distinction is that racist beliefs are legal, and if an individual is adept at recognizing that bias for what it is and not letting it govern his or her conduct, it isn’t unethical. Maybe Gruden hasn’t engaged in obviously racist or bigoted conduct in his life, but color me skeptical. A man claiming that that he isn’t racially biased who uses an ad hominem insult referring to a black man’s lips has as much credibility as that same man saying that he referred to someone as “Dumboriss” but doesn’t think he’s dumb. Ironically, Gruden’s excuse marks him as dumb and a liar who can’t keep his dishonest excuses straight. “I wasn’t making a racist comment when I said his lips looked like black inflated tires, I just use ‘rubber lips’ to mean liar, but…but.. I don’t believe he’s a liar either!” is the epitome of trying to dig one’s way out of a hole.
I don’t even want to talk about the last two days, except to note that what has me proto-homicidal has nothing to do with anything we’ve been discussing on Ethics Alarms.
1. Now THIS is incompetent phishing: “Verizon” contacted me to say,
Dear User :Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte. You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.
I no longer have any relationship with Verizon.
Verizon no longer runs an email service. It sold its email users to AOL.
The letter is ungrammatical.
I received that email, along with about 50 others at the same time, telling me I was no longer getting email.
“Verizon’s” address was “email@example.com”
The “letter” was signed “VeriZon.”
If you fall for something like that, you are a walking, talking mark, and incompetent at life.
2. Why doesn’t the public trust the news media? It must be all those Trump “fake news” lies! CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell used a photo from a “Latinos for Trump” event in Phoenix to accompany a report on Joe Biden’s Latino event in Florida. The CBS’s chyron read, “Biden pitches crucial Latino voters during Florida campaign stop.”
“My name’s Joe Biden, I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States senate—if you like what you see, help out, if not, vote for the other Biden”
Democratic candidate and gaffe grandmaster Joe Biden, speaking today, before tonight’s South Carolina debate, to a South Carolina campaign crowd.
It isn’t that Biden’s statement has anything to do with ethics, whatever he was saying. It’s that his bizarre pronouncement raises an immediate ethics issue. If we were playing “Ethics Password,” the announcer would say in hushed tones, “The password is fairness.” What is fair to Biden here, and how can I get past my biases to decide? I have believed for more than a decade that Biden is an idiot-savant with surprising political skills; I don’t believe you can say ridiculous and nonsensical things as often as he has for so long and not be inherently untrustworthy and more than a little addled. I also have found his demeanor, appearance and increasing tendency to speak in gibberish of late evidence of precipitously declining faculties from a height that was never all that impressive to begin with.
And yet I am in favor of giving any politician, disk jockey or improv comic the benefit of the doubt, because I know the perils of speaking extemporaneously from first-hand experience. Thus the question is, how eager should we be to shrug off this latest jaw-dropper from Biden as the natural and forgivable result of flying around the country and its inevitable “If this is Tuesday, it must be Saginaw” confusion? Is it just a particularly egregious example of wacky old Joe being wacky old Joe, and thus an occurrence where the Julie Principle is in play, or, in the worst case, is this latest head-scratcher so close to the former VP showing up nude with a duck on his head that an intervention is called for?
Rolled back into Alexandria last night, having had an uproarious response from the New Jersey Bar to the special Halloween edition of “Ethics Rock Extreme in Asbury Park seven hours earlier. The group of lawyers demolished all previous groups for sing-along enthusiasm and prowess in the finale, “The Ethics Man,” a parody of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” (My colleague, collaborator and friend Mike Messer gets credit for their verve, I think, for he was in top form, delivering the various songs in hilarious impressions of Joel, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Fogarty, and Bobby Pickett imitating Boris Karloff. among others.
I couldn’t get up the energy after the four-hour drive to get a post up last night, so the Ethics Alarms commentariat ended up holding down the metaphorical fort here for all of Halloween. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments, but thank-you, everyone. There were even some baseball ethics posts!
Still, there are a lot of ethics issues languishing in my absence. I’m fried, and there are also paying ethics jobs to do and promised to keep, so be patient with me, please.
1. An ethics answer to an ethics question. One Forum comment I did see was this one, from Sarah B.
I have an ethics question. The set up is a bit long, so please bear with me.
Imagine a small town where one out of every nine people works for the same company. Now, this company hires predominantly men, not because it is sexist, but because the work and positions available are more likely to be applied for by men. 9 out of every ten employees are male. In addition, it pays well enough that if a married man were to work in a salaried position, he could make enough money that his wife could stay home with the children if the couple displayed only a modicum of frugality. Thus, most stay-at-home mothers in the community have a husband who works for the same employer, usually in different stages of the chain of command.
Now, imagine that there was a low level supervisor and one of his subordinates. They are of similar ages and have similar values. Their wives are of similar ages and find each other to be enjoyable company. Their children are of similar ages and like to play together. Also, no one else in the supervisor’s area is of a similar age, value system, or time in their families. (No kids or college age kids)
Is it unethical for these two families to hang out socially? What if it is just the wives and kids, not the husbands? What about kids birthday parties, as the kids are friends?
I have heard both sides of this argument played out in my town, but often with both sides using some set of rationalizations from our host’s list. I’d like to hear a more educated opinion here.
The fact that Joe Biden is even taken seriously as a Democratic candidate for President is an indictment of his party, as well as evidence that progressive principles are instantly alterable, optional or ready for deep freeze any time they become inconvenient.
The ethics value issue, of course, is integrity. If the Democratic Party cared about it, Joe Biden would be looking forward to spending his Golden Years playing with his grandchildren and copping feels with their baby-sitters.
That’s the threshold hypocrisy, as we know. Joe is a serial and unapologetic sexual harasser. There are many photographs online, and probably many more to be found, of him hugging, sniffing, and fondling women of all ages while they seem approximately as comfortable as if Joe were a rabid octopus. The conduct displayed is the equivalent or worse of behavior that has caused hundreds of executives and many high-profile leaders in a wide range of sectors to be removed from their jobs. The Democratic Party styles itself as the party of women and #MeToo, but has been flagrant about applying double and even triple standards: witness Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, still in office with the support of his party despite both a credible rape accusation and an allegation of sexual assault, both more serious than any of the accusations made against Senator Al Franken, a Democrat, who was forced to resign. None of the Republicans or Democrats who have been pilloried for sexual harassment carry the photographic evidence that indicts Biden, and yet there he is, topping the polls.
The Democratic Party’s hypocrisy goes far beyond harassment where Joe is concerned, however, as a recent Times article called “Joe Biden Knows He Says the Wrong Thing,” itself a naked rationalization to excuse incompetence. Hmmmmm...Is this rationalization on the Ethics Alarms list? Give me half a minute while I check…
Incredibly, Joe’s excuse, “I know I’m doing it,” has so far escaped the definitive rationalizations list! That will be remedied shortly.
Joe and his defenders regularly employ other rationalizations for his groping problem (and others), among them, #1. The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it” variations “Everybody is used to it.,” “Everybody accepts it,”“Nobody’s complained before” and “It’s too late to change now,” #8. The Trivial Trap (“No harm no foul!”),#13A The Road To Hell, or “I meant well,” #19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice,’ #21A. The Criminal’s Redemption, or “It’s just a small part of what I am!,”#22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.,” #41 A. Popeye’s Excuse, or “I am what I am,” #42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?,” 43. Vin’s Punchline, or “We’ve never had a problem with it!,” and #64A. Bluto’s Mistake or “I said I was sorry!.”
Sorry for the digression. Back to the Times article: I seriously considered posting the whole piece with Donald Trump’s name replacing Biden’s. How could the Times reporters write this, or anyone read it, without noticing that all the habits and tendencies being cited as Joe’s problems are the exact same proclivities that Democrats claim should disqualify Trump for high office, and all of the defenses on behalf of Joe echo the arguments of Trump defenders? Here are some quotes: Continue reading →
You have to understand that CNN’s Chris Cuomo is an irresponsible, reckless and not very bright left-wing hack. Let’s just review the Ethics Alarms Chris Cuomo files from most recent back. Remember, he’s just one small part of what we follow here. If I watched Cuomo regularly, which I won’t, or read his social media blather, which I wouldn’t, this list would doubtlessly be much longer:
Here, he breezily asserted that Americans with mental illness should lose their rights.
Here, he falsely claimed that the President used “shithole” so children were exposed to the word, as Cuomo wrote it on a whiteboard, exposing children to the word.
Here, he told the public that “hate speech” wasn’t protected under the First Amendment, and ordered everyone to read the Constitution, which he obviously doesn’t comprehend.
Here, he advocated harassing, intimidating and threatening a private citizen for exercising his right to publicize his views on the internet if the views don’t meet with liberal approval.
Here, he cackled over a Simpsons clip that was run on his show solely because it attacked President Trump.
Here, he tried to spin an accurate story as false because it reflected badly on the Obama Administration.
Here, he promoted a documentary that pushed the false narrative that Michael Brown had his hands up and was crying “Don’t shoot!”
Here, he intentionally misresprested a Trump tweet condemning Berkeley’s student riots aimed at shutting down free speech as support for the extremist speaker.
Here, and my personal favorite, signature significance for an idiot, Cuomo told viewers that they couldn’t download the Wikileaks leaks, saying—and this guy’s a lawyer!— ”Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media, so everything you’re learning about this, you’re learning from us.”
Here, and there are dozens, maybe hundreds of other examples, Cuomo unethically took the role of a partisan advocate to debate a Trump surrogate.
Here, despite being a lawyer, Cuomo allowed the term “homicide” and “murder” to be conflated by non-lawyer protesters, who at least have an excuse for their ignorance.
Here, he stood by as a guest declared Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Constitution, not only failing to correct the gaffe, but endorsing it.
Here, a pattern, he encouraged an advocate of preventing “crazy people” from have gun ownership rights.
Here, he pandered to Jorge Ramos, saying that he “respected as a journalist” the openly activist Mexican broadcaster who was properly ejected from a Trump campaign event.
Here, he led an embarrassing, partisan, live laugh-fest mocking the fact that the GOP was “stuck” with Donald Trump as its nominee.
Here, he showed his complete ethics ignorance by saying that rules determine whether conduct is wrong. I wrote, as my brains dripped down on me from the ceiling,
“The Constitution does not say that a person can yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater. If you are endangering people, you don’t have a constitutional right to do that.”
—-Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi in an interview with KRON4’s Pam Moore, as the party leader explained why she believed that alt-right advocates should not have the benefits of freedom of speech and assembly.
This is a classic. Biff and his various incarnations in the “Back to the Future” trilogy must be kicking themselves. They said,
“Eight o’clock Monday, runt. If you ain’t here, I’ll hunt you and shoot you down like a duck.” (“Mad Dog” Tannen’s Gang Member : “It’s “dog”, Buford. Shoot him down like a dog.“)
“Why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?
“I’m not one to look a gift horse in the butt.”
“It’s time to race the music.”
and Biff’s great-great-grandson Ziff Tannen said,
“I’m going to make like a banana and skedaddle!”
And more. But “crying wolf in a crowded theater” is funnier—and dumber— than any of them. Continue reading →