Ethics Dunce: Minnesota’s Cottage Grove United Methodist Church

They’re going to have to update this, I think…

I believe that it’s fair to say that no church should ever make an ethics dunce of itself. This, unfortunately, is an extreme example. [Full disclosure: My father was raised as a Methodist, and my father in law was a Methodist minister and scholar.] The rationalizations and  double talk came fast and furious, and there even was a Jumbo in the mix.

Praise the Lord!

Rev. Dan Wetterstrom, lead pastor at the Woodbury and Cottage Grove branches of the United Methodist Church, sent out letters to parishioners that the Cottage Grove branch would close on June 1, then open, refurbished, in the Fall seeking the membership of young families with children. Current members who don’t fit that description will not be welcome. The letter encouraged the exiles  to worship elsewhere.

The good news is that the old, childless members should be able to come back into the fold  in 15 to18 months.

“The ends justify the means” is not a Christian, moral nor ethical philosophy, but that is the reasoning being applied by Wetterstrom and his church’s administrators to deal with what they see as a demographic crisis. Young people are staying away (perhaps because they have noticed the rank hypocrisy and stupidity in the church, indeed many churches, engage in, but I’m just guessing) and the current flock keeps getting older and older.

Yecchh. Continue reading

Are Elizabeth Warren Supporters Really OK With Her Constant Lying? Why Is That?

In a moment that should define her cynical, dishonest, demagoguery-driven campaign for President, Senator Elizabeth Warren really and truly said yesterday, while campaigning in Iowa, “How could the American people want someone who lies to them?” This belongs in some kind of self-indicting Hall of Fame along with Hillary Clinton’s statement that all female accusers had a right to be believed. Even if one ignores Warren’s career-long misrepresentation of herself as being of Native American ancestry, her list of lies is material, long, and growing.

She falsely claimed that her children only attended private school. She falsely claimed she was fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant. The New Jersey bar had to correct her after she claimed to be the first woman to take the New Jersey Bar while breastfeeding.  In another effort to pander to women, Warren has said that she faced a #MeToo moment when she was a young law professor who was “chased around a desk” by her predator, harassing superior….who, it turned out, had polio, and couldn’t chase anyone. He was also a friend and mentor whom Warren eulogized at his funeral, but apparently was fair game for her to slander for her own purposes once he was dead and couldn’t defend himself.

But on second thought, why would you ignore her amazing “I’m an Indian too!” charade (Pop culture quiz: What Broadway musical is that line from?)? Here’s a neat summary from the Federalist: Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The CNN Democratic Candidates Debate [Corrected]

The full debate transcript is here.

(Or you could read “Moby-Dick” instead,  here, which I highly recommend.)

  • After enduring a long analysis of the December debate, the Ethics Alarms assembled shouldn’t need a sequel so soon— I don’t know what the Democrats think they’re accomplishing by having two of these guaranteed fiascos within a three-week period.

Virtually everything said last night we’ve heard before; every impression of this weak,weak,weak slate of candidates was already established.

  • Yes, it’s good to have the field whittled down to a manageable six, but it also wrapped in neon the hypocrisy of the Democratic party. The party of women  had just two women on stage, one a near impossible dark horse, and the other old, white, and whether Bernie said so or not, unelectable. The party “of color” had  no black, Asian, Native American  or Hispanic representatives on stage (, I won’t make the obvious Elizabeth Warren crack, only allude to it here, which I guess is the same thing.) The supposed party of the young presented four candidates over 70. The party that hates the rich had one billionaire and three millionaires among the six. The party that wants to smother the First Amendment right to spend money to promote political candidates (or attack them) by voiding Citizens United includes one aforementioned billionaire who has literally bought his way into the debates, and another, Mike Bloomberg, lurking in the wings.

This is not, in short, a party of integrity. Res ipsa loquitur. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On Ricky Gervais’s Performance At The 2020 Golden Globes Awards

The fact that Ricky Gervais’s slashing MC performance at last night’s live telecast of the Golden Globes Award is actively competing with the US-Iran confrontation for media attention once again shows our society’s charming (and sometimes healthy) preference for trivia over substance.

I didn’t watch the show live because I couldn’t care less what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thinks about anything, and because the Hollywood community culture makes me retch. I did follow the thing online, as several sites were gleefully streaming blow-by-blow descriptions of Gervais’s routine.

I can’t conclusively rate the ethical nature of his pretty much non-stop attacks on the attendees without knowing what his job was: to entertain them, to entertain the TV audience, or both. If it was both, then the comic would have been restricted to the kind of generic humor we have been accustomed to at the Oscars and Tonys. Yet why would anyone hire Gervais to do that? (Remember the outrage over Seth McFarland’s Oscar hosting gig when he delivered exactly what one would expect the politically incorrect creator of “The Family Guy” to bring to the party?) In the end, we have to assume that since this was the fifth time Gervais got the assignment, both the Golden Globes producers and the glitterati who were paying attention consented to what they got. Continue reading

Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part III: “Oh, The Hypocrisy!”

OK, it’s not exactly on point, but this is my favorite meme, and I hadn’t used it this year….

The debate seems like old news now, I know, but I’m going to finish this ethics review if it kills me. There was valuable, if depressing, ethics revelations throughout.

A. No, really, the economy is terrible. Really. Trust us.

Let’s begin Part III with this exchange:

My question to you, Mr. Vice President, is what is your argument to the voter watching this debate tonight who may not like everything President Trump does but they really like this economy and they don’t know why they should make a change.

BIDEN: Well, I don’t think they really do like the economy. Go back and talk to the old neighborhoods and middle-class neighborhoods you grew up in. The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting crushed. And the working class has no way up as a consequence of that.

Well, which is it: is Biden lying here, or is he completely ignorant of what is going on?

The question is particularly timely now, after the Christmas season was a smash hit. So called “Super Saturday” had the most money spent by consumers ever. Amazon  had record-breaking holiday season drove its stock up 4.5% and helped lift the Nasdaq composite index above 9,000 for the first time ever. This doesn’t happen, Joe (Bernie, Liz) in an unpopular economy, and what’s not to like? Unemployment is the lowest it can go; wages are rising across the board. Black employment is up, jobs generally are up. It isn’t just the stock market. Obviously consumer confidence is high.

Do the Democrats really believe they can convince the public that the economy is bad by just lying over and over again, and saying it’s bad, like Biden did? Apparently. Buttigeig, Yang, Sanders, Steyer and Warren followed Biden claiming that the middle class—you know, all those people who spent that money on Christmas gifts, was “hollowed out” in Warren’s words. “[We should beat Trump] on the economy where he thinks he’s king and where, in fact, he’s a fraud and a failure,” said Steyer.

Because they know that good economies almost always re-elect Presidents, the Democratic candidates are adopting the Sanders-Warren, or Marx-Lenin, definition of what a “good economy” is. As Sanders keeps saying, the problem is income inequality: if there are people making a lot more than you, you should be miserable, and it’s time for a revolution.  This was the justification for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez saying last week that the U.S. was a fascist country. Her comments , noted John Daniel Davidon of the Federalist, were characteristic of what he called the Left’s “economic illiteracy” and their belief that some people don’t have money because others are simply hoarding wealth. He said,

“She complained about America not being an advanced society, because it doesn’t matter how much gold you amass, you know, if people aren’t taken care of. It was a perfect illustration of the the economic and historical illiteracy of the left. Nobody is amassing gold. GDP doesn’t stand for gold deposit pile. That’s not how the economy works…Wealthy Americans are investing [their money]. They are creating jobs. That is why wages are going up, that is why unemployment is down. That is how the real world works. These people are out to lunch on the stuff.”

And the candidates for President, based on their debate performance, desperately want to keep them “out to lunch” as well. Continue reading

Boxing Day Ethics Boxes, 12/26/2019: The Washington Post, Bad And Not Quite As Bad; Moore’s Racism And Warren’s Lies

Happy Boxing Day!

To be open and honest, for the longest time I thought the name referred to the fact that on the say after Christmas, houses tended to be littered with opened boxes that had previously contained Christmas gifts. The name really refers to the British tradition on the 26th, when postmen, milk men, and servants expected to receive gratuities or a “Christmas box” in appreciation for their labor during the year. It is still celebrated as a holiday in parts of the old United Kingdom, but “Gratitude Day” never caught on in the U.S. Here “Boxing Day,” if anything, refers to the all the boxes mad shoppers are buying in post-Christmas sales.

1.Law suit update! Well, the plaintiff’s latest motion to reconsider the appellate court’s rejection of the plaintiff’s defamation suit against me (for bouncing him off of Ethics Alarms and being mean to him in the process) was rejected. New motion to reconsider the reconsideration coming in 10…9….8…7…

2. A late entry in the Ethics Alarms “Asshole of the Year” title… Michael Moore told Rolling Stone interviewers in part,

I refuse to participate in post-racial America. I refuse to say because we elected Obama that suddenly that means everything is ok, white people have changed. White people have not changed.

Two-thirds of all white guys voted for Trump. That means anytime you see three white guys walking at you, down the street towards you, two of them voted for Trump. You need to move over to the other sidewalk because these are not good people that are walking toward you. You should be afraid of them.

Comments: Continue reading

Ethics Recovery, 12/19/19, Post Op Edition: Terrible People

Here I am, I think! Hello?

I’m still groggy from the anesthesia, and the doctor said not to do too much, and definitely not to make any important decisions. I remembered that advice just in time, when I was tempted to watch the Democratic Candidates’ debate, and realized I must still be disoriented. Then I turned to ABC, and thought I saw the Miss America Pageant, which is impossible in enlightened 2019, so I was definitely hallucinating. I’ve also been off my blood-thinner for two days, and could stroke out any second.

1. On Pelosi’s desperate stunt. The House of Representatives adjourned before voting to send the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Apparently Democrats are refusing to forward the impeachment to the Senate until they receive assurances the trial will be “fair” in their eyes. You know, like the partisan impeachment in the House, which began with closed hearings overseen by Adam Schiff, and no witnesses who had anything to offer but opinions and hearsay, and ended up with Articles that failed to assert impeachable offenses. Fair.

The Democrats have been following through on this insane scheme hoping to get as much TV time as possible showing Democrats insulting the President, hoping that more repetitions of “Orange Man Bad” supported by the seven Big Lies will somehow change enough votes to avoid a disaster in 2020. They know that absent some presently unknown smoking gun, there is no way they can get the two-thirds super-majority to convict (they’re wishing and hoping for that, too) and knew this all long. The plan now is to try to discredit the Senate acquittal in advance.

This requires a belief that the non-Trump Deranged among the public (think of the rest as the equivalent of the infected in “World War Z”) have the IQs of annelid worms, and the short-term memories of mayflies. The party really believes that after Pelosi and the rest said it was imperative to impeach Trump as soon as possible because the nation and the Constitution is in imminent peril, the decision now to stall the impeachment process won’t be seen as proof that the whole exercise was a cynical, dishonest, hypocritical sham. This is more than irresponsible and incompetent. This is a parody of irresponsible and incompetent.

2. More…It also illustrates the dishonest and insincere nature of the Democrat/”resistance”/mainstream media’s three-year  narrative about President Trump ignoring “democratic norms” and the Constitution. Prof. Noah Feldman, who made it clear when he testified that he wants to see Trump impeached and is willing to warp his interpretation of the Constitution to get it done, isn’t willing to endorse this trick. He wrote,

If the House votes to “impeach” but doesn’t send the articles to the Senate or send impeachment managers there to carry its message, it hasn’t directly violated the text of the Constitution. But the House would be acting against the implicit logic of the Constitution’s description of impeachment.

A president who has been genuinely impeached must constitutionally have the opportunity to defend himself before the Senate. That’s built into the constitutional logic of impeachment, which demands a trial before removal.

To be sure, if the House just never sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate, there can be no trial there. That’s what the “sole power to impeach” means.

But if the House never sends the articles, then Trump could say with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send.

Alan Dershowitz, who has derided this impeachment from the beginning,writes.

“It is difficult to imagine anything more unconstitutional, more violative of the intention of the Framers, more of a denial of basic due process and civil liberties, more unfair to the president and more likely to increase the current divisiveness among the American people…President Trump would stand accused of two articles of impeachment without having an opportunity to be acquitted by the institution selected by the Framers to try all cases of impeachment. It would be as if a prosecutor deliberately decided to indict a criminal defendant but not to put him on trial.”

Civil rights attorney lawyer Harvey Silverglate described Pelosi’s gambit as  “manipulation of the system.” The whole impeachment sham has been a manipulation of the system, and now Pelosi’s defenders will have to go deeper into denial to defend it. Professor Turley, no surprise, also condemned the maneuver.  “Articles of impeachment were not meant to be articles of barter,”  Turley wrote.  “Just as the House elected not to seek to compel the testimony of critical witnesses, the Senate can make the same decision for its own house.” Continue reading