Friday Evening Ethics Nightcap, 1/24/2020: Special Dim Bulb Edition

 

Good evening.

1. You know, Chris, keep doing things like this and “Fredo” likely to stick. Incredibly, CNN dim-bulb himbo Chris Cuomo tweeted,

What a stupid and unethical tweet! 1) The term “Trumper” is per se evidence of bias, in the same category as calling Republicans “Repugs.” 2) The tweet endorses the cynical and unethical progressive practice of recruiting children to be your mouthpieces (if anyone can find an example of Republicans doing this, please alert me), so you can attack any criticism as punching down at a child. Thunberg has presented her self as entitled to insult and impugn adults in adult fora, like the U.N. She has waived any special consideration, ethically and logically.

Best of all, however, Cuomo’s employer, CNN, just paid a legal settlement for falsely attacking teenager Nick Sandmann, as many Twitter users gleefully reminded him.

Surely he knew this.

Maybe Chris just didn’t understand it.

2. Speaking of idiots...Are the Democrats really going to nominate someone who says things like this out loud? Heeeere’s JOE!…speaking about “Dreamers” at a campaign event. 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 Quiz: The Upsetting License Plate

The Utah Division of Motor Vehicles lists standards for vanity plates, based on a statute that “forbids any combination of letters or numbers that ‘may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency or that would be misleading.’”

Plate letter and number combinations that reference drugs, that are “sexual, vulgar, or derogatory,” that  suggest ideas “dangerous to public welfare” or disrespect “race, religion, deity, ethnic heritage, gender, or political affiliation,” are not permitted.

Thus it was that Utah high school English teacher Matt Pacenza, driving home, spied  a vanity plate reading “DEPORTM.” As a concerned citizen, he snapped a photo of the personalized plate and posted it to Twitter. (Note: I’m more concerned about drivers taking photos while operating their motor vehicles than about what their plates say, but I’m weird, or so I’m told). The resulting cocial media comments attracted the attention of some state senators as well as the Utah State Tax Commission, which oversees license plate approval. Now the commission says it is reviewing whether the plate violates department guidelines.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the weekend is…

Is there anything wrong with having that license plate on your car?

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/10/2020: Clean Up On Aisle Ethics!

Good morning.

1. Poll report! In the “just what is Pete Buttigieg?” poll, “panderer” and my personal favorite, “asshole,” are running neck and neck:

The previous poll on fat-shaming isn’t close, with about 90% siding with fitness guru Jillian Michaels

The poll asking which idiotic statement about the U.S. blowing up the Iranian terror chief produced a landslide for Rep. Omar:

2. Baseball Hall of Fame Ethics. MLB’s sportswriters who made public their votes for the Hall of Fame (the results of the election will be announced Jan. 21) all voted for #1 steroid cheat Barry Bonds and almost certain cheat Roger Clemens. This depressing revelation reflects the fact that they are young, and also that they have the ethical analysis skills of marmots. Chris Haft, for example, wrote, “I initially refused to vote for Bonds or Clemens, but they are guilty for their alleged wrongdoings only in the court of public opinion. That’s not damning enough not to vote for a guy.” I don’t even know what he thinks that means. That there wasn’t a trial? Former Washington Post writer Richard Justice wrote, “I weigh the ethical questions of the so-called “Steroid Era” every year. My essential position has not changed. Unless a player has been suspended by MLB for PED use, I give him full consideration.” In other words, if he wasn’t caught he should continue to get away with it all the way into the Hall. There is absolutely no question that Bonds played the last half of his career so loaded with PED that they were coming out of his ears. This is like saying that you are convinced that O.J was innocent because he got away with it.

3. One “Arrgh! World War III!’ note...Stephen Kruiser, a conservative blogger, commented on the Democrats apparent disappointment that the President de-escalated after Iran’s symbolic attack on U.S. facilities, saying,

If you’re wondering whether I am implying that Democrats wouldn’t care if American troops were in harm’s way if it would help them defeat Trump in November, I am not. I’m saying it outright.

Then there was this telling piece in The Root, which was somehow posted with approval by an African American Facebook friend, proving State 4 Trump Derangement. The headline: The President of the United States Just Publicly Went Out Like a Bitch. And That’s Fine by Us.

Got that? If the President is bellicose, he’s a dangerous madman. If he is diplomatic and works to defuse the situation, he  (quoting here): “completely bitched out. In fact, before the president stepped to the podium, Managing Editor Genetta Adams called it, noting that the president ain’t about that life. “He’s going to pussy out like he did with [Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi and the [government] shutdown. He’s really a chicken when someone punches back.”

It literally doesn’t matter what the President does to the Deranged. It must be wrong. Continue reading

Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part IV: Weak, But Strong On Pandering [Corrected]

You want “a weak presidential field”? I’ll show you a weak presidential field!

[Part 1 is here; Part II is here; Part III is here, and the November debate review is here.]

David Leonhardt, whom I sometimes think is the worst of the horrible stable of New York Times op-ed writers until Michelle Goldberg launches into another fact-free rant or Charles M. Blow authors the latest escalation in his campaign to convince readers that President Trump is the spawn of Satan, wrote an op-ed last week attacking the parties’ nominating processes and asserting that “We have an unnecessarily weak presidential field, especially the incumbent.” Read the article. There is no logic to it, nor consistency; it is yet another “I wonder how gullible and ignorant my readers are?” experiment. Essentially the piece is anti-democratic, as a majority of progressives seem to have soured on democracy once it “failed” by not electing Hillary Clinton President. (I regard the election of Donald Trump over Clinton as one of the most important and exhilarating expressions of democracy in our history, though it was substantially due to moral luck.) Leonhardt’s argument is also historical nonsense, as he claims that the parties were better at picking qualified and electable candidates in the past. They most certainly were not: overage generals like Winfield Scott*, W.H. Harrison and Zachary Taylor, the latter two who, though elected,  promptly died, thus elevating to the White House VPs that nobody ever wanted or envisioned as Presidents…popular generals with no governing experience whatsoever, like U.S. Grant and John C. Fremont…wildly popular outgoing Presidents’ handpicked successors who would never have been nominated otherwise, like Van Buren, Taft, and Bush? Packaged puppets like Warren G. Harding and William McKinley? Doomed losers like Horace Greeley, James Cox, Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Mike Dukakis  and (yechh) John Kerry? Already once or twice beaten past candidates like Henry Clay, William Jennings Bryan, Thomas Dewey and Adlai Stevenson?  Brilliant!

Leonhardt even offers Abraham Lincoln as an example of the effectiveness of past party nominating systems, ignoring, or, based on his established level of acuity, unaware of the fact that Abe won despite getting only 38% of the vote, or about the same proportion Barry Goldwater and George McGovern received while losing in landslides. That he turned out to be a great President was more moral luck: Lincoln had no executive governing experience at all before being thrust into the most difficult challenge a President had faced since Washington, hadn’t even been a general, and was known mostly for his wit and oratory. With the nation teetering on destruction, the candidates selected by the Democratic and Republican parties in 1860 consisted of Lincoln, John Breckinridge, Buchanan’s inert Vice-President, who had also no executive governing experience, and Stephen Douglas, who also had never run anything and had been a full-time legislator for two decades. In his favor, he had a lot more relevant experience than Lincoln. On the deficit side, he would die in 1861, meaning that if Douglas had been elected the new President would have been the immortal Herschel Vespasian Johnson.

Leonhardt explains why the current field of Democrats is so weak, as if that wasn’t already depressingly obvious, but he never points to a single current non-candidate who would be any more promising, because there aren’t any.  He muses about Democratic governors who might be more promising: Like who, exactly…the ridiculous Andrew Cuomo? How many Democratic governors have distinguished themselves enough to have any national name recognition at all, other than Cuomo and Virginia’s Ralph Northam, of blackface fame?

It’s not the process, obviously, it’s the people. Then Leonhardt ends with “Of course, the biggest sign that the process is broken isn’t any of those seven. It is the man in the Oval Office.” Got it. The op-ed is just more anti-Trump teeth gnashing.

Whatever Donald Trump may be, the fact that he beat a supposed Democratic star overwhelmingly expected to win proves that he was not a weak candidate by definition, and as an incumbent President, he is stronger now. Incumbent Presidents are usually strong candidates because no matter who they are, if the economy is thriving, their foreign policy weaknesses haven’t crippled them, and there’s no prominent third party candidate to siphon votes away, they win, like Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Ike, Truman and FDR (and going back further yet to the beginning of the 20th Century, , Wilson, Teddy, and McKinley).

But I digress. The shocking deficiencies of the current Democratic hopefuls were on full display as the awful awful, awful December debate wound down.

Pete Buttigieg began the worst pander-fest of the evening: Continue reading

12/2/2019 Ethics Update, So I’m Not One Day Behind Forever: Hospital Stay Observations, And Other Things

I’m not going to make a habit of it, but today I’m doing a second short form post. First, I’m backed up, thanks to losing a day; second, There was no warm-up for this date, since I posted yesterday’s overview this afternoon; third, I’m not feeling so hot, after all the tests, anxiety, and no sleep at all.

1. Hospital items.

  • What’s the ethical way to handle people like this? My night nurse, whom I saw a LOT of and who was terrific, saw me watching “Jurassic Park III” on the hospital room TV and commented that she loved dinosaurs. Then she said that it must have been hard for the people living in caves to survive with all the raptors running around, and that it was a good thing the Great Flood killed the dinos off.

In the past, I have tried to explain—nicely—that this kind of fake natural history is nonsense and impossible in too many ways to count, discussed the timeline and the fossil record, and tried to bring them into something approaching enlightenment. This has never done any good at all if my audience was over 30, and usually just made them angry and convinced that  I’m the idiot as well as a pagan.

Yet ignorance is a social disease, especially this particular variety. I don’t think it’s responsible or kind  to enable the spread of misinformation.

  • That picture above is part of the NIH stroke protocol, which I now know by heart having been subjected to it several times. When was it drawn, 1958?

Could it be more gender stereotyped?

  • About half the hospital personnel under 35 had unpronounceable foreign names, recalling this article which I read last week, Once upon a time, immigrants coming to the U.S. wanted to have American-sounding names. It signaled a desire to commit to the culture, just like learning the language and adopting American values. My mother’s bothers and sister had Greek first names, but outside the home the family used the Anglicized versions of them. My mother was Helena, and called herself Eleanor.

This was, culturally, a much healthier tradition than what we have now—unifying, respectful, responsible. I see ostentatiously foreign-sounding names as defiant, and signaling a determination to avoid assimilation, to enjoy the rights and privileges here, without fully committing to them. I definitely regard any problems and inconvenience resulting from keeping the names Ngongsa or Ijeoma entirely self-inflicted. Continue reading