Monday Ethics Lockdown, 9/28/2020: Wait, CNN Reporters Are Challenging Democrats Now?

I locked it down so securely that it took until Tuesday to open it…

1. Does the Democratic Party’s 2020 ticket constitute the most irresponsible nominations for President and Vice-President in U.S. history? I think a strong case can be made that it is. The patriotic duty of a political party is to give the American people the best possible choices of competent and trustworthy leaders to cast their votes for. In 2020, the nominee for President is mentally declining into incompetence, and the nominee for Vice-President appears to have no genuine objectives other than her own voracious ambition, and will say anything to achieve that. Recent evidence:

  • It was missed at the time, and the 77-year-old Biden had more marbles left then, but during a town hall event last October before the South Carolina Democratic primary, video shows Biden claiming, “I got started out of a HBCU, Delaware State,” he told pupils at Wilson High School in Florence, founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Bureau for black children seeking an education. Delaware State is a traditional black college. Yesterday, Delaware State University confirmed  that Joe Biden was never a student there.

Did Joe really misremember where he went to college? Does he think he’s black? Was he lying? Who knows?

  • Kamala Harris appeared at the virtual NAACP convention last week, and, CNN commentator Angela Rye asked Harris who was the best rapper alive. “Tupac!” she answered.

Tupac Shakur has been dead since 1996. Harris, as is her habit, tried to giggle the gaffe away, and then was given another chance. “There’s so many, you know?” she huminahumina-ed. “There’s some I would not mention right now because they should stay in their lane.”

Sure. You know, I have never listened to a rap station or to a single rap song all the way through,  and I can name at least six. Heck, just add almost any adjective to “Ice” and you’ll probably name one by accident. And I’m not even sort-of black.

It’s not that Harris is faking it all the time, it’s that she’s not smart enough to do a convincing job faking it.

2. Wait, another CNN reporter refuses to let a Democrat get away with spouting nonsense? Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/25/2020: “Snap Out Of It!”

This is applicable to so many aspects of today I don’t have space to list them. Prime among them are the apparent re-runs of the George Floyd riots in various cities, this time tied to the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the cops who didn’t murder her weren’t charged with murder.  Hmmm…are these more stupid than the St. George riots, less stupid, or exactly as stupid?

1. I wonder…has the NFL killed more innocent black men than police over the years? Gale Sayers, the legendary Chicago Bears running back, died this week from “complications of dementia,” almost certainly meaning he was another victim of CTE suffered from playing what a friend calls “Concussionball.”

Well, as much as NFL fans might resent having players pollute entertainment with half-baked politicsal grandstanding, you can bet they would rather watch meaningless kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” than forfeit the fun of watching human beings destroy their brains for cash.

2. This guy isn’t helping...Officer John Goulart, Jr., reported that at a shopping center in Pineville, La, Goulart was shot once in the leg and anotherbullet hit the back door of his patrol car. However, investigators determined that Goulart  fired those shots, including the one that hit him in the leg,  himself.  Now he’s under arrest. [Pointer: valkygrrl] Continue reading

Regarding The Emotional And Ignorant Demands For “Justice” After The Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision

I had a lot of standard Ethics Alarms movie clips to choose from for this post. Half of them apply, but the one above is the most apt. Indicting the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor would have nothing to do with “justice,” and yet that is what we are hearing in what Joe Biden called, fatuously,  “the profound grief & anger today’s decision generated.” There’s nothing profound about allowing primitive instincts and waw emotion govern  one’s words, thoughts and actions.

Let’s look at this phenomenon, if we can stand it. The Boston Globe ran a per se idiotic op-ed  by Jeneé Osterheldt  titled, “Breonna Taylor and America’s wanton disregard for Black lives.”

I’m sure other similar screeds can be or will be found in papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post, but the Globe’s primal scream cretinism will do:

The country made a commodity of Breonna Taylor. It’s always exploited Black lives.A $12 million settlement with her family in a wrongful death lawsuitwas cheaper for Louisville than it would be to charge and indict any cop for killing the 26-year-old. Buying, selling, using, and abusing Black bodies is America’s oldest business….we never should have thought the American government could provide justice to Taylor’s family. Kentucky’s attorney general may be Black, but he is complicit in a system designed to use brutalization and incarceration to enforce law and order. They will tellprotesters to be peaceful and call their killers patriots and just. This is our American life and Taylor’s American death.

This is completely illiterate and ignorant, factually, legally and ethically, and it is irresponsible for a newspaper to employ a columnist who can’t reason more clearly and express herself more responsibly than that. She confounds concepts and mistakes substance. The officers who shot and killed Breonna Tayloor committed no crime. They would have committed no crime if their gunshots protecting themselves from the victim’s boyfriend, who was not unreasonably shooting at what appeared to be  armed home invaders (the officers were not in uniform), had killed a white woman, or a child, or Ruth  Bader Ginsburg. There was no crime under the law, and it’s not even a very complicated law.  Why are people who don’t comprehend such concepts as “intent,” “crime” and “murder” writing and ranting about “justice” in public forums? Why is anybody giving them access to those forums, where they can make the public less informed, more incensed and less rational? Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Joe Biden

“It’s estimated that 200 million people will die, probably by the time I finish this talk.”

—Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for President of the United States, speaking in Philadelphia over the weekend.

Yes, a man just stated on television that about 60%  of the United States’ population would die in seconds, and yet the vast majority of my Facebook friends are writing that civilization is doomed if he is not elected the leader of the United States.

As I think about it, this is only slightly less crazy than Joe’s statement. Maybe even a bit worse: after all, poor Biden is in the throes of progressive dementia. My friends are in the throes of progressive dementia. They want to have a sick man who is apparently unaware of what comes out of his own mouth leading the nation.

Biden has always said things that were careless, wrong or silly, because he’s just not very bright, and has never been. He had to repeat the third grade, you know. That’s just not a marker of future distinguished leadership. I remember my former classmates who had to repeat the early grades in elementary school, and they now are either in the custodian trade, unemployed, or teaching elementary school. Running for President was never in the cards for them, at least I used to think so. Yes, Joe’s career success is inspiring, in a way, kind of like Forrest Gump. But Forrest never ran for the White House. Not noticing that you have just falsely asserted that a national slaughter was underway is signature significance; a competent national leader simply doesn’t do that. Continue reading

Joe Biden, The Human Lawn Chair

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States…”

I’ve been thinking about what would be the fair and expository Ethics Alarms nickname for Joe Biden, and I’ve settled on “The Lawn Chair,” or TLC for short.

In 2016, I wrote repeatedly in posts and comments that I would vote for a lawn chair over Donald Trump, using the same standard that I had applied in the past to first term Presidents who I had found unacceptably incompetent or untrustworthy (Nixon, Carter, Bush I, and Bill Clinton). Joe Biden, in his drastically diminished 2020 model, is the closest thing a U.S. Presidential contest has had to an actual lawn chair, and it is clear that those preparing to vote for him to lead the nation at this critical time would literally vote for a lawn chair over President Trump. In this there is epic hypocrisy.

Feminists who once proclaimed that sexual harassment and sexual assault, determined on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations, were sufficient to disqualify a man for high public office are supporting Biden, who has been photographed numerous times engaging in sexual harassment as Vice-President, and has been accused “credibly” (as they said about Brett Kavanaugh’s less than credible accuser) of sexual assault. Heck, one such feminist is his running mate. Soft coup proponents who have argued that President Trump is sufficiently cognitively handicapped that the 25th Amendment should be employed to remove him are supporting Biden, who is obviously more mentally impaired now than Trump has ever been even in the fever dreams of progressives.

Then there is the lying. Continue reading

A Really Late Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2020, In Which I Have A Revealing Exchange With A Woke Sports Journalist

How the day got hopelessly loused up:

  • At 8:30 am, I took my car to the dealer for a 5000 mile servicing. I had asked if I could get a loaner, and was told I could. But I’d have my car back in an hour, I was told, so I passed.
  • Then I found all the doors at the place locked until 9 am. I decided to walk several blocks to get a fast breakfast, but Popeye’s doesn’t have breakfast, and MacDonald’s doesn’t allow you to use the tables. This was a huge McDonald’s: 20 people could eat there and not be closer than ten feet. But Virginia, in the throes of Blue Madness, is catering to hysterics. I ate my sausage biscuit and hash browns and drank my coffee sitting on a curb, like a vagrant.
  • When I returned, I could get into the showroom to sit, but my glasses kept fogging up with the %$#@%!! mask, so I kept going in and out.  My car wasn’t ready at 9:30. It wasn’t ready at 10, or 10:30. They had me, as Beldar Conehead memorably said, “by the base of my snarglies.”
  • I also couldn’t complain, because they had assigned the servicing to my son, who works there.
  • I got home at 11:46 am, the morning effectively shot to hell.

1. The fascinating memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower will be dedicated this week:

Ike was one of my father’s heroes, and the first President I can remember. On a popular Boston kids’ show called “The Big Brother Show,” the host, Bob Emory, would call upon us to get a glass of milk and toast a photo of President Eisenhower as “Hail to the Chief” played. Because, you know, you were supposed to respect the Office of the President.  The New York Times couldn’t even write about a memorial to a Fifties era POTUS without making veiled insults to President Trump:

He was a leader who sought to work across lines toward a common purpose, driven by duty and pragmatism rather than ideology and divisiveness. He steered his Republican Party away from isolationism toward a bipartisan internationalism that prevailed until recent years. He sent troops into the South not to crack down on demonstrations for racial justice but to enforce the desegregation of schools. He ended the Korean War and balanced the budget, presiding over nearly eight years of peace and prosperity. And he pushed through an infrastructure bill that built the interstate highway system.

He also presided over a remarkably homogeneous society, was opposed by a Democratic Party with many selfless statesmen that was barely distinguishable from the GOP (Ike could have been the nominee of either party), and he still was covered by a news media that mostly held to traditional journalism standards.

Ike would have been called a racist and a fascist in 2020. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Reflections, 9/13/2020: “Hold On To Your Butts!”

1. Our aspiring leaders:

  • A 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station in Compton, California. Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where they were treated. The sheriff’s department found it necessary to tweet:  “To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling “We hope they die” referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL,. People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.” President Trump tweeted in response to the shooting:

Incredible: flat learning curve. After all the uproar about calling people “animals.” And if the shooters are minorities…The only one who can lose this election for President Trump is President Trump.

  • The Times of Israel reports, based on a recording of a virtual fundraiser, that Joe Biden said that the recent development of Arab states normalizing relations with Israel was “something positive” President Trump is doing “accidentally.”

Stay classy, Joe. To be fair, that has been the narrative of the Democratic Party/”resistance”/news media alliance for four years: if something goes wrong, it is the President’s fault; if something goes right, it’s either wrong anyway because Trump is responsible, or it’s just luck or an accident.

2. And now, from the world of sports! Continue reading

High Noon Ethics Warm-Up, 9/11/2020: Thoughts While Wondering How Progressives Will Try To Reconcile Honoring First Responders With Their Demonization Of Police Position

I know the current Democratic Party and its agents, the mainstream media, are immune from self-awareness, but I would think pious reflections on the bravery of the heroes of 9/11 would be so flamingly insincere coming from them that they would just explode from internal and irresolvable inconsistency.

1. Then there’s the NFL…The current demonstrations by NFL players on the field, resuming yesterday as the pro foot ball season “kicked off,” and the leagues’ pandering to them, are, I read in the Times, due to the “killing of George Floyd” and the “shooting of Jacob Blake, and are meant to address “systemic racism” and “police brutality.” However, there is still no evidence that the death of Floyd was a result of racism, and increasing evidence that  Officer Chauvin’s admittedly brutal treatment didn’t kill him. As for Blake, he was not profiled or singled out for his race, but confronted because he was threatening a black woman whom he had previously raped and assaulted. Although the investigation isn’t complete, there is a significant chance that no “police brutality” will be found to have occurred in Blake’s shooting.

Meanwhile, David Bernstein identified the following people who were killed as a result of the Black Lives Matter/ antifa riots and looting: Continue reading

On Hypocrisy: An Argument From UnHerd That I Didn’t Need To Hear

I frequently check into a British website called “UnHerd” to get a different perspective on things, and it is often an enjoyable and stimulating experience. From its “About” page:

UnHerd aims to do two things: to push back against the herd mentality with new and bold thinking, and to provide a platform for otherwise unheard ideas, people and places. We think this approach is more needed than ever. Societies across the West are divided and stuck, and the established media is struggling to make sense of what’s happening. The governing ideologies of the past generation are too often either unquestioningly defended or rejected wholesale.

It’s easy and safe to be in one or other of these two camps – defensive liberal or angry reactionary – but UnHerd is trying to do something different, and harder. We want to be bold enough to identify those things that have been lost, as well as gained, by the liberal world order of the past thirty years; but we strive to be always thoughtful rather than divisive. We are not aligned with any political party, and the writers and ideas we are interested in come from both left and right traditions. But we instinctively believe that the way forward will be found through a shift of emphasis: towards community not just individualism, towards responsibilities as well as Rights, and towards meaning and virtue over shallow materialism.

They are going to have to do better, however, than the kind of shallow commentary represented by the recent essay on hypocrisy, which stepped on two ethics landmines before it even started, with this heading:

Hypocrisy is not the worst thing on earth: No one cares if progressives don’t practise what they preach — so long as what they’re preaching is good.

Those familiar with the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations list will immediately flag the flagrant use of #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”

I think it’s fair to say that I hate that rationalization, and that I immediately, and perhaps unalterably distrust anyone who resorts to it. The second ethics breach is the incompetent use of “good.” What does that mean, in this context? Right? Practical? Effective? Not bad?

This raised a tangential ethical problem for me: I increasingly am tempted to stop reading when an author appears t be dishonest, lazy, sneaky or dumb in the first few sentences. Usually I don’t, and occasionally I am glad I didn’t, but most of the time I find that my initial instincts were correct.

In this case, the author, conservative pundit Ben Sixsmith, does an acceptable job explaining the misuse of hypocrisy accusations, a topic often explored here. For example, he writes, Continue reading

Mid-Day Ethics Mitigations, 9/8/2020: Flip-Flops, Trust, China, And Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah [Corrected]

1. Stipulated: President Trump contradicts himself, misrepresents facts and exaggerates routinely. But how can Biden supporters use that as their rationalization? Biden and Kamala Harris repeatedly promised to ban fracking during the primaries; now, campaigning in Pennsylvania where fracking means jobs and business, both are suddenly pro-fracking.

On August 13, Biden said that he would call for a nationwide face mask mandate. “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum,” Biden said . “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.” Kamala Harris, like Biden a lawyer, agreed. “That’s what real leadership looks like,” Harris said. “We just witnessed real leadership. Which is Joe Biden said that as a nation, we should all be wearing a mask for the next three months, because it will save lives.”

Biden reiterated his vow in his acceptance speech on the final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. “We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask — not as a burden, but to protect each other,” Biden said on August 20. “It’s a patriotic duty.” Of course, any second year law student and probably some astute college freshmen could have told the Democratic ticket that the government can’t require citizens to wear anything, and that the two were talking Constitutional nonsense aimed at the Bill of Rights-challenged members of the Democratic base, which is most of it.

Then over the weekend,  Biden admitted that his mask edict would probably be unconstitutional. “Here’s the deal, the federal government…there’s a constitutional issue whether the federal government could issue such a mandate, I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate,” Biden said.

Didn’t he and Harris already know this? If not why not; in fact, why the HELL not? Why wasn’t the news media “factchecking” Biden when he made a manifestly impossible pledge?

There is no advantage or ethical superiority in saying things that are untrue some of the time as opposed to doing it more often. Any politician who shows a lack of integrity, whose words can’t be relied upon and who changes his supposed views depending on what audience is listening to him or her is untrustworthy, and untrustworthy is untrustworthy. You are either worthy, or you’re not. Two instances like the fracking and mask reversals are enough to know Biden and Harris are not candidates who mean what they say. (You should have figured that out already, though.)

And, of course, sometimes if they DO mean what they say, it’s disturbing. Continue reading