Sunday Evening Ethics Reflections, 3/7/21: Two More For Cuomo, Too Late For Kasich, Too Stupid To Be Believed, And Too Cowardly To Be Of Any Use…

evening-reflections

1. Well, what do you know! Two more women have come forward to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, making a total of five now. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have the stories.

A former press aide, Karen Hinton, told the Post that Cuomo embraced her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2000. Ana Liss, another ex-aide, said the governor hugged and kissed her and grabbed her waist in 2014. As we have discussed here often, true sexual harassers are habitual and incorrigible. It’s not a mistake or a lot of misunderstandings. These are powerful individuals who feels entitled to abuse that power with subordinates who are likely to be reluctant to resist or report the misconduct.

2. Where was she when John Kasich needed to be told? Ann Althouse has a post titled, Is there someone in your life who is annoying you with the conversational tic “Do you know what?” In 2016, desperately seeking some alternative to Donald Trump among the large and fatally flawed GOP field seeking the party’s Presidential nomination, I was so annoyed by Kasich employing that tic (or its equivalent, “Guess what?”) that I tuned him out every time he spoke. Why didn’t anyone tell him? I’m a stage director: I’ve corrected dozens of actor tics. Any politician who is so inattentive that he or she can’t acknowledge and address a bad communication habit (Kamala Harris’s laugh!) is intrinsically untrustworthy, inattentive and lazy. It’s a tell.

3. Look! A public “How stupid, frightened and gullible are you?” test! This ridiculous thing is a real product designed to wear all day and night to protect you from the deadly viruses, microbes and pollutants that threaten to kill us all.

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/17/19: The “Why?” Edition

WHY is it a good morning?

1. Why are some people missing their ethics alarms? A family member owned a horse as a pet, and when the horse got old and infirm sold it to a slaughterhouse for dog food. This caused a long-running rift with the Alexandria branch of the Marshall clan, in which my wife will capture spiders and gently release them into the wild while singing “Born Free.” However, the family horse-trader is a saint compared to Fallon Danielle Blackwood, 24, a veterinary student in Alabama, who offered shelter for rescue horses only to profit by secretly selling the animals to Mexican slaughterhouses.   She was arrested on a similar charge last year in North Carolina.

Though the current charges involve just  13 horses, Stolen Horse International, a nonprofit that helps find lost or stolen horses, says Blackwood may be behind the disappearance of dozens more. Her MO was to  reach out to those in need of help caring for their horses and offer the equines  a loving home at her farm near Boaz, Alabama.

Well, I hear veterinary school is expensive…

2. Why do the news media and the public let Democrats get away with the “immoral and ineffective” talking point? I discussed this in detail here. The latest to use the self-contradictory rhetoric was Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who denounced President Donald Trump’s “quest for a racist and sinful big wall” between the U.S. and Mexico during a speech on the House floor, and followed up with a tweet calling the wall “hateful and ineffective.” Now it’s “sinful” to enforce the borders, is it? How does someone make the argument that border security is “racist” and simultaneously claim that they are in favor of border security? If trying to keep illegal immigrants out is sinful and racist, how can the claim that border security is desirable be anything but hypocrisy?

This argument depends on listeners not paying attention, being complicit in an open borders strategy, or having the IQ of a mollusk.

3. Why do people this inept keep getting elected to Congress? At a Washington reception billed as a “celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (API) members of the 116th Congress,” Hawaii Democratic Rep. Ed Case said that he felt like “an Asian trapped in a white body.” How awful! Trapped in a white body! Yechh! Pooie!

Pandering to racists is a bi-partisan activity, especially in the Aloha State, where hostility to whites is open and palpable. Continue reading

Post-Debate Ethics, Part 2 (of 4): John Kasich’s Opportunity

It is almost too late, but not quite, for Donald Trump to be derailed by a Joseph Welch-Joe McCarthy moment. I called for a qualified and competent GOP candidate to do this seven months ago, but none had the wit or courage to deliver. Since then, Trump has provided one opening after another that could have been exploited to tear away the veil of ignorance from even the eyes of the most deluded Trump supporter. One such opening was September 16, when Trump probably doomed some innocent children by promoting anti-vaxxer myths in a nationally televised debate. A medical doctor, inexplicably running for President, was standing right next to him. Did Ben Carson say, “You know, Donald, your ignorance is stunning. Vaccinations don’t cause autism, and they save lives, but as with every other topic we have talked about, you are shooting from the hip, faking expertise you don’t have, and dangerously misleading millions of trusting Americans by pretending to have expertise you don’t have. You should be ashamed of yourself. Why aren’t you?”? No, Carson, typically, mumbled something accommodating and let Trump get away with more misinformation.

Dr. Carson’s gone now, thankfully, as are many other candidates who might have burnished their own chances and clotheslined Trump with a well-planned “Have you no sense of decency?” sequel. Only one candidate remains who has any chance of pulling off the instant character assassination that Joseph Welch executed so deftly on June 9, 1954. In my post before that September 16 debate, I predicted that one of the non-Trumps would use a variation of Welch’s line, and observed that if I was wrong,  none of them “are  smart enough to be President.”

As Jeff Goldblum muses in “Jurassic Park,” Boy do I hate being right all the time.” Or being right about why I was wrong.

I don’t have much hope for John Kasich, the one remaining alternative to Trump with a chance to play Welch effectively. Continue reading

Observations On The CNN-Telemundo GOP Candidates Debate

1.  I heard that National Anthem rendition on my car radio, and thought, “That can’t possibly be as off-key as it sounds, can it?” Then my various singer friends started howling on Facebook. I don’t know why debates are now treated like ball games, but there are thousands upon thousands of singers, male, female, and juvenile, who can sing the anthem well, and a lot better than Dina Carter did last night. There’s no excuse for getting someone who can’t stay on pitch.

2. Ben Carson prompted me to throw a magazine at the TV with his fatuous “we won’t solve America’s problems by trying to destroy each other.” It’s a competition, you fool. Someone should have shown you how ridiculous your wasteful candidacy was months ago, and you wouldn’t be clogging up the process now. If Donald Trump, a viper in the nursery, wasn’t ahead, Reagan’s admonition not to attack fellow Republicans might be a wise and ethical practice. Now, it is the equivalent of pacifism during World War II.

3. That was weak, incompetent moderating by Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash, allowing Trump to speak over Rubio and Cruz who were doing a good job pointing up his hypocrisy and corruption. As usual, Trump’s rebuttals weren’t rebuttals at all but distracting attacks, pitched to the gullible.

  • Rubio said, correctly, that Trump criticized Mitt Romney for talking about “self-deportation” in 2012, while Trump is talking about self-deportation now.  Trump said: “I criticized Mitt Romney for losing the election. . . . He ran one terrible campaign!”  No, actually Trump criticized Romney’s self-deportation policy specifically.
  • Rubio said Trump is the only person on the stage who’s hired people from other countries for “jobs that Americans could have filled.” Trump replied, “I’m the only one on the stage who’s hired people! . . . You haven’t hired one person in your life!” It’s completely irrelevant to the issue, just another deflection.
  • Cruz pointed out that Trump contributed to the three Democratic Senators and two of the  Republican Senators he now accuses of pushing “amnesty.” Trump retorted that “I get along with everybody; you get along with nobody,” an ad hominem attack that ducks a legitimate criticism.

4.  Trump had one brilliant, perfect, Presidential and appropriately tough response to ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox who swore Mexico would never pay for Trump’s “fucking wall.” (We have heard increasing vulgarity from media figures like Chris Matthews, President Obama and others, and now the breakdown in official civility has crossed our borders. Yes, I blame Donald Trump, and as he grandstanded about the “disgusting” word used, someone should have had the wit to note that he has personally lowered the standards of leadership discourse more than any figure since the Nixon tapes were released.) Trump’s response: “The wall just got 10 feet taller!”

Excellent. Continue reading

John Kasich Flunks A Competence Requirement: If You Can’t Think And Communicate Clearly, You Shouldn’t Be President

“We must be more forceful in the battle of ideas. U.S. Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering our opponents’ propaganda and disinformation. I will consolidate
them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core Judeo-Christian Western values that we and our friends and allies share: the values of human rights, the values of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. And it should focus on four critical targets: the Middle East, China, Iran, and Russia.”

Poor John Kasich. The Ohio governor is by experience, practical political views and demonstrated executive skills among the most qualified and able of all the Presidential candidates. Nonetheless, he is a lazy communicator and a clumsy one, and in a job where words and persuasion matter as much as any other tool of leadership, he repeatedly reveals himself to be untrustworthy. The above passage, from Kasich’s foreign policy speech this week, exemplifies this.

A President cannot say that he wants an agency that will promote Judeo-Christian values, because it will be heard, and fairly so, as an effort to promote some religions over others, something the United States government may not do, and may not even appear to want to do. Worse, Kasich chose the exact moment when his words were guaranteed to be interpreted in the worst light possible by Democrats and the news media, as the nation was immersed in an a debate about screening Syrian refugees that was being elevated to dueling hysterias by both the left and the right. Sure enough, I just heard CNN’s Michael Smerconish compare Kasich’s proposal to ISIS-style forced conversion.

Nice job, John. Continue reading

On Immigration, Speech Suppression, War, Terrorism, Police and More, It’s Cultural Death By Compassion Poisoning

Think of the children!Compassion is a wonderful thing. A nation cannot govern or even survive, however, using compassion as its guiding ethical principle. The United States currently seems hell bent on disproving this fact, and is well on the way to confirming it. It is too bad that this is true, and we should all agree that it’s  a damn shame that you can’t run a successful democracy without periodically inflicting pain, creating suffering and harming some human beings in order that many more can live in peace and pursue their lawful ambitions and desires. Nonetheless, that is an immutable fact of existence. Government policy that attempts to deny it is not merely incompetent and naive, but ultimately suicidal. A culture that elevates compassion above all other values like responsibility, accountability, prudence, process and proportion is betting everything on the inherent goodness and rationality of humanity. History tells us it’s a losing bet.

When I woke up to the horrible news of the Paris attacks, and after I had finished simultaneous laughing and crying about the fact that President Obama picked yesterday to proclaim that the threat of ISIS had been “contained,” it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of the crises this nation struggles with today are  linked by the same cultural and leadership malady. The United States increasingly is unwilling to accept the reality that governance is utilitarian, and that punishment, deterrence, sacrifice, pain, retaliation and accountability are indispensable tools that must be used and used unapologetically. The alternative is chaos, and chaos is what we are facing.

An impressive number of these crises have been in the news this week: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Ohio Governor John Kasich

“[T]he most important thing is, what does the Lord want me to do with my life?”

Potential GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, explaining what considerations will determine whether or not he enters the race.

"Governor? It's for you."

“Governor? It’s for you.”

There is so much wrong with Kasich saying this that the only question now is whether it disqualifies him for elected office.

I guess that’s excessive, though. In a political culture in which Hillary Clinton is considered qualified to be President, almost no one can be truly disqualified. Anything goes, as long as you are wearing the right team colors.

If the Founders knew their democracy would come to this, I think they would have decided to just submit to King George’s tyranny.

Kasich is a skilled governor, just as he was an outstanding House member in a crowd of Republican embarrassments during the Bush years. Then he tried being a talking head for Fox, and had the integrity to quit in disgust. He seemed to have the qualities necessary to elevate the Republican presidential field.

Guess not:

1. He is pandering. The GOP evangelicals and religious right have a lot of power and influence, and they are the only ones who could possibly take Kasich’s statement seriously. “Ah!” they will say, or so Kasich’s shameless advisors have convinced him, “He’s one of us! He believes that weather disasters are visted upon us because of America’s sins! He believes that women belong barefoot and pregnant, that Adam was ducking dinosaurs, that school prayer will cure our ills…that good people ought to be able to shun and exclude the sinful by refusing to sell them services that they provide to everyone else, and that homos are the spawn of Satan.” The statement that Kasich is dictated to by God hints that he thinks a theocracy is hunky-dory. Hey, look at Iran!

2. He is lying. Or he is deranged.

3. The belief that God is likely to choose you as a leader of the most powerful nation on earth is so devoid of humility and so unfair to and disrespectful of the democratic process that it boggles the mind.

4. It avoids personal accountability.

5. The statement is a declaration of incompetence and fecklessness. What other decisions will President Kasich place in God’s hands, or blame on Him when they turn out to be duds?

6. Waiting for God to declare the right course is an intentional abdication of ethics for the moral direction on others, or, if you prefer, Others.

 God made you say that, John, so you would not be President. You have your answer.

Dummy.

 

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