Now THIS Is The Streisand Syndrome: The Strange Saga Of Professor Bruce Hay

You have to go to the links; I can’t do justice to this story without giggling. Primarily, I want to highlight this epic mess because it’s the best example of the Streisand Effect ever, a situation where an attempt to seek redress for an alleged smear brings more publicity to negative details about the supposed victim far beyond  anything the original conduct could have. To make the fiasco more juicy still, here is a Harvard Law professor revealing himself as an utter fool, and engaging in a frivolous—that is, unethical— attempt to use “sexual harassment” to apply to “you used your feminine whiles to manipulate me, and I fell for it.”

Sexual harassment doesn’t mean that.

The hilariously baroque story involves… Continue reading

“The Great Stupid” Chronicles: Dumb Tweet, Unintelligent “Intelligencer”

Richard Spoor, he tells us, is a public interest lawyer with a special interest in land reform, mines and communities and compensation for occupational diseases, and a “militant non-racialist,” whatever that means. His tweet is addled in so many ways:

  • The fate of these two lawyers turned terrorists is no more “sad” than any story of previously law-abiding citizens whose ethics alarms stop working as they knowingly break the law.
  • The fact that they are “young” makes it no more sad than if they were older, like 50. They’re not kids: both are over 30. They cannot claim immaturity or lack of experience. My son nearly ruined his life with a terrible, spur of the moment decision that could have killed him and others, but he was a teenaged male. He was also lucky.  Truly young people like he was wreck their lives with bad decisions every day. That’s sad. Adults doing it is something else.
  • Participating in a riot and throwing a Molotov cocktail is not the act of an “idealistic” person by definition. Breaking the law, engaging in violence, and trying to destroy property for no good reason does not embody “ideals.” They embody the opposite of ideals. If the two lawyers  were really idealistic, this wouldn’t have happened.
  • They didn’t “get wrapped up” in BLM’s racist movement, they joined it. It isn’t something that just happened to them.
  • “Moment of madness” is another version of Rationalization #19, The Perfection Diversion, or “Nobody’s Perfect!” and “Everybody makes mistakes!” People don’t suddenly throw Molotov cocktails and go “Ooopsie! What was I thinking?” That’s not “a mistake,” it is the culmination of many intentional acts leading up to a serious crime.

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/28/2017: The Worst Defense Of Roy Moore Ever!

Good Morning!

1 The Dumbest Moore Defense Ever Told! Debating with Chris Cuomo on CNN yesterday morning, Breitbart senior editor Joel Pollak made the following argument in defense of  Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore:

“You know, in 1973 Ringo Starr hit number one on the Billboard charts with the song, ‘You’re 16, you’re beautiful, and you’re mine,. He was 30-something at the time singing about a 16-year-old — you want to take away Ringo Starr’s achievement?”

He really did.

2. Sally Yates and James Comey are happy, anyway. Leandra English, the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, argues that the Dodd-Frank Act makes her the lawful the acting director of the agency in a lawsuit she has filed  against President Trump, who also has the law on his side. He appointed Mick Mulvaney, currently Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, as acting director to replace Richard Cordray, who appears to have resigned explicitly to foil the President’s ability to appoint his own choice to head the CFBP. Now there is mess triggered by a rare, genuine example of two statutes with authority over the same situation.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion that says the Dodd-Frank Act does not displace the President’s authority to appoint under the Vacancies Reform Act. Either statute can be invoked. “We cannot view either statute as more mandatory than the other,” the opinion says. “Rather, they should be construed in parallel.”

Of course, employees of the Executive Branch are ethically obligated to defer to the President of the United States, but this President is handicapped by a thick muck of arrogant holdovers from the Obama Administration, who think it is appropriate to sabotage and undermine a leader whom they do not approve of. This is indefensible.

The lack of the basic deference and respect all elected Presidents should be able to depend upon that so many of the previous administration’s personnel have displayed is an indictment of the Democratic Party’s principles, integrity, fairness, patriotism and respect for process. This is how this story should be reported, too, and would be, by a competent and ethical news media. Continue reading

Ethics Verdict: Hillary Clinton Is The Worst Loser In US Presidential History (PART I)

Yes, having to write this post makes me feel like Michael Corleone in “Godfather III.”

I considered giving Hillary her well-earned Worst Presidential Election Loser award after her embarrassing Commencement speech at Wellesley, but the wag who wrote “Why did Hillary dress up like Monica Lewinsky at Wellesley? to accompany this photo…

…made me laugh, and in my lightened state decided, “Nah! Why bother? Leave the poor woman alone.”

For I do feel sorry for Hillary Clinton. I feel sorry for anyone who loses the Presidency despite winning the popular vote. I would think it could drive someone crazy. In the play “Inherit the Wind,” there is a scene in which the wife of Matthew Harrison Brady (a thinly-disguised fictional avatar for three time Presidential loser William Jennings Bryan) begs for sympathy for her blow-hard husband, asking a critic to imagine what it must be like to have a Presidential election victory speech written and in his pocket three separate times and to never get to deliver it. Well, knowing you received the most votes and still can’t give the speech has to be much, much worse.

Then came yesterday’s orgy of excuses and recriminations as Clinton, looking and sounding angry and bitter, was interviewed at a tech conference hosted by Recode’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. And she puuuulled me back!

So now I have to review Hillary’s revolting and self-indicting Blame Everyone tour. Let’s begin by stating that no defeated Presidential candidate has ever done anything like this before, not even Richard Nixon. Nixon’s poor loser meltdown was after he lost the California Governor’s race in 1962. When he lost to Kennedy in 1960, his conduct was exemplary, refusing to demand a recount even when there was evidence, as there frequently was with the Kennedys, of shady operations. For a loser to engage in repeated recriminations and bitter pronouncements less than a year after losing is unprecedented. It is also —and forgive me for repeating myself from prior posts–disgusting, despicable and shameful for a defeated candidate to join a “resistance” against the lawfully elected winner. This is especially true in Clinton’s case, when she furiously condemned candidate Trump for suggesting that he might not accept his defeat. Continue reading

Catching Up On “Instersectionality,” And Finally Paying Attention

There are more than 22,000 tags used here, even if you eliminate the duplicates due to my typo problem, and still  “intersectionality” is not among them. I have seen the term, mostly recently, but only in contexts that led me to dismiss it as leftist, scholarly jargon, the kind of word radicals throw around to confuse their opposition and make people think they are intellectual when they are really arguing nonsense. I wasn’t wrong: it is one of those words. Still, it is a useful one, because it helps explain several phenomena of great importance, which can be collectively described as the increasing totalitarian tilt of the political left, especially since the election of Donald Trump. I should have realized the importance of the word long  ago and investigated: I apologize. Bias makes me  stupid too.

Over at New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan had one of his lucid moments—when he can bypass his anger at anti-gay attitudes (the bias that makes HIM stupid), Sullivan can be brilliant—, and delivered a perceptive essay about “intersectionality,” beginning with the recent disgrace on the Middlebury College campus, where a student protest designed to prevent sociologist Charles Murray from speaking turned into a violent riot, injuring a professor. Do read all of Sullivan’s article, but here are some key passages:

[W]hat grabbed me was the deeply disturbing 40-minute video of the event, posted on YouTube. It brings the incident to life in a way words cannot. At around the 19-minute mark, the students explained why they shut down the talk, and it helped clarify for me what exactly the meaning of “intersectionality” is.

“Intersectionality” is the latest academic craze sweeping the American academy. On the surface, it’s a recent neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity — such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. — but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power. At least, that’s my best attempt to define it briefly. But watching that video helps show how an otherwise challenging social theory can often operate in practice.

It is operating, in Orwell’s words, as a “smelly little orthodoxy,” and it manifests itself, it seems to me, almost as a religion. It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others. To overcome this sin, you need first to confess, i.e., “check your privilege,” and subsequently live your life and order your thoughts in a way that keeps this sin at bay. The sin goes so deep into your psyche, especially if you are white or male or straight, that a profound conversion is required….

Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse. It enforces manners. It has an idea of virtue — and is obsessed with upholding it. The saints are the most oppressed who nonetheless resist. The sinners are categorized in various ascending categories of demographic damnation, like something out of Dante. The only thing this religion lacks, of course, is salvation. Life is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It’s Marx without the final total liberation.

It operates as a religion in one other critical dimension: If you happen to see the world in a different way, if you’re a liberal or libertarian or even, gasp, a conservative, if you believe that a university is a place where any idea, however loathsome, can be debated and refuted, you are not just wrong, you are immoral. If you think that arguments and ideas can have a life independent of “white supremacy,” you are complicit in evil. And you are not just complicit, your heresy is a direct threat to others, and therefore needs to be extinguished. You can’t reason with heresy. You have to ban it. It will contaminate others’ souls, and wound them irreparably….Murray’s old work on IQ demonstrates no meaningful difference between men and women, and Murray has long supported marriage equality. He passionately opposes eugenics. He’s a libertarian. But none of that matters. Intersectionality, remember? If you’re deemed a sinner on one count, you are a sinner on them all. If you think that race may be both a social construction and related to genetics, your claim to science is just another form of oppression. It is indeed hate speech….This matters, it seems to me, because reason and empirical debate are essential to the functioning of a liberal democracy. We need a common discourse to deliberate. We need facts independent of anyone’s ideology or political side, if we are to survive as a free and democratic society. Trump has surely shown us this. And if a university cannot allow these facts and arguments to be freely engaged, then nowhere is safe. Universities are the sanctuary cities of reason. If reason must be subordinate to ideology even there, our experiment in self-government is over.

This outburst was apparently too much for Andrew, his old libertarian/conservative persona emerging full-force after a long hiatus, so his piece suddenly shifts into a standard issue anti-Trump rant. It’s fascinating to see, because Andrew apparently hates the President so much that he can’t perceive that the same antipathy created by “intersectionality” that he rebuts regarding Murray (after all, Sullivan is friends with Murray), applies to the President (whom he detests) as well. The proof is how Trump’s misogyny and opposition to illegal immigration has led the Left to presume that he is racist, classist and homophobic as well. He’s not. But, to quote Sullivan against himself, “But none of that matters. Intersectionality, remember? If you’re deemed a sinner on one count, you are a sinner on them all.”

Thus Sullivan pivots to blaming all of the social and political tilt he correctly deems as dangerous on Donald Trump, and in doing so, he becomes the partisan hack he so often appears to be: Continue reading

“The 2016 Election Is a Disaster Without a Moral”? Only If You’re In Denial, Mr. Chait!

That should be "lessons," plural...

That should be “lessons,” plural...

The many outbursts of  liberal anger, resentment, accusations and denial over the election have been revealing, and not in a good way. Few have been as directly and stubbornly misguided and biased, however, as the current New York Magazine article by Jonathan Chait, with the clickbait title, “The 2016 Election Is a Disaster Without a Moral.”

It is, in essence, yet another example of Democrats attempting to argue away any accountability for their own misfortune, making Chait’s piece itself a denial of several moral lessons, such as “I am the architect of my own destiny,” “Take responsibility for your failures,” and “Don’t blame others for your own mistakes.” The post-election progressive freak-out, of which Chait is a part, also has a very important moral lesson in store, the one embodied in the Serenity Prayer authored by theologian and philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971):

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the  courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Clearly, this moral lesson is completely elusive, with pointless recounts underway supported by the Clinton campaign; round the clock complaining about the Electoral College, part of the 225 year-old rules of the game the Democrats accepted when they ran a candidate in the election; unethical and futile attempts intimidate electors or convince them to violate their vows;  embarrassingly infantile laments and near-breakdowns of whining students on college campuses,; and “Not My President!” protests and riots.

The lessons are there to learn, Jonathan, you just don’t want to learn them. He actually writes—and if this isn’t denial, I don’t know what is, “It is hard to think of an election defeat more singularly absent of important lessons.”  What??? To the contrary, it is hard to think of an election that taught more important lessons than this one. Continue reading

From the Dead Ethics Alarms Files: New York Magazine Reveals The Ugliness Beneath

eric-trump-heckled

New York Magazine saluted this treatment of Donald Trump’s son and his wife:

Last Thursday night, middle Trump-son Eric, 32, was out in New York City after leaving Quality Italian on 57th Street with wife Lara Yunaska when they reportedly ran into a gaggle of teens who recognized Trump and proceeded to heckle him.

As they crossed Sixth Avenue a group of about eight teens yelled, “Eric — fuck your father!” A more magnanimous heckler shouted, “Love Trumps Hate!”  Eric briefly turned to face them, but then moved on swiftly

The link online was promoted by the above graphic, saying that we should all “appreciate” that Trump and his wife were “heckled” by teens in public.

The more the left and and the media behave this way, the more it is dawning on fair and perceptive Americans how repulsive they are. These people were offended by Donald Trump and thought he was vulgar and boorish, yet they appreciate a man and his wife being harassed and verbally assaulted as they merely go about their lives? These are the people whining about how they are “in fear” of what a Trump administration might bring?

I fear people of influence who encourage punks to harass law-abiding people in public because of their last name or who their parents are.

From Ann Althouse regarding the same article: Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Jonathan Chait

I mean, what's not to like?

I mean, what’s not to like?

“One of the unfortunate habits overtaking the left is a tendency to conclude that any behavior that could plausibly be motivated by bigotry is likely motivated by bigotry.”

—-Liberal commentator Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, in his article, Are Biden-for-President Supporters All Sexist?”

Absolute Truth: My first reaction upon reading this: “No shit, Sherlock! What was your first clue?”

As I just wrote last week*, the entire Obama-enabling machine has been fueled by that premise for almost eight years, highlighted by claims last month by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) that Bejamin Netanyahu, believing that the Iran nuclear agreement is an existential threat to his nation (and he’s right, too), only took the extraordinary measure of addressing Congress because Obama is black. And no liberal pundit calls Clyburn out on this slur, this insulting and stupid slur. I haven’t checked Chait’s output over the last eight years, so I don’t know if or when he’s played that double-dealt card himself. Still, he deserves credit for honesty and a fair analysis that doesn’t reflect well on his colleagues. It is just irritating that he could and should have made the point long ago.

A second and third less-than-sober thought that quickly followed that first:

  • No, Biden supporters aren’t sexist.  They are insane.
  • Or desperate.

What prompted Chait’s ethical candor was this jaw-dropping article by Scott Lemieux at The Guardian. He really appears to think that there is no possible reason anyone would prefer Biden to Clinton. I mean, what could it be?

“In policy terms, Biden and Clinton are virtually identical. On domestic policy, they’re both moderate liberals who are too close to the financial service sectors in their home states. On foreign policy, they’re both moderate liberal hawks who voted for the Iraq War. It would be harder to name two major politicians with more similar policy profiles. If Biden is going to enter the race, it’s not because he disapproves of the direction in which Clinton is going to lead the country. And it’s hard to see any evidence that Biden is more electable.”

So, Lemieux concludes, the only possible explanation is that he has “one characteristic that makes him seem more “presidential” to too many journalists: a penis.”

Oh, that must be it! Not the fact that Clinton is a serial liar. Not the fact that she is a blatant influence peddler, a greedy hypocrite, a fake feminist, Bill Clinton’s enabler, a flop as Secretary of State, and completely untrustworthy by any measure.

These things don’t matter to auto-pilot progressives like Lemieux, because these strange and ethically disinterested people really don’t think character–or competence even—matters. As far as I can see, they would elect Machiavelli, Chauncey the Gardener, Lucretia Borgia or Jack the Ripper as long as they pledged to tax the rich, add more entitlements, open the boarders, make gun-owning nearly impossible, ban hate speech, open the jails and  protect “the right to choose” under all conditions. It’s amazing. Frightening too.

Lemieux shows how biased and deluded he is by making it clear that he thinks Hillary’s e-mail evasions show she is as pure as the driven snow, and that it’s the biased news media—that’s right, the news media is biased against the poor, innocent, misunderstood Clintons—that is causing her poll numbers to fall.

With zombie progressives like this guy, I can’t tell if he’s been brainwashed or is lying. He writes,

“In addition to the misogyny, there’s something else going on here: the Clinton rules, the media’s tendency to give much more attention to spurious allegations than to proof showing that the allegations are untrue. In late July, a New York Times story initially alleged that a criminal probe had been opened into Clinton’s emails during her tenure as Secretary of State. The only problem is that the story was botched 11 ways from Sunday. First, the story was changed to reflect the fact that there wasn’t a criminal probe and then changed again to reflect the fact that the non-criminal probe wasn’t about Clinton.”

Yes, the story was changed, you shameless hack, because the Times unethically took orders from the Clintons. The allegations about Clinton risking national security, violating government protocol, destroying e-mails she knew would be evidence and lying repeatedly about the matter are true beyond question.  Moreover, the FBI is investigating Clinton’s e-mail shenanigans, and the FBI investigates crimes. Several news sources have confirmed that it is a criminal probe, and of course such a probe is a probe of Hillary Clinton. This week several media volunteer spinners for Hillary, like the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie, kept emphasizing that it is the server that is being investigated, not its user. That’s right, Sanannah, you disgraceful biased hack, the FBI is going to arrest the server. Hillary is 100% responsible for the misuse of the e-mails and the violation of policy. Deal with it. Better yet, report it.

Yes, I know you don’t have a penis; never mind. Try being a journalist.

Arguing that the FBI is focusing on the server and not Hillary is exactly the same as saying that the SEC was investigating Bernie Madoff’s business but that Bernie wasn’t a target. It was his business—if the business broke the law, he did. If Clinton’s e-mail server broke the law, she did.

I must be a sexist, right, Scott Lemieux?

At least Jonathan Chait isn’t fooled.

Finally.

*“It all was seeded, of course, by the cynical strategy, developed even before Obama was elected, to characterize the same kind of criticism all recent Presidents have been subjected to as racially-motivated, even as this ill-prepared leader has lurched from one disaster to another, domestically and abroad. This was excellent for the goal of making sure that African Americans, whose fortunes have suffered more under this President than any other group, voted for skin-color over self interest in 2012. It has also been a social and cultural calamity. Still, the strategy continues.”

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: New York Magazine Columnist Frank Rich

Stay classy, Frank.

Stay classy, Frank.

Full disclosure: I went to college with Frank Rich. He gave me a rave review for a performance once. When he turned into the vicious, biased, hateful jerk he reveals himself to be in his not merely progressive but irrationally  hostile to conservatism op-ed columns and, prior to that, his vitriolic and hyper-critical theater reviews for the Times, I don’t know. Maybe if I had befriended him back then, he would not be the bitter misanthrope his is today. Maybe just an outstretched hand, a kind word, or a sharp, “Why don’t you stop being such a dick?” would have turned the tide of his life around. Alas, we shall never know.

Here is what Rich tweeted yesterday, upon learning of the guilty verdict handed down against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife:

Rich Tweet

Continue reading