Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2021: Fake News, Fake Religion, Fake Competence…And Maybe Fake Accusations, Not That It Seems To Matter

Tonight, starting at 6 pm, EST, I’ll be facilitating a three hours CLE seminar via (yecchh) Zoom for the D.C. Bar. You can use the credits for other bars’ mandatory ethics requirements, so if you need them, I’d love to have you in the group. It’s all interactive, of course. I’ve been doing a year end legal ethics wrap-up, usually a re-boot of a seminar I present earlier in the year, for, oh, almost 20 years now. It’s not too late to register. The information is here, along with a promotional video I made a few months ago. They say video takes away 15 pounds of hair…

On the Christmas movie front: one Christmas movie that needs no ethics critique is 1947’s “The Bishop’s Wife,” an inexplicably under-seen classic film starring Cary Grant (as a very un-Clarence-like angel), Loretta Young and David Niven. It is as good as any of the Christmas classics and better than most, with a religious undertone that is missing from most of the others. In its time, “The Bishop’s Wife” was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture. Grant’s performance is especially deft, as he walks an extremely thin line, both in the plot and in his interpretation of the character. I was wondering last night why it hasn’t been remade, but it was: there is a 1996 musicalized version directed by Penny Marshall with Denzel Washington replacing Grant, Courtney Vance taking over for Niven, and Whitney Houston as a singing version of Loretta Young’s character. Justifiable remakes of classic films have to have a “why,” and this one’s justification was apparently that every classic with white stars has to be remade with black ones, or something. The reason I had never heard of it is that the film was generally regarded as inferior to the original, but I am going to have to track it down now and see for myself.

1. Believe all women/accusers/”survivors”… And if a career and a life is ruined unjustly, well, you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette, right? Chris Noth of “Law and Order,” “Sex in the City” and “The Good Wife” fame is now out of a job, having been fired from his supporting role on the CBS/Universal series “The Equalizer.” The reason: a Hollywood Reporter story revealed allegations of sexual assault against Noth by two as yet un-named women, one who says Noth sexually assaulted her in 2004 in Los Angeles, and another who alleges he assaulted her in his New York apartment in 2015.

Jeez, you’d think he had been nominated for the Supreme Court or something. Noth has denied the accusations, but never mind: they are enough, before any investigation, any trial, even any identification of the accusers, to get him “cancelled.”

Seems unfair, somehow….

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From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files…White Male Conservative Smirk Bad, Black Female Democrat Smirk Good!

The definition of a “smirk”, I see as I peruse several dictionary definitions, is a condescending, smug, conceited or silly smile, universally regarded as obnoxious, rude and annoying. Thus the expression caught in an instant on the face of a teenage Catholic school student as a Native American activist intentionally confronted him, blocked his way and banged his drum within inches of his face was deemed by multiple commentators and pundits from progressive news organizations—that is to say, news organizations—to make the kid’s face “punchable.”

Examination of the video revealed that Nick Sandmann was not, in fact, smirking at all, but smiling awkwardly because human beings don’t have appropriate expressions pre-programmed for “old Indian jerk starts chanting and beating a drum in your face without any discernible reason when you have no clear avenue of escape.”

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True in 2018, Truer Now: “Admit It, Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, “The Resistance,” The Left, Or Whatever You Call Yourselves: You’re The Bad Guys”

The title in quotes above was attached to this post, nearly two years ago. It began,

In “Falling Down.” a movie I like better every time I see it (or think about it), Michael Douglas plays a man who snaps, Sweeney Todd-like, and begins shooting people after the collective injustice, meanness, cruelty, stress and stupidity of daily life becomes unbearable. Finally cornered, he hears a law enforcement officer demand his surrender. “I’m the bad guy?” he says, in a stunning moment of self-awareness. “How did that happen?”

We’re still waiting for that moment of self-awareness from the Left. How it happened in their case is a matter of historical record: accumulated arrogance, cynicism and the rejection of their own ideology’s core principles–you know, liberalism?—did the trick. What was left was pure power-seeking, anger, hate, and “the ends justifies the means,” the “ethic” of fascism and totalitarianism.

That post was triggered by the disgusting assault on the character of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. I thought that was as low as they could go. I was wrong.

Today I learned from Prof. Turley about an example of the Left’s shameless corruption that I would not have dreamed of even when I wrote those words (Before I go further, let me also repeat a footnote from that post, which read,” I am not playing the game I have had commenters play, protesting that there is no monolithic “Left” and that progressives are not necessarily Democrats, who are not socialists, and that “the resistance” and antifa are distinct, while the news media isn’t political.  Baloney. When these groups and their leadership show any independence and stop supporting the monolithic unethical conduct all of these components of the left have engaged in since November, 2016, I’ll begin taking that complaint more seriously.)

The GW law professor saw this Facebook exchange:

Crankshaw is a staffer with the ACLU. Tompkins is an Assistant Professor and Diversity Scholar at Transylvania University, where Sandmann will be attending. Turley wrote in part… Continue reading

‘All You Need Is Hate, Hate—Hate Is All You Need’…The Sequel!

That was the title of a post on February 19. That title is appropriate now, and so is the beginning of that post…

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”

It is ironic that President Richard Nixon’s most profound quote, an ethics quote, in fact, should have come as he left the Presidency, in his farewell remarks immediately after resigning his office in 1974 as impeachment and removal seemed unavoidable. It is doubly ironic that his words so prophetically apply at this moment to the target of his own hate that destroyed Nixon, the Democratic Party.

That the entire, ugly spectacle of a great political party shredding its own ideals and capitulating to unreasoning, all-consuming hate as its sole reason for being is not a new observation at Ethics Alarms, but it has reached its apotheosis… the final, total corruption of the party that once styled itself as the herals of peace and love was cleared and paved once Democrats, pushed by the fanatics of the “resistance,” abandoned policy commitment and fealty to America ideals and principles. The party devoted its energy and passion to making its attack on Donald Trump entirely personal, betting that never ceasing ad hominem rhetoric abetted by the now almost completely submissive left-biased media would be sufficient to bring down the Trump Presidency, hopefully without the messiness of an election, but if not, then at the polls in November.

Never before has  the brief for defeating an incumbant President been based on sheer hatred and little else. The reason why this is true becomes more evident every day, for Nixon was right. Hate is destroying the soul of the Democratic Party and its members. Its  strategy of employing the  atomic version of the politics of personal destruction, which the decried during the Clinton years, has torn the country apart to an extent that may have rendered it ungovernable.

There! Thank you, February Jack! You just saved August Jack the trouble of composing over 300 words. Now let’s talk about the hate assault of the Democratic allies..

  • Bette Midler. What a great talent she was, and what a vile creep she is. Midler is also typical of the Hollywood elite and once-elite—who constantly show why performers should shut up and reform. They are, however, fine examples of their non-famous compadres on social media. Here was Midler’s tweet about Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

Hypocrisy is the coin of the realm up and down the Democratic Party. These fake progressives weep for the plight of illegal immigrants who avoid sufficient involvement in American society to speak English at all. Yet they think they can seamlessly use insults  they would declare racist, sexist or otherwise proof of some form of cancel-worthy bigotry if they issued from a Republican, conservative, or heaven forfend, the President, and yet turn around and employ the same weaponized verbiage against those domestic enemies” (per Nancy Pelosi) with impunity. Continue reading

The Ethics Vacuum That Is CNN’s Brian Stelter

Brain Stelter probably finishes no higher than third in CNN’s “Unprofessional and unethical broadcast journalists who any trustworthy news organization would fire but since CNN isn’t trustworthy it won’t” sweepstakes. Nonetheless, he is shockingly and consistently ethics free, which is particularly grotesque for an alleged media ethics critic. You can read the ugly  Ethics Alarms Stelter dossier here.

He’s also, in addition to being a 24-7 ethics dunce, not very bright.

D.C. attorney Mark Zaid (who also has an Ethics Alarms file!) tweeted this regarding the Washington Post’s settlement of the $250 million defamation suit filed against it by Nick Sandmann:

Being a dolt, Stelter probably thought it would be cute to retweet it, so he did. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/25/2020: The Congressional Playpen And Other Embarrassments

Good Morning!

Bulgaria has a holiday called “July Morning” that celebrates freedom, friendship, and love of life.

Maybe I’ll move to Bulgaria…

1. I cannot believe this doesn’t alienate more people than it pleases. I watched the Red Sox-Orioles game last night to open the Strangest Baseball Season Ever in Boston, and would have enjoyed it completely ( the Sox won 13-2) had I not had to constantly avert my eyes from the Red Sox management’s ostentatious virtue signaling, if you can call it that, since pandering to Black Lives Matter is far from virtuous.

Not only was the special BLM MLB logo at the back of the pitcher’s mound (BLM MLB is a palindrome!), but the full Black Lives Matter name was emblazoned on a banner, about 250 feet long, across the empty bleachers.

I’d love to know how many Red Sox executives, or if any of them, actually know what the “movement” the team is pimping for intends. My guess is that the decision to promote BLM was a cynical go along to get along decision that had nothing to do with substance, but rather was made in fear and expediency.

2. On the Fox News harassment accuser. The sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Tucker Carlson by Cathy Areu now appears to have fatal flaws. Continue reading

CNN Settles With Nick Sandmann

Nick Sandmann and CNN agreed today to a settlement in the teen’s defamation lawsuit as a result of the news media’s demonization of him and his fellow students after a videoed confrontation with Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist, outside the Lincoln Memorial. Sandmann and his schoolmates had participated in the  March for Life in Washington, D.C., and the news media reported that the video showed boys wearing MAGA caps harassing Philips. Narrative: Racist young Trump supporters abuse an elderly Native American. Sandmann was singled out because a still photo appeared to show him smirking in a condescending manner at the  man.

Another video and eyewitness accounts demonstrated that Phillips was the obnoxious aggressor, pushing into the school group waiting for its bus and beating hisdrum inches from Sandmann’s face, while the boys were subjected to racist  taunts from members of the Black Hebrew Israelites.

Eventually some journalists and  public figures  had to recant their public characterization of Sandmann as a smug racist, but not before he had become a public villain. Even his school, acting solely on press reports, condemned him.  Some journalists refused to admit that they had been wrong–wearing a MAGA cap was proof enough of bad character— or that Sandmann and his friends had been wronged.

Sandman’s lawyer, L. Lin Wood,filed a $250 million suit against CNN for sending into “millions of homes” the “idea that [Sandmann] was part of a mob…yelling racist slurs.” Still pending are similar suits on Sandmann’s behalf against NBCUniversal and  the Washington Post. Continue reading

And Yet Another Evening Ethics Watch, 10/29/2019, Because Everything Has Been Upside Down At ProEthics Lately…

Good evening again.

We’ll have to stop meeting like this.

1. Can’t make up my mind if I want there to be disastrous botched ball/strike call in Game 6 of the World Series or not. It will take one of those—a bad call that turns the game and eventually the World Series around to get MLB off its metaphorical butt and force it to establish an electronic pitch-calling system. Of course, it is worth noting that one of the most devastating wrong umpire calls in history stole a World Series away from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, and it took another 30 years for baseball to adopt an instant replay system that would have reversed it.

Don Denkinger was the first base umpire in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series in Kansas City.  The St. Louis Cardinals led the home team Royals by 3 games to 2, and tooka 1–0 lead in the 8th inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Jorge Orta, the leadoff batter for the Royals, hit a slow roller to Cards first baseman Jack Clark. Clark tossed the ball to his pitcher, Todd Worrell, who was covered first base. Orta was out by half a step, but Denkinger called Orta safe, even though television replays and photographs clearly showed that he was out by half a step. Orta eventually scored, allowing the Royals to go  on to win Game 6 by the score of 2–1.

Denkinger was the home plate umpire in the Series-deciding Game 7, apparently driving the angry Cardinals mad. Denkinger ultimately ejected both Herzog and pitcher Joaquín Andújar in the fifth inning, as the game deteriorated into Royals rout,  11–0 . Denkinger accepted that he had made a terrible call, but as was the ethics in baseball at the time, took the position that such mistakes were an unavoidable part of the game. In  aftermath of the 1985 World Series, Denkinger death threats, from Cardinals fans. Two St. Louis disc jockeys doxxed him, giving out the umpire’s telephone number and home address. He was a well-regarded umpire, who at 83 years of age will still sign photographs of “the Call” when asked.

I guess I don’t want to see another umpire suffer Denkinger’s  fate tonight. It is inevitable that there will be a bad call of a strike or ball that makes an umpire a lifelong pariah, unless baseball locks that barn door as soon as possible. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/27/19: Updates And News!

Saturday morning came!!

At points yesterday I was beginning to have doubts…

1. A win’s a win, and right is right, but the ACLU outs itself again.  In the wake of the SCOTUS 5-4 decision to let stand the executive order reallocating funds for a wall to address the national emergency at the border and allow construction to commence, the ACLU flagged its own bias (though it is supposed to be non-partisan) by referring to the wall in a statement as “xenophobic.”

Its lawsuit was based on alleged environmental harm risked by the wall’s construction, but the use of that word, a deliberately dishonest characterization that can only mean an endorsement of open borders , proves that the lawsuit is a sham, using environmental concerns to mask a pro-illegal immigration agenda, which most of the public opposes….as they should.

Merits of the wall aside, the game Democrats are playing with this issue, calling for undefined “comprehensive immigration reform” while opposing enforcement and refusing to recognize a genuine emergency to keep the President from a political victory, is electoral suicide. (Yet most of the field of Democratic challengers have endorsed decriminalization of border breaching, which is like an invitation to invade. Madness. Even Hispanic-Americans oppose this.)

A blind pig can find a truffle or two, and on this existential issue, the President has law, history, sovereignty, the national interest and common sense on his side.

2.  A clueless harasser gets a second chance.   Neil deGrasse Tyson, the pop-culture astrophysicist who leads the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, has been cleared to continue in his job  after the museum competed  an investigation into three sexual misconduct accusations against him. Continue reading

Lunch Time Ethics Regurgitation, 4/11/2019: Meltdowns, Mistakes And More

Are you hungry for some ethics???

1. Good! Julian Assange was arrested yesterday after Ecuador withdrew its protection of him, which has gone on for six years. His defense will apparently be that he’s a journalist, and published true information. It’s still illegal to publish classified documents, and I doubt this will stand up, but even if he is legally cleared, the ethics verdict is easy. His objective was to cause chaos, and he knowingly got people killed. He facilitated a flat-out traitor with poor, sad, dumb, confused Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning. Even the good Wikileaks did by exposing the corruption and rot in the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s orbit doesn’t begin to mitigate his status as an ethics villain. (See: The Ruddigore Fallacy)

2. Stop making me defend Rep. Omar! Republicans and conservative media are having a meltdown (we’ll get to the Left’s meltdown in a bit) because loose cannon Democratic Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) referred to the 9/ll terrorist murders occurring because “some people did something.” This is exactly the kind of “gotcha!” President Trump has been attacked with repeatedly, almost daily, because he uses words with the care and precision of an infant playing with matches. The trick is to choose the most negative intention and meaning imaginable—and sometimes not imaginable  without dishonest spin—and then to launch that damning meaning into the public discourse. It stinks, and the method stinks whether the speaker is the President or a rogue, anti-Semite Democrat.  An example of the smear used against Trump was some news media and my Facebook Trump-Deranged friends claiming that this, in a tweet complaining about Saturday Night Live, was a serious call for a federal investigation:

…Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia!

 

Bias makes you stupid. Continue reading