Ethics Overview, 1/6/2021: Don’t Believe Women If They Are Married To Democrats, Helen Keller Is A Myth, Christmas Trees Are Yummy, And More!

Calvin And Hobbes Ethics

1. About the Georgia special elections:

  • I’d love to know why people who live in big cities run by incompetent Democratic mayors still happily vote for Democrats. Atlanta and its suburbs are driving the likely victory of both Democratic candidates, yet the mayor of Atlanta, like her counterparts in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and so many other Democratic strongholds is objectively terrible. Amazing. There is no accountability at all.
  • That said, none of the candidates for either party last night have much to recommend them except their party affiliations. I wouldn’t vote for Purdue, unless he were running against as bad a candidate as Ossoff, and maybe not even then. (From the December post on that race: “If the Republicans lose the Senate because enough voters are disgusted by this and refuse to trust a Senator who used his position to benefit financially, it is the party’s own fault. Republicans should police such conduct, and could. They apparently care more about their own riches than the fate of the nation.”)
  • Raphael Warnock’s win should kill any credibility #MeToo has for Democrats and progressives for good. He’s been accused of spousal abuse by his ex-wife, in a direct statement by her that would have prompted screams of indignation had he been a Republican. After Joe Biden’s win and now Warnock, Al Franken must feel like the biggest dupe on Earth. And he should.
  • Would the GOP have at least won one of the two Senate seats in Georgia had not the President been unable to restrain his inner asshole for a few weeks in the interests of his party and the nation? I think so.

2. Madness! Madness! I keep reading in multiple sources about how there is growing support for a national 15 dollar-an-hour minimum wage, as President-Elect Biden proclaims his support for the measure. With the disastrous shutdowns across the country killing small businesses and the restaurant industry in particular, this is the worst possible time to mandate an increase in restaurants’ expenses, but I’m sure it will happen anyway though it is irresponsible and incompetent.

Continue reading

Musings On The State Of Mind Of Your Friendly Neighborhood Ethicist

Gloom

There are three reasons I just sat down to try to write the first Ethics Warm-Up in three days. The first is that the new, mandatory WordPress format makes it too difficult to create a post on my laptop, so I have to retreat to my office, a larger screen and my more responsive PC to compose, requiring me to abandon my wife and my dog. The second is, frankly, that writing posts just isn’t fun when I have to struggle with software that is actively impeding me.

The third is that I am increasingly feeling as if the fate of the United States of America rests on its citizens being responsible, becoming informed and realizing what awaits them and the nation if the Democrats seize power—and I do mean seize—and I feel as if what I do here is the equivalent of pointing out dolphins, flying fish and sunsets from the decks of the Titanic.

Oh, all right: I’m also boycotting baseball, which has been one of my greatest sources of joy and inspiration since childhood.

Almost nobody I know well or have met face to face reads Ethics Alarms. My family doesn’t, except for Grace. My son doesn’t; most of my friends don’t: I’m only aware of a couple. I did have a nice encounter this week when a neighbor I had never met called out my name, near my home: he recognized me from the photo on the blog and Spuds, whom I was walking at the time.

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Sunset Ethics, 9/30/2020: Conflicts Of Interest, Sexual Harassment, Movies And Lies

1. Conflicts of interest on my mind. I narrowly averted a disastrous conflict of interest yesterday out of pure moral luck, so the topic is much on my mind; I’m still distracted by the near miss. Professionally, it was the equivalent of almost being picked off by a bus.

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg reacted to the death of Justice Ginsburg with an essay on her 48-year friendship with RBG, saluting Ginsburg’s “extraordinary character.” That’s funny: Totenberg never told NPR’s listeners, nor did  NPR, that she had a personal relationship with the Justice, despite being charged with covering the Court and critiquing its decisions.  Kelly McBride, NPR’s public editor and senior vice president of the Poynter Institute, threw a metaphorical ethics foul flag,

“In failing to be transparent about Totenberg’s relationship with Ginsburg over the years, NPR missed two opportunities,”she wrote on the NPR website. “First, NPR leaders could have shared the conversations they were having and the precautions they were taking to preserve the newsroom’s independent judgment,” McBride said. “Second, having those conversations in front of the public would have sharpened NPR’s acuity in managing other personal conflicts of interest among its journalists.”

Ginsburg, who officiated at Totenberg’s wedding in 2000. Nonetheless, the correspondent,  who wears her progressive bias on her sleeve as it is, denied that the conflict compromised to her journalism, telling  the Washington Post that NPR’s listeners benefited from ther friendship because it gave her greater insight into and Ginsburg’s  thinking.

And that justifies keeping the relationship secret from listeners how, Nina?

2. From the “When ethics alarms don’t work” files: Lawyer Phillip Malouff Jr. of La Junta, Colorado, was censured for a series of episodes of unprofessional behavior and sexual harassment.

In November 2016, Malouff  winked at a magistrate judge and said, “When you get back from your vacation, I better be able to see your tan lines.” When he visiting the same magistrate’s chambers to discuss scheduling matters, he  said, according to the female judge,: “Ask your husband a question for me when you get home tonight. Ask him what it’s like to have relations with someone who wears the robe. It has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but there have never been any women judges until now.”

Malouff  was informed that his comments were unprofessional and a violation of the Colorado Judicial Department’s anti-harassment policy. Ya think?

In July 2019, Malouff asked a judicial assistant to check whether the mother in a parental rights hearing had an outstanding warrant. When the assistant replied, “She is good.” Malouff  responded, “Her husband told me that she is good.

Wink wink, nudge nudge. Continue reading

Big Lie #4 Has Never Looked So Desperate…

“Repeat after me: Our riots are all Trump’s fault! It’s all Trump’s fault! He’s a raaaacist! A raaacist!”

As noted here more than once last week, Democrat/”resistance”/mainstream news media (The AUC) attacks on President Trump are becoming more shrill and desperate, and I expect them to keep getting more so as November approaches. They really appear to be going with the “The riots that have taken place overwhelmingly in Democrat-run cities having been organized by Black Lives Matter (a Democratic party endorsed group) and inflamed by the antifa (an anti-Trump domestic terrorist group) after being provoked by police-involved incidents in those Democratic Party-run cities are President Trump’s fault!” They really are. Well, good luck with that! It’s an all-in bet that the American public is made up of morons.

I’ll take that bet, and so will Abe Lincoln.

The panic and hysteria—it turns out that those polls showing Joe Biden winning by a lap despite his many problems weren’t so solid after all! ARGHHHHHH!—has caused, naturally, a stamped to the Big Lie store, the inventory of which is listed here.

Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler grabbed himself an armful of  Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist,”  the first and one of the most popular,  unconscionable and predictable of the Big Lies (and it is a lie, as explained in detail at the link above). Then he revealed just how ridiculous he is yesterday, saying in part as he attempted to blame his own city’s riots on the President,

“President Trump, for four years, we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people, we learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women,We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We’ve had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists. We’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats. And we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants. We’ve listened to you label Mexicans — rapists. We’ve heard you say that John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a prisoner of war. And now you’re attacking Democratic mayors and the very institutions of democracy that have served this nation well since its founding. Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division. President Trump, you bring no peace. You bring no respect to our democracy. You, Mr. President, need to do your job as the leader of this nation. I, Mr. President, will do my job as the mayor of this city. We will both be held accountable as we should. I’m calling out every other elected official in Oregon to join me. Not only in defeating racism but helping me to stop the violence as we are and will continue to be held accountable by all of our residents.”

I hate being blunt and vulgar, but what an asshole! Continue reading

Censorship, Indoctrination And Intimidation Watch, Part I [Corrected]

Not my meme, but it fits!

Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley has been on what for him qualifies as a rampage lately, condemning efforts from the Left  to intimidate and punish anyone who isn’t in lockstep with its current agenda. Those nay-sayers are  racists and hate-mongers, you see.

Turley is always labeled a “liberal professor” by the conservative media, and once that would have been an accurate description. He, however, has remained true to his ideals while his party (he is, or was, a Democrat) and its allies moved sharply in the direction of leftist totalitarianism. Dissent on the Left or opposing the Left is no longer countenanced in most universities, in news organizations,  even in business and non-profit organizations. When Turley made legal mincemeat out of the Democratic argument for impeachment, students at American University tried to get him fired.

Turley believes in academic freedom to the extreme, as well as the First Amendment, of course, and he is properly alarmed to see professors (and others) facing institutional hostility or worse because of non-conforming views. I’ll discuss some of his recent targets in Part 2.

He  hasn’t covered this story so far. Continue reading

What A Coincidence! Chris Matthews Breaks Ranks With The Far Left, And Now He’s Accused of Sexual Harassment!

Oh, I’m sure these are unrelated occurrences, just like it was a coincidence that a progressive college professor suddenly sort-of remembered a school days attempted sexual assault by teenaged Brett Kavanaugh just in time to accuse him  during his Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings. You’re sure too, aren’t you? No progressive would be so vicious as to try to weaponize #MeToo to “cancel” an MSNBC pundit for pointing out that Bernie Sanders sounds like a crypto-Communist, right? Come on. How ruthless do you think these people are?

Hot on the heels of Chris Matthews reminding young, naive and ignorant MSNBC viewers who don’t know Khrushchev from Orange Crush that the Cold War was fought with people who have the same world view as Bernie Sanders, even comparing Bernie’s rise to the Nazis marching into Paris (THAT was a bit excessive, but Chris apologized), a progressive journalist suddenly decides that Chris’s long ago flirtatious bantering with her was, come to think of it,  really unwelcome, especially coming from someone who doesn’t trust Bernie. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/18/2020: ARRRGH!!!

Grrrr…

Well, that’s my reward for setting the all-time ethics Alarms record for posts yesterday (8): I wake up to find my desk top won’t connect to the internet, sending me into Verizon Customer Service Hell. Then the tech puts me in safe mode, where I can connect to WiFi, but my password stops working, and I can’t get out of safe mode. I’m doing this post on my laptop, or as it affectionately known on Ethics Alarms, the Typo Machine. Other asides:

  • The Get Well bouquet Other Bill sent my wounded wife on behalf of the blog’s commentariat after her fall finally withered after exactly three weeks. It brightened our home and her spirits, and we are very grateful.
  • We joke about Trump Derangement, but the phenomenon resembles an actual illness, unlike its predecessors, the Clinton, Bush and Obama Derangement Syndromes. What has changed is the news media, which feeds and magnifies the mob-mentality and blind hatred with its daily, sometimes hourly, click-bait outrage stories aimed at the President. The Deranged immediately post them to a throng of “likes,” spawning the usual insulting comments. Imagine, a daily game based on denigration of the President of the United States, played daily and gleefully by millions of Americans. It is not healthy, responsible, respectful, or fair.

1. Wow, the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal is  making people angrier as time goes on. MLB is taking measures to protect Astros players from retaliation from pitchers, as dark comments have been made about how the competition will inflict punishment on the cheating players even if Commissioner Rob Manfred has not. Yesterday, a poll participated in by thousands of baseball fans favored the Astros having to forfeit their 2017 World Championship by a three to one margin. (Please  recall that taking away the title was my recommendation when the scandal first broke.)

I also find it disturbing that while the Astros players and owner have been on an apology tour (though not a very effective one), deposed Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was identified by the MLB investigation as the mastermind behind the sign-stealing scheme, has said nothing–no confession, no apologies, no statements at all.

Another scandal related note: the MLB Network’s Brian Kenny expressed amazement at the difference between players angry reactions to the sign-stealing revelations and the way they closed ranks and largely refused to condemn the steroid cheats. “They say now that they weren’t playing on a level playing field with the Astros knowing what pitches were coming,” Kenny said. “Level playing field! What did they think was the situation when the batters were juicing?” Continue reading

Reality Check: There Is Nothing “Stunning,” “Immoral” Or Illegal About A Presidential Candidate Receiving Damaging Information About His Opponent From A Foreign Source, PART 2

[Part I is here]

As usual with most of the “It’s outrageous that the President would say/do that!” freak-outs, this one is rife with amnesia, double standards and hypocrisy.

III.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired a British operative to gather anti-Trump dirt—most of which appear to have been rumors and lies, but that doesn’t matter here–from Russian sources. This is indistinguishable legally, ethically and morally from accepting offered intelligence. A candidate’s agent—by law, the same as the candidate herself–sought and received adverse intelligence from foreign nationals. In truth, this is worse than the conduct Trump hypothesized to George, which involved a foreign national approaching him.

That is, however, not all. In July 2016, the Obama administration, in all respects supporting and favoring the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,  accepted unsolicited information from Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat who also helped arrange a $25 million government donation to the Clinton Foundation years before. Downer said that he had witnessed a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, bragging about some dirt that the Russians supposedly had on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The Obama administration gave this to the FBI which, in turn, used it to justify opening a counterintelligence case against the Republican nominee for president.

Summary:  The Democratic administration accepted dirt from a foreign friendly and used it to justify investigating its GOP rival. Continue reading

I Can’t Let THIS Pass…

[For some reason Gilbert and Sullivan quotes are running through my feeble mind this morning. The title is from “Yeomen of the Guard,” which I have directed. It’s not the best of the operettas (though it’s a great show), but it may have the finest score, and I figured out just a couple of weeks ago how to handle its famous shock ending. I hope I get a chance to stage it some day.]

 Michel Martin is the NPR host who in December of 2017 stabbed me in the back by permitting Professor Paul Butler’s on-the-air ambush in the middle of my (100% correct) explanation of how sexual harassment works, and then banned me from her show  because I didn’t sufficiently bolster her anti-Trump agenda. It was my fault…

I foolishly thought providing last minute, authoritative and free ethics commentary for her show for five years meant I could trust her to treat me fairly and with a modicum of respect.

Here was a recent exchange with with Harmeet Dhillon, committeewoman for California’s Republican National Committee, as Martin asked about her reaction to the Mueller report: Continue reading

New Week Morning Warm-Up, 3/4/19: Luck, Fairness, And Delusion

Looking forward to the best ethics week yet…

…but not really expecting it.

…Maybe I’ll get lucky.

1. A Progressive war on luck. Yesterday, NPR, which we all pay for, offered a long segment that was ostensibly about “luck,” but it actually was an extended argument for socialism and a political ad against President Trump. “One we move from talking about merit to concentrating on opportunity, then we have changed our focus from scarcity to abundance,” some Ted-talker said. “Then there is no need for walls.” The general thrust of the program, which included at least one speaker (I didn’t stay to hear all of the agitprop) who literally didn’t know what luck is, was that successful people think that hard work and talent is what got them where they are, when in reality it was all, or mostly luck. Thus the idea being pushed was that national policy should eliminate, or at least minimize, the effect of mere chance on human affairs. This means, once you read between the line, government distribution of resources, jobs and benefits to ensure the “fairness” that the random vicissitudes of cruel fate so often eschew.

As I touched on in a recent discussion of Clarence Darrow’s progressive principles, the rejection of personal responsibility and the very idea of free will has permeated progressiveness from its origins. It is, and has been, an anti-American construct that runs against the core principles the nation was founded on, but the theory has always appealed to those who welcome the opportunity to blame others, or just cruel Fate, for their own mistakes and failures.

That said, of course luck plays a massive and sometimes decisive role in our lives. That’s called “life.” Ironically, one of Clarence Darrow’s favorite poems (I know I have posted this before) makes the point:

Whist by Eugene Fitch Ware

Hour after hour the cards were fairly shuffled
And fairly dealt, but still I got no hand;
The morning came, and with a mind unruffled
I only said, “I do not understand.”

Life is a game of whist. From unseen sources
The cards are shuffled and the hands are dealt;
Blind are our efforts to control the forces
That, though unseen, are no less strongly felt.

I do not like the way the cards are shuffled,
But yet I like the game and want to play;
And through the long, long night will I, unruffled,
Play what I get until the break of day

2. Speaking of controlling “opportunity”…which usually means constraining liberty and autonomy, officials at Lakeland Regional High School in Wanaque, New Jersey have forbidden prom goers from hiring limos or private vehicles to arrive and leave in. The boilerplate official explanation is that the change ensures safety for all students, but it also is an effort to create “equality” because not all students can afford a limousine or party bus. Of course, not all students can afford a prom gown or to rent a tux. Why not ban formal wear, and have a simple dress code that all families can afford, like jeans and a T-shirt?

The school will charge each student $15 for transportation costs.

3. Thank-you, Captain Obvious! Avner Zarmi has written an essay in which she argues that President Trump’s “style” undermines his effectiveness. Ya think? What was Avner’s first clue, I wonder?

If the President could restrain his inner jerk as effectively as his predecessors (for he is far from the biggest jerk to occupy the White House—my vote would be with JFK, but there is lots of competition) and if he wasn’t opposed by a hostile news media determined to magnify his deficits and ignore his accomplishments, he would have a 60% approval rating.

4. And this is why there is a national emergencyContinue reading