Anna Sorokin—Fick, Ethics Corrupter, And The New York Times Thinks She’s A Victim

A New York jury this month found Anna Sarokin guilty of grand larceny in the second and third degrees and other charges that  netted her a sentence of 4-12 years in prison. In previous years before being caught, she posed as “Anna Delvey,”  a fictional German heiress with a trust fund, and parlayed her scam into a luxury life-style  of long stays in boutique hotels, a closet full of  designer clothes, and late-night parting  with Manhattan’s glitterati.

 Sorokin, 28, was really an attractive  Russian immigrant with brass. She ducked bills, conned the trusting, , and once tricked  a bank employee into giving her $100,000 she never intended to pay back. She couldn’t have done any of this for so long or as successfully if she weren’t young and comely, and also a stone-cold sociopath. I’d guess her story will soon be made into  at least a Lifetime cable movie, if not a big budget vehicle for Jennifer Lawrence.

Anna is also a fick, that rare species chronicled on Ethics Alarms that openly revels in unethical wickedness. In two interviews with the New York Times, she made it clear that she’s a shameless predator, telling the paper yesterday after her sentencing,

“The thing is, I’m not sorry. I’d be lying to you and to everyone else and to myself if I said I was sorry for anything. I regret the way I went about certain things.”

She’s still playing her con.  Anna says she always intended to pay back the  hotels, a private jet company and the banks she said,  which she cheated  out of more than $200,000. She just missed  bilking  a hedge fund into giving her a $25 million loan.

Well, yes, if you want to get technical about it,  she had falsified some bank records, but only because she was in America and has big dreams. Don’t all Americans? She wanted to start a $40 million private club, and potential investors pushed her to open it before they  put up their own money. If you think about it, it all was really their fault, not poor Anna’s.

Sorokin said was always fearful that she was vulnerable to men who would “cheer me on” and then seize control of her vision for the club, which she called the Anna Delvey Foundation.  “My motive was never money,” she said. “I was power hungry.”

Oh! Well that’s all right, then!

If her friends thought she had millions of dollars, it was just a misunderstanding. She said she never told anyone she had that kind of money. If they just jumped to conclusions—well, how is that her fault?

At least she has some self-awareness, telling the times, but unapologetically,  “I’m not a good person.”

Yet the Times published a long essay sympathetic to Anna Sorokin, a head-exploding piece (for me, so be careful if you read it) titled in the print version—I warned you—“Women Take The Cosmic Fall For Male Greed.” It is a solid contender for the most unethical feature of the year, with rationalization-stuffed statements like these:

  • “Real justice,” in this instance, is the prospect of more than 15 years in prison for defrauding wealthy acquaintances and financial institutions of $200,000, the sum of which would barely allow you to buy a studio apartment in Queens. “She stole from banks,” one of the prosecutors argued during the trial as if to suggest she had taken oatmeal from the mouth of a baby. “She tried to steal from a hedge fund.”Setting aside the dubious rhetorical gambit of soliciting sympathy for banks and hedge funds, Ms. Sorokin was clearly going to take a fall even if so many other white-collar villains still had their freedom.”

(I confess: after reading that idiotic paragraph a week ago, I stopped and filed the article to return to when my cranium had healed.)

  • “Here is where we might recall that only one financial executive in the country, Kareem Serageldin, was ever sent to prison in conjunction with the collapses of moral judgment that caused the undoing of the global economy in 2008. Accused of concealing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses of mortgage-backed securities, to inflate his bonus at Credit Suisse, he also faced real justice. He was sentenced to 30 months.”

All of which has nothing to do with Sarokin, or gender. Sarageldin made a plea deal, and got one because there was not a clear route to convicting him under existing laws. Sarokin’s crime, in contrast, was as old as the hills, and she embraced it with gusto.

  • Increasingly, it seems, the law has provided an able hand to a culture that takes perverse, outsize pleasure in spectacles of female desperation. Like many young women, Ms. Sorokin had an insatiable desire to be something that she wasn’t: in her case, someone other than the daughter of a Russian HVAC salesman. She had come to New York without the pedigree or capital that buoys you in a city poisonously obsessed with status. New York is a transactional place, and Ms. Sorokin had nothing to trade, so she made herself into a rich, clubby, entrepreneurial German and lied and cheated a system already allocating so many unfair advantages….”

If you are keeping count, just these three paragraphs employ all or whiffs of these rationalizations from the Ethics Alarms list, with more to come:

1. The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”
2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad”
2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or “They had it coming”
6. The Biblical Rationalizations
“Judge not, lest ye not be judged,” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
13A The Road To Hell, or “I meant well” (“I didn’t mean any harm!”)
19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”
22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
23 A. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”
38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
48. Ethics Jiu Jitsu, or “Haters Gonna Hate!”
55. The Scooby Doo Deflection, or “I should have gotten away with it!”
63. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is”
68. The Volunteer’s Dodge, Or “You Don’t Pay Me Enough To Be Ethical!“

The hopelessly muddled ethics of the writer, regular Times columnist Gina Bellafonte, is independently valuable as a throbbing example of how woke sensibilities distort and rot basic concepts of justice and the rule of law. She is, in fact, more of an ethics corrupter than the smug sociopath heading to jail. Bellafonte is telling Times readers that a predator is really a victim, because of her gender.

I wonder how many people believe her?

_________________________________

Source: New York Times

Funny! But Inexcusably Incompetent : “Game Of Thrones” Ethics

Yes, somebody left a Starbucks cup on the set of last night’s much ballyhooed “Game of Thrones” episode on HBO.

It would be a good exercise to list all the rationalizations one could access to try to minimize such a massive botch, and avoid the likely consequences of making it. Without breaking an ethics sweat, I came up with…

  • 6. The Biblical Rationalizations, “Judge not, lest ye not be judged,” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
  • 8. The Trivial Trap (“No harm no foul!”)
  • 19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”
  • 20. The “Just one mistake!” Fantasy
  • 22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
  • 38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
  • 50. The Apathy Defense, or “Nobody Cares.”
  • 64A. Bluto’s Mistake or “I said I was sorry!”

As silly as that “one mistake” seems, a head, or many heads, should roll. This tweet from an annoyed fan nicely sums the situation up: “You’re telling me they had TWO YEARS to put together a decent show and they couldn’t even spot the goddamn Starbucks cup in Winterfell??!” Continue reading

The Pulitzer’s Deliberate Ethics Blindness [Corrected]

It was incredible: the only qualified candidate for the Pulitzer Prize just happened to be the spouse of a Pulitzer board member! What are the odds?

[Note: an incompletely edited and proofed version of this post was mistakenly published. I apologize. Thanks to Tim LeVier for flagging the problem.]

All awards and prize organizations are subject to fair suspicion about their integrity, and collectively, they undermine each other. The Academy Awards get criticized by prominent blacks, and suddenly the number of black nominees explodes. The Nobel Prize committee, once the epitome of a well-respected and trusted awards program, exposes its political bias by giving a Peace Prize to Barack Obama for no good reason whatsoever.

Then, beginning in late 2017, in an expose published late last year by a Swedish newspaper, the Swedish institution was rocked by accusations  from18 women who said they were sexually harassed or assaulted by French arts promoter  Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to poet Katarina Frostenson and is friends with Horace Engdahl, both  members of the  Academy that awards the Nobel Prize in literature.  Arnault was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of raping a woman in 2011. This ugly publicity cast unwelcome light on more unethical conduct: a club called Forum that Arnault and Frostenson owned received a subsidy from the Academy. Yes, the members were voting finnacial benefits to themselves.  There were also credible reports of Frostenson giving names of winners to Arnault before they were announced,, allowing him place wagers and win money with insider information. As the scandal expanded, Frostenson and Engdahl refused to resign. Three other members of the Academy left in protest.

Nice. The Committee decided not to award a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2018.

I’m surprised they didn’t just give it to Barack Obama.

This brings us to the Pulitzers, which have always been suspect. Continue reading

The Absurd Media, Feminist And Progressive Hypocrisy Regarding Joe Biden’s Sexual Misconduct, PART II: “The View” Weighs In

(Part I is here.)

Some additional observations:

  • Jazz Shaw and other conservative pundits are writing that Joe’s handsy act “isn’t sexual harassment.” Wrong. If it was unwelcome, it was sexual harassment, and even if it wasn’t and made others in Joe’s workplace proximity uncomfortable, that was “third party” sexual harassment. To his credit, CNN’s Jake Tapper reached down deep and accessed his recently slumbering common sense and integrity to correctly point out that  other men who behave in the same way would get “reprimanded” or “potentially even fired” from their jobs.
  • Shaw and others are also harping on the timing of the harassment allegations. Are they politically motivated? Sure they are, just as Anita Hill’s sudden realization that she had been harassed after more than a decade was politically motivated; just as the sudden appearance of women claiming Donald Trump harassed them coincidentally occurred while he was running for President. In a word—well, two—so what? Biden belongs to a party that has taken a strict liability, no-tolerance, “believe all women” stance following the #Me Too eruption. He knew it, and progressives with eyes knew that Biden was a serial toucher/hugger/groper/nuzzler/sniffer/fondler. Given their professed position, it was hypocritical that Joe got away with his Dirty Uncle bit for so long, and arrogant (or stupid—it’s Biden, remember) that he thought he could get away with it forever.
  • My head had a  serious aftershock when the enabler and apologists for Joe settled on the “that’s just the way he is”; “he doesn’t mean anything by it”, and “he’s a decent man” talking points.

KABOOM!

See, there’s another one; even writing about this is dangerous.

If “that’s just the way he is,” then what he is is a serial sexual harasser. “He didn’t mean anything by it” has been a lamer than  lame rationalization for misconduct and criminal activity since the Madison administration, usually to excuse the mentally challenged. Finally, if he keeps fondling/touching/sniffing/nuzzling/ and kissing when all of his political kith are shouting to the skies about men being sexual predators, he’s not decent. Like the late George H.W. Bush, who told young women with his grasp that his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel,” he’s willing to use his position and status to abuse women. Continue reading

Pre-Red Sox Opening Day Ethics Warm-Up, 3/28/2019: A Jerk And A Fick

Happy Day!

Just got home from a very well-received legal ethics seminar in time to get off a post, walk Rugby, pull on the ol’ Depends and settle in while the Boston Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners in their first game defending their 2018 World Championship…

1. Humble Talent is back. Humble Talent, an Ethics Alarms  Commenter of the Year a few years back and one of the all-time outstanding participants in the ethics wars here, just registered his first comment in almost four months. Mu joy and relief are unalloyed. Welcome home, my friend.

2. A Keith Olbermann note. If you’ll forgive me for mentioning one of the biggest jerks in captivity twice in a day, Olbermann managed to enhance his reputation with this display of mega-jerkness. A Mississippi hunter  shot an unusual turkey completely legally, and KO decided that this was sufficient justification to ruin his life…

The editor of the paper had the proper bemused response, writing, “Keith Olbermann says Brian Broom should be fired for writing this story. What was I thinking? I guess I should have fired our outdoors writer for writing about a hunter killing an unusual turkey during turkey hunting season.” What kind of human being calls on the social media mob to make someone’s life  a living hell because he engaged in a legal act harming no one that that human being disagrees with? A really bad one—arrogant, cruel, irresponsible, and unfair. The Washington Free Beacon got a statement from ESPN, which currently employs Keith (when he’s in the mood, he’s an unusually astute and amusing baseball reporter), and they responded, “We have spoken to him about not making personal attacks.” Gee, that doesn’t seem to be working, does it?

3. A Fick sighting! Almost as rare as a white turkey is an Ethics Alarms Fick, a special designation for the peculiar ( and disgusting) breed of unethical person who is unethical, knows it, and rubs it in everyone else’s face, without regret or shame.

The Fick is pop star Cardi B, whose old Instagram video that resurfaced recently features her saying that she used to drug and rob men. The video, which Cardi says was made three years ago,  features the singer reminiscing about the time when she worked as a stripper — a time when, she said,

“I had to go strip, I had to go, ‘Oh yeah, you want to fuck me? Yeah, let’s go back to this hotel,'” she said an an Instagram Live broadcast filmed three years ago. “And I drugged niggas up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do.”

When the immediate reaction was a series of attacks on Twitter, Cardi B doubled down, making it clear that she was perfectly at peace with her past crimes, tweeting to critics,

I never claim to be a angel I always been a street bitch Ya be glorifying this street rappers that talk and do that grimmey street shit but they can’t stand a street bitch!

and…

IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE,IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE ❤️ 😝and I love it 😍🥰🥰

Theeeeeen the criticism got a little too hot, and apparently the hip hop star’s publicist pointed out that defiance in this case might not be the smartest strategy. So then we got this:

Is that a wonderful parade of rationalizations and ethics rot, or what?

  • Nobody has to drug men (or women)and rob them.  That’s not an “option” for anyone with a conscience. No, she did not have to harm and rob men “to survive.” Millions of people in dire circumstances find legal ways to survive that don’t require harming others.
  • The men she drugged and robbed were “conscious and aware” that they were going to be drugged and robbed? Does anyone believe that, including Cardi B?
  • “Right or wrong”? “Whether they were poor choices”? Psst-–moron! It was wrong, and they were poor choices!
  • “I never claim to be perfect” is an especially dumb variation of Rationalization #19. The Perfection Diversion, or “Nobody’s Perfect!” and “Everybody makes mistakes!” We’re supposed to applaud because someone who drugged and robbed men doesn’t make the bananas claim that she’s perfect?  I bet she never said she was a walnut, either. So what?
  • “I always speak my truth” means she wouldn’t know truth from a bag of gummi worms. “My truth” is signature significance for an adherent of ethical relativity: whatever she thinks is right, is.  Cardi B. is a narcissist and a sociopath.

Several commentators claim that this junk shows that Cardi regrets her past. Boy, I wish I had more Brooklyn Bridges to sell. I doubt that she even wrote this herself. I also doubt that those sympathetic critics noticed what she tweeted before she was told to stop doubling down. Meanwhile, what would happen to a male singer who admitted that he needed to drug and rob women to survive?

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/23/2019: Hypocrisy, Rationalizations, Spin, And Things Your Facebook Friends Will Hate To Pieces

Good Morning!

Doesn’t Barbra sing beautifully? Does knowing she’s ethically dead inside ruin her singing for you? (see #2)

1.  How arrogant and incompetent is this? UNBELIEVABLY arrogant and incompetent. Apparently Jared Kushner and the President’s daughter, Kushner’s wife, have been using private email accounts for official business. It’s against the law. it’s absurdly hypocritical, after the (deserved) criticism the President leveled against Hillary Clinton for her private server shenanigans. The Justice Department should prosecute both of them, and if the President had anyone else competent that he could trust as a close advisor—he fear he doesn’t—he should fire them both.

2. Wow! Barbra rationalizes sexual child abuse! Will this mean that Babs will no longer be welcome at Democrat fundraisers? Doubtful. Progressive never met a double standard they wouldn’t use.

Here is what the singing icon said to the The Times about Michael Jackson’s recent accusers (via documentary and lawsuits), Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and hold on to your heads:

“His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has. You can say ‘molested,’ but those children[ now grown-up Robson and Safechuck] as you heard, say they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

Should I rename the infamous Rationalization #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things” after the Funny Girl? Her statement is a perfect example: a child being raped by a grown man isn’t a big deal if the kid doesn’t die. Then there is #42. The Irrelevant Mitigation: “He’ll/She’ll/They’ll get over it”:

” #42 is pure callousness mixed with consequentialism, and thus beyond redemption or ethical application.. It holds that wrongful conduct is somehow mitigated by the fact that the wound heals, forgiveness is granted, or time breeds forgetfulness. It isn’t. How and whether victims recover or get over their anger does not alter the original misconduct, mitigate it, and certainly does not erase it. Those who cite this rationalization are shrugging off accountability and are signalling that they will repeat their unethical conduct or worse, counting on their victims to give them an opportunity to harm them again. Anyone who employs The Irrelevant Mitigation cannot be trusted”

The despicable suggestion that Jackson’s alleged victims consented to being raped, however, because they wanted it, is really revolting. This is #48. Contrived Consent, or “The Rapist’s Defense”, which…

…aims to cleanse unethical conduct by imagining that the victim consented to it, or secretly sought the result of the wrongful act. The most infamous example of this rationalization is, of course, the rapist’s defense that the victim either was inviting a sexual assault by flirtatious conduct or provocative dress, or secretly “wanted it.”

It is, perhaps, the ugliest rationalization of all.

The good news is that these idiotic comments, signature significance for someone whose ethics alarms have turned to moldy cheese, are attracting appropriate condemnation. Good. [Pointer: Other Bill]

3. Here’s some dishonest leftist spin for the Mueller investigation, as the impeachment hounds try to somehow make the facts consistent with their delusions. From ThinkProgress:

“Mueller’s team has filed dozens of indictments and secured convictions and guilty pleas in the conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election: Six of Trump’s close associates and employees have faced charges. George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser; Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair; Rick Gates, a campaign aide and longtime Manafort business partner; Michael Flynn, a former foreign policy adviser; Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer; and Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, have all been charged by Mueller. Manafort and Cohen have been convicted and sentenced to prison.”

That’s multiple lies framed by a lie. None of Mueller’s indictments involve any conspiracy to interfere with the election except the symbolic charges against Russians,  and if there had been any evidence of such a conspiracy, an American would have been inducted on those grounds. Manafort was indicted for his own crimes, not any related to the campaign. Flynn and Cohen had no involvement with Russia either. The others were charged with process crimes: lying to law enforcement, not “colluding” with Russia.

4. “Worst Nazi Ever!” That’s Instapundit Glenn Reynolds gag tag for Trump actions like declaring that Israel should  have sovereignty over the Golan Heights, ending decades of U.S. policy of tip-towing around the issue. It also fits here: The President issued an  executive order directing federal agencies to “take appropriate steps” to “promote free inquiry” at institutions that receive federal research and education grants, including thorough compliance with the First Amendment.  F.I.R.E. approves.

5. Surprise! Your Facebook friends are wrong, and don’t know what they are talking about...It is overwhelmingly likely that the supreme Court will approve the use of emergency powers to build “the wall.” Richard H. Pildes, professor of constitutional law at New York University, wrote a convincing article, “How the Supreme Court Weakened Congress on Emergency Declarations,” in which points out…

  • The National Emergencies Act (NEA), passed by Congress in l976, never defines that an emergency is, largely leaving that assessment to the President.
  • Presidents have used the NEA 58 times. In every case–every case!— the President spent funds not appropriated by Congress.
  • In no case did the Supreme Court overturn the action.
  • The Supreme Court decision in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, which declared that “legislative vetoes are unconstitutional,”  including vetoes of Presidential actions under the National Emergencies Act.
  • Absent Congress overriding Trump’s veto of the bill designed to stop his declaration of the emergency at the border, a result that is unlikely, there is no legal way to block the Trump as he acts on the authority of the NEA.
  • Trump neither violated the Constitution nor violated the separation of powers. His unilateral action was a constitutional power ceded to him by an act of Congress
  • President Obama used the act to transfer funds without congressional authority to his health care act.

I didn’t think there was a chance that the President’s power to do this would not be upheld, and the article makes me more certain than ever.  I also agree with Ronald Trowbridge that if the Justices were capable of ruling only on the law rather than partisan politics, the decision would be unanimous.

 

Ethics Quote Of The Day: “Reston Now”

“Unethical, sketchy, and uncomfortable behavior among Herndon officials are some of the main reasons behind the push to strengthen the code. The councilmembers shared stories of unnamed former town officials who publicly berated staff, grabbed a staffer in a sexual manner, and solicited jobs from other elected officials in the performance of their official duties.”

—From “Town of Herndon Grapples with How to Revamp Ethics Code,” an article in Reston Today, describing the classic and unresolvable problem with Ethics Codes.

Herndon, Virginia, isn’t too far from where I live.

The problem the article encompasses is as old as the hills. Simply passing laws, or regulations, or rules prohibiting wrongful conduct doesn’t do anything to make the people subject to these laws, regulations and rules better human beings. It simply tells them that there are specific consequences to their bad conduct. Maybe that will discourage them, and maybe it won’t. After all, they have to be caught first.

The conduct described in the quote is unethical, and anyone with functioning ethics alarms knows its unethical. Abusing subordinates? Sexual assault and harassment? Using official duties to barter for career advancement? If an official knows this conduct and others equally blatant are wrong, then they don’t need a code. If they don’t know they are wrong, no code is going to help them, and individuals that ethically clueless shouldn’t be government officials.

That doesn’t mean that codes of conduct aren’t essential tools of creating an ethical culture in a local government or tree house clubs. They are, but they are just a starting point, putting in place external standards that have to be internalized, which is to say that they are then used to fix the settings on everyone’s ethics alarms in that culture. By themselves, codes do nothing, and they may even cause more misconduct. Unethical people who are also smart love the Compliance Dodge, from the Rationalizations List: Continue reading