Labor Day Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 9/2/2022: Which Are The Pod People And Which Are The Fascists?

1. More on Biden’s speech…I finally read the text of President Biden’s speech; it was even worse than I expected. What kind of advisors would let a President make such a speech? What kind of President would deliver it rather than fire the speechwriter and whoever advocated saying such stuff in public? It says something significant about the distribution of partisan extremism in the media that CNN and MSNBC would be the only networks to broadcast it, yet, ironically, as true blue propagandists, they should have embargoed the speech for their party’s own good. Fox News should have wanted to broadcast it. It’s the best marketing for the Republican Party I’ve ever seen.

Because there is, as the saying goes, no reason to re-invent the wheel, I’m going to send you over to Althouse for her section-by-section analysis, which is close enough to mine to make a parallel post here a waste of time. A sample:

There are far more Americans, far more Americans from every background and belief, who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it.

His version of the soul of America represents what “far more” Americans think, so — what? — screw those other people? Something like 47% of voters voted for Trump, but even if the Trump voters were more dramatically overwhelmed by throngs of more “normal” people, they are still part of the population. Or maybe it’s not about excluding everyone who’s not in the majority. Maybe it’s about rejecting them because they have “extreme MAGA ideology.” What is “extreme MAGA ideology”? Desire for a secure border? Pro-life? Really, what are the elements that Biden envisions as not worthy of debate but justifying denouncement as not normal and not mainstream?

And folks, it’s within our power, it’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy….

It seems to me that it’s within our power to participate in democracy and vote. Where is this “assault”? Why in the name of all that is normal and mainstream is he conjuring up violence — an “assault”? It’s going on right now. Don’t you see it? The “assault” I see is the effort to keep Donald Trump from running again. If the overwhelming majority of Americans reject his “extreme MAGA ideology,” what’s the problem? Let him run and he will be defeated.

Ann calls the speech “disturbing and incoherent.” I’d call it dangerous and irresponsible. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: GOP Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake

Boy, there are a lot of horrible, unqualified, inept Republicans running for office! In Georgia, Senate candidate Herschel Walker continues to make little sense while mangling facts every time he opens his mouth. Carl Paladino, the New York GOP’s candidate for Congress who already declared that Adolf Hitler was a “doer” and the kind of leader we needed today, recently said the US attorney general should “probably be executed.” After people had a problem with this for some reason, Paladino swore he was just joking. He’s a funny guy!

In Pennsylvania, where the Democratic candidate for on open U.S. Senate seat is suffering the after-effects of a stroke and still has trouble speaking (though his party’s President has lowered the bar on that score considerably), the GOP is running TV doctor and Oprah acolyte Mehmet Oz because Republican primary voters just can’t resist unqualified celebrities (See Walker above). Oz made his honesty an issue when he was asked an easy question: “How many homes to you own?” Dr. Oz’s reply: “Well I, legitimately, I own two houses. But, uh, one of them we’re building on; the other ones I rent.”

Translation: “Huminahuminahumina…” As a little research rapidly demonstrated, the former TV doctor actually owns ten residential properties (plus as many as eight commercial ones). After this was pointed out by his opponent, Oz “clarified” by resorting to the Clintonesque tactic of distinguishing a house from a home. Obviously Oz wouldn’t give an honest answer because it would make him look like what he in fact is: someone who is, by average American standards, wildly wealthy…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And now we arrive at Kari Lake, another Trump-endorsed Republican candidate, running for Governor of Arizona. She’s attractive! She’s female! She’s conservative!

She endorsed a raging anti-Semite!

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When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring (And You’re Incompetent And Stupid Too)

The Lawrence County Republican Party in Montgomery, Alabama wanted to post a GOP elephant graphic on its Facebook page, and settled on the charming one above, on which the white spaces between the pachyderm’s legs double as hooded hooded Klansmen.

Naturally, Democrats pounced, as they had every right to do and should be expected to do. “Shame on the Lawrence County Republican Party for this disgusting image,” Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels posted on Twitter.

“I would like to offer a deep and sincere apology for a picture that temporarily appeared on this page last night. A Google search picture of a GOP elephant was used and later found to have hidden images that do not represent the views or beliefs of the Lawrence County Republican Party,” Shannon Terry wrote in a Facebook post apologizing for the use of the image. “As chairman I take full responsibility for the error,” Terry added.

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Ethics Observations On Gallup’s U.S. “Moral Values” Poll

Gallup released a depressing poll last week that it headlined, “Record-High 50% of Americans Rate U.S. Moral Values as ‘Poor.'” Like many Gallup polls, but perhaps more than most, this one suffered badly from a failure a define terms and to ensure that respondents were basing their judgments on the same understanding of “values.” Using the term “moral” rather than “ethical” to define values is a crippling error: it automatically directs attention to religion. This, in turn, probably explains this chart…

…in which twice as many Republicans as Democrats rate the state of “moral values” as “poor.” About twice as many Republicans and Democrats are religious: the result was preordained. Morality involves behavioral codes, notably the Ten Commandments. Republicans are more likely to believe that such codes should guide conduct, although the whole point of moral codes is that one doesn’t have to think: just follow the code, and you’ll be “good.” Democrats have increasingly embraced the idea of subjective values and personal codes, “pursuing one’s truth.” Their idea of poor values are values that seem contrary to their objectives.

The poll does not rank values, or even require respondents to identify what values they think are being violated or ignored. Thus the figures given for various measurements in the poll are by definition apples, oranges and eggplants mash-ups. For example, a core ethical value is fairness, but progressives increasingly believe what is fair is for everyone to achieve the same level of success, security, comfort and power regardless of effort, ability, or contributions to society. Conservatives believe  fairness means that every individual should be allowed to achieve according to his or her aspirations and best efforts given the resources, talents and opportunities distributed by the vicissitudes of life and luck, and keep and use the rewards of those efforts, if any. Asking whether a group believes that life in the U.S. is fair when the group holds diametrically opposed definitions of the word is useless.

Similarly, an increasing component of the American Left believes that the U.S. Constitution embodies the wrong values. They believe it would be more “moral” to censor speech so as not to “harm” vulnerable populations; to keep “dangerous” ideas and “misinformation” advocated by Bad People from being heard or read. They believe that a right to self-defense is “immoral” because the tools of self-defense can be used to kill. They also believe, as we have seen in recent weeks, that it is “moral” to allow the mass killing of the unborn, because otherwise women are hindered in their opportunities and life choices by “unfair” biology. Most conservatives view those positions as opposition to American values.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/22/2022: Let’s Hit The Ground Running!

1. It’s a joke!!! That tweet is just the tip of the moronic iceberg for Republican Senate candidate in Missouri Eric Greitens. In a new fundraising video for his U.S. Senate campaign released this week, Greitens, a former Missouri governor who resigned before he could be impeached on multiple grounds including sexual assault, holds a pump-action shotgun and introduces himself as a Navy SEAL. (He is not a Seal: he resigned shortly before announcing his Senate run this year.) The video then shows him with a group of men in tactical gear hunting “RINOs”—Republicans who are not conservative enough for his tastes. He says, “Join the MAGA crew! Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country!”

And Sarah Palin was once accused of inciting murder by having little gun-sights on a campaign map!

Predictably, the irresponsible ad is being used by the mainstream news media and Democrats to characterize all conservatives and Republicans while hyping more anti-gun hysteria. Here’s CNN:

Some of history’s leading fascist movements used the strategy of armed volunteer militias intimidating, threatening and attacking political opponents. And the implications of Greitens’ ad are stunning: Line up behind the most extreme right-wing policies — and implicitly behind former President Donald Trump — or be hunted down by armed, jackbooted thugs.

Right. The implications of Greitens’ ad are that he’s a liar and an asshole, and that he is only slightly more fit to serve in the Senate than Herschel Walker, who defines the bottom of the bottom of the barrel… but presumably Missouri voters know that already. The ad and Greitens himself are metaphorical albatrosses around the GOP’s neck, but the party hung them there. He has been endorsed by several GOP luminaries, though so far, not by Trump.

2. Poll check: President Biden’s latest Civiqs approval rating hit 32%, with 56% disapproving of Joe. Again I ask: Who are those 32% that approve of Biden? What is it they approve of? What democracy can function if fully a third of the electorate have the IQs of flatworms and are happy to see the country rot?

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, April 19, 2022: “A Good Day To Die” [With Easter Bunny Update!]

The 19th of April is a violent ethics day in history.

In 1775, on this date, the evening before had seen Paul Revere’s ride, and a few hours later, right about at dawn, 700 British troops marched through my home town of Arlington, Mass., then known as Menotomy, into Lexington. 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waited for them on the town’s common green. Shots were exchanged, and when the Battle of Lexington ended a few minutes later, eight Americans were dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. No British soldier was killed and just one was injured, but the battle launched the Revolutionary War, for which most of us, and most of the world, are or ought to be grateful.

In 1943 on April 19, the courageous but doomed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began when Nazi forces attempting to clear out the Polish city’s Jewish ghetto were met by gunfire from Jewish resistance fighters. The surprised Germans withdrew but soon returned, and on April 24 launched an all-out attack against the Warsaw Jews, slaughtering thousands. The Nazi army progressed down the ghettos, blowing up buildings as they went. The resistance took to the sewers to continue the fight, but their command bunker fell to the Germans on May 8, and its leaders committed suicide. During the uprising, some 300 German soldiers were killed, and thousands of Warsaw Jews were massacred.

—In Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a tear-gas assault on the home of the Branch Davidians, an armed religious cult, after a 51-day standoff. The compound was burned to the ground, with 80 Branch Davidians, including 22 children, dying as a result.

April 19, 1995 saw the beginning of mass domestic terrorism here, as a massive truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The blast instantly killed more than 100 people and trapped dozens more in the rubble. When the rescue effort finally ended two weeks later, the death toll stood at 168 people killed, including 19 children who were in the building’s day-care center at the time of the blast.

Liberal pundits and Democrats blamed Rush Limbaugh, among others, who had been vocally condemning the government since the election of Bill Clinton.

1. When did Derek Chauvin get appointed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals? In this case, the 5th Circuit ruled that an officer who deliberately caused pain to a woman because she was being “uncooperative” was in the clear. She had been arrested and was in custody, but refused to respond to the officer’s questions about her name and age. In response, the officer raised her handcuffed arms behind her back, causing, the woman said, “[e]xcruciating pain.” This was captured on the officer’s camera, and wasn’t disputed. The woman sued for violations of her Fourth Amendment rights. In ruling on an appeal, The Fifth Circuit held that such conduct by the officer—deliberately inflicting pain on a subject in custody to force compliance—was acceptable:

Nor did Martin violate Hymond’s Fourth Amendment rights. Hymond was shouting at Martin throughout the entire confrontation. She did not comply with any of Martin’s commands or instructions. Only after Hymond refused to provide Martin with her name did Martin employ any force against her. Martin’s use of force—lifting Hymond’s handcuffed arms behind her back—was relatively minimal. Hymond continued to verbally deride Martin while Martin was lifting her arms and immediately after he put her arms down. Given Hymond’s continued resistance, Martin’s use of force against Hymond was not objectively unreasonable.

The opinion literally excuses a police officer’s inflicting pain on a subject in handcuffs in response to verbal abuse and a lack of cooperation.

2. Watch: she’ll probably be elected, too. Here you can read former sex-worker and stripper Alexandra Hunt’s argument for being elected to Congress. It nicely ticks off all the boxes necessary for progressive love. I think this paragraph’s my favorite:

One does not need to boast a law degree to see how criminalization has become about a person’s identity rather than any grievance they may have committed. The prison-industrial complex has come to serve the purity model of white supremacy and places individuals into egregious living conditions if their identity deviates from white supremacy in anyway ― their race, their sexuality, their gender identity, their economic status, their nationality, or their occupation.

In fact, not having a law degree assists reaching that asinine and counter-factual conclusion. (So does hitting yourself in the head repeatedly with a frozen leg of lamb.) Elsewhere, explaining her abortion when she was 18, Hunt engages in one of my all-time most reviled rationalizations for abortion:

“I as a person was not ready to bring a child into this world, but also the world was not in a state — and is not, 10 years later, is not in a state — that I wanted to bring a child into yet, which is my decision to make. My generation faces a lack of jobs, a lack of living wage, a housing crisis, an affordable housing crisis, a student debt crisis, the climate emergency, the prison-industrial complex, and the list goes on and on. And I wanted to offer my child better.”

Actually, Alexandra, you wanted to offer your next child better. The first one you decided was better off being rubbed out of existence than getting a chance to live in the less-than-perfect world you seem to be enjoying. I’m pretty certain all potential human beings, asked whether they would prefer an imperfect life than none at all, would like their shot.

3. And now for something completely stupid…This nicely illustrates the quality of American punditry. Matt Yglesias has been a long-time progressive pundit for Slate and Vox among other platforms. He tweeted this brilliant revelation yesterday:

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.); Ethics Dunces: GOP House Members Who Listened To Him

I know the maxim is that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, but how do you explain this? It appears to be an example of a total fool leading the slightly less foolish.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

Signature Significance: If You Say What GOP Michigan House Candidate Robert Regan Said Even Once, You Are Not Fit To Hold Elected Office

What did Regan say while engaging in a discussion via live stream regarding Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was “stolen?”

Get this:

“I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ ”

Moron. Sexist moron. Sexist moron who hasn’t been paying attention for his entire life. Saying this was enough to get any male candidate defeated thirty years ago!

Not surprisingly, Regan, who is, or was favored to win the Michigan’s District 74 seat in the state legislature, said other incredibly stupid things during the same program; they just weren’t as offensive. In the discussion hosted by the Rescue Michigan Coalition, a pro-Trump group, he also suggested that the 202o election could be “decertified” and that Trump would regain the Presidency. “We do want to decertify this election and we do want it returned to the rightful owner, just like if someone stole your car or stole your jewelry,” Regan said. “It goes back to the rightful owner. You decertify and you give it to the rightful owner, and that’s Donald Trump, and that’s what I’m pushing for and we’re going full-bore on that.”

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“You Know, Morons!” Three GOP House Members Embrace Their Inner Ethics Dunce

It really is depressing the number of irredeemable, ethically-clueless fools the American public elects to Congress. Yesterday came another reminder:

The House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring its support for Ukraine as the nation fights to resist the Russian invasion, and demanding an “immediate cease-fire.” The resolution, which is nonbinding, says that the House “stands steadfastly, staunchly, proudly, and fervently behind the Ukrainian people in their fight against the authoritarian Putin regime” and  calls for the U.S. and its allies “to deliver additional and immediate defensive security assistance to help Ukraine address the armored, airborne, and other threats Ukraine is currently facing from Russian forces.” Congress, the declaration says,“will never recognize or support any illegitimate Russian-controlled leader or government installed through the use of force.”

As a non-binding resolution, all the measure does is announce an official sentiment without committing the House to any action. It passed 426-3. The votes in opposition were those three Republicans: Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Thomas Massie of Kentucky,  and Matt Rosendale of Montana.

Morons. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2022…”[#2]

Few read Ethics Alarms on weekends (I guess I should write, “even fewer”), and I may start Mondays with more comment highlights from the Dead Zone past. This weekend was unusually lively. This Comment of the Day by Null Pointer took off from item number #2 of yesterday’s warm-up, regarding the GOP’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar speaking at white nationalist event, in which I quoted The National Review’s David Harsanyi:

“ On social media, conservatives grouse that there’s a double standard. Democrats, they say, never condemn their extremists, they celebrate them. That’s a double standard worth living with. After all, any denunciation of Omar, Tlaib, or any other Squad member lacks credibility if House Republicans can’t publicly take the position that hanging out with (actual) white supremacists is deplorable.”

Here is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/27/2022…”:

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White supremacy is bad. All forms of racial supremacy are bad. All forms of supremacy are bad.

Republicans need to jump on the “all forms of supremacy are bad” principle, hard. Otherwise you will see white supremacy taking off again.

No, you cannot have a double standard. If you have a double standard, you do not have a fair principle that addresses the problem equally across the entire spectrum of the problem. If you don’t have a fair principle, no one is going to listen to you. People will not agree to operate by unfair principles. Continue reading