Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/5/18: Churchill, Philly, Trump, Uma, And The FBI

Good Morning, Philadelphia!

Now sober up and clean up the mess…

1 This has little to do with ethics, except that it proves I wasn’t watching the Super Bowl, but…Here’s my report on “The Darkest Hour,” which my family saw last night in an almost empty theater. Apparently most people would rather see young men risk future dementia than celebrate a great man who may have saved civilization.

[ Aside: On that question, this article in the Federalist says in part, “Super Bowl Sunday seems the appropriate day to bring you the cheerful news that football is doomed. The sport is dying and cannot be saved, at least not in America, its traditional home. The cause of death is science. Simply put, football is a sport in which the audience entertains itself by watching men violently turn each other’s brains to mush…What happens if football becomes a game where white middle-class people pay millions to watch poor and minority kids bang up each other’s brains? I don’t think that’s going to be tenable….That means it’s only a matter of time before participation rates drop off precipitously and it no longer seems like the cool thing to do.The science has turned against football, and it can’t last. So enjoy today’s game, while you still can.” ]

You can skip to the next item if you don’t like your ethics polluted by film reviews.

The film is very good; not “Best Picture” great, I think, but very good. It did a better job making clear what was going on and the stakes at Dunkirk than “Dunkirk,” for which I’m grateful; maybe thay should show the two movies as a double feature. The last fade-out shot was “The Natural”-style over-the-top, out of whack with the style of the rest of the film and it left a sour taste, I thought. Artistic integrity would be nice. It reminded me of ET’s spacecraft leaving a rainbow trail

I’ve now seen four Churchill portrayals recently: Albert Finney’s in the 2002 HBO film “The Gathering Storm,” Brian Cox in “Churchill,” Gary Oldman, and John Lithgow in “The Crown.” My ranking: would also be in that order: Finney, Cox, Oldman and Lithgow lagging far behind. I’m a big Lithgow fan, but he looks and sounds so little like Winston (and so much like himself) that he just can’t measure up to the other three..

Finney, Cox and Oldman were all excellent: it’s very close. Oldman has by far the best part of the story to work with (the chronological order is Finney, Oldman, Cox and Lithgow) and the best screenplay, though “The Gathering Storm” is also strong. Oldman’s scene in the “Tube” is the best scene in any of the productions. It probably didn’t happen, but Churchill was known to wander around London talking to Londoners during the Blitz, so it COULD have happened.

All of the top three Winstons had moments when I forgot the actor and really believed I was watching the historical figure, my test in biographical films. This was something Lithgow couldn’t pull off for a second.  (Actors who could in other historical movies: Paul Scofield as Thomas More, Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln.) Finney’s big advantage over Cox and Oldman, I think, is that he is a star as well as a great actor, and Churchill, as a Great Man, needs to radiate that presence and star quality too. Oldman feels small physically (though he’s actually taller than Churchill was, and no shorter than Finney), and his voice is light; there’s nothing he can do about that. I could make a strong argument that Brian Cox, who is one of the most under-rated actors around, was the best Winston, but the film itself was unforgivably careless and ahistorical.

If you haven’t seen Finney’s performance, which won him several awards, you should. It was probably his final great turn, since he’s in his 80s now and hasn’t made a movie since “Skyfall” in 2012.

Finney’s Clementine, Vanessa Redgrave, wins the award for that role, though her daughter, Miranda Richardson, was also fine in the same role with Cox. Apparently every actor who plays King George is great, but “Churchill”‘s King, James Purefoy, was wonderful (he’s another under-rated actor) and in a fair world, would be looking at an Academy Award nomination for Supporting Actor. The acting in that film is so excellent; it’s a shame its history is so messed up.

2. From the “When Ethics Fail, the Law Must Step In” file: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Robert Reich

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event. So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth.”

—-Former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, spinning himself silly to allow his leftist-colleagues to duck accountability for the Berkeley rioting.

Nope, I don't believe it.

Nope, I don’t believe it.

Robert Reich isn’t a supposed to be a political hack. He’s a scholar and a former Cabinet member. Yet he felt it necessary to abandon all logic and honesty in order to try to shift blame for a leftist anti-Trump, anti-speech riot on a major college campus onto its targets. This might be good news: Reich is no fool, and maybe the Angry Left is beginning to realize that its tactics have backfired. So now it is just lying and blame-shifting. That’s an improvement. Sort of.

Reich’s statement is unbelievable on its face. He teaches at Berkeley, but does he really expect anyone to believe that in the middle of a night-time riot, he was in a position to recognize individual rioters and render an informed judgment regarding whether they were students? The school has more than 38,000 students! It is impossible for Reich to know all of them, and during the chaos of a riot at night, it is highly unlikely that he could even distinguish the students in his own classes. His  unequivocal statement that none of the rioters were students is a false one: he cannot know that. He cannot know they were “outside agitators.” He cannot know that he had never seen them before, especially since many of them were wearing masks.

Then he says that there are rumors that they were “right-wingers,” and in the next sentence implies the truth of those rumors. You know, I’ve heard rumors for years that Robert Reich is really one of the Seven Dwarfs, escaped from the fairy tale, like in “Enchanted.” The smart money is on “Doc.” However, since there isn’t a shred of evidence that this rumor is true, and thus suggesting otherwise would be unfair and dishonest, I would never, never state that Reich is close associate of Snow White and Dopey. Reich, however, feels constrained by no such principles, being, apparently, a devotee of the false dialectic employed by leftists for a century or so.

Boy, did I get sick of arguing with people like him is college. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On Berkeley’s Anti-Speech Riot

Protesters setup fires during a protest against right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Doig Duran/Bay Area News Group)

From SF Gate:

A protest at UC Berkeley over a scheduled appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos turned fiery and violent Wednesday night, prompting police to cancel the event and hustle the Breitbart News editor off campus. But even after the event’s cancellation, hundreds of protesters spilled off campus into the city streets, where the violence continued as they confronted drivers, engaged in fights, smashed storefront windows and set fires.

Protesters decried President Trump’s policies as much as they did the visit by Yiannopoulos, a gay conservative who has been making the rounds at college campuses across the country with his “Dangerous Faggot” talks, specializing in remarks meant to insult, offend and disgust liberals who disagree with his ideas.

More from Heat Street:

The violent riots that convulsed the campus of the University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday evening were driven by rioters identifying as “Antifa”, self-styled anti-fascism activists who align with anarchism.

The violence began when hundreds of anti-Trump demonstrators forcefully disrupted a speaking event featuring the conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos. The protests turned into full blown riots after “Antifa” rioters shot fireworks at the building in which the event was set to take place, smashing windows with police barricades and destroyed several large light fixtures. The Antifa members dressed in all black and wore gas masks and face coverings to hide their identity. These rioters led the most aggressive elements of the demonstration.

Police and campus administrators repeatedly ordered the mob to disperse, to which rioters responded with chants of “Fuck you! Fuck you!” and “Fuck Trump!”

Nice.

You will notice that last part  appears to be an exact quote from Madonna at the Women’s March….

Some unpleasant ethics observations: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Sam Liccardo (D), Mayor of San Jose, California

 

“At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,”

Mayor Sam Liccardo, of San Jose, California, in response to rioting and violent attacks on Trump rally attendees after a Trump speech.

I am searching for some tangential benefits—silver linings in clouds of gray, so to speak—from the ugly choice of Presidential candidates being foisted on us. One benefit is that the situation is relentlessly exposing the flawed and in many cases deplorable character of various public figures, journalists, and others, including friends who we once thought had admirable integrity, values and principles. Most likely to expose the rot beneath are the hyper-partisans.

The anti-Trump riots in San Jose were shocking and inexcusable, except by the most unethical use of rationalizations and bias. Nonetheless, Liccardo’s immediate public response to them was to blame Donald Trump for, I guess, making Liccardo’s citizens viciously attack Trump supporters. Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Emmet Rensin, Vox Editor

Vox tweet

When “This Week’s” Michael Dougherty tweeted Rensin to ask what he believed were the limits of “legitimate” political violence, Rensin responded,

“Destroying property is legitimate. Shouting down is legitimate. Disruption of all events is legitimate. Murder isn’t.”

Whew! That’s a relief!

The Left will make Donald Trump President yet.

Oh–if Vox doesn’t terminate this fascist as ““deputy first person editor,” whatever the hell that is, there’s one more internet source that will go on my BANNED list. Rensin has a right to hold whatever anti-free speech, anti-democracy opinions he wants, but any website or news organization that would keep such a jerk in a position of influence and authority forfeits all respect and trust.

_______________________

Pointer: Hot Air

Obviously, Democratic Base Demonstrators Are Planning To Disrupt July’s Republican National Convention In Cleveland. Here Are Seven Ethical Mandates To Prevent It…

1. Integrity, Citizenship and Responsibility: President Obama should begin speaking, now, about the integrity of the democratic process, the duty of all Americans to respect the opinions of others, and the civic obligation to allow elections to be peaceful and fair. he should also stop sowing partisan animus, and seeking to divide the nation for the Democratic Party ‘s advantage.

2. Responsibility and Competence: The Republican Party should tell Donald Trump that he has disgraced the party’s values, that he will no longer be considered as a candidate, and that he can do his worst. (Just for fun, it should challenge Democrats to be equally responsible and disqualify Hillary Clinton for conspiring to foil the Freedom of Information Act, which is pretty obviously what the private server was all about.)

3.  Responsibility: The GOP should move the convention out of Cleveland. It may already be too late, but it needs to do this, and should have done so the second the Tamir Rice shooting occurred. Holding a national convention in that city is inviting violence. My recommendation: move it to Honolulu, so demonstrators will have to spend a fortune to get there, while placing it in Obama’s home state, bring the division he has sought and nourished into his back yard. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces, Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck Files, “Seriously Confused” Division: The Looters of Ferguson Market and Liquor

Ferguson Market

Ferguson Market and Liquor was looted last night, targeted by protesters demanding “justice” for Michael Brown.

I’d like someone to explain the logic of that act to me, please.  Please. That was the store where Michael Brown was captured on video shoplifting and assaulting a clerk prior to his fatal encounter with Officer Wilson.

How dare that store be robbed by an unarmed teen! No, that doesn’t work. How dare an employee be assaulted by a shooting victim! Hmmm…no, no, that’s stupid. How dare the business allow the media to mention its name in connection with the examination of whether Mike Brown was just a gentle giant who wouldn’t hurt a fly or intimidate a clerk!  That can’t be it, can it? Or is it, “Let’s honor Mike by really hurting that small business where he stole some blunts  and shoved that  little clerk!” Really?

What exactly is the theory of justice here? My mind is open, it really is. I so want to understand.

Absent a persuasive explanation, however, I must conclude that anyone who sees “justice” in punishing Michael Brown’s innocent victims, however the teen met his demise, no more understands the concept of justice than I understand string theory, and I have no interest at all in listening to such an individual’s theories, protests, or rants about a subject about which that they are not only embarrassingly ignorant, but deluded as well.

What they did is injustice. They don’t know the difference between injustice and justice, which tells me that neither they nor anyone allied with them, supporting them or sympathetic with them should be taken seriously or heeded.

And when we are told, “The police are biased against people who think looting a store is justice!,” I am compelled to answer,

“As well they should be.”