Sunday Ethics Reflections, 6/28/2020: For The Defense….

Greetings from the Ethics Alarms bunker…

1. I’m current reflecting on a personal and professional ethics conflict. A colleague and long-time professional competitor—I would never call him a friend—has been ousted from his leadership position in the very successful organization he founded as a result of unproven allegations of sexual harassment and assault. It was a “believe all victims” situation, as well as what feels like a successful coordinated effort to “get” someone who had accumulated a lot of enemies, resentment and envy in a notoriously nasty industry once his power was waning.

On one hand, I feel like I should reach out to him and offer my guidance and support (as an ethicist and sexual harassment trainer, not a lawyer, and gratis, of course). On the other, I am pretty certain that he is guilty of at least some of what has been alleged, based on confidential accounts I have recently heard from reliable sources. Ethically, however, his ousting (it appears that he was given the option of “retiring”) lacked due process and fairness, and the organization was guided by public relations motives rather than legal or ethical ones.

Whose side should I be on?

2. Stop making me defend Facebook! As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, the aggressive pandering mode of corporations right now is being exploited by would-be censors of political speech. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced updated election policies and stricter “hate speech” rules in response to employee protests and pressure from activists, whose transparent objective is to silence or constrict any political views antithetical progressive positions and goals. In a message last week, Zuckerberg  outlined plans to police disinformation relating to voting and elections, to flag certain content that risked triggering violence (I wonder what  that standard is like today?) and concluded,

Continue reading

The Education Department Finally Crushes The Obama-Mandated Campus Sexual Assault Kangaroo Courts, And Joe Biden Is Deliberately Trying To Make My Head Explode

Shut up, Tara, I’m talking about how victims of sexual casualty are being silenced here!

This one was so clear that the New York Times decided to play it straight. Let’s see if the Biden campaign makes them change the headline: DeVos’s Rules Bolster Rights of Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct. It begins:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday issued final regulations on sexual misconduct in education, delivering colleges and schools firm new rules on how they must deal with one of the biggest issues that have roiled their campuses for decades.

The rules fulfill one of the Trump administration’s major policy goals for Title IX, the 48-year-old federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, bolstering due-process protections for accused students while relieving schools of some legal liabilities. But Ms. DeVos extended the reach of the law in other ways, establishing dating violence as a sexual misconduct category that must be addressed and mandating supportive measures for alleged victims of assault.

Title IX had become a flash point in recent years after sexual assault cases rocked high-profile universities like Stanford and Duke, and serial sex abuse by staff at the University of Southern California, Michigan State and Ohio State demonstrated how schools had failed to properly investigate complaints. But enforcement of the law has also grown contentious, especially since the Obama administration issued guidance documents in 2011 and 2014 that advised schools to ramp up investigations of misconduct and warned that their failure to do so could bring serious consequences. Critics said schools felt pressured to side with accusers without extending sufficient rights to the accused. And dozens of students have won court cases against their colleges for violating their rights under the Obama-era rules…

The new regulations adopt the Supreme Court’s definition of sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive,” and they require colleges to hold live hearings during which accusers and accused can be cross-examined to challenge their credibility. The rules also limit the complaints that schools are obligated to investigate to only those filed through a formal process and brought to the attention of officials with the authority to take corrective action, not other authority figures like residential advisers.

Exactly. Ethics Alarms has covered many of these episodes, and pointed out the anti-due process aspects of the Education Department’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter when it was issued. That sop to the militant feminist and anti-male wing of the Democratic Party threatened schools with adverse consequences if those accused of sexual harassment and assault were not presumed guilty, with their reputations and education at risk. The burden of proof was shifted on most campuses, with the accused, rather than the accuser, having the burden of proof. Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Month: Speaker Nancy Pelosi

There’s Joe, being Joe Biden again!

“Here’s the thing. I have complete respect for whole #Metoo movement, I have four daughters and one son. And there’s a lot of excitement around the idea that women will be heard and be listened to.There is also due process and the fact that Joe Biden is Joe Biden.”

 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, on why Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden couldn’t possibly be true, as she responded to a question about how she justified treating Biden’s accuser differently from Bret Kavanaugh’s accuser.

“Joe Biden is Joe Biden.”

“Joe Biden is Joe Biden”????

Is there any conceivable reading of that statement that isn’t unethical?

Does she mean that Joe Biden isn’t Bret Kavanaugh, so he should be subject to a different standard? Unethical.

Does she mean that Joe Biden, being Joe Biden, is such a boon to American society that he deserves to get away with sexual assault?  That’s Rationalization #11, The King’s Pass. Unethical. Continue reading

The Amazing, Depressing But Not Especially Surprising Tara Reade Hypocrisy Rolls

Amber Athey of the American Spectator did a service for  open-minded Americans who care about integrity and who were under the impression that the Democratic Party had any.  She assembled a list of 35 enthusiastic Democratic endorsers of Joe Biden as the party’s 2020 nominee, and tracked down their passionate exclamations regarding Christine Blasey-Ford’s less-corroborated allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh.

Her list is quite long, but essential reading: a more stomach-churning demonstration of grandstanding (then) and hypocrisy (now) would be difficult to find.  In some cases, it is amusing: these hacks could be so self-righteous about the holy credibility of a woman accusing a Republican, and decry the blackened souls of anyone who didn’t immediately accept her as  an unquestionable truth-teller, yet they won’t even acknowledge Biden’s equally female and more than equally credible accuser. Not only that, they are apparently certain that such blatant double-standards won’t trouble the progressive herd.

Well, maybe they are right. We shall see. we shall see just how corrupt that herd has become.

The list reinforces Reade’s words in an interview on Fox News over the weekend. She said in part,

“I’d like my history with Biden to be examined in a dignified way that’s not slanted by political bias or sensationalized. I’d like a deeper conversation about the fact that sexual harassment and sexual assault do not have a political party, agenda. “It’s an equal opportunity offender….I mean, it doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is, and it shouldn’t as far as the media coverage regarding claims.”…

“Blasey Ford, because it was a conservative candidate they were going to put in the Supreme Court, was treated with much more deference by most of the media outlets… I’ve basically had no substantive support from women’s groups that are considered liberal or Democratic. I’ve had no support from any Democratic candidate, although I’ve reached out. And I’ve received either slanted reporting that ended up being talking points for Biden’s campaign or silence from the mainstream media… what I would like to say to them at this point and some of the silence from some the candidates Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren that at this point, if you continue to silence me, if you continue to engage in protecting a powerful man without giving my case a closer look, you are complicit in rape”

Normally I’d append my observations after such a list, but this one is just too long. There is also material here for dozens of Ethics Dunce, Incompetent Elected Official, and Unethical Quote posts—an embarrassment of embarrassments, you might say. Here are a relatively restrained number of rueful observations:

  • In addition to the obvious hypocrisy, and repulsive grandstanding these quotes represent, they also raise the question of whether some or perhaps any of these people really care about sexual harassment and sexual assault at all, or if it is just mass posturing and virtue signaling for short term political gain.

I do not see how any genuine feminist or anti-sexual harassment and assault activist, inspired by Blasey-Ford’s testimony, could make the sweeping statements about victims, women, justice, and the importance of the position Kavanaugh was seeking that you read below, and then, when their party’s  presumptive nominee for President is accused of an even more shocking assault,  ignore the  alleged victim and proceed with a pro forma endorsement. How can they do that? How can they not be embarrassed? How can their supporters, or anyone, ever trust or respect them again?

  • I  raise the same question regarding the #MeToo leaders, feminists, female Democrats, and men who, like me, support efforts to take sexual harassment out of the workplace.  The feminist movement lost me–I was once a NOW member—when it reversed its position on sexual harassment by male bosses to protect Bill Clinton when he was lying about Monica. (Bill was pro-abortion, you see.) This is worse. The emotional outcries of feminist activists in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations were absolute and unequivocal. Where are the  #MeToo leaders to take up the cause of Tara Reade? Where is Tarana Burke, Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon, Mira Sorvino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep,  Patricia Arquette, Angelina Jolie, Alyssa Milano (Well, we know where she is—pretending that her continued support for Biden in light of her #MeToo fanaticism doesn’t make her, and the movement, look ridiculous), or Fatima Goss Graves  of the National Women’s Law Center? Where, for that matter, is Hillary Clinton? If they believed what they said they did, if they weren’t lying and posturing before, they would be supporting Reade.

Heck, I argued in sexual harassment trainings eight months ago that women and Democrats supporting Joe Biden with his photographic record of harassment…you know…

were undercutting public support for and understanding of  sexual harassment laws. It’s more than hypocritical. It’s stupid.

  • Which of the hypocrites below deserves special contempt? It’s hard to top Elizabeth Warren, the party’s Demogogue Queen, who has announced that she would be proud to be Handsy Joe’s VP. Yet she said, “Many survivors of sexual assault choose not to speak out, for a thousand different reasons. But when they do, they deserve to be heard. The events described by Julie Swetnick, Ms Ramirez & Dr Ford are absolutely heart-wrenching.’

Boy she’s awful!

The fake complaints of Swetnick and Ramirez, now thoroughly discredited, broke her heart, but she snubs Reade as if she were a descendant of General Custer. Then there’s Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who proclaimed, “This is a serious allegation, and we have a responsibility to listen….For too long, our political system has shut out the voices of women & silenced the stories behind the #MeToo movement.” How can he look at himself in the mirror after endorsing Biden?

Well, don’t get me started,. As I said, there are dozens this bad.(But be sure you check out Rep. Barbara Lee.)

  • The words you will keep reading are “bravery,” ” all women,” “credible,” “victims,” “right to be heard,” “speaking truth to power”…all of which apply at least as much to Tara Reade as the did to Blasey-Ford. What’s the difference?

You know what the difference is.

  • It’s a silver lining, I suppose, that the fiasco chronicled below is useful as a great unmasking, although the most exposed are generally those whose lack of integrity should have been obvious anyway. Here, for example, is the hideous Senator Hirono:

“…we are standing together because we #BelieveWomen…this is why the #MeToo movement is so important, because often in these situations, there is an environment where people see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing. That is what we have to change.”

Well, I could write about this forever, and I’m tempted.  But it’s time to view the hypocrisy parade…beginning with Barack Obama (Michelle? Has anyone heard from Michelle? Hello?) , and the Speaker, who endorsed Joe Biden yesterday.

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Today’s “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Note

Honestly, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by constantly writing about the news media’s toxic, destructive, self-destructive partisan bias. The problem is that the horse isn’t dead, and that once fair and intelligent people, millions of them, stare at the stinking, rotting, whinnying and snarling zombie carcass, and then will look you in the eye and tell you the beast is ready to run in the Preakness. This continues to be amazing to me, but also increasingly infuriating. We are far past the guilty beyond a reasonable doubt stage, and even the beyond all doubt stage, and yet they persist in increasingly unsupported denial. So I am forced to keep producing the carcass, and hoping against hope that somehow, a bolt of clarity, or integrity, or disgust, or something, will stir these sad, brain-washed  people to awareness, and they will finally exclaim, “Oh my GOD! That thing is disgusting!” And I am dedicated to keep hauling these repetitive smoking guns to the top of the pile, until that miracle occurs.

The now blazing and audacious conspiracy by the mainstream media to refuse—just refuse, that’s all!—to report on Joe Biden’s #MeToo accuser is, or should be, another piece of conclusive evidence. The New York Times interview of its won editor was as smoky a gun as there is, but there is so much more.

In 2018, when Christine Blasey-Ford accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of a suddenly (and conveniently) remembered sexual assault while the two were in high school, CNN put out seven articles the same day that the news became public. After that, it was “Katie bar the door!’ wherever that old expression came from. Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist did a search, and behold! CNN did more than 700 articles about the Blasey-Ford allegations, this in addition to the hundreds of hours of televised discussions on the topic.

Hemingway links to many of the headlines. She writes, Continue reading

BREAKING (And Astounding): A Smoking Gun Inside A Smoking Gun!

 

The New York Times just published an interview with its editor, Dean Baquet. You, everyone needs to read it. I’m want to minimize commentary, because I think–I think–that the interview  speaks eloquently for itself. What it says, amazingly, is that the New York Times is exactly as biased and partisan as its critics have said it is, and yet is somehow both in denial and incapable of making  coherent statements adequate to the task of fooling anyone who isn’t already on the “team” and committed to its mission. That the paper would subject its own editor to an interview—the interviewer is ex-BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith–that exposes the Times’ unethical manipulation of news and reveals the Times’ own editor as a babbling, rationalizing, spinning and obfuscating fool is incomprehensible.

And the Times published it! How can that be explained? Did the paper want to confess? That can’t be it. Is the Times so completely delusional that they don’t see how awful and incriminating Baquet’s answers are, that they are signature significance for an editor of exactly the kind of newspaper those who resent American journalism turning into partisan propaganda have been saying it is?

Is Baquet, who had to approve this, that certain that his readers have been so corrupted, or are so gullible, that they wouldn’t derive the obvious conclusion from his  double-talk?  Really?

One exchange is sufficient to make the point. Here Smith asks about the fiasco Ethics Alarms covered here, when the Times wrote, of its investigation of Tara Reade’s allegations, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”

Smith: I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Why did you do that?

Baquet: Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.

“The campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct.” This was left in the interview! The statement means the New York Times was coordinating its reporting of a serious  charge against against the presumptive challenger to President Trump with that challenger’s campaign, and now sees that kind of—shall we say collusion?—as so routine that the editor doesn’t even think it’s damning. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month, “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Division–And This Is A Classic!—The New York Times

…and by the way,

KABOOM!!!!!

“We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”

—-The New York Times, in the course of its long -awaited  reporting on Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault against Joe Biden. No, really, they really tweeted this. They really did. I wouldn’t make that up…they DID! I’m not kidding! See…?

The right hand side is what you got after the Times figured out that their outrageous pro-Democratic Party bias was not just showing, as it always does, but blinking on and off in blinding neon lights, accompanied by sirens.

No other allegations? Since launching his Presidential bid, , eight women have alleged that Biden either touched them inappropriately or violated their personal space, You know, like this…

In response, Biden issued a classic “non-apology apology,” then later said that he was “not sorry for anything I’ve ever done.” He has also been criticized for commenting on the sexual appearance of young girls and women while campaigning.

In a 2019 article, the Times  wrote that “Biden’s Tactile Politics Threaten his Return in the #MeToo era,” but that was when the paper was pushing Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Now they are stuck with Biden, just like their party.

I suppose it is obligatory to note the  Times emphasized the importance of believing women who accuse powerful men of sexual abuse when the one so accused was a conservative federal judge who did not have a voluminous photographic record of him sniffing, touching, hugging, kissing and groping women in the recent past.

You know, I’m rapidly reaching the point where I’m not going to be patient, civil or understanding—they are hopelessly biased, after all, ergo stupid—when progressives deny  mainstream media bias in the face of this kind of despicable journalism. It’s reaching the Orwellian point of “War is Peace.” It’s also “jumboing’—in fact, I am hereby creating the verb jumbo, meaning to lie to someone’s face, asserting something to be true when the evidence that it is not true is obvious and undeniable. It’s also evidence of ethics rot,

The gloves are off. This was the tipping point.

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/28/2020: Well, In At Least One Respect, WW II Must Have Felt Like This…

“This” being that almost every single news item and media article related in some way to a single topic, the war then, the pandemic today. That’s one reason President Roosevelt asked major League Baseball to keep playing on, despite the fact that most of the game’s stars had enlisted or were about to,  leaving the teams to field old players, players who came out of retirement, minor leaguers, and such curiosities as Pete Gray, the one-armed outfielder. 

Wait: the baseball season was supposed to start two days ago, and is postponed at least until May. In that regard, at least, this is worse than World War II…

1. Speaking of baseball: Red Sox ethics! Major League Baseball approved a pool of 30 million dollars (That’s $1 million per club) to compensate ballpark employees during the enforced suspension of games. That left out the employees of subcontractors like Aramark, the company that supplies Fenway Park with food services, among other things. The Sox announced that it would add a half-million dollars to the $1 million for Aramark, a move that is expected to shame the other 29 clubs into similar moves.

2. You wonder why America’s children are growing up to be Marxists? Well, this doesn’t help: The following articles appeared this week in Teen Vogue:

3. From the front page of the Boston Herald:

I’m not going to track down the article; it would just ruin the wonderful picture in my head. Continue reading

From The “Stop Making Me Sort Of Defend Joe Biden!” Files: Oh, Look..As Soon As Democrats Finally Conclude That Joe Will Be A Disastrous Candidate, A Woman Accuses Him Of Sexually Assaulting Her 27 Years Ago. How Unexpected!

Seriously, how long will it take women and feminists to realize that repeatedly and transparently using sexual assault and sexual harassment accusations as suspiciously timed political weapons undermines the credibility of legitimate victims and their cause generally?

In fact, why has it taken this long?

We have now seen this scenario so many times: accusers haul out old and unsubstantiated alleged episodes of sexual misconduct conveniently timed to do maximum damage to an individual who has become a problem for the Left. Chris Matthews. Brett Kavanaugh, the most obvious example. Now, the same week in which President trump’s ratings rise, Joe Biden’s bunker broadcasts have even the most dedicated deniers wondering about his acuity, and New York governor Andrew Cuomo is being whispered about as a promising last ditch replacement for Joe if only there were some way to pull it off, and this happens (From Reason):

Despite his public pronunciations on the subject of never touching women without their explicit verbal consent, Biden has previously faced accusations that he was too handsy with people. But now the former vice president is facing a much more serious accusation of sexual assault, from an alleged former staffer named Tara Reade…Reade says she worked for Biden in the early 1990s and asserts that she was unambiguously assaulted by him in 1993. According to Reade, he began kissing her without her permission, pushed her against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers.

“He said ‘come on man, I heard you liked me,'” Reade recalled to Halper in the interview. “For me, it was like, everything shattered. I looked up to him, he was like my father’s age, he was this champion of women’s rights, in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It was surreal.”

…She said she once tried to talk to a supervisor about what had happened, but this person shut her down before she could tell the whole story. She also said she filled out an official form detailing her assault, but does not know what became of it.

A year ago, Reade—who supported the campaigns of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.)—attempted to come forward with stories of sexual harassment in Biden’s offices. As detailed in an Intercept piece, she reached out to Time’s Up, a project of the National Women’s Law Center that provides support to alleged #MeToo victims. Time’s Up declined to assist Reade; the organization’s official excuse was that a feud with a national political candidate could jeopardize their status as a 501(c)(3) non-partisan group. But as The Intercept also notes:

“The public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign. A spokesperson for Biden declined to comment. The SKDK spokesperson assigned to Time’s Up referred questions back to the NWLC.”

Hey, nothing to see here, move along! Continue reading

Biden’s Attack On Mayor Pete

A Pointer to Ann Althouse for flagging this.

The Biden camp released this attack ad today. Althouse opined that it employed race-baiting and homophobia.

She’s right. The race-baiting is obvious: Joe Biden learned the lesson of the Obama administration and “Black Lives Matter”; if a white person does or says anything negative affecting a black person, it’s racist. The gay-bashing is insidious, and I have no question that it is intentional. Biden’s marketing team could have emphasized many minor aspects of a small city mayor’s duties to make the same point, but it deliberately chose topics like brightly-colored lights to make the river look fabulous, and ornamental bricks.

The fact that Mayor Pete is gay has been almost entirely ignored in media coverage, however, and if you don’t know Buttigieg is gay, none of the homophobic dog whistles  will reach your ears. I showed the video to my wife, and she noticed none of them because, I was surprised to learn, she didn’t know Mayor Pete is gay. Once I told her, she agreed that the ad probably intended to remind those who are.

The fact that Buttigieg is gay is irrelevant to his qualifications for the Presidency, but his sexual orientation is the Woolly Mammoth in the room regarding his electability. Anti-gay prejudice is not the exclusive domain of the Deplorables; it runs high in the African American community and among Hispanics as well.

I think Biden’s ad is unethical.

My still recuperating wife had another interesting reaction. She found it obnoxious for Biden to have the chutzpah to mention his role in passing the Violence Against Women Act when he habitually and unapologetically gropes women of all ages in public.

He does, you know.