Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/17/2012: The Ethics Buck Stops Here [Updated]

All My Fault

1. Note to future elected officials and politicians trying to weasel their way out of a fiasco of their own making: if you say “I take full responsibility,” then you can’t go on to blame anyone you can think of. The painting above, by artist Mort Künstler (b. 1931) is titled “It’s All My Fault,” and depicts the moment when General Robert E. Lee met his shattered troops after they had marched, under his orders, into Union artillery and Meade’s troops entrenched on higher ground, in the doomed “Pickett’s Charge” that ended the Battle of Gettysburg. “It’s all my fault!” is what he reportedly told his men. National leaders like President Biden, Hillary Clinton and former President Biden might well reflect on those words, which in my view justify remembering and honoring Lee all by themselves, as their supporters tear down Lee’s statues. (President Trump tried to protect the statues, but he has never emulated Lee in the matter of accepting responsibility either.) Their version of taking responsibility is to mouth “I take full responsibility” followed by a string of “buts” that translate into “It wasn’t my fault!” In the Biden version, you do this and then refuse to take questions (Like, say, “WHAT???) and jump on a plane to flee.

Yesterday, President Biden cynically used Harry Truman’s creed “The buck stops here” after blaming the Afghanistan debacle on President Trump and the Afghans themselves. Apparently in a competition with other media hacks for the boot-licking gold, Brian Williams said, on the air, that Biden’s speech wasn’t what it was (Rationalization #64). “He didn’t run from it, he owned it. He owned this decision. He owned the fact that, as he put it, the buck stops with him,” the exiled former NBC news anchor said. Since Williams has no credibility whatsoever, he has none to lose, but this was still stunning: not just a lie, but a Jumbo: “Excuses? What excuses?”

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Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Unethical tweet Pelosi

Ah. Let us count the ways the Speaker’s tweet is unethical:

1. It is false, meaning true disinformation, not only about the power of the incompetent and untrustworthy Centers for Disease Control, but also regarding the law.

2. How is the tweet still up? Why isn’t Pelosi’s account suspended? She has not only delivered false information about the moratorium, but about limitations on government power. Twitter has been banning tweets from no-name dufusses that make erroneous assertions (or just opinions that Twitter would rather see not made), but complete misrepresentation of the system spread by a high-ranking leader is as serious as it gets. (The answer, I suspect, is that “disinformation” coming from a powerful Democrat is hunky-dory with our Big Tech Masters.)

3. Is Pelosi lying, or does she just not follow the legal news? Either way is unethical for someone in her position. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on two weeks ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked authority for the national moratorium it imposed last year on most residential evictions as part of the effort to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. They did this knowing the Supreme Court would back them up, because in a narrow 5-4 ruling upholding the moratorium temporarily on June 29, Justice Kavanaugh, the swing vote in the decision, wrote,

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Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards

Thinker

1. I have some ethics observations on this thing that was sent out to white parents in the Highland Park area of Texas by a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group:

Sacrifice memo

Here they are:

  • As long as white individuals hesitate to push back on BLM’s outrageous assertions and demands, the group will continue to grow more audacious and arrogant
  • The logic of this demand can only make sense to someone who has no concept of right, wrong, and fairness. “We want you to handicap your own children in order to clear the way for our children, who can’t compete and who shouldn’t have to work especially hard to overcome obstacles that you and your children are not responsible for placing in their path.”
  • The screed is an excellent example of how the concept of equal opportunity has been warped into “equity,” meaning not just equality of results, which life never guarantees, but punitive measures to ensure advantages of  favored groups over those that are disfavored, aka whites and males.
  • The extension of the argument in the letter would require athletes fortunate to have advantages of strength, speed, and skill to pledge not to compete against those not so “privileged” as to be born with these advantages, and job applicants of superior talent, intelligence and character to refuse to place themselves in a position where they would be chosen for a job over less fortunate job-seekers.

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Weekend Ethics Frolics, 5/9/2021: Birthing Persons Day Edition

Frolicking

Surely you have heard by now that a few addled Democrats in Congress have begun using the hilarious term “birthing people” to describe mothers. This is in order to pander to the trans population, because the special problems of this tiny minority are worth turning the entire culture inside out and upside down. So far it’s three certifiably silly people on the Hill whose credentials as ethics dunces are unusually strong, even for Congressional Democrats (the links go to signature significance EA posts: Senator Cory “Spartacus” Booker , certifiable Rep. Ayanna Pressley, previously heard arguing that “girls” have a right to attack other girls with knives “uninterupted”, and the spectacularly unqualified Rep. Cori Bush, who was supposedly on Biden’s short list for VP, which is terrifying—yes, even more terrifying than Kamala Harris:

birthing person tweet 1Birthing person 2

This is fascinating from an ethics perspective, specifically the slippery slope. The Great Stupid that has descended over the land, with special focus on progressives, has led to vocal support for so many ridiculous ideas—defunding the police, paying people more to stay out of work than to have jobs, open boarders, electing Joe Biden, packing the Supreme Court, and more—that the once fairly bold line between “progressive” and “batshit crazy” appears to have been erased. At some point, and maybe “birthing people” is it, even left-tilting Americans will wake up and say “Whoa! These are wackos!”

And indeed they are.

1. Also from the “What an idiot!” files…On baseball and Giants’ Hall of Fame immortal Willie Mays’ 90th birthday last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Twitter account posted a picture of Willie McCovey. Willie Mays is a national icon, probably the greatest African-American baseball player of all-time, and any American, especially any American elected official, who does not know what he looks like is too ignorant of America’s culture and history to serve competently. (I’m only exaggerating a little.) Not only is this an insult to the Say Hey Kid (What does that nickname mean, Nancy? Huh? Come on, you represent San Francisco!), it’s the kind of “they all look the same to me!” mistake that white officials are typically savaged for, as when Senator Rubio mixed up Rep. John Lewis with Rep. Elijah Cummings. At least Cummings and Lewis looked a little bit alike. McCovey, who was also a Hall of Fame slugger and who also played for the Giants,

Willie McCovey Holding Baseball Bat

looked nothing like Willy Mays…

Willie-Mays-US-2155529

…and to make the distinction easy for baseball ignoramuses, Willie McCovey is DEAD.

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Unethical Quote Of The Month (And A Candidate For Ugliest Statement By An Elected Official For All Eternity): Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

“Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice. For being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that? — to call out for your mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’” But because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

Nancy Pelosi, apparently trying to kill as many people as possible by making their heads explode.

I know I promised to save all of today’s Derek Chauvin verdict-related notes for Part 2 of this morning’s post, but the sheer awfulness of Pelosi’s words, the astounding tone-deafness, the massive stupidity it must require to think for a millisecond that such a sentiment is anything but revolting, and the ick!–yecchh!–gag!–ACK!–pitui! pandering and shamelessness a human being would have to possess to vomit up such a statement demands a free-standing rebuke.

Those flames are for you, Nancy.

Apparently enough people on the “Let’s hang Derek Chauvin from a sour apples tree!” side of the matter were similarly horrified by Pelosi’s latest that we cannot say that her quote fairly stands for the moral, ethical and intellectual rot of the entire Democratic Party and progressive movement. That’s small mitigation. This woman has been leading the Democrats forever (or it seems that way), and such a sentiment is signature significance. If you think something like this, never mind say it out loud, never mind say if for for public consumption, you are not qualified to hold public office. For years we have seen public figures, professionals and celebrities cancelled for less. Much less.

And if you’re capable of saying something this stupid, you’re not qualified to eat with anything sharper than a spoon.

To begin with the obvious, it isn’t a sacrifice when someone has no choice in what happens to him or her. Way, way down the scale of those who cannot be thanked for a sacrifice are those who are victims of crimes or the negligent acts of others.

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I’m Thankful That So Many Americans Will Refuse To Comply With Pandemic Orders From Arrogant And Contemptuous Elected Officials Like These

Thanksgiving plus US

Elected mayors and governors across the country have simultaneously demanded obeisance to their burdensome orders constraining American rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while showcasing their belief that they are above the obligation to live by their own rules.

I’m grateful for this disgusting phenomenon. It vividly exposes a political class that thinks Americans are marks and fools, or perhaps some kind of human-sheep hybrid. These elected dictators’ not-so-secret desire is to dominate and rule. They have but a faint concept of what a representative democracy means, and have contempt for it and us. Members of the public who can’t see the unethical double standards these nascent totalitarians would inflict on the nation, or worse, those who accept and tolerate the double standards, are the intended victims. Fortunately, there are still a critical number of citizens who recall this nation’s origins as a rebellion against tyrants.

The open contempt these leaders have for us is staggering. Perhaps they expected their allied propagandists among news media to hide the hypocrisy, which so far it has been unwilling to do. Actually, considering the embargo on stories that might reflect positively on President Trump during the run-up to this months election, it is surprising our aspiring dictators haven’t been provided with more cover. This is something else to be thankful for.

From the Thanksgiving section of the Dead Ethics Alarms files:

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Comment Of The Day: “Wednesday Ethics, 9/2/2020: Faking Here, Faking There, Faking, Faking Everywhere!” (Item #3, Pelosi’s Hair Appt.)

Here is zoebrain’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Wednesday Ethics, 9/2/2020: Faking Here, Faking There, Faking, Faking Everywhere!,” regarding #3, which discussed the Nancy Pelosi hair salon debacle:

Pelosi demonstrates arrogant dishonesty. Again.

I wish she *had* been set up. The more politicians are compelled to be on their best behaviour 100% of the time lest their true colours be shown in public, the better.

Right now, the bar has been set so low the DNC can get away with anything, and still look and be “better” than their opponents. That is unutterably wrong, and the greatest damage caused by this Presidency. The normalising of the unacceptable.

But that’s Trump. This is Pelosi, and she shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it if we are to remedy the damage. When they go low, we have to go high. That is obviously not happening. It’s gotta stop.

***

I jumped zoebrain’s comment over two idling COTD, for several reasons. Yes, it’s short, but zoe is usually admirably concise. I was preparing a longer post about the Pelosi incident, and this comment provides a perfect opening. It also harkens back to my 2015 post, “A Nation of Assholes.” What I did not foresee was that the Trump “lowering of the bar” for the culture’s civility, integrity and ethics generally would be exploited so thoroughly by adults: I assumed that it would be the rising generations that would be corrupted. But no, unfortunately. As the follow-up posts to that one quickly acknowledged,  it was every other part of the culture, in particular Democrats and the “resistance.” Continue reading

Wednesday Ethics, 9/2/2020: Faking Here, Faking There, Faking, Faking Everywhere!

Good Wednesday!

It will probably not surprise you to learn that I have been a huge Charles Addams fan since I was a child, when I borrowed every one of  his collections from the Arlington Public Library. My two favorites, I think: the unicorns on a rock gazing sadly after the Ark as it floats away in the rain, and the butchers and his sons being attacked by links of sausages, mirroring the famous statue of Laocoön and his sons being devoured by serpents.

Laocoön’s fate is an ethics fable: Troy’s priest tried to warn the Trojans that the huge wooden horse was a trap, but instead of heeding his warning, the Trojans, having convinced themselves that the thing was a gift from the gods, assumed that the priest and his sons had been killed because the warning was blasphemy. In truth, the serpents had been sent by Poseidon, who was rooting for the Greeks all along. Historian Barbara Tuchman used the story of Laocoön in her book “The March of Folly,” a frequent topic on Ethics Alarms.

I was just depressed to discover, as I searched for a picture of Wednesday online, that the one above is only one of two out of hundreds that were genuine Addams drawings of her. What does that tell us?

1. More manipulated media. Yes, Twitter should flag these sorts of deceptions as long as they are non-partisan about it. In addition to the Steve Scalise fake I wrote about here, Twitter pointed out two more, also from the Republicans. White House social media director Dan Scavino posted a 2011 Joe Biden interview from California-news outlet KBAK that was altered to make it falsely appear as if Biden had fallen asleep—“Sleepy Joe,” get it? The fake was pointed out by John Dabkovitch, KBAK’s co-anchor at the time, who noted that the interview was actually with singer Harry Belafonte, not Biden. (I always get those two mixed up too.)

Then the Twitter account @TrumpWarRoom, which is the Trump campaign, posted a tweet that lifted Biden’s words out of context so it seems like Joe said “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” when he was quoting what Trump was suggesting in his remarks.

Like the Scalise tweet, both of these are embarrassingly stupid, and mandate firings. How can anyone tolerate a social media director who does something like this? He probably cheated on his SATs…[Pointer: valkygrrl]

2. I hereby volunteer to be the President’s 24-7 Ethics-sitter this kind of  stuff  doesn’t happen.... During his visit to peaceful protest-ravaged Kenosha,  the President wanted to have a photo op in front of the century-old Rode’s Camera Shop, which was peacefully burned out a week ago. The owner, Tom Gram, is not a fan, however, and he declined President Trump’s request to participate in the damage tour yesterday.  So the Trump flacks tracked down the previous owner and descendant of the original owners. He sold the shop eight years ago to Gram, yet President Trump  introduced him as “John Rode III, owner of Rode’s Camera Shop.” Rode went on to praise the President. Rode does own the property where the camera shop had been. [Again, pointer: valkygrrl]

3. Why do they keep doing this? First it was the Mayor of Chicago who violated her own pandemic edicts to have her hair done, and now it’s Nancy Pelosi, caught below at a salon, maskless…

…(“You must wear your mask!” she commanded Americans earlier last month) as she sought beautification at a San Francisco hair salon  this week despite local ordinances keeping salons closed. This is hypocrisy and entitled behavior, plus “laws are for the little people,” personified. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Depression, 8/8/2020: Irresponsible Parents, Irresponsible Voters, Irresponsible Troll-Makers

This is my state of mind today.

I began today driving for two hours to find a meeting for which I had been given the wrong address, and, like the fool that I have always been, didn’t bring along the phone number of anyone who could help me. It is during ordeals like this that I begin to reflect on what a failure and underachiever I am, and how I really don’t have enough time left for turnaround. All that privilege,  and good fortune, wasted. And I have no one to blame but myself.

Then I had to write about the stuff you’ll find below, and I got really depressed.

1. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias, and why aren’t you agreeing with what I say?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got angry when PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff dared to ask a question that cahllenged the Democratic Party position in dispute with Republicans on over the content of a “Phase 4” Wuhan Virus aid bill.

When Woodruff asked Pelosi about the “flexibility” GOP lawmakers are showing in terms of allocating more money for state and local governments, as well as Republican arguments that “much of the money” allocated in the CARES Act “has not even been spent yet,” Pelosi snapped,  “Well, if you want to be an advocate for them, Judy, if you want to be an advocate for them, listen to what the facts are.”

In other word, “Hey! You’re supposed to be on our side!”

Actually, ethical journalists are not supposed to be on anyone’s side, but that quaint ethics  concept has been abandoned by virtually all journalists, including  Woodruff.

“I’m playing devil’s advocate here,!” Woodruff protested. You know, the devil, Republicans—same thing!

2. Better yet, don’t ride the subway! Here is a Wuhan virus safety sign from the New York City subways.

In addition to telling people they should wear masks, it goes to the next level and wants people to avoid interacting at all. This is incompetent messaging and  shows a basic misunderstanding of humans in general and American in particular. It also makes me suspicious: Big Brother is still working to make as all compliant automaton. If we can’t talk, we can’t resist.

It reminds me of the early “don’t touch you face!” warnings. People touch their face thousands of times a day. That message made me skeptical of all the advice from “experts” and governments, and indeed, you hardly hear it any more.

Social interaction is essential to life. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Year: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“People will do what they do.”

—-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi  yesterday, following being  asked at a press conference about her reaction to the statue of Christopher Columbus being torn down and dumped in the Bay by the usual gang of vandals and anarchists who are symbolically tearing down the United States and Western civilization, as well as its values.

I am serious about this being the Unethical Quote of the Year. I can’t imagine a worse one, once Pelosi’s status as the third ranking official in the United States Government and the leader of the Democratic Party is taken into consideration. This would be a morally, legally and ethically bankrupt statement if it came from a sociopathic teenager. Coming from a leader who people follow and trust, it is infinitely worse. Such an attitude strikes at the soul of civilized society. “They just do what they do” is a line from  “Jurassic Park,” as the paleontologist, Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) explains to the children that dinosaurs aren’t good or bad, they are just animals that “do what they do.”

But they were animals. Continue reading