Tag Archives: the national debt

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/11/2017: Words, Debt, And Costumes

Good morning from Richmond, Va.!

1 Passengers keep piling onto the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck:

  • Fashion designer Donna Karan, questioned about Weinstein at an event, said in part:

“I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women,” Karan said to the Daily Mail. “What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

Then she pointed to Weinstein’s achievements, and said Weinstein and his wife were “wonderful people.”

(Note to the designer: men who use their power to harass and assault women are not wonderful people by definition.)

After the predictable response to these idiotic comments, Karan protested that her quote was taken out of context, as if the context wasn’t Harvey Weinstein, and issued a low level apology that could only mean, “I’m deeply sorry I said something in public that reveals the miserable level of my values.”

  • Lindsay Lohan, currently in exile in Great Britain and Dubai, used social media to remind her fans in the US that she is, after all, a moron, writing on Instagram,

“I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now. I don’t think it’s right what’s going on….He’s never harmed me or did anything to me – we’ve done several movies together.I think everyone needs to stop – I think it’s wrong. So stand up.”

One of the real benefits of social media is that it reveals the total lack of ethics comprehension, reasoning ability and life competence that inflict so much of the public, including celebrities. With clarity of thought like that, is there any mystery regarding how the once rising star managed to mangle her career despite beauty, talent, and early success?

  • NBC was presented with the Weinstein story before it was broken by the New York Times, says Ronan Farrow, the author of a new Weinstein investigative piece in The New Yorker. The network hasn’t said why. Does it have to? Weinstein was close to both the Clintons and the Obamas, and the scandal directly implicates the Democratic party and its core supporters….like NBC. It is fascinating to watch cable and network anchors and guests desperately try to analogize Weinstein to President Trump, but the Hollywood mogul was enabled by self-righteous liberals and was given the King’s Pass (with an assist from the Saint’s Excuse) because he gave to Planned Parenthood and Hillary, making him, in Donna Karan’s words, “wonderful” by definition. The analogy is Bill Clinton, of course, and any journalist who refuses to acknowledge that has confessed crippling partisan bias.

2. This brings us to a quote by blogger Ann Althouse:

“My hypothesis is that liberals — including nearly everyone in the entertainment business — suppressed concern about sexual harassment to help Bill Clinton. Giving him cover gave cover to other powerful men, and the cause of women’s equality in the workplace was set back 20 years.”

Her hypothesis is correct, and I said so when the liberals, feminists, abortion zealots, artistic community and others circled their wagons around Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. This is one reason why Hillary’s campaign stance as standard-bearer for women’s rights and victims of sexual assault was so grotesque.

Here’s another quote from Althouse that I like:

“Who are the women who accepted the deal as offered by Harvey Weinstein? Will their names be kept out of the press? Should they?…

…So much silence facilitating so much harm! Should the women who took the bargain and got what they wanted out of it be regarded as victims and entitled to keep their names secret, or are they part of a system that hurt many others, and subject to outing.”

I’ve answered this question in various comments on previous posts, much to the unhappiness of readers who believe that victims who remains silent and thus allow evil to continue shouldn’t be criticized. The women are part of the system, and accountable. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Professions, Quotes, Social Media, U.S. Society, Workplace

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/7/2017: Compromise, Competence, Verrit, A Congressional Jerk, And Democratic Crooks Don’t Matter…

Good Morning!

1 President Trump stunned the political world and particularly the left’s “I hate him” news media by crossing party lines and cutting a debt deal with Democratic leaders in defiance of his own hyper-partisan party. One reason they were stunned is because this is what competent Presidents do and are supposed to do in order to govern, and we have just finished eight years with a previous President who was unwilling and incapable of doing it.

This single episode doesn’t make Trump a competent President, but it does show that he is competent in at least one aspect of democratic leadership (Obama was competent at exactly two: appearing Presidential and speaking coherently), and has some guts. The demonstrated ability to negotiate and the willingness to act in the teeth of furious opposition were two characteristics that the advocates of his candidacy cited as justification for electing him.

It is also dawning on some that the structure of the DACA executive order may well be to fashion the measure as a bargaining chip to be cashed in later. This is also the kind of thing competent leaders do.

2. There is a new website called Verrit, which appears to be an openly, proudly, left-biased news source which purports to “verify” news stories, obviously based on its own progressive world view. Verrit founder and CEO Peter Daou told the news media,

“We’re in a time now where you just no longer trust anything that you’re reading,” Daou said. “Facts are now in question. Reality is now in question. So we want to do something where we rigorously vet these facts and we actually stand by our research and put an authentication code on every fact that we put up.”

And what qualifies Verrit as a fair and objective “authenticator”? Apparently it is the virtue of being hard-progressive and anti-conservative to the bone. Here is a recent Verrit collection of its “cards”:

Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Public Service, War and the Military

A Trivial Attack Ad That Reveals Untrustworthiness

All is lost now…

The Obama campaign’s new creation is a 30-second spot that opens with shots of Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and other business villains. “Criminals. Gluttons of greed,” intones the ad’s solemn narrator. “And the evil genius who towered over them? One man has the guts to speak his name.”  Then the ad cuts to Mitt Romney, pulling two words out of his debate comments (the words that came before them were, “I love..”), saying “Big Bird….Big Bird…Big Bird”

B.B. then appears in a montage of Sesame Street clips, as the narrator says,  “Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about. It’s Sesame Street. Mitt Romney, taking on our enemies no matter where they nest.”

It’s an epically stupid ad, if for no other reason that it recruits a non-profit organization’s symbol into a partisan political attack ad, without that organization’s permission. The Children’s Television Workshop has officially  “requested” that the Obama campaign remove it. The ad is far worse than that, however: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture

Ethics Dunce: The Internal Revenue Service


What is the monetary value of something that can’t be sold?



That’s an easy one.

So why is the IRS claiming that the heirs of the New York art dealer Ileana Sonnabend  owe $29.2 million in taxes on an art work that U.S. prevents from ever being converted into cash? Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Citizenship, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Tales Of Ethics Dunces Past: Recalling the Self-Indulgent Suicide of Hunter Thompson

I can’t claim that I am surprised that my post about the suicide of Don Cornelius attracted comments that either showed a misunderstanding of what I wrote or a stubborn determination to change the subject. It was not a post about the virtues of suicide, but about how suicide’sethical calculations may be changing as a broken medical care system increasingly makes the final years and months of the elderly a burden that crushes families and constricts the quality of life  for the nation generally. In short, killing yourself for your country may have to become an accepted practice, an ethical and courageous act, if something doesn’t change. Killing yourself for yourself—to avoid pain, problems, or the consequences of your own actions, should always be considered wrong, for wrong it is.

Jeff Hibbert, one of my favorite contributors here and also one with a great memory, reminded me that I had written on this topic once before. I had forgotten, but that post may be a useful contrast to the Cornelius post. There is not a word of it that I don’t still believe. It concerned the 2005 suicide of Hunter S. Thompson, the cult “gonzo journalist” who lived like frat boy and  wrote like angel. Here it is:

Hunter Thompson’s values were admittedly always a little out of whack, but nothing diminished the self-styled “gonzo journalist” in this world so much as his manner of leaving it. He shot himself to death last February while talking on the phone to his wife, with both his son and grandson in his house with him. Nice. That should guarantee some lucky psychoanalyst or three a comfy income for the foreseeable future. Continue reading


Filed under Bioethics, Character, Ethics Scoreboard classics, Family, U.S. Society

Don Cornelius, Suicide…and Ethics Hero?

“Soul Train” creator and pop culture icon Don Cornelius took his own life at 75 yesterday, using a gunshot to the head to do it. Suicide always conjures up feelings of special sadness for the deceased, sometimes mixed with anger. The act can be cruel and devastating to family members and friends; often it leaves behind crushing problems, financial and otherwise, that the living have to deal with. Suicide is stigmatized in our culture as a coward’s way out of earthly problems; many religions consider it a sin, and many legal systems consider suicide a crime. Yet it may be that American culture will have to undergo a major cultural transformation in the matter of taking one’s own life. While morality tends to ossify, ethics is fluid and adaptable. Changing conditions and new realities can, in rare circumstances, cause societies to conclude that what was once considered right is really wrong, and what was once condemned as wrong is in society’s best interests. I think we may reach that point with suicide. Continue reading


Filed under Bioethics, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Heroes, Family, Finance, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Incompetent Elected Official of the Week: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich)

Is he the dumbest Representative? Let's hope so.This is perhaps the ethical equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel (which, come to think of it, isn’t very ethical), since Rep. Conyers has been displaying his rank incompetence in word and deed for decades (he was first elected in 1964). It was Conyers, after all, who during the health care reform bill debate last year not only admitted that he hadn’t read the bill, but ridiculed the notion that anyone would expect a House member to read such a complex, wide-reaching piece of legislation before voting for it. I might suggest that the Congressman is suffering the mental ravages of age, but  a) that would be age discrimination and 2) he doesn’t deserve an excuse. He’s always been like this.

Conyers is also a powerful and high-ranking member, so his special brand of cluelessness is neither harmless nor cute. It is useful, however, at least to Republicans looking for the perfect example of the proverbial Democratic Congressman who only knows one way to govern: spend as much money as possible in ways that will line the pockets of constituents and thus guarantee re-election. The Republicans would like the public to believe that all Democrats are like this, which isn’t true. The fact that at least one Democrat is like this, however—not only like this, but candid and proud about it—makes the stereotype much more credible.

Here is what Conyers said this week: Continue reading


Filed under Finance, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Professions, U.S. Society