Thursday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/24/2020: It’s “Supreme Court Day”!

Literally!

On this day in 1789, The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Washington, thus establishing the Supreme Court of the United States. Notably, it was then designed as a tribunal made up of only six justices—an even number! (The Horror!)  President Washington quickly nominated John Jay to preside as Chief Justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison and James Wilson to be Associate Justices.  You should know Rutledge: he sings that cool song about slavery and the Triangle Trade  in “1776.”  You also should recall Wilson from that show—he’s the one slandered by being portrayed as a total weenie, which he most assuredly was not.  Two days later, the six appointments were confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Nobody thought it was a big deal.

1. We knew the New York Times’ “1619 Project” was flagrant Black Lives Matter-inspired propaganda and based on lies, correct? Ethics Alarms discussed this when the Pulitzers honored the thing’s Liar in Chief, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who even admitted that it was really more about creating a useful “narrative” than accurately presenting history. Ben Crump, the serial race-hustler who gets huge damage settlements for family members of black victims of various tragedies by proclaiming the police and America as racist, cited  the “1619” project’s narrative yesterday while helping to incite riots. See? It works!

But the project is used in many school systems as “history,” and the central dishonesty was a problem, so the Times, without announcement or explanation, erased the central claim of the 1619 Project, which was that the year the first slaves were brought to Colonial Virginia was the “true founding” of the United States.

The  initial introduction to the Project, when it was rolled out in August 2019, stated that

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from the New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

Sometime this year, the text became,

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.

The change was discovered after Hannah-Jones denied  last week that the project’s core thesis was what she and the Times  had said it was. It “does not argue that 1619 is our true founding,” she said. Well, not any more. Continue reading

“What”s Going On Here?” The Polls

Now there’s a poll that you won’t find highlighted in many mainstream media reports. From the Washington Examiner, part of the conservative media:

Despite a wave of critical news coverage and Democratic catcalls, President Trump sits at his “highest” approval in the latest Gallup survey, and above where four of the last six presidents, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, were at this point of the first term.

…After two weeks of bad news on the coronavirus and economic front, Trump maintained his 49% approval rating, and his disapproval crept up just 1 point, to 48% in the Gallup survey of adults, a broad test.

Gallup said that Trump’s approval is “tied for the best of his presidency.”

…At 49%, Trump is a hair away from the generally accepted 50%-51% approval political experts consider a lock to win reelection. Both Obama and Bush were at 50% approval on their reelection days.

The paper adds that some pollsters attribute Trump’s positive number to “backlash against the media’s coverage of Trump and the coronavirus and the economy.”

Wow! That’s some theory. So they theorize that a lot of Americans not appreciating a cabal of Democrats, members of Congress, the news media and popular culture figures relentlessly attacking, insulting, impugning and accusing the President of the United States and the head and symbol of their nation on any pretext might cause them to rally to the support of their elected leader, whom they recognize is trying to perform a near impossible job when attempted under the best of conditions, never mind when power forces in society are determined to sabotage you. Huh. I never would have thought of that.

Observations: Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Warm-Up, 3/20/20: Seven Items, Five Pandemic Related, Plus Boston Sports And New York City Schools

…feeling like the last living cell in a dead body…

1. I don’t know about you, but I’m just reaching out to random friends to see how they are doing. Some aren’t doing that well, but they appreciate the contact.

2. More of the name game: From a PR release from two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Gail Heriot and Peter N. Kirsanow…

The Commission makes the ill-advised suggestion that referring to COVID-19 with terms like “Chinese coronavirus” is somehow fueling “[t]his latest wave of xenophobic animosity toward Asian Americans.” It is common to refer to infectious diseases by their geographic origin. Examples include Asian flu, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Brazilian hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, Lyme disease, Marburg virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Pontiac fever, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Spanish flu, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, and West Nile virus…It is counter-productive to hector the American people (or its leaders) about describing the COVID-19 as “Chinese” or as having originated in China. It did originate there. Ordinary Americans—of all races and ethnicities—who harbor no ill will toward anyone don’t like to have the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights imply that that they are fueling the flames of xenophobic animosity.   We can’t blame them. It is insulting.

Our colleagues on the Commission close their statement by writing under the current circumstances no American should be “ostracized solely because of their race or national origin.” That is certainly sensible enough. We would add that Americans should not be ostracized on account of false accusations that their conduct has been racist, xenophobic and hateful. The promiscuous use of those terms needs to stop.

That’s fine and well stated. My position is even more basic. I refuse to participate in mind-control based on the assertion that a factual statement is “racist,” or that someone is the cause of unethical conduct because others choose to behave unethically. Any more Alyssa Milano comments or complaints about Kung Flu jokes, and I’ll be calling the damn thing the Wuhan Virus from the Capital of the Hubai Province in That Big Asian Nation Called China That Endangered The Entire World By The  Dishonest, Paranoid Manner In Which It Withheld Crucial Information.

Back off. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Latest Gallup Poll On Public Approval Of Congress

From Gallup, released today:

More Americans approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing than of congressional Democrats’ performance — 40% vs. 35%. The rating for Republicans in Congress has risen six percentage points since late October, before the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the same period, congressional Democrats’ approval rating has edged down three points and disapproval has climbed five points, from 57% to 62%…

The latest readings for these measures, from a Feb. 17-28 poll, are Gallup’s first since the Dec. 18 impeachment of Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 5. The votes in the House and Senate broke largely along party lines, with only a few exceptions. This split is similarly reflected in rank-and-file partisans’ approval ratings of Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Although majorities of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, as well as Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, approve of the job their own party’s members of Congress are doing, there is a significant difference between the two groups. Republicans’ approval of congressional Republicans has jumped 13 points to 76% since October, but Democrats’ 65% approval of congressional Democrats is virtually unchanged from October…

Republicans’ and Republican leaners’ more positive evaluations of their own party’s congressional caucus are the major reason Republicans in Congress receive higher ratings than Democrats in Congress overall.

Observations:

1. I was tempted to just post the quote and the link under the headline, “Res Ipsa Loquitur”and leave it at that.  I was also tempted to post both on Facebook, with the comment: “See what happens when you live in the Facebook bubble? I bet you’re shocked at this. (PS: I’m not.)” I decided that would be taunting, which is unethical, and when one of the usual suspects wrote that I was just repeating Fox News talking points and was a “Trump supporter,” I might have gotten angry. I can be very mean when I’m angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Continue reading

The Big Lies Of The “Resistance”: #8 “Trump Only Cares About Himself, Not The Country”

When I combined the seven previous “Big Lies of the Resistance” posts I though I had collected them all. What a mistake. Not only had I complied an incomplete list, I had managed to miss the most egregious, unfair and, for the impeachment effort, the most useful Big Lie of all. I’m sorry. It’s time to remedy my error.

I’ve been feeling the need to add Chapter 8 to the Big Lie record since the midst of the Democrats’  ostentatiously unfounded impeachment claims over the President’s dealings with the Ukraine. Their entire argument was built on an assumption: President Trump sought further information regarding the suspicious activities of Joe and Hunter Biden while the elder Biden was Vice-President and the younger was somehow pulling down big bucks from a Ukrainian corporation only to “find dirt” on his likely opponent in the Presidential election. This description was repeated over and over again by the news media, like a mantra or a hypnotic suggestion. Hearing it so often and repeated with such certitude, one might almost forget that the President of the United States has a legitimate purpose in finding out whether a high elected official in the previous administration was influence peddling, sacrificing the interests of the nation for a wayward son.

The President’s attackers and those who have been searching for a way to remove him without having to prevail at the ballot box have framed the controversy as if there was no reason on earth to suspect Joe Biden of wrongdoing–after all, he’s a patriot—so Trump’s waving a Congressional aid package as a carrot that could turn into a stick was an attempt to “interfere with the election.”

The funny part is that there was never any evidence that this was Trump’s motive. It was assumed that this was Trump’s motive because “everyone” knows he’s a bad guy.

We heard this during the Russian conspiracy investigation constantly: Trump “colluded” with the Russians because of course he did—he’s that kind of guy. The Trump haters who slowly devolved into the Trump Deranged came to regard the President’s character as one and the same as guilt of the dastardly acts they attributed to him. This is called, I remind you, bias. Bigotry. Prejudice…the intellectually indefensible assumption that someone is guilty of unethical acts because of who and what they are, rather than what we know they did. Continue reading

Oscar Ethics 2020, Part I

I wrote last night that I would not dare watch the Academy Awards broadcast because I was afraid that the political grandstanding might cause me to snap and run through the streets wielding a machete. Alexandria, VA. can thank me now.

  • Almost immediately, the expected “Best Supporting Actor” win by Brad Pitt for “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” resulted in the first politiacl commentary of the night. Pitt began, “They told me that I only had 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it, and in the end the adults do the right thing.”

Yeah, that would be the adult voters taking the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff losing his seat to the wonderful pit bull Brad’s character owned in “OUATIH.”

  • Do you think Brad, or many of the assembled Hollywood VIP’s, noticed that Julia Reichert, accepting the Oscar for the Netflix documentary  “American Factory,” said “Working people have it harder and harder these days – and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”

That’s a Karl Marx quote and a deliberate callout to “The Communist Manefesto.”  You have to be  historically illiterate to believe that “Working people have it harder and harder these days,” and it’s fascinating that the Obamas are funding platforms for Communist propaganda.

I wonder what Chris Matthews would say about that? Continue reading

Late Sunday Ethics Dump, 2/9/2020: Firings, Voting, A Holiday Swap, And Chris Matthews Breaks Ranks

I can’t believe I’m writing this at 8:30 pm.

(Who knows when I will finish it..)

No, I’m not watching the Oscars, because one political remark—we have been warned that Obama and Clinton speechwriter are ghostwriting winners’ acceptance speeches—might send me into the streets with a machete. Grace is still in a lot of pain and depressed in the aftermath of her fall  17 days, two hours and six minutes ago (the bouquet from the Ethics Alarms Commentariat is still beautiful); believe it or not, the Christmas tree is still not completely undecorated because I’ve been doing it, alone, in five minute increments, and really am in mortal fear that a drooling hoard of the Walking Trump Deranged will burst through the windows any minute now based on the crazy things I’m reading on social media. I believe that I have never lived through a period when so many smart people were expressing such astoundingly stupid assertions.

But the delayed Mookie Betts trade with the Dodgers finally got straightened out, so there’s that…

1.  On the topic of stupid positions adopted by smart people. Naturally, Trump Derangement is the culprit. All these people caterwauling about the President firing Lt. Col. Vinderman, his twin brother, and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in the aftermath of the impeachment trial have forgotten whatever they once knew about management, common sense, and accountability.

“This shows this President’s respect for TRUTH!” wrote one temporarily–I hope–lobotomized friend. Wow. This isn’t especially complicated. Once a President no longer trusts a subordinate, he not only is justified in firing him or her, he has to, or he is incompetent and naive. It doesn’t matter if the distrust is justified, either. If the subordinate or appointee has shifty eyes, or seems evasive in his answers, that’s enough. No President in our history has been so routinely betrayed and undermined by leakers, partisan moles and Deep State vigilantes. Continue reading

The Limits Of Graciousness: The President Rejects Nancy Pelosi’s Hand

The President in 2018 wearing a different tie.  Pelosi’s hand is the same

Though she offed it, President Donald Trump declined to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s  hand prior to delivering the 2020 State of the Union address tonight. (I’m watching the State of the Union Address as I write this.)

Perhaps those who are frequent readers here expect me to chide the President. He should remember that political disagreements aren’t personal, after all. As America’s leader, he should model the ethical virtues of forgiveness, civility, grace, and the Golden Rule. Our elected officials should always stand for the principle that though we may disagree as a people, we should never be disagreeable. In this case, such symbolic comity is especially essential. The nation has seldom been more divided, or more contentious in its division. Shaking the Speaker’s hand would be a step, albeit a small one, toward healing the rift.

Although this would be my ethics prescription under normal circumstances, this is not such a circumstance, and everyone knows it, or should.  Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the partisan opposition of the Democrats to this President has breached all political norms and ethical traditions. The attacks on him, and not only him, but his family as well, have been directly personal, with Pelosi and her lieutenants using savage and unconscionable rhetoric to embarrass and insult him and, if possible, disable the President’s influence and lawful power. During the reprehensible impeachment burlesque, still ongoing,  the President has been denigrated as no Chief Executive before him, and as no leader of the United States should ever be denigrated by members of Congress, or any citizen. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/4/2020: Meltdown In Iowa Edition [CORRECTED]

Good Morning!

As I write this, there are still no final results from the Iowa Caucuses. The cause seems to be some faulty software and generally poor planning by the Iowa Democrats, resulting in chaos. There is a lot of schadenfreude going on at the conservative websites, and it is unseemly. Much as the Democrats deserve to fall on their faces, this is botched democracy in action, and nobody should be gloating about it.  It’s unfair to all of the campaign workers and supporters of the various candidates—even though the supporters of some candidates should hide their heads under a bag—and chaos in the process serves nobody’s interests. What are the odds President Trump sends out a mocking tweet about it this morning?

Here’s Nate Silver explaining what a catastrophe this is for Democrats.

The bon mot turning up in comment sections and social media over and over again last night was “The Democrats can’t handle a caucus, and they want to run the whole country?”

Until the real vote totals are in  it’s all speculation, but it looks like Joe Biden crashed and burned, with his vote totals missing the 15% threshold required to win any delegates.

1. Pete being Pete. Remember what the Ethics Alarms verdict was on Pete Buttigieg a while back? It stands. Mayor Buttigieg declared himself the winner before any useful vote totals were in. Mediaite: “All this dumpster fire of an Iowa caucus was missing was a candidate who declared victory without a single vote being reported. But shortly after midnight eastern on Tuesday morning, Mayor Pete put the cherry on top of this hideous sundae with a confounding speech in which he seemed to proclaim himself the winner.” He has been sharply criticized by just about everybody, and deserves to be. It’s a jerk move.

Meanwhile, the Sanders camp, remembering the underhanded treatment he received from the DNC in 2016, is suggesting that this may all be a plot by the Democratic Dark lords to rob him of a big victory and the proverbial “Iowa Bounce.” I don’t blame them.

2. Stop making me defend Joe Biden! Biden is getting “Ew!’s and “Ick!”s as a result of this photo..

..taken when he gave his 19-year-old granddaughter s peck on the lips during an Iowa rally. Granted, this wouldn’t be an issue if Joe didn’t have a well-deserved reputation for  inappropriate public behavior with women and girls, but this is one of the best examples I have ever seen of how a photograph, contrary to the old saying, can and do lie. The kiss lasted a nanosecond, but the photo makes it look like Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Continue reading

Rep. Adam Schiff’s “Have You No Sense Of Decency?” Moment

Well, another “Have you no decency?” moment…

“Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election, or decide to move to Mar-A-Lago permanently and leave Jared Kushner to run the country, delegating to him the decision whether they go to war.”

—Lead House Impeachment Manager Congressman Adam Schiff of California during closing arguments in the Senate impeachment trial Monday, bringing  unconscionable partisan fear-mongering and anti-Trump hysteria to a new low.

Res ipsa loquitur.

And failure to recognize Schiff as an unprincipled and shameless buffoon is a symptom of Stage 5 Trump Derangement.