This video creates a major cognitive dissonance problem for me.
James O’Keefe, of ACORN take-down infamy, who engages in unethical journalistic practices to catch conservative foes in incriminating or otherwise damning statements, once again succeeded in exposing serious corruption, this time in the Virginia Democratic Party and more specifically on the staff of Northern Virginia Congressman Jim Moran. O’Keefe and his “Project Veritas” are the epitome of “the ends justify the means” philosophy of political warfare, and they are neither trustworthy nor admirable. Nonetheless, the video his dishonest methods produced provides important information to the public, and its message should not be ignored or minimized because it is the product of lies and a hidden camera.
Jim Moran is my Congressman, and has been for decades. There is no question that Moran is untrustworthy; there is substantial evidence that he is corrupt and has the values of a thug. We can add to this evidence that fact that his son Patrick, as the O’Keefe video shows, was happy to volunteer information to a starnger he thought was an aspiring voter fraud conspirator just how to cast Democratic votes for a hundred or so Virginians who weren’t going to visit the voting booth. Patrick Moran was the Congressman’s campaign field director at the time; he is also the nephew of Jim’s brother, who heads the Virginia Democratic Party. Patrick has since resigned, saying, naturally, that he made “a mistake.” In his exit statement to the media, Moran said:
“In reference to the ‘O’Keefe’ video, at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior. At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him. In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not. In regards to my position on the campaign, I have stepped down because I do not want to be a distraction during this year’s critical election.”
Watching the video, his characterization of the incident is risible, but you can decide for yourself. In my view, Moran endorses illegal and unethical behavior by having the conversation, and not immediately responding to the initial inquiry by saying, “Neither this campaign, nor this party, tolerates what you are suggesting, which is an illegal attempt to subvert the Democratic process. What’s your name? I’m calling the police right now.”
Other thoughts provoked by the video:
- What are the chances that Patrick exhibits values and ethical instincts wholly at odds with his father’s? From what I already know about Jim Moran, who would have been drummed out of Congress long ago if the House had a functioning ethics enforcement process, his son’s character is exactly as I would expect it to be. O’Keefe has a talent with acorns, and this one didn’t fall far from the tree.
- Assuming Moran knows that his son has the ethics of Boss Tweed (and perhaps the Moran family), why would he make such a person a campaign field director (in addition to nepotism, of course, so he can funnel campaign contributions into his son’s pockets), unless he intended to run a corrupt campaign?
- What kind of people do you think Moran has in the other positions in his campaign?
- Son Patrick explains how using utility bills to fake voter identity is a piece of cake. I guess that’s why his response wasn’t the official Democratic one: “What? Voter fraud? You’re joking; there’s no such thing as voter fraud! It’s a myth! That’s why its absurd to ask voters to have picture ID instead of a utility bill. Haven’t you heard that all that voter fraud stuff is just a racist, voter suppression plot by Republicans?”
- I wonder how young Moran came to know so much about voter fraud methods, as an ethical staff member of a Congressman endorsed by the Washington Post for 20 years, especially since nobody practices voter fraud. A mystery!
- Finally, what are the chances that Patrick Moran is unique or unusual for either party, and not merely in Virginia?
Yes, I have to admit that the unethical O’Keefe video provokes all of these musings, and they are thoughts worth pondering on.
It still doesn’t make O’Keefe right.
Facts: Washington Post
59 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance, Corruption, and Patrick Moran”
James O’Keefe […] once again succeeded in exposing serious corruption
Uh, O’Keefe doesn’t have a pattern of exposing corruption. He has a pattern of misrepresenting people’s actions to make it look like there’s serious corruption. That said, a blind squirrel does occasionally find a nut.
Sure he does. The ACORN videos showed what they purported to show–badly trained staffers encouraging fraud. And that organization, as i’ve described else where, WAS corrupt. Any non profit that doesn’t disclose its treasurer’s embezzlement to members and donors and the board is, in fact, corrupt. The PBS video—I agree with you.
You’re off on ACORN. The deceptive editting made it look like staffers encouraged fraud, when they did no such thing. A couple of the staffers even called the police afterwards about the couple.
hiding the treasurer’s embezzlement has absolutely nothing to do with anything that occurred in O’Keefe’s video. That X is true does not support that an argument in favor of X should be true. For instance, it’s true that there’s a hurricane in the carribean right now. That doesn’t mean it’s true that my trick knee shows the hurricane exists.
My point is that ACORN was, in fact, corrupt and inexcusably so. O’Keefe’s tapes did focus attention on an unprofessional and corrupt organization. You are wrong that they did “no such thing.” I reviewed the transcripts, and I agreed, for once, with Times Clark Hoyt, who agreed that some of the statements in context were “damning.” I know that California exonerated ACORN, but part of its reasoning was that you don’t violate the law by aiding a fake fraud. It was “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” They got what they deserved because of O’Keefe, but what O’Keefe uncovered wasn’t why they deserved it.
O’Keefe’s tapes have no bearing to the actual unethical conduct. And the damning in context statements were no such thing. It was like the arab convenience store owner who got busted for helping undercover cops start a meth lab. The cops were using lingo that they said made it obvious what they were doing. The convenience store owner, a nonnative english speaker, didn’t understand the slang. Hell, I didn’t understand all the slang they were using.
Your last statement kind of hits it on the head. O’Keefe should be given no credit. if I accuse someone of murder because I don’t like their politics, and then it turns out that they aren’t guilty of that murder, but an unrelated assault, I was still a horrible person. It’s just as likely that the person was completely innocent.
Are you suggesting that Patrick Moran was deficient in the English language and didn’t understand the questions?
Was Patrick Moran part of the ACORN tapes? No.
Well, in reference to the ACORN tapes, then. I saw a number of them. The people involved seemed to understand the concept quite handily- to the point of commenting extensively and offering advice. Their problem wasn’t linguistic deficiency. It was their own innate depravity that was showing.
Your ability to understand anything where politics, religion, or sex is involved is completely untrustworthy.
For instance, we know that some of the staffers called the police on the couple. Clearly, these staffers showed their depravity by doing the right thing.
There were several cases where O’Keefe WAS asked to leave, TGT, as he fully related. In the vast majority of cases, though, they were almost literally embraced. Your intention is to deceive, here. What is it about ACORN that you can’t let go?
You just said the people all helped him. Now you’re admitting that was a lie. Now that it’s obvious to anyone reading that your comments on this matter are bunk, I can be done with it.
I said nothing of the sort, TGT. You’re trying to weasel out again.
“Well, in reference to the ACORN tapes, then. I saw a number of them. The people involved seemed to understand the concept quite handily- to the point of commenting extensively and offering advice. Their problem wasn’t linguistic deficiency. It was their own innate depravity that was showing.”
No qualification that only some people helped them. You implied that it was everyone.
I implied nothing, TGT. I specifically mentioned only those tapes that I had seen. Again: O’Keefe made it known from the onset that, in a few offices, they were turned down. In the bulk of them, they weren’t. You knew exactly what I meant, too. You’re just trying to raise a deceptive issue.
I implied nothing, TGT. I specifically mentioned only those tapes that I had seen.
So, you’re saying that you did not watch the unedited tapes? Your basing your opinion on known fraud? Nice.
You knew exactly what I meant, too. You’re just trying to raise a deceptive issue.
Actually, I assumed you were arguing in good faith. Now I know you aren’t.
Boy, you’re REALLY ducking and weaving now! I caught you in a fraudulent claim and now you’re trying another to cover up your first. Nice try, guy,
My claim is fraudulent because I assumed you were acting in good faith, and you really weren’t? That doesn’t make sense.
Oh, spare us all!
We agree on this completely. O’Keefe is indefensible, even when he uncovers a real slimeball, as in the Moran case. His methods are dubious when practiced by journalists, and even questionable when used by law enforcement. His political bias seals the conclusion: he’s not interested in truth, he’s interested in furthering an agenda.
James O’Keefe, of ACORN take-down infamy, who engages in unethical journalistic practices to catch conservative foes in incriminating or otherwise damning statements, once again succeeded in exposing serious corruption….
Don’t you mean “James O’Keefe, of ACORN take-down infamy, who engages in unethical journalistic practices to catch LIBERAL foes in incriminating . . .? Or “foes of conservatives”…?
I’d go so far as to say the passage is ambiguous to people who don’t know the situation, but I think that usage has common into common parlance.
No, ‘conservative foes’ are people that are enemies of conservatives, like Jim Moran, although I think he is a foe to some liberals as well.
Ah, I see what you meant now.
No, I meant it as I wrote it, but I see the ambiguity. O’Keefe would say, “our LIBERAL foes,” I assume. But there are conservatives and conservative foes. I think your way is clearer—“foes of conservatives” is better still.
So, where is all this business about “transparency?” The way I see it, one should ALWAYS conduct one’s business as though it can and will be open to the light of day, and politicians ESPECIALLY must be expected by us to live this way, since they have the public trust (and the public purse) in their possession. I’m really not fussed about what methods are used to expose treachery, fraud and deceit. Those who expose such things should be given a “bye” because WHAT they are exposing has FAR more impact on the social integrity of our nation than HOW they do so.
as the old saying goes, it’s not what you do while people are watching it’s what you do when they’re not.
The problem, as we saw with some of the ACORN tapes, is that we can’t trust people like O’Keefe to be fair. He’s a liar by definition–he gets his information by lying. He has cut corners and edited tapes. I’d expect that. If everyone fears they are being secretly taped, all societal trust is dead, and real intimacy and interaction are lost. O’Keefe’s methods in the end are as harmful as Moran’s, just in a different way.
It is unethical. Both sides do it.
Why don’t we see videos of conservative operatives encouraging voter fraud?
I’ve never seen a fossil being made either…
Because we’re too busy trying to stop liberals, who have no scruples along these lines, from doing it themselves. You might as well ask why criminals and perverts overwhelmingly vote liberal. Same answer. One side will do whatever it takes to win and keep the gravy train going. The other wants freedom under law and the Constitution. O’Keefe merely discovered the truth of an old adage that states “You can’t cheat an honest man”. Liberals can’t be honest and survive. Thus, they are vulnerable to takedown due to their own inherent misvirtues. You just have to accept the truth of what makes them tick. Young Mr. O’Keefe has become adept in projecting that to the nation… and in the liberals’ own words.
Because we’re too busy trying to stop liberals, who have no scruples along these lines, from doing it themselves.
There was no voter fraud here. Sheesh.
You might as well ask why criminals and perverts overwhelmingly vote liberal.
Since you define gays as perverts, that’s simple. Liberals don’t discriminate against them as much. As for criminals, that’s simple as well. Most criminals are poor, and liberals tend to help the poor more than do conservatives.
That doens’t make any sense.
One side will do whatever it takes to win and keep the gravy train going.
You mean conservatives with tax breaks? And keeping white males in power?
O’Keefe merely discovered the truth of an old adage that states “You can’t cheat an honest man”.
Which is a false statement.
Liberals can’t be honest and survive.
Thus, they are vulnerable to takedown due to their own inherent misvirtues.
There are no inherent misvirtues tied to being liberal.
You just have to accept the truth of what makes them tick.
Young Mr. O’Keefe has become adept in projecting that to the nation… and in the liberals’ own words.
Good choice of the word “projecting”. That’s exactly what he does: Projects his issues onto liberals.
What all that blather boils down to is your rigid belief that anything that forwards the socialist cause is good and just. Those of us who see the reality have a far different view. What you just can’t stand is that those despised common citizens in flyover country see your heroes being themselves on camera and don’t like what they see. I suppose that makes us unsophisticated. Better that, though, than depraved hucksters demanding a handout. There are, indeed “inherent misvirtues tied to being a liberal”.
Was this in response to me? It seems to be random, outrageous accusations. Again, you use generalities because you don’t have evidence for your claims.
At best, we have here a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Only it isn’t. I just choose not to go down the wearisome road of answering, point by point, your hackneyed litany of allegations. You try to submerge the debate this way. I didn’t fail to notice that Obama employed this same technique in the third debate with Romney.
Again, unsubstantiated attacks. Thanks for demonstrating for me!
A few points of falsehoods though:
* You were the one with the litany of allegations. I’m just pointing out they aren’t supported
* Asking for evidence for unsupported positions is not an attempt to submerge the debate. it’s an attempt to enrich the debate with reality instead of opinion. If you refuse to believe your statements require evidence, then your statements should be treated like bullshit. That’s logical and proper.
That “unsubstantiated attack” strawman of your’s is getting boring, Tiggy. I don’t think you’re quite the keen intellectual that you try to pass yourself off as being.
You specifically said you werren’t going to provide evidence for your position. How is that a strawman?
Are you going back to that “evidence” kick of your’s again? What evidence do you want and in what court of law am I to present it? And, for that matter, what sort of evidence have you presented for anything? This is a blogsite, TGT. Not the 3rd Circus Court of Appeals. I state my opinion based on what I consider to be a valid fewpoint based on the facts of the matter. Love it or leave it!
Are you going back to that “evidence” kick of your’s again? What evidence do you want and in what court of law am I to present it?
Strawman. I never said anything about courts or law. If you could point to a pattern of me using invalid logic in arguments, that would be evidence. Good luck.
And, for that matter, what sort of evidence have you presented for anything?
I use what evidence I see necessary. For instance, In my last comment, I used the evidence of your own words.
What claims from me do you think I need to further substantiate? I’m willing to supply evidence when requested.
This is a blogsite, TGT. Not the 3rd Circus Court of Appeals. I state my opinion based on what I consider to be a valid fewpoint based on the facts of the matter. Love it or leave it!
You absolutely can state your opinions here, and I absolutely can point out that there is no evidence supporting your opinions. If you want to be taken seriously, you’d need to support your positions. It’s not a love it or leave it. Free speech does not include a freedom from criticism.
Again though, your most recent comment is unrelated to my comment that you replied to: “You specifically said you weren’t going to provide evidence for your position. How is it a strawman when I point out you are doing it again?”
More of your strawmen flitting through the corn field, TGT? Thank you for graciously permitting me to comment on this site. As to the worth of my statements, I’ll leave that for others to decide on their own. I noticed that you dodged my “evidence” statement by arbitrarily dismissing my “court” reference. You know very well the point I was making. BTW: That “free speech” dodge of your’s was humorous. YOU’RE telling ME that it doesn’t include freedom from criticism?? I’d be glad if that meant you were finally coming around to what I’ve been trying to tell you all this time. But what you really mean, of course, is that the criticism- by any definition- is the burden I alone should bear for the privilege of being here. Not for my Intellectual Betters! Hokay. Whatever.
More of your strawmen flitting through the corn field, TGT?
You’re the one speaking in the corn field. It’s not surprising there are strawmen for me to point out.
Thank you for graciously permitting me to comment on this site.
I never implied I have any say in what you are allowed to say here. I was agreeing that you can say whatever you want.
As to the worth of my statements, I’ll leave that for others to decide on their own.
That sounds like that you don’t care to determine what’s right or to correct any errors. Unethical.
I noticed that you dodged my “evidence” statement by arbitrarily dismissing my “court” reference. You know very well the point I was making.
What? I thought the court thing was the dodge. Opinions that are not supported by evidence are worthless, and you were making out like I’m demanding we follow legal rules of procedure instead of the norms of logic and discussion. Were you trying to say something different? If not, I don’t know what it was.
BTW: That “free speech” dodge of your’s was humorous. YOU’RE telling ME that it doesn’t include freedom from criticism?? I’d be glad if that meant you were finally coming around to what I’ve been trying to tell you all this time. But what you really mean, of course, is that the criticism- by any definition- is the burden I alone should bear for the privilege of being here. Not for my Intellectual Betters! Hokay. Whatever.
Nothing here makes sense. It’s pure projection. Your words: “I state my opinion based on what I consider to be a valid fewpoint based on the facts of the matter. Love it or leave it!” That was in response to my call for evidence. That’s an attempt to claim that you’re comments should be free from criticism.
Now, where do you see me saying my comments should be free from criticism? I don’t recall ever claiming such. Please refresh my memory with a specific instance.
Obama could take a few lessons from you in the fine art of twisting the lexicon like a pretzel! Complete with the semi-mandatory “strawmen” and “projection”. The fact is, you tried to get arrogant with me and I swatted you. Pure and simple. You’re otherwise reduced to claiming that, because I don’t meet your one-sided definition of “proof”, I am thereby “unethical”. And, for your final Parthian shot, there’s the old “nothing makes sense” projectile. Again; nice try. I’ll just stand by my words, thank you.
Obama could take a few lessons from you in the fine art of twisting the lexicon like a pretzel!
What have I twisted. Another accusation without evidence.
Complete with the semi-mandatory “strawmen” and “projection”.
If you repeat the same errors over and over, you’re going to hear the same responses over and over. Maybe try to responding to the points themselves.
The fact is, you tried to get arrogant with me and I swatted you. Pure and simple.
When did this happen?
You’re otherwise reduced to claiming that, because I don’t meet your one-sided definition of “proof”, I am thereby “unethical”.
The unethical comment was about your not caring if you were right or wrong. It wasn’t about proof. Also, my definition of evidence, not proof, is pretty standard. Your accusations aren’t evidence that your accusations are accurate.
And, for your final Parthian shot, there’s the old “nothing makes sense” projectile.
Except i followed that comment up with the reasoning. If you don’t agree, attack my reasoning
Again; nice try. I’ll just stand by my words, thank you.
Your accusations without evidence? Your claim that you don’t need evidence? Is the pernitious problem of faith not obvious here?
Your concept of “reasoning”, TGT, would have Socrates doing backflips. Effective reasoning requires a clear worldview, a grasp of the relevant facts and the willingness to put it together in a package that makes sense, spurred by the intention to get as close to the truth as possible. I don’t doubt your smarts. It’s your core motivation that make your outcries of “evidence” and “reason”- among others- such empty words.
Instead of replying to anything directly, you attack my general motivation. Nice.
There was nothing more there worthy of the effort.
It’s true you don’t feel things were worthy? Probably. Doesn’t stop it from being a dodge.
I don’t “feel” on issues, TGT. I think.
It may be true that you don’t think they were worthy, but tthat doesn’t say anything positive about you.
I’m not here to promote myself, TGT.
Neither am I. My point was that your refusal to respond to my points shows that you have ill-intent. For instance, that you don’t think my query to figure out where I twisted the lexicon is worthy of response shows that you are not engaging in good faith. If you were engaging in good faith, you’d tell me where and how I twisted words around. That would let me review them and either defend them, or drop them.
By never giving examples of my supposed bad behavior and by attacking me for using valid specific logical constructs (instead of explaining reasoning that they don’t apply), you are basically ceding that you cannot defend your positions and that my criticism is valid.
If even one of my specific criticisms is invalid, please point one out and explain what is wrong with my criticism.
I just love Proverbs 26:2 and following for dealing with TGT. Here’s one of my favorites (2611): As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
He’s no fool, Peter, but he “returneth to his vomit” endlessly!
That you think quoting a bible verse is a response to an argument says something, but it’s not about me.
I think it says a great deal, TGT.
I’m not surprised.
You shouldn’t be.