Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/17/2017: Comey, Eminem,”Hustler”… And Cognitive Dissonance

ARRGH! I thought this was posted hours ago! Verizon is doing it to me again, going on and off every ten minutes. This is war.


Good Morning!

1 Nicely dovetailing with last night’s Ethics Alarms post, Christian Toto put his finger on the tragic and narcissistic delusions of Hollywood celebrities and athletes, without specifying what is really going on: a complete failure to comprehend the Cognitive Dissonance, and the perils of defying the scale. His post is called, “Celebrities make it official: Pick Trump or Us!”

He relates…

Eminem appeared at the BET Awards this week to do more than plug his new album. He unleashed a four-plus minute rap against President Trump…

That’s hardly worth a news item alone. Virtually every player at every level of the entertainment world is against this Commander-in-Chief. Trump…A few have wished him dead in colorful ways. Eminem didn’t go that far. Instead, he turned some of his ire against Trump towards those who support the president:

“And any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his

I’m drawing in the sand a line: you’re either for or against

And if you can’t decide who you like more and you’re split

On who you should stand beside, I’ll do it for you with this:

Fuck you!”

The next night, “Late Night host Seth Meyers praised the rapper’s “powerful” rant-rap, and then said:

“And I was inspired by that, so tonight, I say to any fans of this show who are also big fans of Donald Trump, it’s time to make a decision,” said Meyers. “Get off the fence. Do you support him or do you support this show, that constantly mocks and denigrates everything about him? I know it’s a tough call, but the time has come to make a decision. Now, I’m not much of a rapper, but here it goes. My name is Seth and I’m here to say, if you like Trump, then go away.”

Then Meyers ended by flashing his middle finger.

Nice. Also incredibly arrogant,  stupid and ignorant. Whatever Donald Trump’s status on the public’s cognitive dissonance scale

…was before November 8, it was a lot better after. The Presidency is high on the scale for the vast majority of Americans, because the Presidency, no matter who occupies it presently, carries the respect and prestige of all of the former Presidents, including Washington, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, and yes, Obama. That yanks a new President up the scale, and hard. Part of the assault on Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Washington and Madison by progressives consciously or unconsciously seeks to counter this effect by tearing down the office—yes, “the resistance” would destroy the institution of the Presidency to save it—, but it doesn’t matter. The power of the office can’t fall far enough or fast enough to pass Seth Myers or Eminem on the lower rungs. These ludicrously confused semi-celebrities, just like the NFL stars that most people couldn’t pick out of a line-up, really think choosing between them and the President, the flag and the United States of America—you see, that is the team—and their minuscule and trivial personas is an easy choice. It is, but not the choice they think. When Trump wrongly injected himself into the foolish NFL kneeling protests, the players actually believed that if they showed “solidarity,” NFL would choose them over the President of the United States.


2.  Yesterday, the FBI confirmed that James Comey indeed drafted his July 5, 2016 statement declaring that Hillary Clinton’s official and classified email machinations did not quite violate the law two months before he made it, and before Clinton had even been interviewed on July 2, 2016.

I initially was inclined to give Comey the benefit of the doubt here, but especially following on the heels of  the FBI  “discovering” last week 30 pages of documents related to the strange 2016 tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch while the investigation of Bill’s wife was at a critical stage, I have to revise my opinion. Before the election, Comey’s FBI denied that any such documents existed. Are serious people really going to keep claiming that the President firing Comey was “obstruction of justice”? Increasingly it looks as if Obama’s keeping him in office was a travesty of justice. Or Justice.


The release of Comey’s prescient draft confirms information that Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of that committee, disclosed in a letter to new FBI Director Christopher Wray in August.  The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing Comey’s conduct as director and President Donald Trump’s firing him in May.

Some analysts are defending Comey, but that seems to be an increasingly forced exercise. “To me, this is so far out of bounds it’s not even in the stadium,” Chris Swecker, who retired from the FBI in 2006 as assistant director for the criminal investigative division and acting executive assistant director for law enforcement services, told reporters. “That is just not how things operate…. It’s built in our DNA not to prejudge investigations, particularly from the top.” Ron Hosko, an assistant FBI director under Comey, said that while drafting statements is not unusual, having such drafts include conclusions regarding matters that have not been thoroughly investigated is:

“When you have a significant case that is in the public domain and certainly in the public’s interest, in the public’s eye, I think that it could be expected that both the FBI and the prosecutors that they’re working with are beginning to draft a statement of facts that could be used later, as the case is developing. I think the content of the statement is going to be important. Did it purport to essentially acquit her actions way prematurely, or was it simply a running statement of what they knew?”

Has anyone asked Hillary about this?

3. Yesterday, Senator Susan Collins said on MSNBC:

When women are elected to the United States Senate … we do face an extra barrier that men do not. When a man is elected to the Senate, it’s assumed that he belongs there.

How odd, then, that when a man is duly elected to the White House over a female candidate, the continuous stance of that candidate’s party is that he doesn’t belong there….

4. In related news, Hustler’s Larry Flynt’s  had an ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post,  taking up a full page, with no pictures, only bold, all-caps text. It reads.


Have you never read Hustler? One of my more depraved law school room mates had copies of Flynt’s magazine under his mattress. Here’s one of its more tasteful covers:

Here’s am example of Larry’s ethical philosophy:

“There’s nothing that will change someone’s moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.”

He also said, “Politics is my hobby. Smut is my vocation.”

Do I really have to explain the Cognitive Dissonance Scale again?

11 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/17/2017: Comey, Eminem,”Hustler”… And Cognitive Dissonance

  1. 1. James Comey drafted his July 5, 2016 statement two months (roughly beginning of May 2016) before he made the statement.

    2. Lynch met Bill Clinton on a private plane at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Ariz., on June 26, 2016.

    3. The FBI denies that any documents from the meeting exist.

    4. Clinton was interviewed by the FBI on July 2, 2016. Clinton was not under oath.

    5. Comey made public statement on July 5, 2016 Hillary Clinton’s official and classified email machinations did not quite violate the law.

    No appearance of corruption there at all.

    Since Hillary Clinton was not elected President this is not news worthy and what difference at the point does it make anyway?

    Oh by the way, Trump colluded with Russia, violated the Constitution by pardoning Joe Arpaio, and Trump’s a moron and not my President.

    If you didn’t detect a note of sarcasm in that, then try rereading it.

    Squirrel!!! 😉

    P.S. If the Hillary Clinton email investigation outcome was predetermined, how far up the chain of command was this decision made?

    • If we WERE to presume that Comey’s conduct during the campaign season was intended to influence voting patterns, then the only conclusion to make is that Comey MEANT to run interference for Hillary and boost her likelihood of election. Until the very last moment something switched.

      Now, I don’t think most people who go all in on partisan protectionism but subsequently flip are flipped by some promise by the opposition… rather, they flip because some revealed betrayal or some withdrawal of a promise by those they’ve been protecting has occurred.

      I wonder, if we are to assume Comey was ACTIVELY trying to affect the election, what happened between he and the Democrat hopeful in those last few days?

      • texagg04 wrote, “Until the very last moment something switched.”

        I think Comey was intentionally trying to squash the feeding frenzy masses on both sides of the highly politicized email debate thus making the email scandal a wash or nearly a wash in the election outcome. In my opinion Comey’s statement changed absolutely no one’s mind as to who they were voting for; however, if there had been a lack of any kind of statement from the Justice Department about the investigation prior to election day then it would have fueled massive conspiracy theories for both sides right up to election day and after and would likely have made the election aftermath worse than it is today. I think the leadership in the United States government made a calculated choice to set aside the investigation and therefore “justice” in favor of what they saw as serious possibilities of widespread civil unrest. In addition; I think that they like so many others made the false assumption that Clinton would be elected and the issue would be filed away as nothing more than an election year partisan witch hunt – they were wrong.

        The predetermined investigation outcome I think was created up the chain of command is exactly what Comey delivered and I think it was strategically timed to have as little effect on the election outcome as possible. Comey was the fall guy and he knew it before he walked to the podium to deliver the message to the American people.

        How do you like my theory.

        • I think the timing of Comey’s original statement, between the end of the Democratic primaries and the Democratic convention, was important. Despite not prosecuting, Comey’s report did point to evidence of knowingly mishandling classified material and to evidence that hostile countries may have accessed the account. It also refuted numerous narratives that had been put out by the campaign. I think the timing, the content, and the conclusion of the report are best read as a sign that Comey and the FBI were keeping hands off as to prosecution, but that they were trying to signal the political people that this was a distressing situation. I think that they wanted to give the Democratic convention the first bite of the apple at fixing the Clinton problem, and enough time to arrange alternatives.

          As to the Weiner investigation, I think simplest is best. He’d told Congress he’d report back, and did as he’d promised. He got it done as quickly as possible to toss it back into the laps of the voters.

  2. 1. Obviously, someone told Myers that he doesn’t have any of those sorts of viewers left, anyway. His audience in early October was 1.37 million viewers, about one in every 250 Americans.

      • Likewise with Eminem. The Venn diagram between Eminem fans and Trump supporters has those two circles just barely touching. Is it “powerful” and “brave” to tell people who have absolutely no interest in what you’re doing that they’re not welcome to partake in it?

        Personally, I gave up on all the late-night shows more than a year ago. I’m not a fan of Trump at all, but the constant, incessant drone of mockery from those shows wore thin pretty quickly. It’s not so much their choice of target, but the relentless smugness of it all that just turned me off. The really amazing thing is that none of them seem to realize that the condescending, “we know better than you” attitude from their side is a major factor in why they keep losing elections.

        • The really amazing thing is that none of them seem to realize that the condescending, “we know better than you” attitude from their side is a major factor in why they keep losing elections. – Shhhhhh! Quiet!

  3. 1. The pop music industry and late-night comedy are lost causes and are going to suck for the next 2 years unless you are a liberal. If you’re not, either turn the dial or turn in early.

    3. This is just more of the “pro wrestling” mentality that has entered politics, where if your side does it it’s great, but if the other side does it, it’s wrong.

    4. Some think Larry Flynt is a First Amendment hero. He’s a scumbag who went from owning sleazy bars to producing porn that didn’t even try to put on a veneer of respectability. The world will be a better place when he joins Hugh Hefner in Hell, where I hope his fate will be to be eternally pegged by female demons using sandpaper dildoes.

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