Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/7/17: Election Day Edition

Good Morning!

1 It’s a rainy election day in Virginia, and the Democrats must be worried, since they are in full race-baiting mode. I know it was click-bait, but I check out the political sites and news aggregators on the right, hard right, middle, left and hard left, and here was ThinkProgress’s headline: Explicit racism is on the ballot today: If Ed Gillespie wins, the GOP’s transformation into a Trumpian racist party will be complete.

Read the post. If this is the way mainstream Democrats are thinking these days, either the country is doomed or the Democrats are. The essay shows that progressives have learned nothing, literally nothing, from Hillary Clinton’s defeat, especially the part of it that emanated from her express contempt for anyone who doesn’t cheer for the au currant leftist cant. If you don’t vote Democratic, you are deplorable—a racist, a sexist, a mouth-breathing moron. Such dehumanization of political and ideological opponents is anathema to democracy; its is the beating heart of totalitarianism. “You are unworthy of making decisions that affect us, the wise and virtuous, but don’t worry, we will use our power over you  for the greater good.” Now voting for unremarkable conservative  Ed Gillespie is explicit racism.

Just like Donald Trump. You see Gillespie wants to enforce immigration laws—this means he is xenophobic. He objects to NFL players making incoherent, revolving topic protests during the National Anthem, which means he’s anti-black, though many of the Kneelers aren’t black—but then Michael Brown was black, and had his hands up. Or something. All right, maybe he’s not the best person to be protesting over. Ask Colin Kaepernick to explain it. He’s Rosa Parks. Finally, Ed Gillespie opposes tearing down statutes of 19th Cnetiry historical figures because the increasingly radical Left wants to veto the nation’s history as part of its indoctrination strategy. This means, says ThinkProgress, that he’s pro-slavery, you know, just like John Kelly.

Barack Obama and his party were so effective at demonizing political opposition by calling critics racists and sexists that this malignant, democracy-curdling tactic is now a reflex with Democrats. It is unethical, dishonest and destructive. If Ed Gillespie wins, it might just show that smart, principled people are sick of being denigrated for having the ability to resist political correctness groupthink.

2. It’s also election day in New Jersey, where the almost certain election of a new Democratic governor puts an exclamation point on the fall of Chris Christie. A moderate conservative Republican with brains, guts (stop it), and communications skills, Christie might have shown how a balanced governing philosophy built on bi-partisan cooperation and compromise could work in a famously unethical state, and, with success, have led the national Republican Party away from divisive politics and toward responsible leadership. (Bill Clinton once had the same opportunity from the Left.) Christie, however, failed miserably, and it was largely (I said stop it!) a failure of ethics and character, culminating in his unforgivable alliance with Donald Trump. I marked him then as an Ethics Villain, and so he is.

In the end, civilizations flourish or  fall based on able and remarkable people rising to challenges and bringing the best of themselves to public service. I’m trying to think of the last time the United States benefited from one of those people. It’s been a while.

3. Now that Koigate has been debunked as fake news, unconscionable confirmation bias, and a new low of manufactured anti-Trump bile from the mainstream news media, the competition is on to top it. Here’s Mediaite on a “juicy” story from a former Trump bodyguard and aide Keith Schiller, quoting Politico:

“…when the White House kitchen staff couldn’t match the satisfaction of a quarter-pounder with cheese (no pickles, extra ketchup) and a fried apple pie, it was Schiller, bodyguard and Trump whisperer, who would head down New York Avenue to McDonald’s on a stealth fast food run.”

Headline: “Trump Bodyguard Went On McDonald’s Runs for POTUS Because WH Chefs Couldn’t Replicate Quarter Pounders.” I’m sure Maxine Waters, Charles Blow, Larry Tribe and Richard Painter will soon explain why this is impeachable. Abuse of power. Bad taste. If Trump owned MacDonald’s, it would be self-enrichment.

The post also has a fat joke about Chris Christie.

4. Re: “Do something!” —I am just barely resisting a Facebook post alienating about 40% of my Facebook friends by explaining, calmly and  plainly, why their echo-chamber wailing about the Texas shooting being the fault of Republicans, the NRA, gun manufacturers and America’s soul because we haven’t passed the magic law that would stop maniacs who don’t give a fart about laws from acquiring guns without also stopping law-abiding citizens from exercising their Constitutional rights.  My friends just want to signal their concern and virtue, while calling for action they cannot, when challenged, define. My breaking point was almost reached when I read two posts in a row using Obama’s fatuous “If it saves only one life” line. Of course, my friends are taking their cues from dim-bulbs with mics and cameras. There is, as always, relentless anti-gun demagogue Senator Chis Murphy (D-Conn), who issued an inflammatory and useless declaration even by his own horrible standards. It hits all the notes—no other country allows this, it’s the gun lobby’s fault, and so on, culminating in:

“As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate. As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.”

Right. What’s your proposal, Chris? What laws would prevent the Texas shooting? Chris?

The left-wing site that linked to Murphy’s statement headlined it,

Sen. Chris Murphy’s sobering mass shooting reality check will have you calling for action:It’s time we did something about gun violence.

What “action”? What “something”?

Here’s my prize-winner so far: earnest, sincere, not-even-close-to-as-smart-as-he-thinks-he-is, Don Lemon, CNN’s designated New Year’s drunk:

“Our leaders should be leading, not following, and not afraid to be honest with their constituents even when it is unpopular, especially when really it is the constituents’ lives that are at stake, and they are. Leaders stand up to lobbyists. Yes, thoughts and prayers are important. So tonight I hope you will join me in praying that our leaders will actually do something of substance and action this time that precludes another ‘thoughts and prayers’ moment. Remember this: faith without works is dead.”

“Faith without works is dead”? Did you write this yourself, Don? I don’t think I want to remember it. I still remember the woman who said on “The Today Show,”  “The secret is to bees contempletive, and to avoid the heckedness of everyday life,” and it haunts me, twenty years later.

But I digress. This pious junk is content free, intellectual Twinkees. What “something” do you propose? Why don’t you meet your responsibility to be honest with the public you are supposed to inform, and explain the unpopular truth that in a nation dedicated to liberty, individual rights and  limited state power, confiscating guns is neither feasible nor desirable, and without that, the combination of unique liberty and a large population means that deadly incidents by maniacs are inevitable, and, still, part of the price of freedom for the rest of us?

(You bloviating hack.)

5. I know this makes me a racist in the eyes of ThinkProgress, but here is what you get when you let the inmates run the asylum, like the NBA and the NFL are doing regarding dim-bulb social justice grandstanding on the job.

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green’s went on Instagram after Houston Texans team owner Bob McNair said the NFL “can’t have inmates running the prison”—he meant to say “asylum” and wrote,

“For starters, let’s stop using the word ‘owner’ and maybe use the word ‘Chairman. To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset.”

Orwell. Use misleading words to  distort perception, and then certain concepts can’t be imagined. The there is this: that’s stupid. It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban  was not diplomatic in response:

“For him to try to turn it into something it’s not is wrong,” Cuban said. “He owes the NBA an apology. I think he does, because to try to create some connotation that owning equity in a company that you busted your ass for is the equivalent of ownership in terms of people, that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong in every which way. I guess it’s because he went to Michigan State and didn’t take any business classes, but you own equity,” Cuban said. “When you own a team, you own equity, shares of stock. That’s called ownership. Tell him if he wants to take classes at Indiana’s business school, I’ll even pay for his classes and we’ll help him learn that stuff.”

Why should anyone pay any attention to the protest positions of someone who would say something as ignorant as Green’s comment? Why would anyone want to pay for ticket to watch such a boob’s National Anthem protest  that has nothing to do with protesting the National Anthem, well, not much, well, it depends, wait, what day is it?

Shut up and dribble.

(Pointer: Other Bill)


42 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/7/17: Election Day Edition

  1. In regards to #4:

    Personally, I think this is virtue signaling because it accomplishes nothing and can in itself be reckless. Mostly, I have been ignoring these incidents because I have no better solution. Americans have a right to own a gun. However, in the increasing aftermath of the 2016 election, I have been amazed at the number of people who I believe to be intelligent have throw logic and reasoning out the window. Therefore, I have decided to investigate these claims of doing something and see what could be done.

    Outside of total gun confiscation, the most common types of gun control proposed are bump stock and closing the gun show loophole. According to CNN (take that for what its worth) there were 12 bump stocks found on the weapons used in the Vegas shooting. For those of you who are not aware of what a bump stock is, is it is a device that is attached to the weapon to simulate rapid fire. What it actually does is compensates for the slowness of the user at the expense of accuracy. For example, if you were using an AR-15 you would steady weapon with your shoulder. If you were pump firing the firing process involves bracing the rifle with the non-trigger hand, releasing the grip on the firing hand (leaving the trigger finger in its normal position in front of the trigger), pushing the rifle forward in order to apply pressure on the trigger from the finger, and keeping the trigger finger stationary. During a shot, the firearm will recoil (“bump” back) and the trigger will reset as it normally does; then, the non-trigger hand pulls the firearm away from the body and back to the original position, pressing the trigger against the stationary finger again, thereby firing another round when the trigger is pushed back. During this process, it is common for the magazine to be emptied in a quick manner.

    So bump stocks cost about $100. This depends on the quality. I’ve read that you could do a makeshift bump stock using some rubber bands, making it difficult to regulate (need a better citation). So the question remains, is the bump stock something that should be allowed to be available to the public? To me, the answer is no. A bump stock is not a feature of a weapon. As such, it does not infringe on the Second Amendment. Furthermore, it is a loophole in the assault weapon ban. Finally, since it’s purpose is to sacrifice accuracy for speed, it lacks responsibility. A smart gun owner knows the importance of environment and aiming at a target. While it might be fun to shoot this fast, I can see no reason where this would ever be used responsibly (though feel free to contribute one).

    The second is the gun show loophole. This in itself is misleading because it is not actually a loophole. The law was intentionally designed this way. It, however, goes by many names such as gun law loophole, Brady law loophole (or Brady bill loophole), private sale loophole, and private sale exemption. The reason there are a variety of terms is that it refers to the secondary market or the unrelated market which includes private sellers. Though I’m not sure, I’m guessing the law was crafted this way to pass down weapons in families, and to avoid an unnecessary burden between private transactions. Current federal law does not require private sellers to do background checks. The logic for support of the law is fewer guns in the hands of people who should not have them. To prevent confusion, I will just refer to it as the gun show loophole.

    Let’s look at some background. 1997 by the National Institute of Justice, found fewer than 2% of convicted criminals bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show. About 12% purchased their firearm from a retail store or pawnshop, and 80% bought from family, friends, or an illegal source. A 1999 report also by the Justice Department found a majority of gun show owner had a license to sell and performed background checks. It concluded that although most sellers at gun shows are upstanding people, a few corrupt sellers could move a large quantity of firearms into high-risk hands. In short: though it was not likely to happen through a gun show, it was possible. Granted, this was 20 years ago. Some recent data might reflect better or worse conditions.

    In relation to mass shootings, can we see this being a problem? The gun show loophole became a rather large issue in 1999 after the Columbine school shooting. However, these guns were obtained legally by the parents and stolen by the kids. Again it was an issue in 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, but these guns were also obtained legally (the shooter passed a background check). 2012 Colorado theatre shooting, Homes obtained his guns through 4 shops legally. Also in 2012, the guns used in the Sandy Elementary killing were stolen from the mother of the shooter but obtained legally by her.

    The 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting is perhaps the most interesting. The killer was stopped from buying a rifle but was allowed to buy a shotgun, which he used to kill 12 people. In 2014, the Fort Hood Killer legally purchased his gun. A 2014 shooting in Washington obtained a gun legally, but only because prior abuse was never entered into the system (which should have denied him the gun). The 2015 Charleston church shooter should have also been stopped from buying a gun but was allowed to, also because of human error. The 2015 San Bernardino guns were obtained legally. 2016 Florida Nightclub shooting, the guns were obtained legally. And finally the two most recent shootings (Vegas and Texas church) the guns were obtained legally.

    Note this is not exhaustive. There are more. I tried to highlight the big events and the ones where guns were obtained illegally. There are two things we can take from this list. In the cases where guns were obtained, it was stealing, human error, and perhaps 1 case of negligence (denying rifle, but allowing shotgun). None of them had anything to do with the gun show loophole. Therefore, to shut down the gun show loophole would not have prevented any of these cases. In quite a number of these cases (though not discussed here), mental health was a significant issue. I believe for any serious debate to continue on gun control, we have to have mental health reform. However, for now, I will stick with my two points.

    So the question comes down to this: should we close the so-called ‘gun show loophole’? Personally, I don’t think it will change anything. As far as I have seen, there is no data to support that. However, I am OK with background checks and see why they are necessary. I believe they uphold the integrity of the system. Furthermore, I have demonstrated that research has shown the potential for exploitation, which means to some degree it is already happening. These numbers might be insignificant, but they should be considered acceptable losses. But, I am worried what it would do passing down weapons to family and be creating a burden upon the people who cannot afford the added cost of trying to move a product or own a product. checks can cost anywhere from $5 to $100. Owning depending on the city can cost up to $1000. Classes can be free depending on where you go, but that is also an additional cost, which might be required depending on where you live.

    In conclusion, while I don’t believe it will change anything, closing the gun show loophole can be a responsible step to reducing the loss of life. If it is to be considered, it should be considered in the context of lowering cost and providing accesses to those who would suffer by it.

      • Thanks, Jack, I thought this was perfect timing. I first posted this on my facebook trying to engage my liberal friends.

        So far these are my two responses;
        The problem with mental health reform is diagnosis. Are we saying all illnesses? What about ADHD? It involves impulse control. Who needs to diagnose. I will be capable of diagnosing once I have been licensed. There are different opinions often about someone’s diagnosis. If we say someone’s ill does that absolve them of their crime? The mental illness route does not stop the fact that gun violence cannot happen without guns. I don’t dispute your claim about the 2nd amendment, but it means we will continue to have this discussion and God help us that none of our children are shot.

        And then:
        The other thing I’ll say is that it says the right to bare arms which means anything the government has we are allowed to have. By this extension any billionaire has the right to own a fighter jet, a tank, a battleship, or a nuclear bomb. Ummm I clearly don’t believe that so why guns.

        It may be protected by the bill of rights, true, but we have the ability to change our constitution. It’s called an amendment. The NRA and others are quick to hold to their constitutional rights but we’ve done it before. In fact, we have changed our constitution 33 times in the past. We got rid of prohibition and abolished slavery. Total confiscation has worked well in other countries (Australia for example after the Port Arthur massacre) and can work here and save lives if people stop being so closed minded about our precious little constitution.

        I almost don’t even know why I bothered. I tried to be reasonable and meet the left on its merits and their immediate response is confiscation. The moment I conceded their points had merit, they both jumped to their ultimate goal.

        I think this is why it will never be fixed because one side is not being honest about their intentions in the debate. If confiscation is what you want, just say it. Don’t pretend to care about it if you don’t.

        • The Australia and Amendment comments are especially ignorant. 1) The US isn’t Australia. Duh. Different country, different traditions, different national character. 2) The only Amendment that reduced citizens’ rights was the Prohibition. It was repealed.

          Idiots. I’m sorry. ignorance is ignorance.

          • No need to be sorry. The argument is thick in emotion and lacks any coherent facts. Perhaps it would have been better if I just said nothing.

            • No – sometimes you just need to have the cold water splashed into your face to remember that there is no compromising on rights. Once you make a concession, they are after the next compromise. Google LawDog and look up his cake analogy to get a good idea of how it tends to work. (Then stay there a while and read his stories about West Africa).

        • We got rid of prohibition and abolished slavery. Total confiscation has worked well in other countries (Australia for example after the Port Arthur massacre) and can work here and save lives if people stop being so closed minded about our precious little constitution.

          So why did not total confiscation work with crack cocaine and heroin?

          By the way, have you ever asked yourself why we Americans got rid of Prohibition?

      • Yes, well it’s always amusing when a worldview that is less than friendly towards Christianity tries to use Christian values or doctrine as a cudgel to get other Christians on board some great cause that the worldview wants won.

        Sorry guys, any other day you are going mock Christian values and ethics… why on Earth will they listen to you when you supposedly come at them with a “Christian sympathetic” message? Get lost you tone deaf morons.

        • As Christians, we should stick to our Christian values as long as those values are upheld appropriately.

          As Americans, I just want to give him the finger and call him out on his stupid rhetoric.


  2. 2- I liked Christie until he started…um…swallowing Global Warming hype and making googly eyes at The Donald.

    Anywho, he’s young, still seems hungry for the spotlight, and appears to have an appetite to dive in, devour, & savor the next course of his life, a prospect he so greatly anticipates, he can taste it…

  3. On 3… Keith Olbermann is at it again.

    When Koi-gate was first popping up, he jumped in and splashed with all the other kiddies, then when someone pointed out that Abe dumped his box fist… Keith said… Oh, let me find the tweet….

    (If he ever removes it, for the record it says “So they’re both dicks.”)

    Let that just sink in for a second. Marvel at Keith, who is a white, male, progressive, calling the Asian President of Japan a, quote: ‘dick’, for not feeding his national cultural icon properly. Please Keith, explain to the nice Japanese people how they should feed their Koi, and maybe explain the intricacies of sushi preparation for them while you’re at it.

  4. 1: AP has called Virginia for Northam.
    2: CNN has called New Jersey for Phil Murphy
    Manchester NH mayoral race called for Joyce Craig

      • You should remember, in 2016, even in states that GOP candidates blew out Democrats by huge margins, certain “progressive” ballot measures passed with great margins. Medicaid expansions, marijuana legalization and gay marriage are, I think, much less partisan than the figureheads you vote for would lead us to assume.

      • Take a look at the house of delegates races. The court ordered redistrict is still next year, yes, so they’re on the republican gerrymandered map.

      • Lessons that are going to be taken from this election (that shouldn’t be):

        Dems will think racializing everything will always work.
        Republicans think that being more like Trump would have worked.

        Lessons that should be taken away (but won’t be)

        Dems should realize that in a state that is part way between moderately blue and blue, democrats can win when AWFUL candidates like Hillary are not on the ticket.

        Republicans should realize that in a state that is part way between moderately blue and blue, republicans will lose when AWFUL candidates like Hillary are not on the ticket.

        • Dunno if there are that many lessons to be taken away – Don’t expect to win if you follow someone who’s extremely unpopular, do expect someone who runs against only token opposition (DeBlasio) to win, don’t expect to win against expanding urbanization and unionization. Pretty simple.

      • I for one hope this outcome is enough wound licking for the Dems that they can regain a sense of sanity. I mean, how many “Bellwether” elections have we had since Trump’s election that were supposed to prove how flukish and wrong Trump’s election was that still ended up Republican?

        Please, oh please, let Virginia be still their slathering angst, so maybe we can return to some rational discourse here.

        (I’m not betting on it…)

        • Take those house special elections in aggregate, ignore NJ today because Chris Christie dragged his party down locally but do count VA. Now don’t look at the winner just look at the change between elections. That’s your gauge of the national mood. That’s your predictor. I won’t have exact numbers for days till everything’s certified but if Dems are doing better by says 6 points, Then every republican who won by 5 points or less is in danger, every republican that won by 6-10 points is in for a fight, every republican that won by 11 points or more is probably safe.*

          Right now, it looks like VA moved 3 points blue (NJ too in the downballot races), and seven districts are headed for recounts.

          • I think you’re overestimating. Remember: 2016 wasn’t an embrace of Donald Trump, it was a rejection of Hillary Clinton. These states were blue or purple, and they purpled or reddened over the 2016 election, in my opinion as a result of a party wide rejection of Hillary Clinton that Democrats in the halls of power might just now be coming to terms with. Now that she’s gone, it makes a certain amount of sense that these states revert to a more normal voting pattern. I’m not saying that Republicans don’t have cause to worry, I am saying that both parties should put forward better candidates.

            • It amounts to the same thing. If things were artificially red shifted and are now coming back it’s still a blue shift compared to 2016.

              Unless you’re saying the shift isn’t representative of the national mood the point still stands. X points of shift will tend to flip seats won by less than x.

              • Well, no, I don’t think there was a general reddening across the board, I think a lot of people were driven.. I was going to say to the center, but maybe independent is a better way of looking at it. This could have been the Libertarian or Green breakthrough, had they run better candidates. I think that there were red voters turned off by Trump in red states too, and once Trump moves on, those historically red voters will eventually gravitate back home as well.

                So while I don’t think your point applies universally to all states, I do think that it’s going to be a rough election cycle for the Republicans, especially if the Democrats run good candidates.

                • See… This reminds me of a misconception that a lot of lefties have… Just because people couldn’t palate Trump and rejected him at the voting booth, or denounced him after he finally did the thing that was last straw for them doesn’t mean that they’re going to turn their back on a lifetime of experience and principles. Thinking that Trump is a bad POTUS doesn’t require a buy in to a truckload of progressive talking points, just like a rejection of Hillary Clinton didn’t require an NRA membership.

                  A more cynical me might uncharitably think that this preconception is partly projection: The left assumes that there’s a conformity of thought among people who think like they do, and so they assume that because someone has agreed with them on something, they must also have changed their positions on x,y, and z. Because really, who’s ever heard of a gay Canadian conservative who is pro-life, pro-legalisation, pro-gun, and doesn’t care who you marry?

                  • I’ve seen it both ways – the voter who held his nose and voted the other way from the way he normally would because he just couldn’t stomach his own party’s candidate, but otherwise didn’t change – and the guy who switched parties and is now a true believer. Then again, whoever heard of a Jesuit-educated lawyer who goes to Broadway shows, but is decidedly conservative on fiscal, foreign, and law enforcement policy, yet looks the other way on a lot of the social issues (mostly because they are losers)?

  5. Re: #4, may I point out that it was an ARMED (legally) Texan who finally put an end to this tragedy? If it hadn’t been for him, this guy would still be shooting.

  6. 4. Americans are never going to give up their preferred sex, their abortions, their booze, their marijuana, or their guns. Case closed. The gun-ban fools may as well try banning motor vehicles and battery-powered devices.

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