Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/2/17: Flying Morons, A Fake News Crash, Death By Bias, And Me

Good Morning!

1 Moron on board. Passengers can create personal wi-fi networks o and name them what they want while flying on some airlines, like Turkish Airlines.One passenger on a flight from Nairobi to Istanbul named his wi-fi network “bomb on board.”

Brilliant. Passengers could see that the network was in operation on the plane when they used their own devices, and became, ah, upset. In a statement, Turkish Airlines said the flight made an emergency landing at the Khartoum airport in Sudan, but the flight was safely resumed after security inspections on all passengers and the aircraft.

2. Terry McAuliffe for President! A 220-page report from Timothy Heaphy, a former U.S. attorney, was commissioned by the city council to find out what  happened in Charlottesville when a white nationalist group opposing the removal of a Robert. E. Lee statue was opposed by a group including violent antifa thugs. It was released yesterday, and USA Today reports that it concluded…

“This represents a failure of one of government’s core functions — the protection of fundamental rights. Law enforcement also failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury and death.”

Among the report’s other findings:

• Charlottesville police didn’t ensure separation between counter-protesters and so-called alt-right protesters upset with the city council’s decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park.

• Officers weren’t stationed along routes to the park, but instead remained behind barricades in relatively empty zones.

• City police didn’t adequately coordinate with Virginia State Police, and authorities were unable to communicate via radio.

• State police didn’t share a formal planning document with city police, “a crucial failure.”

• Officers were inadequately equipped to respond to the clashes between the two groups, and tactical gear was not accessible to officers.

The handling of this episode by city and state officials was a warning about how tenuous support is for core American rights and values, though the news media didn’t cover it that way. Ethics Alarms did. Here is what I wrote at the time about the Governor of Virginia, now being prominently mentions as a possible Democratic Presidential nominee…after all, he is long-time Clinton loyalist, so why not?

[We] have Virginia’s governor Terry McAuliffe, who used the power and influence of his office to declare that people holding views he does not approve of are not welcome in the Old Dominion. In the midst of some patriotic grandstanding, he said…

“You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you….There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America.”

This is leftist fascism, by definition. Who is Terry McAuliffe, or Virginia, or anyone, to say who can or should have a “place” in the United States of America? How is this statement applied to white nationalists any different legally or ethically from applying it to Muslims, or lesbians, or abortion advocates, or Catholics, Jews or libertarians?

It isn’t. The entire point of the Bill of Rights is that the government does not get to tell us what to thing, what we can chant, what we can protest, and where we can live.

Charlottesville’s mayor made similar sentiments known, and the result was that the police obeyed the cues, and a riot resulted.

Then the news media blamed Steve Bannon and President Trump.

3.Bias makes you stupid and crashes the stock market. The Dow fell more than 350 points. after ABC reporter Brian Ross misrepresented the news about General Mike Flynn, and said on the air that he had told investigators that candidate Donald Trump had told him to meet with representatives of the Russian government. Now, there is nothing illegal about such a meeting, but ever since Hillary Clinton’s official alibi for losing the election included Russian interference—all those Facebook fake news stories and letting voters know that Hillary’s party, campaign and Foundation were corrupt—much of the news media have joined “the resistance” and my Trump-hating Facebook friends in just assuming that sooner or later evidence will be found showing a treasonous quid pro quo deal between candidate Trump and the Russians. And then–VICTORY! IMPEACHMENT! A DEMOCRATIC WAVE THAT WILL SWEEP OVER AMERICA AND INSTALL A WOKE AND BENEFICENT REGIME THAT WILL RULE FOREVER!!!

Or something, This is the Left’s delusion, and they will stick with it to the grave, apparently, To their great disappointment, absolutely no evidence has surfaced to support this convenient conspiracy to justify vetoing an election. So Ross, fully invested, heard what he wanted to hear, and reported that.

Oopsie! Ross had to come back on the air later—after all those investors had panicked–and admit that the source who had provided the initial information for his story later told him that it was as President-elect, not as a candidate, that Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians.

Fake news. All my silly, echo chamber-addled friends disappointed. More disrespect of the office of the President and the man in it, based solely on rumor, hate, bias, incompetence, the bitterness of a loser, and an unethical press. More distractions and obstacles gratuitously thrown in the path of our nation’s leader, who would be sorely tested without them.

Good job, everybody!

I’m disgusted with all of you.

4. Shameless self-promotion. I’m going to be back on NPR this afternoon, again bringing a much-needed ethics perspective to the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck.

55 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/2/17: Flying Morons, A Fake News Crash, Death By Bias, And Me

  1. You can toss Reps Blake Farenthold and Ruben Kihuen onto the train wreck. Farenthold apparently used eighty grand of government money for the settlement. Haven’t heard one way or the other on Kihuen re: settlements.

        • Anybody’s guess, it depends on the definition, but it’s clearly what John Naisbitt would call a “Megatrend.” And it’s by no means limited to congress.

          An unintended consequence? People will start second guessing their every action/gesture/glance/word including, but not limited to, a pat on the back, a reassuring or sympathetic hug, a well-intended sincere compliment.

          The late great Mike Royko had a column (which Mr/Ms Google has resisted locating) titled “Foresight is the key for those who leer” which seemed to identify the slippery slope of criminalizing looking at someone.

          It was printed nearly 29 years ago.

              • ”Although looks alone can be enough to establish a hostile work environment.”

                “Looks” verb or “looks” adjective?

                Royko was talking about a public pool where some perv Prof was allegedly “leering.”

                He added “They (“leerer” apologists) point out that many women at swimming pools make a practice of leering, staring or gawking at muscular young men.”

                Anywho, workplace? I’m glad I’m self-employed.

                If I worked with Scarlett Johansson, and she showed up in what is often workplace attire for her (see below) I expect I’d struggle mightily not to take note; I suspect I’m not alone.

                • In all fairness, the talented Still Spartan has leveled the “leering” playing field, or at least confirmed that the activity is not gender specific, with the following:

                  Still Spartan 09/29/2017 @ 9:49 am (excerpted): ”With a little bit of hair dye and make-up, a lot more of you could look like Jaime from Outlander. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check with your wives/girlfriends — or Google away.)”

                  Just a little??

                  Anywho, in further fairness, my lovely and long suffering wife knows nothing of this garrulous galavant “Jamie” (see below)

                  Factor in that I called her surgeon last week to complain that since her operation, she’s had no interest in sex.

                  She politely informed me that she’s an Ophthalmologist and the procedure was cataract surgery…

                  • Royko was talking about a public pool and its attendees.

                    Could be I’m missing the point; I’m distracted by thinking that with just a “little bit of hair dye and make-up,” I could be “Jamie.”

                    • Could be I’m missing the point; I’m distracted by thinking that with just a “little bit of hair dye and make-up,” I could be “Jamie.”

                      well… *cough* um… *digs toe in the dirt* can you?

                    • ”well… *cough* um… *digs toe in the dirt* can you?”

                      In a word…no. A bucket of spackling and vat of hair dye would never get that metamorphosis in the end zone.

                      Yet with a shine on my shoes and a smile on my face…damn, girl, a wannabe gots to dream!

  2. #3

    I’m ashamed to admit I enjoyed watching Left twitter pop the champagne bottles and start the ticker tape parade only to see their Reserve Armee get recall orders reminding them that Trump ist not tot!

    The collapse was mirthful.

  3. 3- “it was as President-elect, not as a candidate”

    One tends to have more flexibility after an election, am I right?

    “More flexibility after an election”? Seems I’ve heard that before.

    4- Shucks, if you cant be for yourself, who can you be for?

      • ”Obama was president.”

        A firm grasp of the obvious, eh?

        Dmitri Medvedev: “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,”

        Vladimir? Say, isn’t that President “I stole the U.S. election” Putin’s first name?

        I realize the never-ending mood swingin’ emotional roller coaster has you, et al, painfully ButtHurt with the latest: Ross getting his ‘nads caught in a ringer.

        C’mon, he all but lowered them in there himself.

        Don’t despair, the laughably lame lickspittle Lefty 4th Estate will soon give you another glimmering chunk of pyrite, before it’s dashed yet again after reality leaves the on deck circle.

  4. ABC’s report was bad, and “fake news.” However, whether the call was made before or after the election, wasn’t it still improper given that Trump had not been inaugurated?

    And you continue to minimize the mountain of evidence that Trump is showing favoritism to Russia to reward them for assisting his campaign in the election. Russia is already getting a quid for their quo, and has been for Trump’s entire presidency. The question is whether there was a spoken or written agreement; without evidence of that, Trump can continue sabotaging our county by favoring Russia’s interests over our own, and there’s nothing we can do to stop him.

      • No, my goalposts are and have been the same. It would be an impeachable offense if we discovered that Trump actively worked with Russia to influence the election, or promised rewards for Russia doing so. It is not impeachable if there was no such conduct during the election, but Trump is simply rewarding Russia for their efforts, as I’m sure Putin knew he would, as as is clearly happening.. It is just be sick and unethical.

          • Sanctions have been increased under Trump.

            You’ve GOT to be kidding me. This is one of the most misleading things you’ve ever written. The sanctions increased because they were passed by Congress, with Trump complaining about them the whole way through. He then missed the deadline for implementing those sanctions by over a month, and eventually implemented them due to public pressure. How is it that you don’t know this?

                  • Please clarify, Tex. If you’re saying the fact that Trump complained about the sanctions the whole way through doesn’t matter because he eventually signed off on them, I disagree; his decision to do so was clearly a rare bow to public pressure (and likely pressure from his staff). But he made his real feelings about the sanctions known plenty of times. He doesn’t think they should exist. He doesn’t get credit for being tough on Russia, which was Jack’s implication.

        • Chris,

          Don’t be that guy who’s walking the parade route after everyone else realized the parade was over. We congratulated you for not diving on the pecan-pie-gate embarrassment that many in the Left gladly dove into. Don’t make us second guess that congratulation.

        • Chris wrote, “It would be an impeachable offense if we discovered that Trump actively worked with Russia to influence the election, or promised rewards for Russia doing so. It is not impeachable if there was no such conduct during the election, but Trump is simply rewarding Russia for their efforts, as I’m sure Putin knew he would, as is clearly happening.

          (Bold’s mine)

          Did y’all catch that?

          Seriously folks, did you catch it?

          Two if conditions and two is conclusions, the 2nd if is thrown out in favor of the first if and the conclusion, both is, are presented as fact based on the first if condition and ZERO facts.

          What’s perfectly clear here is that Chris is a partisan hack and an idiot. Chris will write anything that pops into his idiotic mind to justify his extreme bias even if what he writes is ludicrously stupid shit, like he wrote above. You can’t fix this kind of stupid; and this Chris is supposed to be an English teacher molding the minds of our youth.

          • The conclusion that Trump is rewarding Putin for his election meddling is based on many facts:

            –Trump’s refusal to condemn Russia or even acknowledge their cyber-attack on our election process
            –Trump’s delay in implementing the sanctions passed by Congress, sanctions which he complained about multiple times
            –Trump’s repeated attempts to discredit the CIA and FBI by disputing their conclusion that Russia meddled in the election
            –Trump’s recent statement that he “believes” Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies.

            Note that my conclusion is separate from the conclusion that Trump actively assisted Putin’s meddling during the election, or promised him something in return. I believe we need more evidence before I can make that conclusion. But the conclusion I have drawn is well supported.

            You are free to dispute that conclusion using your own facts. But to show why my conclusion is obviously wrong, as you believe it to be, you’d have to provide an alternate theory as to why Trump repeatedly elevates Putin’s credibility above that of our own intelligence community that is equally compelling.

            I have seen no such alternate theory.

                • Regardless of the explanation, I would think we could all agree with the basic principle that the President of the United States undermining our intelligence agencies while publicly taking the word of a hostile foreign power over them is bad for our country.

                  But I guess we can’t.

                • Chris wrote, “What are those explanations…”

                  See Jack, Chris is once again the tables have been turned, now someone other than Chris is expected to prove their statements or prove Chris wrong and Chris walks away free and clear of proving a damn thing.

                  Like I said above, “Trump is guilty of everything until proven innocent.”

                  Chris either you can actually prove your claim that Trump is “rewarding Putin for his election meddling” or you can’t. The burden of proof lies in your lap not the lap of others. Prove your claims or shut the hell up!

                  • I never said it was proven, I said it was the most plausible explanation based on the known facts. I then asked for an alternate explanation that is at least as plausible that also accounts for all these known facts. I did not ask for proof of anything.

                    • Chris wrote, “I never said it was proven…”

                      You use logic like an immature 7th grader. I never said you said that, I said prove your “is” claims. FYI English teacher, saying is in the manner in which you did directly implies that it’s a proven fact.

                      Chris wrote, “I said it was the most plausible explanation based on the known facts.”

                      Uh, no, you didn’t you idiot, the comments are right there, you’re making up shit to misrepresent your own comments now. You never once used the phrase “most plausible explanation” until now, do you really think readers are that damned blind or forgetful? You specifically stated that (bolds mine) “Trump is simply rewarding Russia for their efforts, as I’m sure Putin knew he would, as is clearly happening.” What you wrote was an actual claim that it IS (and in factually provable) not that it’s the “most plausible explanation”.

                      Buy the way, it’s only a “most plausible explanation” for a political hack that thinks correlation equals causation and of course Trump is guilty until proven innocent. I’m sure you think that’s just fine to think this way because you have a bunch of fellow unethical hacks that think the same nonsense, so by virtue of that, you aren’t alone with your obsession and if multiple people think it then it must be correct, right? Progressive Magical Thinking

                      Chris wrote, “I then asked for an alternate explanation that is at least as plausible that also accounts for all these known facts.”

                      Uh, no, you tried to turn the tables just as I said you did, and tried to dump the burden of proof on those that found your claim to be baseless partisan drivel. You said, “You are free to dispute that conclusion using your own facts.”, “What are those explanations, and what makes them more convincing th[a]n “Trump helps those who help him?”. These statements are exactly what I said they were, you are trying to shift the burden of proof away from your unsupportable claims.

                      Chris wrote, “I did not ask for proof of anything.”

                      I am asking you to prove your claims, you made the claims, you prove them. Either you can actually prove your claim that Trump is “rewarding Putin for his election meddling” or you can’t. The burden of proof lies in your lap not the lap of others to somehow prove you wrong. You make unsubstantiated claims all the time around Ethics Alarms, prove your claims or shut the hell up!

                      By the way; the four points you posted in an effort to support your “is” claims do not prove a damn thing about your claim that Trump is in fact “rewarding Putin for his election meddling”. Innuendo based on assumptions derived from correlation equals causation “reasoning” is idiotic and an insult to the intelligence of the people participating at Ethics Alarms.

                      Stop writing things like a partisan idiot.

                    • How about this one:

                      Trump recognized Putin — well before any rumors of interference — as the type of world leader he could do business with. He thought that as President he could probably improve our relationship with a nuclear-armed world power.

                      Putin and most other leaders in the region hate Clinton for Bill’s policy during his term and for her actions as Secretary of State. Putin encouraged (whether or not he authorized) shit-stirring against her, regardless of her opponent.

                      Trump got elected and doesn’t think the shit-stirring mattered one way or the other, and possibly recognizes that the extent of it (compared to, how, say, the CIA interferes in elections) is not worth sacrificing his goal of improving relations with a nuclear-armed world power.

                      He also possibly believes or has evidence that the shit-stirring that happened was done in such a way that the Russian government is never going to get nailed for it, so there’s no point in throwing a fit.

                      Trump, once elected, tells Flynn to contact Russia so he can try to improve relations with a nuclear-armed world power. He also tries to get the government to avoid making any moves that might threaten this goal, while still standing firm on the actual points of contention (for example, retaliating in Syria.)

                      Trump feels that his intelligence agencies are full of people who are more concerned with not wanting him to be president than with national security. Whether it’s paranoid or not, it’s certainly not without precedent among the government right now.

                      I think all of this is a fair alternate take. I’m not sure where the Left caught this Cold War view of Russia as an evil empire that can never be appeased, rather than recognizing them as a world power we tend to have policy disagreements and conflicts with, where actual diplomacy is kind of a good thing.

                    • Emily,

                      Thank you for providing an alternate explanation for the set of facts I outlined. You raise several excellent points.

                      I don’t know how well it comports with Trump’s stance on China and North Korea, also nuclear powers, but Trump has long been an admirer of Putin as far back as 2013; perhaps he’d be treating Russia the same way even if the “Russian meddling” thing had never happened. (Hey, look! Even I can provide an alternate explanation for Trump’s bizarre Russia-related behavior! If only Zoltar could…)

                      Regardless, given the investigation into his campaign, Trump’s stance on Russia is grossly irresponsible and promotes the appearance of impropriety. You could be right that he just genuinely believes we should be making nice with them…but a competent politician would be doing everything they could to distance themselves from the country and show that they are serious about responding to foreign interference even if it benefits themselves. Trump is just dumb enough to not get this…but he’s also self-serving enough that my explanation is entirely believable.

                      I’ll say that both of our explanations are plausible, which is why the investigation is still necessary.

      • Moving the goalposts is right. As late as two days ago, The NY Times, Washington Post and tv networks were reporting that Flynn was about to flip and reveal the scheme to influence the election. Yesterday, in the blink of an eye, they changed the topic to Flynn’s supposedly damning admission that he was part of “a coordinated effort by Mr. Trump’s aides to create foreign policy before they were in power” that “undermined the existing policy of President Barack Obama and flouted a warning from a senior Obama administration official to stop meddling in foreign affairs before the inauguration.” Variants of this message were parroted by every anti-Trump media outlet. (Among the never-Trump Right, the charge was “undermining a bipartisan consensus about Russian policy.”) So now election collusion has fallen by the wayside for the time being, and we are back to pretending that it’s a crime for a president-elect to communicate his intended foreign policy to the world, even though every president before Trump did it, and even though the dead-letter Logan Act that supposedly prohibits it is clearly unconstitutional.

        For the record, it’s worth pointing out that what was actually happening back then was exactly the opposite of what The NY Times claims. It was Obama who was unethically undermining Trump’s foreign policy. Until Obama, previous presidents had traditionally adopted a policy of quietude in foreign policy during the lame-duck period, in order to leave their successor a free hand. In contrast, Obama used the period to set off a series of stink bombs designed to leave Trump with a situation on the ground that could not be undone. One such bomb was the so-called “intelligence assessment,” which contained nothing of substance and was clearly slapped together in a few all-nighters, was intended not just to make Trump look bad but to poison the relationship with Russia in order to sabotage Trump’s stated policy of reaching a modus vivendi with Russia. Likewise phone call about Israel that was the subject of Flynn’s plea was in response to another Obama stink bomb — Obama’s decision to allow the Security Council to condemn Israel by, for the first time in history, withholding a US veto, something that he never dared to do when there was still a hope of electing a Democrat as his successor.

        As an aside, did you notice how the Democrats and the media took an incident where Flynn called every member of the Security Council at the request of Prime Minister Netanyahu and spun it as “Flynn called Russia”? If the situation had been reversed, and President Trump had been planning to overturn a decades-old bipartisan policy towards Israel, the media would doubtless be praising President-Elect Obama for answering the plea of our beloved ally to intervene.

        All of that said, I think Jack is greatly underestimating the danger that Flynn poses to Trump. What happened here is this: According to the Mueller/Comey/Obama’s/Clinton story, the FBI was investigating Russian collusion and interviewed Flynn as part of that investigation. But that’s not true at all. They weren’t investigating anything. They had complete recordings of all of Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador through their wiretaps. They weren’t interviewing him to learn about those conversations. The interview was a classic perjury trap. They interviewed him in the hopes that they could catch him in a lie about something so they could charge him with a crime. Flynn fell for it. When the FBI agents began asking him about his discussions about the ambassador, he probably thought, “Aha! I can tell from their questions that these FBI agents are nothing but spies for the Democrats trying to find out what we are doing so they can further undermine our policy. It’s none of their business. Everything that I’ve done is perfectly legal. I’m not going to tell them anything.” And so now he’s liable to go to jail for it.

        As others have commented, this is why the crime of “lying to the cops” is so offensive. Cops and prosecutors play this entrapment game all the time. Almost every interested witness lies or shades the truth to some extent. Get your target into the interrogation room, ask him about a crime (or, as in this case, about his his perfectly legal activities). He answers truthfully. Then ask, “Where were you on the night of September 3?” The question has nothing to do with the investigation but you happen to know that he was in a hotel with a woman other than his wife. Boom! If he tries to conceal it, you’ve nailed him.

        The reason why Flynn is so dangerous for Trump is this: Now all Mueller needs to do is get Flynn to testify that at some point Trump said something like, “These assholes are trying to spy on us. If they ask you what we’re doing, don’t tell them shit.” And then Mueller will have his charge against Trump. Not a charge that any reasonable, ethical prosecutor would bring or that any reasonable, imdependent-minded jury would convict on. But reason, ethics and independent thought left the room a long time ago. We have here a renegade prosecutor, a bitter Democratic Party that is determined to undo the last election without waiting for the next election, a deep-state intelligence establishment (of which Mueller and Comey are members) that is hell-bent on preventing peace with Russia, and an unethical, partisan news media, all of whom will stop at nothing to bring down Trump. I think that if the Democrats get control of Congress they really will go through with impeachment and removal, and let the future of constitutional government be damned. They will probably have the help of more than a few Republicans who are true believers in open immigration or who find Trump personally distasteful, and who are willing to stab their own constituents in the back.

        • There are a lot of problems with this epically bad take, but this one jumps out at me:

          The reason why Flynn is so dangerous for Trump is this: Now all Mueller needs to do is get Flynn to testify that at some point Trump said something like, “These assholes are trying to spy on us. If they ask you what we’re doing, don’t tell them shit.” And then Mueller will have his charge against Trump.

          No, “don’t tell them shit” is not prosecutable. “Lie to them” would be, and should be.

          Of course, given Trump’s admission today that he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time he asked Comey to “go easy on him,” Mueller may already have his charge against Trump.

    • “Trump can continue sabotaging our county by favoring Russia’s interests over our own” (bolds mine)

      Say what?

      That makes everything else you’ve ever posted (a “Who’s Who” of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”) seem positively brilliant.

      • What would you call the president publicly attempting to discredit the CIA and FBI while saying he “believes” Putin over them? I call it sabotage. It isn’t illegal. But it is sabotage.

  5. Oh Dear God. Spare us from Terry McAuliffe running for president. Obviously, he was supposed to have been elected in 2016 following eight years of HRC following her win in 2008. I’m not sure Bill and HIll are going to be happy about him trying to cut in front of HRC’s Better Forever 2020 campaign. Watch yourself there, Terry.

  6. Who wants to tell Chris that the news is throwing the original reporter under the bus who broke this Flynn ‘bombshell’. Scapegoating him in a desperate attempt to save some dignity after collectively soiling themselves over this ‘nail in the coffin’….?

    • I wish you’d be clearer. Which bombshell? That Flynn was told to make the calls by candidate Trump rather than president-elect Trump? I already know that; Jack even mentioned it in this article, and I explicitly responded to it. Was there another discredited report on this subject since then?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.