Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/2/2018: Goodby, Shut Up, My Condolences, WHAT??, And Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You!

Feelin’ groovy!

1.  The Republicans keep robocalling, and the Democrats...keep emailing. I have protested both. However, right now I am really ticked at the Democrats, whose endless lists I have dutifully asked to be deleted from, then been told that my cyber-door would not be darkened by them again, only to have Tom Perez, Nancy Pelosi and Keith Ellison, plus  show up in by in-box the next day. Do they think this direct violation of my privacy along with their own assurances doesn’t reflect on their fitness to govern? If so, they are wrong.

2. Great news! Now you can identify as British for no good reason whatsoever. I love this story: Thomas J Mace-Archer-Mills Esq. and his insight into the British monarchy a regular feature TV  during that royal wedding I missed because of a sock drawer crisis. His website lists  many media appearances, and one article described him as “the most interviewed man” on the subject of the Wonderful Nuptials.

It has now been revealed that Thomas J Mace-Archer-Mills Esq. is really  Tommy Muscatello, a 38-year-old Italian-American who grew up in upstate New York. But he says he  identifies more as  British than American, so there is that.

Now imagine how well anonymous sources are vetted by crack journalists. [Pointer: Curmy)

3. About that “fever”…An esteemed commenter here proclaimed his exit because of Ethics Alarms’ characterization of the so-called (actually “cleverly-called” is appropriate) “Spygate” scandal (here and here), saying that he would be gone until “the fever” had passed as if questioning the integrity of the Justice Department’s Trump investigation/ “resistance” assistance is obviously a partisan delusion. I almost made that post a Comment of the Day, except that I concluded that denial shouldn’t be mocked. It is, after all, the first of the seven stages of grief, and apparently one which Democrats and progressives are stuck in, while others have progressed at least as far as anger (Stage #3), culminating in episodes like a female comic calling the President’s daughter a “cunt” on television to reactions like this.

Anger, however, only makes one seem overcome with emotion. Denial makes us look blind and gullible. I do not understand the Left suddenly trusting the FBI (Hoover? Felt?) and the Justice Department as if they have always been paragons of virtue. This is pure denial, or, if you prefer, ignorance. If anything, there should be a presumption of politicization in the Justice Department, particularly the Obama version and particularly in light of the post-election conduct of its holdovers like McCabe, Comey and Yates. The FBI, meanwhile, is permanently scarred by Comey’s self-celebration tour, his book, his botching of the Clinton investigation, his dubious testimony before Congress, and his probably illegal leaks of classified information specifically to cause problems for President Trump.

A beloved relative, also in denial, actually tried to tell me last week that the astoundingly suspiciously-timed tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton shouldn’t have raised any alarms. She’s a lawyer. She’s brilliant. She’s sincere. She’s also in denial, Stage 5. That was such a perfect example of the appearance of impropriety that a photo of it should be on Wikipedia under “appearance of impropriety.”) When the leaders of the FBI do things like that in the middle of a Presidential campaign, how can someone of good faith and full cranium argue that it’s irrational to question the act of the same people placing a mole in the Republican candidate’s campaign?   This is the pot calling the Corningware black.

Those in denial have their perceptions warped by their own fever, one that causes them to assume, absent any evidence whatsoever, that President Trump must have been working to steal the election. (They also assume he is guilty of other impeachable crimes, they just don’t know which ones.) Hillary lost, you see, and the polls said it was impossible, so he must have cheated. It can’t be that Trump won because he was running against an epically terrible candidate smugly presenting herself as the “third term” of a spectacularly inept and divisive President. It just can’t.

Here is yet another explanation of the Spygate mess, well researched and explained, of why “Spygate” stinks of malign motives and procedures. Since it comes from a conservative website, and since non-conservative websites refuse to focus on such matters lest their grieving core abandon them, those in denial have their excuse not to read it. A sample:

Why did Brennan send a CIA crony with a shady past abroad to spy on a political campaign adviser? Could it be that Halper’s purpose wasn’t to discover information, but to twist it, to manipulate his targets to bend to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, something a qualified undercover agent wouldn’t do? Was he looking to set someone up as a foreign agent instead of merely gathering information?

To begin a preliminary investigation, there must be “information or allegation” that someone was acting as an agent of a foreign power and a threat to national security. According to my source, this isn’t a very high bar to reach, but it can’t be just any allegation. There must be “articulable information” that would stand up in court. “Remember,” the expert said, “we eventually have to make the case to a jury, and we want to have legitimate reasons for what we did every step of the way.”

What moved the threat assessment to the preliminary investigation in the spring of 2016? It couldn’t have been the hiring of Paul Manafort by the Trump campaign. There were no dots connected to a threat to national security, terrorism, sabotage, or any crime that would put national security at risk. Manafort was under suspicion of financial wrongdoing and was already being looked at by the FBI, but he had nothing to do with Russian interference in the election—a point supported by the fact that he has not been indicted for any crimes related to collusion.

It wasn’t the hiring of Carter Page. Regardless of his business interactions with Russians in the past—none of which has led to indictments against him—there was no information related to Page working as a foreign agent to threaten national security. There might have been whisperings of wrongdoing, but again, the dots needed to connect. There weren’t any.

The only event in the spring that created a legitimate reason to push the investigation forward was the hacking of the DNC computers. The FBI never examined the servers and DHS never examined the servers—only a private company with connections to the DNC and the Obama administration examined the servers. CrowdStrike, Inc. alone determined that the Russians were responsible.

This information would, no doubt, give the FBI reason to initiate a preliminary investigation into Russian interference. Whatever you believe about the identity of the hacking culprits after nearly two years of reports, we know the Russians meddled in the election to sow chaos. The opening of a preliminary investigation regarding this prong of inquiry was the right thing to do.

The second prong of the investigation, however, is the rub—links to the Trump campaign. While it is certainly in keeping with the DOIG to question people of all sorts in an investigation, even if they are not suspects themselves, there still must be a valid reason to use an intrusive method to obtain intel.

What information would have been known in late spring/early summer to justify these methods? Was it George Papadopoulos’s meeting with Joseph Mifsud and his promise of emails on Clinton and contacts with Russian government officials to discuss foreign policy? The FBI said it didn’t know about that meeting until late July when the Australians supposedly told them about it….

I know: just a fever.

4. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Seeing what is unethical,illogical and indeed deranged about this piece in the Daily Beast is itself a good test of whether one has lost integrity and IQ points since 2016.  “Forget Samantha Bee—Donald Trump Has Called Women ‘Cunt’ for 30 Years” writes Scott Bixby, who says,  “The White House’s war on the Full Frontal host, however, risks calling more public attention to the president’s own alleged use of the word “cunt” to describe at least three women since the 1980s—including a journalist, a former acting attorney general, and a woman who has accused Trump of groping her aboard an airplane.”  Ugh:

  • The headline states as fact what is only supposition. Once again, a presumption of guilt, represented as actual guilt.
  • Samantha Bee called Trump’s daughter a cunt on television, in public. Private conversations are not comparable, and the author knows it. The issue is public incivility, Nobody has claimed that Samantha Bee should be punished for using the word cunt in private conversations.
  • This is pure deflection, and embodies multiple invalid rationalizations.

5. “I’m right, and everyone else is wrong” Dept. There are a few topics that reliably cause increased traffic here as well as wild donnybrooks, usually magnified by single-issue commenters:

  • Lawscam, and my position that unemployed law degree holders who complain that their degree is worthless have only themselves to blame.
  • Abortion, naturally…
  • Pit bulls, and
  • Drug legalization.

I know that recreational drug legalization is going to be a cultural disaster, and that by the time I am proven correct, and I will be proven correct, it will be too late to do anything about it, just as it was too late to stop the deadly influence of alcohol in our culture by the time we tried Prohibition.

Here’s one more crumb that leads that head-slapping moment for everyone else. Fortunately, I probably won’t be around to say I told you so in the most obnoxious manner I can muster.


10 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/2/2018: Goodby, Shut Up, My Condolences, WHAT??, And Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You!

  1. “A beloved relative, also in denial, actually tried to tell me last week that the astoundingly suspiciously-timed tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton shouldn’t have raised any alarms. She’s a lawyer. She’s brilliant. She’s sincere. She’s also in denial, Stage 5. ”

    I don’t know. I’m almost convinced that these kinds of logic contortions are just part of the left’s tactical armament. I mean, they can’t be serious, right?

  2. I’ve wondered if the tarmac meeting wasn’t designed to lead to Lynch’s recusal. As long as they knew the FBI wouldn’t recommend charges, it could only help if the announcement was made by that non-political entity.

  3. ”the seven stages of grief,”

    Seven? I cut my teeth on the Kübler-Ross model of five, only to find I’ve been shorted all along and on the outside looking in?

    Oy; that can’t be right; it pisses me off to no end. I wonder what would it take for me to get the other two? Ah, what’s the use, if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em.

    • The 7 Stages of Grief:

      1. SHOCK & DENIAL
      You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

      2. PAIN & GUILT
      As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

      You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

      Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

      You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)

      Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

      During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

      As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

      As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

      During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

  4. I was in denial about denial; what are the odds?

    Reminds me of a scene from the movie Father’s Day

    Jack Lawrence (Billy Crystal): You’re a tragic hero. You’re Lou Gehrig.

    Dale Putley (Robin Williams): Who?

    Lawrence: Lou Gehrig. Everybody knows Lou Gehrig. The baseball player. He died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

    Putley: Wow, what are the odds on that?

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