Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2018: Bad Neighbors And Bad Journalism

Good Morning…

1. Ah, now THAT’S the ol’ Spirit of 1776!  In a subdivision near Sterling Heights in Chesterfield, Michigan,  a resident sent an anonymous letter to other residents, threatening  to take dire measures against them if they set off fireworks after 9 PM  this week. Here’s the letter…


I’m presuming that the real spirit of 1776 still breathes deeply in this nation, and that the reaction of the recipients of that letter will be to make certain that the noisiest fireworks possible are exploding every second during the time they are permitted to be by law, from the start of the week to the end. The neighbor is a coward, a jerk and a bully, and his bluff must be called as a matter of justice and honor. (Pointer: HLN)

2. Nah, the mainstream news media isn’t biased! In an absolutely correct and justified editorial note, Fox News’ Chris Wallace excoriated media outlets on “Fox News Sunday” for attempting to connect President Donald Trump to the newsroom shooting at Capital Gazette in Maryland. (This will, of course, be called an example of Fox News pro-Trump toadying by those same media outlets.) This was indeed one of the most transparent recent episodes of fake news peddling by CNN, Reuters and others in the mainstream media, who worked hard to make the case that the killer of five was motivated by the President’s repeated accusation that the media is “the enemy of the people.” We now know that the shooter swore that he would kill the Capital Gazette writer whom he targeted in the attack years ago, when everyone assumed that Hillary was going to be the next President.

This is a good time to reiterate the Ethics Alarms position that indeed American journalism has metastasized into a dangerous malfunctioning and corrupt institution for which “enemy of the people” is not an unfair description, and this episode shows why. Democracy serves the best interests of the people. Independent, objective, competent and trustworthy journalism is essential to a functioning democracy, while a biased and partisan mainstream media deliberately trying to advance its own agenda along with that of one party is antithetical to democracy, and is in fact conducive to tyranny and totalitarianism. This is damaging to our democracy,  thus damaging to the public interest, and therefore damaging to the people. Calling such an institution the enemy of the people is neither unfair nor undeserved.

3. If Republicans secretly funded these, they couldn’t have been more effective...The pro-illegal immigration protests over the weekend demonstrated the real agenda of the “immigration reform” movement, as well as again exposing its essential dishonesty. Naturally, speakers, signs and rhetoric confounded legal and illegal immigrants, the approximate equivalent of arguing that there is no difference between the boarder who rents a room in your home and the home invader who refuses to leave. Then the protesters literally announced that there should be no national borders, because there is a “human right” to live wherever you want. (This idiotic position flunks Kant’s basic ethics principle that to be ethical, everyone should be able to engage in an act without harm to society. No, “everyone” can’t live in the United States. Sorry. If you think otherwise, you’re a moron. Sorry about that, too.)

The demonstrators were essentially endorsing government by John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Good plan!

Finally, demonstrators, activists, and even some Democratic officials called for the abolishment of ICE, a nutty position that had its right-wing equivalent in Tea Party calls to abolish the IRS.

Are progressives trying to lose the 2018 midterms and the 2020 elections?

4. In related news...I just watched an HLN report waxing sentimental about the reunion of a child who had been detained after being taken from her father, with her mother, who traveled to the US to claim the girl. Quoth the HLN anchor, “Her father was trying to enter the U.S. so she could have a better life.” Why doesn’t the news media describe bank robbers, burglars, muggers and drug-peddlers this way? Presumably these criminals, who are invariably poor, just want a better life for their kids too.

This is deliberately slanted news, manipulation and propaganda (See #2 above.) intended to bolster the anti-Trump protests (See #3 above).

5. What the hell is the matter with people? In San Francisco, a woman called the police on an 8-year-old girl who was selling water to pedestrians on a hot day. In Cleveland, a neighbor called the police on a 12-year-old entrepreneur  who was mowing a woman’s lawn and strayed over the property line.

The San Francisco episode was magnified because the complaining party was white and the little girl was black, so there were allegations of racism, as if it would have been more acceptable had the woman called the police on her own race.

Forget it, Jack: It’s San Franciscotown…

6.  Michael Tomasky Is A Disgrace To Journalism. Michael Tomasky writes for the Daily Beast, and turns up in other left-leaning news sources too. His presence tells me exactly how much The Daily Beast cares about accuracy, competence and objectivity: along with the equally trustworthy Peter Beinart, Tomasky is so biased and incompetent it hurts my teeth. In a nice signature significance piece called “Anthony Kennedy, You Are a Total Disgrace to America”How dare an octogenarian retire from a stressful and vital post that requires a younger occupant when it inconveniences leftist ideologues!— and in the course of smearing Kennedy, Tomasky writes,

“And now we learn that on top of everything else, Kennedy may just be corrupt. So his son Justin, if last week’s New York Times account is correct, in essence kept Donald Trump in business for the better part of a decade, overseeing $1 billion worth of loans to the Trump Organization via Deutsche Bank, where he worked. Justin and the Trump kids are buddies, it seems. Justin and Trump himself are palsy-walsy.”

…thus proving that Tomasky either doesn’t know what a judicial conflict of interest is or is willing to misinform any foolish readers that might relay on his authority. The associations of adult relatives of judges and Supreme Court justices do not create conflicts of interests unless the family member will directly benefit from a decision in a case. That principle is well established, and well known. Calling such a non-conflict as Kennedy’s evidence of “corruption” is outrageous, and if the Daily Beast had editors with integrity (I have read enough DB to know it does not), such a factually false statement would not be deemed publishable.

44 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2018: Bad Neighbors And Bad Journalism

  1. Tomasky wrote. “And now we learn that on top of everything else, Kennedy may just be corrupt. So his son Justin, if last week’s New York Times account is correct, in essence kept Donald Trump in business for the better part of a decade, overseeing $1 billion worth of loans to the Trump Organization via Deutsche Bank, where he worked. Justin and the Trump kids are buddies, it seems. Justin and Trump himself are palsy-walsy.”

    That’s an obvious dog-whistle to the anti-Trump resistance who will understand that to mean that, “Kennedy IS corrupt and there should be an investigation of Trump colluding with Kennedy to manipulate rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States; this smoking gun could lead to impeachment”. The only question becomes, what hate filled anti-Trump politician is going to publicly state it first; McCain’s got nothing to loose.

    • You do understand the point. Look at Rep. Maxine Waters. If Kennedy’s son was a decent Democrat, like Maxine Waters, he would have abused his position to cancel all of Donald Trump’s loans.

  2. “Justin and Trump himself are palsy-walsy.” Palsy-walsy!??
    Did I miss a Dead End Kids marathon on AMC? Tomasky was channeling Leo Gorcy?

  3. #5 Well that girl didn’t have a vendor’s license, who knows what kind of super AIDS she had in that water. She was playing with people’s lives! Also, she was probably disturbing the nearby hobo village by all this small entrepreneurship, being a productive member of society, and also creating blight on the clean and well kept San Franciscan streets.

    As little as possible…

    • #5) Though this is immaterial to the ethics of the situation, it’s still tangentially or marginally amusing: The woman, dubbed “Permit Patty”, who called the cops on the water-selling girl, was, at the time, the CEO of a company that sells medical marijuana.

      • That is rich. Sounds like this lady had a chip on her shoulder against the permit process. I guess she couldn’t take it seeing this girl flaunting her permit less business.

        • It sounds like the little girl was being a nuisance. She says they were constantly shouting to attract business to the water sales making it difficult to get work done.

          • Oh, but you missed the most delicious parts of the Permit Patty and the Water Supply Girl Saga:

            a. The girl (properly registered as an underaged person of color) was selling water bottles to the locally parched so that she could raise money to go to Disney World or Disney Universe or one of those God-forsaken Disney places to sing “It’s a Small World” over and over again. Her loving mother is unemployed so they can’t afford to spend a fortune in that place. So, the young watery entrepreneur decided to sell water to raise the funds. I mean, every unemployed person should not be denied the right to go to Disney, no?.

            After the story went viral, and Permit Patty was justly and justifiably humiliated into oblivion, some kind soul stepped up (I hate that expression and can’t wait for it to meet its long-overdue demise) and offered to pay for their trip to Disney Whatever. Nice. Young Watertress celebrated with glee, but only after her mother decided to tell Permit Patty what she could do with her White Woman Privilege.

            b. And Permit Patty’s in a bit of a jam. Her medical pot distributorship is facing hard times because her suppliers don’t appreciate that she used her White Woman Privilege to pick on an underaged person of color so they won’t be selling her any more weed. She might have to expand the products in her shop. I here there is good money to be made in the sale of synthetic opiates.


  4. Point 3.

    Logically if there are no borders there is no defined boundaries for our constitutional protections. Therefore, U.S. laws would trump all other nation’s laws or the laws of other nation’s laws trump ours.

    Borders define what law applies where. If a law says no on one side of the border but yes on the other go to the side that fits your desires.

  5. 1) Michigan law permits townships that meet a population standard (that Chesterfield meets) to develop it’s own fireworks use prohibitions but that they cannot prohibit use on the day before, the day of, or the day after Federal holidays, and on Federal holidays, the people are still prohibited from using fireworks between midnight and 8 am, except New Years, where the limit is 1 am to 8 am.

    Chesterfield, subsequent, adopted the most stringent limits on fireworks within the State Law…that is people can only use fireworks on the 3 days around a Federal holiday within the hours permitted.

    Meaning that the people of that neighborhood have 3 hours to blaze away with aplomb outside the local warlord’s demands in which the state of Michigan and the Chesterfield Township don’t care about the warlord’s demands.

  6. #1 I understand his frustration about fireworks at all hours around Independence Day but this letter is literally written threats to his neighbors and if something happens, anything at all, to any of the properties or people at those properties this imbecile will immediately be hauled in as a suspect. He’s a f’ing idiot.

    The neighborhood could pull out a lefty tactic; everyone in the neighborhood could post large signs in their front yards saying that the guy at (address and photo of him) is no longer welcome in their neighborhood. Shun him.

    If he has such a problem with what’s happening then he should simple call the police when it’s actually happening and let the police deal with it.

  7. 1. Eventually fireworks will be swapped out with drones anyway, then everyone will be happy.
    3, Imagine is a Portland swan song and I think that’s why the town is increasingly turning into a place where ‘Satanic Social Justice’ makes sense. Imagine no heaven indeed.
    4. “Quoth the HLN anchor” has a nice ring to it.

    • “Imagine” makes people stupid, drooling, sentimental Hippie-Zombies. It’s done more damage that any song I can im..think of. Lennon, of course, was almost completely ignorant of politics or government.

      I’d rather be led by Ringo…

      • Written and recorded at his private studio on a piano costing tens of thousands of dollars at his private 70acre estate outside London worth millions of dollars…imagine that?!

        • John Lennon was nothing if not someone who knew his audience. He took off as a solo artist during the height of the 60s and 70s counterculture, and he made a mint off of simple songs with repeated refrains and memorable melodies that played on that counterculture. I’m not glad he was murdered at the age of 40 (almost a decade younger than my age now), but I don’t think either this nation or the culture generally lost anything by not having yet another gray-ponytailed, bearded faux-guru dispensing simple ideas to simple tunes and generally being an annoying obstruction to Reagan’s ultimately successful battle against the aggressive and predatory Soviet Union, a headache to GHWB’s overthrowing of drug-dealing tyrant Noriega and kicking mini-Stalin Saddam out of a nation he ruthlessly took over, and, in what would have been either the apex or the fall of his career, setting up a piano at Ground Zero to plunk out the successor to “Imagine” written specifically to plead for peace after 9/11, all the while collecting loads of cash on the sales.

      • “Imagine” may make people stupid, but another song has driven millions insane to date, thanks to its water-torture excuse for melody and lyrics, and the hellish shrills of Ann Marie Gwatkin, Christine Hyland, Anne O’Rourke, Jacinta Whyte, Helen Thorne. Rosa Michelle, Suzie Kernies, Jackie Ekers, Joanna Pacitti, Britny Kissinger, Lesley Joseph, Lily Savage, Charlene Barton, Tasha Gold, Libby Gore, Sophie McShera, Meridith Ann Bull, Ashley Wieronski, Dana Benedict, Amanda Muggleton, Rachel Marley, Jodi McGaw, Kate Winney, Jenna Carlisle, Faye Spittlehouse, Lucy May Barker, Louise English, Victoria Sian Lewis, Marissa O’Donnel, Tiana Stevens, Issi Swickle, Tori Bates, Angelina Carballo, Miranda Hart, and the imitable horror embedded on film, shrieked by Aileen Quinn. This is the only known situation in which both child and adult abuse are delivered simultaneously.

    • “1. Eventually fireworks will be swapped out with drones anyway, then everyone will be happy.”

      Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it….

  8. #5 If I remember what I read or heard about the lady calling the police on the girl selling water, the girl was supposedly selling water on the lady’s property without permission. I still think the whole thing was handled badly by both the lady and the mother of the girl. People have gotten way too confrontational about every little thing in life, just work it out like adults.

  9. 1. Looked like an interesting week for harassing your neighbors. Rand Paul is being sued by the guy who assaulted him and Madonna was ordered by a judge to spot bothering hers.

  10. ANd what might be a combination of 1,2,5,6 in an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Jim Acosta promises to keep practicing unethical journalism.

  11. On #5, the selling water without a permit bothers me. The response should be outrage that you need a permit to sell water, not outrage that people don’t look the other way when children break the law. I really don’t like the idea of teaching children that it’s ok to break the law. Like Countrytime announcing they will pay kids fines, but without the civil disobedience side. The girl here wants to break the law with impunity, at least Countrytime will accept the punishment.

    On Michael Tomasky, i read that one before you posted, it is a terribly argued piece. He literally says, ‘ Obergefell v. Hodges was a landmark case that was going to live in history alongside Brown v. Board of Education—a triumphant moment when we as a nation rose above past prejudices’. Yeah, a decision by 5 court justices is as far from a nation rising above past prejudices as can happen in this country. When we as a nation rise up we can it voting and passing laws…

    Then he goes on say, ‘conservative since Antonin Scalia has sat up there and dispensed obviously insincere tripe about respect for precedent’ in the same article where he holds Brown v. Board of Education up as triumphant. I don’t think he sees any inconsistency.

    Further, he goes on to argue that because Kennedy has a conflict of interest with the current president, the only appropriate action is to continue engaging in the conflict of interest until a new president is elected???? Or maybe he would prefer to lock Kennedy up in the basement of the Court building and have liberals write his opinions for him.

    I don’t know if I should be worried or relieved that this is the level of reasoning coming from, and being consumed by, the progressive wing of the Democratic party.

  12. First I highly find it likely that the you girl was going to make more the $200 or the young man for that matter. Until the idiot. Complained about a little or his lawn mowed for free. Then the kids business exploded. These two young people have a great Entrepreneurial spirit which should be applauded. Until they are working enough to pay taxes leave them alone. And of course teach them about taxes, but we really need to get our government too encourage the little guy until they are successful.

  13. “This is your neighbor speaking. If I hear ONE firework after 9pm, I might DO MY THING! And all the people I have killed will be my slaves in Paradice. By the way are the police having a good time with my code? Tell them to cheer up, when they crack it they will have me.

    You can do ONE thing to keep the peace, tell the people at the Chesterfield Cronicle to publish this letter by Fry afternoon. Also I think everyone should wear some nice buttons.”

  14. Well, being on vacation, at least this explains the loud, idiotic march across the Michigan Street bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday. Was so tempted to ask how their marches were when Obama was President. Decided to open a Summer Shandy instead and just shake my head.

  15. 5. My neighbors speak Chinese, and only understand English in emergencies. We all carry canes, have colorful two-wheeled shopping carts, and are going deaf or already have hearing aids to be turned off when things go boom. We get along famously.

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