Saturday Afternoon Ethics Titillation, 9/15/18: Yes, Virginia, It Was A Smear…

A hurricane-free hello!

…at least in Northern Virginia. We had been told by breathless media and local government since early in then week that today and tomorrow would consist of heavy rain and dangerous winds. Naturally, today dawned clear, calm and menacing. The shelves in the supermarkets, however, were picked over as if a nuclear attack were imminent. At what point are urgent warnings no longer prudent but irresponsible and fear-mongering? At what point do they undermine the ability to get the public to take warnings seriously when there is a genuine threat? This area plays Chicken Little so often  and with such speculative provocation that I don’t trust the prognostications at all any more.

And who the heck buys up all the pickles to prepare for flooding?

1. Ethics Dunce: John Kerry. But anyone who didn’t know that by now wouldn’t be convinced by me, so I’ll just include poor, sad, useless and deluded John in a Saturday afternoon potpourri that hardly anyone reads. But what a jerk. We don’t enforce the Logan Act that prohibits private citizens from mucking around in our diplomacy, but under what justification can he argue for his negotiating with Iran? There is literally no good he can accomplish (there was little good he could accomplish when he was authorized to engage in diplomacy), and now his interference does is undermine the elected President and government.

Trump’s tweet…

John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!

…was predictably juvenile and superfluous, but, incredibly, Kerry’s return tweet was worse, and might as well have consisted of “Nyah nyah nyah!”

Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s FM. But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra:

Wow. Begin by passing along the “resistance” myth that there just has to be some smoking gun proving the President rigged the election, follow it up with the batty theory that giving the #1 purveyor of world terrorism billions of dollars to play with “makes the world safer,” and then hint that the real reason he’s openly interfering with U.S. diplomacy is to sell his book.


2. A plug for a really smart friend who debunked a Democrat smear: Senator Feinstein’s despicable desperation sliming of Brett Kavanaugh, a real “Have you no decency at all?”-worthy moment, prompted a nasty conspiracy theory yesterday.  The fact that the GOP could rapidly release a letter with 65 female acquaintances from the nominee’s high school years certifying that his anonymous accuser has described conduct wildly out of character being cited as proof that the alleged episode was already known by the administration, and thus has some basis in fact.

Virginia Hume, known to some as the politically active daughter of veteran broadcast journalist Britt Hume and known to me as a smart, clever, astute woman who worked for me 30 years ago, authored a piece for the Weekly Standard explaining how the letter came together so quickly. She knows, because she signed it.

She writes in part…

“The letter was conceived and drafted by friends of Brett’s, and it was drafted after allegations came out on Thursday. I learned about the letter from a friend and fellow signatory. Others learned about it the same way. Those surprised at the speed with which it came together should see it as yet another testament to Brett’s excellent reputation”

Elsewhere in the article are examples of Virginia’s characteristic wit. I can vouch without reservation for her honesty and integrity. I would trust her with my life. More than that, I would trust her with my dog.

3. The wages of anti-gun hysteric fear-mongering. Thank you, David Hogg, et al. At Bethel Park High School in the Pittsburgh area, an active shooter drill was scheduled last week. The drill was to include the gunfire from blanks, shot by police. Strangely, some parents questioned the wisdom of this. I sure would have; indeed, I would have registered a protest and kept my son out of school that day. The odds of any student being killed by a shooter in school is infinitesimal, and such a drill accomplishes nothing other than making students feel less safe than they should, and making anti-gun zealots feel smug.

4. Back to Florence hype…As Tropical Storm Florence hit the Carolinas yesterday, a Weather Channel reporter  Mike Seidel appeared—pretended?— be having trouble standing as he battled wind gusts. While he acted as if he was about to be blown away,  two men came on camera  behind him, casually walking along like they were in Northern Virginia. Now the Weather Channel is trying to explain the disparity.

It serves them right for using the “reporter in the storm” stunt in the first place. It is stupid and irresponsible, and completely unnecessary. Sooner or later, one of these rain-soaked, wind-torn fools will be beheaded on camera by flying debris, and THEN stations will end the practice.

I recommend stopping before a tragedy.

26 thoughts on “Saturday Afternoon Ethics Titillation, 9/15/18: Yes, Virginia, It Was A Smear…

  1. I initially had a problem with the weather reporter too, but have changed my opinion. It looked worse when I thought the wond was blowing left to right and he was struggling to take it head on. Since I’ve figured out the wind was blowing right to left, it seems much less scandalous to me. He’s obviously trying to give his mic some cover by using his back against the wind. In such a situation, you would certainly experience and prepare for gusts that are stronger than the average and he was trying to stabilize his feet for that occurence. I dunno. Just my though.

  2. 2) I read your other post on The Bret Kavanaugh confirmation where you said, “I’m sorry if heads are exploding”. My head exploded the very first instant I heard about it. I’m a registered Republican who in the past was a split ticket, but, mostly voted Republican. Anyway, because of the behavior after the last election, the behavior around the Kavanaugh confirmation and the continuing TDS overall, I doubt I will ever vote for a Democrat candidate again in my lifetime. If there is a drastic change in behavior and a genuine effort to debate the issues honestly and rationally, then perhaps I’ll reconsider but it is unlikely.

    4) It’s still beyond me why people swarm to the grocery store when the weather is threatening. Perhaps for a hurricane there might be an exception; however, if the conditions were going to be severe, the best action would be to evacuate. I live in the northeast and we get snow all the time, but, when a storm is on the way the weather reporters always exaggerate the impact and everyone flocks to the grocery store. I’m 60 and I’ve seen a few of the biggest blizzards to hit the north east and I was never snowed in for more than 2 days. Even when I lived in Delaware where they don’t have the capacity to deal with large blizzards (like here in the upper north east) we weren’t snowed in more than 2 days. So, why go to the grocery store and struggle with those types of crowds when you must have enough food for 2 days? Even if it snowed the day before we normally shop, we’d still wouldn’t starve to death as there is still enough food for 2 days or even more.

    • Speaking of snow, I live in South Texas. Last year, a “possible snow-storm” was hyped for about a week, and it finally arrived. It snowed, very lightly, for roughly 20 minutes, and left a light dusting on the grass. However, we had the same run on the grocery stores. I no longer trust the local weather people.

    • Best bet is to have at least 2 weeks of food on hand at all times. This is easy if you just keep extra canned food available, and pay attention to can expiration dates. Canned food is cheap enough to stock up a few dollars at a time, too, until you have enough, for those on a budget.

      Most people cannot be bothered, so just like the Grasshopper and the Ants, they descend like locusts on food sources when a situation finally penetrates their bubble.

      “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy”

    • I think the people in Wilmington who stocked up might be feeling a bit better, since their town is cut off from the rest of the country by flood waters. They’re evidently flying supplies and water into the town right now.

      In a hurricane, you really are not going to know — if you end up in one of the affected areas — how long you might be cut off. If your area is hit hard, there are going to be trees down over most or all of the roads, over power lines, there will be power lines down across roads, not to mention flooding.

      The biggest challenge here in North Carolina, as in Hurricane Matthew a couple years ago, may well be this coming week. The rivers are starting to flood and many of them will be well over flood crest. Not to mention there are dams that may fail across the state. A slow mover like this or Harvey last year can wreak havoc over a huge footprint.

      Plus, people here in the Triangle area of North Carolina constantly recall, I think it was Hugo, when we had a hurricane change course and come rampaging all the way through the heart of North Carolina. True, I’m sure that was a once in a lifetime happenstance, but the tracks of these storms can potentially change hour to hour.

  3. #2 I honestly think the Justice Department should fully investigate this “letter” that Senator Feinstein passed on to the FBI. It appears that Senator Feinstein has been up to some really dirty stuff in relation to the Kavanaugh hearings, remember this. There might actually be some real collusion to intentionally falsely accuse and provide false witness to the FBI on this one which would be both libel & slander on top of intentionally providing false information to the FBI. There is clearly some kind of collusion going on to undermine the confirmation process and destroy Kavanaugh’s reputation.

    Until some really high Democrat heads roll because of the unethical BS that the Democrat’s are doing nothing will change and it will get worse.

  4. Jack, I look forward to Saturday afternoon potpourri.

    There are many laws we don’t enforce but that does not mean they cannot be enforced. Perhaps the Kerry interference would justify bringing one or more charges of Logan Act violations against Kerry to reduce the possibility that future persons think twice about interferring with the activities of the State department. If I recall corectly there were calls to have General Flynn to be prosecuted for Logan Act violations when he discussed issues with Kysliak (sp). What happens if Iran actually is found to be directly linked to a terrorist event in which US personnel are killed one can make the case that Kerry aided and abetted the enemy through his political activities with Iran.

    If we want to work toward returning the presidency to a higher level then we should ensure that no one works to undermine the elected administration no matter who is in office.

    If Kerry, et al, continue in their shadow government activities it will only escalate among both parties over time. That is how you get the everybody does it rationale

  5. 3). I am staunch anti-gun to the extreme and most would quickly classify me borderline whacko, but I thank Hogg for making me look sane.

    4). A few years ago a major storm -there is no other kind these days – hit Massachusetts. The local weather wagon was speaking to the police – Hingham or Situate regarding the end of the world danger. In the background were surfers and kids walking on the seawall. It was a rain storm! Damn it! And why do they put their employees in danger?

  6. At Bethel Park High School in the Pittsburgh area, an active shooter drill was scheduled last week. The drill was to include the gunfire from blanks, shot by police.


    This drill, if repeated often enough in diverse enough districts throughout the country, will get somebody killed. A student is going to throw a brick at an undercover cop shooting blanks. An armed neighbor is going to charge the school. Something can and will go wrong. This is madness.

    I would be protesting at every board of education and town council meeting until this nonsense were put to an end. I would resign my position in town government if it were allowed to proceed. I would judge every political candidate at every level of state and local government by whether they would allow such a reckless “drill” to occur under their watch.

    By all means, police, ambulance, and fire fighters should train in the school to become familiar with its nooks and crannies should an emergency occur, but when the students are out of session! Why is this not foreseeably dangerous to anybody?

  7. Regarding 2 and 3, now that were are returning to our regularly scheduled programming, it is telling that in the so call “Me, too” era, women are coming out of the woodworks to defend Kavanaugh as an upright man of decency.

  8. Jack. Seems to me you’ve fallen short of the ethical standards you expect in others in your criticism of John Kerry and the Iran deal. Kerry never claims (in these comments or to my knowledge in his book) that it was the “giving … (Iran) bilions of dollars” that makes the world safer, and it would clearly be idiotic to say so. Furthermore it might seem at least fair to point out that it wasn’t about ‘giving’; it was about returning Iran’s own funds which had been frozen by the US authorities. As we all know, the unfreezing of Iranian funds was but one part of a much larger deal.

    • I don’t care what Kerry claims: the deal gave Iran control of billions of dollars that it would not have had control of otherwise. That was the essence of the deal. Thus the deal made the world immediately less safe. Indeed, we already know of deaths from Iranian-sponsored terrorism since that deal. Kerry said the deal made the world safer: that’s nonsense. The aspects in which it made the world less safe are tangible. The aspects in which it reduces a threat are speculative and dubious.

  9. I agree that the active shooter drill using blanks is almost certainly going to do more harm than good. But don’t blame David Hogg for this. These drills have been around for years, long before anyone had ever heard his name. In fact, active shooter drills (some of which used blanks, fake blood, and volunteer student “victims”) were required by law in every school district in Missouri by the Republican super-majority in the state legislature in 2013 (in the wake of Sandy Hook): the same legislators who would have criminalized the enforcement of federal laws that would have restricted what the GOP pols decided violated 2nd amendment rights.

    There’s plenty of stupid out there. Neither side of this debate has a monopoly.

  10. (1) This is a competence problem. The people doing the weather don’t know what the weather will be but they insist they do and that they be taken seriously. This country has a huge competence problem. Look at the gas explosion in Massachusetts. Over 40 homes were destroyed when someone over pressurized the gas lines. Most houses probably have damaged utilities. We don’t many competent journalist either, so I had to go to Wikipedia to find an explanation that was at least coherent (maybe you should think about that last sentence, New York Times). As with the Flint, MI lead poisoning case, everyone wants to blame an inanimate object (the gas lines in MA, the water lines in Flint). It was a competence problem. There was no problem with the water lines or equipment in Flint, they just didn’t have competent people to run it. This issue in MA wasn’t directly a problem with the lines (although they are probably damaged NOW), but was someone putting over 10x the acceptable gas pressure through the lines. I look at most of the problems we have in this country and they boil down to incompetence. No one wants to admit it though. Look at the Theranos scandal in the biotech industry. Pure incompetence by Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos’ entire board, the tech industry journalists, and all the venture capitalists in California. Everyone is writing their hands trying to figure out what went wrong and how this could have happened when they really just need to look in the mirror.

    (3) Huh, a competence problem where everyone wants to blame an inanimate object. Just remember to run in a serpentine pattern and you will be fine.

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