1. Thank you to the readers who immediately took my call for tips and links to heart. This post ends with three of them, and there are more on the way.
2. Can we have a little Christmas music station integrity, please? There are currently three holiday music channels on Sirius-XM: an all instrumental channel, aka. department store muzak; “Holly,” which is supposedly “contemporary” Christmas music, meaning either bad songs, endless covers of “Last Christmas,” or horrific versions of classics so stylized that they are unrecognizable, like Destiny’s Child’s jarring version of “O Holy Night;” and “Traditions,” which is the all-dead people channel, with actual tunes, occasional references to Jesus, angels, and Bethlehem, and only a couple of songs written before 1963.
But it’s complicated. John Lennon is dead, but his awful Christmas song shows up on “Holly.” Paul NcCartney’s awful Christmas song has been on both channels: he’s alive, BUT the song is crap. However, I nearly drove off the road just now when Holly featured Bing Crosby singing “Mele kalikimaka” with the Andrews Sisters, whose recording of the same sone without Der Bingle turned up yesterday on Traditions. I don’t get it.
3. This is a good test as to whether the public is smart enough to know when it’s being manipulated. Paul Manfort’s plea deal about his dealings with the Ukraine and other questionable machinations unrelated to his time with the Trump campaign has nothing to do with the Russian 2016 election meddling. Michael Cohen admitting that he lies about his activities connected to the Trump organization building a hotel in Moscow also has no connection to the Left’s Russian collusion fantasies. So why is the news media hyperventilating about “big breaks” in the Mueller investigation? I’d say a) confirmation bias b) they aren’t very bright c) they don’t think the public is very bright, and d) they think they can continue to undermine the public trust by flogging this narrative. This is a fact: there was and is nothing illegal about Donald Trump pursuing a business project in Russia while running for President. It does not suggest or constitute collusion, and the fact that his ridiculous ex-lawyer lied about it is irrelevant to the Trump Presidency.
Nonetheless, here’s CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin yesterday:
“You know, today’s the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office. I mean, I think this thing is enormous. And the whole week — think about what the position is of Donald Trump and the Trump camp about all these things. His position is, for six months, Michael Cohen never discussed with him that he was negotiating for a Moscow Trump Tower. It’s preposterous. … Second, he says that Roger Stone never discussed with him that he was negotiating with WikiLeaks and talking about WikiLeaks, even though both Donald Trump and Roger Stone were obsessed with WikiLeaks, but they spoke repeatedly and never discussed it. Third, Don Jr. never discussed with his father the plans for the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016.”
What an astounding hack. Three “So whats?” in a row don’t equal a single impeachable offense, and the Wikileaks story is hardly solid. If CNN’s legal analyst thinks that President Trump won’t last his term despite Mueller turning up nothing, then CNN needs a new legal analyst, and badly. If CNN wasn’t the Let’s Overthrow Trump network, I’d posit that Toobin won’t last the term. Meanwhile, in the tiny crevices of sanity and honesty in the CNN maze, Jake Tapper showed that he still has some semblance of rationality.
Interviewing New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, one of the pro-impeachment hawks (and, ironically enough, one of Bill Clinton’s most vocal defenders when the House was legitimately impeaching Bill Clinton, , Tapper asked about actual “evidence of conspiracy” resulting from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s plea deal.
“Look, this is clearly not welcome news for the president,” said Tapper. “I don’t want to pretend that it is but once again I look at these documents and I don’t see any evidence of conspiracy between members of the Trump team and the Russian government to interfere in the election.”
Nadler responded that the potential Moscow project was a “corrupt business deal.” Tapper replied, “You call it a corrupt business deal?”
“The fact that it was negotiated with a foreign power while you’re running for president … ” Nadler said. “Not illegal, you mean like more just colloquially corrupt?” Tapper said. “Yeah,” said Nadler.
In other words, completely legal
“But still no conspiracy,” said Tapper.
“Well, wait a minute,” bickered. “It certainly tends to indicate — it’s one more piece of evidence — so now we know or Cohen testifies to the fact that Trump during the campaign at the same time that he is dictating a change in the Republican platform to favor the Russians, at the same time that he can find nothing negative to say about Putin or about what they are doing is, in fact, negotiating with the Russian government for personal business profits. He is mixing his personal business profits and perhaps putting them over the interests of the United States and lying to the electorate about it.”
[Note: the claim that Trump weakened the GOP platform to favor the Russians is one more “resistance” Big Lie, one that was pushed by NPR.]
“Sure, it stinks, but it’s not a conspiracy is all I’m saying,” said Tapper.
When Nadler responded that it could be, Tapper said there’s “no evidence” that it would have been a conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election.
Correct. I would bet my head that President Trump will finish this term, and I like the odds, if not the prospect, that he will get a second if he wants one.
4. A society that embraces political correctness and paternalism will eventually end freedom of expression. This was predictable. The British Film Institute is rejecting films that have scarred, disfigured or presumably ugly villains so as to “remove the stigma around disfigurement”. Films featuring villains like the Phantom of the Opera, Freddy Krueger, Darth Vader, Jason Voorhees, and the Joker–and even Scar, the cartoon lion villain in “The Lion King”—will no longer get financial support from the taxpayer-funded body as part of a campaign called #IAmNotYourVillain, which was launched by a kind-hearted, mush-headed British charity.
Of course, Dick Tracy is out of luck [“Who’s Dick Tracy?”], since all of his bad guys—Flat Top, Prune Face, Egghead—were mirror-crackers. I wonder if zombie flicks are covered: sure, the zombies are dead, but they are, or were humans, and I’d call having your face rotting away a disfigurement. Does the rule only apply to human villains? Do scary humanoid space aliens count, since they are hideously deformed by our standards, though by their standards, we are the deformed ones? What about deformed good guys who we just think are villains until their soft, chewy center is revealed? Like Sloth, in the Goonies…
[Pointer: Michael West]
5. More naming ethics. Southwest Airlines apologized after a gate agent ridiculed a 5-year-old girl’s name and posted a photo of her boarding pass on social media. The girls mother protested to the airline, which issued this apology:
“We extend our sincere apology to the family. We take great pride in extending our Southwest Hospitality to all of our Customers, which includes living by the Golden Rule and treating every individual with respect, in person or online. The post is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility we expect from all of our Employees. We have followed up with the Employee involved, and while we do not disclose personnel actions publicly, we are using this as an opportunity to reinforce our policies and emphasize our expectations for all Employees.”
The girl’s mother also said that Southwest staff laughed at the name while they were boarding the plane.
The girl’s name is Abcde, and pronounced “ab-city.”
Southwest was right to apologize, as its employees’ conduct was unprofessional and cruel.
The mother is an idiot, and she better prepare her daughter to be mocked a lot. I assume this was a gender-neutral name, so the girl can be bullied or brain-washed into switch genders at a later date. Maybe the mother was just an idiot, though. Hard to tell. [Pointer: Fred]
6. Whataboutism” ethics. It is true, as has been pointed out here many times, that “Yeah, but he/she/they did it too” is not a rational rebuttal of accusations of unethical behavior. It is also true, however, that in the right context, “Yeah, but he/she/they did it too” does raise a rebuttable presumption that a critic is applying a double standard, and is arguing from bias. Here’s an excellent example from the daily parade of flawed logic and ignorance, “The View.” In a segment on ABC’s “The View” exploring the use of tear gas was used on would-be illegal immigrants who threw rocks at U.S. Border Patrol agents and rushed the border crossing, Abby Huntsman and Meghan McCain raised the media’s hypocrisy in their coverage for giving identical tactics used during the Obama administration a broad pass. Citing the National Review, Whoopi Goldberg accurately noted that The National Review had protested that agents had used tear-gass during the Obama years, and there was little criticism in the media. Co-host Joy Behar, who is also capable of naming a child ABCDE, retorted,
“Do they have a photo like that when Obama was in office?” as she showed a picture of a woman running from tear gas with her two kids. Yes, this qualifies as an argument on “The View.” After McCain and Huntsman reassured the herd that indeed the Obama era use of tear gas is not in question, Sunny Hostin said,
“The last I checked President Obama is no longer in office! President Trump is in office! I don’t care what Obama did! I care what Trump is doing right here right now!”
That would be a valid ethical retort, if...
- Hostin criticized Obama’s policy at the time.
- Hostin can honestly say that she would make the same objection regardless of which President was in power.
- Hostin says that she agreed with Obama’s policy then, but came to realize that it was wrong.
Of course, what she meant was “I only care about the tear-gassing because a Republican, white President I hate is behind it.” [Pointer: Grady.]