Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/9/18: The Speech! The Slur! The Secret Laws! The Shameful Dance!

Good Morning!

1 What a shock: A standard, typical, Oval Office speech. The monster! Ann Althouse has nicely covered the expected biased media reaction to President Trump’s speech last night, noting in part…

I’m reading Washington Post columns this morning, drawn or repelled by headlines. I was repelled by “Trump’s nothingburger speech.” That’s Jennifer Rubin, who I guess, was expecting Trump to do something drastic and planning to rage about it, then stuck with normal, and much less to chomp on… “Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.” … also, obviously, aims to make something of normal… It’s Alyssa Rosenberg:

“Given the hype, it was disconcerting to hear a speech that, at least for the opening minutes, could have been delivered by any normal politician….Those very gestures of presidential normalcy revealed how futile it was for anyone to wish that Trump would start talking like that all the time. Trump may have told more blatant falsehoods about immigrants and crime over the course of his speech, but to watch him mouth these platitudes is to witness a more insidious and disorienting kind of lying….Watching Trump’s flat delivery of sentiments that he can’t possibly believe was the inverse of comforting. Instead, the address had the queasy effect of a serial killer’s mask in a horror movie: It was a failed attempt to look normal that concealed something even more terrifying underneath….”

But the WaPo readers probably love this sort of thing…

I’m sure they do. Isn’t that great journalism? “We know he doesn’t believe what he’s saying.” The presumption of dishonesty and racism.

More Althouse:

I’ve now watched the Pelosi/Schumer response. I observed my emotional reaction, and I can tell you for sure that the line that reached me was “The fact is: the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge – a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened” (spoken by Pelosi).

The word with emotional resonance for me was “humanitarian.” So I went back to the text of Trump’s speech, and I see that he used the word in his first sentence:

“My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

And, to skip ahead to the 6th paragraph:

“This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul….”

It is not the job, obligation or responsibility of the United States to solve the humanitarian problems caused by citizens of other nations trying to enter our country illegally while imperiling children in the process. It does have an obligation to make it crystal clear that trying to make the problem ours will be futile.

Pelosi’s argument boils down to “Think of the Children!”

2.  And speaking of rationalizations: This dumb blog attempted to defend US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib uncivil and unprofessional vulgarity (“We’re gonna go in there and we’re going to impeach the motherfucker!”) by listing celebrities who have used the same insult: rappers, comedians, non-Americans, incorrigible left-wing Hollywood jerks like Spike Lee, and actors like Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson, who in his movies calls everyone and everything a motherfucker, so he really shouldn’t count. this doesn’t even work as an “Everybody Does It” excuse. The issue isn’t the vulgarity, it’s the speaker, a member of Congress, and the ethical standards one accepts when entering that institution.

3. Wait, WHAT? Georgia keeps its official statutes behind a paywall—this is irresponsible and unethical—and has tried to prosecute Carl Malamud and his Public.Resource.Org site for publishing them online so citizens of the State can read the laws they are supposed to obey for free. The 11th Circuit ruled that Malamud was not infringing on any copyrights by posting the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” (OCGA) because there could be no copyrighting laws.  Not to be denied, now the state is now trying to block Malamud  from purchasing a copy of the laws because they know  he will put it on-line and allow the residents of Georgia to read their own laws without having to pay a fee.


4.  Dance-gate: 100% Fake News! I thought this story was too stupid even for me to comment on, but so many readers have raised it that now I must. The news media made it sound last week as if Republicans and conservatives were using a college video of a cute Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing to ridicule her. I peruse the conservative media enough to know when claims like this are garbage, and this one obviously was. Nonetheless, the mainstream media ran with it, then mocked the Right because the imaginary “smear” failed:

And who were the “conservatives” who attempted this alleged idiotic shaming campaign? All anyone can find is a single tweet from someone called “Anonymous.” That’s it, along wth some retweets. That was enough for the mainstream media to hang an entire false  narrative. Naturally, the Congresswoman herself piled on, tweeting,

I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous. Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too! 💃🏽

So now it was the whole GOP, those fun-hating, women-shaming old fogies!

Writes Professor Jacobson, who nicely documents the fake news scam,

This was a media invented fabrication. But now it’s part of the political landscape. Here’s how the L.A. Times plays it, Right-wing blowhards are having a tough time with this whole women-in-power thing in Congress:

Having calculated that savaging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t firing up the he-man pitchfork crowd as much as they had hoped, conservatives are now trying to smear Ocasio-Cortez as young, dangerous, naive, stylish and a good dancer. They also seem unaccountably panicked that she was once known as Sandy.To many of the attacks, Ocasio-Cortez has issued Twitter clap-backs that deftly surface the barely concealed sexism of her detractors. When conservatives this week tried to make hay out of a dance video she made in college, she made another dance video, chiding the GOP as prigs who hate women who dance.

Like that fabrication that Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her backyard, the media has created an alternative reality that becomes political truth. In isolation, the Fake News about Ocasio-Cortez’s dance video doesn’t make a difference. But it’s not in isolation. It’s an example of how a dishonest media manipulates political perceptions and narratives….

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!


30 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/9/18: The Speech! The Slur! The Secret Laws! The Shameful Dance!

  1. The political left has allowed their anti-Trump hate to crush all of the leftover marbles they didn’t loose in the 2016 election. It’s so sad that the once intelligent people in the political left have turned into blithering idiots all because they lost a friggin’ election.

  2. re: secret laws – if I were a resident of Georgia and I did not know, for instance, laws about water pressure or the size of my lawn in the summer, and the state were to prosecute me or violation of some secret laws, would I be held guilty because not knowing the law is not a defense, or would I be acquitted because I cannot be expected to know laws that I need to shell out good money to know?

    • I honestly think that Georgia trying to extort money from people so they can know the laws to which they are supposed to abide by should be challenged in the United States Supreme Court and anyone that has ever paid to see the laws should be part of a class action lawsuit against the State of Georgia. I think their self-evident right to know the laws that they are expected to abide by has been intentionally infringed upon.

    • sgs, a really long time ago, several states and cities tried to keep their speed limits (around 35, at the time, I think) secret. Obviously, an effort to generate income from ‘horseless carriages’. Couldn’t begin to cite the case, but SCOTUS found this to be unconstitutional. I suspect this SCOTUS will find this ‘rule’ to be unconstitutional, as well.

  3. At what point will Trump supporters start going full Ralphie on the Scut Farcus’s of the left.

    At some point, the moderate right will feel obligated to really fight to avoid being rendered extinct by leftist ideologues.

    Maybe that is the only thing that will slow down this trainwreck.

      • I have been trying for some time to explain this phenomenon to an old friend who is a die-hard lefty. She refuses to accept that it’s really happening, that many people aren’t being pulled toward the right, they’re being repelled by the excesses of the left. Frankly, I would think that to be the more comforting explanation, because if true, then all it would take for people in the middle to move back leftward would be moderation of the more insane Progressive ideas. If it’s not true, then that means people are really becoming more conservative, and winning them back would be much harder.

        I studiously avoid sending her links to the latest leftist insanity with the subject, “This is why people voted for Trump”, but it takes a Herculean effort of self-control…

        • Jeff, I understand the feeling. I have a brother-in-law who is deeply sunk in the Left’s septic tank. He will not listen to any form of reason or logic, He has no idea what the scientific method is (climate change arguments) nor does he have any idea what ‘capitalism’ actually is. He thinks it’s a form of government. I haven’t spoken to him since October of 2017, nor am I anxious to do so.

  4. I wonder how this ruling will square with this one:

    At issue is the fact that states apply standards into law. The electrical, plumbing and heating / cooling codes in most states are following the standards developed by these standards organizations. Most of them are non-profit organizations, but they do pay for their operations via the selling of the codes. Due to the low volume of sales, the price of buying the codes is rather high. (Hundreds of dollars and up.)

    This ruling was made almost 2 years ago, but in the 4th not 11th circuit. It’s not an exact equivalent though; the NFPA does provide “free” access to the code through a crappy, slow, colunky reader. They want it to be crap to get you to buy the product.

  5. 1. Chuck and Nancy’s speech must have been written before anyone had even heard Trump’s. Classic talking point behavior. A Dem favorite.

  6. When did “adorable” become ubiquitous? I HATE the over use of that word, particularly to describe anything related to a person over two years old. GRRRR.

    • I don’t know. I think my four year old is adorable… I apologize for making fun, but I could not resist. Adorable is overused, and while I think it can be used on children over two (but definitely not in their teens) and pets, it is right up there with “love” on the list of overused, misused, and redefined to fit the situation or abused words.

      • How about if we use it or similar terms ironically or humorously?

        Many years ago, I was visiting a girlfriend’s family when she started telling me some things for my own good. I leaned over to her mother and quietly said, “isn’t it sweet? she’s trying to nag me”, at which the mother nearly collapsed from laughing and my girlfriend seethingly demanded to know what I had just said.

      • Sarah, don’t get me started on “love.” Worse yet, “love you.” Ugh. What ever happened to the personal pronoun? Drives me crazy.

  7. 1 What a shock

    The word with emotional resonance for me was “humanitarian.” So I went back to the text of Trump’s speech, and I see that he used the word in his first sentence:

    (balance snipped for brevity)

    My question is, did the word “humanitarian” have the same resonance when Trump said it as when Pelosi did? Apparently not, judging from the text you quoted (and the original post, which I read).

    It is not the job, obligation or responsibility of the United States to solve the humanitarian problems caused by citizens of other nations trying to enter our country illegally while imperiling children in the process.

    Apparently, the Democrats and most leftists disagree. This, it seems, is the genesis of the “immoral[ity]” of the wall that Pelosi mentioned the other day.

    I’m still baffled by how South American aliens’ plight is my problem, or even our collective problem, except to the extent they attempt to illegally invade our country.

    I’m confused as to why it’s my moral responsibility to allow them into this country to suck at the public teat. I don’t remember why we were supposed to be the worlds’ policeman (a la the Bush administration thinking) and likewise, I can’t recall why we are supposed to be the world’s crisis center/food bank. I thought that’s why we had charities like the United Way, Save the Children, the Salvation Army… the list goes on endlessly.

    The USA morphed into an involuntary charity so slowly I didn’t even recognize it.

    2 Rationalizations

    When cognitive dissonance is your overriding motivation, rationalizations are really comforting things.

    3 Georgia’s laws

    Georgia keeps its official statutes behind a paywall—this is irresponsible and unethical—and has tried to prosecute Carl Malamud and his Public.Resource.Org site for publishing them online so citizens of the State can read the laws they are supposed to obey for free.

    Romans posting laws above the level of citizen’s ability to read them comes to mind.

    4 Dance-gate

    I started to send you this, but thought you would not need me to. Glad to see I was right.

    This is more about what I talked about with the media. They want to make every Trump utterance into a lie, whether it is or not. They also want to make everything about AOC into a Republican-led controversy, because they think it serves the interest of getting Trump out of the Oval Office. Getting the GOP is a nice bonus, but the target is Trump.

  8. Sam Jackson once did a “Wake the Fuck Up” video ad in support in Obama in 2012 in which he demonizes Romney. I’m not shocked though.

  9. When the dancing video popped up, I pointed out that I was not offended by the dance video than I was by the Sarah Palin photos (I forget now, we’re they swimsuit, cheerleader, or beauty pageant photos).

    That is the real contrast. Liberals made fun of Palin (as I recall). Fair people should treat those two things similarly (or have a valid distinction between them, though I have not wasted any mental energy on that pointless endeavor).


    • Good grief, Jut. Learn to proof read. Try to include ALL the words you need to make a coherent sentence.

      And don’t overuse the apostrophes.



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