Morning Ethics Warm-Up: Last Day Before The Start Of The Baseball Season Changes Everything Edition

Good Morning!

1. The best explanation ever composed to explain why baseball helps keep us ethical, by preserving our ability to give a damn—-for in the end, the most important of the virtues, the one that makes all the others matter—is caring.

Roger Angell, from his 1975 essay “Agincourt and After,” about the ’75 World Series and Carlton Fisk’s iconic homerun in Game #6 (yes, I was there):

It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look—I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring—caring deeply and passionately, really caring—which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naïveté—the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball—seems a small price to pay for such a gift.

2.  Some Democrats are displaying integrity and patriotism...This morning’s Ethics Hero: Rep. Jim  Himes ( D-Ct), who disappointed MSNBC’s hack-fest Morning Joe by deploring his colleagues who are sorry the Special Counsel did not find collusion with Russia by the President. They  need to think, he told Joe and Mika, pointing out that he fact that a sitting President is not found to have traitorously conspires with a foreign power to pervert an election is cause for celebration, not regret.  Hey, do you think he reads Ethics Alarms? [Pointer: VinnyMick]

3. But most are not, especially this guy: Martha MacCallum  had Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on her Fox News show last night. Along with Adam Schiff, he has been one of the worst offenders in asserting as fact, without evidence, that the President committed impeachable acts .  True to form, Swalwell told his host that nothing in the salacious and unverified dossier had been proven “not factual.” I am also hearing this Bizarro World legal standard being endorsed by some commenters and, naturally, the  Facebook Borg. In this country, people don’t have to prove themselves innocent, even people like Donald Trump, who seem especially ethics-impaired. Allegation,s rumors and accusations are not enough; in fact, they aren’t anything until they have been confirmed. The Steele Dossier is literally not anything, although it was used deceptively and probably illegally to justify spying on the Trump campaign.

I don’t know what it will take to rouse the somnolent and ignorant slugs we allow to vote to react to the danger of permitting this  fad perversion of justice championed by Democrats.  We saw it during the Kavanaugh hearings, and in the  reign of terror of the #Me Too vigilantes and the campus star chambers encouraged by the Obama Administration.

4. On “obstruction of justice.” Now the grieving Democrats want to try Door Number 2 ( and Impeachment Plan G). The theory that someone can be prosecuted for obstruction because 1) he performed a legal act 2) that supposedly obstructed an effort to uncover a non-existent crime should be self-evidently ridiculous. I’ve written about this before, but let’s be clear: if the President knew he had committed no crimes, and he would know, and believed that the investigation was a contrived and unconstitutional effort by members of Congress and the judicial branch to interfere withe the Presidency and pursue a virtual coup (which, I believe, it was), his efforts to defeat that plot were not merely legal and ethical, but obligatory. Moreover, there cannot be “obstruction of justice” when there was no crime, unless an independent crime was committed in the process. This is how poor Scooter Libby ended up in jail over the weird Plame Affair, lying to protect his boss, when his boss, Dick Cheney, had nothing to hide.

5. DOUBLE spin from unexpected sources! Prof Orin Kerr got mad at me already once for pointing out his use of false equivalence to try to do some whitewashing for Bill Clinton. And look! Here he is doing it again! He tweeted,

“Imagine if the Starr Report had been provided only to President Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, who then read it privately and published a 4-page letter based on her private reading stating her conclusion that President Clinton committed no crimes.”

To which Clinton victim/accessory Monica Lewinsky replied, while retweeting it, “If…fucking…only.”

Ugh.

  • Clinton did commit a crime,  in fact several. Trump did not.
  • A Special Counsel and an Independent Counsel are not the same thing, as Kerr, a lawyer, should know, and maybe does. Starr was required by law to present his report to Congress. The Independent Counsel was  independent from the Department of Justice.. Democrats changed the rules after Clinton’s impeachment requiring Special Counsels to report only  to the Attorney General.
  • Kerr’s tweet is supposed to impugn the integrity of Attorney General Barr, who has seen the report, and Kerr hasn’t.
  • The full Mueller Report, or close to it, is going to come out.
  • Now write me another wounded comment about how you “expect better” of me, Professor.

5. Snopes isn’t worth another full post...but here is one more smoking gun that the site is untrustworthy and biased when covering anything related to politics. Blogger Scott Johnson, who has been investigating and tracking the weird story about Rep. Omar’s apparent marriage to be own brother, discovered that Snopes debunked his work while saying that he has never responded to their questions—and it appears that he was never sent any. Then, after he solicited the questions, they misrepresented his answers in an update.

6. Yes, well,  the Big Lie tactic works.  Apparently the first new poll since the Mueller Report shows no uptick in President Trump’s approval rating. I’m not surprised, for a  couple of reasons. The Big Lie that the President was a traitor and tried to steal the election has been hammered and repeated by elected officials, celebrity shills and journalists for almost three years. A single event, no matter how  persuasive, isn’t going to reverse the effects of that propaganda overnight. Second, the news logically should cause the public to have a lower opinion of the news media and Democrats rather than a better opinion of Trump, although I think eventually cognitive dissonance will work in Trump’s favor.

It would help if he just shut up about the Mueller Report and let the facts speak for themselves, of course. It would also help me if I developed the power to travel using telepathic translocation, but that’s not going to happen either.

7. Today’s “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” note: Newsbusters ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the President’s  executive order mandating campus freedom of speech, giving extensive coverage instead to New Zealand’s semi-automatic gun ban. Fox News was the only outlet to cover the freedom of speech order in detail.

This, of course, is because the networks, staffed almost entirely by progressives and Democrats, favor gun-banning, and aren’t so enthusiastic about freedom of speech, unless it’s theirs, or agrees with them. This is a sub-set of fake news: burying or not reporting news that is important, but that does not advance the news media’s own political agenda. Choosing a measure passed half the globe away that has no immediate or likely impact on Americans over a significant Presidential executive order affecting the United States is an especially egregious example, and a stupid one.

But then, bias does make you stupid, and if you are not too bright to start with, it makes you even stupider.

 

21 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: Last Day Before The Start Of The Baseball Season Changes Everything Edition

  1. This, of course, is because the networks, staffed almost entirely by progressives and Democrats, favor gun-banning, and aren’t so enthusiastic about freedom of speech, unless it’s theirs, or agrees with them. This is a sub-set of fake news: burying or not reporting news that is important, but that does not advance the news media’s own political agenda. Choosing a measure passed half the globe away that has no immediate or likely impact on Americans over a significant Presidential executive order affecting the United States is an especially egregious example, and a stupid one.

    I wonder why they support a gun ban.

    Did they not understand the words of President Barack Obama?

    But what I can say is that all of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents.

    They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.

    According to various studies — not just one, but a wide range of studies that have been carried out over a number of years — African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over. After being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched. Last year, African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites. African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites. African American defendants are 75 percent more likely to be charged with offenses carrying mandatory minimums. They receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime.

    Do they not understand the consequences of a gun ban?

    • Michael, I think they honestly believe a gun ban would actually work. They don’t seem to understand that in this country, it can’t effectively be implemented.

      But in typical Leftist fashion, they are happy to leave the details to others, like the officers who would be forced to risk (and most likely lose) their lives trying to take guns away from people who are (unreasonably, in the view of the anti-gun politicians) aggrieved about having a core constitutional right taken away. They don’t believe that law enforcement and the armed forces will refuse to take orders from their civilian leadership to violate the constitution and kill or imprison those unwilling to bow to their well-intended wishes.

      The Left doesn’t fear the consequences, because they reckon they will not be the ones who have to pay them. And about that, I think they are right.

      • But in typical Leftist fashion, they are happy to leave the details to others, like the officers who would be forced to risk (and most likely lose) their lives trying to take guns away from people who are (unreasonably, in the view of the anti-gun politicians) aggrieved about having a core constitutional right taken away.

        if those officers use violence, or the threat thereof, to infringe upon constitutional rights, then they deserve to lose their lives.

        “Just following orders” had been rejected as a defense for decades.

        I also note that many of the rank-and-file, as well as the spokeshole, are under the impression that these enforcement efforts would be concentrated against white, male conservatives (their enemy), despite what President Obama had said.

        • I agree, although my point was really that these people are happy to let everybody else die trying to enforce their insensate policies. After all, the enforcers themselves are people they don’t mind seeing die. Leftists are not exactly fans of law enforcement or the military.

          And it would most likely affect white males the most, because statistics indicate that white male Republicans own most of the guns. But I wonder how many minority or non-male killings over gun ownership their coalition could tolerate before it destroyed itself? Because there would be some.

          • And it would most likely affect white males the most, because statistics indicate that white male Republicans own most of the guns.

            But as President Obama pointed out, it is not white male Republicans the cops would go after.

            • Perhaps not, it’s hard to say for sure, though. In a gun confiscation regime, you’d think they would be for the simple reason that they are the least popular demographic for the gun controllers.

              • I agree that it’s hard to know for sure, but keep in mind that white male Republicans with guns are (and this is unsubstantiated conjecture on my part) much less accessible to law enforcement. They’re in the suburbs, the counties, and the rural areas – places where law enforcement tends to be concentrated least. (Almost as if a larger police presence isn’t common in areas with a lot of law-abiding gun owners. Funny how that works.) The low-hanging fruit, who I believe will be first and hardest hit, will be legal (and illegal, in many cases) gun owners who can be found where law enforcement is already concentrated.

                • Fair enough. Let’s both hope we never find out. The New Zealand arms confiscation has already claimed one life – a former Russian soldier who had an SKS and refused to surrender it. He killed himself after a 3-hour standoff with the police.

                  • Completely agreed. Hopefully the soap box and ballot box will continue to be enough to stave off the need for the powder box.

      • Oh no… Americans who decide to fight back would be well aware of WHO the real enemy is. Let us suppose that LEO and the military DO follow orders, a leftist wet dream. Start raiding homes and people will be killed… including innocents and children (remember Ruby Ridge?). SWATTING can now get your enemy killed, after all.

        It would not take long for the 20 million or so gun owners to realize that their own government is willing to shoot them and those they love without proof. Many of these have the ability to hit a man sized target at over 300 yards using a ‘sniper rifle’ (deer rifle with a scope). Some of those have military experience, including tactical planning… and they are already teaching others those skills. If just 5% choose to engage across the country, that is 100,000 very pissed off patriots with a burning desire to take their country back.

        Do you think that retribution would be against LEO alone? The politicians, the pundits, and the activists would start dying… as would their families. Civil insurrections are known for tit-for-tat, and families would already have died in no knock raids. When the progressives realize THEY could personally die, they will demand protection… and who will conduct their raids then?

        It would be too late. Any protective detail exposed to long range fire will start dying, and you run out of protective detail willing to work pretty quickly.

        Common Americans are TIRED of being villified. We are sick of the injustice and selective prosecution we see every day (Smollett got off perpetuating a fake hate crime, Comey leaked classified info to start the Russia investigation, and so on…) and it would not take much to set that smoldering resentment off. Gun confiscation would be more than enough.

  2. 1. Baseball ethics

    The best explanation ever composed to explain why baseball helps keep us ethical, by preserving our ability to give a damn—-for in the end, the most important of the virtues, the one that makes all the others matter—is caring.

    Can you explain to me why this applies only to baseball? I think it’s true for other sports, professional and amateur, as well.

    2. Democrats displaying integrity and patriotism

    Wow, that’s good to see for a change. Another reason why painting with a broad brush is not the best idea.

    3. Swalwell

    The guy is a former assistant district attorney, and his standard is “guilty until proven innocent?” No wonder he’s now a congressman, he can do only so much damage there.

    I don’t know what it will take to rouse the somnolent and ignorant slugs we allow to vote to react to the danger of permitting this fad perversion of justice championed by Democrats

    A Hollywood star, pop star, or Kardashian prosecuted to that standard would probably do it, but they’d blame Republicans. Because reasons.

    4. Obstruction of justice

    The crazed Leftist moonbats wanting to prosecute Trump for unquestionably legal behavior are just playing to their base. I doubt they are as barmy as they seem, but I’ve been known to be wrong about that…

    5 Double spin

    Unexpected false equivalence, indeed. You’d think Kerr would at least give a nod to the different statutes that Starr and Mueller were operating under. That way he could at least demonstrate that he was aware that Starr’s report was required by statute to be reported to Congress, and Mueller’s is required by regulation to be reported by him only to the attorney general in confidence. Instead, he just made the already dumb dumber. Qualifies as an ethics dunce, doesn’t it?

    The president may authorize it’s release, I believe, but only in a version that respects other requirements such as grand jury confidentiality, sources and methods of intelligence gathering, confidential informants or witnesses, as required by law or regulation, etc.

    Seems Kerr would’ve wanted to mention that, and it points up the reason why Twitter is a poor forum for discussing such complex topics. Monica Lewinski won the Internet with her response, as far as I am concerned.

    5. Snopes

    I saw that this morning. So totally in line with my expectations. For once, my bias was spot on.

    6. Big Lie

    Here’s the thing about the Big Lie — the Democrats will just shift gears from traitor to felon, or whatever, seamlessly. They know how this works, and that the public is generally too disinterested to take them to task or find out for themselves. So whatever narrative the Dems can get the media to parrot will just slot right in to replace the “treason” narrative.

    The best hope for Trump is that they will overplay their hand, and they will.

    7. Media bias

    Newsbusters ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the President’s executive order mandating campus freedom of speech, giving extensive coverage instead to New Zealand’s semi-automatic gun ban.

    This is my shocked face. We know the media, like the Left they shill for, wants British-style “freedom of speech,” which is to say, only speech approved by the government. The president’s EO wouldn’t make the media or their clients in the Democrat party happy, because the EO is about anything but. So crickets.

    But gun control, now that does make them happy.

    As to whether or not it’s stupid, it depends — it’s working for them, isn’t it? Proving stupidity can be very popular is their raison d’etre.

    • Oh, I think it applies equally to all sports. Baseball poets just romanticize it more. I think they really believe it’s different, or maybe that caring bout baseball is spiritual, while other sports are visceral. I dunno. But you’re right.

      • My personal theory is that there is much better writing about baseball generally because it’s the popular sport that most media writers can play, and imagine themselves playing. There’s an easier connection to the joy of physical skill, the identification with other players and the other emotional and intellectual aspects of the sport. Not quite the same for football and basketball.

        • 77Zoomie,
          Possibly, but I think it is because a baseball game has a storyline. It is slow; it is methodical and the sort of the game develops over a series of innings. Even a single inning has a storyline. Hockey and basketball lack that. They are a series of back and forth exchanges that are basically the same, but they happen so quickly and there are so many of them in a game that you are really looking at one scenario replayed 40 times a game.

          Take out the phrase, “but they happen so quickly” and you have soccer.

          Of course, there are some variations in each sport: power plays, fast breaks, corner kicks, etc. And every game can have moments that define the game (in soccer, it is if a team scores).

          Baseball is a bit different because, while each “play” begins with the pitcher with the ball, every pitch is different, based on the batter, the count, the type of pitch, and runners in base. By the time the ball gets to the plate, you probably have a few more variable added in. And the inning develops organically from there, making each game relatively unique. By contrast, basketball is a scoring fest that often comes down to the last 2 minutes of play.

          The closest thing to baseball is football. Football games tell a story too. It takes place over several drives with important moments, decisions, and drama.

          This is no knock on basketball or hockey (or maybe even soccer (maybe)). They all require athletics and talent. But baseball and football are games played in slow motion, which allows a storyline to develop.

          That may be why sports writers like baseball.

          -Jut

  3. The report that Nancy Pelosi, Corey Booker, Maxine Waters, Rashida Tlaib, Ilham Omar, and Alexandria Occasio-Cortez are all poorly functioning androids planted by Russia to cripple the US government has never been proven ‘not factual’. Tech support claims they should all be acting more lifelike and even occasionally rational with future, planned software updates.

    • On the other hand, their incompetence is perfectly explained by the theory that they are all Republican / Trump plants, designed to ensure the president’s re-election.

  4. This is a sub-set of fake news: burying or not reporting news that is important, but that does not advance the news media’s own political agenda.

    As Ann Althouse pointed out, Mueller’s name is already disappearing from the mainstream media. The NY Times’ front-page coverage today is limited to (1) a sneering article about unseemly celebrations by “Trump fans” of his so-called “vindication,” even though the report expressly did not exonerate him, and (2) a “news analysis” (i.e., editorial by a different name) claiming a grave danger to the Constitution caused by “Mr. Mueller’s decision to not take a position on whether Mr. Trump’s many norm-shattering interventions in the law enforcement system constituted obstruction of justice.”

    Tomorrow: Mueller report? What Mueller report? That was no big deal. Nothing newsworthy there.

    • BTW, when I say “front page,” I mean the first page of their website. The only article about Mueller on the front page of the actual newspaper was the editorial denouncing him.

  5. 1. When I visualize baseball in those magical moments, I always see the field in terms of individual actions, individuals in ever-changing combinations, displaying skills in bursts of kaleidoscopic sequences, sometimes faster than light, sometimes suspended in mid-movement: that sharp “whack” followed by a long millisecond’s silence. It doesn’t have to be a winning situation, and I have to admit that sometimes I never understood exactly what had happened or “Who” was on “First” when it did until I replayed it in my head, but I still knew it was a star-seeing special when it happened. Other team sports are blobs to me, though: clumps of players collectively colliding like a splintered battering ram.

    I can remember the thrill-feel well enough to share the anticipation of the new season. One of the buses I take regularly in the evening is en route to the ballpark, and even if it’s been a losing game, I can always tell if someone had that “damn, almost, next time, yeah!” gleam in their eye. It was all worth it, that said. My eyesight can’t follow the action so well these days so I only go to two or three special games a year anymore. I steal excitement from the crowd and delight from strangers all the time.

    3. Facebook Borg. Aaaghhh!

  6. This article came to me:

    Jacques Barzun “On Baseball

    Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game. That baseball fitly expresses the powers of the nation’s mind and body is a merit separate from the glory of being the most active, agile, varied, articulate, and brainy of all group games.

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