Lunch Time Ethics Regurgitation, 4/11/2019: Meltdowns, Mistakes And More

Are you hungry for some ethics???

1. Good! Julian Assange was arrested yesterday after Ecuador withdrew its protection of him, which has gone on for six years. His defense will apparently be that he’s a journalist, and published true information. It’s still illegal to publish classified documents, and I doubt this will stand up, but even if he is legally cleared, the ethics verdict is easy. His objective was to cause chaos, and he knowingly got people killed. He facilitated a flat-out traitor with poor, sad, dumb, confused Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning. Even the good Wikileaks did by exposing the corruption and rot in the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s orbit doesn’t begin to mitigate his status as an ethics villain. (See: The Ruddigore Fallacy)

2. Stop making me defend Rep. Omar! Republicans and conservative media are having a meltdown (we’ll get to the Left’s meltdown in a bit) because loose cannon Democratic Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) referred to the 9/ll terrorist murders occurring because “some people did something.” This is exactly the kind of “gotcha!” President Trump has been attacked with repeatedly, almost daily, because he uses words with the care and precision of an infant playing with matches. The trick is to choose the most negative intention and meaning imaginable—and sometimes not imaginable  without dishonest spin—and then to launch that damning meaning into the public discourse. It stinks, and the method stinks whether the speaker is the President or a rogue, anti-Semite Democrat.  An example of the smear used against Trump was some news media and my Facebook Trump-Deranged friends claiming that this, in a tweet complaining about Saturday Night Live, was a serious call for a federal investigation:

…Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia!

 

Bias makes you stupid.

Omar was speaking to CAIR, and didn’t have the sense, the wit, the guts, or the facility with the language to describe the Muslim terrorists of 9/11 to a pro-Muslim group. It came out badly. Stipulated. But conservatives in the business of condemning contrived offenses pushed by the mainstream media because Trump tweets and talks as if words and meanings don’t matter should model better behavior, not imitate it.

3. I know you want to ignore this story because it involves baseball, but it’s not a baseball ethics story, but a management competence ethics lesson that happens to be occurring in a baseball context...We already discussed the plight of Orioles ex-slugger Chris Davis, now in the throes of an epic, record shattering batting slump while having three more years after this one in which he is guarantees $23 million per season—this after being the worst player in the major leagues in 2018, and costing his team more than two games.  My conclusion was that Davis is at the point where a player of integrity has a duty to retire, since he can no longer earn his contract with valuable service. Now Richard Thaler, the Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, has weighed in from a different angle, explaining why the Orioles stubborn insistence on playing Davis is irrational and incompetent. Thaler, argues that the Orioles’s refusal to bench Davis is a classic example of the “sunk cost fallacy” one of the an economic  mistakes he explains in his book “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.”

He told the  New York Times,

“[T]he correct decision is to ignore any cost that has already been paid and evaluate the situation strictly on its own merit..The mistake people make is thinking that somehow using this player…s getting some of that money back. It’s not. It’s just making you feel a little better about a purchase that turned out to be not a very good one…[M]anagement may think that — suppose they just cut him — that they’re going to look like idiots. Of course, what’s true is playing him makes them look like bigger idiots.”

He told the Times that the Orioles should cut Davis and replace him with a minor leaguer, as even a so-called replacement (or near average) player would represent a significant improvement. “They could win, let’s say two or three more games this year at a cost of half a million,” he said, using the MLB minimum salary. “That would be the cheapest two or three wins you could possibly buy. That would be like adding a star.”

What is amazing is that with all the accounts of how teams a have accepted the value of high-level statistical analysis in making both on-field and off-field management decisions, they would still be making such a gross and proven logical blunder.

Vietnam, anybody?

4.  I continue to believe that the Washington Post will end up winning the Nicholas Sandmann defamation suit, but their lawyers are going to have to do better than this.From the Post’s motion to dismiss:

“The inflammatory rhetoric of the Complaint and the nonstop public promotion of the suit by Plaintiff’s counsel suggest one motive: to strike a blow against the Post’s allegedly ‘biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.’ There is no fact alleged, however, to suggest that the Post’s coverage was motivated by an anti-Trump bias—and the prominent, front-page coverage given to Plaintiff’s version of events and the investigative findings in his favor belie any such motive. Politics has nothing to do with this case, and law warrants its dismissal….The pro-Trump Internet has, for years, worked to create a media environment that is designed to destroy the traditional news media and replace it….Indeed, the Post’s overall coverage — including the articles that the Complaint fails to mention — was not only accurate; it was ultimately favorable to him.”

Let’s ignore for now about the risible claims that the Post’s obvious anti-Trump bias didn’t make the paper an easy mark for partisans selling the narrative that an arrogant bunch of racist teen harassed a Native American veteran who was peacefully beating his drum.  Saying that the ultimate Post coverage was “favorable”—after the Post’s careless and false accounts had resulted in celebrities encouraging violence against Sandmann, an innocent kid, and him being branded as a racist coast to coast.

Here are the full complaint and dismissal motion.

5. About that Democratic and news media—but I repeat myself– meltdown...CNN:   “Barr says spying on Trump campaign ‘did occur,’ but provides no evidence”

The evidence has been in plain sight for a long, long time. Democrats and their agents are making semantic distinctions to avoid the cruel and inconvenient truth. AG Barr said in yesterday’s congressional hearing, 

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.I think spying did occur.”

Of course it occurred, based on what the average person thinks spying is. The redacted FISA warrant and the three additional renewals of the warrant, authorized secretly tracking the actions, meetings and conversations of Carter Page , a fringe contact of the Trump campaign. These warrants are all public. The warrants sought authority to listen in on Carter Page’s communications. What would you call it? If someone secretly tracked your private communications, would you say that that person was spying on you?  I would. So would Nancy Pelosi. The warrant granted the government authority to examine, surreptitiously, both Page’s future communications and his past communications when he was a volunteer in the Trump campaign, and conferred  the authority to obtain the communications of anyone with whom Page communicated, including others in the campaign. Meanwhile, Carter Page was never accused of any illegal activity whatsoever.

Seriously, is “WHAT? How dare Barr accuse the Obama administration of spying on the Trump campaign!” an honest and responsible response to what Barr said, or is it squarely in the “protesting too much” category?

72 thoughts on “Lunch Time Ethics Regurgitation, 4/11/2019: Meltdowns, Mistakes And More

  1. 1. Assange

    You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.

    2. Omar/Republicans

    Predictable, but still unethical and stupid.

    But conservatives in the business of condemning contrived offenses pushed by the mainstream media because Trump tweets and talks as if words and meanings don’t matter should model better behavior, not imitate it.

    This is how trying to play hardball by the Democrat’s rules is both a good and bad idea. When you are incapable of recognizing the fact that you’re becoming what you claim to loathe, your perspective has given way to your desire to score points. More proof the moniker “stupid party” has been justly earned.

    How hard would it be to adopt the best parts of the Dem’s methods and not the worst along with them? Too hard, apparently.

    3. Orioles

    What is amazing is that with all the accounts of how teams a have accepted the value of high-level statistical analysis in making both on-field and off-field management decisions, they would still be making such a gross and proven logical blunder.

    So instead of “Moneyball,” they’re playing “Throw away good money after bad Moneyball.” Nice.

    4. WaPo

    Saying that the ultimate Post coverage was “favorable”—after the Post’s careless and false accounts had resulted in celebrities encouraging violence against Sandmann, an innocent kid, and him being branded as a racist coast to coast.

    This is exactly why I think the odds are somewhat favorable for Sandmann to win this suit. No rational judge would believe the Washington Post’s argument. The only reason the suit might get dismissed is because the plaintiff’s council has made some equally embarrassing arguments.

    5. Media meltdown over Barr’s comments

    Seriously, is “WHAT? How dare Barr accuse the Obama administration of spying on the Trump campaign!” an honest and responsible response to what Barr said, or is it squarely in the “protesting too much” category?

    Well, I applaud anything that a) exposes the Obama administration for the corrupt, divisive, national nightmare it was, and b) angers Democratic politicians and their media marionettes the point of stuttering apoplexy.

    Can you say, “schadenfreude?” I knew you could…

  2. What really annoys me about Number 5 is that it answers the question of why they wanted to produce a redacted memo.

    It also answers why he did not produce evidence.

    If this investigation leads to a further investigation into impropriety by FBI officials, of course Barr would not want the full report out, would be evasive in his questioning, and would not provide evidence. He does not want to comment on an active investigation.

    A litmus test for Trump critics is whether they can accept that that is a valid reason to redact the report.

    Apparently, CNN is a little slow on that point.

    -Jut

      • On Manning… not so much a fan. I think he {she} had no business being in the Army and the commanders knew this but needed bodies. From what I recall there were ample signs that Manning was dissatisfied and unstable, yet they left him in a position with access to TS/SCI info. That does not make leaking that info right — even if it was arguably in public interest. This was not for Manning to decide.

        On Assange, it just smells of butt-hurt and using power to settle a vendetta, and that never smells good, especially from government agencies.

  3. (1) Assange may have been able to prevail if he had just acted as a ‘journalist’. However, he actively helped hack into a government computer with Manning. They will probably just convict him on that and call it a day.

    (3) Could they send Davis down to the minors? It may seem humiliating, but couldn’t that give him a chance to recover his ability or, at least. contribute to the team?

    (5) The Obama administration planted an FBI informant (or spy in layman’s terms) in the Trump campaign itself. This had been denied by Democrats, but Mark Warner has threatened to criminally charge any member of Congress who tries to find the identity of the informant. At the same time, Congressional Democrats want an unredacted version of the Mueller report released (which probably has the spy, er, informant’s name). For every Democratic demand there is an equal and opposite Democratic demand?

    • They can send Davis down if he consents. He would also have to pass through waivers, but nobody in their right mind would claim him, as they’d be claiming his whole salary too. He won’t consent to going down, because he knows he would never come back. The O’s could do it to make him quit, if he would go initially, but again, he won’t.

      • I have been mulling this issue over since you first brought it up. Since then, he has broken the record, and then finally had a few hits today.

        Is that the end of his “slump”?

        Does that matter?

        First off, I can concede this is a record-making slump. I have no choice the numbers are what they are (notwithstanding your recent comment about records spanning a season break).

        Is it possible that this is a statistical outlier that is bound to show up when you have, conservatively speaking, 139,968 batting opportunities this season (54 total at bats per game (27 per team each game), multiplied by 16 games per day across the league, multiplied by 162 games per season; yes, it is conservative)?

        (Then, multiply that by 100 years, adjusting for the shorter seasons in the Babe’s Day, and that infernal strike year (!!!))

        Some variables bug me. Though naturally skeptical, some have not come to mind immediately. Anyway, some thoughts:

        In the earlier post, I asked about the prior record-holders and you put that information out there, which I am trying to recollect accurately.

        As I recall, the most recent former record-holder was from the 70’s, with someone else much earlier.

        As I recall, the earlier record-holders were late in their career.

        I do not recall if they were sluggers or not.

        This all raises certain questions.

        Davis appears to be an accomplished slugger who is (statistically speaking) in the middle to end of career. He is under contract for a few more years.

        One reason he might have hit the record is that no one else could have. If he were in his early career, he might have gotten sent down to the minors or released by his 30th at-bat. If he was in his last year, he also might have gotten released or benched when it was not expensive to do that. This could account for some length of his streak.

        How much has to do with pitching. Some say Ted Williams’ record (or Di Maggio’s) will stand because they were exceptional batters at a time when pitching was not as good as it is today. The quality of pitching has created a parity with batters. This could account for some length of the streak.

        (This suggests another problem with the statistical analysis. Plate appearances are not stochastic events. 50 hitless plate appearances could come up with the roll of a die with enough rolls (13,996,800? Yes, that is not quite the right math as you are dealing with many players). Pitchers change each game and within games, players have various strengths and have their own slumps. A Statistical outlier is not just an accumulation of random events. Every roll of the dice has its unique variables. .

        I am not sure this sunk cost fallacy applies. From what you said, the money is spent or allocated. They can’t avoid the expense, at least not easily. Sunk cost fallacy is that “we have invested so much in him, we can’t start from scratch.” This is different. They can’t send him down to the minors without his consent. Replacing him would ADD a cost (at least it sounds that way). If they believe he still has the talent, they are justified in sticking with him. Then, you have to look at the cost-benefit of the price for picking up a couple extra wins.

        The danger is that this game will convince them to stick with him through his next bad streak.This good game will serve as confirmation bias.

        Or, maybe he is out of a really bad slump and will clear the Mendoza Line by the end of the season..

        We will see. I am curious to see how this season turns out.

        -Jut

    • They can send Davis down if he consents. He would also have to pass through waivers, but nobody in their right mind would claim him, as they’d be claiming his whole salary too. He won’t consent to going down, because he knows he would never come back. The O’s could do it to make him quit, if he would go initially, but again, he won’t.

  4. Re: No. 2; Rep. Ilhan Omar.

    Criticism of Omar’s comment is justifiable and justified. This is not the first time she has made this kind of inflammatory comment. She knows exactly what she is doing and what she said.

    Here is her statement:

    “Here’s the truth. Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange, that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say this person is looking at me strange, I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why. Because that is the right you have.”

    She was supporting CAIR, as well as promoting the anti-Muslim/Islam sentiment. She believes that CAIR helps combat those sentiments.

    Omar is not stupid. She is not uneducated, or uninformed. In fact, if you believe the likes of Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow over at MSNBC, she, along with Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, are the voice of the New Democrats. Omar is shocked that she got blow back for dismissing what happened on 9/11. “Some people” did “something” is incredibly snide and cynical. She is saying, “just because a bunch of Islamic fundamentalists toppled a bunch of buildings in a bunch of towns killing a bunch of people does not mean all Islamists or Muslims are bad people.

    jvb

    • “Some people” did “something” MIGHT be incredibly snide and cynical, or it might be that she didn’t know how to describe the episode in front of that audience. I know her proclivities, but it is exactly like assuming “you people” is racist when a conservative says it and benign if a civil right activist says it. “Somebody” doesn’t mean “we don’t know who,” especially when everyone does
      know.

      If I say, “Lincoln would have had the challenge of his lifetime dealing with reconstruction, but he never got the chance because somebody shot him,” I’m not excusing or exonerating John Wilkes Booth. I’m just using sloppy rhetoric.

      • She is saying, “just because a bunch of Islamic fundamentalists toppled a bunch of buildings in a bunch of towns killing a bunch of people does not mean all Islamists or Muslims are bad people.

        OK—what’s wrong with that?

      • I have to disagree, based on her history. She knows what she is doing and thrives on the controversy.

        She was saying, “look, somebody did a bad thing so now we pay the price. We get blamed for something somebody else did, and we are tired if it.” It wasn’t sloppy rhetoric. It was directed to CAIR, an organization with a similar history. When an Islamic terrorist drives a truck into a crowd, killing people, CAIR is out front saying “Hey, that guy doesn’t reflect our beliefs. Don’t blame us.”

        jvb

        • “Based on his history” is the same rational used to justify assuming that the worst interpretation possible should be placed on what Trump says. When rhetoric isn’t clear, it’s not clear, and that’s what’s wrong with it. When Trump referenced the “Second Amendment people,” the spin was that he was suggesting that they shoot Hillary, because “you know how he is.”

            • And I’ll concede that if you put a bazooka to my head and I had to guess, I’d have to say that she was intentionally minimizing 9/11 while insinuating that someone other than Islamic radicals—say, Jews—really bombed the towers, because I think she’s that bad, and, in fact, ticketed for self-destruction.

                • The woman is either not very articulate or articulate and snide. I’ll go with the latter. To assume she is not articulate would be racist and sexist and demeaning of our new Somali brothers and sisters, non? Besides, we’d be mansplaining. Can’t have that. I’m woke, how about you?

              • One rather amazing thing, from my POV, is how many people still hold to the ‘official story’ of 9/11. They force themselves to is how I understand it. There is a ‘need’ to hold to that story.

                The reason they do this (I suspect) is because if it was not believed, if doubt enters the picture, the official story would certainly unravel (because there are glaring problems with it!), and this would lead to a) the need to examine the event in full detail, and thus further provoke doubt and confusion, and b) a difficult psychological situation of having to confront assumptions, hopes, beliefs, about our own government, and other governments too, and para-militarism, and then also of the other players in that complex event.

                To examine the evidence that puts in doubt the ‘official story’ will lead rather quickly and decisively to the knowledge that there is much more going on there than has been allowed. This is why there is and there can be no examination of it! I think it might be the metaphor for the general situation in the nation: an unwillingness to see things as they really are; a need to keep believing in something that is no longer believable.

                Many many thousands of serious, educated, intelligent and thoughtful people have contested the official story and their evidence is there to be examined. These people are not ‘conspiracy nuts’ but are scientists, engineers, professionals, explosive experts, demolition experts, ex-government officials. They went through the process of confronting their ‘need to believe’.

                This official story itself then becomes a kind of ‘metaphor’ for a person who is bound-up in ‘official stories’; I suspect that the motive for deliberately turning away from thinking and seeing this Event is because of what will result when the false-solidity of the official story is assaulted: a psychological crisis. A crisis of faith.

                It is also true that because there is so much that cannot be clearly seen that a person has to guess and fill in the blanks, and this often gives rise to paranoid thinking, and also to ‘projection’. There is no doubt that the official story is false in many areas, but since there was no ‘official investigation’ and all the evidence has not been examined (and may never be examined) even those who have really studied all the contrary evidence cannot say, definitely, what happened, how it came about, and certainly not ‘who planned it’.

                I suggest that one is ethically bound to at least pay some heed to the many thousands of serious professionals who contest the official story. But, I also see that if that is done it will lead to doubt, and such doubt is an intolerable psychological state for some.

    • And, contrary to her remarks, CAIR was founded in 1994, NOT in response to Muslims having their civil liberties abridged after 9/11.

  5. #2 You’re giving Omar a LOT more leeway than I would, given that what happened on 9-11 is simple, well-known (unless you’re a “the Jews did it” conspiracy type), and easily stated. Her particular history and associations all point to a deliberate avoidance of using the terms “Muslim”, “Islamic terrorists”, etc. in her comment. There are times when speakers on the left are,just like Trump, clumsy in their delivery of ideas, and we should not assume the worst in their poorly worded, off-the-cuff comments, but I seriously doubt this is one of those times.

    • She said, speaking to a bunch of Muslims, here in the United States, “Somebody did something.”

      Hmm. Let’s put a gloss on that statement. What might she have said instead, “A bunch of young Muslim radical terrorists under the spell of Osama bin Ladin and the whackjob super conservative Muslim clergy in Saudi Arabia, whose followers underwrote them, murdered three thousand people in the United States, the largest single day of casualties in the United States since God Damned Antietam.” But no, she didn’t want to mention that to a room full of, you know, MUSLIM apologists.

      Elephant? What fucking elephant?

      Why didn’t she earn a Jumbo?

    • You’re giving Omar a LOT more leeway than I would, given that what happened on 9-11 is simple, well-known (unless you’re a “the Jews did it” conspiracy type), and easily stated.

      Unfortunately, the 9/11 events were used by American planners (certainly in cooperation with Israel and other players in that region) to unleash a series of wars and attacks that have been astoundingly and horrifyingly destructive for the people and communities there. It does not matter (in this particular case) is Omar points this out, or an angel from Heaven. If Hitler himself said it through the OuiJa Board it would not be untrue.

      These unleashed wars were the terror events of the beginning of the third millennium. No other country on the Earth has carried out any attack that is comparable. Do you see how simple this statement is? It is a statement of fact. It is non-contestable. But, you and may other people just like you cannot — and you will not because you will not to! — allow the conclusion to be perceived. It is an amazing fact that this is so! I suggest that it is an ethical and moral imperative to see through this self-deceiving trick.

      Beyond any doubt ‘Jews’ (that is certainly to say Israel) were beneficiaries, if you will, of the invasions and occupations (the topplings, the remodeling) that was set in motion after 9/11. Coming up on twenty five years of war now? Wars like this destroy a nation you know. I mean, based on historical perspective.

      Therefore, when people begin to examine the layers of lie and deception at the base of the Official Story, it is almost necessary to at least suspect Israel and Mossad-lile entities for being complicit. (But a whole System has complicity really.) You see? That is where the ‘cloud of unknowing’ has its own power: it distorts how one arrives at conclusions (because nothing can be definitely concluded).

      “… simple, well-known (unless you’re a “the Jews did it” conspiracy type), and easily stated.”

      It makes good sense to force oneself to hold to the ‘easily stated’ version. Because it upholds a complex Weltanschauung. Begin to delve into what is less easily stated, more complex and labyrinthian, and that Weltanschauung shakes a bit. Scary!

      But here is another ‘easily stated’ proposition: if the official story is less true than stated, this means there really is a more complex version that can be stated. And stating it will necessarily indicate a level of complicity that the former easily stated version cannot allow.

      It is time to begin to Tell The Truth about all things. That means of course to confront the Self that is wedded to lies (because they ‘uphold a world’).

      • Oh fuck, Alizia. You know, I was going to go further on this woman’s comment. The left likes to accuse people of making dog whistles. Make America Great Again is supposed to mean Make America White Again. This woman’s statement was beyond a dog whistle. She was clearly signaling to her Muslim head nodders that it was the Israelis who had actually planned and executed the 9/ll terror attacks. As you’ve so elegantly made obvious. She’s an anti-Semite and you appear to be one as well. I’ve finally figured out which South American country you live in: Paraguay. I congratulate your SS grandfather for getting out of NAZI Germany alive and eluding Elie Weisel. Congrats!

        • The left likes to accuse people of making dog whistles. Make America Great Again is supposed to mean Make America White Again. This woman’s statement was beyond a dog whistle. She was clearly signaling to her Muslim head nodders that it was the Israelis who had actually planned and executed the 9/ll terror attacks. As you’ve so elegantly made obvious. She’s an anti-Semite and you appear to be one as well. I’ve finally figured out which South American country you live in: Paraguay. I congratulate your SS grandfather for getting out of NAZI Germany alive and eluding Elie Weisel. Congrats!

          Any thinking person — any person with a courageous intellect and at least something resembling a ‘sense of ethics’ — should, in my humble view, be open to and willing to actually try to ‘see things as they are’, not as they wish them to be, hope that they are, or demand that they are. The world is sordid and complex. And ‘the world’ (in the sense of this ‘reality’) is one determined by raw power. Well, that is more and more how I see things.

          I did not say, and I would not say, that Mossad had some role in 9/11, either in planning, or setting demolition charges, nor even in some sort of negligence. That is what I tried to point out: when one exists in a ‘cloud of unknowing’, one cannot make real assessments. One ‘projects’. One ‘imagines’. But what I do say — and this based only on my own investigations which could be flawed and incomplete, but I did spend some months looking into it (more than you I gather!) — that the Official Story cannot hold water. Even a minimal presentation of the counter-facts would reveal this (to one with the intelligence and ethical foundation to make what is a necessary effort).

          I think that America should ban Muslims, if you must know. I think that Islam represents a danger. If it gains a foothold similar to Britain or France then one day, sooner or later, greater problems will arise. How in the name of Heaven did you allow this to happen? You = you of the Sixties and the Post-Sixties. You have allowed, and you continue to allow, your country to be ruined. (You likely do not bother to read what I write but a talk about this at length, always). You would have to read what I write with more care, and jump less to (predetermined) conclusions to understand what I did say. I said something different (but not less disturbing) than what you have read (your interpretation).

          I have little idea what she was ‘signaling’. My point has to do with invasions of other people’s lands, direct and tangible harm done to them and the ethical and moral implications of that. That is: everything you do not ever have to devote any time to thinking about! This is one major lesson I have gotten on this Blog: how lies and hypocrisy function. You are not alone though, these are common characteristics. Telling the truth is very very hard.

          And I do grasp that you, like SJWs, like the so-called Progressive Left, use the term ‘anti-Semite’ in the same way: to avoid having to look more deeply at the question(s). You will use that view of me to discredit what I have said and what I do think, and you do this so that you do not have to think more deeply, more introspectively, about the real, consequential issues.

          In one ear, out the other, eh? 🙂

  6. Re: No. 5; CNN’s Meltdown.

    Oh, you should have seen Don Lemon last night. He was livid that Barr had the temerity to state, rather bluntly, that the Obama administration spied on the Trump Campaign. He then led a panel discussion featuring Max Boot and three others to kick Barr around the table for being a Trump Acolyte/Lackey. It was fun to watch.

    jvb

  7. WaPo: This case has nothing to do with politics!

    Also WaPo: The pro-Trump Internet has been plotting to destroy us for years!

    Or perhaps they meant the second part as an explanation for their anti-Trump bias?

    Gotta love CNN. Do you think they ever wrote, “Adam Schiff says collusion ‘did occur,’ but provides no evidence”? Snakes in the grass.

  8. The case of Julian Assange reminds me of Rebecca West’s book, The New Meaning of Treason. It was about Lord Hawhaw, a man whose Irish parents had brought him to England as a young child and who had lived there well into adulthood until he defected to Germany days before the beginning of World War II . During the war, he broadcast pro-German propaganda aimed at undermining the Allied war effort. After the war, he was tried in England for treason. At trial, there was no question about what he had done. The issue was whether doing it constituted treason. He claimed that he was not an English citizen because he had been born in Ireland and had never been naturalized in England, and that in any case he had renounced his citizenship and become a German citizen the day before the war began. As the prosecution conceded, if he had become a German citizen before the war, then he was not a traitor to England, nor any kind of criminal at all, but a patriotic German doing his duty to his adopted country; and if he was an citizen of Ireland, which was neutral during the war, then he was free to support whichever side he wished and it was again not treason for him to have broadcast on behalf of the Nazis. In the end, the prosecution proved that he had become a naturalized English citizen as a child and that he had not renounced his citizenship until after the war began, so he was duly hanged.

    The relevance, of course, is that Assange is not an American citizen. Lord Hawhaw’s conduct was clearly unethical, since he was betraying the country that had embraced and nurtured him nearly his entire life, whether he was a citizen or not. But Assange has never lived here and owes no allegiance at all to this country. If he were a Russian or Chinese citizen, then his actions would be patriotic and clearly ethical. If he were a citizen of a neutral country who had sincere objections to the US policies that he exposed, then his actions would also be ethical (unless you think that it is unethical to oppose US policies or at least to oppose them so strongly that you get American spies killed). He is in fact a citizen of Australia, which is an ally of the United States, so perhaps his actions may be viewed as unethical on the grounds that they indirectly harm Australia, but that seems like a question for Australians to decide.

    Has any normal country ever followed this US practice of charging foreigners as criminals for their espionage and intelligence activities conducted entirely in foreign countries – as in this case and in Mueller’s indictment of Russian intelligence agency employees for “interfering with the election”? What we are doing is bullshit, frankly, and we’re going to be saying so ourselves when the shoe is on the other foot, and the Russians and Chinese decide to prosecute a bunch of NSA employees for computer hacking and stealing confidential information from their offices in Maryland.

    • Or, perhaps more to the point, to prosecute a bunch of New York Times and Washington Post reporters and editors for publishing “stolen” Russian or Chinese state secrets.

    • I thought that was very rationally and sensibly argued.

      Here is more information about the (1949) book you referenced:

      West’s acclaimed examination of traitors, this gripping profile takes readers inside World War II spy rings and gets to the heart of what it means to betray one’s country. Throughout her career, Rebecca West dug into psyches, real and fictional, to try to understand the meaning of betrayal. In the aftermath of World War II, West was incensed when several wartime turncoats were tried with seeming indifference—and worse, sympathy—from the British public. In exploring these traitors’ origins, crimes, and motivations, West exposes how class division, greed, and discrimination can taint loyalties and redraw the relationships between individuals and their fatherland.

      A fascinating book, The Meaning of Treason combines the intrigue of a spy novel with West’s classic, careful dissection of man’s moral struggles.

      Remember that George Bush Junior made it clear that you are either with us, or with the enemy. There is no middle-ground. This reflects a rather complex American belief that what an American believes, says, does, is automatically (metaphysically!) good and necessary.

      • This reflects a rather complex American belief that what an American believes, says, does, is automatically (metaphysically!) good and necessary.

        This is where we run off the rails. The same forces who created Imperial America (which is beyond the mandate of the founding) assert that international law does not apply, or is wrong when applied to America. We only get to have it both ways because we are the only remaining superpower since the cold war.

        Might makes Right in an unAmerican (and unethical) stance, but it is where we find ourselves. Our economy and strength are being abused by progressive totalitarians, supported by the Elite Establishment (who are in it for power and money) aka ‘The Swamp.’

        I support going after regimes that attack us. I do not support the progressive handcuffs placed on our armed forces (ala’ Vietnam) who should finish their job in months, not years. A prime example: Trump told the armed forces to take care of ISIS. Job finished in months.

        • This is where we run off the rails.

          Interesting phrasing. If you can conceive of a point where the rails were run off of, you naturally have access to a ‘historical perspective’: an analysis of causation. That seems to me (as you will have gathered because I often use the term ‘causation’) a good point to begin analysis.

          Consider the following: there is no way around the problem of ‘causation’ when 9/11 is examined. No matter how one decides it, one has to examine causation. But, how fair and accurate one is, or isn’t, is a matter of choice.

          Here, consider this:

          I support going after regimes that attack us.

          Question: 1) Do you ‘support’ regimes that have been attacked by us going after us? 2) Do you understand how such causation necessarily functions?

          Statement: Taking into consideration the damage the US has done to other nations recently, any one of those nations ‘has a right’ to kill thousands and tens of thousands of Americans. That is, if the same ‘right’ is offered to them as we offer to ourselves.

          The way around that conclusion is to give our violence and harm a ‘special status’: metaphysically good and proper! Then, no one has any right to retaliate. They must just accept. As if God had willed it.

          Your thoughts on this problem are welcome. 🙂

          • 1. Do you ‘support’ regimes that have been attacked by us going after us?

            Sure: if you have the guts to take the consequences, then pony up and attack us. This has been the way of the world for thousands of years, and only America is expected to allow themselves be attacked and not respond. (our response, again, should have been to blow shit up and leave, as a lesson for the others…) Note that America has only been invaded once, by the Brits in 1812. That ended poorly, and we were on the short end of the stick in every way at that time.

            Anyone invading America WILL discover what the Brits did: there is a rifle under every shrub, and someone motivated to use it. But sure, they can attack us.

            Sneaking around and killing innocent civilians (without a war declaration) led to the USA killing innocent civilians… as colateral damage. Not proud of the fact, but that is how this works.

            2. Do you understand how such causation necessarily functions?

            Sure. We have little or no business being the world’s police. People can resent that, and some of them decided to hijack airliners. They brought down hell several countries as a result.

            • Note that America has only been invaded once, by the Brits in 1812. That ended poorly, and we were on the short end of the stick in every way at that time. Anyone invading America WILL discover what the Brits did: there is a rifle under every shrub, and someone motivated to use it. But sure, they can attack us.

              I had to read that twice to realise that you probably meant “That ended poorly for the British”. Is that in fact what you meant? If so, I should probably inform you of the following facts that you can check very easily:-

              – All the British raids in force on the U.S.A., like that on Washington, were quite cost effective; forces were withdrawn in good order and with light casualties, after inflicting considerable damage. Curiously, locals often thought they had repelled invaders, mistaking the nature of the operations.

              – The only actual British invasion, that into northern New England (mostly Maine), learned from Burgoyne and avoided logistical overstretch (though that did make it fairly ineffective, too). It remained as an occupying force until the conclusion of hostilities, blocking any U.S. attack on Canada in that region.

              No effective resistance was made to that occupation (unlike the resistance to the initial U.S. invasion of Canada, when the Scots of Glengarrie rose up and held that up long enough for the regulars to arrive – the last traditional use of the fiery cross). In fact, many locals swore, and kept, oaths undertaking not to disturb the occupation.

              If, by any chance, you are referring to the Battle of New Orleans, you should know that that was neither part of a British invasion nor in any territory containing an established U.S. presence. That is, none of the U.S. achievement there has anything to do with any of the above considerations: it was an out of area action for both Britain and the U.S.A.

              • SlickWilly’s statement suffers from some rhetorical flourish. The truth of the matter is that the War of 1812 was mostly a draw. Still, the United States managed to hold its own against an economically and militarily superior enemy for the 2nd time in its short history, so I think it is rightly regarded as a moral victory for us Americans.

                We should note, though, that British forces invaded New York (Battle of Plattsburgh) and Maryland (Battle of Baltimore). That these invasions failed doesn’t make them any less invasions.

                Furthermore, the Battle of New Orleans resulted from a British attempt to invade Louisiana. It happened after the Treaty of Ghent was signed, true, but news of that treaty hadn’t yet reached America and wouldn’t be ratified by Congress till 6 weeks after the battle ended. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “containing an established U.S. presence,” but the territory had been part of the US since 1803, and Louisiana achieved statehood in 1812, before the outbreak of of the war.

                After New Orleans, the British successfully invaded the southeastern coast of Georgia, but new of the treaty and its ratification came shortly after.

                • I think I should clarify that I am using technical terms in a technical way:-

                  – Invasion is going in to stay in, often with enough resources to allow that.

                  – Incursion (or a raid in force) is shooting through, in and out fast, to inflict damage and achieve localised aims, but without enough resources to stay in. It relies on getting in and out before getting bogged down.

                  – Infiltration is pushing in forces where there is no opposition, so as to build up a position to hold or move on from. This is why I sometimes tell people that this is what is happening at the U.S.A.’s southern borders today, rather than an invasion; it may be ethically similar, but the counters are different, so it matters just as much as any correct diagnosis does for any disease – or you end up using the wrong treatment.

                  Anyway, no, none of those things I listed as raids in force were ever invasions, not even if people suffered as though they were, and no, they never were driven off, they were withdrawn so other operations could use the forces. They couldn’t have been invasions, not with those forces. So, no, it is not true that “British forces invaded New York (Battle of Plattsburgh) and Maryland (Battle of Baltimore)”, let alone that those incursions failed: they achieved their ends.

                  I should concede that, had the real invasion via Maine proceeded further, the incursion into New York could have withdrawn towards that, and/or U.S. forces might have withdrawn to counter that and left the field open for infiltration in New York.

                  “Still, the United States managed to hold its own against an economically and militarily superior enemy for the 2nd time in its short history…” happens not to be the case, because it omits the fact that Britain’s main resources were tied up in a far more serious conflict (as they were in the earlier war, once the rebels got allies after the first couple of years, though you are half right about the start of that: Britain was then economically superior, though it was militarily weak as it had a policy of staying that way in peacetime for constitutional reasons).

                  I could agree with “I think it is rightly regarded as a moral victory for us Americans” if any of the fighting had delivered gains – but Canada remained free, and the peace treaty probably (we can’t be sure, with counterfactuals) didn’t hand over anything that wouldn’t have been delivered by the general peace after Napoleon anyway. You may not be aware of it, but the embargo was a sort of extension of Napoleon’s continental policy to cut off Britain’s naval supplies – and, without that threat, Britain didn’t much need a counter to it.

                  Furthermore, the Battle of New Orleans resulted from a British attempt to invade Louisiana…. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “containing an established U.S. presence,” but the territory had been part of the US since 1803, and Louisiana achieved statehood in 1812, before the outbreak of of the war.

                  All true enough, but I see that my careful choice of wording didn’t get my point across properly.

                  I was trying to counter the original, and demonstrably incorrect, idea that any invasion of U.S. home ground would draw out U.S. locals to help fight it off to defend their homes (they didn’t in Maine). But there just weren’t that many U.S. locals involved at New Orleans, if by that you mean people with that sense of identity inspired by that sort of thing. U.S. troops came down with Jackson, and locals with other identity pitched in, but it simply isn’t a case of rousing up U.S. locals. (By the way, reports from fifty years later suggest that New Orleans still had a strong local identity even then.)

                  So I was trying to point out that that example doesn’t tell us how U.S. patriots react to threats on their homes.

                  • New York was meant to be invaded: Prevost marched into the US with a force of around 10,000 men, with the objective of occupying Plattsburgh and destroying the American fleet to achieve uncontested control of Lake Champlain, which would enable further invasion of New York via the Hudson River Valley. He retreated when the American fleet defeated the British fleet, giving the Americans control of the lake, making a British occupation of Plattsburgh untenable since they would be unable to receive provisions or reinforcements.

                    Washington was burned as part of an invasion campaign in the Chesapeake Bay region, which the British hoped would divert American forces from the Canadian border, allowing British forces to invade from Canada. The British intended to capture Baltimore, too, as part of this campaign. This wasn’t a quick, in-and-out raid, and wasn’t intended to be, even if long-term occupation wasn’t necessarily the goal.

                    Obviously, then, the British forces in both cases failed to “achieve their ends.” In general, the British intended to capture as much US territory as possible to win greater concessions in the peace negotiations. (Hence their actions in Louisiana as well, which were part of campaign that began 10 days before the treaty was signed.) But the American successes at Plattsburgh and Baltimore influenced the terms of the Treaty of Ghent favorably for the United States, as the British negotiators were unable to press territorial concessions, including a British-sponsored American Indian buffer state, on the basis of uti possidetis.

                    The fact the Britain tied up most of its resources in the Napoleonic Wars didn’t make her any less economically and militarily superior. This is reflected in how the British treated the war generally as a theater in a larger conflict, while it was nearly an existential crisis for the US. The British were able to strangle the US economy with a naval blockade, had a far more powerful navy generally, and (certainly toward the end of the war) had a greater force of professional soldiers, in addition to the help of large numbers of American Indian allies early on. While Canada alone could not be regarded as militarily or economically superior, Canada alone didn’t attack New York, Maryland, or Louisiana.

                    While their military value is often, I think, exaggerated by Americans, the of the matter is that local militia fought in all of the major battles of the War of 1812. Easter Maine’s local militias were largely unsuccessful, but the British were discouraged from advancing on the southern towns of Bath, Portland, and Wiscasset when these town raised their militias. (The failure of the Massachusetts to protect its district of Maine was an important factor in Maine pursuing statehood following the war.) And in New Orleans, Louisiana militia and volunteers made up about 1/5th of Jackson’s army, whatever your doubts about their self-identification.

                  • I concede, and have never disputed, that the Americans also gained no territory. As I said, the war was mostly a draw. Furthermore, the British didn’t formally repudiate impressment of American seamen, though it had become a non-issue as a result of Napoleon’s defeat. But for Americans, it was nevertheless a moral victory: Tecumseh’s confederacy was defeated (opening the way for Western expansion), the British gained no US territory, and, as Churchill said, “the United States were never again refused proper treatment as an independent power.”

                • The war wasn’t formally over until the Treaty of Ghent was ratified by both parties. That didn’t happen till February 1815.

                  • Formally, yes, but to me a war is over when both sides stop shooting at each other. By-the-bye, don’t forget Jean Lafitte’s pirates at New Orleans. Their role wasn’t crucial, but they did help. Yul Brynner made an excellent pirate.

                    • Dragin, I suppose you were replying to something else, and I mistakenly thought you were referring to the Battle of New Orleans. Otherwise, from what you say, the War of 1812 couldn’t have been over while the Battle of New Orleans was ongoing.

              • Nice progressive tactics demonstrated by PM. Take a tangential comment, and try to show the entire post is wrong by a technical point not needed to make the argument.

                Who won the War of 1812? Then it ‘ended poorly’ for the loser, non?

                Do you deny the rest of the post? Why not address the point of the thread, and not take off chasing rabbits? You are doing this a lot, PM.

                • I’m again too tied up to do all this justice, since clearly it will take some space; maybe later. I’m beginning to think that we have a language barrier issue here, with you lot using terminology too loosely to do the job I’m trying to do with it – and so, not realising that I’m onto anything in the first place. So, no, I’m not going all tangential, and I’m not trying to get at the whole post, I’m trying to get at something very important that you lot just don’t see, which makes it very important to show it to you some other way (after all, similar things could come up in other times and places). Again, maybe I’ll be able to get at this later. Readers may recall that this is not the first time I’ve brought out this whole area of precise use of language to get it to work as a toolkit. Other times, the particular material wasn’t as emotionally distracting to you lot as this topic clearly is, so you should be able to see that that isn’t where I’m coming from – though, equally, I won’t let it stop me now.

                  By the way, your whole “who won” rhetorical question is begging the very question at issue just there.

                  • PM,

                    Based upon your reply here and elsewhere this morning, I can see your point. While we may disagree on manners, what you are doing is important to opposing the degradation of language in our society.

                    The delivery does not detract from that importance, and I understand your approach better after this morning.

                    Have a great day, PM

    • No, it was not the case that “the prosecution proved that he had become a naturalized English citizen [sic – no such thing then] as a child and that he had not renounced his citizenship until after the war began”. Such a naturalisation was inapplicable, even impossible, as William Joyce (his real name) would have been a British subject automatically through his parents anyway under the law as it was then (but see my remarks elsewhere about the effects of changes in the law on my uncle’s diplomatic accreditation caused by his birth in British Guiana). Rather, the prosecution showed that Joyce had a deemed allegiance by making use of a (false) British passport and so gaining the protection of the Crown with all its implied reciprocal obligations.

      Minor point: Joyce also lived in Ireland for some time, where he was associated with the Black and Tans as a teenager.

      Major point: when I was researching Australian constitutional matters for other purposes, I found that a similar provision had been put in place here decades earlier. So, though obscure, that sort of deeming of allegiance was not a new invention made for the purpose of Joyce’s trial.

        • You remember the facts of the case a lot better than I do. It’s been a long time since I read the book. What I remember best is the notion that if he had become a German citizen the day before the declaration of war, he would be a German patriot but that if he had become a German citizen the next day, he would be an English traitor.

          • Actually, if there is one thing he never was, it was English (remember, this is a technical area we are in just here). Depending which aspect we are trying to bring out, he can be considered U.S.A.ian, Irish, British, or German – but never English.

      • Rather, the prosecution showed that Joyce had a deemed allegiance by making use of a (false) British passport and so gaining the protection of the Crown with all its implied reciprocal obligations.

        I had to look up ‘deemed’ (I basically understood but the etymology helps): calculated to be, gauged, supposed, reckoned, accounted, interpret as.

        It is simpler, I reckon, to assume they needed to hang him because they wanted to hang him (and could hang him). To deem it so, even a slender excuse would work.

        I think that patriotism has some interesting — rather irrational — features. In times before current common law there would be no need of any ‘reasoning’ at all. It would have been a simple matter of honor for any loyal citizen to cut off his head.

        • “Deem” has entered ordinary usage here in Australia, largely because it gets used by government bureaucracy for things like assessing taxes and benefits. For instance, a land owner might get deemed to have the rental income to match, even though he didn’t actually have any cash flow from that (they do adjust for personal residences – but at a deemed rating of their own devising).

          You’ve got it backwards on how Joyce’s deeming was used, on an “any excuse will do” basis. That’s how it looks to someone coming to it without background information, but the whole burden of my major point up there was that things weren’t like that: they didn’t need to concoct anything to get that desired result, because they found when they looked around that someone had already thought ahead and provided what was needed. They would have had to make an excuse like executive discretion to avoid using it, once they knew about it.

          And no, unless outlawry had been duly pronounced on Joyce, any “loyal citizen” trying what you describe would have been guilty of both breach of the peace and lese majeste (not having either of the low and middle justice, let alone the high justice).

        • Oh, and U.S.A.ians have – quite literally – lost the European or mediaeval concept of honour, as they have attached the word to quite other things, in an Orwellian way (it is widely portrayed on TV, with dishonourable behaviour displayed and condoned quite routinely). For instance, King Stephen once spared the life of a young boy hostage who had been given as a surety for an agreement that was breached (the boy grew up to be famous, which is why this was recorded). This act was considered Christian and merciful, but bordering on dishonourable – which it would have been, if someone else having the duty had spared the boy in defiance of the king. But U.S. usage now attaches “honour” to things like those “Christian and merciful” things that have nothing to do with the European or mediaeval concept of honour.

          • I have to say that I instinctively mistrust anyone who uses “U.S.A.ian” as though it were a valid English term for the people of the United States. We are “Americans,” and that is true wherever the English language is spoken. It’s also the usual term in French, Dutch, German, Japanese, and Russian (modified, or course, for each language’s own phonology).

            As for the substance of your comment, two things: 1) Assuming that the concept of honor has changed in American society, how is this change “Orwellian”? 2) In which post-industrial Western societies do you think the medieval concept of honor (rooted, such as it was, in the feudal social order) retains any real currency?

            • Having looked into the concept of ‘honor’ in Viking and Norse culture I have begun to see that it is a real thing, no doubt, but I do not think we would today accept its terms. For example, way back then it would have been honorable to take vengeance on a man who, entirely by accident, caused one some harm. To take vengeance against those who had done intentional harm was even stronger. A man could not sleep peacefully nor even die peacefully if he had not avenged wrongs done.

              The old concepts of honor were modified by Christian culture, and yet certainly the will to take action against any who offended one’s honor, one’s women, the symbols of one’s faith, one’s word, and a general sense of ‘upstandingness’ are examples of Medieval honor.

              Without some specific examples from Mr Lawrence I would not know what, exactly, he is referring to. But I would say that in our time, when there is an on-going transvaluation of all values, what was recently highly dishonorable is now accepted behavior. I have at least one example. Just after the turn of the 20th century, in America, it was a point of honor to value a specific American heritage: that of the original founders of the country and their racial and cultural stock.

              The people — the men — who inherited social position and ran the most important institutions (the important American universities and all other institutions) showed ‘honor’ for valuing their own racial stock (which they spoke about no trace of shame or embarrassment of course) and all the cultural achievements and values that they carried forward. Take for example Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. They defined positions that today are seen as acutely ‘racist’ and acutely unethical and immoral! These are the men who literally ran the country and all its institutions. They noticed that excessive immigration would alter the basic stock of America, and they tried to alert people to what would happen if and when this process continued. But they were opposed by business interests that wanted the cheap labor, and also by radical and Marxian organizations that rallied the new immigrants into political blocks. The European wars, and certainly the Second War and its aftermath (the socialization of America and the New Deal) brought all these efforts of Grant and Stoddard (and hundreds of others) to a halt and, slowly, the ‘ethics’ began to be remolded. What was good and necessary was redefined into what was bad and obstructing.

              Radical new forces and blocks began to gain power, pushing the old power system into the background. In the American Postwar, as most know in a more-or-less sort of way, the universities were radicalized by Marxist operatives (I use this term in an exact sense) and in the post-Fifties an entirely new ‘social ethics’ began to become established. How this came about is a fascinating and very complex and intricate subject. In the Sixties it all seemed to come to fruition and a radical ‘transvaluation of values’ became the norm. Now, what was ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’ is normal proper encouraged and ‘good’. It has gone so far in the other direction that even such deviants can march in the streets of all cities in bondage-outfits and parents take their children to witness these expressions of ‘freedom’ and ‘goodness’.

              You may remember the video that circulated when a DQ came to give darshan to a kindergarten:

              “Who wants to be a drag-queen when they grow up?” said in that horrifying, mincing voice:

              It seems perhaps unfair to focus on sexual deviancy, yet this is just one example of a general ‘transvaluation of values’ and a corruption of values.

              It is interesting — as a thought experiment — to ask oneself what should be, or what should have been, the ‘proper’ and the ‘ethical’ response to this deviant man appearing in front of children to teach them new social and sexual mores. Should he have been attacked by a group and beaten? Stripped of all his wigs and glitter and dumped out in the street? You see, at another time that would have been the minimum to have defended honor. But any such response, now, would be seen and is seen as the ‘evil’, while what the man does is ‘good’. To be evil, one must oppose him. To be good, one must invite him back.

              What interests me is the psychological dimension — the process of social coercion — that transforms one established ‘good’ into a ‘bad’. And then a ‘bad’ into a ‘good’.

              See, this is why I say that your entire culture, from top to bottom, has been acted against by deviant actors: by social activists who undermine value-structures through insidious, burrowing activity. It operates in all categories! Gender, sexuality, finance, war, invasion and occupation, race and ethnicity — really, the list goes on and on. There is no category that has not been affected.

              What, then, is honor?

            • I’m sorry if “U.S.A.ian” offended you; I was trying to exclude any implication of Canada.

              I meant by Orwellian that the language had (been?) changed to render the old concept inaccessible to people using it the U.S. way – the same sort of thing that has happened with “gay”. I don’t have a problem with what you do access with the word “honour”, I merely point out that you have difficulty getting at the old concept without words. The concept hasn’t changed at all, just your meaning of the word – cutting off your access.

              A.T., if King Stephen had sworn something like “I will nourish and protect William (the surname Marshall came later) until you deliver the castle on or before Michaelmas, and the day after you do that I will return him to you if God spares him”, he would have been able to spare him anyway and argue that he had not breached his honour. But if the oath had further added “… but I will kill him if you do not so deliver the castle”, it would have been dishonourable not to kill him.

              For what it’s worth, readers might like to translate the S.S. motto, which begins “Unser Eher ist…”. It’s worth understanding other people’s concepts, agree with them or not. That is a partial answer to “In which post-industrial Western societies do you think the medieval concept of honor (rooted, such as it was, in the feudal social order*) retains any real currency?”. Further along those lines, a year or two ago I translated a formal letter in German for someone; it contained several instances of “Ehr” – and it was a recent letter, too. And Spanish literature still learns from the old play “il medico y su honra” (quoting the title from memory).

              * No, it was the other way about. The feudal social order rested on the mediaeval concept of honour.

              • Why would Canada be implied in the English word “American,” especially with reference to something that happened during WWII?

                “Orwellian” has the implication of deliberate and artificial manipulation of language by a totalitarian state for the purpose of thought control. Even if you think that American usage of the word “honor” has made the medieval concept inaccessible to Americans, it seems strange to regard this change as Orwellian, rather than organic. Or have you used “Orwellian” by mistake?

                If you think that the medieval concept of honor holds currency in contemporary Germany and Spain, you should first define the medieval concept and then demonstrate how Spaniards and Germans still hold it. (Do Australians hold it as well?) It would also be helpful to show precisely how that differs from the contemporary American concept. As it is, I think you’re just sniping.

  9. 2. I have a serious ethics question on the commentary about the right copying the left’s tactics (need I remind everyone I predicted this years ago now?)

    For my entire life, less the past year or two, the right generally played by the rules while the left broke them in the name of power and the tactics of personal destruction. We are at the point where the playing field has been purged of true conservatives, and have reaped a GOP Elite Establishment in the ‘game’ for money first, and power second. They no longer are about moving us back to our founding, but simply believe they should be the ones calling the shots for their (not America’s) benefit.

    Yet they are still destroyed by the radical left. We see just this week that the left is conspiring to blacklist members of the Trump Administration, attempting to disallow the ability to provide for their families. The message is clear: we on the right are not going to be allowed to exist at all.

    Being ethical when the other side is not is looking a lot like suicide (and that will become literal when they decide we do not have the right to live either, like all socialist eventually do) I do not see a choice but to hit the progressives just like they are being hit, to teach that they are vulnerable as well. This is what kept mass assassinations and atomic bombing from dominating the Cold War: mutually assured destruction. Responsible government and rule of law depend on the left respecting the power of their enemies in light of their own vulnerabilities, and they do not. This has become a war situation, with survival of the right (literally) and this nation in the balance.

    Is it ethical to allow condemn this sort of hitting back when being ethical allows the enemy to kill you?

      • Short of life and death, the lowering of one’s ethical standards to one’s adversary in a race to the bottom just assures the destruction of a civilized culture. WE see the best example right now: Democrats, in responding to Trump, have no claim at all now to being more honest or responsible.

        • We already lost the civilized culture, Jack. It will not be back until a drastic, even violent, correction. If this correction does not happen, then socialists will take over. Rule of law is a joke, with progressives breaking laws and the right be accused of what the left got away with and prosecuted for it.

          Respectfully, don’t you see where this ends up, given historical precedents? The left has made it clear that they will not stop of their own accord.

          Are you saying that we are not yet to the point of life and death?

          How do you propose we avoid getting to that point, if we are not indeed there already? Civilized behavior has not worked in decades.

          I know this sounds a lot like a #28 (“These are not ordinary times!“) but I cannot find a time in history (even the Civil War) where one side advocated for total destruction of political opposition using the tactics we see today. They say they want us dead, and I believe them.

  10. … even if [Julian Assange] is legally cleared, the ethics verdict is easy. His objective was to cause chaos, and he knowingly got people killed…

    No, the ethics verdict is not easy, whatever else it is, as the waters are so muddy. You may recall that he first incurred U.S. establishment ire by an action knowingly attempting to prevent getting people killed: exposing the casual approach to combat that encouraged – and produced – collateral damage among non-combatants. So you can weigh up actual, overall results all you like, but it is still applying moral luck to an actual, knowing, attempt to reduce known harm. Just how much, and which, of each kind of harm is reasonably foreseeable? He had actual and concrete examples of only one kind before him, that he worked against. Talk about “The trick is to choose the most negative intention and meaning imaginable—and sometimes not imaginable without dishonest spin—and then to launch that damning meaning into the public discourse”, appearing in relation to a different point … it looks as though that is just what the U.S. establishment has done to Assange. Likewise, I find “Of course it occurred, based on what the average person thinks spying is”, also appearing in relation to a different point, ironically and amusingly relevant here.

    By the way, it is unseemly to gloat.

  11. In regard to the Assange issues, it seems to me that Tucker Carlson has it pretty well understood. If anyone has a counter-argument I’d love to hear it. If it was a coherent and an ethical one there will be extra points!

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