Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/2020: A Rich Assortment Of Jerks And Assholes To Begin The Year.

 It’s finally Getting Back To Normal Day!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like everything’s been one big, holiday/stress/disruption blur since I enlivened Thanksgiving dinner by keeling over. There should be  law preventing Christmas and New Years from falling on Wednesdays, which effectively kills two full weeks. I’m behind on everything, and I don’t know what I could have done to avoid it…

1. Sigh. This is what we have to look forward to in 2020…Ezra Klein, the Left-biased Washington Post journalist who founded Vox, which he then staffed with all Left-biased journalists, tweeted out the link a nine-month-old Post article stating as fact that counties hosting Trump rallies saw massive spikes in hate crimes compared to counties that didn’t host Trump rallies. By Wednesday afternoon, Klein’s tweet had been re-tweeted  more than 7,000 times and had more than 14,000 likes. It also polluted many Facebook feeds.

Klein didn’t tell his 2.5 million followers  that the article relied on a study that had been debunked months ago by  Harvard University researchers Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton.  “The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway,” they revealed in in Reason magazine four months ago. That’s four. 4. IV. F-O-U-R.

Lilley and Wheaton tried to replicate the original study—if a study is valid, you can do that.  They discovered that “adding a simple statistical control for county population to the original analysis causes the estimated effect of Trump rallies on reported hate crimes to vanish. “Given how little scrutiny was required to reveal the flaws in the thesis that Trump rallies cause hate incidents, one cannot help but wonder whether its viral status was aided by journalists predisposed to believe its message,” the researchers noted.

Ya think?

Klein’s tweet is still up. It’s false and inflammatory, but it advances one of the key Big Lies (that would be #4), so he is running with it anyway. Do you wonder why those on opposite sides of the partisan divide have different views of reality? This kind of thing is a primary reason.

Enemy of the people.

2. The first “I don’t understand this story at ALL” of 2020:

 In July 2018, Michael J. Reynolds. a New York City police officer, was in Nashville for a three-night bachelor-party trip with six other officers. At one point in the festivities,  Reynolds, who is white, kicked in a black woman’s door in a drunken rage, threatening her (“I’ll break every bone in your neck…”) and her sons while calling them “niggers” and showering them with obscenities. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 15 days in jail with three years’ probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanors, court records show. Nevertheless, he remains an employee of the N.Y.P.D. More than 10,000 people signed an online petition demanding his dismissal and supporting the woman whose home he invaded.

Theories? Never mind unions, due process and mandatory investigations: the incident took place a full year and a half ago. There is no excuse for this. Reynolds apologized and said that he was so drunk he doesn’t remember the episode. Oh! Then that’s OK, Officer! Let’s all forget the whole thing!

As it habitually does, the New York Times reached a false analogy, writing,

The case of Officer Reynolds is again focusing scrutiny on the pace of the Police Department’s disciplinary process. In a prominent example of how it can drag on, five years passed before Officer Daniel Pantaleo, whose use of a prohibited chokehold contributed to the 2014 death in police custody of Eric Garner, was fired and stripped of his pension benefits in August.

Ridiculous. There were legitimate issues involved in Pantaleo’s case that made the proper discipline in his case complicated and controversial. There are no reasons for controversy here.

3. Well, I finally did it. For what seems like the millionth time, I was in a crowded parking lot waiting for a space to clear while someone texted and checked his email. I had sat with my car idling for almost ten minutes waiting for a this guy’s car to pull out of a space, freeing it up. Other cars looking for places to park had passed me, some more than once, meaning that that they had circled the block. The driver of the car taking up the space was playing with his cell phone, either wilfully ignoring the situation or completely oblivious. I put on my hazard blinkers, got out of the car, and banged on his window, scaring the hell out of him. (Good.)

“Do you not realize that there are many people looking for places to park so they can run their errands, and you’re taking up a space to use your phone? This isn’t a “park to play Candy Crush” space, it’s a space for people who have transactions to attend to. What’s the matter with you? Ever heard of the Golden Rule? Get out of here!”  The man glared at me, but pulled out.

Yes, I know he might have shot me. But I would not have died in vain.

Then I had to argue with another driver who tried to pull into the space while I was walking back to my car…

4. I hate to say it, but it’s signature significance that New Yorkers elected a mega-jerk like Bill  de Blasio mayor twice. The latest example: An intrepid and entrepreneurial  Domino’s employee brought hot pizzas out to the crowd in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. He ran  between the Dominos store and Times Square, carrying a container of pizzas on his head and selling them to starving celebrants, many of whom had camped out to be there. Once they were in the area, they were not allowed to leave until the festivities were over. The pizza man charged about twice what each pizza would normally cost.

From the New York Post:

“He is our Santa,” said Amit Zanwar, 31, from New Jersey, who was with two friends for the spectacular and didn’t pack any food. “He came a little late [for Christmas], but we were happy…. It’s absolutely worth it. It was hot. It seems like it just came out of the oven… If he comes back, I will buy some more.”

After the ball dropped, however, de Blasio, the anti-capitalist, tweeted,

“Jacking up your prices on people trying to celebrate the holidays? Classy, @dominos…. To the thousands who came to Times Square last night to ring in 2020, I’m sorry this corporate chain exploited you — stick it to them by patronizing one of our fantastic LOCAL pizzerias.”

I’m sure it will be surpassed, but that’s an early entrant in the 2020 “Asshole of the Year” competition. Nobody was forcing anyone to buy a pizza. The pizza guy was offering a product and a service, giving consumers an opportunity and a choice. (Socialists like de Blasio hate choice). I liked Althouse’s comment:

Were the “fantastic LOCAL pizzerias” bringing pizza out to these people who were enduring the city’s “rather degrading” detention of human beings in “holding pens”? If they were, were they charging less than an extra $15 for delivery to the site? De Blasio talks like a teenager. And he tweeted that from the official Twitter account of mayor of New York City.

24 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/2/2020: A Rich Assortment Of Jerks And Assholes To Begin The Year.

  1. #2 I think for this scenario you have to invoke the James Comey standard of case outcomes: guilty, not guilty and sloppiness/sloppy work. Officer Reynolds in his off time just happen to be sloppy. Mistake were made, and sure, it shouldn’t have happened, but bias in the incident could not be determined and we just need to move forward, so things like this won’t happen. The system is robust. Officer Pantaleo’s case glaringly obvious to anybody, so that’s in the past. /s

  2. I was going to add this above: I saw a TV ad last week in which a young girl handed her grandfather a wrapped present and said, “Happy Holiday!” Who says that while giving a gift? Does anybody?

  3. Enemy of the people.

    To say that journalists are ‘the enemy of the people’ is to say that the media organizations — the media corporations, which are connected, structurally, to corporate America (there is no alternative to this and this is therefore true) — have an interest in lying to ‘the people’.

    When this becomes clear, or when this is accepted and understood, then ‘enemy of the people’ begins to take on meaning.

    If we are not talking about ‘powerful money-interests’ with a very specific stake in things, then what are we talking about? Who determines what journalists say? (are allowed to say and scripted to say).

    If I am wrong in my assessment I hope that some kind soul will correct me . . .

    • Alizia. Newspaper and other media types are not zombies doing their masters’ bidding. They are individuals who all share the same college experience and world view. And almost all of the are young and have done nothing but worked in media the last twenty years. They are drunk with the propaganda that was foisted upon them in college and journalism school. Marxist analysis is not really required to understand what’s going on. They think they’re right and everyone else if wrong and that attempting to be objective is a betrayal of their duty to reform society. Step away from the Chomsky and no one will get hurt.

      Victor Davis Hanson calls “Vox” the young adult section. Given the purge of higher paid, experienced, older reporters in favor of less expensive young pups in all of media, it’s a very apt description of all media these days. It’s not complicated.

      • I hope that you might notice that you are offering back to me an interpretation of what you think I am saying. You paraphrase. I definitely agree that there must be *ideological leaders*: those who spin the interpretations from which are further spun the *narratives*, and that yes they are largely found in academia. Where I differ from you is in my understanding that in some aspect of their *analysis* they are not wrong. My view is that people deal in tendentious truths.

        My effort is to expand on tendencies. To see what stands behind them. The fuller picture. The larger picture: meta-politics.

        I have said this before to you and gotten no response. Populism is a movement with some history in the US. A ‘true populism’ is by definition a conversation that occurs among the people. For example there is talk of Trump’s constituency and ‘flyover America’. When they tell you what they want, what is important to them, what they value, what has importance for them, and what they feel opposes them (their interests) that is ‘popular voice’.

        I admit — or I assert if you wish — that there are numerous populisms. Or numerous centers of populist sentiment. For example I recognize and feel I understand Black populism, or Mexican American populism. Often there is shared concerns between these sections. But their concerns — their values, their hopes and dreams and all that — are not the concerns of media corporations and of *corporations* generally. And because their is a profound collusion between government and corporations (if I understand correctly that is what ‘swamp’ means) the ‘business interests’ that have infiltrated very profoundly into American civic life represent a very different pole from that of populism as I have defined it.

        This is why I refer to a plurality of Americas.

        Jack refers to this statement about the media as ‘enemy of the people’. He means this in a specific , though I think a limited way. What is meant here has to be better defined. That is the difference between *superficial reading* and *depth reading*. Must you inhibit such an effort? Do you mean to say and do you believe that Chomsky’s specific model of the way that ‘consent is manufactured’ is entirely and thoroughly false? Are you aware that Edward Bernays developed the idea? Are you aware that it is central to the development of modern America? Have you read Crystallizing Public Opinion or Propaganda? Have you read any of Walter Lippmann’s books or essays?

        “That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. . . . Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.

        What I find *interesting* (troublesome, bothering, frustrating) is in how limited your purview is! You not only seem to have but you truly have difficulties in seeing the large picture. You consciously and willfully narrow your view and what you allow yourself to *see*.

        The Media refers to a ‘media system’. A system of interests that mediates what is viewed, seen and understood. You not only have to understand how those who go to work in those organizations were trained, but you have to understand the environments — the systems — they enter. A system by definition functions together.

        What I am trying to point out — against a bizarre opposition I do not understand — is that when you refer to ‘the Left’ or to ‘Progressives’ you are referring to these systems: the education system, the corporate/business system, the global system, and a network of very specific interests that build the structure in which public conversation and public persuasion occur. What is so difficult for you here?

    • I don’t think you’re wrong in your assessment, but I do think it’s incomplete.
      Journalists are by nature idealistic, I think, and ‘true believers’ in the absolute worst sense. They see themselves as virtuous crusaders, not vassals of Lord Soros, or anyone else. There is a pretense of independent thought that allows them to reassure themselves that they ‘speak truth to power’; in fact they are usually propagandists. Few would regard themselves as useful idiots, and I’m sure that many think it’s pretty cool that they get paid by an organization that they tell themselves they disagree with.
      So much more self-affirming to consider oneself a Progressive Revolutionary instead of a paid shill for moneyed interests, don’t you think?

      • Thanks Joe. Well put. Alizia, there is a strong anti-intellectual streak in your adopted country’s culture which you have so far failed to take into account. See, eg., Samuel Clemens and, to a certain extent, Saul Bellow. Call me benighted or narrow minded if you will. You can continue your search for truth, I’ll just get by on the fly and my own education and reading and first hand observation over the last sixty eight years. My senior year egghead high school religion teacher called me an intellectual slob. But I figured one out of two ain’t bad. Your condescension is nothing new.

        • So I think I will go back to skipping over Alizia’s comments for another 6 months or so, even if it means missing such incisive commentary as this:
          “You not only seem to have but you truly have difficulties in seeing the large picture.”
          “What I am trying to point out — against a bizarre opposition I do not understand —…”
          ” What is so difficult for you here?”
          Taking an editor’s pen to her comments would serve her well, but I think condescension is an innate part of her personality, at least it seems that way when I view it through a ‘meta-political’ purview.

          • Alizia in her winding way has a key point (if I’m “seeing” it) about questioning who is running the show on how the public interprets events and narratives. And that should lead a thinking person to ask what that looks like and how to fight against it. It would also behoove us to ask just what “they” want.

            Other Bill & Alizia are both right- there are elite information gatekeepers and makers, and their college and SJW influenced plantation keepers propelling propaganda. Their conclusions combine with each other rather than cancel each other.

            The point of this big lie is that, where there is a Trump rally, there are roving bigots ready to harm others because their evil supreme overlord commands it. This reporter emits a narrative that says – to those who are committed to the “Trump is a racist who fosters racism” idea – if Trump comes to your town bad things will happen!!!

            Such a message invigorates the fear response in certain vulnerable folks, thusly triggering the most unhinged, unhappy, and rootless of the radical left in all its flavors to “act against hatred.” We get chaos and the media gets more stories. Stories that are again shaped to foster more “racist President” stories.

            It’s worth examining all the ways propaganda is disseminated. From how speakers use timing to evoke emotion to which funders back various campaigns. It’s also worth examining how bias can play right into the hands of those who wish to make the public believe big lies.

            I’m glad EA has both Other Bill and Alizia here to reflect the diversity of commentary here.

            • Q, I think the older guys at the NYT and WaPo are catering to the kiddie corps simply because that’s where the money is. For the same reason John Dillinger robbed banks. Their objective is to sell newspapers, or online subscriptions or however they do, or don’t, make money in the current internet dominated environment. They hire kids to write pieces to sell their product to lefties and other kids. That’s their market. They’re just giving the readership what they want. I don’t think media types and newspaper types are revolutionaries, they’re just trying to make a buck. It’s “Citizen Kane.” Yellow journalism. Fox isn’t trying to right wrongs or cure journalism, they’r just catering to an otherwise completely un-served market — non-lefties. They’re just executing a business plan, they’re not looking for world domination. Cheers.When’s your next post coming out?

              • We ofter will not to see — refuse to see — what is there to be seen, because to do so would involve us in psychic pain. So we close our eyes and will not to see .

                We negate therefore important elements about how power functions and how our world works.

                I will to see.

                Operation ‘Mockingbird’

                Operation Mockingbird is an alleged large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early 1950s and attempted to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes. It funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as front organizations.

                According to writer Deborah Davis, Operation Mockingbird recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network and oversaw the operations of front groups. CIA support of front groups was exposed after a 1967 Ramparts magazine article reported that the National Student Association received funding from the CIA. In the 1970s, Congressional investigations and reports also revealed Agency connections with journalists and civic groups. None of these reports, however, mentions by name an Operation Mockingbird coordinating or supporting these activities.

                A Project Mockingbird is mentioned in the CIA Family Jewels report, compiled in the mid-1970s. According to the declassified version of the report released in 2007, Project Mockingbird involved the wire-tapping of two American journalists for several months in the early 1960s.

                • I’ll see you and raise you: “Crossfire Hurricane.” Who doesn’t doubt government employees and agencies cook up all sorts of hilarious, inept, goofy programs all the time? So what? I believe the entire anti-war movement in the Vietnam era was funded by the Russians. It’s a blot upon the entire baby boom generation. We were played like fiddles. But is all of existence controlled by puppet masters? No. Life is too large and messy and there are too many people involved. There’s no man behind the curtain to ignore, Alizia. Vladimir Putin doesn’t want world domination, he just wants a lot more money and stuff than your average Russian kleptocrat or soccer team or NBA franchise owner. As I remember thinking as a little kid when Kruschev told all of us he would bury us, “Okay buddy, if you do end up running the entire world, how are you going to afford to even keep the lights on for a day? Good luck with that.”

                  • Bill, the way for you and I to understand each other — better — is for you to take into consideration that I have read a great deal of critical material. Apparently more than you. Also, I am technically Latin American and, as Bolívar said: “The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty”.

                    But don’t take this the wrong way: I am one of those who regards righteous *opposition* to the US machinations in the Hemisphere as a mistaken choice. I firmly believe that wealth and prosperity must be created, not gotten by ‘redistribution’.

                    My basic argument is and has been that ‘the business class’ has taken and been given far too much power. And that class, because of its *interests*, pushes government toward unwise and destructive choices that often tun out badly. It is not a very radical position really.

                    I do not hold it against you-singular that you seem to be unaware of the external policies of the US. But if you want to understand my perspective, and why my positions are somewhat strange and even perhaps contradictory (I gather you and others think this), you could make the choice to understand my amphibious nature. I do hold it against *you-plural* that you will not make the effort to understand the critical perspective vis-a-vis the Nation. It should be obvious to you that we will not — perhaps we cannot — see eye to eye for these reasons.

                    However, if you really & truly believe that the military/intelligence services that do the work necessary to establish an environment in which American business can function are a bunch of *bumbling children* then I am not sure what I’ll have to do. Please notice that I am not writing from a state of rancor. My object is to see and describe how power functions.

                    Mrs Q spoke of gaining knowledge in certain circumstances so that we might be able to ‘oppose them’ or resist them (those who manipulate us, I forgot how she put it). My problem is different: I need to get clear about who and what to serve, not what to oppose.

                    If you really & truly believe that the opposition to the Vietnam War was inspired and instigated by ‘the Russians’ (you could mean this, or you could simply mean that Russians contributed money to the anti-war movement) then you have zero faith in the upstandingness of your own people and your own youth.

                    We were played like fiddles. But is all of existence controlled by puppet masters?

                    Here, you assert clandestine influence & manipulation but you can only *see* it when you cast it onto someone else: the evil Russian other.

                    What I wish to bring to your attention is that at the heart of the power-game, and the game of empire & dominion — whether you like to hear this or not, and whether you can hear it or can’t — is a ‘darkened heart’. It seems an inevitability to me. The more that one has ownership interest, the more one’s moral collusion is required. If you do not understand, if you cannot understand, that our own people can play just as dirty when it is required as any other, then I suppose I must assume you are simply naive.

                    The rest of what you wrote is not relevant — and not useful — to the sort of analysis I am doing. I am more concerned about what people — average people — do in relation to the Big Power Players whereas you seem an apologist for them (though you have no connection or relationship to power at that level). If ‘ethics’ is a valid topic it is because only an individual could choose to be ‘ethical’.

          • So I think I will go back to skipping over Alizia’s comments for another 6 months or so, even if it means missing such incisive commentary as this:

            But that is exactly — precisely! — my impression of some who write here on topical issues of the day. A failure to see ‘the larger picture’.

            And I genuinely do not understand the opposition to what seem to me uncontroversial points.

            Take an editor’s pen!?! Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

            You are too sensitive, Joe.

            Can’t we fight like this? 🙂

        • OB writes:

          Thanks Joe. Well put. Alizia, there is a strong anti-intellectual streak in your adopted country’s culture which you have so far failed to take into account. See, eg., Samuel Clemens and, to a certain extent, Saul Bellow. Call me benighted or narrow minded if you will. You can continue your search for truth, I’ll just get by on the fly and my own education and reading and first hand observation over the last sixty eight years. My senior year egghead high school religion teacher called me an intellectual slob. But I figured one out of two ain’t bad. Your condescension is nothing new.

          What you might not grasp is that the battle that I fight, the one that I am involved in (personally, interiorly) is a mortal and consequential battle.

          It is not condescension. You-plural try to stop my forward momentum and you offend me for that.

          I am also speaking as a ‘we’ here: a new dissident right. ‘You’ put brakes on discovery and investigation. There are millions of *yous*.

          Among the people I associate with (this means read more than have interchanges with) we look at a wide WIDE range of material.

          I mentioned once that I had read Chomsky . . . and I am branded (and ridiculed) because I understand the man’s arguments. But he is a world figure. And certain of his ideas are completely coherent and valuable.

          … but with all that said this is still all a great deal of fun …

  4. I really don’t get why people would crowd into Time Square to be part of a mob to see a so-so show and watch the big ball drop. If some guy wants to jack up the price of Domino’s pizzas to satisfy the hunger of these dummies, it’s fine with me. As far as De Blasio pontificating about this non issue, it confirms my viewpoint that he’s a self righteous jerk and the worst mayor in NYC since David Dinkins.

  5. Similar to the dog train guy from a few years ago:

    A large number of those dogs are elderly dogs that have been abandoned or surrendered in their final days.

    It is an absolutely devastating and unfair reality, one that Nicola Coyle could not accept. That is why she opened the Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project. Her hospice is devoted to those abandoned dogs that have, at most, six months to live. It is in her incredible hospice that these precious animals are spoiled and treated with an incredible amount of compassion and gentleness.

    In there final days, these special pups are are celebrated, loved, and given as much affection as they want. They are treated to delicious treats like ice cream cones, steak and fast food. They are given warm, soft beds in a safe home with someone to dote on them.

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