Another day, another “crisis”…
Current reports indicate that Iran regards its casualty free missile strikes last night as a sufficient “tat” for the killing of their master terrorist “tit.” If so, the “ARRGH! WORLD WAR III!!” anti-Trump hysterics were, as usual, wrong, and just embarrassed us, nothing more.. Meanwhile, Iran is refusing to hand over the black box of the Ukrainian airliner that just coincidentally crashed right around the time the missiles were flying. The fact that so many Democrats have allowed their brains and loyalty to rot to the extent that they defend this awful place in order to attack their own nation’s President is all we need to know about the trustworthiness of their party.
1. Wrapping up the Golden Globes’ ethics issues…Michelle Williams is getting predictable hosannas from her acceptance speech at the Goldden Globes, in which she thanked abortion for her success. She said she wanted a life “carved by my own hand” and “wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.” The New York Times called these words “potent.” I call them deceitful. I’ll praise an equivalent speech when the woman has the integrity and courage to thank the human being who involuntarily gave up his or her chance to carve out a life with their own hand. The use of “choice” as euphemism for “I get to kill someone who stands in my way” is self-deception.
2. Thinking about Trump’s threat...The President backed down from his threat to target Iranian cultural cites in retaliation for any attacks on Americans after being informed that this would be a war crime under international law. I confess, I did not know this was prohibited, and I am not certain what to think about that. I knew the destruction of ancient architecture and important cultural cites became an issue for the Allies in World War II, but this has yet to make sense to me. The whole concept of the “nice” war is ethically incoherent. The idea of war must be to win as quickly as possible, minimizing deaths and chaos on both sides, especially one’s own. If the prospect of losing a nation’s treasured cultural structures is a deterrent to war, then to say that has no “military value” is simply not true. If you can’t tolerate risking your cultural treasures, don’t get into wars.
The values involved in this controversy are also incoherent. In “The Monument Men,” George Clooney’s sort-of accurate account of the special forces whose job was to track down and rescue great artworks stolen by the Nazis, the question is asked repeatedly, “Was retrieving this painting or statue worth sacrificing a human life?” I have no problem voting “Sure!” If the question is changed to refer to a thousand lives, or 10,000, I’m not so sure.
3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! I am still annoyed by the obtuseness of a friend who spread this piece, which I referenced yesterday, on Facebook. The Washington Post, which the article ranks the #3 most ethical and trsutworthy news source, has been boiling over with bias and incompetence of signature significance (as in “no trustworthy publication does these things.”
“Trump did not mention Obama in brief remarks about the Soleimani operation Friday. But days earlier — as an Iraqi militia aligned with the Iranian general breached security at the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in protest of an American strike on the group’s facilities in Syria and Iraq — Trump made a clear reference to his predecessor by threatening Iran over the incident and declaring the situation the “Anti-Benghazi” on Twitter. He was alluding to a siege on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya in 2012 in which two Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stephens, were killed — a tragedy for which Republicans faulted Obama’s administration for not securing the facility and for a muddied public accounting of what happened.””
Four Americans, not two, died in the Benghazi attacks. Do you suppose this error had anything to do with the reporter’s desire to minimize Obama’s botched response in this episode? Why would you think that? The casualties were well publicized; i remembered it was four deaths, but if I were writing about it I’d check my facts. Doesn’t ethical journalism require checking facts? How about your own newspaper?
The Post was also complicit in advancing Obama and Hillary’s false cover story at the time, that the compound attack was a spontaneous one triggered by YouTube video.
Then there was this tweet that was deemed re-tweetable by Missy Ryan, Washington Post national security reporter:
It portrays the large crowd in Tehran mourning the death of Soleimani side-by-side with a picture of Trump’s inauguration crowd in January 2017. That’s an anti-Trump cheap shot, a meaningless comparison, and proof positive of bias.
4. There’s a spate of defamation suits against websites in Massachusetts, for some reason, not just the one against Ethics Alarms. Jonathan Mullane, a former law student living in Somerville, sued over an a 2018 article by Elie Mystal on “Above the Law” referring to Mullane as “an idiot, “a little entitled ponce;” “a little brat who with a USAO internship;” and, because his father is a lawyer who mostly paid his son’s way through law school and, Mystal theorized, possibly had something to do with him getting an internship, “a dauphin.” Mullane sued the site and Mystal for libel per se, tortious interference with contractual relations, tortious interference with advantageous business relations, tortious interference with prospective economic advantages, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair and deceptive practices in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, and § 9, joint and several liability for the republication of libel per se, and civil conspiracy. Mullane also alleged that the article ruined his life, and ultimately forced him to drop out of law school.
Uhhhh, NO. As in the recently dismissed suit against Ethics Alarms, the judge wrote that none of the uncomplimentary langauge alleged facts, just opinion. The judge even cited the same cases I used in my memorandum, writing,
“[R]idicule and simple verbal abuse” do not give rise to liability for defamation. See Fleming v. Benzaquin, 454 N.E.2d 95, 100 (Mass. 1983). Many of the challenged statements – such as those referring to Mullane as “rude,” “dumb,” “unethical,” a “little entitled ponce,” or a “dauphin” – are mere “epithets” that are “insufficiently fact-based” to ground a defamation claim.
5. Elie Mystal update…Mystal, the most prominent voice of the legal gossip site “Above the Law” and a repeat Ethics Dunce (Full disclosure: last year the site published a typical hit job on me; if anyone other than me and a handful of people read the thing, I’ve not seen any evidence of it.) has quit the website. Good, although the remaining writers are little better. Mystal is a perpetually outraged race-baiter who finally jumped Fonzie’s shark (especially for a lawyer)when he announced that all black jurors should refuse to convict black defendants no matter what the charge. That his judgement and objectivity were both so seriously compromised that he can’t be trusted as a pundit, a reporter or a legal professional was, not for the first time, demonstrated by his explanation for his exit:
I will be leaving the day-to-day safety of Above the Law because, well, Brett Kavanaugh broke me. Sitting here and watching an alleged attempted rapist get installed on the Supreme Court — with the shocking support of most of the elite legal institutions, at least initially — while most of the mainstream media missed all the other ways that man is unfit to judge even the Rose Bowl parade, did something to my brain. I was in on the sordid dishonesty of Kavanaugh from the day he was announced as Anthony Kennedy’s replacement. I understood that, like Trump, Kavanaugh is not a cause so much as he is a symptom: in this case a symptom of the Federalist Society’s wholesale reduction of judicial credentials to “Republicans win always.”
Yup, Mystal thinks that a single, unsubstantiated, conveniently timed accusation of high school misconduct should derail a distinguished judge’s SCOTUS nomination. I know others, some prominent, who make this argument: it’s proof of a character or IQ deficit, In Mystal’s case, it is just another example of how he allows his furious partisanship to obliterate his judgment, if he ever had any. He links to his “other ways,” and they are self-indicting; most of them relate to now debunked fake accusers who popped up after Blasey-Ford, hearsay, or hearsay.
Elie Mystal is a cautionary tale about how ideological obsession and lack of self-control can lead the brightest of us into permanent darkness.Bias makes us stupid, and sometimes, it makes us crazy.
How to link to this post on Facebook: 1) You cannot share it directly, because the Faceboog Borg doesn’t like Ethics Alarms. 2) You cannot include the link in a post: that is also forbidden. 3) You CAN, at least lately, include the link in a reply to another post or a comment. 4) You can directly post the Twitter link to the EA article. The link to this one is https://twitter.com/CaptCompliance/status/1214934555695734785
Isn’t social media censorship wonderful?