End Of Day Ethics Reflections, 5/7/2020: Obama! Klobuchar! Flynn! Fake Winston Churchill!

Tired and anxious here.


1. This is discouraging. A quote extolling the virtues of perseverance  that I am especially fond of because it defines me as a success despite all outward appearances to the contrary is not, as I have been told repeatedly, most recently in the film “Molly’s Game”—more on that later— from Winston Churchill. Nobody knows who said it, if anyone did. It fits Churchill’s career, philosophy and wit, but he just didn’t say it. The quote: “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without losing your enthusiasm.”

2. Tonight’s Democratic female VP candidate hypocrisy and double-talk update.         a) Senator Amy Klobuchar: Congressional reporter Manu Raju asked the Senator if she believes Tara Reade (the way she reflexively believed Christine Blasey Ford). Her answer: “I think he’s answered all the questions and he’s made clear that he supports her right to come forward.”  Raju then asked about criticism that Democrats are exhibiting a double-standard, Klobuchar “didn’t answer and walked into an awaiting car.” b)  Stacy Abrams, who has virtually no relevant experience to recommend her as a potential vice-president (well, she did lose an election for governor) has been aggressively promoting herself for the slot, because the only qualifications that matter, as Joe has made clear to all, are x-chromosomes and the right skin pigment. While being interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour yesterday, Abrams responded to a rambling question about her “auditioning” and why “as a black woman,” she felt it was appropriate to do so, with this:

I haven’t been pitching myself, which has been a mischaracterization, I think, because I answer questions honestly. I’ve been getting this question for 14 months, since March of 2019. I’ve repeatedly received the question, and I’m honored that people would put me into the category and think that that was a question to ask. My responsibility is not to question what journalists think is a valid question, but to answer for the audience that they’re speaking to. And as a woman, as a person of color, as a woman of color, it is my responsibility to answer honestly and forthrightly. And if the question is about whether I am competent and qualified for the job, my answer must be unequivocal, because I’m not simply speaking for myself. I’m also speaking to that young woman of color who is thinking about what is in her future. And if I deny her, and deny myself, then I’m doing a disservice to women, to communities of color, and to any disadvantaged community that does not see themselves as the face of leadership.”

Authentic Frontier Gibberish!

3. This just happened a few hours ago, and I don’t have time to do the work to make a full post out of it, which it obviously deserves, so let’s keep it simple: What are the odds that the mainstream news media will report this story fairly, quickly, and appropriately?

Recently declassified Department of Justice  documents released today revealed that President Obama was aware of the details of wiretapped conversations of then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak  in December 2016.

The revered President’s knowledge that Flynn was being wiretapped raises intriguing questions about what Obama knew and when he knew it regarding the illegal attempt to frame and discredit Flynn,  preventing him from serving as Trump’s national security adviser. Fox News’s Gregg Re reported that then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, along with national security adviser Susan Rice and other members of the national security counci., briefed Obama on Russian election interference…

After the briefing, Obama asked [Sally]Yates and Comey to “stay behind,” and said he had “learned of the information about Flynn” and his conversation with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions. Obama “specified that he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information.”

At that point, the documents showed, “Yates had no idea what the president was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act. …”

The Logan Act, an obscure statute, has never been used successfully in a criminal prosecution; enacted in 1799 in an era before telephones, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States government abroad. In its motion to dismiss Flynn’s case on Thursday, the DOJ noted that the law was an unserious dead letter.

As I noted in the previous post, the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn today, after the uncovering of internal memos revealing a DOJ and FBI plan to entrap Flynn on perjury charges in order to “get him fired” as national security adviser.

Concludes conservative blogger Matt Margolis, “Obama’s direct knowledge of the Flynn wiretaps tells us what many have suspected all along, that the effort to undermine Trump went all the way to the top: Barack Obama.”

It is impressive, though, as Joe Biden has reminded us many times, that there were no domestic scandals at all during the eight years of the Obama Presidency.  None! None whatsoever!

4. Two ethics movies I can enthusiastically recommend…”Trumbo,” (2015) based on the true story of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was rescued from his nightmare by, among others, Kirk Douglas, who stood up to tremendous industry pressure and allowed Trumbo to not only write the screenplay for “Spartacus,” but to get on-screen credit. The other is “Molly’s Game,” also based on a true story.  That one is about accountability and perseverance, hence the use of the (fake) Churchill quote.

12 thoughts on “End Of Day Ethics Reflections, 5/7/2020: Obama! Klobuchar! Flynn! Fake Winston Churchill!

  1. #1 Honestly it doesn’t matter one bit who originally stated the quote, it’s the words stated that matter. So what if the quotes now looks like this…

    “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without losing your enthusiasm.” Unknown

  2. 1. Churchill “quote”

    Jack, I’m at a loss to understand why it is discouraging. Quotes are often found to be mis-attributed to famous people.

    That doesn’t lessen their utility or inspiration.

    In many ways, an anonymous or apocryphal quote is even more desirable — it demonstrates that wisdom is not the exclusive province of the famous or popular, as our celebrity culture often leads us to believe.

    2. Klobuchar’s only useful political characteristic, other than her gender, is that she’s able to sound reasonable while being completely disingenuous and hypocritical.

    Stacy Abrams’ only political strengths are race and gender. It is usually necessary to locate a good trailer park to find intellectual acuity of her quality, and to a street gang to locate an example of her high-minded ethics.

    3. Obama knowledge

    Recently declassified Department of Justice documents released today revealed that President Obama was aware of the details of wiretapped conversations of then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.

    Given the profile of the matter, it is inconceivable to me to think anyone would believe otherwise. Obama was never known as a hands-off president in any aspect. Why should sticking it to a political opponent using government power be any different.

    “What did he know and when did he know it,” as you surely know, is a question that must never be asked of a Democrat — it is exclusively reserved to Republicans.

    4. Thanks for the recommendations. I think I have seen Trumbo, but not Molly’s Game.

    • Discouraging in the sense that misinformation passed on by authoritative sources—or even movies–is always discouraging. It was also by far my favorite Churchill quote, because, as I noted, it told us so much about his career, his relentless perseverance, and his sense of humor.

      It’s like discovering that Moby-Dick was actually written by a collective, like The Hardy Boys books.

  3. #2b I am really getting quite sick and tired of the verbal relationship between reporters and politicians, it’s gone on too long and it needs to change!

    1. When reporters ask their question buried in lots of rambling sometimes very loaded statements, politicians should respectfully state to everyone there, “In the interest of respecting everyone’s time, please briefly state the context of your question first and then ask your question at the end?”

    2. When politicians dodge answering questions, such as both Klobuchar and Abrams did, reporters should respectfully say “I got that but what is your answer to the question I asked which was _______?”

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