Sunday Ethics Scripture, 5/10/2020: It Doesn’t Include “Forgiveness”

1. You know…Kool-Aid! Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) finally was forced into releasing the transcripts from the House’s investigation “collusion,” one of the more extensive of the multiple Democratic coup attempts. The Federalist explains, :

Former Obama administration defense official Evelyn Farkas testified under oath that she lied during an MSNBC interview when she claimed to have evidence of alleged collusion, a newly declassified congressional transcript of her testimony shows. Farkas testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 26, 2017, as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Lawmakers keyed in on an appearance Farkas made on MSNBC on March 2, 2017, in which she urged intelligence community bureaucrats to disseminate within the government and potentially even leak to media any incriminating information they had about Trump or his aides.

“I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama administration] people who left…[that] it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy,” Farkas said.

[…]

“Why don’t we go back to that sentence that I just asked you about. It says ‘the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their staff dealing with Russians,” [Rep. Trey] Gowdy said. “Well, how would you know what the U.S. government knew at that point? You didn’t work for it, did you?”

“I didn’t,” said Farkas, a former mid-level Russia analyst who left the federal government in 2015.

“Then how did you know?” Gowdy responded.

“I didn’t know anything,” Farkas said.

Writes Matt Vespa, in a distinctly partisan tone but completely accurately,

“Everyone who isn’t Trump deranged knew this was a pile of crap. How many “bombshells” have there been? How many have turned out to be nothing burgers, not even lasting 36 hours in the news cycle because there was never solid evidence to prove such a conspiracy? This is what happens when the entire myth was based on a political opposition research document—the Trump dossier—which was compiled by an ex-MI6 spook Christopher Steele, whose anti-Trump efforts were funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was probably never vetted by the FBI, given the glaring errors in it, and it was used as credible evidence to secure a spy warrant against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign official. It was biased political propaganda. This collusion delusion was already debunked in the original Mueller report, which said there was no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion and shredded what was left of the unverified Trump dossier. The Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the FISA abuses during the Obama administration also took a tomahawk to the dossier. The core of this collusion myth was already dead, but with the exoneration of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, more pieces are falling off this dead collusion carcass. 

2. And no..I will not forgive, nor will I forget, the arrogant, biased and ignorant people who called me partisan and worse for fairly, objectively and correctly analyzing this historic attack on democracy and accurately calling it a soft coup attempt, one of many. Allowing people who behave this badly to expect forgiveness encourages them to keep being as destructive,  reckless and lazy, and to assume there are no consequences for their conduct. There are, and there should be.

There is a great deal that I will forgive. Not that.

3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Here’s Friday’s Times headline: “U.S. Drops Pursuit Of Flynn, In Move Backed By Trump.” Shameful. The case was dropped because there was irrefutable evidence that it was illegal and a set-up; that it was the epitome of a wrongful and corrupt prosecution. Never mind: the Times chooses to fuel the desperate spin the AUC (“Axis of Unethical Conduct”) is trying to put on this despite unequivocal evidence and documentation. This is a cover-up by Barr and Trump! Except it isn’t. But the New York Times, the self-proclaimed paragon of American journalism, is using its reputation and visibility to deceive Americans that it is.

I’m not forgiving or forgetting this, either.

4. I finally watched “The Post,” the star-studded film hymn to the glory of our newsmedia that recounts the mostly accurate tale of how the Washington Post and the Times published the Pentagon Papers.  The movie is dominated by progressive Hollywood icons Tom Hanks ( as Ben Bradley) and Meryl Streep (as Katherine Graham). The problem is that it falsely conveys to audiences—and, I believe, was intended to convey—the propaganda that the the Post and the Times are still serving the interests of the nation, the public and democracy by their relentless, courageous and objective search for the truth. As the entire “collusion” debacle proved, they are not (if they ever were). Let’s assume for the sake of argument that was what print journalism was like when the Pentagon Papers were published….in 1971. That was 50 years ago, a full half-century. Today’s journalism is as materially different from journalism then as today’s entertainment, drug laws, sexual mores and fashion would be  unrecognizable to a Seventies time-traveler.

30 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Scripture, 5/10/2020: It Doesn’t Include “Forgiveness”

  1. Liars and traitors. Traitors and liars. All covering for each other and propagandizing along the way. Desperately demonizing anyone who opposed them. Hiding their kangaroo court hearings and ill-gotten warrants against their “enemies”.

    While the sane, law abiding and responsible are smeared as autocrats and dangers to democracy and the republic.

    Try them. If found guilty, punish them to the maximum of the law; including the death penalty.

  2. On a related note.

    This accusation must be dealt with by a general court-martial.

    • I despise Vindman, but this story is a nothingburger. The supposedly falsified “summary” in question was, in effect, a press release by the White House about the phone call. It describes the call in terms of the platitudes and talking points that the US routinely used in official statements about Ukraine. The relevant passage is this:

      President Trump underscored the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity — within its internationally recognized borders — and expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelensky and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.

      We’ve all seen the transcript, and we know that Trump’s phone call strayed pretty far from those talking points. But in a press release for public consumption, Vindman’s summary was certainly an appropriately diplomatic and anodyne way of describing the call.

  3. God Will

    By Lyle Lovett

    Who keeps on trusting you
    When you’ve been cheating
    And spending your nights on the town
    And who keeps on saying that he still wants you

    When you’re through running around
    And who keeps on loving you
    When you’ve been lying
    Saying things ain’t what they seem

    God does
    But I don’t
    God will
    But I won’t
    And that’s the difference
    Between God and me

    So who says he’ll forgive you
    And says that he’ll miss you
    And dream of your sweet memory

    God does
    But I don’t
    God will
    But I won’t
    And that’s the difference
    Between God and me

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+difference+between+god+and+me+lyrics&&view=detail&mid=F2F120E78B79FF94E0A3F2F120E78B79FF94E0A3&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dthe%2Bdifference%2Bbetween%2Bgod%2Band%2Bme%2Blyrics%26FORM%3DHDRSC3

  4. 1. One thing you can say about Adam Schiff — He has positively, indisputably zero shame, and the truth is no impediment to his zeal whatsoever. If you cut his head open, all you would find is Trump in an orange jumpsuit.

    2. Forgiveness

    Quoth you:

    Allowing people who behave this badly to expect forgiveness encourages them to keep being as destructive, reckless and lazy, and to assume there are no consequences for their conduct. There are, and there should be.

    I doubt your opprobrium qualifies as “consequences,” although I do respect your position here. My supposition is that they’d sooner sacrifice their firstborn than apologize to you or admit their error.

    TDS has it’s own set of consequences, you know.

    3. U.S. v. Flynn

    At least the headline was accurate, if completely misleading by omission. These days, that qualifies as better than average.

    4. “The Post”

    Quoth you:

    The problem is that it falsely conveys to audiences—and, I believe, was intended to convey—the propaganda that the the Post and the Times are still serving the interests of the nation, the public and democracy by their relentless, courageous and objective search for the truth

    That is the reason I chose not to watch it — not for fear that it might be historically inaccurate or totally biased, or because I disliked the politics of the actors — but rather, because it looked from the outset, to me at least, to be using a historical incident to prop up their current work.

    One of these things is not like the other.

    • 2. Maybe. When two collaborators I trusted and had helped in many ways betrayed me, stole my work product and never acknowledged it. I wrote them and said, “There are consequences of burning the trust and friendship of someone like me. The main one is that you never will have that resource again, and t is considerable. And it IS considerable. Just because people don’t know what they sacrifice when they lose someone’s respect and good will forever doesn’t mean it isn’t a loss.

    • 1. I think Adam Schiff is either a sociopath or simply nuts. His eyes are just plain weird. Maybe it’s a medical condition but he looks to me as if he’s reciting words that are being transmitted to a receiver planted in his brain by aliens.

      • I don’t know, but I do know he has willingly, knowingly, and apparently without a shred of remorse attempted a coup. He had lots of help, but after the many times he told reporters deadpan that he’d seen “ample evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia, one has to wonder what evidence he was talking about.

        None of the recently released documents provide any. If anything, they condemn Schiff, who repeatedly misrepresented the interviews as containing evidence of wrongdoing.

        Combined with the Mueller report, which found no evidence at all of collusion by Trump, his campaign, or anybody else, I can’t see how anyone can think that Schiff was being anything but flagrantly dishonest in what is arguably an insurrection attempt.

  5. 1. All completely true, and all well and good. I haven’t forgotten time after time when the mainstream media and the liberal people I knew salivated at the prospect that a bombshell was just around the corner that would break this collusion narrative wide open and see Donald Trump doing a perp walk in a jumpsuit that matched his color (the constant harping on the color orange is really boring). In fact I specifically remember the weekend when the news hit that Mueller had come up short. It was at intermission of a concert that I attended. Of course all the PBS-contributing liberals started kvetching about how somebody got to somebody, but not to worry, the House would still get him on impeachment (how’d that work out?). It’s a waste of time to even try to explain to the other side how there were so many holes in the case against trump it was swiss cheese. They will never admit they were wrong and never admit that Trump is anything other than an insane, racist, xenophobic psychopath who the world can’t wait to get out of the White House and into the same prison cell that GWB should be warming (unfortunately his dad is gone now, and so is Reagan, so they can never face “justice”). They will also never admit that Obama is anything other than a saint whose face should be carved over Jefferson’s on Mt. Rushmore, and whose only failing is that he’d have gotten a lot more done to make this country a better, fairer, more inclusive place, but those racists in the GOP got in his way for six of eight years.

    /sarc

    2. The fact is, Jack, I don’t think the people you speak of in this paragraph are interested in your forgiveness or forgetting. As far as they’re concerned, they haven’t done anything that needs forgiveness. If anything, you’re the one who needs their forgiveness, for supporting this hateful racist and bully. It doesn’t matter that you were against him becoming the nominee. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t vote for him. It doesn’t matter that you have criticized him when he has done something wrong or something dumb. The fact is that you were willing to give him a chance, in fact pushed for him to be given a chance, you spoke out against their efforts, and you have done so many times. However, there is still a glimmer, albeit a fading one, of hope for some good news. If you’ll reverse course now, publicly disavow everything you said against their efforts, make some big-ass, honking contributions to the ACLU, the SPLC (we’re talking in five figures, four just won’t cut it), and the Biden campaign (up to the max allowed, anything less just isn’t good enough), and maybe to Anytown for Gun Safety, CAIR, and the NAACP if there’s any money that isn’t going to necessary expenses when that’s done, and henceforth devote your rhetorical and writing gifts to making certain that Trump is out of office and some really big progressive majorities get voted into power this November, maybe, just maybe mind you, they’ll start to consider to think about forgiving you at some point, conditioned on you staying on the proper side of things going forward, and NEVER speaking ill of Biden, Pelosi, or any other Democratic official.

    3. Of course there’s not. When are you going to get it through your thick head that there is no bias? The media is just reporting the facts as they happen.

    4. See #3, the media today is exactly the same as fifty years ago, they’re the watchdogs that keep government and corporations honest, speak truth to power, keep this country out of unnecessary conflicts, and make sure everyone knows the truth.

    /sarc

    • Musing upon he issue of forgiveness is not, I would think is obvious, about what such people want, or me. It is an attempt to gauge the seriousness of the conduct, which such people do not comprehend. e throw around the word ‘unforgivable.” What is “unforgivable”? What should be unforgivable?

      I keep having to shelve the impulse to anger to be even able to think about has gone on. I am convinced those I will not frgive, or ever be able to trust, don’t understand at all what that means when multiplied by about 15 million.

  6. “(today’s) fashion would be unrecognizable to a Seventies time-traveler.” (bold/italics mine)

    I cringe at the very though of some of the $#!t I used to wear back in the day.

    My couple-of-years-older pals OB & d_d? They shoulda known better, am I right…?

    • Oh Paulie. I just self-published a book of short stories that included a photo of the undersigned from Labor Day, 1973. I think of it as me in my prime. Full head of Beatles or The Band length hair, full mustache and beard, blue jeans, can of Bud in hand, lounging in a lawn chair in the back yard of my apartment in New Haven, CT. I’m wearing a tattered Gant shirt over a grubby turtle neck. The shirt and jeans doubtless date from high school and at the time I have just graduated from college. Typical northeast college kid clothing of the era. [Note: I asked my weisenheimer son whether even though I was just being dumped by my college girlfriend and had not even met his or his sister’s mother at the time whether the dungrarees I was wearing (quite well, I think) would still be “Dad jeans,” to which he responded, “Technically, yes.”] Anyway, I sent a copy to my grade school friend, a girl, who called the photo, and I am not making this up, “repulsive.” “You look like a schmo!” she scolded. Life’s a mystery. Actually, I’d say I looked worse as the ‘seventies wore on. Literally. Sanity reappeared in the early ‘eighties.

      • IOW, I was right…? I must confess I had some wilder stuff during the Disco Days, and still have a timelessly fashionable light-colored blue jean jacket that’ll turn 45 this spring.

        Labor Day 1973 I started freshman year at U.W. Madison (GO BADGERS!!) and was pulling down a sweet ~ $1.65/hour working in the Copp’s West produce department, a gig which helped impart the uncanny ability to pick out the best fruit-n-vegetables, a skill that has served me-n-mine well to this day.

        With so many other more…um…descriptive references available, anyone that still uses schmo suffers from a lack of imagination!

  7. 3. I think I’ve read all of the New York Times’ stories about the government’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case, and not one of them attempted even the barest summary of the reasons given in the motion. Before the motion was filed, there had been a couple of weeks during which there were repeated disclosures of previously hidden exculpatory information about Flynn, and as far as I can tell, the Times didn’t publish a single word about any of those disclosures. As further shown by their non-coverage of Tara Reade’s allegations, the Times clearly decided that they will simply refuse to write about some stories because the truth would be good for Trump.

  8. And let me elaborate some more on the forgiveness comments. All these assholes, and they are assholes, including my alleged social media friends, are playing with fire. They are fomenting anger, division and disruption, and assume that 1) they can’t lose (they are on the right sie of history, you know) or that if by some vast miscalculations all the people they insulted, ridiculed, denigrated and walked over will just shrug it al off and say, “hell, it’s OK.”

    My point is that it is NOT OK. I’m not likely to grab a AR-15 and start shooting, but that doesn’t mean mistreating me (and my nation) won’t have negative consequences. You never know. That’s why some offenses are just plain stupid, like Trump knocking McCain’s heroism. McCain got even when he had the chance to pass the deciding vote on Obamacare.

    You just never know who will be in a position to help or destroy you; you never know what the future holds, and assuming anyone is powerless, or endlessly forgiving is a life incompetence.

    Go ahead, make me an enemy. Discard my respect. Show me you think my good will doesn’t matter. I probably won’t have the opportunity to make you wish you hadn’t, but then again I might, and the more people there are like me, the more likely you are to be tragically wrong.

    • You just never know who will be in a position to help or destroy you; you never know what the future holds, and assuming anyone is powerless, or endlessly forgiving is a life incompetence.

      This is a good point, but it forces me to ask; If one day, you find yourself with your metaphorical boot on the neck of one of these people, what will you do?

      Forgiveness is something that lifts as much of a burden off us as off the object of our wrath. While not exactly the same thing, bearing a grudge has similarities to a vow of vengeance.

      My wife holds a grudge until it dies of old age, then stuffs it and puts it on the mantle where she can cherish it. I don’t recommend that, but your mileage may vary.

      I certainly don’t recommend you trust these people again, for they have proven themselves unworthy. But I’m not sure I would suffer a grudge against them.

      • “If one day, you find yourself with your metaphorical boot on the neck of one of these people, what will you do?”

        Press down, slowly, until you see the fear in their eyes when they realize what you are about to do, then press till it snaps.

      • Your question involves mercy, not forgiveness. I’m a big fan of mercy, as long as I am sufficiently certain that the object of it would come back and try to do me, or others, in.

        • That makes sense, considering the scenario I provided. I was trying to respond to your remarks about the potential consequences of their wrongdoing.

    • The seventy times seven line about forgiveness (Matthew 18:22) is probably one of the most misquoted and abused lines in the Bible, together with “judge not, lest ye be judged” which has been talked about at some length here. The New Testament isn’t a primer on how to be a chump, but that’s often how it’s first taught to kids. Even if someone else does some petty, mean thing to you, you should forgive. Mostly it’s to maintain the peace and keep kids from keeping ledgers of revenge and going after each other every chance they get. The downside is it leads people to believe that there’s some good quality to giving a jerk a second chance to hurt you. There isn’t. I fell for it more often than I should have as a kid, due to my own gullibility. Even as a lawyer I’m more inclined to grant a break to another lawyer, even one I don’t particularly like, because I don’t know when I’ll need one myself, judges don’t like attorneys who refuse to work things out between themselves, and I’m being paid to represent my client, not pursue personal vendettas.

      That said, I don’t think you’re ever required to be more than minimally civil to someone who has been a jerk to you. OK, maybe you can’t put a bullet in the guy’s head, or grab your tire iron, drop out of sight, and cave his head in, but you can refuse to speak to him except in the line of duty. You can decline to extend him any extra courtesy. If he really does do something that could have major personal or professional consequences, you can do your best to see that those major consequences do indeed fall on him, and fall as hard as they can.

      Life is hard enough to get through just making the enemies you can’t avoid making, like the distant relative you have to insist pay you your full share of an inheritance because you need the money, the neighbor you have to push some dispute with because your wife will kill you otherwise, or the subordinate you have to take a vacation away from to meet a critical deadline. There really isn’t any need to make more, and if someone decides to make more, then the consequences are on him.

      When I hear about forgiving jerks, I remember this fairly recent story about a girl who some jerk harassed about her appearance when she was 12, calling her fat, mocking her eyebrows and calling her “Manbeast” as a play on her last name of Manning. Ha ha. It is to laugh. Fast forward 8 years and the girl is studying for a university degree. Since then she’s lost the baby fat, the lipstick’s gone on, the sweater’s popped out and the ugly duckling has become a graceful swan. Well, guess who sees her and tries to ask her out? Exactly right, the same idiot who used to mock her and make fun of her every day. Now she looks good, and he figures he can take her to dinner and maybe further. Does she accept the invite, tell him oh, never mind the past, we were just stupid kids, and then become his gf? Nope. She pretends to accept the invite, then writes a note, places a photo of her 12yo self in it, and instructs the waitress at the place where she’s supposed to meet the jerk to deliver it to him. Here’s what it said:

      Hey,

      So sorry I can’t join you tonight.

      Remember year 8, when I was fat and you made fun of my weight? No? I do — I spent the following three years eating less than an apple a day. So I’ve decided to skip dinner.

      Remember the monobrow you mocked? The hairy legs you were disgusted by? Remember how every day for three years, you and your friends called me Manbeast? No perhaps you don’t — or you wouldn’t have seen how I look eight years later and deemed me fuckable enough to treat me like a human being.
      I thought I’d send you this as a reminder. Next time you think of me, picture that girl in this photo, because she’s the one who just stood you up.

      Louisa.

      Was Louisa being a bitch? Was she holding onto an old grudge longer than she should have? Did she owe him forgiveness, or at least a chance to make his case? Should she have had dinner with the guy and let bygones be bygones? No, no, no, and only if she wanted to. She decided she didn’t want to, and that was that. The only thing I fault her on was the elaborate letter and photo business. She could have saved herself the effort by just telling the guy she didn’t like how he’d acted toward her in the past, so thanks, but no thanks, and don’t ask again. You never have an obligation to forgive someone for acting like an ass.

      • Steve, being half shanty Irish, I think I tend toward Irish Alzheimer’s: I forget everything but the grudges. It helps to know one’s genes and predispositions to know where we’re starting from.

        • I’m also half Irish. I am also half Italian, and Italians (Sicilians, specifically) came up with the phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold” long before Gene Roddenberry had Khan attribute it to ridge-headed, violent aliens. But let’s not blame our behavior on our genes. Let’s own the fact that sometimes the first impulse is to do to others as they do to us, or worse, sometimes a lot worse.

      • You said:

        he seventy times seven line about forgiveness (Matthew 18:22) is probably one of the most misquoted and abused lines in the Bible, together with “judge not, lest ye be judged” which has been talked about at some length here. The New Testament isn’t a primer on how to be a chump, but that’s often how it’s first taught to kids. Even if someone else does some petty, mean thing to you, you should forgive.

        I don’t think that’s what it means. Forgiveness, yes, in the sense that you don’t seek revenge, and you don’t use the slight as an excuse to do evil. The verse in Matthew is also a reminder that you reap what you sow — if you sow retribution and vengeance, you shall reap it as well.

        The forgiveness Jesus was talking about was not the forgiveness of a fool, who would wipe the slate clean and open himself up for further abuse. Rather it is the forgiveness of the faithful but diligent person, who would eschew vengeance and returning tit-for-tat, but would allow the slight to inform his future relationships with that person if he/she chose to have one. The greater the slight, the more careful the relationship. Trust must still be earned.

        Forgiveness has never been about setting yourself up like a rack of bowling pins for unethical morons to knock down. Rather, it is about foregoing retribution and the rejection of destructive emotions like anger and hatred. All you have to do is read Jesus’ parable to understand that.

        “I love him, but I cannot abide him. He has no heart, and is ruthless” would be an appropriate expression of forgiveness under Jesus’ construction. Only a fool who is not in boot camp says “Thank you sir, may I have another.” Jesus understood that, too.

  9. 3. Here’s the Democrats’ latest transparently cynical ploy to win the election:

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/08/monthly-payments-2000-coronavirus-243670?nname=playbook-pm&nid=0000015a-dd3e-d536-a37b-dd7fd8af0000&nrid=0000014e-f116-dd93-ad7f-f91725610000&nlid=964328

    They’re pretending they plan to give $2,000/month to every American, up to $120,000/year to every family of 5. They want to run on a platform of “Trump made you go to work and get sick instead of letting you stay home and get $120,000.”

    Watch The New York Times tomorrow pretend that this is a serious proposal by the Democrats and that the Republicans’ opposition to it is just twisted partisanship and a racist desire to see people of color die.

  10. 4. Would the Pentagon Papers have happened if the White House had been occupied by a Democrat at the time? Was the press ever interested in the good of the country, or was the Watergate incident just another case of the media trying to help Democrats?

    Remember when Walter Crokite and the rest of the media conspired to lie about the Tet offensive because they sided with America’s enemies? Yeah, do you really think they had the country’s best interests in mind during Watergate?
    https://www.hudson.org/research/14134-the-tet-offensive-revisited-media-s-big-lie

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