Ethics Dispatch from The Sick Ward, Memorial Day Edition


I won’t say I’m back, because I thought I was over the hump two days ago, and that proved to be a rash miscalculation. But on this, one of many days during the year when I am prompted to remember my father, Major Jack A. Marshall, Sr., I need to make a special effort to ring in, as he would have.  As I have mentioned before, Dad never let illness or injury keep him sidelined for long. It was a matter of honor for him.

1.  Front Page Ethics: When I was preparing to write yesterday’s warm-up, this was going to be the first item…

The Times has tried to come up with every way possible to hype the Wuhan virus outbreak, and, simultaneously, the economic consequences of battling it, to cause as much alarm, fear and panic as possible. I’ve mentioned a few of the stunts, like spiking red graphs that extend beyond the margins of the paper. Those who have  died from the virus have received special treatment, with profiles and photos in the paper, because dying of this cause obviously makes a citizen more important than someone who is killed in a robbery or who died of a ruptured spleen.  This was more of the same: a small-print listing of 1,000 deaths supposedly from the virus. It was an act of pure sensationalism, teeing up cheap attacks on President Trump, another exmaple of how far into hackery the Times and the rest of the news media has fallen

An amusing note: nobody is expected to actually read a page like that, so who knows who accurate it is, but wouldn’t you think that the editors would have made sure that at least the names entered at the beginning of the list were actual pandemic victims? The New York Post reports

[O]ne of the first names on the paper’s earlier editions of the front page, Jordan Driver Haynes, 27, didn’t actually die from the virus. He was murdered, according to local reports. Haynes’ body was found in a vehicle left in a wooded area off a highway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the local NBC affiliate reported.

Details, details. After all, the point of the stunt wasn’t to report accurate news, but to hype the death tole. The Times could have done the same thing with the number of deaths from the old fashioned flu (60,000, heart disease (about a half-million)lung cancer (135,000) or drug overdoses (67, 000). If 2020 holds to the trends of the last decades, there will be about 620,000 abortions performed. Of course, the dead in these cases don’t have names, but if they did, how would the Times publishing a thousand of them on its front page be regarded?

Isn’t this kind of gross over-emphasis a form of fake news?

Like so many of the propaganda we have been witnessing lately, this is aimed at the gullible and the easily misled, and for everyone else—perhaps a minority, we shall see, just further removes the new media from its position of influence.

2. Integrity? What’s integrity? Thanks to my being waylaid by whatever the hell it is that has me operating with the approximate endurance and energy of a newborn kangaroo, Prof. Turley beat me to this one, which I was eager to relay. The Nation’s Katha Pollitt, a long-time feminist essayist, wrote a recent column questioning the allegations of sexual assault made by former Biden staffer Tara Reade, and ended her article with, “I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them.” I have read Facebook friends saying the same thing. What is startling isn’t just that this is an admission of derangement, corruption, and a lack of integrity.  What is startling is that people will say this and expect any reaction other than disgust from ethical, rational people.

Writes Turley in The Hill:

For years, critics have expressed disgust at Trump’s statement that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters.” Yet they now afford Biden the same immunity even if he turns into the ancient god Cronus and starts snacking on boiled babies. The same indulgence has been claimed by politicians and commentators in dealing with other Biden allegations of sexual assault. Many of them demanded during the Kavanaugh controversy that all women must simply be believed when alleging sexual harassment. Those who questioned the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford were denounced for insensitivity, if not complicity, in the abuse of women.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) simply cut off questions by testily declaring, “I don’t need a lecture” when confronted with her prior statements. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) declared she sees no need for an investigation because she knows Biden and believes him, adding that she resented being asked about it as a victim of sexual assault. She cut off questions from CNN’s Jake Tapper by saying, “And you know what? That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Others have struggled with an answer until they discovered the presidential bull. Women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom said she believes Biden did rape a female staffer and has lied about it publicly but she still will endorse him for president. She tweeted, “I believe you, Tara Reade … sorry.” To use Pollitt’s language, defending a rape victim is now a “luxury.” Likewise, Linda Hirshman wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.” She explained, “Democratic primary voters knew all about Mr. Biden’s membership in that boys’ club when there was still time to pick someone else. Alas … I’ll take one for the team. I believe Ms. Reade, and I’ll vote for Mr. Biden this fall.”

Then there is commentator Karine Jean Pierre, who declared three years ago that sexual misconduct allegations alone should disqualify candidates from running for office. In December 2017, she told CNN’s Tapper, “I think we’re at a point in time in this country where the ‘Me Too’ movement has really gotten some traction. We’re finally listening to victims … and I think if you’re running for office, you can’t have been accused of sexual harassment or assault.” She just joined Biden’s campaign as a senior adviser this week. The fact is that, without political indulgences, Washington’s thick, sulfuric hypocrisy would choke the life out of the city.

The Democratic Party at this point appear to be completely devoid of principles. Such a party can’t be trusted. I don’t see how that’s even debatable.

44 thoughts on “Ethics Dispatch from The Sick Ward, Memorial Day Edition

  1. The NYT isn’t the only rag running deeply unethical stories and headers today. Here’s a beauty from the WaPo:

    On weekend dedicated to war dead, Trump tweets insults, promotes baseless claims and plays golf

    Here’s the story, if you have the stomach for it.

  2. Re: No. 1; the Unfortunate Doppleganger.

    Wait. Jordan Driver Haynes? Not the one from Cedar Rapids. The other one, from Scranton. See, there is a whole lot of confusion. The Cedar Rapids Jordan is my next-door neighbor’s brother’s best friend’s sister’s cousin. He always gets confused with the Scranton Jordan. The Scranton Jordan has a long history of identity theft.


    • So, Obama can play golf and pick-up basketball, and Bill Clinton can job into donut shops, but Trump can’t play golf.

      This NYT stuff is the “everything’s terrible!” scam. Actually, the entire corona virus thing is “everything’s terrible” on steroids. At some point, it will collapse beneath its own weight. I hope.

      • People keep saying Trump “has blood on his hands” because he … I guess … screwed up the response to the coronavirus …? How so, exactly? Anyone? Beuhler? Exactly what was he supposed to do and when was he supposed to do it? And who was advising that and when were they advising it?

        • That’s an easy one, the answer to which we all know, of course: Whatever he did would have been WRONG. Exhibit A: Calling the bug the Wuhan virus, as many, including the press, originally did, suddenly became racist and evil when Trump did the same.

      • I would say Trump is estopped from golfing during a pandemic.

        Should he decide to offer full-throated apologies to President Obama in all the same venues in which he criticized presidential golfing, then I’ll be happy to change my view.

        • Trump and Pence honored the dead at Arlington. The country is reopened or reopening. Seek help for your TDS.

        • And Obama went ahead and golfed, right after announcing a terrorist killing, no less. Hey, sorry about your loved one getting slit. Fore!

          • And all it would take is for Trump to say he was wrong, that it is okay to golf and he’s sorry.

            But he won’t. Hell, you won’t even say he was wrong and you’re attacking President Obama for–wait for it–golfing.

            Is being disingenuous such a natural state for you that you don’t even realize that you’re doing it?

            • No I won’t. He played once in three months after working on the biggest crisis of his presidency. Obama didn’t give a damn and golfed as he pleased. But, as with Ms. Pollitt below, I really don’t think it matters to the folks on the left. Sometimes, when it becomes evident that. no matter what you do or refrain from doing, you will never be able to please someone or some group of someones you just stop bothering to even try.

              • Deflect! Deflect! It’s all liberal’s fault that Trump said presidents shouldn’t golf especially when there’s bad stuff happening!

                He can say he was wrong and apologize or continue to show himself a massive hypocrite and be rightfully criticized. You can’t blame me for his words or actions. What you can do is examine your own massive hypocrisy as you’ve now attacked President Obama a second time today for–wait for it again–golfing.

                • You know, Jack didn’t respond too well to a binary choice of what he could do, in fact he told the person offering the choice something to the effect of go slice her face off with a potato peeler. I don’t think the president will respond too well either. The president is never going to please you. I’m never going to please you. Both the president and I accept that, and we’re just not going to waste our efforts there.

                  • Ah but owning your mistakes and apologizing for the wrong you’ve done isn’t about pleasing other people. It’s about honesty and decency. Grown-ups do it because it is right. Children… well you’ve provided a good example of childish behavior. So, there’s that. Well done. *Slow clap*

    • There’s a good one of the NYT page with an overlay of a smiling Nancy Pelosi touting her stash of gourmet ice cream. Can’t find it at the moment (no surprise it’s not prominent in search results).

  3. Garbage people.

    These are the kinds of stories making me believe I’ll have to forcefully defend myself against former adherents to the US Constitution. (Or people who’ll outright lie and say I’m the traitor.)

    How much golf did Obama play with our armed services in the field? As he armed or arranged to pay for the arms of our enemies? JFC!


    • Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot made the statement that the Deputies in her executive branch were expected to pledge allegience to the new world order.

      I call that seditition and a violation of her oath of office.

        • OB.
          I would be willing to accept that but the AP fact checkers did not give a transcript of the remarks but simply said they were edited to alter context.
          I dont think she was promoting the idea that the wealthy would take over ala George Bush but rather she sees a new found power in the executive branch that can be used to inflict punishment who will not toe the line.

  4. INCALCULABLE!! And yet they counted. They counted and came up with a figure. It was countable. But that’s not what the headline yells at the top of its shrill lungs while in the same breath presenting a totally countable number.

    Let me throw out an incalculable (totally countable) loss.

    Deaths by heart disease: 647,000 per year in the US. Considering the president is “morbidly obese” you’d think the NYT would jump on that like a fat kid on a hot fudge sundae. But nay, nay! They only run what will stoke the most pearl clutching, vapor inducing, outrage by people not willing to think critically.

    • Thank you! My brain had to vent steam because of that moronic headline referring to a number as “incalculable”. Anyone who doesn’t recognize why that’s stupid is in danger of becoming stupider by reading the headline. I hate it when humans just throw up words and phrases to get an emotional reaction, regardless of how (in)accurately they describe the situation.

      It’s like saying, “A hundred thousand? That’s almost infinity!”

      (And before someone out there points out that the loss to the world caused by a person’s death is technically incalculable, I’d point out that I agree and that we should be doing something about death in general, and prioritizing the most common and preventable causes of death. Humans are bizarrely arbitrary when it comes to whether and when they oppose people dying.)

    • We need to cut this out. COVID-19 deaths are happening slower that auto accident deaths in my state. Are we going to get rid of our cars next? I know that was on Obama and Google’s radar, and I don’t want people to figure it out.

  5. Integrity? Oh, the left has its share of integrity, just not the way the rest of us think about it. Ms. Pollitt, who is apparently perfectly ok with infanticide and cannibalism, as long as it’s carried out by someone who hates Trump, wrote a laughable screed in the Nation nine days after 9/11. Read it, if you have a strong enough stomach:

    If you don’t feel like wasting your time, it boils down to her telling her 13yo daughter, who thought they should raise a flag in the wake of 9/11, that she would have to buy her own and fly it out her own window, because it stands for jingoism and war. Somehow, she just couldn’t think of a symbol appropriate to the time, since all of them, including the cross and Star of David, could be considered hateful.

    It’s nine days after the greatest attack on the US since Pearl Harbor. Her daughter’s high school is literally blocks from Ground Zero. The smoke is still drifting. The firemen and other first responders (including 400 dogs) are still digging bodies out of the ashes and debris. The hospitals are still full of the victims they couldn’t treat and discharge immediately. A section of the Pentagon is in ruins and still being worked at also. The wreckage of the plane intended for either the Capitol or the White House is still in that field in PA. Families are still hanging by the phone or clutching their cell phones, anxiously waiting for word on their loved ones, although this operation has moved well beyond rescue and is now into the recovery stage.

    Dana Palmer, about as old as her daughter, give or take, is writing the heart-wrenching letter to her father, Battalion Chief Palmer, who perished with most of his men, that will be read out the next Memorial Day. The commander of Engine 23, who escaped himself but watched his command disintegrate before his eyes, is doing his best to tell the McPadden, Papageorge, Tirado, and Whitford families, none of whose men were older than 31, that those husbands, fathers, sons and brothers aren’t coming home. Rudy Giuliani is pulling a city torn apart back together, and George W. Bush is girding the country for the war he knows must come. Around the globe many Americans still can’t get home, and many more, who wear the uniforms of our armed forces, are preparing to go into battle in a supremely unpleasant environment. Their ultimate target is the man who who killed more than 2.500 Americans, including 343 firemen, and also 8 children, the youngest only 2.

    Ms. Pollitt’s message to all these folks? It’s really too bad what happened, but you really can’t blame the people who did this after what the US has been doing. The US brought this on itself, and it needs to take down its flags and hang its head in shame. Nine days after. Social media as we know it now was still about 6 years yet to come, but if it had existed then, I’m almost certain this screed would have been up on Twitter and Facebook that very afternoon, with plenty of brainless retweets and reposts.

    If she scoffs at the death of 8 children, should it really come as a surprise that she’d be ok with a president who eats children, as long as his views comport with hers? Children are like any other kind of people to the left. They are pawns, to be used when they benefit the cause. If those same 8 children had been the victims of a deranged gunman, you can bet your last dollar their names and likenesses would be plastered all over the damn place together with messages to do away with guns.

    Normally I respect chess players, I respect strategists, and I respect those who work in realpolitik. I can’t respect those so interested only in their own power that they will treat children as precious one day and disposable the next.

  6. In the aftermath of 9/11 the NYT published peans to the “heroes” of the Towers. After reading their “stories” I concluded that the WTC was the loci of heaven on earth, truly the garden of Eden. Not one of the thousands that died there was a son o fa bitch, bastard, or mother f——-. Apparently all of them gathered in the plaza before ascending the elevators to sing “Amazing Grace,” and “kumbayah” each day.
    This new list of “heroes” of Covid-19 reminds me of that. Of the list who were the SOBS, basterds, and mother f——. And can we please stop calling victims heroes, those are not synonyms.

    • The emergency services people who perished fighting an attack doomed to end badly were heroes, at least as much as any other such people doing their jobs. A lot of them were decent people on the outside too, although I’m sure some of them were less than perfect spouses, told politically incorrect jokes, etc. The folks who were just doing their jobs when this happened were just ordinary people who became victims.

  7. Yesterday was the 1st Memorial Day I wasn’t able able to call my Dear late Father (Disabled Navy Vet/Signalman) and thank him for his service in the effort to win the Big One…WWII.

    Taking Chance is (IMO) a VERY poignant, somber film about an under-reported aspect of service; watch it if you ever get the…chance.

  8. (Avoiding the NYT issue…)

    Re Biden —
    I find myself in the same position I was in before the 2016 election. I won’t vote for Trump and don’t want to vote for Biden (didn’t want to vote for Hilary). AND I don’t want to live with another 4 years of that buffoon. But the DNC has given us, again, THEIR choice for the nomination. (Don’t talk to me about the ridiculous DNC primaries.) In an antiquated 2-party political system, what can one do to avoid a 2nd term of the worst president in history? Seriously. I’m looking for serious answers here because I am too old to wait another 4 years for sanity to return (or some semblance of it).

    • curious as to why you think Biden was the candidate chosen by the DNC. Voters pretty overwhelmingly rejected Bernie this time around. The whole “Bernie was robbed” narrative is meant to keep people like you from voting so Trump can win again – so I’m hoping that’s not why you’re on the fence.

        • How could it possibly be conceivable that you wouldn’t have to hold your nose? And “hold your nose” minimizes what is involved in voting for any of the Democrats, indeed the party, means voting against freedom of speech, due process, citizenship, the Second Amendment, free exercise of religion, respect for elections, respect for the Presidency, separation of powers, the lives of the unborn—you kind of care about those as a Catholic, right?—eliminating ideological indoctrination in the schools…and more. That seems like an awful lot to condemn your country to because you think a guy is an asshole and want your Trump-Deranged friends to be nice to you.

          Seems completely irresponsible to me.

    • Antiquated? More like entrenched. This nation has almost always been a two-party system, except during the administration of James Monroe (the Era of Good Feelings) and around the time of the Civil War, when FOUR candidates ran in the 1860 election (bonus points if you can name all four). This is how it’s almost always been done. This is unlikely to change after two hundred years. Yes, you can bring up Angus King and Bernie Sanders, but they are de facto if not de jure Democrats. They caucus with them, vote with them, and, in Bernie’s case, even run in their primaries. There has never been a serious third-party run that ever had a chance of going anywhere. All vanity runs like Ross Perot and Ralph Nader ever did was siphon votes away from one side or the other, guaranteeing the side they didn’t take votes away from would win.

      I myself didn’t vote for Donald Trump, and I didn’t vote for Hillary either. I didn’t vote for Trump because I didn’t think he would win and I knew he wouldn’t carry my state, so why open myself up to accusations of putting my stamp on his behavior? I didn’t vote for Hillary because I didn’t agree with anything she stood for and thought she was a proto-tyrant who wanted to rule, not govern. I will be voting to re-elect Trump this time out, barring something very strange happening, mostly since I really would like to lock down the Federal courts as conservative for the next generation. I never want to see another RBG or Sonia Sotomayor. However, I’m also going to vote for him because the alternative is to elect a man who clearly doesn’t have all his marbles, who might well not make it through one term, and is possibly just being used as a Trojan horse to put a far-left woman who couldn’t win on her own now in and position her as an incumbent for 2024.

      You saw the primaries. You saw the debates. You know what and who the choices were. That was all there was. There weren’t any more. Many of them had no chance from the get-go. Finally it boiled down to four and then two. The Democratic party had two choices, and decided that they were not going to run a guy who would be 80 inside of his first year in officer, had already had one heart attack, and whose ideas were just plain unworkable. Unfortunately the only remaining alternative was a guy who would still be 80 in his first term, just not as soon, who can’t open his mouth without saying something embarrassing, who can’t keep his hands off anything in a skirt no matter the age, and who’s slipping mentally. Put aside that the Democratic Party is supposed to be the party where the merest hint of sexual misconduct is absolutely not tolerated. Put aside that the Democratic Party mercilessly mocked George W. Bush for every damn thing he said that wasn’t Oxford-level perfect. Put aside that the Democratic Party was all over Ronald Reagan who was slipping a lot less at the END of 8 years in the White House and John McCain for being too old when he ran. Objectively is this someone you want able to send the market tumbling just by speaking? Is this someone you want facing down Russian and Chinese autocrats? Is this someone you want getting the telephone call at 3 a.m. that there’s been some real crisis that can’t be dealt with by a statement and isn’t going away? Is this someone you want sitting behind the desk where Harry Truman said the proverbial buck stops in the loneliest chair in the world? Think about that. There are only two men who can be in that chair come next January, and only one of them will be sitting in it. Which one do you want and why? Tip, though – hatred of one man is not enough to justify voting for the other no matter what.

      • “…possibly just being used as a Trojan horse to put a far-left woman who couldn’t win on her own now in and position her as an incumbent for 2024.”

        This is why I am holding the DNC responsible for not working harder to find a viable, winnable candidate. They orchestrate things for the way they want them, not what is best for the country.

        “Objectively is this someone you want able to send the market tumbling just by speaking? Is this someone you want facing down Russian and Chinese autocrats? Is this someone you want getting the telephone call at 3 a.m. that there’s been some real crisis that can’t be dealt with by a statement and isn’t going away? Is this someone you want sitting behind the desk where Harry Truman said the proverbial buck stops in the loneliest chair in the world?”

        Turn this around and make “someone” be Trump and ask yourself these questions.

        • With respect, I’m asking you. That someone right now IS Trump, and I’m ok with it. I’m asking you if you trust Biden more than Trump, enough to put him there instead of Trump. I think we have our answer, though.

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