Monday Ethics Nightcap, 6/29/2020: Fake Blackface, Fake News, Mississippi Stalling [#3 UPDATED ]

Good night!

1. Well, there’s blackface, then there’s dark make-up, then there’s stuff that idiots might think is blackface, as well as what someone may get offended over because they think it’s kind of like blackface—oh, what the hell, let’s ban it all. In a 1988 episode of “The Golden Girls,”  Dorothy’ son, Michael, who is white like his mother (played by the imposing, also white, Bea Arthur) is planning on marrying Lorraine, a much older black woman. Dorothy objects to the love birds’ age difference while Lorraine’s mother disapproves of Michael’s race, saying, “No daughter of mine is marrying some skinny white boy.” Then flighty  Rose (Betty White) and sex-obsessed Blanche (Rue McClanahan) interrupt the potential in-laws show-down by walking into the room wearing their mud facial masks.

Rose stammers: “This is mud on our faces; we’re not really black!”

“The Golden Girls” was a consistently liberal-tilting show, and the episode was obviously making fun of racial sensitivities. Never mind. Hulu has pulled it.

African-American podcaster and author Erica Williams Simon tweeted, “In what world does ‘Stop killing us’ sound like ‘Please remove episodes of Golden Girls’? I didn’t see that ask on anyone’s protest sign….To be clear: I’m not ‘attacking’ Hulu. I would just hate for the seriousness of this moment and movement to get lost in symbolic (and sometimes silly) over-corrections.”

Right, Erica…and changing the name of “Eskimo Pies,” banning the word “master” and defunding police departments are perfectly reasonable and not “over-corrections.” There has been  far more symbolic and silly grandstanding  to mollify the Black Lives Matter bullies  than responsible reforms, and if you don’t have the integrity to ‘attack’ the lazy panderers who do this kind of thing, you’re encouraging the worst of the freakout.

2. Now, if this had been done, say, 50 years ago, that would have been laudible. The Mississippi state legislature voted on Sunday to finally replace its state flag, and to get rid of the  Confederate battle emblem.  The emblem was Jim Crow era defiance of  the United States and civil rights reform. Now, because the state didn’t have the common sense and decency to take action on its own, the George Floyd mob can consider it one more notch in its metaphorical belt, giving them further motivation to bend others to its will.

“The removal of the flag marks the latest Confederate symbol to topple in the weeks following George Floyd’s death as activists have called for a reexamination of the racism that exists in all corners of society,” writes CBS. Perfect.

Good job, Mississippi.

The bill passed by a vote of 91-23 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate.  Those 37 legislators who thought it was still too soon to get rid of its symbol of open contempt…incredible. I’m going to watch “Mississippi Burning” again, as my own private Bronx cheer to these fools.

3. The fake news is getting stranger and stranger…The New York Times last week published a story  claiming that Russia put a bounty on American soldiers in Afghanistan, and also claimed that despite knowing about it, the Trump administration did nothing. Oooo, my Trump Deranged Facebook friends were quivering with excitement, which, I suspect, was the Times’ objective. Impeachable! More Trump buddy-buddy with Putin! I confess, I didn’t and don’t understand the “scoop” at all. The Taliban is trying to kill our soldiers anyway, so why does it matter if Russia wants to hand out bonuses? It doesn’t endanger our troops, does it? It’s a nasty thing for Russia to do, but in practical terms, who cares?

Now CBS reporter Catherine Herridge reports, via tweet…

“The official said the inteligence collection report reached ‘low levels’ NSC but did not go further, not briefed POTUS, or VP because it was deemed ‘uncorroborated’ and ‘dissent intelligence community’,” Herridge added.

But the Times published it as fact anyway to embarrass the President and slake the hate-lust of its readers.

Added (6/30/2020): Now the AP is reporting the same story as the Times. I have no idea what the truth is, or who to find out.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have reliable, trustworthy journalists so we could know who to believe?

4. Finally, a question and a poll: Should I add “Trump is responsible for thousands of deaths because of his mishandling of the pandemic” to the Ethics Alarms “Big Lies” of the “resistance” list?

18 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Nightcap, 6/29/2020: Fake Blackface, Fake News, Mississippi Stalling [#3 UPDATED ]

  1. I voted yes, but I’m not sure it matters, because I think the virus and the George Floyd issue will finally be the one two punch that takes Trump down.

  2. “The Taliban is trying to kill our soldiers anyway, so why does it matter if Russia wants to hand out bonuses? It doesn’t endanger our troops, does it? It’s a nasty thing for Russia to do, but in practical terms, who cares?”

    You can’t be serious. Isn’t that your #8, The Trivial Trap or “No harm no foul!”?

    I have no opinion on if this is actually happening. I’ve only skimmed the headlines. But if it is happening, how can it possibly not matter? If another country pays people to kill our soldiers, whether it’s the Taliban, Hessian Mercenaries, the Mafia, or the Girl Scouts, I would think that would be considered an act of war.

    • Jon, you do know that we supported the Taliban with money and weapons when they were fighting the Russians years ago. How is that not an act of war against Russia by the US? The interesting thing about Trump is he is trying to extricate the US from all these foreign entanglements which have over the years created the narrative that the US foreign policy attempts to oppress people around the world for economic gain.

      This leak, like many others that have come throughout his presidency, is a tool of the military industrial complex – which includes the intelligence agencies – whose fortunes are determined by the number of conflicts around the globe which create markets for their products. Why else have Mattis, Kelly, Bolton and the rest of the parade of hawks sought to encourage extensive military engagements. War is an industry for these people. They earn their living finding ways to keep conflicts burning as embers to keep weapons sales stable. Has anyone ever asked why none of the modern crop of generals ever won a decisive victory over our enemies and brought peace to a region? I have, and my answer is that they do not want the game to end. To them soldiers are chattel to be consumed.

      Trump may be for a strong military capability but I don’t think he simply wants to buy and use lots of consumable armaments. He just wants to be prepared.

    • The US is not in the business, nor should it be, nor can it be, of imposing discipline every time a foreign country behaves badly with no tangible consequences. It’s tricky enough leveling sanctions when they are deserved by conduct that is actually harmful. In national diplomacy, no harm no foul is not only a basic rule, it’s an essential one.

  3. Why would Russians want to create a situation in which Trump has to act against them if they are using him as a puppet. The logic makes no sense for those pushing the narrative that the Russians wanted Trump as President in 2016 because they have stuff on him and they could exploit that while actively seeking to undermine his election in 2020. Putting bounties on US personnel does not help them achieve any geopolitical goals other than to get the guy that gave anti-tank weapons to the Ukrainians out of office. The NYT cannot have it both ways. He cannot be a Russian asset while they seek to undermine him. For all I know, and I would not be surprised to find out, is that both the Washington Post and NYT’s are truly Russian assets given the amount of anti-Trump propaganda they write daily.

    A bit of perspective, as I understand it, the number of soldier killed in Afghanistan in the last two years was 12 as compared to the thousands killed during the Obama administration’s oversight. It seems to me that there is a much greater likelihood that Russians put a bounty on Chicago’s Blacks. While, it would be an aggressive act if it is true that Russia did this, how is it any different than North Korea selling nuclear weapons technology to Iran or other rogue nations? More to the point – does this rise to the level of declaring all out war on Russia and if yes, are we prepared to initiate a draft and go to war? If this act of aggression is an act of war why did no president take Iran off the map after it took our people in 1978. My point is simply what are the American people willing to do about it other than complain that Trump should take action. What action – first strike? I don’t think ejecting a couple of diplomats will have any impact and we cannot destroy their economy much more than we have already through sanctions.

    I want to know. How does the low level source that leaked this know that plans are not being crafted to deal with it? in my opinion these leaks undermine any clandestine operations that could have been in the works to neutralize the threat. Perhaps the leak was done because the leaker found out about some covert action that was being planned and wanted to undermine any counter action Trump might take. “If true” that would make the leaker a Russian agent and the NYT either accomplices or dupes. I suggest that this leak is more likely to be a political hit rather than a real intel concern?

    • Excellent points, as always, Chris. I agree. I watched CNN last night for about 2 minutes (I needed something to help pull my eyes out of head!) and they were gleeful that Trump either knew about it and did nothing (traitor!) or that he did not know about it because he is incompetent and disengaged. Either way, they win. Trump is a poopy head and we need to be done with him.

      Oh, then Catherine Herridge reported that the Intel people didn’t give much stock in the story so they didn’t run it up the flagpole.


  4. #3 I think I’ll wait for all the facts on this one before I form my opinion but since it’s a Russia thing being used to smear Trump it’s not unfair to think that it’s likely untrue or blown completely out of proportion.

    Jack wrote, “It’s a nasty thing for Russia to do, but in practical terms, who cares?”

    I agree to a point. Actually we should at least care that it’s happening and try to slow or stop it, if in fact it is or was happening, it’s funding of fighters that are fighting against American Soldiers and Marines. Stopping the flow of funding towards enemy fighters is a critical part of war.

    That said; didn’t the USA arm and finance extreme militant Islamic groups and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan when they were fighting the USSR’s intervention in Afghanistan in 1979-1989? There is lots of blood on the hands of lots of countries when it comes to wars in Afghanistan, it’s been a melting pot of war for centuries. It would be historically hypocritical of the USA to condemn such things as a Russian bounty on USA military personnel in Afghanistan, but condemn it we must IF it actually took place.

  5. “The official said the inteligence collection report reached ‘low levels’ NSC but did not go further, not briefed POTUS, or VP because it was deemed ‘uncorroborated’ and ‘dissent intelligence community’,” Herridge added.

    Whoever leaked this should be fired.

    Should anyone else be fired, like the people who refused to brief the President on this? I would need access to all the relevant sources, weigh their credibility, and weigh any alternate explanations.

    I do not, and should not , have access to the information needed.

  6. Regarding the Russian “bounties”, every single person who commented carefully equivocated that “IF” true, it was a gross dereliction of duty by Trump to ignore it.

    The WHOLE article was nothing but IF’s.

    It frankly sounds like Russian disinformation meant to interfere with the 2020 campaign, and the Democrats would be scoundrels for taking the bait IF so.

    • This will turn up in the warm-up, but NBC reported in 2010 that Iran was paying a bounty to the Taliban for US deaths. Nobody cared, it was barely reported, Obama did nothing.

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