Ethics Warm-Up, 7/19/2020: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming!

1. Final plug, as the bat above (and in my hands) reminds me: If you are set up with Zoom (it’s free, you know), you still have time to register for the Smithsonian Associates program  tomorrow evening (at 6:45 pm, EST) wherein I hold forth on how baseball has influenced American culture, values and history. Yes, it’s $35 bucks, but it goes to a good cause, and may help the Institute hire more competent employees who don’t peddle junk like the chart on “whiteness.” You’ll be able to ask questions, and I’m storing these experiences for the Ethics Alarms Zoom experience to come. Read all about it here…

2. If a left-wing dim bulb like Jonathan Chait can figure this out, surely more are to follow. He writes in New York Magazine…you know, where Andrew Sullivan was regarded as too conservative?

The ideology of the racism-training industry …collapses all identity into racial categories. “It is crucial for white people to acknowledge and recognize our collective racial experience,” writes [ Robin DiAngelo, of temporary White Fragility” fame,] whose teachings often encourage the formation of racial affinity groups. The program does not allow any end point for the process of racial consciousness. Racism is not a problem white people need to overcome in order to see people who look different as fully human — it is totalizing and inescapable. Of course, DiAngelo’s whites-only groups are not dreamed up in the same spirit as David Duke’s. The problem is that, at some point, the extremes begin to functionally resemble each other despite their mutual antipathy…. In some cases its ideas literally replicate anti-Black racism.”

Ya think???

3. So Roger Stone is an asshole. Who doesn’t know that? Why is that news? With all the things the New York Times strategically decides not to write about, it publishes a story headlined “Roger Stone Uses Racial Slur on Radio Show/Mr. Stone, while being questioned about the commutation of his sentence by President Trump, used a racial slur in referring to his interviewer, who is Black” Why?

Well, you know why. President Trump commuted his sentence, which was excessive, and if Stone would use a racial slur, it means that by commuting his sentence, the President is a racist. Of course, anyone with two brain cells to rub together can figure out that Stone’s racial views have nothing to do with the President’s action, but this is how Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist” is pushed every day, in insidious little ways, by the Times and the rest of the media.

Stone’s words were, in fact, signature significance for a bigot.  Morris W. O’Kelly, the black host of radio’s “Mo’Kelly Show,” was interviewing the GOP operative when he heard Stone mutter something to the side that sounded like, “arguing with this Negro.”  O’Kelly confronted him and asked him to repeat what he said, whereupon Stone remained silent for almost 40 seconds—an eternity on the air— then denied that he used the word. It wasn’t the word that was the real tell, though. It would have been just as demeaning if Stone had said, “I can’t believe I’m arguing with this African American.” What does O’Kelly’s race have to do with the legitimacy of his argument, or whether he is worthy of Stone’s time? Stone was using “Negro” as a synonym for “idiot.”

4. Mask insanity. You know, I’ve been wearing a mask in public for months, but people are being such hysterics and jerks about it that I am sorely tempted to go maskless just to visually say, “Bite me.” A friend made a hysterical post on Facebook saying that she wondered if people without masks were trying to kill her, and I pointed out the FACTS that a) while masks are probably better than nothing, b) there is still no consensus on how much good they do and c) acting as if a non-mask wearer is a mortal threat is irrational. Then she and others on Facebook went ballistic. She’s in a high risk group! She works in an office!—wait, what? If you are in a high risk group, working in an office is one hell of a lot more risky than encountering the periodic person not wearing a mask.

I also said, again correctly, that no case of the Wuhan virus has been definitively attributed solely to someone  not wearing a mask. This was also reacted to as if I had said that babies were delicious. The various “authorities” like WHO and the CDC have waffled on masks like Eggos; there is still doubt that asymptomatic  persons can spread the virus; it is now now no longer believed that you can get the virus from surfaces; some say 6 feet of social distancing isn’t enough—and now masks are suddenly the panacea?

This is political. And the Left’s own commitment to fearmongering is driving THEM crazy.

Meanwhile, mandatory mask laws are unenforceable and, again, just grandstanding. Earlier I wrote about porous masks. Professor Turley recently explained that these useless masks will still comply with any mandatory mask laws or edicts. Of course they will. Turley writes,

Most laws like Alabama‘s only refer to a “covering” not a mask with protective qualities:

“2. Facial coverings for individuals. Effective July 16, 2020 at 5:00 P.M., each person shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times when within six feet of a person from another household in any of the following places: an indoor space open to the general public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service, or an outdoor public space where ten or more people.”

5. I would make this a full post, except a) I just wrote about this particular lie and b) anyone who doesn’t know Chuck Todd is a liar yet is too dumb to read this blog.

Professor Turley flagged this, and had to for me to know about it, since I would no more spend time watching Chuck Todd than I would playing Candy Crush:

We recently discussed the false tweet sent out by CNN’s White House reporter Jim Acosta that mocked White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for saying that “the science should not stand in the way of this.”  That quote was artificially clipped to leave the diametrically opposite impression from what actually said.  The clip suggests that McEnany was dismissing science when she was actually highlighting scientific work supporting the position of the White House.  While Acosta later sent out another tweet noting the real meaning and his colleague Jake Tapper corrected the false narrative on the air, Chuck Todd on Meet the Press decided to play the misleading clip not once but twice on Sunday. It was not just running an overtly misleading clip but defiantly doing so after other journalists have challenged the erroneous impression left by the clip.

I would say “Incredible,!” but if Todd still has a job after all of his barrel-bottom biased journalism, anything from him is believable.

Turley added in part,

If an ill-considered tweet is a venial sin for Acosta at CNN, this is a mortal sin for Todd at NBC. This was no careless tweet, but an airing made long after the false account was flagged during the CNN controversy.  It is another example of how the echo-journalistic model not only undermines the faith in the media but actually undermines the effort to fully inform the public on the pandemic. Rather than focus on legitimate questions about the Administration’s efforts, Todd instead knowingly played a false gotcha clip…. There comes a point where you are not long informing but indoctrinating the public.

My God, Professor, “there comes a point”? THERE COMES A POINT? I’m grateful that someone with objectivity is willing to call out such behavior, but this is more than a little late to observe that the news media is undermining its credibility. The credibility is undermined, and indeed non-existent. Until partisan hacks like Acosta and Todd (and Don Lemon, and Chris Cuomo, and Joy Reid, and Rachel Maddow, and so, so many others) are removed from a position of misinforming the public, credibility isn’t worth discussing, or hoping for.

26 thoughts on “Ethics Warm-Up, 7/19/2020: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming!

    • Oh, no, they’ll wait until after the inauguration (to make sure that Trump gets no credit at all for the recovery) and after Biden is forced out in favor of his woke female VP.

      I, too, have concerns about the efficacy of face masks, but I wear one in public for the same reason I don’t mow at 6 AM, don’t cut in line and don’t hog all the chocolate pudding at the buffet – it’s just being a good neighbor.

  1. 5–If Lefty had a freakin’ whit of self-awareness, the lack of intelligence their handlers attribute to the base would smack them upside-the-head with the…um…attention securing impact of a top-heavy Louisville Slugger swingin’ for the fence!

  2. 4. I have honestly given up trying to figure all of this out. I have heard so many different “right answers” to Wuhan Virus that I simply don’t believe any “expert” on the subject. I wear a mask when I go into a store. I wear a mask if I’m in a meeting with someone in the office and they’re concerned. Otherwise, I don’t. I stay six feet from people. My wife, who has now been tested four (4, 3+1, cuatro) times – all negative – doesn’t wear a mask any longer except to go to the store.

    And you are absolutely correct. This IS political. My wife gets so angry when people like VP Biden and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talk about how badly the President has handled things. “How would any of them have dealt with this pandemic any better than the President if they were in his place?” she asks.

    I’m probably going to get in a LOT of trouble for this, but my cynical (and honest) response to her is always the same. “If any of them were in President Trump’s place, there wouldn’t be a pandemic.”

      • This one diehard Obamabot posted on my page that Obama handled two pandemics very well (H1N1 and Swine Flu). Never mind that these weren’t the same, but he couldn’t challenge my point that the media covered for Obama.

  3. I wrote this past week about this country being headed for its own version of the Troubles, the 30-year conflict between those who wanted to separate from the UK and those who did not in Northern Ireland that might sound romantic in a song over pints in a pub, but was hell for ordinary people to commute, shop, and raise a family in. Now I’m thinking as well that we may be regressing, back to a much darker time all our own. For a lot of us, it’s not even in living memory. If you’re forty or under, the 60s and 70s are only times you read about in books and maybe get a taste of when you tune in to an oldies station or look at a grainy, less-than-perfect family photo of men in bell-bottoms with afros and women in tube tops and platforms. If you’re between forty and fifty, maybe you have hazy memories of John Travolta in white dancing to disco, yellow smiley faces everywhere, polyester, leisure suits, and the early VW Beetle. You probably have memories of laughing like a loon…and cowering just as often…at early Sesame Street. You probably have less fond memories of the daily count on the evening news of the days the hostages spent in Iran. It’s only if you’re over 50, maybe even over 55, that you’re going to have any kind of reliable memories of the really darkest days.

    Many talk about the political left of that time in romantic terms similar in spirit if not words to those that romanticize the Troubles. In those songs and hazy memories it was all the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, music festivals, hippy girls with flowers in their hair, communes where everyone ate organic food and no one disagreed and grooviness, man! 🕉✌🏻☮ Very few still talk about the Weathermen, the Black Panther Party, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and similar organizations. Even if they do, they still get romanticized as people reaching out to find a cause and make positive change in a society that hadn’t been listening for way too long.

    What they leave out is that two days after the day I was born, three of the most radical of radicals perished in the destruction of a townhouse in Greenwich Village…due to the premature explosion of a nail bomb they were planning to plant at Fort Dix to kill NCOs and their dates. What they also leave out is that when my dad, then just getting started on what would be a long career would walk from the subway to his building, nearly every building in the area had suffered either a bombing or an attempt at one. They don’t mention that both One Police Plaza and Federal Plaza had also been targeted. They don’t mention that in 1975 Fraunces’ Tavern was hit, and four were killed. Even if they do, they don’t talk about the smoke, or the dust, or the fear in the air so palpable you could cut it with a knife if you dared, or the fact that ambulances from EMS and every hospital in the area were lined up like taxicabs at an airport, with no shortage of business to be had. All told there were 2,500 bombings in this time. If things had played differently this day or that, who knows, maybe I would have grown up with a different father, or without one at all.

    The fact is that, in that time, you got up and went to work not knowing what kind of craziness would happen that day. If you were a cop, you didn’t know if you’d become a target. If you were a fireman or EMT, you didn’t know what was coming. But Steven, you are probably saying – how is that different from any other day? I acknowledge that cops can find themselves on the wrong end of a gun any day, and that firemen and EMTs are always at risk, and none of us are promised tomorrow. That’s just how it goes. There is always going to be an element of risk. I know every day I cross the street to work or to court I could trip and get hurt, or some driver who is impaired or not paying attention could take me out. I know every day I drive to work or home or wherever, someone could get impatient or not pay attention, and I could pay for it with life or limb. I accept I could get mugged. Those are just the risks of living that I can do my best to avoid. I don’t expect to get attacked by a mob, though, and I don’t expect to get blown up by a bomb or targeted by a sniper while I go about my normal routine. Everybody who pins on a badge and straps on a gun knows he could end up facing some drug dealer willing to kill or someone’s ex-husband crazy enough to. Everybody who puts on a turnout coat knows a stairway could collapse or a gas leak could ignite. Everybody who rolls a stretcher knows he could have to deal with a druggy or a head injury patient who might lose it and go after him. These are necessary risks of the professions. Being targeted, however, not necessary. Being ambushed, not necessary. Being the victim of a deliberate act of destruction, not at all necessary. Having any of this happen because someone felt strongly enough about something to do it, totally unnecessary.

    Most folks came out on the other side of that dark time, which did finally stop. Some didn’t, though, and it was totally unnecessary. I don’t know why it stopped. Maybe it was the end of the US involvement in Vietnam, which was the unifying issue for a lot of those groups. Maybe it was the fact that the political leadership of that period was mostly out of office. Maybe it was the fact that US law enforcement, having learned a few things (like special weapons and tactics) finally started to come down on these violent groups like an anvil, and being a revolutionary loses its luster when you’re facing a dozen SWAT officers armed with assault rifles or you get picked up by the FBI to face Federal charges that mean doing real time.

    For the last three months we’ve watched our cities be burned, our public art be torn apart and defaced, and this nation’s ordinary people be terrorized. Homes and businesses have been destroyed, ordinary folks have lost everything they worker for and saved, and, in some cases, whole zones of cities have been turned into new versions of previous “liberation army” states, ruled by warlords, patrolled by armed thugs, and with the ordinary people living there cut off from the outside world and at the mercy of these thugs. Now we are seeing organized destruction (Lafayette Park, Chicago) and organized attacks on law enforcement (Portland). Supposedly this started with demanding justice for George Floyd and protesting racial injustice. Two months after the officers involved were fired and charged, this shows no sign of stopping, or even of slowing down. Downtown Minneapolis resembles Fallujah in the wake of the final breaking of the Iraqi resistance there, and New York, Chicago, LA, and a slew of lesser cities, none of which had the first thing to do with what happened in Minneapolis, aren’t far behind. Yet we’re still being told these are “peaceful protesters,” and the local and state governments either haven’t lifted a finger to stop this (New York), or have finally taken action, several days late and several dollars short, when the violence has gone too far or come to their doorstep (Atlanta, Seattle). I am not sure whether what was allowed to happen in Seattle was worse, or what’s going on now in Portland is worse, where the local authorities are accusing the Federal authorities, the only ones doing anything about 50 nights of violence, of being the bad guys.

    We’ve been bombarded for months now about how sleeping or walking back from a party or carrying a legal weapon shouldn’t be a death sentence. It isn’t as simple as it’s phrased, but none of those things should have happened. However, there are a lot of other things that shouldn’t be death sentences:

    – Working in a warehouse (Francis Fazio, Jr., Douglas Scruton,
    Edwin Kennison, William Ackerman, Bryan Cirigliano, Craig
    Pepin, Louis Felder, Victor James)
    – Going to worship (Joyce Fienberg, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel
    Stein, Richard Gottfried, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal,
    Melvin Wax, Rose Mallinger, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon,
    Irving Younger)
    – Presiding over Mass (Fr. Jacques Hamel)
    – Being on vacation to celebrate the 30th anniversary of your
    graduation (Diego Angelini, Ariel Erlij, Hernan Ferruchi, Hernan
    Mendoza, Alejandro Pagrucco)
    – Cheering on your boyfriend in a marathon (Krystle Campbell)
    – Dancing at a nightclub (Pulse)
    – Just doing your job (9/11)
    – Driving near a barrier (Antonio Mays, Jr.)
    – Riding in a car (Secoriea Turner)

    I can think of a few more for those whose job it is to keep others safe or to help them that still shouldn’t be a death sentence:

    – Fighting a fire (Michael Chiaperini, Thomas Kaczowska)
    – Evicting someone who simply refused to pay the rent (Thomas
    Albino)
    – Conducting a routine traffic stop (Philip Lamonaco)
    – Keeping other citizens safe while they protest (Lorne Ahrens,
    Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, Patricio
    Zamarripa)
    – Wearing a military charity sweatshirt (Lee Rigby)
    – Working in a motor pool on a military base (Carson Holmquist,
    Randall Smith, Thomas Sullivan, Skip Wells, David Wyatt)
    – Sitting in your car eating (Rafael Ramos, Wenjian Liu)
    – Working on your laptop in a coffee shop (Mark Renninger,
    Michael Owens, Tina Griswold, Greg Richards)
    – Defending a pawn shop from a riot (David Dorn)

    All those folks died because someone felt strongly about something and decided he was going to use violence to make his point. They either got in the way or were deliberately marked for violence because of who or what they were. Some got justice, some didn’t, some never may. Most of the time the authorities at least tried. Now they are not only not trying, they are actively trying to keep others from trying. That says one thing to ordinary people who are not involved in these ongoing riots – it says “we don’t have your back, and we are not interested in having your back.” As far as the local and state governments at issue here – almost exclusively Democrats – are concerned, the ordinary people: the shopkeepers, homeowners, parents, and others who form the backbone of society, don’t count. They are supposed to be obedient sheep, who don’t defend themselves, their property, or the things dear to them. They are also supposed to be easily thrown as sacrificial lambs to the activists and rabble-rousers who form the real constituency of most of the Democratic party. Ordinary people say “protect us,” but the government says “it’s just a peaceful protest.” Ordinary people say “send the police,” but the government says “no, we’re defunding the police.” Ordinary people say “don’t let the monument be destroyed.” The government says “we want it gone anyway, this is just them doing it for us without a hearing.” Ordinary people say “we’ll defend ourselves,” but the government says “you do and you’ll be the ones who go to jail.” Ordinary people say “we’ll look to the Federal government,” but the government says “they need to keep their heavy hands out of here.”

    So, what’s a poor ordinary person who just wants to work, live, and keep his family safe to do? Apparently if you live in one of these cities or states, just keep your head down, cross your fingers, keep silent, and avoid attracting the mob’s attention. If you attract it, then you’re on your own. The government won’t intervene to keep you safe. If the mob beats you, the police will not come to stop them. If your property is torched, the firemen will not come to save it. Maybe the EMTs will come to take you to the hospital. Maybe not.

    If you live in one of these states, but not in a major city, the mob might not come for you, but the state will. The state is going to abolish the suburbs and stuff everyplace with low-income housing, so you’ll lose what voice you have. The same party these people who want to turn you into just a cog in the machine come from wants to pack the courts and the Senate, so you will lose your voice in Washington also.

    This is the party that says vote for them – they’re better than Trump. I leave it to you to decide if that’s the case.

    • Meanwhile, the city’s largest newspaper is running an article talking about how it’s not bad in Portland, it’s just a right wing talking point:

      https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2020/07/feds-right-wing-media-paint-portland-as-city-under-siege-a-tour-of-town-shows-otherwise.html

      Things that have happened that they can’t whitewash:
      – There is security footage that the Portland Police watched rioters loot downtown businesses. One jeweler lost 900K more than he was insured for. Two motorcycle cops just sat on their bikes and watch it go down. We all know this wouldn’t happen unless the officers were told to stand down. I do wonder what would happen if the owner of the store was armed and shot.
      – Two precincts have been under siege. Most of the time they’ve been surrounded by a fence. At times they’ve had to respond from other precincts.
      – The county sheriff and the Portland Police share a building. It houses the jail, sheriff headquarters and police headquarters. The sheriff office portion was broken into and torched. While the jail is full…
      – Public art all over the city has been destroyed. Many of the items destroyed are mindless
      – You won’t have a hard time finding video of an all white mob saying racist shit to black, hispanic and asian officers.
      – The federal courthouse exterior has been severely vandalized. In the newspeak, tagging is just free expression.

      • Most likely if the jewelry shop owner had opened fire it would be HIM getting hauled off to jail. But hey, according to the mayor, this would all have stopped in just a few more days if the Feds hadn’t come in. Wheeler wants a population of obedient, easily terrorized sheep who he can just use the mob as a militia against.

          • Idiots. In effect they are going to sue to stop law enforcement from enforcing the law and force them to abandon the streets to mobs. The sad fact is that in November there’s a good chance this all gets handed over to the clueless and feckless Biden to hand back to the mob.

              • Unfortunately, I think it looks like this heavy-handed attempt to restore order might actually HELP the Democratic brand, as the president looks more and more like a heavy-handed tyrant beating up and kidnapping kids who “just want to be a force for positive change.” The difference is that now a lot of the elected leaders and academics are relics of the dark side of the 1960s.

                • Is that the impression that swing voters,. as well as those left-leaning Democrats who defected to Trump in 2016, will get?

                  There is no indication either of these critical groups actually sympathize with rioting, looting, and arson.

                  • Duty-wise, I agree with you, although apparently the elected leaders in Oregon think there is no danger, no breach of duty, and therefore no obligation. Politics-wise, it could be just one more thing that makes Trump a one-term wonder (which is becoming more likely, given his flailing, sweaty interview on Fox).

                    • I am not seeing this pro-riot, pro-arson, pro-vandalism, pro-looting sentiment among key constituencies like swing voters or left-leaning, racially-conservative Democrats.

                      How do these riots play out in the Rust Belt?

                    • You are correct – Oregon has been part of the blue wall since 1988, the last huge GOP win, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (or anytime not so soon). I’m sure a big part of it is having a good chunk of the voting population in 2 VERY liberal cities. If the rest of the country is with him, they probably aren’t saying it. Trump is also getting ready to deploy more Federal officers (calling them “troops” is erroneous, that term is used only for the military, not law enforcement) to other big liberal cities to try to tamp down this nonsense.

                      On the one hand I agree with him. Enough is enough. No more riots, no more fires, no more assaults, no more property damage, no more destruction, no more terrorizing the ordinary people who just want to work and live. On the other hand, though, how does it look if every night on the news heavily armed Federal officers, their faces hooded like the SAS to protect their identities and their families, are seen grabbing people much smaller than them, dumping them in unmarked vehicles, and whisking them off to wherever?

                      On STILL another hand, though, this is not normal. Protests are supposed to run their course and eventually people get back to working and living. Peaceful protesting is supposed to be the norm and violence the rare exception. 50 nights of violence ANYWHERE is completely off the proverbial reservation. The local police are supposed to nip violence in the bud, not stand down and stand by as it happens. SWAT/ESU is only supposed have to come out for the rare (operative word: rare) hostage situation or high-risk warrant, they aren’t supposed to have to bring in armored vehicles to disperse yet another riot. The Feds are only supposed to have to get involved for very limited stuff: the FBI if there’s a bank robbery, a kidnapping, a civil rights crime, or organized crime, the DEA for large narcotics trafficking networks, ICE for illegal immigration and smuggling, ATF for just what that stands for, and so on. Risking highly trained agents in this kind of activity is not good use of these agencies’ resources. Their role is to investigate major crimes, not go mano-a-mano with malcontent idiots.

                      Last year this time I was getting ready to fly out to Wisconsin for the biggest air show in the country and thinking about how this year I would cross the Atlantic again to visit some good friends I don’t get to see often. It also looked like the president was all but assured of a second term. If you told me EVERYTHING would be cancelled, travel would be impossible, and the cities would be in flames this year, I’d have said you were crazy. Welcome to crazy.

  4. Back from a week long vacation, so I may have missed your commentary on this topic:

    But can we get “Teachers Unions” labeled as Ethics Dunces or even Ethics Villains?

    They are turning the quarantine into a strike or walk out demanding they will refuse to go back to teach until a plethora of democrat policy planks are passed by states or the nation.

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