Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/15/2020: Of Cancellations, Retractions, Rants, Lies And Signs

Never mind the small talk; let’s get to it.

1. Hmmm…What’s going on here?  New York officials originally decided to cancel  “‘Tribute in Light,” the  twin beams that shine over lower Manhattan as part of the annual  9/11 commemoration. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which oversees the installation, said in a statement this week,”This incredibly difficult decision was reached in consultation with our partners after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required to produce the annual ‘Tribute in Light.'”

The announcement caused widespread puzzlement. How large could the necessary crew have to be? Geraldo Rivera opined on Fox News that the decision was political, as Democrats sought to “make everybody miserable” so President Trump could be blamed. That theory was quickly picked up by others, along with complaints from New Yorkers that the popular memorial celebration was cancelled for no good reason.

Then, today, New York officials made a U-turn. “Honoring our 9/11 heroes is a cherished tradition. The twin towers of light signify hope, resiliency, promise and are a visual representation of #NewYorkTough,” Cuomo said. “The virus has taken so much and so many. But now the tribute will continue.”

2. Now THIS is Trump Derangement! When did it become considered acceptable and professional for news anchors and public events show hosts to behave like this?  MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski went on an extended, fanciful, hateful anti-Trump rant on yesterday’s broadcast. Here’s a transcript of a supercut video featuring the bulk of Mika’s meltdown:

There’s clear disdain that I have for this president, but look at the facts. Look at how he’s worn us down from his paid off pornstar to Russia lies to racism in Charlottesville. Racism across the board. Children in cages. I mean lie after lie after lie. Conspiracy theories.

Our country right now is really at a breaking point if we don’t find a way to hold this president accountable with his attempts to undermine the Post Office and also his apparent negligence, perhaps purposeful, on saving the American people’s lives in this pandemic.

You are pathetic at this point.

With his calamitous coronavirus leadership, it’s killing Americans every day. He could be keeping people alive; he’s choosing not to.

Every day, this president looks more ridiculous. The clothes fall off.

I mean, Mitch McConnell, wake up! Wake up and smell the coffee. Don’t you see what’s–, you wanna hold to the–, you’re going to have nothing at the rate you’re going. At the rate you’re letting him go.

Can’t you see what is happening? I know you have a lot of special interests in your state and maybe money coming in from Russia and interests. Your wife works in the administration, but wake up. It’s not about losing the Senate. We’re losing much more than the Senate.

You can be sure that you will never see me on Fifth Avenue, ever, ever. Because he has said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. I believe him. … I, I ask for you to appeal to members of his administration, those who still have a brain, those who aren’t somehow brain washed by the cult leader, or those who aren’t such stooges and so interested in their own special interests and the money they might make somehow that they could care for one second about this country.

Talk about ditsy, talk about a ditsy, stupid, botched response to a pandemic that is killing tens of thousands of people, over 160,000 right now, this is on you.

It’s idiotic and it’s killing people, and you get up there and talk about Joe Biden being wrong? There’s nobody who has been more wrong about this than President Donald Trump.

Many of those deaths, Mr. President, are on you and your terrible response to this virus. Obvious terrible response. But you say that children miraculously just don’t get it? You’re wrong. There’s no one who has been more wrong than you on this, and you’re the President of the United States.

I’m thinking of Tulsa, where the Trump campaign took the social distancing stickers off the chairs and squished people together and made them click on a waiver saying, “You can’t sue if you get the coronavirus and die from coming to this rally.” How stupid can you be at this point if you follow this president? I beg you not to be for your life. But I ask you, Dave Aronberg, is there any legal recourse if you get this virus because of the stupidity of this president?

If you’re sensing a little intensity here, I’m a little amped up because this is an emergency.

First Don Lemon snaps, then Chris Cuomo, and now Mika. This isn’t journalism, it isn’t punditry. It’s an unprofessional hack abusing her privilege of having a platform to speak to the public, and indulging in pure emotion, hoping to appeal to the same. The only differences between Mika’s outburst and Howard Beale’s in “Network” is that Howard made more sense, and Mika didn’t faint at the end. Maybe next time.

3. This is our mainstream media. The New York Daily News headline: “Georgia state trooper charged with murder of Black man over ‘busted tail light.'” What happened? Here is the report of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation:

Preliminary information shows that a trooper attempted to stop a Nissan Sentra for a traffic related offense on Stoney Pond Road in Screven County. The car refused to stop and led the trooper on a brief chase down several county roads. The trooper initiated a Precision Intervention Technique (PIT) and the car came to a stop in the ditch. The trooper fired one round, striking Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, age 60. Lewis was pronounced deceased on scene.

Yes, it sounds like a murder charge is appropriate. But where did the Daily News get the idea that the victim was shot because of a “broken tail light?” Well, that’s what the family says was the reason the officer tried to stop the Nissan. Lewis was not murdered as punishment for a “busted tail light,” but that’s nice way to maximize anger against the police and to advance the false narrative that police are “hunting” innocent blacks. No, Lewis  was apparently shot after refusing to stop and trying to elude the police. That’s a far, far more serious offense than a broken tail-light, and, once again, resisting a police command ended in tragedy.

Maybe, with any luck, the  news media can trigger another Black Lives Matter riot.

4. And on that delicate topic...I was walking my cool new dog today when I encountered a neighbor working in his garden. His yard had a large Black Lives Matter sign in it. I came so, so close to asking the guy, whom I do not know,

“Pardon me, but would you mind if I asked you exactly what that sign is intended to convey? Are you saying the black lives don’t matter to everyone in this neighborhood, like me? That would be rather insulting; why do you presume that? Are you expressing support for the organization with that name? If so, do you know what they stand for? They are anti-White, anti-police, and basically anti-United States, since BLM is essentially Marxist.  Or are you just virtue-signaling, hoping that if a mob comes to this neighborhood, they’ll spare your home the way lamb’s blood on the door kept “the plague of the first born” away from the Jews? I think these are fair questions to ask, because your sign is obviously intended to convey a message to the neighborhood, and I’m sorry, but the message is unclear. What are you trying to say?”


20 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/15/2020: Of Cancellations, Retractions, Rants, Lies And Signs

  1. 2, Thanks for summarizing MIka’s outburst. I’d heard about it but hadn’t read it or watched it. Ironically, it’s just like any run of the mill Facebook post from most anyone I (unfortunately) know on Facebook: Democratic party talking points piled one on top of the other. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they THINK for themselves, ever?

  2. 3. Again. When did resisting arrest become standard operating procedure? It’s ill advised. Just do what the officer says and let your free, court appointed, public defender take it from there. Pace, pace.

  3. 4. This is one of those “if I had a dollar” moments in regard to yard sign virtue signaling. It became a game of Dodge the Yard Sign living in Portland. Every few houses had something that smugly told us all how to think and what these saints believe. Once in a while I’d engage someone in why they had such a sign. My takeaway was many of these people want to be seen as nice and caring. Some as righteous. Some are just blabbermouths. But doesn’t every religion or cult or even plain old support group have such dynamics? Groups always have a wide variety of different types of assholery. So does BLM.

    The difference here is in a place like Portland or some other progressive/socialist enclave, trying to engage honestly about why a person feels it’s necessary to put such preachy messages in their yards, can lead to a protest or worse.

    It seems with violence escalating combined with not being able to really talk *unmasked* we cannot engage in such conversation. Or can we? I live now in a place where there is both more thought diversity and racial diversity. I’ve had more honest conversations with engaged, open-minded, curious people in a few weeks than I did for months in Portland. I exchanged smiles with a guy in a cowboy hat and boots open-carrying a pistol to his side. An hour later I chatted with an old hippie in a tie-dye face mask and Beatles shirt.

    Nowhere is perfect and we can’t avoid yard signs or those who display them. But we can talk where can. I have a neighbor who is a Trump fan and another who wants to “understand her privilege.” I told them both the same thing: that Black Lives Matter didn’t care about my black dad who had a disease that primarily affects black men. They don’t address the many children who have no in-person or financial support from their black dads (why wasn’t Mr. Floyd with his kids for example). They ignore black babies aborted at disproportionate rates. They say nothing of the drug problems, violence, and abuse of one another.

    This isn’t the story for all blacks, not by a long shot. But before we excoriate the police in the name of some Marxist goal line than can never be reached, we might try looking at ourselves.

    If someone really cares about blacks, they can start by knowing people who survived slavery can rise up and be resilient. History shows this again and again. Believe in black resilience rather than the rhetoric of resentment that is BLM’s time-suck of a Ponzi scheme.

  4. 1. Supposedly the crews who set up the tribute had to be brought in from Europe, and that raised quarantine issues, etc. However, with the support of governor Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg, somehow they were able to make it happen. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was yet another act of spite by Bill Deblasio, who seems more interested in tweaking the president’s nose and blaming him than in maintaining order and rebuilding the damage from the recent riots, which he specifically ordered the NYPD to use a light touch on.

    2. You know, in the past, if some anchor or other personality started to have a nervous breakdown on the air, or go completely off the ranch, the floor director would go to a commercial. The idea of a floor director saying “no, stay with him!” and leaning forward in his chair, anticipating some landmark TV, properly belongs to the movies only. In real life Mika’s rant should have ended with an awkward silence, before the floor director told her, “Ah, I don’t know how to tell you this, but we cut to a commercial five minutes ago.” That this is now considered normal, instead of embarrassing, should tell you all you need to know about the mainstream media. Then again, it’s MSNBC, which should also tell you all you need to know.

    3. At least in NJ, eluding is a second-degree crime. If the police tell you to stop, and you keep going, that’s the kind of thing that can land you in jail for 10 years. I might add that’s for good reason given the danger created by high-speed chases. There’s certainly a level of frustration and anger by the police when someone gets defiant and decides to try to run for it. That’s not justification for them administering a beat-down or shooting someone. I doubt this was just a cold-blooded murder, and I’ll be interested in seeing what the full GBI report says, whether the officer thought the guy had a gun under the seat, or whatever. It might well turn out to be one of those cases where a trigger-happy officer “feared for his life” and shot the suspect down. However, it definitely wasn’t one of those movies about the badass drifter or the world-weary loner who just wants the world to leave him be who just has the misfortune to be pulled over by crooked local cops on a trumped-up excuse so they can abuse him, maybe even breaking his tail light themselves while they hold him at gunpoint. The media WANT it to look like one of those movies, except in this case the victim isn’t even the badass drifter who’s going to make the cops very sorry they messed with him, it’s just a poor black guy going about his business who the cops decided to harass because he was black, and then killed. Yeah, let’s gin up another race riot, we haven’t had one in months, and the movement might be flagging. Can’t have that.

    4. Wisely, you kept your mouth shut, since you didn’t know this guy. The odds in favor of him giving you a real answer, or engaging you in a respectful dialogue were probably very low. The odds of him telling you that if you didn’t get what the sign was about you needed to go back to school or of him calling you a racist were much higher. Are you really interested in hearing how human rights are not political or how you don’t ask the fire department to wet down every house when only one house is on fire? If you want to hear that you can just tune in to MSNBC. The fact that he had the sign up (by the way, you didn’t mention whether he was white or black) tells you all you need to know about him. He’s either an activist, a slacktivist, a virtue-signaler or a coward, and none of those are good things.

    • Keith Olbermanm’s anti-Bush rants (“SIR!“) were masterpieces of self control by comparison with Mika’s infantile whining. And they were unprofessional. At least KO, who’s unhinged but no dummy, knew what he was going to say and spoke in diagrammable sentences. I keep trying to imagine a viewer, even an MSNBC acolyte, appreciating such a sophomoric display. In addition to containing so much documented falsehood, it’s not effective. It doesn’t inform or enkighten.

      • No, it doesn’t inform or enkighten (or even enlighten). It ceased being about those things a long time ago.

        Today, it’s about exploiting confirmation biases in order to build clicks and market share. Truth is no longer a consideration.

      • Every time I hear/read Olbermann’s name, my first thought is how the talented Ann Coulter positively owned his oversized @$$ in her seminal Olbermann’s Plastic Ivy.

        I can’t read the coup de grâce/kill shot line (“But at least the (USC) linemen can throw a football, which Keith cannot because his mother decided he was not physically robust enough to play outdoors as a child“) without envisioning poor Keith with delicate fists balled, brow deeply creased, teeth furiously gnashing, and eyes squinting with misplaced fury.

        A surreal calm then ensues, and with it, the sense that all is not lost.

        If feeling this is wrong, I don’t want to be right

      • Enknighten? If someone did that would I then be Sir Stephen? 😀 All silliness aside, let me also throw out that Keith Olbermann is also the author of the following gems of wisdom and eloquence on Twitter:

        “F*** you @RealDonaldTrump Nazi Nazi f*** Nazi Nazi RACIST Nazi BIGOT go f*** yourself f***ing Nazi f***ers.”

        “Any of them mention to you that we had a Domestic Terror attack a week ago today and you still won’t call it what it was, you cowardly f***?”

        “YOU are the leaker, you stupid, pea-brained, motherf***ing traitor. RESIGN.”

        “What needs to be replaced is THIS motherf***er. Today. This morning. NOW.”

        (to Ivanka) “Then tell your racist, white supremacist, neo-nazi father to get the f*** out of our society.”


        “You and @POTUS can go f*** yourself, you racist Nazi f***s.”

        “You will not destroy this country, @realDonaldTrump. Go f*** yourself.”

        “ICYMI: So we’re clear, this is where this F***ing lying anti-Democracy F*** lied to the American people, with no F***ing quote F***ing marks…”

        “Honest to God, @realDonaldTrump – shut the f*** up.” #Resign”


        Mika isn’t there yet, but, honestly, I think that’s where I the Trump-deranged end up. That’s not just not thinking straight, that’s not thinking at all. It takes no thought to say eff you, eff your family, eff you you Nazi. 13yo autistic kids having meltdowns talk like that, as if every additional f-bomb somehow brought more power to their statement. It doesn’t. KO may have had a brain 14 years ago, but his brain long ago turned to crap. The fact that those on that side exploit and retweet sends what message? Who’s the bigger idiot, the idiot, or the one who thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room?

        • I featured some of those twitter melt-downs by Keith—who still is the best broadcast baseball analyst I’ve ever seen or listened to. But he had the sense—if you can use that word in connection with something like this—not to do it on the air, or when he was working for MSNBC.

    • (1) I assumed they cancelled the celebration because so many of the first responders it honors are police. You can’t say anything nice about the police, can you New York? This also reinforces the idea in my mind, and no doubt others, that 9/11 is just a ‘New York Thing’. If not, why does ‘New York’ get to cancel it?

  5. I wish to dedicate this post — with love and a deep puff of marijuana — to the Smiling Cowboy with his sidearm and the Tie-Died Old Hippy that Mrs Q spoke of just above. Forgive me one and all. I am getting worse, not better!

    “I call myself the last philosopher because I am the last man. Nobody talks to me as myself, and my voice comes to me like that of a dying person.”

    “The last man (German: Letzter Mensch) is a term used by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra to describe the antithesis of his theorized superior being, the Übermensch, whose imminent appearance is heralded by Zarathustra. The last man is the archetypal nihilist, only able to destroy, but unable to build and act upon a self-actualized ethos.”

    Thinking over the phrase Black Lives Matter I propose that it is — aside from the fact that the women who run it or head it are ‘trained Marxists’ and it is in essence completely an anti-white movement and part of destructive trends and ideas that should be brought to an end — I propose that it is a compensatory statement by Blacks themselves in which they declare that they don’t matter. It is an assertion that they not only feel they don’t really matter (sentiment) but the rational realization that they don’t really have much relevance at all.

    Blacks are astoundingly more violent against Whites than Whites are to Black, that is a fact that should circulate more, and each instance of a Black being killed by a white police, except one or two, has been justified. And really in that moment of getting shot, in truth, justice was served.

    But putting aside the current revolutionary trends in American society and the general uprising, my theory is that Blacks are aware that they do not really matter that much. So, the sign might read: “Black Lives Don’t Matter Yet We Very Much Want To Matter . . . and so we are acting up in the ways that we have been given to act in the past — as trouble-makers and rioters — to attempt to achieve relevancy. To prove to ourselves and to our White Brethren that we matter”.

    Black lives do not matter much to Blacks, for if they did, if they truly did, they would not be killing each other in their ghettos with such careless disregard. Not to mention that it stands as entirely possible — that is something that could have been done — that they could have worked together to create truly civil environments within those ghettos. Why has that not worked out? Well, back in the Sixties it possibly didn’t work out because black activism became revolutionary activism, militant activism to ‘topple the structures of power’ and all the rest of the revolutionary rhetoric. And that naturally, and logically, aroused the National Police & Military and they came down on them with full force.

    This is a touchy point because in order to control the Blacks in these ghettos, with a ghetto mentality, with profound anger and ressentiment at everything that had been done to them in the processes of being made to serve in ‘the empire of the white man’s will’, all manner of different social control mechanisms had to be brought out against those communities in what amounted to a ‘clandestine war’. I do not think this can be denied.

    But here everything does, again, hinge on this question of ‘value’ (what matters and what does not matter). In a certain sense you *matter* in this twisted, confused present, this distorted and distorting American Present, to the degree that you perform. And civic performance is, in many ways, to cooperate within the Systems that have been established. I use the rather acid metaphor of Walmart America to indicate the proper and recommended social acquiescence. You are relevant within the general system to the degree that you carry out your assigned rôle as non-offensive consumer.

    Not to say that the same was not true and is not true in all societies — peaceful society being where it is possible to carry on the business of living in a civil way — but America in the postwar became a Liberal Machine and in this sense ‘consumerism’ became a sort of substitute for religious observation. Whereas traditionally man in his community labored and worshipped, and life made sense, in Postwar America, I think it is fair to say, we witness the creation of a nation living in many ways as Nietzsches *Last Man*. I do mean of course as stripped of metaphysical dimension. Stripped out of metaphysical definition and forced to live within extreme immediacy and also in *mutability*. That Last Man is employed by economic mechanisms in a flattened present that, let us face the truth, has no real meaning.

    If you think I am being cynical and cruel or simply negative, no this is not the case. I do not have it as a motive to be non-constructive or deliberately harmful. My motive is to simple *accurately see* and *fairly describe* what is going on and — most importantly — why it is going on.

    [There is not one person, if you really were to be honest, writing on this blog who delves into the reasons why, into causation. Why is that? So, I keep pressing on this point].

    There is nothing, nothing! that is simple or easy to grasp about what is going on in our present. From Waldo Frank I got the idea that in processes of inanition

    in·a·ni·tion (ĭn′ə-nĭsh′ən)
    1. Exhaustion, as from lack of nourishment or vitality.
    2. The condition or quality of being empty.
    [Middle English inanisioun, emptiness, from Old French inanicion, exhaustion from hunger, from Late Latin inānītiō, inānītiōn-, emptiness, from inānītus, past participle of inānīre, to make empty, from Latin inānis, empty.]

    every cell in the moribund creature lights up in fantastic light! Death is in no sense the end of life as the process of dying is part of the processes of life and also portends the decomposition that proceeds recomposition. But in this truly strange present we have to face a whole group of facts. About the larger systems around us, that is true, but also about ourselves.

    What I have learned here — the largest amount, the most important aspect — is how the dead speak. The dead have their discourse, you see. The dying have their strange, eerie eloquence.

    But back to Black Lives Don’t Really Matter That Much At All …

    This is what needs to be faced. I suggest — in classical haughtiness and presumption (deliberately cultivated) — that each of you needs to recognize that Black Lives Do Not Matter. You need to recognize that they do not matter to themselves.

    They should not even be seen as ‘mattering’ unless we can completely reexamine what it means to matter. Think this through and it becomes a very worthwhile philosophical, ethical, existential and spiritual matter. Who matters? And what matters? All of this hinges on questions of and definitions of ‘value’.

    But then, to continue forward to the genuine meat, we do not really matter, either. What I mean is that we are living in times of augmenting nihilism and it is into the vacuum of nihilism that streams every meaningless thing! To fill the emptiness, the inānītus. Diversion, ‘entertainment’, absurd focus of our incarnated life: this is the Liberal Nightmare in at least some fair sense.

    Nietzsche warned that the society of the last man could be too barren and decadent to support the growth of healthy human life or great individuals. The last man is only possible by mankind having bred an apathetic person or society who loses the ability to dream, to strive, and who become unwilling to take risks, instead simply earning their living and keeping warm. The society of the last man is antithetical to Nietzsche’s theoretical will to power, the main driving force and ambition behind human nature, according to Nietzsche, as well as all other life in the universe.

    The last man, Nietzsche predicted, would be one response to the problem of nihilism. But the full implications of the death of God had yet to unfold: “The event itself is far too great, too distant, too remote from the multitude’s capacity for comprehension even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived as yet.”

    • The first paragraph, quoted from a webpage on The Last Man (Wiki), should have been in bold:

      “Nietzsche warned that the society of the last man could be too barren and decadent to support the growth of healthy human life or great individuals. The last man is only possible by mankind having bred an apathetic person or society who loses the ability to dream, to strive, and who become unwilling to take risks, instead simply earning their living and keeping warm. The society of the last man is antithetical to Nietzsche’s theoretical will to power, the main driving force and ambition behind human nature, according to Nietzsche, as well as all other life in the universe.

      “The last man, Nietzsche predicted, would be one response to the problem of nihilism. But the full implications of the death of God had yet to unfold: “The event itself is far too great, too distant, too remote from the multitude’s capacity for comprehension even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived as yet.”

    • Well, Black Lives don’t matter much to Black Lives matter. Have you read their positions? They are against the nuclear family, against fathers, and seem to be pro-pedophile. They are just Marxists using black Americans as ‘useful idiots’.

  6. Look at how he’s worn us down from his paid off pornstar to Russia lies to racism in Charlottesville. Racism across the board. Children in cages. I mean lie after lie after lie. Conspiracy theories.

    The Russia lies came from those pushing the conspiracy, and they were based on lies.

    “Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”

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