Rueful Points, Updates and Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Scandal, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Ten Points, updates and observations:

  1. Both the FBI and the Department of Justice agree that Hunter Biden’s laptop and its emails are not some foreign effort at disinformation, which means that the media treatment of the New York Post as lepers for seeking to inform the public was disgusting. The FBI is indeed in possession of the laptop with Hunter’s emails, and they appear genuine. Yesterday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters that his staff has independently verified their authenticity. “Our staff has had conversations that authenticate that the fact that these emails are real, and that as reported I believe by Mike Emmanuel as well, that the Big Guy is a reference [to] the former vice president,” he said.

2. Meanwhile, Biden and his campaign did not and do not have plausible denials for what the evidence appears to show. Instead, the candidate’s response has been to attack the messengers, including the rare reporter who dared to pose the kind of question that must be asked. When a Wisconsin reporter asked Biden this week if there was “any legitimacy” to claims that Hunter Biden “profited off the Biden name,” Joe snapped, ”None whatsoever! This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman, it’s a last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family.”

Biden then cited 50 former intelligence officials who, shamefully, signed a purely partisan letter vouching for Biden’s innocence, though they are currently out of the loop and can have no basis to support Biden, other than the fact that they support Biden.

3. Biden continues to insist that he had no involvement in his son’s use of the Biden name as a meal-ticket. Who believes that? Hunter Biden received a high-paid position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company despite having zero experience in the energy sector or in Ukraine! Gee, what a lucky kid. He must have found a genie or something.

4. Recently we learned that Hunter Biden’s signature appeared on documents from “The Mac Shop” in Wilmington, Del., where the laptop was dropped off, and that his name appears in the “bill to” section for a cost of $85. John Paul Mac Isaac, the shop’s owner, has worked with the FBI on the case. Isaac also received a subpoena to testify before a U.S. District Court in Delaware on December 9, 2019. One page on the FBI documents appears to show serial numbers for a laptop and hard drive. Yup, the New York Posy was publishing rumors, all right.

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Rueful Points, Updates and Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Scandal, Part I

NPR screenshot

It is not as if anyone with integrity and respect for the democratic process should need more reasons to vote against Joe Biden, the party he represents, and the attack on American values and institutions his party represents.

Biden alone, without the implications of the s-l-o-w-l-y emerging scandal, is obviously unfit to be President as a matter of health, character, and history. He is, to begin with, too old to be President (as is Donald Trump); he is also, unlike the President, suffering from obvious cognitive decline. Biden is a proven sexual harasser and accused of sexual assault: by the vigorously stated principles of his own party and the smug Woke and crusading feminists it purports to support, he should be not merely disqualified as the party’s candidate but targeted as its enemy.

Biden’s sole argument for his candidacy once was that he was one of the few non-crazies among the Donkeys, but he has obliterated that excuse by embracing almost every radical position the worst elements of his party have put forth. Biden has shown that he has no integrity, and that his past positions and stated values are now, as they used to say in the Nixon administration, non-operable. The sole argument for Biden personally was, if you were really gullible, that he was a decent man (and obviously Donald Trump isn’t). Now that this fantasy has been stripped away, Biden is revealed almost literally as a human “none of the above” carton past an expiration date. The Democratic Party did not even have the respect for the public and the Republic to nominate someone who could be trusted to do the job.

As spoiled frosting on the cake, it appended to Joe an unqualified and generally despicable understudy chosen solely because of her color—not even her race, since she isn’t African American—and her lady parts. When given the chance to support Kamala Harris for any more substantive reasons, party primary voters held their noses, which unlike their consciences, apparently still work.

We knew, absent denial or stupidity, that Hunter Biden was engaged in influence peddling, and that Joe Biden’s fevered lies were just that. The Democrats even went to the extreme length of contriving an impeachment because the President took steps to investigate the disturbing evidence that a Vice President of the United States had acted against the interests of his country to assist his surviving, addict, loser son. Now the truth is dripping out, and, in what is for me the best reason of all to make certain the Democrats and their corrupt allies lose, the mainstream media and social media is actually , actively, traitorously burying the story.

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Another Morning Ethics Warm-Up Delayed Until Afternoon By Exigent Circumstances, 10/22/2020: Three Weird Stories That May Indicate That Everything Is Spinning Out Of Control

I would have mentioned tonight’s debate in the headline, but I’m not fond of thinking about the future of American democracy resting on the ability of Donald Trump to speak coherently and to control himself. Who came up with this script anyway?

Then again, God works in mysterious ways…

1. In Alaska ethics news…Here’s an ugly ethics train wreck, and one of the best examples I could imagine of the old adage, “Don’t sleep with anyone crazier than you are,” except it doesn’t seem like there was sleeping involved.  

The mayor of Anchorage, Ethan Berkowitz, resigned last week after admitting that he had engaged in an “inappropriate” “consensual messaging relationship”— I’m not even sure what that is”—with an Anchorage news anchor.  

Berkowitz’s resignation followed an unsubstantiated claim in a video posted to social media by the news anchor, Maria Athens, promising viewers an “exclusive” story showing that the mayor engaged in sex act with underage children. When the mayor responded by calling the allegations “slanderous” and false, Athens posted what she said was an image of the mayor’s bare backside, and added a laughing emoji.

Yes, she is apparently insane. The Anchorage Police Department said it had worked with the F.B.I. to investigate the allegations about the mayor and “found no evidence of criminal conduct.”

Before Athens posted her video online, she had left a voice message for him in which she engaged in an emotional rant, made  anti-Semitic references and promised that she would be exposing the mayor as “a pedophile.” “I’m going to get an Emmy, so you either turn yourself in, kill yourself, or do what you need to do,” Ms. Athens said, according to the audio clip. She then said she would personally kill him and his wife.

That must have been some messaging relationship.

Athens, 41, is—well, was– the main news anchor for two outlets, KTBY and KYUR. The station owner said the video she posted had not been approved. After her video went up, Athens was arrested following a physical altercation with her boss at the station, and was charged with misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

So remember, kids, never engage in an inappropriate messaging relationship with someone crazier than you are.

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Time Op-Ed Writer Bret Stephens

shhhh

“It’s a compromise that is fatal to liberalism. It reintroduces a concept of blasphemy into the liberal social order. It gives the prospectively insulted a de facto veto over what other people might say. It accustoms the public to an ever-narrower range of permissible speech and acceptable thought. And… it slowly but surely turns writers, editors and publishers into cowards.”

Bret Stephens, intermittently conservative New York Times columnist, in an op-ed condemning the acceptance of censorship and self-censorship as norms by the modern Left.

Stephens is certainly on a roll lately. His previous column (effectively and accurately) condemning the pet Times race propaganda “1619 Project” for what it is (that is to say, cultural and historical toxic waste) was not his last, as many predicted, and apparently emboldened by his survival, Stephens is determined to “let it all hang out,” as they used to say in the Sixties. Once again, he is attacking his own paper, which has doubled-down in its determination to publish only the news it feels safe to let its readers know about.

It is telling that Stephens’ column was published in tandem this week with another attempt by the Times to hide the utter corruption of the Biden family from the public, at least until the election is over. Above the Stephens piece—also telling—is the poisonous Michelle Goldberg’s screed suggesting that the discovery of Hunter Biden’s incriminating (to both him and his father) laptop is more GOP “collusion.” The Times’ truly despicable headline: “Is the Trump Campaign Colluding With Russia Again?” Note “Again”: the Mueller investigation found no evidence of “collusion” by any American citizen, much less the Trump campaign (to be fair, it didn’t investigate the Clinton campaign’s Russian dealings), and yet the Times allows that lie to lead its Editorial page. Polls show (I know, I know: polls) that over 70% of Democrats still think the President won the election by colluding with Russia, and mainstream media descriptions like this is a main reason. And it’s intentional.

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Note To Senate Democrats: Tantrums Are Not Civil, Responsible, Professional Or Statesmanlike

child-temper-tantrum

I suppose this is a futile reminder, since the Democratic party, prodded by the infantile “resistance” that the party  lacked the courage and integrity to tell to shut up and shape up, has been engaged in one tantrum after another since it lost the Presidential election in 2016. In their determination to bake hate, anger and uncontrolled emotion into our once honorable political process, the Democrats have divided the nation, wrecked communities, and quite possibly damaged our democracy beyond repair. It has been opposition by tantrum, from the increasingly personal attacks on the President of the United States, to the contrived Mueller investigation, to the disgraceful impeachment sham. Of course the Democrats’ African American and extremist base would take the cue and expand the tactic into the streets, throwing a series of violent fits over isolated and ambiguous incidents that could be falsely characterized as typical, racist, and criminal.

Today, the metaphorical holding of breath and stamping of feet continued. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they will boycott Thursday’s markup of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, in protest of Republicans’ decision to move forward with President Donald Trump’s high court pick so close to Election Day. In this they are depending upon the public’s ignorance and amnesia, supported, as usual, by news media spin. What the Republican are doing with the Barrett nomination is exactly what Democrats insisted was the proper process four years ago. It is exactly what Democrats would do if the parties’ circumstances were reversed. It is constitutional and it is legal. Moreover, the nominee, Judge Barrett, acquitted herself with brio under Democratic questioning.

This is not a “we must protest an outrage and injustice” boycott. It’s an “Ooooo, we are just so darn mad that we can’t have our way!” boycott.

How petty and foolish.

The official statement just compounds the disgrace.

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High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

As you may (and should) know, the classic Western “High Noon” was and is regarded by some conservatives as anti-American. I think it is, as excellent as it is. The ending, where the heroic law man (played by Gary Cooper in an Academy Award-winning performance) throws his star in the dirt in disgust (imitated by “Dirty Harry” for very different reasons in that conservative film years later), is widely seen as a rejection of American society as hypocritical. (The fact that the screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was a Communist doesn’t help.)

My favorite scene in the movie, where Cooper begs the church congregation to help, plays like a “Twilight Zone” episode, with the whole town rationalizing furiously to avoid helping the desperate law man minutes away from having to face, alone, vengeful thugs determined to kill him. (The whole scene is not on YouTube; I searched.) “Rio Bravo,” one of the best John Wayne Westerns and a personal favorite, was devised by director Howard Hawks as a direct rebuke of the selfish and craven America “High Noon” posits. In the Duke’s movie, the lawman, Wayne, constantly rejects the offers of help he receives, though he knows hired killers are massing to free his prisoner. Yet people go out of their way, at great personal risk, to help him anyway, time after time. “High Noon” is a better movie (maybe), but “Rio Bravo” is a fairer depiction of American values and history.

1. This is why I tell lawyers and government employees that it’s unethical to use Google for professional communication and client matters. Mac programmer Jeff Johnson has discovered that if you set Google Chrome to eliminate all website cookies and site data when you close the browser, the data remains un-erased for YouTube and Google itself.

What a coinkydink!

“Perhaps this is just a Google Chrome bug, not intentional behavior, but the question is why it only affects Google sites, not non-Google sites,” Johnson says. “I’ve tested using the latest Google Chrome version 86.0.4240.75 for macOS, but this behavior was also happening in the previous version of Chrome. I don’t know when it started.”

Bottom line: Don’t trust Google. Like I’ve been saying….

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“Abducted In Plain Sight”: Maybe People Really Are Too Stupid To Be Trusted With Democracy

Abducted

If that title sounds harsh, by all means watch the Netflix true crime documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” Otherwise, I’m not sure the ordeal is worth it, since it may throw you into a depression from which you never recover. That’s where I am now.

With the nation facing what might be—“I do believe in people, I do believe in people,” he says in his best Cowardly Lion imitation—an existential election, I really did not need any more reason to despair of the life competency deficit and declining mental state of the nation’s voters. In fact, I decided to watch “Abducted in Plain Sight” to take my mind off of The Big Stupid, with its ongoing efforts by the news media to keep Americans ignorant of the Biden scandal, the brain-melting tale of the Zoom adventures of He Who Must Not Be Named, and polls that seem to show that most of the American public is incapable of paying attention to matters that will effect their lives, family and nation.

Big mistake. What watching the 2017 award-winning documentary did was vividly remind me that normal, decent, religious middle-class Americans like those you live and work with may well be too moronic and irresponsible to be entrusted with children, never mind make decisions about leadership and public policy that will affect the rest of us.

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An Ethics Alarms Colloquy On An Ancient Rationalization

'On the other hand, you must never, ever work in mysterious ways.'

‘On the other hand, you must never, ever work in mysterious ways.’

My wife and I just streamed the first season of the CBS drama “Evil,” which CBS gave to Netflix to goose interest in Season 2, soon to begin. The series raises a series of questions about morality, ethics and theology as it tells the adventures of three paranormal investigators: David Acosta, a former journalist studying to be a Catholic priest who works as an assessor, investigating and sometimes confirming events such as miracles and reports of demons;  Dr. Kristen Bouchard, a professed atheist and a forensic psychologist hired by Acosta to help him distinguish between legitimate instances of demonic possession and insanity; and Ben Shakir, a Muslim contractor who works with both of them as a technical expert, problem solver and equipment handler. Much of the series also focuses on Bouchard’s lively family of four pre-teen girls, her frequently absent husband, and Bouchard’s annoying live-in mother, played by the always interesting Christine Lahti.

The series is the most recent creation of the husband and wife creative team of Robert and Michelle King, best known previously for “The Good Wife.” Robert King won permanent Ethic Alarms brownie points for engaging here when I raised legal ethics objections to some aspects of “the Good Wife” in its early years. “Evil” routinely suggests religious controversies, particularly those relating to Satan and the Catholic Church. I would love to know Amy Coney Barrett’s opinions on it.

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An Activist Writes, “Instagram Censored One Of These Photos But Not The Other. We Must Ask Why.” Isn’t It Obvious Why?

Instagram censorship

Why did Instagram censor one photo and not the other? Easy-peasy:

1. Social media is constantly engaged in mind control. It doesn’t understand satire, and it is especially hostile to any satire of its core market, in the case of Instagram, young, heterosexual women.

2. Human beings and their societies favors the young and beautiful over the not young and less-than-beautiful, and no amount of complaining and protesting is going to change that. Call it “systemic lookism.”

3. Trusting social media to be fair or intelligent is naïve and foolish.

The back-story: Last week Australian comic Celeste Barber posted a parody images of her imitating a post from former Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel.  Instagram censored it, saying that it “goes against our community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity” The identical pose of the conventionally alluring Swanepoel, however, was deemed just fine when it was posted. The Horror!

The “gotcha!” worked;  Instagram  apologized and restored Barber’s version.

Observations:

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Scary Tales Of The Great Stupid: San Diego Schools Decide That To Fight Racism, Character And Education Have To Go

Triple facePalm

Oh, yes, this will work out well.

Seldom have social upheavals combined with irresponsible propaganda resulted in more devastating mass amnesia by institutions regarding well-settled reality than “The Great Stupid,” now playing in your community and mine. Joining advocacy for such self-evident disasters as open borders, eliminating police, self-declared childhood gender flips and re-segregation is the decision to eliminate basic standards in education because educators can’t seem to explain stubborn racial gaps. Make everyone equally ignorant, unethical and undisciplined! Brilliant!

I’m not exaggerating; I wish I were. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the second largest school district in California with over 106,000 students, announced that it is overhauling how students will be evaluated because “teachers fail minority students more than White students.” Since the possibility that the reasons for this persistent problem may rest within minority culture and society pathologies rather than failures of the educational system is unpalatable to the Left and politically incorrect, the proscribed solution is to overhaul the way students are graded as part of what school board members call  “a larger effort to combat racism.”

“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” says SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.” Thus the school board voted unanimously last week —unanimously; think about that— to make sweeping changes. There will be no yearly grade averages. “Things like” turning work in on time and classroom behavior will not affect academic grades, but will only count toward a so-called “citizenship grade.” On the docket for reconsideration in an upcoming meeting: de-emphasizing discipline and penalties for cheating.

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