Sunday Ethics Cheer-Up, 10/25/2020: A Gaffe, A Cake, A Charge, And A Check

Well, I’m trying to cheer up, anyway. It’s raining, I’m behind in several projects, including several posts, I’ve been exhausted without good cause this weekend, and I’m depressed. I even broke out my anti-depression play list (21 pieces in all), with artists noted:

  • “One Fine Day” by the Chiffons
  • “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” by Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Doodles Weaver, soloist.
  • “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” and “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall)
  • “Only You” by the Platters
  • “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  • The First Act Finale of “Iolanthe” and the Overture to “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan
  • “I’m a Fool,” by Elvis.
  • “Neverland,” sung by Mary Martin.
  • “The Star Spangled Banner” by Whitney Houston
  • “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “When I Saw Her Standing There” by the Beatles.
  • “Where the Boys Are” by Connie Francis
  • “La Mer”by Charles Trenet
  • “The Carousel Waltz” by Richard Rodgers.
  • “Runaround Sue” by Dion
  • “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys
  • “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.
  • “A Christmas Festival” by the Boston Pops

If that group doesn’t restore my spirits, it’s time to head for the bridge.

1. I know Ethics Alarms has assigned Joe Biden’s now routine gaffes and misstatements to the Julie Principle category, but you have to admit, “We have the most extensive voter fraud organization in history” is special.

2. If anyone can explain Senator Murkowski’s concept of integrity, please explain it to me. She said she opposed passing the nomination of Judge Barrett to the Senate for a vote because she felt the GOP should be bound by the precedent it set by refusing to vote on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.  Then she announced that since the nomination had passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee, she would vote for Barrett because the judge had proved herself qualified for the Supreme Court, and it would be unfair to penalize her for Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy. Then, today, she voted against cloture, as the Democrats attempted to keep debate going in the full Senate to stall until the election. Now, she says she will vote for Barrett in the final showdown.

To me, she appears to be doing what was commonly called “playing both sides against the middle,” which is the opposite of integrity. It’s also called wanting to “have your cake and eat it too.”

3. October 25 marks the anniversary of a military fiasco that teaches a crucial but oft forgotten ethics lesson. In 1854 Lord James Cardigan led a charge of the Light Brigade cavalry against Russian artillery during a battle in the Crimean War. The British appeared to be winning the Battle of Balaclava when Cardigan received the order to mount a frontal attack on the well-defended Russian position. Good soldier he, Cardigan led his cavalry down the valley, where it was cut to pieces by Russian guns, and suffered 40% casualties. It was later determined that the order was not given intentionally. Lord Cardigan, who survived the battle, was hailed as a national hero in Britain.

He was not a hero. He knew the order to be insane, and the heroic conduct would have been to refuse to follow it. This is the syndrome described in historian Barbara Tuchman’s classic, “The March of Folly.”

4. A reality check from, of all places, “Mother Jones.” True blue progressive Kevin Drum writes that the Democratic fearmongering about the threat to democracy posed by  a Republican Senate, the Electoral College, and the Supreme Court is, shall we say, over-wrought.

Democrats controlled Congress for nearly 50 straight years after World War II and liberals didn’t think it was a threat to democracy. The Warren Court upended constitutional law in the ’60s and liberals didn’t think it was a threat to democracy…Democrats passed Obamacare even though it was unanimously opposed by Republicans and only barely eked out majority support from the public. Liberals didn’t consider this a threat to democracy. And in 2015, when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage? No threat to democracy there.…

Neither of the two major parties has recently exercised total control over our national agenda, but it’s safe to say that over the past 50 years or so, Democrats have mostly won the culture war while Republicans have won the economic war. The reason, like it or not, is that this is basically what the American public wants…. To put it simply, democracy is alive and well in the United States, and the institutional exceptions are relatively mild and of long standing…

Old school liberal pols like Sam Rayburn or Tip O’Neill would laugh at present day progressives who complain that the system is rigged against them just because we’ve lost control of the Senate for a few years and now face a potentially hostile Supreme Court. In no uncertain terms they would tell us to stop whining and instead do the hard work of winning more votes in more places. The Senate is what it is and everyone knows it. The rules are simple and well known, so go out and say things that will appeal to enough people in enough places to win 51 senators. We don’t need a couple of new states or a packed Supreme Court or any of that. We need to convince the American public that our agenda is the right one, and just running up the vote in California won’t do it–and isn’t perhaps the most democratic approach anyway.”

Drum is debunking a core tenet of Big Lie #5, “Everything is terrible.”

31 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Cheer-Up, 10/25/2020: A Gaffe, A Cake, A Charge, And A Check

  1. Since we’re coming up on Halloween, I thought I’d share my first exposure to “Only You”: as sung by Mark Hamill as The Joker in the Batman: Arkham City video game:

  2. 1. Yup, The guy’s a gaffe machine – and now he’s within striking distance of flipping Georgia and Texas if you believe the polls.

    2. It’s also called “trying to keep your seat by any means possible.” She’s essentially owned by Planned Parenthood, but she also knows if she keeps bucking the party, she’s going to get primaried. I hate what Susan Collins is doing, and I think it won’t be enough to save her seat. She deserves to fail too. I don’t like backstabbers. She can join Arlen Specter in the place reserved for those who turn on their party to save their own political skin.

    3. The order was badly worded as General Airey scribbled it down, and was supposed to be understood in conjunction with one issued before it, but that wasn’t clear. Also the messenger who delivered it, an officer named Captain Louis Nolan (who was angry that the brigade hadn’t joined the Heavy Brigade in an earlier charge against the Russian cavalry that would have turned a retreat into a rout), gave a very imprecise (and rude) interpretation of it to Lord Lucan, Cardigan’s superior. Lucan, angered by Nolan’s insolence, refused further discussion, and ordered Cardigan to act. Cardigan DID point out what he was asking was insane, but Lucan told him the Commander-in-Chief had ordered it, now execute it. You know the rest. Cardigan made it all the way to the end of the valley, cut his way through and out, and returned, alone. He then went onto his yacht in the harbor and had dinner with champagne. Nolan was mortally wounded just as the charge was starting, and so did not live to be held accountable. Cardigan was no hero, that’s for damn sure, he abandoned his command when it needed him the most, but neither were Nolan nor Lucan, the latter of whom would have been more than justified in DEMANDING clarification before giving the order.

    4. Kevin Drum sounds like one of the few remaining sane liberals. Too many now are saying that nothing else matters, because Trump is just such a threat that we have to get him out of there by any means necessary, then we have to make sure the system changes so another Trump can’t happen, and THEN we need to punish those who supported him.

    • My guess: Joe’s going to lose many of the states that show him ahead, and will not win any states where the polls show him behind. I have never seen this before: there is literally nobody who is enthusiastic about having him be President; it’s all generalities and Trump Hate. I continue to believe you cant win an election like that

      • I’d like to believe you, however, trying to avoid being a Doug the Downer, it is VERY hard to believe that these polls are all getting it wrong. At this point, we just have to see how it plays. Just FYI, I am beginning to REALLY loathe the Washington Post, which just published a headline saying Trump surrendered on the pandemic. These kooks on the left talk about punishing Trump supporters, I wonder if some of these papers should meet the fate of Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw-Haw.

          • I’m not so sure about that, since they can also point to the economic consequences of the pandemic, but maybe that’s just the other side of the same coin. Most of the rest does boil down to Orange Man Bad in some way. It has convinced the people it was going to convince. I’m not sure it convinced the people it NEEDED to convince. I know no one whose mind has been changed by it, just a lot of people who voted one way last time who are voting the same way this time.

            • Simnce you wrote about polls, did you ever see the Democracy Fund/UCLA Nationscape polls or the African American Research Collaborative Poll taken over the summer? Professor Black Truth tweeted about it a month ago.

              • CNN just pointed out that Biden’s lead is holding, while Hillary’s was beginning to collapse at this time last time out. Of course I am limited in my trust of CNN, but I find the constant “It’s different now! It’s different now!” posts VERY annoying.

  3. 1. I know Ethics Alarms has assigned Joe Biden’s now routine gaffes and misstatements to the Julie Principle category, but you have to admit, “We have the most extensive voter fraud organization in history” is special.


    I suppose political ads in general fall under the Julie principle.

    Drum is debunking a core tenet of Big Lie #5, “Everything is terrible.”

    Yes,. kevin Drum is an old school liberal.

    Matt Taibbi, Glenn Grerenwald, and Jonathan Turley are all libweral Democrats, and they all criticize how the media handled the Hunter Biden e-mail scandal. They recognize that for media outlets to cover up wrongdoing of favored politicians is much more dangerous to our political culture than who wins the 2016 election.

    If you are wondering why there are so many calls for packing courts and adding new states and stuff, it is because the Democratic leadership is afraid of losing power. Polling by the African American Collaborative Research Poll conducted July 1-9, done on behalf of the American University Black Swing Voter Project, indicates that young black voters are less Democratic than older black voters. This is a trend that, over in the next few decades, would mean that the black vote would only be as Democratic as the Mexican-American vote in Los Angeles, or the Irish-American vote in Boston. Obviously, if this happened overnight, Republicans across the country would win in landslides.

  4. Jack,

    I note a serious, and most horrify, lack of Rush in your Anti-Depression Play List. Might be so bold as to suggest, at the very least, “Spirit of Radio”? Have a listen and a new video to commemorate Neil Peart’s passing:


  5. My anti-depression playlist, if I had one, would include the Carpenters’ “Top of the World.” I like “Sweet Caroline,” but it would not be on my list – while “Cherry Cherry” and “I’m a Believer” would be. I am not sure if I would limit my list to 20 or so top tunes. My list would probably have to go up to 50 or more. And like you, Jack, “I Can See Clearly Now” would be on it.

    • To be fair, “Sweet Caroline” gets a boost over the other ND songs because of its Red Sox connection. On the basis of non-baseball criteria, “I’m a Believer” or “Cracklin’ Rosie” would get the nod. The way the Red Sox are going, one of them may make it yet,

  6. Re#1: During his basement rally yesterday, Joe said he’s going to really beat George Bush in this Senate race! … Just like he did when he (Joe) was in jail with Bush and Martin Luther King in Capetown after he (Joe) received the Croix de Guerre from Charles Manson.

    Some of the above is true.

    • I find these incidents being considered “gaffes” as serious obfuscation. These aren’t gaffes, they are signs of a guy who’s lost many of his marbles. This is not just Joe being Joe, this is an elderly man who’s demented and being carted around like an animatronic prop. If he wins, he’ll be replaced by The Harridan sometime in early February. Talk about a Manchurian candidate…. His entire candidacy is a fraud being perpetrated upon the American public.

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