Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/12/2020: The “I’m Sorry I Ignored Veteran’s Day But I Was Distracted By The Enemies Of The People” Edition

The reason for the choice of song will reveal itself at the end of the post…

1. No 2020 Election Train Wreck update this morning, because there are only a few items to report. One stinker from yesterday: the New York Times had an across-the-front page, “This is important!” headline that read, “ELECTION OFFICIALS NATIONWIDE FIND NO FRAUD.”

How did the Times’ ethics fall so far, so fast? That headline is pure propaganda, deceitful on its face. Do the editors think even the most partisan of their readers are that gullible?

2. Then there’s the Washington Post. I almost hate to post this after trying to talk commenter of the day Steve Witherspoon off the ledge in the previous Ethics Alarms entry. USPS whistleblower Richard Hopkins has demanded Tuesday that the false Washington Post story claiming he ‘recanted’ his sword statement regarding directions he was given by his Erie, PA postmaster to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day. He did not recant. In a video, the veteran says,

“My name is Richard Hopkins, I’m a postal employee who came out and whistleblew on the Erie, Pennsylvania postal service, postal office. I am right at this very moment looking at an article written by the Washington Post—it says that I fabricated the allegations of ballot tampering. I’m here to say that I did not recant my statements, that didn’t happen, that is not what happened. You will find out tomorrow, and I would like that the Washington Post recant their wonderful little article that they decided to throw out there, out at random.”

He has been placed on non-pay status by the Erie Post Office, which seems like a violation of whistle-blower laws to me, but I haven’t checked. GoFundMe, based on the Post story, erased the effort to provide him and his family financial support while he is being punished by the USPS.

The House Oversight Committee claimed they were told by the USPS Office of Inspector General that Richard Hopkins had signed a sworn affidavit recanting the sworn affidavit claiming he was forced to change ballots. If this is indeed untrue, as it seems, where is the accountability?

Project Veritas released another video interview in which  Richard Hopkins not only said he didn’t recant his story but played an audiotape of SPS investigators Russell Strasser and Charles Klein pressuring him to recant his statement about backdating ballots. The reflex response to this has been that Project Veritas can’t be trusted, but at this point I view it about as trustworthy as Fox News, the New York Times or the Washington Post. This tweet from yesterday is apt:

Post story tweet

More on this story at the Daily Lid, here.

3. Wait! How can this be? From the CBS local affiliate: “A social worker in the Mexia State Supported Living Center has been charged with 134 felony counts in an election fraud investigation. The Texas Attorney General’s Office’s Election Fraud Unit assisted the Limestone County Sheriff and District Attorney in charging Kelly Reagan Brunner. If convicted, Brunner faces up to 10 years in prison for the alleged offenses. State Supported Living Centers serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the AG’s office explained in a news release Friday, Nov. 6.”

But I was just told by the most trustworthy paper in America that “ELECTION OFFICIALS NATIONWIDE FIND NO FRAUD”!

4. When I posted “A Nation of Assholes,” I didn’t think it would go this far. Students, teens and twenty-somethings, yes. Middle School principals, no.

Bill Gifford, principal of Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston, Maine, wrote on Facebook that President Trump’s supporters were “asswipes” and said that they have “big trucks” and “small dicks.”  His posts—there were others similarly charming— were circulated among the Regional School Unit 13 community and alarmed parents who said the principal set a bad example for students, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Really? Who would have thought it? I don’t know about you, but I know I’d be thrilled to have such a civil, responsible school leader guiding my child and serving as his role model.

Bill decided he probably should apologize, writing later in part,

“My mistake was to include profanity, and for that I am truly sorry and hope that the community can accept this heartfelt apology…it is a great privilege to hold a leadership position and help guide our youth to realize their full potential. With this great privilege, I realize that I have the responsibility to ensure that I demonstrate effective ways to communicate, even when I disagree, in a way that ensures a productive and respectful dialogue.”

Thank you, Bill! You’re fired. (He hasn’t been, yet.)

5. Ugh. Trump tweets…and a song! Ann Althouse reads the President’s tweets so I don’t have to. It’s fine to blame the media, the Left’s lies, and possible voting shenanigans for the President’s likely defeat, but the truth is that he has been a major architect of his own fate.

To the melody of “Old Man River,” original lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein Jr and music by the great Jerome Kern:

Trump keeps tweeting

Yes Trump keeps tweeting

He don’t learn nothing

He must tweet something

He can’t stop tweeting

He just keeps tweeting his crap.

He don’t write clearly

He don’t have filters

And them that read it

Go out of kilter!

But Trump keeps tweeting

He keeps on tweeting this crap!

You and me

We sweat and strain

Brain all aching

And wracked with pain

Stop the rot!

Save our laws!

Its an uphill battle,

And that’s all because…

Trump keeps tweeting

And sounding crazy

I’m getting nauseous

My sight’s gone hazy!

But Trump keeps tweeting…

He just keeps tweeting his crap!

31 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/12/2020: The “I’m Sorry I Ignored Veteran’s Day But I Was Distracted By The Enemies Of The People” Edition

  1. 4. “My mistake was to include profanity???” He could have said, “Trump supporters are the equivalent of feces covered toilet paper,” and “they have undersized penises which they try to make up for by driving large trucks?” That would have made it okay?

    This story is worth following. I don’t think it’s impossible he’ll keep his job. He’s just your run of the mill Trump deranged person “having a conversation” with his moral inferiors.

  2. The thing about this latest round of Trump’s tweets: You would think that, as President, he would have better sources of information about possible fraud than the rest of us and be better able to judge which of the many accusations and rumors are true and which are not. But no — he seems to be reading the same internet posting as everybody else and to seize on the most outlandish accusations, not the most plausible. In particular, I’ve seen the articles claiming to have proven that the Dominion software is rigged, and they fall far, far short of actual proof.

    • Of course, this is no excuse, but perhaps he’s playing the same game as the MSM? They have consistently made accusations against the President that fell far, far short of actual proof.

  3. 4. It takes very special people to last more than a year or two teaching or administrating at a middle school. Very specially smart, kind, patient ones and very specially awful and dumb ones who might also be on very special power trips.

    5. I love it. I’d learn to sing that version and post the video on Facebook, but that’s a piece that really requires a male voice.

    At first I thought you were going for the “I’ll just keep fightin until I’m dyin” line, which is a sentiment we could all use right now. As I’m sure you know, Robeson had tweaked those lyrics to be more empowering and play less into stereotypes. I prefer the change myself, but maybe we lost some of the song’s pathos that way.

    • SS, after two and a half years teaching seventh and then ninth and eleventh grades, I got out of teaching for a number of reasons. I wasn’t that special kind of teacher who could stay excited about the subject material for much more than a year or two. I couldn’t see punishing my family economically to benefit the children of other people. Most of all, I didn’t want to turn into the kind of people who comprised most of the veteran teachers. What a demoralizing group.

      • Thanks for your perspective! It rings true. I tutored the SAT as a side gig for a while and that was enough to convince me I’d get bored and stressed from teaching a full classroom.

        Another way to put it: people who last at the middle school level are (a) tough, and have the skills and sense of humor to navigate the awfulness (b) too dense to notice the awfulness or (c) awful and thrive in the awfulness. Oddly enough, group (c) produces some effective teachers and admins. The principal in the story is definitely group (b) though.

        • I did enjoy running a classroom. I enjoyed it once the door was closed and there were no other adults, administrators and other faculty, just me and the kids. It’s a bit like being a lion tamer or conducting an orchestra, I’m guessing. The kids were good if they felt you were paying attention to them. Of course, these were Catholic schools, so there was order. I’m glad I did it. I was good at it. It was something I’d always wanted to do. And I did. And then that was that.

        • Roger that: group (c) produces effective deans of discipline and history and phys ed. teachers and coaches and assistant principals and shop teachers. All essential.

  4. 1. The Times article cites high-ranking election officials in all 50 states, all of whom say there has been no sizable fraud which would affect election results. There is, always, allegations of misbehavior here and there, but there is no evidence that this is a) at a higher rate for this election b) centered on Democratic gains or c) organized in any sizable way. We can sneer at the Times all we want–they’re often ridiculous–but it seems doubtful that all the interviewed officials, Republicans and Democrats both, have been misrepresented in their quotes. I’m not aware of any alleging that they were. You can say that certain allegations and findings negate the headline, but that seems akin to a headline saying “America welcomes astronauts home” when actually a handful of people aren’t actually welcoming.

    • What would you expect a government official to say about their own competence?

      Public school officials will tell you all is well in schools even in the face of declining test scores.

      At issue is a handful of states. When the state supreme court made up of elected democrats usurps the Republican legislature ( which is the only body authorized to set the rules of choosing electors) and imposes the will of the Democrat controlled Executive branch it created the Constitutional challenges.

      The New York Times has had an agenda and typically uses nameless officials to bolster its arguments. Remember Anonymous? He will ultimately be called i

      • Why would only a handful of states be at issue? If there were a nationwide conspiracy of fraud, wouldn’t it be tried everywhere? Wouldn’t the people who defeated it elsewhere have something to say? Would it not be a more reasonable assumption that, in some states, more people just voted for the other guy? If you think the juggernaut of leftist culture has a pernicious effect on the populace, wouldn’t it make sense that it just would have convinced enough people to vote for the leftist candidate?

        • This seems kind of like saying “if my client was going to rob a bank, wouldn’t he have robbed the one down the street too?”

          I mean, if I were trying to steal an election, I would focus on states that would allow me to win (get me to 270), that could plausibly go to me, and that have enough of an established political machine of my party, whether city or state level, that I could work with friendly government officials.

          I’m no political genius, but I wouldn’t be trying to steal states that I’m already winning, states where fraud would be blindingly obvious, or states where I had no clout at all.

    • For them to say that before legitimate complaints have been investigated is irresponsible and laughable. They simply don’t know, and can’t say that, especially with the inherent insecurity of mail-in ballots. If every police chief in the nation signed a statement that there was no widespread racism in their police departments, would you believe them? Would the Times?

      By the way, you had “so” where it should have read “no,” thus changing your meaning. I fixed it.

      • Thanks for fixing my typo. If you read the Times article, it’s clear that the officials say there have been no sizable complaints to investigate. At the rate Trump’s lawsuits are being thrown out, it seems many judges agree.

        • Please don’t push talking points here. The major news was on a successful Trump suit:

          A judge in Pennsylvania has ruled in favor of the Trump campaign after concluding that ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day that were segregated should not be counted.

          The judge also determined that Kathy Boockvar, the Pennsylvania secretary of the Commonwealth, lacked the “statutory authority” to change election law days before the election.

          “[The] Court concludes that Respondent Kathy Boockvar, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Commonwealth, lacked statutory authority to issue the November 1, 2020, guidance to Respondents County Board of Elections insofar as that guidance purported to change the deadline in Section 1308(h) of the Pennsylvania Election Code […] for certain electors to verify proof of identification, based on Secretary Boockvar’s interpretation and application of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar,” Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt’s ruling reads. “Accordingly, the Court hereby ORDERS that Respondents County Boards of Elections are enjoined from counting any ballots that have been segregated.”

          Suits that are thrown out can be and often are, refiled. Meanwhile this suit was meaningless:

          A state court legal fight to stop the counting of mail ballots in the Las Vegas area has ended after the Nevada Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the Donald Trump campaign and the state Republican party, at their request.

          The dismissal leaves two active legal cases in Nevada relating to the 2020 presidential election, as a small number of remaining ballots are counted.

          The campaign and GOP had tried to withdraw the appeal in the state case, submitting a document last week telling the seven-member court that it had reached a settlement calling for Clark County election officials to allow more observers at a ballot processing facility.

          And this one was trivial AND unrelated to the election:

          A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit President Donald Trump’s campaign had filed against CNN for a 2019 opinion piece about former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.

  5. The whole interview with the postal inspector is up on YouTube, as Hopkins wore a wire. I’m not a lawyer, but the conditions of the interview they were reading to him sounded like he was being Mirandized. They didn’t read the Miranda warnings all at once but they covered all the points and had him initial each one. Is that usual in this type of interview? He’s a whistleblower, he hasn’t committed a crime. They said a lie detector test was on the table, they said the DOJ and Congress members were ‘involved’ and perhaps his emotions were coloring his account. I have the second hour to listen to today, but it looks as if they were trying hard to rattle him. I thought as I listened to it that he should have had someone with him.

  6. #1 What do you expect from a newspaper that has shown that they will justify anything to rid the United States of the evil Trump?

    #2 That story was just one of the stories at the top of my What The Fuck list that caused be to walk the ledge yesterday. Yesterday morning it was mostly despair, today it’s all anger.

    #3 We are going to see more real fraud during this election first because we’re actively looking for it and second because the Democrats put in place last minute measures that literally enabled more fraud. Any Democrat that claims that there is no election fraud after this election is over is a liar. We’ll probably never know if fraudulent/illegal votes turned specific elections one way or the other.

    #4 Here’s the rules; when a Democrat apologizes it’s heartfelt and character evolving and they should be respected and honored for their effort, when a Republican apologizes they’re just trying to whitewash over their evil and their life and livelihood should be destroyed.

    #5 “It’s fine to blame the media, the Left’s lies, and possible voting shenanigans for the President’s likely defeat, but the truth is that he has been a major architect of his own fate.”

    After what I’ve seen over the last four years, on this point I tend to disagree.

    In today’s politically charged environment President Trump could have been the 21st century’s version of Ronald Regan and the political left would have done exactly what they did to President Trump. President Trump could have completely stopped using Twitter to troll the political left and the political left wouldn’t have change their tactics one iota. The political left didn’t get their way in the 2016 election to push their progressive agenda pendulum further to the left and they lost their collective minds. It doesn’t matter who beat the Democrats in the 2016 election they were fully expecting to push President Obama’s “change” and they were poised on the edge of reality and ready to pounce on anyone that tried to stop them. President Trump’s demeanor and rhetorical style was completely evident to the people of the United States well before he was elected in 2016 and it was likely one of the primary reasons he was elected; therefore, in my opinion, his unchanged demeanor and rhetorical style was not a major architect of his own fate in fact in spite of his demeanor and rhetorical style and maybe because of his demeanor and rhetorical style he actually accomplished things in Washington DC in the midst of unrelenting attacks from the political left.

    As I talked about in my August blog post about How Continuous Rioting Morphs the Thinking of Society the same thing can be said for the never ending constant negative drum beat of anti-Trumpism attacks emanating from all corners of the political left; How Continuous Anti-Trumpism Morphs the Thinking of the Electorate. It didn’t matter whether the anti-Trumpism was truthful or outright lies, the implications of evil in the propaganda has taken its toll on the people of the United States, the political left’s tactic worked to infect more voters and at the same time President Trump’s unchanged demeanor and rhetorical style got things done so his base also grew. The scorched Earth tactic from the political left from the very moment Donald Trump was elected appears to have won the day in the 2020 election unless significant voter fraud can be identified in swing states thus shifting the vote totals.

    I don’t care one bit if you like President Trump or not, I don’t care if you vote for President Trump or not, what I do care about is how our society is being dragged into the moral and ethical abyss because people hate President Trump and are willing to sacrifice their moral and ethical compass to feed their hate. The root cause of the chaotic things we’re seeing in the United States have NOT been created by Donald Trump but as a tactical reaction to Donald Trump.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s hate.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s bigotry.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s irrational aversion to truth and facts.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump‘s anti-American and anti-Constitution ideological leanings.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s leaning towards totalitarianism.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s bastardization of words and symbols.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s anti-history stance.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s anti-social behaviors.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s anti-respect, anti-logic, anti-critical thinking, and anti-civility.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s Pravda like propaganda media machine.

    President Trump didn’t create the anti-Trump’s “deep state”.

    President Trump didn’t create these things, the haters and the propagandists created these things in their scorched Earth anti-Trump tactics! Trump’s presence in the White House has inspired the anti-Trumpers, which is primarily the political left, especially the extreme progressives, to peel back their false facade of civility and reveal their true hateful selves to the world.

    Back in 2015 & 2016 I wrote on Ethics Alarms and elsewhere that Donald Trump “is fully engaged in using the worst of the worst Liberal tactics in his campaign and he’s put them on a continuous IV stream of steroids” and “Trump is the epitome of what the Democratic Party has been doing for some time now.” and “Trump recognized that the same division that the Democratic Party has been using for years could work for him too, he was right and now Democratic Party tactics and moral bankruptcy has come to roost in what’s left of the Republican Party” and “Trump dove-in head first and used the same kind of unethical propaganda political tactics that the political left has been using and put them on a continuous feed of steroids.”

    What happened after the election is the political left lost their collective mind and pushed their scorched Earth tactics over the edge of reality when they could have been the adult in the room for the next four years.

    What’s happened in the last four years is a new precedence for political discourse has taken hold in the United States and politicians have taken note of the tactical success of hate and when tit-for-tat takes over in a couple of months it’s likely to get worse, much much worse.

    • Less that 60% of Biden voters in one poll (I know, I know) said that they weren’t voting for Biden, Steve. You can’t possibly think that a parallel universe Trump who behaved exactly the same except for not tweeting daily not just like a 13-year-old but a dunb and inarticulate 13-year old wouldn’t have won the election even with everything you mention.

      I think I’ll poll this today in the warm-up.

      • Jack wrote, “Less that 60% of Biden voters in one poll (I know, I know) said that they weren’t voting for Biden”

        I’m, a little confused; does that mean that mean that that roughly 60% were voting against Trump?

        If that’s so, did they also say that they were voting against Trump because of his tweets?

          • Jack wrote, “But the tweets were a contributing factor, and a completely unnecessary one.”

            I completely agree that they were a contributing factor I just don’t buy into the opinion that they were anything close to a major contributing factor, so I guess we’re just quibbling about how “major” a contributing factor the tweets were. With all the in-our-face constant drumbeats of anti-Trump smears, propaganda, lies, etc from the left I just think the tweets were really low on the scale of reasons to vote against President Trump because it wasn’t anything different than he had been doing before he was elected. The anti-Trump left was effective at presenting oodles of other things that they were touting as the major reasons to vote against the President.

            • If you remove them, and Trump would have won, as I am quite sure he would have with all else being equal, then it was a major factor by definition.

              If “all the Democrats had to do is not act crazy and they couldn’t even do that” is fair, and it is, the flip side, and equally fair, is “All Trump had to do is not be an asshole, and he couldn’t even do that.”

              • Jack wrote, “If you remove [the tweets], and Trump would have won, as I am quite sure he would have with all else being equal, then it was a major factor by definition.”

                Sure if all things were equal then tweets would be the only outstanding factor and thus a major factor, I completely agree, but that’s not the reality we saw with this campaign season and subsequent election, not even close.

                Analogy: Take two 16 ounce glasses in one glass pour one-half ounce of whiskey and fill the rest with water that’s a 31 to 1 ratio, in the other glass pour one half once of water then fill the rest of the glass with whiskey that is also a 31 to 1 ratio. Whiskey represents the reasons to vote against Trump. On the surface the ratios are numerically equal. If all things are “equal” then a healthy and fit 150 pound man that drink the glass with one half ounce whiskey and fifteen and a half ounces of water will get equally as drunk as another healthy fit 150 pound man that drinks the glass with fifteen and a half ounces of whiskey and one half ounce of water.

                In reality, all things are not equal, not even close.

                My argument is just as theoretical as any argument when it comes to opinions about major contributing factors as to why elections turn out the way they do. I personally think that President Trumps tweets were way down the list of contributing factors in this election but hating President Trump was the single most relevant reason for voting against President Trump. Using my mixed drink analogy from above, the majority of those 31 parts to vote against was hate thus vastly outweigh that one little 1 reason which was tweets. I don’t know any person that voted for Biden or against President Trump that doesn’t openly say that they hate President Trump, I’m sure there are some that say they don’t hate him but I find it hard to believe once they start talking about him. In fact hating President Trump is exactly what the political left wanted voters to do, they spent 4 years convincing people to hate Trump. In my opinion the Democrats didn’t run on policy they ran on a anti-Trump hate campaign so they could win by default with any empty suit sock puppet they nominated.

                Hate: feel intense or passionate dislike for someone.

                I think Biden’s facade will begin to peel away the closer we get to inauguration day. God help the United States if the Democrats end up with having the majority in both the House and the Senate plus the Presidency.

                • By all things being equal, I mean “if everything else was as it was.” A major reason so many people hated Trump was his tweeting. How many votes do you think his “go back to where you came from” tweet cost him?

                  • How Continuous Trump Tweets Morph the Thinking of the Electorate.

                    I think the tweets are seen with momentary outrage and dumped into the standard operating procedure bin never to be heard from again and the eyes glaze over because it’s become so common place. I’ve seen my anti-Trump friends ignore them because they have more shocking things to smear Trump with.

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