Sunday Ethics Infusion, 17/15/2020: “Run Away!”

1. To channel Scarlet O’Hara…If one more Trump-Deranged individual accuses me of  adopting right-wing media conspiracy theories, I will get angry, and they won’t like me when I’m angry. I accept analysis from no one, especially from the likes of (the former version of) Fox News, Breitbart, Mark Levin and others of note. If I like a legitimate authority’s analysis (like, say, Andrew McCarthy, Ann Althouse or Jonathan Turley), I will credit them for it. “It sure is suspicious that your points agree with theirs” I was told today. It’s no more suspicious than the fact that their stated analysis agrees with mine. I’m not tolerating this insult. I’m at least as informed, educated and intelligent as those I am accused of “parroting,” and I’m considerably more informed, educated and intelligent than the typical knee-jerk progressive water-carrier who tries to win arguments they have neither the wit nor the facts to support by calling me incapable of forming my own opinions.

2. An update! The original collection of movie clips that Ethics Alarms uses repeatedly to illustrate certain points has been expanded considerably.

3. “Run away!” I see that conservatives are “fleeing” Facebook and Twitter for the allegedly more accommodating and less censorious environs of Parler and MeWe. EVERYONE should bolt from Facebook and Twitter if they have any concern about the social media platforms manipulating public opinion and possible tilting the election by partisan censorship, not to mention the mendacity of both platforms’ CEOs and their basic lack of trustworthiness.

Fox News is also facing a backlash for its sudden pandering to the anti-Trump market. Talented right-wing performance artist blogger Ace of Spades captures the mood among conservatives since election night:

Fox Still Refuses to Retract or Explain Its Completely Erroneous, Demoralizing “Call” of Democrats Winning +5 to +15 House Seats, But Bret Baier Stealth-Deletes His Tweet Declaring the Democrat Gains

So, Bret Baier deletes the tweet from his history, but he won’t plainly say the call is retracted and was made in error?

Also, a couple of tidbits sources have passed to me: First, I’m told that Fox has in fact hired a crisis communications firm to help them dig their way out of further deeper into the hole they’re in. Second, I’m told that they think this will all blow over in a couple of weeks anyway. They think you’re having a tantrum, and when you’ve got it all out of your system, you will once again love the wisdom of Chris Wallace, Christ Stirewalt, Neil Cavuto, Sandra Smith, Howie Kurtz, Paul Ryan, Bill Sammon, Mara Liaiason, Juan Williams, Bret Baier and his endless parade of no-account NeverTrumpers, “the brain room,” the leftwing Democrat in charge of their decision desk, etc.

I think that they’re trying to hasten your coming down from your “tantrum” by not reporting on voter fraud allegations — embargoing the story. They think you’re stupid enough to forget about it if your mind-controllers in the Fox “brain room” don’t mention it to you.

If the public has no major right-tilting news source to cover the stories the mainstream media buries, marginalizes or misreports in order to support the agendas of Axis of Unethical Conduct, the nation will be completely dependent on the new media to figure out what’s happening. That means that the grip around the throat of American liberty is tightening, not to be alarming or anything…

4.  Not a conspiracy theory, but legitimately suspicious: Historically, mail-in ballots are rejected at around the rate of 1%. For first-time absentee voters, the rate can go as high as 3%, with the higher number resulting from first-time voters and confusion over the mail-in process. Experts and commentators predicted a higher proportion of  rejected ballots in the 2020 election, because of the much larger number of voters unfamiliar with the process. However, Just The News reports,

Yet ballot rejections have thus far been lower across the United States this year than expected, with battleground states posting strikingly lower numbers relative to both the historical average and more recent elections. 

In Georgia, for instance — a state in which Democrat Joe Biden has eked out a surprise lead of fewer than 20,000 votes over Donald Trump — the rejection rate in 2016 was a whopping 6.4%, according to U.S. data. 

This year, the rate of rejection in that state stands at 0.2%, more than thirty times lower than the last election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, an election data site run by University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald that draws its figures from state reports.

Similar trends have been observed in Pennsylvania, whose rate was 0.03% this year compared to around 1% in 2016. In Nevada, the rejection rate more than halved from 1.60% in 2016 to around 0.75% this year.  North Carolina’s rate fell from about 2.7% in 2016 to 0.8% this year.

…In Michigan, meanwhile, the most recently reported rejection rate — posted just before the election —was around 0.1%; the rate in 2016 was 0.5%.


Yeah, I may have to add that one to the list…

5. Put up or shut up, Rudy. Rudy Giuliani is telling anyone who will listen that the Trump team has proof that the election was decisively corrupted, and the that the result will be overturned….but he cannot reveal the evidence now. I can’t imagine why that would be, but he better have a damn good reason, because if what he says is true or even potentially true, the longer the delay, the more upheaval, and potentially violence, it will cause.

And if it is not true, I will personally file an ethics complaint against him.

16 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Infusion, 17/15/2020: “Run Away!”

  1. #3 Everyone should bolt from Facebook and Twitter not just for the censoring posts they deem harmful but for one’s own mental health. Both feed self-indulgent narcissism. Both make you more likely to do something absolutely childish that will haunt you forever. And, the primary shareholders are becoming American Oligarchs and wielding their power to silence opposition to their agenda across all media.

    In my opinion the only honest voice on Fox is satirist Greg Gutfeld. I gave up FOX and all other cable networks last January. Now I rely on EA and primary sources. I have no time for any anonymously sourced information. See #5 below.

    #5 There is no evidence until it is publicly available and subject to examination. Guilliani can, and has done more harm to Trump than he has created benefits. These tactics may work with those instances where the lawyer claims he has all the evidence he needs to conclude that the cop was racist (his opinion – not facts) but these tactics won’t play in Peoria for Trump.

  2. 5)NO! Put up or shut up, Guiliani. If you have witnesses and proof, now is the time to present them, not some hypothetical future time.

    If you’re dragging your heels here, you’re a heel and Trump needs to fire you.

    Now is the time. There is no tomorrow.

  3. 5. If Giuliani really has the proof, then I disagree with Jack’s call yesterday for Trump to concede the election. If he turns out to have nothing (and so far, nothing in the public domain has come close to proving Trump’s case), then Jack is right that Trump should have conceded and Giuliani should be disciplined by the bar.

    Another lawyer who has made some very serious accusations about election fraud is Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn’s lawyer. She has been a credible source about Flynn’s case, eventually backing up her claims with solid evidence. But she’s been saying there’s proof that the Dominion software somehow stole votes from Trump and gave them to Biden. If true, that would be the worst crime in American political history, but it seems wildly improbable to me.

  4. Have you read this Twitter thread.

    Does the ignorance in the thread infuriate you?

      • Jack has criticized Dr. Fauci before.

        This is the first time a public health crisis was handled by massive restrictions on individual private behavior.

        This is in sharp contrast to how public health departments deal with food poisoning. they regulate commercial kitchens and food prep establishments. Private kitchens are not regulated, and the burden on consumers is limited to maybe paying higher prices, or waiting a little bit longer for food to be served at a restaurant.

        By sharp contrast, people were arrested for surfing alone on the beach, in pursuit of enforcing these restrictions.

        In order for this mitigation strategy of regulating individual private behavior to work, it requires trust in the public health establishment.

        That trust has been diminished since the summer.

        I summarize here.

        “However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as
        risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national
        public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in
        the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest
        protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to
        gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive
        stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.
        Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also
        rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives.
        Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden
        of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must
        be supported.” – 1200 public health experts

        After saying no to so many things, a significant number of public health
        experts have determined that massive protests of police brutality are an
        exception to the rules of COVID-19 mitigation. Yes, these protests are
        outdoors, and yes, these experts have encouraged protesters to wear masks
        and observe six feet of social distance. But if you watch actual footage of
        protests—even the ones where cops are behaving badly themselves—you will see
        crowds that are larger and more densely packed than the public beaches and
        parks that many mayors and governors have heavily restricted. Every
        signatory to the letter above may not have called for those restrictions,
        but they also didn’t take to a public forum to declare them relatively safe
        under certain conditions.

        “For many public health experts who have spent weeks advising policymakers
        and the public on how to reduce their risk of getting or inadvertently
        spreading the coronavirus, the mass demonstrations have forced a shift in
        perspective,” The New York Times tells us.

        But they could have easily kept the same perspective: Going out is
        dangerous, here’s how to best protect yourself. The added well, this cause
        is important, though, makes the previous guidance look rather suspect. It
        also makes it seem like the righteousness of the cause is somehow a
        mitigating factor for spreading the disease.

        Examples of this new framing abound. The Times interviewed Tiffany
        Rodriguez, an epidemiologist “who has rarely left her home since mid-March,”
        but felt compelled to attend a protest in Boston because “police brutality
        is a public health epidemic.” NPR joined in with a headline warning readers
        not to consider the two crises—racism and coronavirus—separately. Another
        recent New York Times article began: “They are parallel plagues ravaging
        America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women.”

        Police violence, white supremacy, and systemic racism are very serious
        problems. They produce disparate harms for marginalized communities:
        politically, economically, and also from a medical standpoint. They
        exacerbate health inequities. But they are not epidemics in the same way
        that the coronavirus is an epidemic, and it’s an abuse of the English
        language to pretend otherwise. Police violence is a metaphorical plague.
        COVID-19 is a literal plague.

        These differences matter. You cannot contract racism if someone coughs on
        you. You cannot unknowingly spread racism to a grandparent or roommate with
        an underlying health condition, threatening their very lives. Protesting is
        not a prescription for combatting police violence in the same way that
        penicillin is a prescription for a bacterial infection. Doctors know what
        sorts of treatments cure various sicknesses. They don’t know what sorts of
        protests, policy responses, or social phenomena will necessarily produce a
        less racist society, and they shouldn’t leverage their expertise in a manner
        that suggests they know the answers.

        It’s clear that we’ve come to the point where people can no longer be
        expected to stay at home no matter what. Individuals should feel empowered
        to make choices about which activities are important enough to incur some
        exposure to COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to someone else, whether that
        activity is reopening a business, going back to work, socializing with
        friends, or joining a protest against police brutality. Health experts can
        help inform these choices. But they can’t declare there’s just one activity
        that’s worth the risk.”- Robby Soave

        “It’s not that public health folks are wrong that racism and police
        brutality have significant public health consequences; while coronavirus has
        the potential to kill hundreds of thousands in a short period of time, over
        the long-term racism and state violence can cause even greater harm.

        But here’s the thing: while it’s understandable that people want to take to
        the streets to protest racism and state violence, there is no
        epidemiological or other scientific evidence that such protests will have
        positive public health effects by spurring positive social and political
        change. Any scientist or public health expert who suggests otherwise is
        engaging in political and sociological speculation that is not only beyond
        their expertise, but that really beyond anyone’s expertise. But it’s worse
        when such speculation purports to be scientific, from experts whose
        credibility is crucial for containing the current and future pandemics.”-
        David Bernstein

        Some of my social media friends have been insisting for some time that many
        of the hardcore lockdown/social distancing advocates were less concerned
        about public health and more about imposing their own value system against
        what they considered an unenlightened public, and some subset of those
        people actually welcomed the lockdown because they prefer people to live on
        the government dole that to allow “capitalist exploitation.” I’m not, to say
        the least, a big fan of the political and public health establishment, but I
        nevertheless thought this was too cynical, and I did (and still do) think
        that many aspects of the lockdown were justified by public health needs.

        Yet today we see Mayor DeBlasio arguing that protesting racism is more
        important than being banned from attending religious services indefinitely,
        and Governor Murphy of New Jersey stating that protests against racism may
        flout social distancing rules, but he’s going to continue to enforce them
        against lockdown opponents.

        Worse yet, Slate reports that:

        Facing a slew of media requests asking about how protests might be a risk
        for COVID-19 transmission, a group of infectious disease experts at the
        University of Washington, with input from other colleagues, drafted a
        collective response. In an open letter published Sunday, they write that
        “protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden
        of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must
        be supported.”… By Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 epidemiologists,
        doctors, social workers, medical students, and other health experts had
        signed the letter.

        So much for the “expert public health community.”

        I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as at all credulous, but
        I think I need to get even more cynical.

        A final thought: For many of the left, anti-racism is basically a religion,
        and they don’t want the Covid crisis to interfere with an important
        anti-racism ritual, protest. But when it comes to accommodating actual
        religion, like having a religious quorum at a funeral? Feh, that’s not
        important.”- David Bernstein

    • I’ll refer back to a response I made to a thread a couple days ago, on mask wearing. The study, which cited US mask wearing at only 49%, said 130k deaths could be averted by February 1st just by wearing masks. That study was by the University of Washington — I suspect it’s the same model.

      Unfortunately for them, other polling data suggests that around 80% or so of Americans already wear masks, which reduces the mortality opportunity from 130k to negligible since we’re already doing what they suggest would help.

      U of Washington’s models have been drastically and dramatically wrong all through this pandemic — I believe they were the ones predicting millions of deaths here in the U.S. already if we didn’t go to a draconian and total lockdown. They have zero credibility in my eyes.

      It’s also possible that an asteroid will hit the Earth before January 20th.

  5. 1. Good for you. Don’t lay down to psychotic people without critical thinking skills. Now, if only we could make your stem cells available for most Americans…

    2. Good news.

    3. Jack said:

    EVERYONE should bolt from Facebook and Twitter if they have any concern about the social media platforms manipulating public opinion and possible tilting the election by partisan censorship, not to mention the mendacity of both platforms’ CEOs and their basic lack of trustworthiness.

    Indeed. As well, the alternative platforms are far less invasive of privacy. It would also be wisdom if more people left Google’s search engine for DuckDuckGo.

    As for Fox News, the biblical “You reap what you sow” comes immediately to mind. But the thing that bugs me most is Fox backing out on their commitment to be an alternative voice not openly hostile to the Right. I have never demanded a right-wing echo chamber, but is it too much to ask for both sides to get fair treatment? Evidently it is, which is why we are stuck with, at best, competing partisan perspectives, and even that appears to be on its deathbed.

    4. Yes, it is suspicious to everybody with a functioning brain who is not also determined to see Trump lose at any cost, even a rigged election. It’s not enough in isolation to justify overturning anything, but it is further evidence (as if any were actually needed) of the wildly unlikely number of statistical improbabilities (some might say functionally impossibilities) that have cropped up in this election. I get that in 2020, a lot of unlikely things have happened, but even that doesn’t explain this and other statistical anomalies.

    It’s more likely that I could flap my arms and fly to Saturn than all these things taken together happening in one election.

    5. Agreed 100%. And while you’re at it, perhaps consider filing one against Sydney Powell also. If they don’t have what they claim to have, or if it is clearly insufficient to matter, then they should both be disbarred and shunned. I’m tired of being hyped to. Trump himself has broken my tolerance for overstatement.

  6. 1. I’ve kicked more than a few “friends” off my page for accusing me of accepting right wing talking points lock, stock, and barrel (are you still allowed to say that?) and insulting me by calling me a hack. My page, my rules. You throw insults, you’re gone.

    2. Cool.

    3. More than a few of us are headed out of there. I am tired of every. time. something. about the election. is posted, they feel the need to tell us who the projected winner is and tell us how trustworthy mail-in voting is. I don’t need a helicopter parent or bossy spouse reminding me of something multiple times lest I forget, even for a moment.

    4. The prosecutors and DHS officials say this was the most secure election yet in this country, so of course those numbers dropped. /sarc.

    5. Psssst, he doesn’t have any evidence. He’s just stalling.

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