Afternoon Ethics Breather, 12/11/2020: Train Wreck Free Zone, Because I Need A Break

Dog-vacation

1. Sorry, but there was and is no excuse.. The New Yorker reports that Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is in serious cognitive decline:

[M]any others familiar with Feinstein’s situation describe her as seriously struggling, and say it has been evident for several years. Speaking on background, and with respect for her accomplished career, they say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have. They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up. One aide to another senator described what he called a “Kabuki” meeting in which Feinstein’s staff tried to steer her through a proposed piece of legislation that she protested was “just words” which “make no sense.” Feinstein’s staff has said that sometimes she seems herself, and other times unreachable. “The staff is in such a bad position,” a former Senate aide who still has business in Congress said. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.”

Well gee, what a surprise. Ethics Alarms criticized the Senator for having the hubris and not showing proper responsible conduct in 2018, when she ran for re-election and another 6 year term at the age of 85. That was ridiculous, and it was foolish for her constituents to vote for her. Now they are stuck with a Senator who can’t do the job, and it is their fault, plus that of the Democratic Party and Feinstein herself. They all deserve what they get.

Particularly nauseating in the New Yorker story is this section:

“Some former Feinstein aides insist that rumors of her cognitive decline have been exaggerated, and that video clips taken out of context can make almost anyone look foolish. They also bridle at singling out her condition, because declining male senators, including Strom Thurmond, of South Carolina, and Robert Byrd, of West Virginia, were widely known by the end of their careers to be non-compos mentis. “For his last ten years, Strom Thurmond didn’t know if he was on foot or on horseback,” one former Senate aide told me.”

Is this the quality of thought on Capitol Hill? A single idiot making such an argument is too many: “Hey, don’t criticize us for having walking vegetables weilding the power of U.S. Senators:we should be able to do it becaise Republicans did it!”

2. Once, I would have written a whole post about this...TIME named Joe Biden and Kamala Harris “Persons of the Year.” So what, and who in their right mind cares? OK, apparently Ann Althouse cares, having written a couple of posts already on the once-important magazine’s annual “Man of the Year” choice. Someone should tell Ann that TIME, like Newsweek, its even more pathetic one-time rival, is a sad relic of bygone era, like the Rockettes, rotary phones and Diane Feinstein.

It is now just one more standard issue progressive/Democratic Party shill, and prone to printing nonsense like Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal’s lame explanation that his magazine chose the duo for “changing the American” (whatever that means) and showing that “the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world.” That’s Authentic Frontier Gibberish, as well as baloney.

ABC News’ chief political analyst, Matthew Dowd, pointed out the obvious, saying, “I actually don’t think winning this Time award is going to help them. It is just going to feed negativity by many that they get an award before actually doing anything.” Hmmm...what previous President got an award before he had done anything to deserve it? Indeed, neither Biden nor Harris did much of anything in 2020: Biden hid, and Harris failed at the only task of substance she set for herself, winning the Presidential nomination. Bloomberg writer Eli Lake wrote, “I get that the magazine is trying to seem hip and appeal to zoomers and millennials, but this is such obvious pandering.”

Unlike how TIME behaved the rest of the year….

3. Wuhan virus now. Wuhan virus forever. The publication of my parody of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” as “Walking in a Wuhan Wonderland” provoked more than one query about why I refuse to call the virus by the antiseptic politically correct name “Covid-19.” I know I’ve covered this before, though from a parodist standpoint, I would have used the alliterative name even if I accepted the Covid mandate, which I do not, and will not. Here is a lightly revised version of the explanation I offered in a comment yesterday:

Much of the news media called the virus the Wuhan Virus from the very start, and then the decision was made to call that designation “racist” because the President was using it. The vast, vast majority of such pandemics have been named after the locations where they appeared to arise. There was never a good reason, other than to add another partisan, anti-Trump “gotcha!” for treating this virus differently.

From a From a PR release from two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Gail Heriot and Peter N. Kirsanow that I quoted in this post,; the two members, conservatives, were dissenting from the official left-wing talking point then in the ascendance:

The Commission makes the ill-advised suggestion that referring to COVID-19 with terms like “Chinese coronavirus” is somehow fueling “[t]his latest wave of xenophobic animosity toward Asian Americans.” It is common to refer to infectious diseases by their geographic origin. Examples include Asian flu, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Brazilian hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, Lyme disease, Marburg virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Pontiac fever, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Spanish flu, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, and West Nile virus…It is counter-productive to hector the American people (or its leaders) about describing the COVID-19 as “Chinese” or as having originated in China. It did originate there. Ordinary Americans—of all races and ethnicities—who harbor no ill will toward anyone don’t like to have the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights imply that that they are fueling the flames of xenophobic animosity. We can’t blame them. It is insulting.

Our colleagues on the Commission close their statement by writing under the current circumstances no American should be “ostracized solely because of their race or national origin.” That is certainly sensible enough. We would add that Americans should not be ostracized on account of false accusations that their conduct has been racist, xenophobic and hateful. The promiscuous use of those terms needs to stop.

I added, “That’s fine and well stated. My position is even more basic. I refuse to participate in mind-control based on the assertion that a factual statement is “racist,” or that someone is the cause of unethical conduct because others choose to behave unethically. Any more Alyssa Milano comments or complaints about Kung Flu jokes, and I’ll be calling the damn thing the “Wuhan Virus from the Capital of the Hubai Province in That Big Asian Nation Called China That Endangered The Entire World By The Dishonest, Paranoid Manner In Which It Withheld Crucial Information.”

Yes, that would be too long, but completely fair and accurate as we know know better than ever. China is to blame, and China-tied interests are despicably determined to allow that slave-mongering, human rights denying, Machiavellian nation duck responsibility. In many cases, the location-based name of pandemics and viruses has been inaccurate, as with the Spanish Flu. Not this time, baby! This was China’s doing, and China deserves the infamy forever. The arguments for not using Wuhan are lame and partisan, and are more of the linguistic game-playing we have seen in other contexts, notably with “Black Lives Matter.” The news media, which has been disgusting all year, is also the piper playing the Covid tune, and as Jack Ryan says to the corrupt President at the end of “Clear and Present Danger,” “I’m sorry, but I don’t dance.

And “everybody does it” is no excuse to let China (As a Chinese dissident famously said this year, “Don’t trust China, China is asshole”) off the hook.

I am waiting for a persuasive explanation for why wouldn’t we call the virus what it is except to kowtow to a vicious, anti-American dictatorship. The argument that morons have been harassing Asian-Americans is no argument at all, just as the argument that we shouldn’t call the Twin Towers bombing Islamic terrorism because the same breed of morons harassed American Muslims.

I am adamant on this issue.

4. This is the kind of leadership and ethics you voted for, Democrats, and I will hold you accountable. In a leaked recording to the Intercept, Joe Biden can be heard saying,

“I also don’t think we should get too far ahead ourselves on dealing with police reform in that, because they’ve already labeled us as being ‘defund the police’ anything we put forward in terms of the organizational structure to change policing — which I promise you, will occur. Promise you.” Biden can be heard telling left-wing civil rights leaders in the recording. “Just think to yourself and give me advice whether we should do that before January 5, because that’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country… I just raise it with you to think about. How much do we push between now and January 5, we need those two seats, about police reform? But I guarantee you there will be a full-blown commission. I guarantee you it’s a major, major, major element…we can go very far.”

In other words, make sure voters don’t know what we really stand for until it’s too late for them to do anything about it. Nice.

19 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Breather, 12/11/2020: Train Wreck Free Zone, Because I Need A Break

  1. I guess we just never get tired of being gaslighted (is that even a word? Gaslitten?), lied to, and treated like children.

    Otherwise, it would be peasants with pitchforks. But I guess we are collectively just too comfortable to get off the couch, pick up a weapon of opportunity, and head off to city hall to demand all this nonsense stop. Much easier and safer to let Antifa make “autonomous zones” out of city blocks and watch the police try to put the Invisible Man to shame.

    So Biden doesn’t want to stand up for the less popular Democrat priorities even while guaranteeing to implement them, and wants activists to shut up until after the Georgia runoff? This, as Sarah Hoyt likes to say, is my shocked face. If it looks a little threadbare, it’s because it’s been awful busy lately…

  2. 2–They’re in esteemed company:
    A. Hitler 1938
    J Stalin 1939 & 1942
    N. Khrushchev 1957
    Ayatullah Khomeini 1979
    R. Nixon 1971 & 1972
    J. Carter 1976
    M. Gorbachev 1987 & 1989
    H.-n-Change 2008 and 2102

    3–With the possible exception of Legionnaires Disease, which positively SCREAMS WHITE PRIVILEGE:
    *German measles,
    *West Nile virus,
    *Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,
    *Lyme disease,
    *Ebola,
    *Norovirus
    *Norwalk virus,
    *Desert Shield virus,
    *Southampton virus,
    *Bristol virus,
    *Lordsdale virus,
    *Toronto virus,
    *Mexico virus,
    *Hawaii virus
    *Snow Mountain virus,
    *Zika virus, and
    *Spanish Flu…

  3. I was particularly annoyed that the media started using “Havana Syndrome” unironically, as though it were blatantly hypocritical to tip toe around the city of origin for SARS II. Of course Havana Syndrome is even more appropriate, as it was probably caused by the Cuban government or its Russian allies.

    Just think if it happened in China… oh wait, it did! I guess it would have been racist to call it the Guangzhou Syndrome….

  4. #4. Out of residual professional curiosity, I have been scouring internet and news sources to try and sleuth out this “organizational structure to change policing” Biden is promising so ardently. The only specifics of a policy I have found are (a) “reinvigorating community policing,” a return to the 1990s and an approach that has had little lasting effect nationally. This isn’t because there is anything wrong with community policing as an organizational paradigm, but because many, perhaps most, agencies that received community policing hiring grants were only superficially committed to the philosophy and really just wanted to grow their agencies. Next is (b) increasing hiring diversity, which seems like an odd goal since about 15% of police now are African- Americans, larger than their representation in the population. Finally, there is (c) money for body cameras, which were already in use during most of the latest high profile police abuse cases, and which most often uphold the reasonableness of use of force. (The problems/ issues/shortcomings of body cameras is a topic far beyond the scope of this comment.) So, as far as I have been able to learn, that’s it. From all the rhetoric, you would think he is going to nationalize the police, as per the UK.
    He mentions a “full commission.” I have a shelf full of the reports of previous commissions that had little lasting revolutionary impact on policing. If you can, find and peruse a copy of the final report of the 1967 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, or the tomes of the 1973 National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, and see how few of those recommendations ever came to pass.
    I expect whatever Biden proposes to fall far short of what the Socialist/BLM/Antifa wing of the party expects and will perhaps demand.
    Like it or not, policing in America is largely a local government and state government function, and while the national government can provide some impetus for change, it has to rely far more on the carrot than the stick. Problem is, many agencies -particularly large agencies- have proven very adept at getting the carrot while avoiding the stick.

    • Steve
      I would recommend that those of us that supported Trump’s agenda march down to the voter registrar and change party to independent. Then tell the leadership we will only vote for candidates with a spine who hold the same values of limited government, personal responsibility, and the Constitution as written or amended. I am tired of voting for “conservatives” who lack the willingness to fight for what they profess to believe.

      For me, I will give no money to help in Georgia if the Republicans in the Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin legislatures won’t fight to preserve their own enumerated powers.

    • Well, that is terminal stage TDS…….or to put it another way, that’s just crazy talk.

      Isn’t it funny how, for all those people who claim without evidence, that Bush was a fascist or Trump was a dictator — somehow none of those people ever get put in concentration camps or get disappeared? I wonder why that is, if we’re living in a dictatorship. Isn’t that what dictators routinely do to their enemies?

      • I am impressed by the passion for UNITY that possesses these newly empowered “Democrat” party assholes. They keep using that word; I do not think it means what they think it means.

  5. This comment is tangential to your topics today, but you often mention the decline of Newsweek and I wanted to offer an opinion on that. I remember Newsweek as a respected publication, but I noticed that it seemed to drop as it reported on immigrant incarcerations during the Obama administration. It remains the only reliable source (meaning, largely unbiased) on those detentions that I have found. Could its decline be the result of its reporting?

    • Its decline as well as TIME’s is just the ineveitable result of the 24 hour news cycle and the web. Neither magazine has any function today. My family used to get TIME so we knew what had happened of not in the previous week, and get trenchant commentary unavailable elsewhere. Once they had to come up with a business model that pandered to the less- attentive, easily inflamed public, both magaizens were superfluous.

      • When would you say TIME jumped the shark? Any particular year or time frame? I ask because I subscribed on-and-off in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. I tired of their bias against Reagan.

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