Sunset Ethics, 1/13/21: Accusations Amuck! [Revised]

Cape Charles Sunset

Yup, it’s true: the “You Have No Enemies” By Charles Mackay post, which consisted of virtually no content from me at all, but was mostly an obscure poem by an even more obscure 19th century English poet, was the most-accessed post of the past 365 days. Not only that, it lapped the field, since it wasn’t offered until November 16. That’s right: more people wanted to read that poem in less than two months any of the over 12,000 posts on ethics that were available all year.

What are you trying to tell me?

1. About that spite impeachment, or “snap” impeachment (Jonathan Turley’s term): It’s not going to get to trial in the Senate, meaning that it’s a) pointless b) a waste of time c) a personal, childish, “Nyah, nayah! We hate you!” taunt as Donald Trump does out the door, and d) one more way for the Democrats, plus Joe Biden, to ensure that half the country detests the other. Good plan!

A spokesman for the Senate Leader Mitch McConnell informed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that McConnell would not reconvene the Senate before the 19th, the day before Biden’s inauguration.That means a trial and conviction, assuming Democrats disgrace themselves and vote for a phony impeachment resolution that is even less legally and constitutionally valid than the first one, can’t possibly get underway until Trump is no longer President, and that means he can’t be impeached. Yes, yes, some Trump Deranged lawyers argue otherwise, just as they argued that Trump should be impeached before he took office.

Earlier this week, Fox News and other news organizations ran with anonymous sources who quoted McConnell as saying he thought impeaching Trump would be a good thing. McConnell is a despicable weasel, as bad if not worse than Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, so this was plausible but not news, as indeed no “un-named sources familiar with the situation say X is thinking Y and said Z” report is news under journalism ethics standards. These are called “rumors” and “gossip.” In the Trump years, however, such speculation and hearsay has been treated as news, at least when it reflected poorly on Republicans or advanced a Democratic big lie or narrative.

2. Spittin’ mad former and self-banned EA commenter Jeff Field continues to drop hate mail in my mailbox (three more pieces since yesterday), though now it goes straight to spam. In the last such poison pen missive that I read, he accused yet another commenter—a sane one— of a falsehood for writing that Ethics Alarms never agreed that the 2020 election was rigged. Who knows what poor Fattymoon was really told, but I have been clear and consistent. The mainstream media attempted to “rig” the election for four years, always reporting the words, actions and character of President Trump negatively, attacking him for what it praised in previous Presidents, virtually never giving him credit for his successes, refusing to do critical analysis of his political foes’ charges, elevating non stories to week-long “scandals,” burying actual stories that might undermine the AUC agenda.

This is beyond dispute; I documented the process thoroughly, as it was the greatest professional ethics breach in modern U.S. history, and I still didn’t cover its full extent. Coverage of the Trump presidency was warped to ensure that he would be unsuccessful, that the public would distrust him, and that he would not be re-elected. In the post about this, I used the term “steal,” not the President’s term “rig.” In a subsequent post focusing on the embargoed Hunter Biden story, I used “rig” with quotation marks, because it’s not my term, and it has been used misleadingly by the President. However that was a direct deception of the American people right before the election with the intent of affecting the election. The word isn’t that far removed from what happened.

I have never said that the election was stolen or rigged by voter fraud, as Trump and many conservative sources claim it was. Nobody should make that assertion at this point, especially President Trump. I have agreed that the use of mail-in ballots ensured that there would be some voter fraud, and that there is much circumstantial evidence to indicate that vote totals were manipulated in various ways to help Biden. Some of that circumstantial evidence is the refusal of Democratic officials to want to investigate the matter.

Clear, now?

3. Alan Dershowitz has a YouTube show (with the witless name “The Dershow”), and, thanks to Steve Witherspoon, I am now aware of it. Dershowitz, a proud Democrat, has joined Professor Turley as respected legal authority on the left with the integrity to call the Democratic Party’s pursuit of President Trump what it is. Is he an Ethics Hero? Here is the Harvard professor’s latest episode of The Dershow:

4. Wait, what? Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Ha), who is leaving the House, explained in an interview with the Daily Caller why Congress refuses to curb the freedom of big tech internet platforms to play politics and character assassination without legal consequences. “It goes to money,” said Gabbard. “I’ve seen it happen.. Google will have a bit reception and members of congress will go and pick up their checks. Facebook will have a big reception and they’ll go and ‘hey, where’s my check?’”

Sounds like bribery to me. Is anyone, say, real journalists, going to investigate this charge.

5. There’s overplaying one’s hand, and then there’s overplaying the overplaying. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) is accusing un-named Republican members of conducting “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol to assist rioters the day before the January 6 attack, and posted a 13-minute video on Facebook. Politico reported:

“I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him — those members of Congress who had groups coming through the capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day — those members of Congress who incited the violent crowd, those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I’m going see that they’re held accountable,” Sherrill said.

Sherrill did not identify the lawmakers she was referring to, how she was able to describe their activities as “reconnaissance” and how she knew they were connected to the riots that consumed the Capitol the following day. Sherrill’s office was not immediately available for comment.

This is textbook Big Lie stuff. Whaddya think, Joe? No evidence, no names, absurd on its face. So Paul Begala—remember him? The slimiest and most shameless of the Clinton machine’s disinformation agents?—-tweeted,

We need an exhaustive investigation of 1/6, just as we had re 9/11. ⁦Rep. Sherrill⁩ is a serious person and a national security expert. She would not say this lightly. Mikie Sherrill said other reps helped group case Capitol before raid.

The breach of the Capitol is like 9-11! This is, of course, part of the effort to turn President Trumps’ exhortation to his most passionate supporters to “fight” into felony murder.

6. Perry Mason ethics. I really don’t care, but someone should: in the interests of “diversity,” Hollywood risks whitewashing history, and eliminating context from the civil rights movement. I mentioned earlier how the Netflix movie “Enola Holmes” stuffed the story with minor black characters; I didn’t, but should have mentioned that among these was a black woman who served as a prominent London martial arts trainer, routinely beating up white Brits in her classes. In Victorian England? I doubt it. Worse still is HBO’s casting of a black actor as Paul Drake, Perry Mason’s private investigator, in the re-boot of the old Raymond Burr series. Would a prominent lawyer in the 1930s (the setting for this series) ever employ a black investigator, whose job it was to get information from cooperative witnesses and to gain access to various white establishments? Never. The distortion minimizes the level of apartheid and discrimination in the U.S. at that time.

36 thoughts on “Sunset Ethics, 1/13/21: Accusations Amuck! [Revised]

  1. Preamble: I think a bunch of people googled that poem to get the whole text and got your entry as a top result. That’s happened with my husband’s blog, too. He suddenly got a big upsurge in hits on his Top Ten favorite episodes when “The Crown” season 4 was dropped.

    1. After today, I will never vote for a Democrat again.
    2. If I were you (and I’m not so feel free to take or leave this unsolicited piece of advice), I’d not give those unreasonable attacks the light of day by commenting on them in your entries. Anyone who has read your entries cannot reasonably say you accused the Democrats of rigging the election. It’s not going to be clear to them because they don’t want to understand your position..
    3. “Alan Dershowitz has a YouTube show”. For now.
    4. I….I just don’t have anything to contribute here. The thing speaks for itself.
    5. Talk about a conspiracy theory. I’ll bet there’s been no policing of that on social media.
    6. Hollywood’s influence just needs to be destroyed. We had a good run with our celebrity culture and
    can look with nostalgic eyes on the glory days of talented performers who did their job. That time is over. I’m open to ideas on how to rid ourselves of this toxic culture.

  2. 5. “Rep. Sherrill⁩ is a serious person and a national security expert.”

    Oh Paul. Who’s paying your fee for this? Jim Clapper and John Brennan, and even Alexander Vindman, were all “serious people and national security experts,” right? Go away. And please take Lanny Davis with you. Please.

    • “national security expert”? YHGTBSM!!!
      Nine years in the Navy, one tour as a low-level gofer (LT/O-3) as a Russian action officer on the Naval Forces Europe staff, and leaving the Navy as a LT after makes her an “expert”?
      My, how the definition of “expert” has been diluted in recent years.

  3. To me, the most astonishing dereliction by the press in 2020 was their failure to cover the process by which Joe Biden became the Democratic nominee. One day, he was polling fourth or fifth in a crowded field of candidates. Two days later, most of his leading opponents had dropped out and endorsed him. Who decided that should happen? Was it a single person or a group of people? Did they meet in person? Where and when? Who made the phone calls and what was said? In normal times, there would have been intense press curiosity about those questions. Last year, as far as I know, there wasn’t a single media outlet in America who reported a word about the incident.

    • I can’t tell you exactly what happened but I saw “Trading Places” and I imagine a few tech billionaires playing the role of the Duke Brothers and making a $1 wager as to whether they could get Biden elected President.

    • After 2016, I think everybody realized the Democratic Primary was just a sham. So yeah, how did Biden win the primaries? Well, he only got 55% of the vote in Alaska (April 10) where he was the only one running! On July 12, after 3 months as the only person still running, he only got 56% of the vote in Puerto Rico. In those 3 months, running unopposed, most of his totals were in the 60’s and 70%’s. The party told everyone else to drop out, that is how he won. In the battleground states, we were led to believe that after midnight, Biden had a higher percentage of votes v. Trump in the whole electorate than he did running unopposed. This happened despite the fact that Trump got 96% of the Republican primary votes.

  4. [This was a banned comment from the troll calling himself “OnceUpon” I’m leaving the name up to preserve the two replies to it. But please, don’t feed the trolls, especially banned trolls who keep asking the same idiotic and annoying question. I didn’t read this one. What a jerk.]

    • 1. Of course it is. The Democrats are determined to destroy both the man and his legacy, as well as the GOP, if they possibly can, They want to put this country back to 2008, when it looked like the GOP had had it, and would just be a regional southern party. No, scratch that, they want to finally conquer the south, and make sure the GOP becomes just a party that wins local races in small rural towns.

      2. You can make it as clear as Waterford crystal, but Fatty will never see it, it’s too hard to see anything when you’re staring through the puckered sphincter of your own anus,

      3. Maybe, then again, he has nothing to lose by telling the truth as he sees it now. He’s 82 years old and doesn’t give a damn about being invited to all the right cocktail parties anymore.

      4. Probably not. After all, the more democrats in power and the more protected, the cushier the journalists’ gig.

      5. Just trying to push things farther before the fire lit by the storming of Congress dies down.

      6. Hollywood is interested in their bottom line, and if they can improve it by butchering history, they’ll do it.

    • Poll time: which exiled commenter (self or not) is hiding behind the OnceUpon name? I hope you at least used Tor so the logs don’t reveal your identity too easily. I looked back just a couple of weeks and there’s enough disagreement with Jack to prove these accusations idiotically wrong.

  5. I have a cynical guess at the reason people are so interested in the “You Have No Enemies” By Charles Mackay post: they want to use it to reassure themselves that they’re doing something good, but they have confused themselves into believing that if great people unavoidably make enemies, then the more enemies you make, the greater you are.

    • It’s not quantity but the quality of enemies that counts. Still, these days the “right” enemies also appear to be the most numerous, or the noisiest at least.

  6. I keep wondering how it occurred to these people to do another impeachment.

    I contrast this with the impeachment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. That was a slam-dunk case.

    But in sharp contrast, witnesses testified.

    The committee examined evidence.

    Representatives debated.

    There was no debate.

    Which begs the question of why. What could possibly go wrong with a full debate on the merits?

    Could it be that so many Democrats in Congress did what they accused President Trump of doing?

    Could it be so many of them downplayed, excused, applauded, or even encouraged riots?

    Speaker Pelosi was an egregious offender. In response to the toppling of a statue of christopher Columbus, she said, “People will don what they do.”

    When DHS agents were sent to reinforce security at a federal courthouse in Portland, she not only called them “stormtroopers”, she tweeted that they “must be stopped”.

    No doubt a full debate will bring to light these quotes made for over half a year. No doubt these quotes from Pelosi and others would have been read aloud over C-SPAN.

    Pelosi does not want anyone to know she is ethically estopped in this context!

  7. This is why they did not want debate.

    Democrats are pushing this dangerously vague standard while objecting to their own statements being given incriminating meaning by critics. For example, conservatives have pointed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) calling for people to confront Republican leaders in restaurants; Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) insisted during 2020’s violent protests that “there needs to be unrest in the streets,” while then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said “protesters should not let up” even as many protests were turning violent.

  8. Democrats have passed a symbolic impeachment for a second time, and I read that GOP Representative Majorie Taylor Greene is going to file for Joe Biden’s impeachment the day after his inauguration. Chances of the Senate getting the two-thirds vote to convict Trump is vanishingly small, and the chances Rep. Greene’s impeachment articles will see the light of day in the House is pretty small as well. So impeachment now has the impact of a censure — symbolic and without teeth.

    I wonder if I should start an exploratory committee for a challenge to Rep. Liz Cheney…

        • 1) What constitutional basis is there for that? Constitution is clear that a Senate conviction will go no further than removal from office.

          He won’t be in office by the time a Democrat Senate can play this charade.

          2) If this would be just one more move by the Democrats intending to further devalue and debase the American Republic, I would certainly not put it past them.

          • As far as I can tell, the Constitution has nothing to do with this. It is entirely about the Democrats defeating Trump. Winning an election doesn’t constitute to defeating Trump (especially given the cloud over the election). Merely winning the election allows Trump to leave office and wander off, presumably without being held accountable. What they want is to definitively crush Trump so that no one can question that it was the Democrats who brought him down. So even if Trump is out of office by the time the Senate holds the trial, once the Senate convicts Trump, they can crow that they destroyed the tyrant, because if he were still in office, they would have removed him.

            And I believe there is some belief that this would preclude Trump from running for office again.

            • As for your last sentence, you are correct, I didn’t finish the constitution’s limit on Impeachment – it’s limited to removal from office and disqualification from holding offices of “honor, Trust or Profit under the United States”.

              But the prior paragraph (3.6) and common sense seem to imply that impeachment is reserved for people actually *in office*. Trump will not be in office.

              Unless there is some established precedent here that I’m completely missing, which is possible.

              If the Democrats do this, it would be just one more notch in their ever-growing “screw the Republic” tally.

              Interestingly enough, if the Democrats did care (and they don’t), the Constitution literally, in the same paragraph, says that impeachment and removal doesn’t preclude the offending party being tried in a court of law.

              If they have a case for incitement, then prosecute citizen Trump after the 20th of January.

              But they don’t have a case and you are correct, this is all a circus show.

          • There is a part of me that wishes they would convene the Senate on the 19th, hold an up down vote and to convict Trump, and bar him from office. Then, when he lodges a complaint, I hope the Supreme Court remains consistent and refuses to hear it. That would wake up some of the people who remain on the fence. I know several intelligent, highly educated people who are still saying “Well, this is all Trumps fault for those tweets. If he had just kept his mouth shut, none of this would have happened.” When I ask them to read the tweets, they say it was CLEARLY an incitement to violence and he should have known better.

          • It will bring ethics estoppel to the forefront, which is exactly why they avoided debate.

            Democrats are pushing this dangerously vague standard while objecting to their own statements being given incriminating meaning by critics. For example, conservatives have pointed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) calling for people to confront Republican leaders in restaurants; Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) insisted during 2020’s violent protests that “there needs to be unrest in the streets,” while then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said “protesters should not let up” even as many protests were turning violent. They can all legitimately argue that their rhetoric was not meant to be a call for violence, but this is a standard fraught with subjectivity.

            – Jonathan Turley

            Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden called the officers an “occupying army.”

            – Andy Ngo, New York Post

  9. On a related note.

    The president didn’t commit incitement or any other crime. I should know. As a Washington prosecutor I earned the nickname “protester prosecutor” from the antiwar group CodePink. In one trial, I convicted 31 protesters who disrupted congressional traffic by obstructing the Capitol Crypt. In another, I convicted a CodePink activist who smeared her hands with fake blood, charged at then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a House hearing room, and incited the audience to seize the secretary of state physically. In other cases, I dropped charges when the facts fell short of the legal standard for incitement. One such defendant was the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan….

    The president didn’t mention violence on Wednesday, much less provoke or incite it. He said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

    District law defines a riot as “a public disturbance . . . which by tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat thereof creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons.” When Mr. Trump spoke, there was no “public disturbance,” only a rally. The “disturbance” came later at the Capitol by a small minority who entered the perimeter and broke the law. They should be prosecuted.

    – Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, quoted in the Wall Street Journal

  10. #2 “In the last such poison pen missive that I read, he accused yet another commenter—a sane one— of a falsehood for writing that Ethics Alarms never agreed that the 2020 election was rigged.”

    It appears that Jeff knowingly or unknowingly misrepresented my conversation with him and I’ve already sent him a message asking for an explanation for the misrepresentation.

    Here are the relevant parts of the actual conversation, non-relevant parts of this conversation have been stripped out of the text.

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “From my few readings of Jack’s blog, I get the impression that he does believe the election was fraudulent.”

    Steve Witherspoon wrote, “Jack thinks it was fraudulent? I think you’re making assumptions and need to read more.”

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “I said I ‘get the impression.’ I’ll go there now and see if I can find an example.”

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “Example…
    2. Good. You will recall that Twitter censored The New York Post’s account of the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop being found because it claimed that the business memos, photos of a Hunter using illegal drugs, and other disturbing photos came from a “hacker,” when Twitter’s real objective was, it seems fair to conclude, to keep as many people as possible from learning about matters that might cause them not to vote for Hunter’s father. Now the computer repair company’s owner is suing Twitter for $500,000,000.00 for libel, defamation, and ruining his business, claiming that the social media giant disparaged him.
    3. One more reason to distrust the election results: President Donald Trump topped former President Barack Obama for the title of most admired man in America in Gallup’s 2020 survey. Trump had tied with Obama in 2019 while Obama beat him in 2017 and 2018. President Joe Biden came in third. Obama had been #1 since 2008.”

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “Example… ‘Powerline, the conservative blog, has been catching flack from conservatives over two posts that were regarded as “limp noodle” reactions to a stolen election.’

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “Example… ‘When people—like me—say that the 2020 election was stolen, they are not necessarily claiming that mass voter fraud changed the winner. They—and I—are saying that our democracy was not allowed to work because of a de facto conspiracy of the Big Tech firms and the mainstream news media to withhold important information from the voting public that they not only had a need to know, they had a right to know, in order to make an informed decision at the voting booth, or, sadly, the mail box. This was a disinformation campaign of more than four years in duration, but the latest example has proven to be the most infuriating: the suppression, in the closing weeks of the campaign, of the news that suspicious emails pointing to extensive influence peddling by Joe Biden’s black sheep son had been found on a discarded laptop belonging to the younger Biden.’

    Steve Witherspoon wrote, “You haven’t supported your argument that Jack think’s it was fraudulent, Jack has used the word stolen which I disagree with.

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “Ok. Let’s just say Jack is… distrustful of the outcome but has resigned himself to the loss.”

    Steve Witherspoon wrote, “That’s a reasonably fair assessment but that in no way should be spun into Jack thinks the election was fraudulent. Your bias against Jack is really, really obvious.”

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “I will not deny I have a strong bias against Jack. I also have a strong bias against the following (incomplete) list. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Cowboys for Trump, the Proud Boys, Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Tommy Tuberville (sp?)… oh my, this is such an incomplete list. It really goes on for a page or two.”

    Steve Witherspoon wrote, “Until you can properly [d]eal with your strong bias it will control your thoughts and reactions. I wrote over on Ethics Alarms that you don’t think before you write and I stand by that statement, what’s driving you is your strong bias. You’ve written some really off the wall stuff about and at those you’re biased towards. A piece of friendly advice is you really need to stop and think critically before you write. All these people you’re biased against are not evil, they’re just people that have differing opinions than you.”

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “I’ll try.”

    Steve Witherspoon wrote, “As long as it’s an honest try, I can’t ask for more than that.”

    Jeffrey Field wrote, “It is honest.”, “Picture it this way… Goblin on one shoulder and Jesus on the other. I love them both. Sometimes I can be like Jesus, and sometimes I can be mean as hell.”

    I never wrote or even implied that Ethics Alarms never agreed that the 2020 election was rigged. Jeff misrepresented the conversation.

  11. Off topic, but this is the best place to discuss the double standards –

    Remember the Left screamed about Donald Trump barricading the White House to protect it from Left Wing rioters. Said on one hand “he’s a coward” and on another hand “only tyrants and dictators fortify their houses” and also “THAT’S OUR HOUSE HE’S CLOSING”.

    Now the Left bemoans the bringing in of more barricades and soldiers. “See how his people have forced the nation’s capital to defend itself!” and “See what we have to do to oppose a tyrant???!”

    And Now, in that same vein, we have the essential closing down the area reserved for the inauguration out of fear of pro-Trump rioting.

    If we’d seen the public shut out of the inauguration in 2017, we’d never hear the end of how dictatorial it looks to keep people out.

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