Midnight Ethics Terrors, 2/17/21: Trump Attacks! Fake Law! Fake News! Fake Science!

nightterrors-orig-crop

Okay, I started this at midnight, then got the night terrors, and waited until (almost) daylight to finish…

1. Who didn’t see this coming? Yesterday, Donald Trump unloaded with both metaphorical barrels on Mich McConnell as no President, former or otherwise, has ever attacked his party’s Senate leader before. McConnell asked for it, got it, and deserved it. His post impeachment trial acquittal was a foolish attempt to turn the President’s vindication into a defeat, and a pretty transparent example of the “now that the guy who was never one of us is out of power, we can strike at him with impunity” syndrome. Is McConnell really that deluded and incompetent? He must be. He apparently doesn’t understand the cognitive dissonance scale. Amazing. See, Mitch, nobody really likes you. You have the charisma of a scrub brush. As controversial as Trump is, he’s so much higher than you on the scale…

Cognitive Dissonance

… that attacking him just drags you lower still. Don’t you get that? Now Trump has double the effect. Some prime excerpts:

  • “The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political “leaders” like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm. McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse.”
  • “And in “Mitch’s Senate,” over the last two election cycles, I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats, more than eight in the 2020 cycle alone…”
  • “Likewise, McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings. He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.”
  • “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country.”

Conservative pundits I have read are criticizing Trump for his unrestrained and personal rhetoric, but that’s Trump (See: The Julie Principle), and McConnell had to know this kind of response is what he was courting. When I first heard the Senate Minority Leader’s remarks, my first thought was, “What an ungrateful bastard!” Trump saved the GOP from a catastrophe in 2016, and McConnell particularly, whose unethical refusal to confirm Merrick Garland looked like a bad gamble as President Hillary Clinton was sure to appoint a more radical leftist for the Supreme Court vacancy. McConnell’s GOP establishment was counting on Jeb Bush to retake the White House, a hope Bush quickly proved was futile by proving himself to be a limp noodle candidate. The rest of the field were obvious losers. Trump captured the White House, and helped Mitch keep the Senate.

McConnell is just as bad as Trump’s statement makes him out to be. The Republican party and the nation needs to be rid of him, and if Trump’s unrestrained shot at the politician derisively called “the Turtle” advances that goal, it is all for the best.

2. When the history of the pandemic is written…if it is written honestly, which is a huge if…the Center for Disease Control and Dr. Fauci will be among the villains. The latest in a long line of botches and deliberate misconduct: the CDC admitted during a press conference that its new school guidelines were in part based on input from teachers and “stakeholders.” This illuminates how CDC officials say schools should reopen and the next week they reverse themselves.

The hardly surprising but still unethical revelation was flagged by Open Fairfax County Public Schools just down the road from me in Virginia when it examined the transcript….

CDC lobbying

This “input” is called interest group lobbying, and it is not the CDC’s job to be lobbied. Its job is to provide the scientific evidence and analysis regarding the Wuhan virus —not that it has done this very well since last February, when Dr. Fauci was telling us we had nothing to worry about and not to wear masks—and it is the job of elected policy makers to weigh those supposedly objective recommendations with other considerations, including the views of various groups.

Public health experts at Harvard University and Boston University blasted the guidelines in The Washington Post, not that public health experts have covered themselves with glory either. For example, the report “emphasizes hand-washing”—what, no “don’t touch your face”?— despite the fact that there isn’t “a single documented case” of Wuhan virus transmission through surfaces.” “Shared air is the problem, not shared surfaces,” they write. Hey, it was all President Trump’s fault anyway! [Pointer and Facts: Legal Insurrection]

3. And even more pandemic news from “the Great Stupid.”At the beginning of February, Wired and other sources noted that “as potentially more dangerous variants of Covid-19 spread, scientists are taking a crack at giving them clearer names that’ll help in the fight.” Useful names, that’s the ticket! Informative! Seven mutations of the virus have appeared, but, I learned from Robin Meade on HLN, naming them after the states in which they were firsidentified was right out—stigmatizing, you know. Might hurt someone’s feelings.

Ugh! Is everyone a child? How did that really, really stupid and juvenile excuse for not using the locale of new virus to identify it ever get a strangle-hold on the nation’s cerebrum? It is particularly counterproductive when the name game aids and abets a rogue nation (Psst! It’s China! Don’t tell!) as it tries to cover-up its culpability in letting a deadly virus-genie out of its bottle. Thus I was encouraged by the report that the new strains would have informative, useful names.

So, Robin cheerily reported (actually Robin cheerily reports everything), scientists decided to name the new strains after birds, like…”Robin.” The new names are Robin 1, Robin 2, Pelican, Yellowhammer, Bluebird, Quail, and Mockingbird. “The birds won’t get offended,” Robin 3 explained, “because they won’t know.”

I’m not making this up.

But hey, at least those names are useful. It’s a shame they will probably cause many people to confuse them with the avian, or bird flu, but the most important thing is not to offend anyone.

4. As if more was needed, here’s yet another example of how the news media makes the public stupid, well, even more stupid: An article Reuters has the gall to headline as an “Explainer” states that “Trump’s acts as president are ‘fair game’ for criminal charges.” No, Trump’s acts as President are immune from prosecution, just as the acts of all federal officials in pursuit of their duties are immune. If you read the deceptively headlined article, you find one law professor, the immortal Brian Kalt at Michigan State University, telling the news service that “it is generally accepted that ex-Presidents can be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.”

This, of course, is intended to build on legal scholar Mitch McConnell’s statement when he was making his ill-considered swipe at Trump that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen,” which is 100% false. Anything he did as President is immune from prosecution (or law suits) unless it is a crime, and the Trump Deranged’s delusions notwithstanding, even the corrupt House managers in the impeachment trial seemed to concede that it would be impossible to prove Trump guilty of “incitement” under the strict legal definition of that crime for “ordinary citizens.”

5. Head Explosion Warning! Apparently a principal of East Side Community School in New York sent white parents a “tool for action,” which instructs them to become “white traitors” so they can advocate for full “white abolition.” Nothing racist about that! We don’t have the principal’s name (why, I don’t know) but we do know who he voted for in the election, don’t we?

Here are helpful charts:

Whiteness

Chart of whiteness

These white identities were created by Barnor Hesse, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Political Science, and Sociology at Northwestern University. You know my conclusion: hiring even one “scholar” like Hesse is signature significance for an untrustworthy and irresponsible university. That’s the easy part: the tough part is finding a trustworthy and responsible one.

On Medium, a Writer of Color whom I genuinely can’t tell whether she is serious and a racist or writing tongue in cheek badly says,

If you missed the paragraph at the top of the list, then you overlooked the entire reason why he created this list. Professor Hesse created this for black and brown people to use as a resource to categorize those people who claim to be our allies.So if you ranked yourself, you failed miserably. White people have no business ranking their own allyship. What ever title you get is given to you by the marginalized group you claim to be supporting. If you ranked yourself as anything other than a plain-old white supremacist, you also failed. It should be obvious to you that any self-assigned ranking means you are giving yourself accolades for climbing the mythical ladder of white supremacy.

How’s your head?

23 thoughts on “Midnight Ethics Terrors, 2/17/21: Trump Attacks! Fake Law! Fake News! Fake Science!

  1. On Medium, a Writer of Color whom I genuinely can’t tell whether she is serious and a racist or writing tongue in cheek badly says,

    The fact that this writer failed to capitalize “black,” which is a cancelation-worthy offense in the Cult of Woke, suggests it may well be satire. Of course, in the Cult of Woke, every offense, no matter how insignificant or unintentional is cancelation-worthy, so…

  2. 5. So this chart was sent to white parents so that they would know what the definitions are for the brands they and their children will be labeled with in the near future?

    Any parent that doesn’t pull his or her child out of East Side Community is commiting educational neglect.

  3. 5. If your child lives in New York City, you can’t escape from this poison. My son’s school emailed a letter a couple of weeks ago saying that they were “proud to announce” that the curriculum going forward will be centered on “antiracism” and the “principles of Black Lives Matter.” They’re going to focus for the rest of this year on five of the principles (they didn’t say which ones) and plan to integrate all of the principles into the curriculum next school year.

    My son is moving to middle school next year so I’ve been looking at new schools for him anyway. But there’s no way out. I’ve been attending lots of on-line informational sessions. Every single school has begun by announcing that BLM, antiracism and “social justice” are central to their emphasis.

  4. when Dr. Fauci was telling us we had nothing to worry about and not to wear masks

    Do you have a cite?

    Nothing racist about that! We don’t have the principal’s name (why, I don’t know) but we do know who he voted for in the election, don’t we?

    What is wrong with whiteness?

    None of these people have seen white female models before?

    • Michael, at some point you’re going to have to learn to use the Google machine yourself. It’s not even controversial that Fauci advised against masking early on in the pandemic:

      https://www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/2020/12/29/did-anthony-fauci-lie-masks-march-marco-rubio-said/4068162001/

      “”Dr. Fauci lied about masks in March,” Rubio tweeted. “Dr. Fauci has been distorting the level of vaccination needed for herd immunity.”

      Lying involves the intent to deceive, and the claim that Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, lied about masks is familiar ground for fact-checkers. It doesn’t hold up.

      What Fauci Said

      FAUCI: The masks are important for someone who’s infected to prevent them from infecting someone else. Now, when you see people and look at the films in China and South Korea, whatever, and everybody’s wearing a mask. Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.

      HOST: You’re sure of this, because people are listening really closely to this.

      FAUCI: Right. Now people should not be walk— there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.

      And often there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.

      HOST: And you can get some schmutz sort of staying inside there.

      FAUCI: Of course, but when you think “masks,” you should think of health care providers needing them and people who are ill. The people — when you look at the films of countries, and you see 85% of the people wearing masks, that’s fine. That’s fine. I’m not against it. If you want to do it, that’s fine.

      HOST: But it can lead to a shortage.

      FAUCI: Exactly, that’s the point. It could lead to a shortage of masks for the people who really need it.”

      Back to me: Basically they’re saying that while Fauci did advise against wearing masks, he didn’t lie about it. I think they carry a lot of water for him; Even if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, generally, he’s outright said that he lied about the rate of vaccination necessary for herd immunity because, and I might be paraphrasing, but I’m not making this up, “people couldn’t handle the truth”. Also, the average person might be forgiven for making this assumption, but Fauci knew better: There was no universe where hospitals went to Costco to pick up PPE. The masks that people bought out of retail outlets were not sharing a supply line with medical PPE in any meaningful way.

    • https://www.statesman.com/news/20200429/fact-check-did-fauci-say-coronavirus-was-lsquonothing-to-worry-aboutrsquo

      “Newsmax interview

      “Bottom line, we don’t have to worry about this one, right?” asked Greg Kelly, the host.

      Fauci said, “Obviously, you need to take it seriously and do the kind of things the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Department of Homeland Security is doing. But this is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”

      Catsimatidis interview

      On Jan. 26, Fauci gave an interview to John Catsimatidis, a syndicated radio host in New York. “What can you tell the American people about what’s been going on?” Catsimatidis asked. “Should they be scared?”

      “I don’t think so,” Fauci said. “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.””

      Again… read the whole article, they do a lot of water carrying for Fauci. The thing with Fauci was that he has taken basically every possible position on every facet of Covid, it’s been manic to the point where even if you want to approach his points in good faith and listen only to the most current information, you’d be hard pressed to keep up. I also think a changelog for his positions and when they changed would show that some of his flips weren’t the result of any new scientific breakthrough, so much as they were politically driven.

      I have no conception under God why anyone seriously concerned about the pandemic would take the word of Dr. Fauci on anything.

  5. 5: More on the Medium Article:

    “White people, you must realize becoming an ally/accomplice means you are navigating a winding road on which, oftentimes, you have no idea what’s around the corner. You’re climbing an endless mountain where at any time your footing may slip and you tumble right back down to beginning allyship. That’s what it is.

    That’s what it will always be.

    You will learn about allyship your entire life. You will never graduate. You will never know everything. You will never become an expert.

    If that’s what you’re striving for, stop now. Your allyship isn’t rooted in activism. It’s rooted in titles, performance and praise.

    In other words, your allyship is harmful, and we want no part of it.”

    If this was truly the choice that we as white people have: Be a white supremacist, or resign yourself to a lifetime of rudderless insecurity, then I’d choose white supremacy. People require methods, or at least illusions, with which to control the situations around their lives, no one sane would give up what little self determination they have to grovel at the feet of people based on nothing other than the melanin content of their skin.

    Luckily, for both myself and the author, it’s a false dichotomy, and I can just be me. On the spectrum of allyship as Hasse described, I’m hovering proudly in the yellow zone. I’m a rational, self interested individual, and while I believe in a certain amount of baseline universal rights, I’m not going to give much up at the altar of progressivism. I’m certainly not going to wait around waiting for my racially superior betters to tell me what to do or how to live my life, or what kind of policy positions I should hold.

    I understand why one might want that; it’s a power fantasy, it’s oppression porn. But I see no reason to dedicate my life to someone else’s fantasy. And if that makes me a white supremacist, then fine, the alternative is anathema, and the word has no meaning. If that makes me a “bad ally”; then good, I’m not a soldier in your struggle, I don’t worship at the same altar as you, and I have too much self esteem to prostrate myself at your pleasure.

    • “I understand why one might want that; it’s a power fantasy, it’s oppression porn.”

      Bullseye. Every black dude wants to be Malik in Higher Learning, beating the shit out of a skinhead and displaying his superior fighting skills while being all righteous.

    • I agree that she sets up an either-or false dichotomy. My reading is a middle ground: if what she says is true that i am either a white supremacist or a performance . . . what . . . artist? Then, my thought is, “Cool. Fuck it. I’ll just do what I do and treat people with the respect they have earned.” In her case, my response would be, “great. Pass the salt.” And, I would go on eating.

      jvb

  6. 1. MM is neither of those things, you don’t get to be a long-serving majority leader of the Senate by being deluded or incompetent. He is capable, he knows how to think two or three steps ahead, he is not afraid to take a risk, and he is ruthless. He also couldn’t stand Donald Trump, like most of the GOP establishment, but he didn’t turn on him when he was the nominee and worked with him (actually quite effectively when it came to judges) when he was president. However, Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud were a bridge too far. He knew they would never get anywhere and he knew why, he’s been around for too many elections and knows the courts will almost never disturb them or let a record be developed to challenge them. He was there for 2000, and didn’t want a repeat of it. He also was perfectly ok with having a former colleague in the White House who he could cut deals with, rather than a bull-in-a-china-shop outsider who wanted everything his way and saw him as a “swamp creature.” I’m sure he’s also carrying a grudge now for the riot that placed him and his colleagues in danger. At this point his mission is to see to it that the former president stays the former president and the GOP gets back to business as usual. Maybe they can run a more conventional candidate in 2024 after Joe has had his turn in the big chair that he always wanted. MM is 78 years old, I believe, but if Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House when she is 4 years older than that, why should be step down now?

    2. It won’t be written honestly. Fauci and the CDC will be the brow-furrowed heroes just like Richard Clarke and Colin Powell and all the other supposedly competent guys who struggled with crazy leadership at the top.

    3. No, some people are the bossy teachers who want to tell everyone else what they can say like children.

    4. That won’t stop folks from trying to throw as much mud at the wall as they can and hope some sticks. Meantime others will be looking into everything he did BEFORE he was president in the hopes of putting him in jail or at least destroying his life. Even Richard Nixon wasn’t treated like this. A few foreign countries threatened to throw GWB or some of his cabinet in the slammer if they ever entered their jurisdiction, but I wonder if any of them would have been bold enough to actually do it.

    5. The writer wasn’t being tongue in cheek. It’s the same mentality that a former co-worker of mine had: “You white people all racist, just some of yaw better at hiding it.” A lot of these folks are convinced that the minute we white folks are away from the black and brown people, out come the racist jokes, the mocking, and the naked hate. They also think that we would gladly lend a white person $1,000, but when they need help, somehow we’re always unable to spare the cash, and that we’d pass up a black motorist with a flat tire but not a white one. They’re just like Malik in Higher Learning :

    Malik Williams : Remy is it? Man, I gotta admit you’ve been really polite by staying out of my way. But you ain’t been honest. See I figure, it’s not what a person says it’s what they think. So in my mind, you’ve been walking around here calling me a nigger in you head. Am I right?

    Remy : I got nothing to say to you man.

    [Remy tries to close the door, Malik forces it open]

    Malik Williams : Oh, I think you do! You want to say what you feel don’t you? You think I’m a nigger? You be a man and call me one to my face!

    [after a few moments of silence, Malik psyches Remy out]

    Malik Williams : I thought so. You’re just a punk-ass white boy… with a fucked-up haircut. Bitch.

    Personally, I always thought Malik was just as fucked-up as he accused Remy’s haircut of being. What kind of idiot deliberately starts trouble with someone he knows probably doesn’t like him, but whose name he isn’t even sure of? What kind of idiot later pursues that same guy looking to beat him up when he knows that guy’s armed? What kind of college student gets involved in a huge brawl that would get you KICKED OUT OF SCHOOL in real life? Then again, we all knew where director John Singleton, of Boyz in the Hood fame, was coming from, and it wasn’t from a harmonious place.

    • Steve, why would MM put a bumper sticker on his forehead that reads “I am a swamp creature” and a sign on his back that says “Kick Me?” You really think almost have the electorate is okay with someone who’s saying, “Hell yes, let’s get back to business as usual!” I think he’s made an incredible blunder.

        • Yes. Actually I do. I think most of the electorate, or at least more than half of it, does not want Trump’s chaos manager style. None of the electorate wants this pandemic. People want to be out of this pandemic and back to business as usual. They want no more crazy tweets, no more 5:00 follies with a President who seems determined to fight the experts rather than work with them, no more masks, no more working remotely no more hiding from every single thing that makes life worth living. people want to go back to the office, they want to go back to church, they want to be able to go out to dinner, they want to be able to have family gatherings, they want to be able to shake hands with their co-workers and embrace their family members again. Unfortunately, I am absolutely convinced that the powers that be want to slow walk coming out of this pandemic because it means they can exercise that much more control over everyone for just a little longer, and also play upon gratitude once this situation is over. I can honestly see, just like I can see James Comey going to a president and telling the president and investigation might look bad or it might look okay, a president hinting toward the American people that they better be more compliant or another strain of the pandemic might be found and we might have to go into lockdown again.

          • I think most of the electorate, or at least more than half of it, does not want Trump’s chaos manager style.

            True. But I don’t think most of the public wants to have open borders, gun confiscation and speech controls more than they don’t want Trump’s chaos.

            None of the electorate wants this pandemic. People want to be out of this pandemic and back to business as usual.

            THAT’S pure Trump, though.

            They want no more crazy tweets, no more 5:00 follies

            Absolutely.

            with a President who seems determined to fight the experts rather than work with them,

            I don’t believe the public trusts “experts,” and the pandemic has made clear why.

            no more masks, no more working remotely no more hiding from every single thing that makes life worth living.

            Pure Trump.

            people want to go back to the office, they want to go back to church, they want to be able to go out to dinner, they want to be able to have family gatherings, they want to be able to shake hands with their co-workers and embrace their family members again.

            Pure Trump.

            Unfortunately, I am absolutely convinced that the powers that be want to slow walk coming out of this pandemic because it means they can exercise that much more control over everyone for just a little longer, and also play upon gratitude once this situation is over. I can honestly see, just like I can see James Comey going to a president and telling the president and investigation might look bad or it might look okay, a president hinting toward the American people that they better be more compliant or another strain of the pandemic might be found and we might have to go into lockdown again.

            Which tilts the public TO Trump rather than away from him. The public does NOT want Mitch’s kind of business as usual, because, in part thanks to DT, they know it’s a scam.

            • See what you’ve done there, Steve? You’ve fallen into the style over substance trap. They like the old =-fashioned style, and should: it’s responsible and professional. The dislike of Trump’s style is what the AUC harped on for 4 years. But while style is important, what is most important to leadership is action and results. The Swamp’s style masks its manipulation. Trump’s style masked his achievements.

            • True. But I don’t think most of the public wants to have open borders, gun confiscation and speech controls more than they don’t want Trump’s chaos.

              Supporters of gun confiscation who live in the upper-middle-class suburbs support it knowing it will only be done in the ghetto.

              Supporters of gun confiscation who live in the ghetto support it thinking that it will only be enforced against the thug and gangbanger down the street.

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