Ethics Warm-Up, 2/20/2021, Because Everyone Needs To Warm Up: CNN And An Unethical Historian Smear Nikki Haley, Who Had Already Kneecapped Herself


Well, I went ahead and gently set the trap by asking my deranged Facebook friends if they knew that the narrative that Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick had not been killed by beating by the January 6 rioters, had not been “hit with a fire extinguisher,” and had not “died of his wounds” in the riot as reported by the news media long after that story had been debunked, and used as evidence of the “deadly insurrection” by Democrats during the impeachment trial. The response, from a really smart audience including many lawyers, was disappointing if not unexpected. So far, all of the responses tried to avoid the issue. “Are you saying that his stroke (the current cause of death theory) was not brought on by the riot?” No, and since nobody knows what brought on the stroke, one can’t say, and shouldn’t write as news, that it was. I asked about the “killed by the mob” and “died in the line of duty” story. “The park police website says he was killed in the riot!” That’s a novel approach: using an already false report in a biased source to insist that the false report must be true. “But..but…but…but,” “humina humina humina”…”well, what about…”…they just couldn’t admit it. It was a deliberately used false narrative, first without verification and then after the story was proven false, for the purpose of hyping the riot and inflaming public opinion against the President. Nothing about being a Democrat, progressive or a Trump-hater should prevent someone from acknowledging that. Yet they just couldn’t do it. Even the lawyers. Heck, especially the lawyers!

1. No zombie lawyers allowed in Florida. If you think trying to convict Trump after he was no longer President was bad, how about this: Sabrina Starr Spradley, a 41-year-old attorney in private practice in Delray Beach, Florida, was disbarred in December, 2020 though an official death certificate from the Florida Department of Health stated that she died in October of 2019. Nobody told the bar association or the Florida courts.

2. Nikki Haley is having a bad 2021 so far. First, she decided that Donald Trump was sufficiently weakened (after all, did you know the riot he started killed a Capitol cop?) by the election defeat, the riot fiasco and the “snap impeachment” that it was politically expedient to “throw him under the bus,” saying he had been isolated and had “lost any sort of political viability.” Haley owed Trump a lot: her appointment as U.N. ambassador made her a frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination. She didn’t need to publicly defend him; she just needed not to kick him when he was down. Then the Senate trial turned out to be a vindication for Trump, and polls showed that most Republicans were still positive about him. Haley could have shown integrity by sticking to her earlier comments, but she apparently has none: she tried to meet with Trump to “patch things up,”since without his support, she might as well turn Democrat (thus immediately becoming a likely Biden appointee, because she’s a “woman of color.” Of course, the former President refused. Of course he did. So would I.

Then, she became a victim of the progressive smear machine. She put out a nice, dumb statement about George Washington on Presidents Day, tweeting, “George Washington turned an army of ragtag troops into an unstoppable force that defeated the British and secured America’s Independence. As President he oversaw the creation of our Constitution and showed the world what it looks like to govern by the people and for the people.” The news media hasn’t “factchecked” any of the distorted statements about our Presidents during The Great Stupid and the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, but poor Nikki’s sloppy history was deemed by CNN as worthy of a fisking by a partisan historian. CNN host Brianna Keilar brought on presidential historian Alexis Coe to pick apart a tweet that probably took Haley 15 seconds to write. (STAY OFF OF TWITTER! Why won’t they listen to me?) If Trump had tweeted it, it would have been added to the list of his “lies.”

OK, the Continental Army was hardly “unstoppable,” but George did train them and inspire them sufficiently to outlast the British. Coe’s mocking “unstoppable” is petty, and she wouldn’t dare do that to a Kamala Harris tweet. Then Coe cavilled,

Then, she said that George Washington was the President and, you know, oversaw the Constitution. That’s simply not true. The Constitution created the presidency. And then Washington was, of course, our first President. The Constitutional Convention was 1787, the presidency 1789.

“Oversaw” is a poor word to use, but as far as the Presidency is concerned, Washington carefully established the first precedents regarding Presidential power. His was the first Presidency under the new Constitution after the Articles of Confederation had failed. Not only that, Washington did, in fact, preside over the 1789 Constitutional convention that created the Constitution. He moderated the debates, made sure that he did not take sides, and in fact “oversaw” the proceedings, whether Haley meant that or not. She deserves a pass. It’s nit-picking by Coe.

Finally the historian knocked Haley for saying that Washington “showed the world what it looks like to govern by the people and for the people.” rising to full pedant obnoxiousness. “And then, the kicker the way that she ends by quoting, you know, ‘by the people, for the people.’ Washington had been dead for many decades by the time Abraham Lincoln says that in the Gettysburg address,” Coe sneered.

Ethics foul and partisan historical garbage at its worst. The U.S. wasn’t suddenly governed “by the people, for the people” because Lincoln used the phrase (including “of the people”) at Gettysburg. That was his accurate description of what the unprecedented U.S. Constitution directed Washington to do, and the rest of the world was waiting for the U.S. to fall on its face trying to do it. Washington “did show the world what it looks like to govern by the people and for the people.”

Coe is a partisan hack, and owes Haley an apology.

And George Washington.

19 thoughts on “Ethics Warm-Up, 2/20/2021, Because Everyone Needs To Warm Up: CNN And An Unethical Historian Smear Nikki Haley, Who Had Already Kneecapped Herself

  1. 2. But she (and George) won’t get an apology because nitpicking conservative statements for errors is what people do for a living now.

    I remember being in 10th grade American history class and recreating the Constitutional Convention. I kept calling the kid that was playing George Washington, “Mr. President”. Someone snapped, “He’s not the President”. I replied back, “George Washington was declared President of the Constitutional Convention by unanimous vote. That’s what it says on the milk cartons in the cafeteria.” I got lots of laughs, including from the teacher.

  2. You know, that tweet by Haley reminds me (ironically enough) of a lot of Trump’s statements and tweets. Trump’s supporters were smart enough to understand his meaning and what he was trying to say. The MSM apparently isn’t that talented, instead getting lost in the trees of words and not seeing the forest of meaning.

    Haley’s earlier remarks about Trump made me sad, because I’ve had an enormous amount of respect and admiration for what she has done and achieved. I hate to see her possibly throw all that away with an ill-considered (and ill-intentioned) statement. We’ll need people like her, dare I say Cruz, even Rand Paul, in the coming years to battle back against the ravening hordes now in control in D.C. and build back better after the Biden administration.

    • I think she’s committed political hara-kiri, D.G. A terrible but irremediable blunder. Fatal. She’s off my list. That’s Kamala Harris dumb.

      And again, since when are the Indian American children of E.R. physicians and academics or successful business owners members of an oppressed group? Can I join that group? That’s like saying Cuban Americans are oppressed. You know, like Ted Cruz going to Harvard law school and becoming a Senator. Or Marco Rubio being a person of color. Give me a fucking break.

      • This is because the Indian Americans came here because they are from the highest castes in Hindu society. The only occupations they can hold are physicians, dentists, engineers, etc. There are too many of them to make a living in India, so they come here as highly educated, wealthy immigrants. It isn’t that all Indians are rich, it is that basically, only rich Indians are allowed to come here.

        Maybe we should make our immigration system less racist. Why can poor hispanics come to the US, but not poor Indians?

        • Actually, it used to be that in practice only poor Indians could leave, because doing so led to loss of caste. It was something to do with sea travel.

  3. Of course, Lincoln’s words immediately after “government of the people, by the people, for the people” were “shall not perish from the earth”, thus showing that he understood this to be something that existed prior to his speech, not something he had just invented then and there.

  4. Four years is a lifetime in presidential politics. Haley’s current stance towards Trump is, I think, ill-advised – not least because of all the highly-visible senior Trump officials, Haley is one of a tiny handful who left on her own terms and didn’t have Trump throwing darts at the door. He respected her, even when she left. She could have kept her yap shut – and personally, I think she should have.

    That said, the fact that CNN is now throwing darts at her is, I think, instructive. They want to ensure that she’s no threat to Kamala Harris, who they envision will be either the nominee or (more likely) the incumbent in 2024. And even though Haley did herself no favors by dissing Trump right now, it would not surprise me at all to see a Harris-Haley cage match in the next POTUS cycle. Apparently, it wouldn’t surprise CNN either, which is why they see fit to take her down now.

    • You make a good point and every conservative should take this instruction seriously.


      The Democrats do not see you as friends or allies.

      Mitt Romney, how quickly you forgot how badly the Democrats and their allies treated you when you ran for President. Not even your family or your religious beliefs were off the table. You and and the other Never Trumpers in Congress who spent four years opposing Trump only helped the Democratic Party. You helped get Joe Biden elected and are thus partly responsible for any chaos he and Kamala cause. And you will not get any gratitude from them for it either. You were used for your votes against Trump during the impeachment trials and now your use to them is done. Be prepared to run the obstacle course of Progressive hate again.

      Former Trump administration officials who left ahead of time…you were treated like dirt underneath shoes while you worked for him. Betsy DeVos, remember being blocked when you tried to visit a school? Remember the mobs Maxine Waters called for to surround and harass officials like you in public? Whether a Trump administration official was fired or made a principled resignation doesn’t matter. Your departure from office made good anti-Trump copy for days. You and those like you are of no use to the Democrats at all now. Do not expect your temporary rehabilitation in their eyes to go anywhere.

      George Conway, your words were reported with glee by the news media for four years. I get it. It’s hard not to enjoy the attention. It’s harder to be ignored which is what you can expect from now on. With no Trump in office, you are just another fascist Republican with a troubled home life.

      Donald Trump gave us the best economy in years, reduced our dependence on foreign oil, got the Middle East countries to start talking to each other, worked to keep our troops out of localized conflicts in other countries and even improved the environment while facing the worst opposition any President since Lincoln has had. The Democrats destroyed all of that because they hated him. And you people, in one way or another, helped them do it.

      But, at least, the tyrant Trump is gone, right? Removed by the ballot box (as no tyrant ever is) and replaced with a kindly President who calls for unity, rules by Executive Order and has our capital city blocked, fenced and gated while overseen by troops with weapons because of an insurrection that wasn’t.

      Meanwhile, his allies in the news media are spending their time doubling-down on a Republican senator who took his family to Mexico during a snowstorm.

  5. Why are lawyers, particularly east coast or Acela corridor lawyers, such idiots? I think it’s because they’re essentially swamp creatures and the status quo is good for business. A freshman year college “suite” mate of mine went on to get a masters in biology and then a law degree and practiced environmental law at a big, prestigious Atlanta law firm until his retirement a few years ago. He’s now a gentleman farmer. He posted things on his Facebook page like “I believe in science!” I tried to discuss some things with him and at one point he said of Sally Yates (and I am not making this up, Dave Barry), “I know Sally Yates. SHE’S A WONDERFUL MOTHER!” emphasis added, obviously. What the fuck? What is wrong with these people? Are they this terrified of non-elites wanting to have a say in how the country is run and what happens to their tax dollars and their kids and grandkids?

  6. Especially the lawyers.

    Maybe it is just me. I studied a lot of logic in grad school before law school.

    My single best class in law school was Evidence.

    The Rules of Evidence mesh very nicely with principles of inductive logic, and logic generally.

    The Rules of Evidence, if applied to daily life, are a guard against stupidity.

    Once people reach a conclusion, it is very hard to get them to admit they were wrong. The Rules of Evidence are very helpful in promoting skepticism. There are so many times in dealing with clients that I ask what happened. They respond. I ask, “how do you know that?” They respond, “so and so said so.” Immediately, the hearsay bells start ringing!! Further verification is needed.

    The same goes for newspapers. If the press is not trustworthy, it is no better than hearsay.

    But, once people accept a version of facts, it is hard to get them to change their mind. Bias makes you stupid.

    Lawyers and philosophers should be harder to fool. Philosophers, certainly, but especially the lawyers.


  7. 1- A worthy candidate for Kennedy’s “Fake News or Florida” game segment on Fox Business. Did she vote?

    2. An Edmund Muskie Moment available to anyone with a Twitcher account. Avoid the involuntary impulse.

  8. Haley has always been too “squishy” for my political tastes, and too cozy with the Country Club Republicans and Neo-Cons like Romney. After she took common cause with the Confederate flag burners and monument topplers in South Carolina, she lost a lot of her former political luster there. Many South Carolinians refer to her as “Governor Anchor Baby” and she would now have a hard time getting elected to statewide office. Getting sideways with those who supported Trump’s administration is just about the dumbest move a Republican could make right now. Maybe her plan is to assist in the deprogramming and reeducation efforts the Left is talking about.

  9. … George did train them and inspire them sufficiently to outlast the British.

    Well, yes and no. The real outlasting went on in the Mediterranean theatre. It was the drains caused by operations there and the invasion threat that led to Britain having to quit. So this is another thing that’s more down to France and Spain.

    And it’s worth remembering that, by the values of other cultures, the U.S.A. did fall on its face. It’s just that it created the very values by which its own later generations were brought up, and which filtered would-be immigrants choosing it, and by which U.S.A.ians usually judge it – or did, until this current round of self-re-invention. Canada looked on the U.S.A. as an awful warning rather than as a model when designing Canadian federation, muslims often don’t respect its values (as you may have noticed), and so on. That doesn’t make that U.S. self-assessment ipso facto wrong, but it’s a warning not to let any circular argument creep in when doing it (or when assessing Canada or Islam, either). You don’t have to go all moral relativist to avoid circularity, either; it’s not a call to lean too far the other way like that.

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