Sunset Ethics Round-Up, 2/2/2021: The Narrative That Refuses To Die, The Weenie Who Whines From A Safe Distance, And Other Tales

setting sun

Pop quiz! What’s the significance of the photo above?

It’s official: last month, February 2021 was the worst in Ethics Alarms traffic in five years, and last week was the worst non-holiday week in longer than that. I am at a loss to explain it, and I am going to stop obsessing about it. The comments are among the best and most erudite on the web, and I am confident that the quality and variety of content remains as high as ever.

1. Never give up that narrative! Over the weekend the Times had a puzzling news article telling us that the FBI had “zeroed in” on a suspect in the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who was falsely and repeatedly cited by mainstream media sources and the Trump prosecution in the impeachment trial as being “killed” in the riot or by rioters. The great discovery was that of a video showing someone in the crowd spraying pepper spray or bear spray on officers during the melee. However, as the article itself states, neither irritant is known to be fatal, and both the officers and the crazies were using it that day. Sicknick died of a stroke after the riot, and no link between his death and what occurred while he was trying to control the crowd has been established.

The usual course is to first establish that there has been a homicide, then to look for suspects. “Let’s see if we can pin this on someone” is not considered ethical. I predict that no one will be prosecuted for Sicknick’s death—not ethically, anyway.

2. Speaking of predictions: In yesterday’s post about Governor Cuomo’s apology, I wrote,

[T]he acid test for sexual harassment (and worse) is whether there are additional victims who come forward after the first one breaks the silence. Cuomo is now up to two. It’s a safe bet there are more.

Yesterday a third accuser came forward. Three usually is the tipping point at which even the most protective mainstream media hacks will finally turn on a Democrat. For example, I doubt that Justin Fairfax, the Lt Governor of Virginia, would have survived three rape accusers, but he’s a black Democrat, so the formula is a bit different. The Babylon Bee has it exactly right. Meanwhile, Jim Treacher writes,

Late night liberal “comedians” are finally jumping on the bandwagon to criticize formerly beloved New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. Taking the media’s lead, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert suddenly found the scandal-embroiled Democrat was an easy target, after several women came forward alleging sexual harassment from the governor.

On his Monday night show, Colbert spent roughly three minutes mocking Cuomo as an “old man” pervert for his alleged creepy comments and behavior towards young women. This after, he spent 2020 grossly promoting the Democrat’s leadership and sex appeal.

These are awful people. They were prepared to ignore the thousands of nursing home deaths Cuomo caused and covered up while praising him as a brilliant pandemic leader (unlike President Trump.) Indulging in the kind of sexual harassment and assault that Joe Biden engaged in regularly while cameras were shooting is too much to bear, however. Now Cuomo is a monster.

3. Why didn’t I realize this? We are now told that President Biden didn’t think Neera Tanden would be penalized for her thousands of insulting personal tweets against Republicans, including Senator, when it came time to confirm her as budget director. Why? Apparently Joe and his advisors thought that President Trump’s obnoxious tweeting habit had made such unprofessional ad hominem attacks passe and acceptable. Wow. Are they really that dim? The situations are not in anyway analogous. Trump was voted into office by the public: as Tevi Troy, a presidential historian, was quoted regarding Trump in the very last paragraph of a lament by the Times that the nomination of the hyper-partisan Tanden seemed headed to defeat, “I doubt he could have gotten Senate confirmation.” The article actually says the GOP Senators planning to reject Tanden—for what is supposed to be a non-partisan post, cynically nominated by a President who swore he would repair partisan divisions—are being accused by Democrats of employing a double standard!

Are they that dim? This tact is a pure rationalization orgy. Let’s check the list…I count sixteen: 1. The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it,” 1A. Ethics Surrender, or “We can’t stop it,” 2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad,” 2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or “They had it coming,” 4.The Biblical Rationalizations, 7.The “Tit for Tat” Excuse, 8A The Dead Horse-Beater’s Dodge, or “This can’t make things any worse,” 22.The Comparative Virtue Excuse, 26.“The Favorite Child” Excuse, 38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!,” 39. The Pioneer’s Lament, or “Why should I be the first?,” 44. The Unethical Precedent, 50.The Apathy Defense, or “Nobody Cares,” 52. The Hippie’s License, or “If it feels good, do it!” (“It’s natural”), 58.The Golden Rule Mutation, or “I’m all right with it!,” and 63.Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is.”

4. Today’s Alamo note…Today is Texas Independence Day, as the anniversary of when Sam Houston and other Texan patriots hashed out the plans to win their revolution, while Travis, Bowie, Crockett, Bonham, Dickinson and the other 200 or so defenders of the Alamo bought them crucial time at the eventual cost of their own lives four days later. Today Bryan Preston writes,

Statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Grant, and others have been pulled down all over the country over the past year. The New York Times is still chipping away at America’s founding via its 1619 Project (which was debunked by the Smithsonian Magazine even before its publication) by pushing it into public schools. To believe that the Alamo is somehow immune from these cultural forces is deeply naïve. The cancel-minded would like nothing better than to cancel one of the world’s most potent symbols of the fight for freedom. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a few others are standing up for the Alamo. More leaders and academics must, or they will have no one else to blame when the Alamo falls again.

5. Too late, Weenie! Suddenly, after disgracefully groveling an apology when he did absolutely nothing wrong except place a target on his chest for the woke mob to throw metaphorical spears at, former New York Times science and health reporter Donald McNeil is defending himself in a fourpart post on Medium, The Ethics Alarms post about his demise, and self-flagellating response to it at the time, is here.

Now McNeil alleges that he was unfairly treated. misled, and disciplined for past union negotiations, and that his enemies at the Times used the Peru incident (he used the word “nigger” to answer a question about racist speech) to get rid of someone they were “getting a little sick of.”

If there is anything more nauseating than the coward who runs away from a fight and refuses to stand up for principles when they are under fire, it is one who comes back later with defiant words after the battle is over. That’s McNeil.

I’m sick of him too.

11 thoughts on “Sunset Ethics Round-Up, 2/2/2021: The Narrative That Refuses To Die, The Weenie Who Whines From A Safe Distance, And Other Tales

  1. Jack: “Now Cuomo is a monster.”

    Let me fix that for you: “Now Emmy Award-Winning Cuomo is a monster.”


  2. Pop Quiz: This image is proof positive that Kilroy was there. While the Kilroy meme is said to have become popular during WWII, it now is obvious the meme dates back at least to the Constitutional Convention.

  3. Regarding McNeil, this is absolutely puzzling behavior. Why defend yourself after you’ve already capitulated and grovelled? If you’re going to fight back, do it when it matters, not a month later. Too late, idiot.

  4. #1: This is rather like innumerable headlines of the form “Study Links X to Y”, in that the author obviously intends to convey a definitive claim as true (that X causes Y), while just as obviously knowing the evidence does not support that claim.

    In this case, instead of a spurious correlation, we get told all about police hypotheses and nothing whatsoever about what evidence they have to support them.

    Don’t you realize that the image on the back of the George Washington chair symbolizes the sun rising on another day of slavery? This offensive chair must be removed from public view or, better yet, burned. Get on the right side of 1619 history, you racists!

  6. #3: Nothing really needed to be said past “We are now told that President Biden didn’t think…. That will be the correct explanation for many things over the next few years (or months, or weeks, or….?)

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