Ethics Nightcap, 5/12/2021: More Cheney Fallout, An Influencer Drops Her Mask, And The Generals Just Wrote Us A Letter…

1. Speaking of fitness: Once again flaunting his flat learning curve, Donald Trump thought it was necessary to say “Nyah nyah nyah!” to Liz Cheney after she was stripped of her GOP leadership post in the House. He wrote, “Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party. She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our country. She is a warmonger whose family stupidly pushed us into the never-ending Middle East disaster, draining our wealth and depleting our great military, the worst decision in our country’s history. I look forward to soon watching her as a paid contributor on CNN or MSDNC!”

Surprisingly, he didn’t call her homely or say she smelled bad.

I can think of no previous ex-President who would engage in such public taunting. It serves no purpose, other than pettiness, and appeals only to others with similar infantile instincts. It’s unpresidential, unstatesmanlike, and ugly. Moreover, what Cheney’s family has done is only relevant to those with dubious logic skills.

2. Another “social influencer” shows she’s unworthy of influencing anybody. Rachel Hollis is another one of those social media-created mutants, a woman of no special talent or expertise who blundered into wealth because so many Americans are searching for a guru in this age of declining religion and online hucksters. A high-school grad, Hollis became a social media star in March 2015, when an Instagram photo of her celebrating her stretch marks went viral with more than ten million views. She capitalized on that with a motivational book called “Girl, Wash Your Face,” celebrating female self-reliance. It was a best-seller, and she built on that with a YouTube channel containing motivational videos.

As in a Greek tragedy, she has been brought down by hubris. She really began to believe she was special. In truth, social influencers are just today’s televangelists.

While speaking extemporaneously during a livestream, she referred off-hand to her twice-weekly housekeeper who “cleans the toilets.” When a commenter complained that such arrogance made her seem “unrelatable,” she blathered, “No, sis, literally everything I do in my life is to live a life that most people can’t relate to. Literally every woman I admire in history was unrelatable.” Hollis then cited examples like Harriet Tubman and Oprah Winfrey, which many felt showed a vastly expanded sense of self-importance. On top of the shock her followers suffered when she revealed that her supposedly romantic and exemplary Christian marriage was a bust, declaring that she was divorcing her husband and business partner, Dave Hollis, it was suddenly as if her mask had fallen to the floor revealing the rot beneath.

Now more than 100,000 Instagram followers have dropped her, and Hollis canceled an upcoming personal development seminar on YouTube. Her company, Rise, has postponed its May conference until Labor Day. However, it does not appear that she has the character to stop the freefall. Her immediate reaction to her PR disaster was to blame “her team,” then she announced that she was fully “accountable.” (This is known as a “Hillary.”)

Now former admirers are looking back on earlier hints that the guru wasn’t quite as admirable as they had thought. At the company leadership summit in early 2020, former employees say, she told her staff, “I am so rich, I could just retire to Hawaii and never work a day again, that’s how wealthy I am!” At the Rise Business conference in Charleston, Hollis gave a speech boasting, “I own you,” explaining that she could persuade her followers to buy anything.

In late April 2020, a post appeared on Hollis’s Instagram account which said: “Still … I RISE.” The post neglected to attribute the line to Maya Angelou, whose poem “Still I Rise” was published in her book of poetry “And Still I Rise.” When she was criticized, Hollis again pulled a Hillary, writing, “This morning I found out that my social team posted the quote without attributing it to Dr. Angelou….While I didn’t create or post the graphic, I am the leader of the team that did and so I accept full responsibility for their actions.” Then she fired the employee who sent out the post.

3. Boy, bias makes you incredibly stupid! I have read in a dozen places that Democrats believe that Republicans dumping Liz Cheney for her obsessive attacks on Donald Trump will be a big issue for Democrats in the Congressional elections. If they really believe that, it’s more evidence that Trump derangement has mutated into general insanity. Nobody cares about who the parties kick out of leadership. Some might care when a particularly despicable member retains leadership, as in the case of Maxine Waters, but this is a particularly absurd example of the news media trying to manufacture controversy over nothing.

4. Of course they did… More than 120 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed an open letter this week calling into question the 2020 election results while suggesting that Biden is mentally unfit for office. The letter’s signatories call themselves “Flag Officers 4 America,” and they also criticize the Biden administration’s open border policies, its determination to revive the Iran deal, Biden’s reliance on executive orders, the pandemic lockdown and the increasing efforts to censor speech, among other issues.

Such mass letters from various occupations and professions became commonplace in the last four years when they were hostile to President Trump. Most were dutifully published and praised. All of them constituted abuse of authority and position, and so does this one.

49 thoughts on “Ethics Nightcap, 5/12/2021: More Cheney Fallout, An Influencer Drops Her Mask, And The Generals Just Wrote Us A Letter…

  1. 1. Of course Trump chimed in, much to the delight of the MSM, of course. Who expected anything less?
    2. Meh. Another one bites the dust. There will be a new one along in a minute. “Next!”
    3.Democrats will continue to overstate Cheney’s import merely because she is a link to continue their criticism of Trump, whom they can’t live without. Trump-hate sustains them like a junkie’s fix.
    4. I agree with your assessment, in most cases. At what point does a public statement by such former officials become a metaphorical flying of the flag upside down, a warning that they perceive a pending national crisis? Or should they just remain silent while the nation unravels and our freedoms erode?

    • They should have the integrity to make their position known as individuals, not as a supposedly legitimate representation of a class with presumed authority in some areas. Thus letters from “religious leaders” protesting wars are just static and grandstanding. They purport to show that God opposes policy, and the gullible take them that way. Or “scientists” writing a letter demanding that we turn the economy upside down to “stop” climate change.

      • I had forgotten the 1983 pastoral letter “The Challenge of Peace,” authored by the US Catholic bishops, which condemned first strike weapons, MADD, and so on. Although it generated some interesting sermons and discussions, ultimately Reagan standing firm while things crumbled in the USSR is what won the Cold War.

  2. RE 4

    I assume you are referring to this portion of the letter.

    ” During the 2020 election an “Open Letter from Senior Military Leaders” was signed by 317 retired
    Generals and Admirals and, it said the 2020 election could be the most important election since our
    country was founded. “With the Democrat Party welcoming Socialists and Marxists, our historic way of
    life is at stake.” Unfortunately, that statement’s truth was quickly revealed, beginning with the election
    process itself.

    Without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the “will of the people” our Constitutional
    Republic is lost. Election integrity demands insuring there is one legal vote cast and counted per
    citizen. Legal votes are identified by State Legislature’s approved controls using government IDs,
    verified signatures, etc. Today, many are calling such commonsense controls “racist” in an attempt to
    avoid having fair and honest elections. Using racial terms to suppress proof of eligibility is itself a
    tyrannical intimidation tactic. Additionally, the “Rule of Law” must be enforced in our election
    processes to ensure integrity. The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities
    are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020. Finally, H.R.1 & S.1, (if passed), would destroy
    election fairness and allow Democrats to forever remain in power violating our Constitution and
    ending our Representative Republic”.

    “The mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief cannot be ignored. He must be able to
    quickly make accurate national security decisions involving life and limb anywhere, day or night.
    Recent Democrat leadership’s inquiries about nuclear code procedures sends a dangerous national
    security signal to nuclear armed adversaries, raising the question about who is in charge. We must
    always have an unquestionable chain of command.”

    What specifically do you disagree with the comments about dealing with election irregularities. Had the SCOTUS ruled on the one case it chose not to hear it created much of the hub bub. How many states violated their state Constitutions and changed the rules mid-stream citing Covid. Discussed at length here on this blog was the Catch 22 issue of standing in which you cannot seek relief unless harmed but you cannot get relief after the fact because the courts do not wish to overturn an election. Additionally, I have read the 700 plus pages of HR1 and it does criminalize challenging any voters claim of legitimacy which will allow anyone to vote. The courts created what lay people saw as injustice by choosing to dismiss cases out of hand.

    As for the third paragraph seems to have been prompted by Democrat inquiries on the codes. The first sentence suggests Biden but the statement can apply to any Commander in Chief. You cannot discuss the process of who has the nuclear codes without including the President. It is the last sentence that drives home their point; “We must always have an unquestionable chain of command.” I don’t need a Flag officer to tell me that but they are the ones who shouldered the responsibility of carrying out such orders so they do have more standing than most to assess the situation.

    I believe there is a difference between stating the obvious – the nation is taking a hard left turn toward totalitarian governmental control and Marxist socialism and questioning how those results were achieved. Demanding common sense processes to ensure one citizen one vote is hardly an abuse of position. I would make the same claims. Most of the anti-Trump letters did not layout any reasoned policy disagreements they simply attacked Trump’s fitness. I agree that using your respected positions to castigate a sitting president is an abuse but this letter speaks to the issues that threaten our Constitutional Republic. I would say that they are merely continuing to honor their oath to protect and defend the Constitution in their civilian lives.

    It is their opinion and they are entitled to make it just as we are entitled to reject it.

    • “With the Democrat Party welcoming Socialists and Marxists, our historic way of
      life is at stake.” Unfortunately, that statement’s truth was quickly revealed, beginning with the election
      process itself.

      The message is correct. High-ranking military personnel are not the people to deliver the message that the civilian leadership should change.

      • Correct. What these guys did was simply not cricket. United States military officers are supposed to take their orders from elected, non-military leadership. Retired military are supposed to keep their mouth shut or else run for elected office. We don’t need a junta. We don’t need to become a shithole country like Pakistan that is run by the military for its own benefit. These guys are simply out of line. They need to shut up and just cash their pension checks. I also wish whoever is assembling these various “letters” with mass signatories would just stop doing it. This is an awful legacy of and the Clintons.

    • “It is their opinion and they are entitled to make it just as we are entitled to reject it.”

      They are entitled to make it, but presenting themselves as having any special expertise or authority based on a single point of commonality is deceitful, misleading, and an abuse of power, just as those letters from psychiatrists declaring Trump unstable, or historians apposing various policies, or the ABA demanding climate change, or football players kneeling to call the US racist. The letters are selected around the opinions, not the categories that unjustly attract the attention: that makes them deliberately deceptive.

      And that, and only that, was the message of #4. Why are you trying to convince me that the opinions expressed in the letter itself were correct? You have a record right here in EA that I agree with most of them, and it doesn’t matter. The letter itself, like all such letters, is an obnoxious device that elevates individual opinions on a false basis: what, for example, does military service and leadership convey that ensures special expertise on cognitive diagnosis from afar? The psychiatrists were unethical to claim they had a legitimate basis to make such claims.

      You seem, shall we say, a bit agitated of late…

      • No not really all that agitated. I grew up being taught to never stoop to another’s level and for the most part I don’t. But when the rules are changed by the totalitarians I will not get terribly bent out if shape if those opposing them use the rules imposed upon them by those same totalitarians.

        I will admit military service has historically given various “experts” more credibility on global affairs than Joe Every man. And, if a group of doctors weigh in in health issues in a letter we see nothing wrong with that. How many lawyers made group claims that Trump has broken many laws? Anyone with two brain cells knows that lawyers are not the arbiters of what is or isn’t legal. If they were we would only need half as many.
        In short, Biden benefited from many an attack by high credibility signatories of group letters. He that lives by the sword cannot complain when the sword cuts them on the backswing.

        If I recall correctly candidates without military service are seen as less qualified to be the President or were shirking their civic duties
        Which should nullify their candidacy. Should such attacks be permitted?

        I place little to no weight on someone’s credentials because you can buy a degree or a certification from just about anywhere. I draw my conclusions from facts in evidence not someone else’s opinions. If others rely on the general’s opinions that is no different than people relying solely on Ibrahm Kendi and other academics on race issues.

        Not agitated but tired of playing nice and being played the fool.

        The new battlefield is made up of lines of communication. Going into battle where one side has substantial advantages and you choose to fight conventionally and ethically you will be overwhelmed by their propaganda and ultimately lose your personal sovereignty and its attendant rights and privileges. At which point all possible ethical choices will be gone.

  3. I have a friend who insisted during Trump campaign that he criticized all politicians equally. However, yesterday when noticed he had posted two Facebook post regarding the Cheney fiasco, it occurred to me I haven’t heard anything from him in a long time so I checked his timeline. Yep, nothing political since January 6th. I wonder if I should call him out on his crap or if that would be stirring the pot?

  4. 1. I don’t think he’s the problem, only a symptom of a coarsening culture that applauds passion instead of thought, outspokenness instead of restraint, bluntness instead of diplomacy, and grinding a defeated foe’s face in the defeat instead of magnanimity.

    2. Influencers are almost always all hat, no cattle, It’s pathetic that one of them could reach the level of being a Leona Helmsley or Marge Schott.

    3. The media wants to gin up the idea that the GOP is on the brink of a civil war, and push the narrative that this is the last chance for all the reluctant Trump supporters, half-a-loafers, and long-gamers to get on the right side of history, before the GOP becomes irretrievably lost. A few GOP has-beens and third-stringers are threatening to form a third party, but most Republicans and most voters know that’s going nowhere, and they can now see what voting against Trump got them.

    4. (Shrug) If only one side is shooting, then the other side will soon be dead. It’s time for the GOP to get some high officers, security officials, scientists, and captains of industry on its side too, to remind the American people that not all intelligent, successful people with the nation’s best interest at heart are liberals or Never Trumpers.

    • The only thing I want to hear from Skeletor Chertoff is an apology for installing nudie scanners in all the airports and then taking a high paying gig from the manufacturers once he left homeland security.

      While we’re at it, I’d like an apology from Bush Jr. for creating homeland security and a notice that every TSA employee now gets to yell “do you want to fly today” while standing in an unemployment line.

      *sigh* I used to like flying.

      • Michael Chertoff was a local success story once, coming from relatively humble beginnings as the son of a rabbi from Elizabeth who eventually went to Harvard undergrad and law school before becoming (mostly) a career prosecutor and crusader against crime and corruption. He was always a Republican, but a lot chummier with Democrats than most, which is why he alone of the US Attorneys didn’t get the immediate axe when Clinton was elected. Ultimately he achieved every career Federal prosecutor’s dream, a lifetime appointment as a Federal judge. Yet, when GWB asked him to step in at DHS because Bernie Kerik had to decline, he said yes, probably thinking he would just help his benefactor, who would then put back on the bench on his way out.

        Unfortunately, then came Hurricane Katrina and the poor response in Louisiana (but surprisingly not in Alabama and Mississippi), for which both he and his benefactor were, in this writer’s opinion, unfairly blamed. The rest is history, but he signed an open letter condemning the candidacy of Trump. Whether he was hoping to use his chumminess with Democrats to get a post in a Hillary administration, looking to burnish his credentials for the lecture circuit, or just being a Bush loyalist (that family was very good to him), I do not know. He’s 67 years old now, has more money than most of us could ever hope to make, and maybe it’s time for him to just go fishing with his grandkids or work on getting daughter Emily married off.

        ‘Fraid I don’t think those apologies aren’t going to be forthcoming. I for one am glad I don’t fly that much. I’ve never had a major problem with flying overseas, but flying domestically 2 years ago was a nightmare both coming and going. Then there’s the question of when will these airlines let a situation get completely out of control and administer a Hank Voight/Andy Sipowicz beatdown to a passenger who hasn’t done anything wrong.

  5. 3, I think, is somewhat amazing, if predictable.

    -The jobs report just came out, and it’s abysmal, the economy was supposed to add a million jobs, instead it added 200,000. Employers said that government benefits are a disincentive to work, and Biden said that maybe employers should pay more. Which is… amazing, considering that outside a bubble of retailers that have done very well during the pandemic, there are a lot of small businesses suffering just as much as their employees.
    -Joe’s messing on masks is starting to become indecipherable (apparently vaccinated people don’t need to mask around each other now, which is both different from what he’s said previously, and not what he’s currently doing. But hey! At least he’s actually vocalizing the actual scientific position… at least for this week).
    -Apparently Joe’s unofficial policy of rolling back Trump’s policies like Trump did Obama’s includes peace in the Middle East… Because Israel is currently on fire. But it’s all Israel’s fault, and please ignore the rockets in the sky. Those are really just celebratory Eid fireworks, or something.
    -Hackers are ransoming pipeline software, and causing gas shortages, the President’s office called it a “private, corporate decision” whether or not to pay the ransom, and that’s the exact type of leadership that causes something like 15% of American service stations to run out of fuel while driving the other 85% to an average price over $3.00 per gallon. Simultaneously, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, following her crusade against garden seeds, has ordered Canadian company Enbridge to turn off line 5, further stunting America’s fuel supply. This is ostensibly because she believes line 5 to be a ticking time bomb and that a spill could happen any day. That is because she is insane. Line 5 has existed without a spill for 65 years, it is maintained, and there isn’t an actual report saying a spill might be imminent. Enbridge, believing that Whitmer lacks the authority to make that order, is pushing the case through the courts and ignoring her.
    -Because America has been printing off money like ticker tape at a Macy’s Day parade, we’re starting to see inflation. Democrats are, I shit you not, calling this “Good Inflation”. Ask Venezuela how that worked out, you financially illiterate morons.

    But what took up airtime on CNN and MSNBC? Inside pool on the Republican Party leadership.

      • Hackers are ransoming pipeline software, and causing gas shortages, the President’s office called it a “private, corporate decision” whether or not to pay the ransom, and that’s the exact type of leadership that causes something like 15% of American service stations to run out of fuel while driving the other 85% to an average price over $3.00 per gallon.
        I missed the part when Congress legalized hacking…

  6. 2. Social media should be called “anti-social” media, because that’s what it is. Social influencers should (mostly) be labelled “anti-social” influencers. This group is, in most ways, the “wrong crowd” my mother warned me about getting cozy with.

  7. Why have you not finished the Pandemic Creates a Classic and Difficult Ethics Conflict?

    Some might care when a particularly despicable member retains leadership, as in the case of Maxine Waters, but this is a particularly absurd example of the news media trying to manufacture controversy over nothing.

    I wonder if a critical proportion of voters would care that Speaker Pelosi retained her leadership position.

    Now here is an article worth commenting about.

    Democrats, predictably, are to the left of the national average on these questions. But in today’s most pressing racial matters, independents tend to side with Democrats, leaving Republicans in the minority. Americans as a whole agree, by a ratio of 2-to-1, that Black people and white people don’t “receive equal treatment from the police.” But Republicans, by almost the same ratio, disagree. Most Americans say that the deaths of Black Americans in recent well-publicized police encounters represent a broader problem, but more than 70 percent of Republicans insist that these are just “isolated incidents.” Most Americans agree that the rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 would have been treated more harshly if they had been Black, but few Republicans agree. In fact, Republicans are just as likely to claim that the police would have treated Black rioters less harshly.

    In one recent survey, 40 percent of Americans said “racism in our society” was a big problem. Only 14 percent of Republicans endorsed that view. In another poll, 30 percent of Republicans said “racial inequality” was “not a problem at all.” Only 14 percent of Americans took that position. Two-thirds of Americans say the U.S. is doing only a fair or poor job of “providing equality and justice for all groups,” but most Republicans say the U.S. is doing an excellent or good job. Republicans are far more likely to say that conservatives face a great deal of discrimination than to say that Black people do. On all of these questions, Republicans are wildly out of step not just with Democrats, but with political independents and with white Americans as a whole.

  8. What exactly is a social media influencer? Is it just someone who posts a vlog? I watch several youtubers, but the ones I watch always make it very clear that they are entertainers, and not to be taken seriously about anything. They are funny, light hearted people with degrees in theater who don’t like working regular jobs and have found a way to make their degrees lucrative by commenting on things like differences in culture between the UK and the US. Does that count as an influencer?

    • They have so many zombie-mind followers that their endorsement of products is sufficient to promote millions in sales. Many of them are paid to plug events and more. Hell, I influence no one (apparently), and I’ve been offer money to recommend events and books.

      • Let it be known that no one pays me to gush about the books I enjoy to anyone who’ll listen.

        There is a possibility that some people are willing to pay me to shut up about said books but thus far I’ve received no such offers.

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