Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2021: “Having A Hard Time Keeping Up” Edition

Just a housekeeping note…I am struggling to find a way to keep Ethics Alarms reasonably current and informative at a time when the ethics issues are resembling an avalanche from my point of view. Avoiding the trap of letting political matters eat the blog is also a constant chore; it has been for many years, but the problem seems to be getting worse. The daily warm-up format was developed to help me cover more issues, but it has become an amazingly time-consuming project, usually taking me two hours on most days. That’s still less than it would take to cover each of the four or five items in full posts (tagging, proofreading and completing the links now takes longer than ever, thanks to WordPress “improvements). Of course, posting 8 or 9 posts a day instead of just three or four would help traffic, which depresses me, but unfortunately, I have other responsibilities. Then there are the long-delayed but promised Part Twos and Threes that are staring at me like unpaid debts, making me feel guilty. I can’t believe the Ethics Scoreboard would have an essay a week, and sometimes not even that. I’ll figure it out….

1. Well, this makes me feel a little better...it appears that the commentariat on both Ann Althouse’s blog and the home of Professor Turley’s usually excellent analysis have also become overwhelmingly conservative as the progressives have fled except for a few determined souls. Ann and the professor are both left-leaning, but their integrity has led them to be critical of the progressive hive as well as the news media that nourishes it. Being objective is now the mark of an evil conservative, apparently, or so their critics claim. That’s a horrifying cultural development, but at least the flight of the progressives on Ethics Alarms was not an isolated phenomenon.

2. More on “Peril”...

  • The story in Bob Woodward’s latest book about Gen. Milley’s breach of the chain of command because, apparently, he was biased by several Big Lies about his Commander in Chief only rated page 16 coverage in the New York Times, behind, for example, Squaw Valley changing its name because a lifetime petty criminal was accidentally killed by a Minnesota cop. Meanwhile, this is front page, multiple op-ed stuff over at the Washington Post. It the Post’s Bob Woodward’s claims are true, then it should be a front page story in both papers. If it isn’t, THAT’s a front page story. 
  • Of course, the story may be garbage, but the Post won’t consider that. Example: in a piece by Greg Sargent called “Awful new revelations about Trump and Jan. 6 show Mike Pence is no hero,” this excerpt from “Peril” is cited as factual enough to be called an “awful revelation.” Trump and Pence are supposedly arguing about whether Pence should block the certification of the election:
“If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?” Trump asked.
“I wouldn’t want any one person to have that authority,” Pence said.
“But wouldn’t it be almost cool to have that power?” Trump asked, according to Woodward and Costa.
“No,” Pence said. He went on, “I’ve done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It’s simply not possible.”
 
How can these quotes be believed? It was a conversation between two people. Trump wasn’t Woodward’s source, and neither was Pence. Yet we are told that these are exact quotes. Unless Woodward was there, which he wasn’t, the account is hearsay at best, and maybe third- or fourth-hand hearsay. Greg Sargent, however, believes them, and a Post editor thinks that’s enough to justify representing a fabricated conversation as real.
 

3. And still more (Ugh!): Here is how former President Trump’s official statement on the Milley story begins:

“If the story of “Dumbass” General Mark Milley, the same failed leader who engineered the worst withdrawal from a country, Afghanistan, in U.S. history, leaving behind many dead and wounded soldiers, many American citizens, and $85 Billion worth of the newest and most sophisticated Military equipment in the world, and our Country’s reputation, is true, then I assume he would be tried for TREASON in that he would have been dealing with his Chinese counterpart behind the President’s back and telling China that he would be giving them notification “of an attack.” Can’t do that!”

Stay classy, Mr. President! I didn’t read any more after that.

4. Dumbest media chorus of all time, perhaps? Incredibly, the national poverty rate fell to an all-time low despite the economy crashing and millions becoming unemployed, because the government handed out lots of money to people who weren’t working, renters didn’t have to pay rent, and we stopped worrying about the National Debt. The obvious conclusion is that if the government handed out even more money to everyone according to their needs, with the cash taken from working citizens according to their ability, we could eliminate poverty completely!

5. Speaking of Jonathan Turley: The pariah George Washington University law professor took aim at an editorial that appeared this month in the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) student newspaper “The Observer” in which the editorial board wrote that the school’s recognition of a pro-life student group presented an unacceptable risk to the student body. In a typo-filled post (this alsomakes me feel better—thanks, Professor!), Turley writes,

“The students equate students with opposing views [with a] harmful threat to the student body as a whole. They further dismiss the notion that it is an assault on free speech to base funding on whether the editors or even the majority of the students agree with the views of a given student group. It would effectively eliminate groups with minority views and values. Yet the editors insist:

“Invoking the First Amendment to reject recognition is a weak argument; not allocating funding does not equate to banning Case for Life from campus. If anything, allocation of funding through students’ tuition leaves students voiceless, unable to fight back against an organization that infringes upon at least half of the students’ right to reproductive privacy.”

It is an utterly ridiculous argument. Of course, this is a content-based denial of free speech. Otherwise, schools could deny resources and access to groups with dissenting or minority views. The editors are declaring the very act of protesting to be violence and the expression of their views as a threat to the student body.”

Sure it’s ridiculous. It is also an argument that a majority of the students in Turley’s own institution would probably support. I’d like to see him address the issue of higher education’s culpability for producing graduates who agree with a position that is not only ridiculous, but totalitarian.

But he’ll never get his progressive readers back that way….

6. [ADDED] “Comments That Don’t Make It Through Moderation” Dept. A comment on the post about the “Fuck Biden” signs and chants read, “FUCK BIDEN.”

8 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2021: “Having A Hard Time Keeping Up” Edition

  1. 2. So the media chooses to believe the parts that make Trump look bad and ignore the parts that make his opponents in the administration look bad.

    Yeah, I suppose that’s praiseworthy for consistency of awfulness.

  2. 2. I have to wonder whether the President and Vice President aren’t under surveillance at all times. Maybe there are some former spooks in the commentariat who could shed some light on this. I just can’t believe there aren’t some people in the NSA who are tasked with recording and reporting every single thing a sitting President says to anyone at any time of the day or night. I’m sure we have the technology. And we certainly have government employees with the appetite for such a program.

    • When Trump spoke to the Ukrainians, there was no apparent recording, just paraphrased transcripts.

      It would seem a huge security hole to have constant recordings. It’d be only a matter of time before they are intercepted by a hostile force. Lest you think that maybe extreme discipline was exercised in not leaking the Ukrainian recordings, look into how intelligence agencies handled the cold war. They are simply not the best and brightest.

    • I can tell you from experience that video and audio recording anywhere within a secure space where classified information can be discussed is explicitly verboten by security policies. Most of the time you’re not even allowed to bring in cell phones or other personally-owned electronic devices.

      –Dwayne

  3. 6) Maybe I should have made this comment on the original post with the F**K BIDEN flag banner. One of the guys that sometimes accompanies me walking in the morning said one of his neighbors just a few houses down from him had one of those large flags draped accross their front porch (I’ve never -or rarely- heard him use any profanity). He said his wife went over to their house and explained that they had grandchildren visiting regularly and other kids played in the neighborhood and thought the flag was to vulgar for public display even though they didn’t like Biden either. The neighbor agreed and took the flag down. Ultimately, people shouldn’t need a reminder to be civil but sometimes a little nudge will work if the people in question are decent and reasonable.

    I think I have seen two of those flags around, but most people that have any type of political flag in the village are still displaying the Trump 2020 flags. Personally, I never display any signs, flags, bumper stickers or t-shirts that indicate my positions on issues or politics.

      • Yes, I see many of them around here and I did mention here in a comment the neighbor two doors down have the “We believe” sign. You know, Black Lives Matter, No human is illegal, Science is Science, etc. Those people also have numerous bumper stickers plastered on the back of their van and other vehicle. That’s the only home in the 3 neighborhoods in my vicinity that I’ve seen any signs (except maybe at election time).

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