Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/22/22: I Smell Violence In The Air

You want violence instead of civil discourse? In 1856, you got it when on this date, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in the Senate over the expansion of slavery and Sumner’s speech excoriating slavery-supporting Senators by name. Brooks entered the Senate chamber and used his cane to beat Sumner, who was sitting at his desk. Sumner’s legs were pinned under the desk, which was bolted to the floor, so he could not escape. If Brooks had not been pulled away, Sumner might have been killed. But the attacker became an instant hero in the South, as supporters sent him commemorative canes. Sumner could not return to the Senate for three years because of his injuries.

Nice. And it appears to me that there are a lot of cultural exhortations to violence occurring right now. Democrats are actively fear-mongering about an imaginary “threat to democracy” posed by Republicans, even as Democrats push for restrictions on free speech and continue with their partisan show trials over the Capitol riot. Violence in response to any police shooting involving a black citizen is now routine, and abortion activists are threatening violence in response to the looming Roe reversal. Meanwhile, the media is assisting in the despicable effort to pin the Buffalo shooting on Tucker Carlson and Fox News

Always happy to help out, the Mad Men (and women) have recently decided that killing the people who you don’t like or disagree with is acceptable and hilarious. In this Amazon Prime TV ad, we’re supposed to applaud a man being killed because he tries to flirt with a woman at a party:

In this one, Apple shows a young woman, the commercial’s protagonist, vaporizing the people who threaten her privacy:

The message is that it’s justifiable to employ violence to get rid of bad people. This is called “playing with fire.”

1. No big deal! The reflex response of the Biden Administration, reflected in the performance of its paid liars, to various problems is now “Hey, its’ not a big deal!” Gas prices are too high? Jen Pasaki said to drive less or buy an electric car. The crashing stock market got an especially obnoxious shrug-off from new White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said that Wall Street’s longest losing streak in 99 years was “not something we keep an eye on every day.”

Funny, I thought everything going on in the nation was something the Executive Branch is obligated to “keep an eye on every day.”

2. Good. Kudos to Republican voters in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district for dumping Madison Cawthorn in last week’s primary. Seldom, if ever, has a first term Congress member so quickly proven his unworthiness for public office. Among his habits was repeatedly trying to get on an airplane with a gun in his carry-on luggage. He was caught diving with an expired license. His rhetoric was inflammatory and irresponsible.

If only voters in other districts around the country were so quick to rectify their mistakes….

3. Hillary disinformation? What Hillary disinformation? CNN, Yahoo, CBS, Bloomberg, and other news media reported on the revelation—it keeps getting called “shocking.” I wasn’t shocked. Were you shocked?—that, as Yahoo! put it, “Hillary Clinton personally approved leaking to the media information alleging a connection between Donald Trump and a Russian bank in 2016, which the campaign itself had not fully confirmed, according to testimony Friday by Clinton’s campaign manager.”

Can you guess what news sources didn’t report the story? Oh, just the “paper of record” New York Times, and the “Democracy dies in darkness” Washington Post.

3. At least he’s not beating anyone with a cane. Yet. DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, ranting irresponsibly on MSNBC yesterday:

This party, the Republican party, has turned into a party that is built on fraud, on fear, and fascism.

Not quite as catchy as “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion,” but nice try!

They are trying to suppress the right of freedom of speech. They’re banning books right now. In Florida they’re trying to keep you from saying certain words. They’re repressing people in terms of their votes at the ballot box. They’re going after women’s rights to control their bodies, and privacy rights. This is a full frontal assault on Democracy coming from the Republican party. It’s something you would see in a place like Russia!

It seems unkind to mention it, but the current leader of the Democratic Party was elected on a promise to dial back toxic rhetoric and to bridge the partisan divide.

4. Kellyanne cashes in. Former Trump “counsellor” Kellyanne Conway is the latest trust-betrayer, as her tell-all book “Here’s the Deal” is hitting the web. Again, betraying the trust of an employer, especially a President, while that employer is still active in the public sphere (and even after) is ethically indefensible. I don’t know why I expected Conway to be any better than all the other “best people” that Trump hired and appointed, but I did.

5. The Great Stupid’s Stupid Backlash. Now Republicans are running parts of Virginia, so they are going to waste time, money and energy trying to reverse admittedly woke-driven foolishness. The Shenandoah County School Board in 2020 voted to change Stonewall Jackson High School to “Mountain View” and Ashby-Lee Elementary School to “Honey Run.” Now it is considering bringing the names of the Confederate generals back, polling constituents with the possibility of a reversal if the public wants more “Dixie” in their public schools.

This is what we ask for when momentary fad sensibilities dictate changes in the names of public buildings.

6. Here’s how news sources get themselves black-balled from Ethics Alarms: The newish conservative news site, the D.C. Enquirer, featured this headline: “New Poll Shows World Leaders Respected Trump More Than Biden.” It’s a flat out lie. The actual poll result:

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters believe most world leaders see President Biden as weaker than former President Donald Trump. Thirty-three percent (33%) feel Biden is stronger than Trump in the eyes of most world leaders.”

What polled voters believe is not proof of anything other than what they believe. What do U.S. voters know about how foreign leaders feel about Trump and Biden?

12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/22/22: I Smell Violence In The Air

  1. RE #3: Yes, NYT and WaPo have, to date, given Mook’s testimony a thorough and complete leaving alone. But in fairness, CNN, Yahoo, Bloomberg and others ignored the story for the first 48 hours. It was only covered on Fox and conservative sites like National Review and The Spectator.

    RE #3 the second, though actually #4: They are trying to suppress the right of freedom of speech. They’re banning books right now. In Florida they’re trying to keep you from saying certain words. Ummmm… seen any good mirrors lately? Does Mr. Harrison know what’s been going on on college campuses? I suppose banning links to newspapers like the NY Post is somehow more benign…? Leaving aside the so-called “n word,” is he cognizant of the efforts to remove any reference to gender from public discourse?

    You’ve gotta give progressive props for one thing: if there were a market for chutzpah, they’d all be rich.

  2. Re #6. It might also be pointed out that considering someone “strong” is different from “respecting” that person. Putin is a strong leader; he is not respectable.

  3. “It’s your data. iPhone keeps it that way.”

    Anyone who believes that statement, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you.

    • I think that commercial is not really condoning violence. It is an imaginary auction peopled with imaginary people who are negated by a supposed security feature. The Medusa/Amazon Prime commercial really annoys me. There’s another one, also aimed at women, that has Cleopatra and her girlfriends riding around the desert on motorcycles. This whole “girl power” advertising thing is really annoying. Is the message that men are expendable to the point of being undesirable? Looks that way to me. As with Republicans, the world would evidently be perfect if there just weren’t any men around. Medusa evidently lived on Lesbos. I didn’t know that.

  4. Things might have ended sooner if fellow Congressman Lawrence Keitt hadn’t held others in the chamber at gunpoint yelling “let them be!” Apparently Keitt was pretty screwed up as it was, since he started a huge brawl 2 years later by trying to throttle Congressman Galusha Grow. He got his, however. He joined the Confederate army as an officer, and, the first time he took the field in combat, during the Battle of Cold Harbor, Philip Sheridan’s men shot him and dealt him a mortal wound. As for Preston Brooks, his thuggish glory was short-lived. He died the year after this assault from a violent attack of croup at the age of 37. Justice doesn’t always catch up to wrongdoers, but in this case it did.

    Let’s not beat around the bush, this country didn’t do a damn thing when activists tried to tear it apart two years ago, but, not only has BLM shot its bolt, the rest of the country is in no mood for a repeat of summer 2020, whether for the same reasons or different reasons. I don’t think even the de facto far-left administration wants that to happen. Biden said nothing then, and justified saying nothing by saying during the debates that he was not a public official then, and therefore could do nothing. Now he has as much power as he is ever going to have. Does he really want to do nothing and have those words coming back to haunt him? He could de facto back the rioters, just like Ted Wheeler and Muriel Bowser and all those other Democratic politicians did, but that’s going to send two messages to the rest of the country as loud and clear as the Emancipation Proclamation or maybe even the Declaration of Independence. The first of those messages is that, if you are not a member of one of the Democratic Party’s favored (at the moment) groups, you are on your own. The elected officials of that party, from the smallest small-town mayor up to the President, will do nothing to protect your property, your livelihood, your loved ones, or you. The second is that there are de facto three Americas: the Democratic Party’s core of officials, who matter most, those who serve or assist them, who matter depending on how and how much they can assist them, and everyone else, who matters not at all, except on Election Day, when those who matter “hope they’ll exercise their voting privilege (for it is a privilege, a right can’t be taken from you) responsibly.”

    I ask you, does this sound more or less like a country headed back to peace and prosperity? Does this sound like the chances of things getting ugly are going up or down? Do you believe the GOP and the right are so broken that they will do nothing at all to avoid upsetting the applecart, or do you believe that they are getting to the point where they will finally be pushed too far, and things will go 180 degrees from 2 years ago? I think it’s the second. It’s fast getting to the point where the right has the same two choices the colonists had in 1775: fight or face permanent lesser status. If the choice is between fighting and being hated, reviled, and treated like a threat the rest of your days,, which will you choose?

    1. It’s literally at the point where I wonder just what the hell the executive branch is doing that’s keeping it from taking action on the pressing problems here. Jimmy Carter said don’t worry about fuel costs, just put on a sweater. Where did that get him?

    2. No big loss.

    3. Shocking my foot. This has been known for a while, but they sat on it until the investigation was safely over and Trump was safely out of office. When stories seem to only reach the conservative media, you have to ask, “who could the mainstream media be protecting?”

    4. I wish I were surprised, but I’m not.

    5. On the one hand it’s a waste of time, on the other, I think it’s good to send a message that woke foolishness won’t simply be let stand but will be rolled back. There’s no reason not to try to take some trophies back from the other side so they can’t keep touting them.

    6. Just the right using the left’s tactics.

  5. Regarding #2, isn’t it strange that hundreds of people worked on the Mueller investigation for two years, to the tune of somewhere around $35 million, but somehow failed to uncover the fact that all of the “Russian collusion” stuff was all a fictional creation of the Clinton campaign?

    What’s the over/under on Robby Mook “committing suicide” by shooting himself in the back of the head twice in the next three months?

  6. #3 (the first three) and #6, if you would blackball a news source for headline miss attributing to world leaders what actually came from voters, shouldn’t you do that same thing if a news story reported a lie generated whole cloth by a political campaign was presented instead as “…not fully confirmed”?

  7. Interesting juxtaposition of criticizing Conway for betraying her former boss and apparent approval for Robby Mook doing the same to his former boss. There are differences, of course: the latter testifying in court instead of trying to cash in on a tell-all book being foremost among them.
    Is Mook telling the truth about Hillary? It would certainly align with her (lack of) character. But he wouldn’t be the first underling to blame the boss to avoid responsibility for his own misdeeds.

  8. At this point anyone crying “Facism” should get a retort:
    “The way you continually see Facism where there is none makes you sound like Putin.”

  9. They’re going after women’s rights to control their bodies, and privacy rights.

    Like when OSHA mandated that women take a newly-developed vaccine to keep their jobs.

    I read it somewhere on the Internet, that if you supported the OSHA vaccination mandate, you can not credibly call yourself pro-choice.

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