Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/14/22: Bruised And Embarrassed Edition

The above is as close as I can get to the approximate predominant color of the bruise that runs from just above my left hip to below the back if my left knee. The thing is about ten inches across at its widest point. Then there’s the swelling, which reminds me of a joke in “City Slickers.” Thanks to everyone who has sent good wishes, both here and off site. I’m just embarrassed and frustrated, while metaphorically kicking myself for not buying that standing desk I was considering a few years ago. Right now, I’m just going to try to catch up a bit…

1. Apparently the Axis is really  going with the “threat to democracy” narrative. I was watching the News Mix channel on DirectTV. Fox News is nestled between CNN and MSNBC, so you can watch all three channels at once. In the time that Fox was covering rising crime rates (and WaWa pulling stores from Philadelphia after a mob ransacked one outlet), police officers getting shot, the latest inflation numbers, the border mess, and the Justice Dept. being sued to force an explanation for why it allowed illegal protests in front of SCOTUS justices’ homes, the other two networks never budged from reports on the Jan. 6 Star Chamber, backed by films of the riot that occurred 21 months ago. News! Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…

2. So which party’s supporters will vote for an inanimate carbon rod if it has the right letter next to its name? We have some of the data, based on the fact that Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential election (though not “fair and square”), but the Senate races in Pennsylvania and Georgia are acid tests. In Pa., John Fetterman would be an irresponsible choice if he were healthy, but he obviously is not. There is nothing unethical about running as a candidate with a disability if the candidate is transparent about it, but he is doling out information  selectively. Fetterman’s refusal to release his medical records is a red flag and disqualifying, as was his decision to continue his candidacy after his stroke this year. The latest revelation is that the Democrat has to use closed captioning because he can’t understand oral communications. What else is being kept secret by his campaign?

In Georgia, meanwhile, Republican Herschel Walker apparently lied that he never heard of the woman who claimed that he paid to have her abort their child, even though the same woman gave birth to one of his children. Walker has even less justification to be elected to the Senate than Fetterman, and his lies are catching up to him. He’s a phony, as Ethics Alarms has discussed before. I might actually vote for a carbon rod over Walker.

3. If Nicholas Cruz doesn’t deserve the death penalty, then no one does. (But in truth, many do…as did he). After seven hours of deliberation, the jury returned a recommendation that the now-24-year-old who killed 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and injured another 17 should spend his life in prison. There were “mitigating circumstances” that caused the poor lad to become a monster, the defense showed. This is the same logic that has led to California to essentially legalize shoplifting.

There is no dispute over whether Cruz committed the crime. This isn’t an example of the death penalty being too final when the jury may have been wrong. The verdict sets a standard: no matter how brutal, cruel and indefensible a crime is, American society will not hold that the perpetrator has forfeited his right to live here. If slaughtering kids in school only warrants life imprisonment, surely the premeditated murder of a cheating husband or a single child with a large life insurance policy must be given more leniency. Five years perhaps? The loss of library privileges?

“This should have been the death penalty, 100%,” said Lori Aldaheff, whose daughter Alyssa was among the victims. “Seventeen people were brutally murdered on Feb. 14, 2018. I sent my daughter to school and she was shot eight times. I am so beyond disappointed and frustrated with this outcome. I cannot understand. I just don’t understand.” Oh, it’s easy to understand. Support for and understanding of accountability in our culture is at a dangerous nadir.

4. I “just don’t understand” why this isn’t causing a bigger public reaction…The mainstream news media is coverring every gasp and fart in the partisan examination of a 2021 riot, but virtually ignoring the alarming news coming out of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of the Russian Collusion Hoax. An FBI official testified this week that Barack Obama’s FBI offered ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele $1 million to corroborate the sensational allegations made against Presidential candidate Donald Trump in his Clinton campaign-funded dossier. Steele turned down the..what, bribe?…because he couldn’t confirm his own work. FBI supervisory counterintelligence analyst Brian Auten, the first witness in the trial of Igor Danchenko, testified that he and a group of FBI agents went overseas in early October 2021 to speak with Steele about the dossier. In addition to revealing that the FBI offered Steele $1 million, Auten also said that the FBI had no corroboration of allegations in the dossier but took that information and inserted it into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Will there be any accountability for this? How does the party claiming that Trump is a threat to democracy get away with such hypocrisy? How can the American people trust law enforcement when a politically motivated agency like the FBI offers financial incentives to get someone to take down the opposition party’s Presidential candidate?

5. Res Ipsa Loquitur: In the New York Times “Best of Late Night” column, every single joke and reference involves Donald Trump.

6. Keep it classy, Ambassador…In his new tell-all book, the former US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland calls his boss and benefactor, Trump (who appointed him), a narcissist and a “dick.”

That’s news? Who buys these books?

7. And now for something completely stupid... Omar Ashmawy, the head of the Office of Congressional Ethics, was arrested and charged with DUI and three other violations after veering off the road, plowing over a stop sign, hitting one parked car and then another before finally crashing straight into the front porch of a house in Pennsylvania last month. Ethics!

Do you think he’ll have to resign? I bet there were “mitigating circumstances”…after all, he’s another “historic” appointment, the first Muslim ever to hold the post. And really, isn’t inclusion, equity and diversity what really matters?

20 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/14/22: Bruised And Embarrassed Edition

  1. … The verdict sets a standard: no matter how brutal, cruel and indefensible a crime is, American society will not hold that the perpetrator has forfeited his right to live here [emphasis added].

    Does that imply that you would find a sentence of exile an acceptable alternative?

    If slaughtering kids in school only warrants life imprisonment, surely the premeditated murder of a cheating husband or a single child with a large life insurance policy must be given more leniency. Five years perhaps? The loss of library privileges?

    Since you quoted the Simpsons earlier, perhaps it should be “[t]he loss of library privileges, for you, your children, and your children’s children, for three weeks”.

    What do you think muslims will do to one of their own who drinks alcohol, like Ashmawy, if they can? This may be a situation in which it would be poetic justice to let things take their course. However, I recognise that that would set a dangerous precedent.

    While I sympathise with your present discomfort, it does call to mind a rather apposite quotation from Confucius. However, I will save that for a later occasion when you and your sense of humour are better recovered, as just at the moment it would smack of mentioning rope in the house of a hanged man.

  2. Regarding 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6.

    There are so many things that show us how deep the tentacles of totalitarianism have reached into our society and culture to ignore. Sometimes the things are in-your-face obvious and sometimes they’re not, but what’s clear to me is that totalitarian control of our country is already happening and it’s coming at us from all directions. When the totalitarians coalesce their control under one hat the USA is done; right now they’re actively trying to coalesce their control under a unified anti-Trump hat. The totalitarians have turned Trump and the Republicans into the evil that they’ve been looking for to push their agenda and they’re going to milk it for all its worth.

    The ends justifies the means and their totalitarianism ends is the only thing that’s acceptable to them, it’s all or nothing for them.

    Personally, I think we’re already over the precipice and we’re sliding down the slippery slope into a totalitarian abyss.

    Yes I know that’s a pessimistic viewpoint, but seriously folks, there are piles and piles of puzzle pieces out their all you have to do is assemble them. Pay attention to the totality of what’s happening because right now there are way too many people that can’t see the forest for the trees.

    • Well duh Steve! I typed the wrong “there” in this sentence, “Yes I know that’s a pessimistic viewpoint, but seriously folks, there are piles and piles of puzzle pieces out there all you have to do is assemble them.

    • I came across a comment the other day that summed our current status up perfectly, if depressingly: America is a corpse being eaten by maggots, with half the country rooting for the maggots and the other half rooting for the corpse.

      I’ve reluctantly come to the accept that there’s no way to turn around and go back the way we came. That avenue is closed to us, so our only option is to push forward, likely through far worse hardship than this country has yet experienced, and try to come out the other side. Politically, we are clearly well past the “point of no return”. It remains to be seen if that is true culturally as well.

  3. Don’t kick yourself too much, injuries in hospital parking lots happen when you have your mind on someone else that is needing medical attention. About 44 years ago I took a friend to the hospital because he was quite sick from a migraine that had dehydrated him really fast because he couldn’t keep anything down. I was helping him out of the front passenger seat because he had almost no energy to stand or walk and when I shut the car door behind me I shut my finger in the door frame around the top of the window and crushed it, the door completely shut. ARRRGH!!! Lucky I have big bones, that finger (right hand middle finger) wasn’t broken and swelled up to the size of a cucumber. I still have lots of problems with that finger joint.

    Give yourself a break, sometimes shit happens.

  4. Ouch, can empathize completely! I still vividly remember a similar (and in the same spot) injury acquired in an encounter (skiing) with a large rock 30 or more years ago. Hurts to even think about how it might feel at current age.

    #2: The only thing I can say about the mess that is Walker, is that perhaps he’s the lesser of two evils…the other being continued democrat control of the Senate, with their own creatures like Mazie Hirono , Adam Schiff,…

    #4: Saw an interview with one of the signers of the “Fifty Intelligence Experts/Hunter’s laptop letter” with him trying to weaselly explain why that unverified claim, dropped when it was, wasn’t actually a partisan political stunt.

    #7: Egyptians (Ashmawy’s father) often seem to be “Muslim lite”…usually not a bad thing. There are a number of locally produced beers, and alcohol is widely available in restaurants, etc.

  5. Mainstream media bias – NYT says “Hold my beer…”
    It’s legit (i.e., the tweet – not the accusation).

  6. I tried to make this comment in a prior thread, but I’m not sure it made it. Anyway, I wanted clarify a point that I see often. “Allah” is not the Muslim god; rather, it’s simply the Arabic word for God (one of many actually). So even Christian Arabs (like me) would use “Allah” in prayers and services. I’m guessing the confusion arises from Muslims using it frequently, because in general they are required to practice using Arabic.

    Regarding Point #2, I’ve always voted only for those I actually like or agree with, but this election I’m voting ‘R’ throughout and against any proposal being put forth by the Dems, mainly because they have gone bat(poop) crazy (I’m in Illinois, and one of the things we have on the ballot this election is the so called “Workers’ Rights Amendment” which just a fancy way to say that the Dems want to amend Illinois’ constitution (relying on voters’ ignorance) to make Illinois the most pro-union state–this thing is crazy; it even allow union to preempt/overcome state laws!!).

    https://www.illinoispolicy.org/workers-rights-amendment-would-hike-workers-property-taxes-by-2100/

  7. Nearly five years ago I had an accident when I was delivering newspapers — I slipped on some ice as I was getting out of my car and tore my quadriceps tendon. After some misadventures with the healing process, I had to spend six weeks in a skilled nursing care facility. I eventually recovered nearly completely, although I still walk with a cane and have trouble with stairs and slopes.

    But on the whole, it turned out to be a blessing for two main reasons. I had to retire from delivering newspapers (which is really much more a young person’s job), and got me to go pretty much exclusively to tax preparation, which I love and which is ideal for older folks like me.

    Secondly, it provided the impetus for me to quit what was a nearly half century smoking habit. Aside from saving me several thousands of dollars every year, it’s definitely bolstered my health situation.

    So that’s my silver lining story. It was rough to go through, but I am better off now than I was before.

  8. 1. Apparently the Axis is really going with the “threat to democracy” narrative. I was watching the News Mix channel on DirectTV. Fox News is nestled between CNN and MSNBC, so you can watch all three channels at once. In the time that Fox was covering rising crime rates (and WaWa pulling stores from Philadelphia after a mob ransacked one outlet), police officers getting shot, the latest inflation numbers, the border mess, and the Justice Dept. being sued to force an explanation for why it allowed illegal protests in front of SCOTUS justices’ homes, the other two networks never budged from reports on the Jan. 6 Star Chamber, backed by films of the riot that occurred 21 months ago. News! Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…

    Let us consider this riot.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/31/politics/trump-underground-bunker-white-house-protests/index.html

    The decision to physically move the President came as protesters confronted Secret Service officers outside the White House for hours on Friday – shouting, throwing water bottles and other objects at the line of officers, and attempting to break through the metal barriers.

    Emphasis added

    When the Park Police cleared out this crowd of violent rioters using tear gas, the narrative suddenly turned into “Trump used tear gas against peaceful protesters for a photo op”. Suddenly, the netowrk and broadcast print media were denying the riot at the White House, even though they just reported it days before.

    From this incident, we can deduce that they and their kind are arguing in bad faith.

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