Unethical Quote Of The Month: Slate’s Joel Anderson

“For Black employees, it’s an extremely small ask to not hear that particular slur and not have debate about whether it’s OK for white employees to use that particular slur.”

—Joel Anderson,host of Slate’s podcast “Slow Burn” and an African-American journalist.

Just ponder that statement a bit while I provide the context.

The online publication Slate suspended Mike Pesca, the host of “The Gist,” a podcast on news and culture. Why, you ask? Well, says the New York Times, he debated with colleagues on an interoffice messaging platform  over whether non-blacks  should “be able to quote a racial slur” in some contexts. Wait, new York Times–what “racial slur”? Isn’t that crucial to the story? Oh..oh..I get it. The Times also can’t quote a racial slur, whatever it is, even if the “context” is a news story about that slur! Got it.

This is so stupid it hurts.

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Ethics Quote Of The Month (Yes, It’s More Impeachment Analysis, And I’m Sick Of It Too, But This Is Important): Professor Jonathan Turley

Shredding-the-Constitution

..Even with acquittal all but ensured, there was no room for constitutional niceties like free speech or due process. There was only one issue — the same one that has driven our media and politics for four years: Trump. Through that time, some of us have objected that extreme legal interpretations and biased coverage destroy our legal and journalistic values.

—-George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, constitutional law expert, on the conduct of the Democrats before and during the just-completed second Trump impeachment trial.

This statement, as well as the rest of his article for The Hill yesterday, was not only astute (though Turley’s observations should have been obvious) but personally welcome, in part because it tracked exactly with what I have been writing here for four years, but  in no small part because I was almost finished with a post making the same points. For Turley to make them is, of course, better, since a lot more people, though not nearly enough, pay attention to what he says. It was especially welcome because not one but two friends (among others) had made fatuous and indefensible assertions about the impeachment in the past two days, inspiring me to start that now redundant post.

My theme was going to be about how their now completely unhinged, Ahab-like mania to destroy the former President had led them to deny the importance of what once were accepted by liberals and conservatives alike—but especially liberals before their rebranding as “progressives”—as crucial, indispensable, core American values relating to personal liberty and government interference with it. The rationalizations employed in this scary process are stunning.

Prime among them as been 2020’s rationalization of the year: “It isn’t what it is,” #64. As I noted in the previous post, a Facebook friend (whom I strongly suspect was one of the self-exiled progressive Ethics Alarms commenters) wrote on the platform to the usual acclaim of  “likes” and “loves” that the 57 Senators who voted for this corrupt impeachment were voting “for democracy.” They were in fact doing the opposite, and in many ways, as Turley’s article explains (though again, it should be obvious.) Then, in a discussion with a more rational friend, another lawyer, about how the House impeachment had deliberately bypassed due process, I was told that there is no right of due process in an impeachment proceeding, nor should the prohibition of ex post facto laws and bills of attainder apply. Here was a lawyer making technical arguments against ethics. “Legally, due process only applies to life, liberty, and property,” she lectured. “A job is none of those.”

I could rebut that, but the point is that both the Declaration and the Constitution mark out basic values of our society, not just laws, but ethical values. “Due process” means fairness, and this lawyer, an alleged progressive, was arguing that the government doesn’t have to be fair while depriving the public of an elected official and that elected official of his job, and that individual of his ability to seek that job or another one. This is what hate and arrogance have done to the Left.

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One Acquittal, Three Quotes, Four Reactions

Trump acquitted

Former President Trump was acquitted in the second impeachment trial stemming from the Democrats’ relentless effort to remove him from office after his shocking election in 2016. In both efforts, the two-thirds super-majority necessary to convict was always impossible, because unlike previous impeachment efforts, these involved no crimes, and were not bi-partisan . They were exercises in pure partisan warfare, despite the contrary intent of the Founders and the flood of exaggerated rhetoric from Trump’s enemies who had presumed he needed to be impeached from the moment he was elected.

The sudden vote yesterday came as a surprise, as the Senate had just voted to allow witnesses in the “trial,” and that would have extended the fiasco considerably. I assume, without knowing, that the Democratic leadership finally figured out that its plot wasn’t working, and that it was time for the party to cut its losses. They might still be considerable. I hope they are considerable. This has wounded the nation badly, and the party that has blathered on about accountability needs some, and hard.

Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania voted guilty along with every Democrat. Interestingly, only two of the seven have a law degree, which may partially explain why they think a guilty verdict is defensible (it’s not.) The two lawyers, Romney and Murkowski, are barely Republicans and have been consistently anti-Trump. The fact that not a single Democrat had the integrity to buck the party’s mandate and oppose such a damaging precedent and such a dubious impeachment tells us all we need to know about the state of the current Democratic Party.

Now, three quotes following the vote:

Quote #1: From law professor and blogger Glenn Reynolds:

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Ethical Quote Of The Month: Bret Stephens’ Critical Column About New York Times Cowardice And Hypocrisy That The Times Tried To Censor

Stephens

Ethics Alarms is temporarily parting with its usual practice by publishing Times columnist Bret Stephens’ suppressed column in full. Normally, I regard doing this as unethical: the publication that pays for an essay deserves to have the benefit of the links and the views. But this was published not by Stephen’s employer, whom he serves as house conservative with varying effectiveness, but by a competitor, the New York Post, to which the piece was leaked. As a leaked document, it is fair for Ethics Alarms to publish, and as an important piece of evidence further proving the corruption of American journalism, I believe that Stephens’ spiked op-ed needs to be widely read. I doubt that the mainstream media can be trusted to give it the circulation it needs.

Stephens wrote his column in response to this incident, where his paper fired a respected journalist after its investigation of his reportedly using the word “nigger” in a discussion with students indicated that none of his remarks had been, I wrote, “sexist or racist, but that he had used words employed by sexists or racists to talk about sexism or racism, rather than using the approved poopy/ pee-pee/woo-woo baby talk codes (n-word, b-word, c-word) demanded by language censors.” “Initially, the Times’ editor, Dean Baquet, tried to be fair and to uphold what the Times is supposed to respect—the Bill of Rights,” I continued,”but eventually capitulated to his woke and anti-free speech staff, as he has before.”

Stephens told colleagues the column was killed by Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. The piece the Times didn’t want the public to see circulated among Times staffers and others until someone sent it to the New York Post.

I will say at the outset that Stephens should quit, just as Glenn Greenwald quit his own organization when it blocked publication of his piece about the Hunter Biden story embargo .I don’t know if there are enough journalists of integrity and honesty who are concerned about the ruinous abdication of their profession from its crucial obligations to democracy to prevent the death spiral into totalitarianism. But the few there are need to step up.

Here is Bret Stephens’ column:

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Novelist Raymond Chandler ( 1888-1959)

Chandler

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.”

—-Novelist and detective story master Raymond Chandler, in his essay, “The Simple Art Of Murder,

The quote continues,

He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.”

My father, Jack A. Marshall Sr., was not much for revenge, but otherwise Chandler’s quote, which he liked very much, was descriptive of Dad as well.

There has been a lot of discussion of courage here of late, both because I see it lacking at a crucial and defining time in our history, and because it must be found, as this nation has always managed to find it before, sometimes at the last moment before it was too late.Women should not feel snubbed by Chandler’s quote, which just wouldn’t read as well using two genders, or “they.” He was a typical male sexist of his time (though a complicated one), but today he would concede that his description of courage knows no gender limitations. In my immediate family, it describes with equal accuracy my grandmother, my mother, my sister, my late mother-in-law, and especially my wife. Cross her at your peril.

I had forgotten Chandler’s quote until I was reacquainted with it in an episode of “Blue Bloods,” when police commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) used it to describe his late son.

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Christopher Bedford

nationalguard

“None of this matters to the leaders in Washington: Not walling themselves from the public they serve, nor spreading even more fear and distrust among their supporters than already existed. What matters is that the Democrats and the troops be seen as the only things standing between America and a Ku Klux MAGA apocalypse.”

Christopher Bedford, National Review editor, in his essay, The Occupation Of Washington Is Pure Panic Porn — And You Are The Target

I don’t usually like to devote an Ethics Alarms post to quoting another writer’s work, but Mr. Bedford has expressed what I would have so perfectly that I’ll make an exception. Please go to the National Review and read the whole thing, but note these points:

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Sunday Ethics Irony, 1/24/2021: Now Remember, It’s The Trump Voters Who Are Deplorable

In “Utopia,” the strange and violent Amazon series about a mysterious graphic novel that turns out to be both true and a coded guide to an upcoming pandemic, the diversity propaganda is so heavy-handed that it could knock out Godzilla with a left cross. Let’s see: all the good couples are mixed race. A middle -class black woman takes in troubled white children. A white husband and wife have a family including multiple black and Asian children, which you would think violates the good couples are mixed-race rule, but it’s a trick: that white couple is villainous, and their white children are too, tough the minority kids seem to be OK. A group of assassins appears to include only whites, and the main heroine is black, though her character in the graphic novel that everyone is chasing after is white. Her female mentor is white, but she is so covered in grime that she looks black. (Why isn’t that blackface?)

At what point does this become so forced and absurd that audiences object to it? None of the race obsession adds a thing to the story except weirdness, and trust me, “Utopia” needs no more of THAT.

1. Welcome to my world! Here is a submitted comment to this post: the proud idiot “RidenwithBiden” (Oooh, clever!) writes, “My God, an entire website dedicated the the sanctimonious and bottomless brainwashed hypocrisy of traitorous right wing nut jobs.”

2. Here are some Biden voters I have no sympathy with whatsoever…President Biden signed an executive order that will require institutions receiving Title IX funding to allow biological males who identify as female to compete in women’s athletic events. This should effectively kill women’s sports while making a joke out of “competition.” Women voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden, a serial sexual harasser who was accused of rape on the record by a staffer, and he was clearly going to do this. Now feminists and women’s sports advocates are whining?

Bailey tweet

What betrayal? Sorry that you weren’t paying attention, but it was always obvious that the most extreme end of the LGBTQ lobby was pulling Joe’s strings. The one who betrayed female athletes were feminist voters. Own it, ladies.

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Glenn Greenwald

A republic

“Unleash this monster and one day it will come for you. And you’ll have no principle to credibly invoke in protest when it does. You’ll be left with nothing more than lame and craven pleading that your friends do not deserve the same treatment as your enemies. Force, not principle, will be the sole factor deciding the outcome. If you’re lucky enough to have important and famous media friends…you have a chance to survive it. Absent that, you have none.”

Glenn Greenwald, in his post on the attempted “canceling” of writer Will Wilkenson over a facetious tweet.

The “monster” Greenwald is referring to is mob anger and indignation, magnified by social media, and enabled by self-preservation and cowardice. His essay, titled “The Moronic Firing of Will Wilkinson Illustrates Why Fear and Bad Faith Mob Demands Reign Supreme,” was triggered by the recent firing of an intellectual I never heard of by a think tank I never heard of, as well as his looming dismissal by the New York Times. His “crime” was this tweet…

Willkerson tweet

…which a hoard of online cretins and power-hungry wastrels pounced upon, falsely calling it a call to do violence to the ex-Vice-President and thus mandating his public humiliation and rejection.

As Greenwald correctly concludes, no reasonably intelligent reader could think the tweet, posted the night of Joe Biden’s inauguration, was anything but a pointed joke. Extreme Trump supporters were furious with Pence for not taking action to reject the 2020 election results. Anti-Trump extremists wanted Pence to remove President Trump using the inapplicable 25th Amendment ploy, which he correctly refused to do (and could do constitutionally anyway.) Thus lunatics on both sides of the U.S. ideological divide could be unified in their anger and hatred toward Mike Pence, ironically making his mistreatment a potentially unifying act. Wilkinson rueful point was valid (if clumsily made), and he wasn’t personally advocating violence against Pence. But a wealthy hedge fund manager and large-money GOP donor, Gabe Hoffman, condemned the tweet which he claimed “call[ed] for former Vice President Mike Pence to be lynched.” Hoffman asked the New York Times, which employs Wilkinson as an opinion writer, to comment on its ” ‘contributing opinion writer’ calling for violence against a public official,” then tweeted to Wilkinson’s other employers, the Niskanen Center, a moderate public policy think tank, to pressure them as well. The Center quickly fired Wilkinson, while his fate with the Times hangs in the balance. A spokesperson for the paper told Fox News: “Advocating violence of any form, even in jest, is unacceptable and against the standards of The New York Times. We’re reassessing our relationship with Will Wilkinson.”

Naturally, as happens in 99% of these increasingly common episodes, the victim of the deliberate misunderstanding resorted to a grovelling apology, saying in part,

“Last night I made an error of judgment and tweeted this. It was sharp sarcasm, but looked like a call for violence. That’s always wrong, even as a joke. It was especially wrong at a moment when unity and peace are so critical. I’m deeply sorry and vow not to repeat the mistake. . . . [T]here was no excuse for putting the point the way I did. It was wrong, period.”

No, actually it didn’t look like a call for violence, and apologizing for something it wasn’t but was deliberately misrepresented as being for malicious purposes is far worse than the tweet itself.

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Telling Unethical Quote Of The Week: Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal

Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address calling for unity was extravagantly praised by the news media. Were they empty words of convenience? We shall see. The first clue will be whether Democrats allow the “snap impeachment” of President Trump to continue to become the unconstitutional spite trial of citizen Donald Trump. That just might be considered divisive. The likelihood is getting stronger even as the mainstream media is reporting that the siege of the Capitol had been planned in advance, so claiming that Trump “incited a riot” is false on its face….but this is what happens when the objective is just to accuse someone without bothering to wait for a thorough investigation.

Also working against “unity”—totalitarian regimes love unity; in fact, they insist on it—is the certainty that the mainstream news media will now constantly be parading its despicable double standards before the public daily. Seldom has blogger Ann Althouse, a moderate liberal who found herself defending a President she disliked almost as much as I did over the last four years, duplicated my thoughts more exactly than she did yesterday when she wrote in part,

I’m not watching the TV, not thinking about the inauguration. I’m uninterested in hearing analysis of the speeches, the poetry, the song-belting, the executive orders, the race-and-sex firsts. Bored by social media posts about how happy this or that person I follow happens to be about all those things. …The main reason I am averting my eyes is that I don’t want exposure to all the favorable, flattering media. The media were so awful to Trump, whatever he did. The sudden shift to bathing Biden in sunlight just feels so wrong to me. It seems sappy and patronizing. But I hope Biden does well, and I’ll be giving him a chance.”

Which is more than 99% of the AUC did with President Trump.

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Saturday Ethics Alerts, 1/16/21: “Nevermore!” If Only…

Raven Addams

The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” was ratified by the requisite number of states on this date in, 1919. It was a great, botched, ethics experiment. Alcohol was too far embedded in the culture for too long and in too many ways, and the laws prohibiting alcohol were badly drafted and engendered public resentment and contempt. Still, as the Ken Burns documentary on the topic made clear, the damage being caused by alcohol abuse before Prohibition was permanently slowed down and reversed by the ban, though the ban itself was doomed from the start.

1. Quote of the Day: I just finished watching “We Bought A Zoo” again, and it reminded me of the quote, alluded to in the film, by the real life English man who did buy a zoo, and whose story was transferred to America in the film staring Matt Damon. Benjamin Mee said in his book (with the same title as the film) about the adventure, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

He’s absolutely right, and this principle has enriched my own life too many times to count.

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