Sunset Ethics Round-Up, 2/2/2021: The Narrative That Refuses To Die, The Weenie Who Whines From A Safe Distance, And Other Tales

setting sun

Pop quiz! What’s the significance of the photo above?

It’s official: last month, February 2021 was the worst in Ethics Alarms traffic in five years, and last week was the worst non-holiday week in longer than that. I am at a loss to explain it, and I am going to stop obsessing about it. The comments are among the best and most erudite on the web, and I am confident that the quality and variety of content remains as high as ever.

1. Never give up that narrative! Over the weekend the Times had a puzzling news article telling us that the FBI had “zeroed in” on a suspect in the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who was falsely and repeatedly cited by mainstream media sources and the Trump prosecution in the impeachment trial as being “killed” in the riot or by rioters. The great discovery was that of a video showing someone in the crowd spraying pepper spray or bear spray on officers during the melee. However, as the article itself states, neither irritant is known to be fatal, and both the officers and the crazies were using it that day. Sicknick died of a stroke after the riot, and no link between his death and what occurred while he was trying to control the crowd has been established.

The usual course is to first establish that there has been a homicide, then to look for suspects. “Let’s see if we can pin this on someone” is not considered ethical. I predict that no one will be prosecuted for Sicknick’s death—not ethically, anyway.

2. Speaking of predictions: In yesterday’s post about Governor Cuomo’s apology, I wrote,

[T]he acid test for sexual harassment (and worse) is whether there are additional victims who come forward after the first one breaks the silence. Cuomo is now up to two. It’s a safe bet there are more.

Yesterday a third accuser came forward. Three usually is the tipping point at which even the most protective mainstream media hacks will finally turn on a Democrat. For example, I doubt that Justin Fairfax, the Lt Governor of Virginia, would have survived three rape accusers, but he’s a black Democrat, so the formula is a bit different. The Babylon Bee has it exactly right. Meanwhile, Jim Treacher writes,

Late night liberal “comedians” are finally jumping on the bandwagon to criticize formerly beloved New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. Taking the media’s lead, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert suddenly found the scandal-embroiled Democrat was an easy target, after several women came forward alleging sexual harassment from the governor.

On his Monday night show, Colbert spent roughly three minutes mocking Cuomo as an “old man” pervert for his alleged creepy comments and behavior towards young women. This after, he spent 2020 grossly promoting the Democrat’s leadership and sex appeal.

These are awful people. They were prepared to ignore the thousands of nursing home deaths Cuomo caused and covered up while praising him as a brilliant pandemic leader (unlike President Trump.) Indulging in the kind of sexual harassment and assault that Joe Biden engaged in regularly while cameras were shooting is too much to bear, however. Now Cuomo is a monster.

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Regarding Governor Cuomo’s Apology…

Schodengers douchbag

[I’ve been looking for a chance to use this expression for a while. It derives from the quantum mechanics paradox called Schrödinger’s Cat in which a hypothetical cat in a closed box may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of being linked to a contingent subatomic event that may or may not occur. I’ve really never understood the cat, but Schrödinger’s Douchebag I get.]

He was cornered, so the Governor of New York, already being buffeted by one serious scandal, decided to try to talk his way out of another one. Two staffers have gone on the record to accuse him of sexual harassment, and one of them related two instance of sexual assault (a kiss and a stroke on the legs). The Gov’s initial vague denials didn’t work, so yesterday the falling Democratic star tried a sort-of apology. Here is the statement:

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Your Deranged Friends Don’t Care That They Are Being Lied To About The “Insurrection,” But You Have An Obligation To Tell Them Anyway

tie guy

In “Journalism Ethics/Legal Ethics/Government Ethics Rot: The Democrats And Journalists Tried To Convict Donald Trump With Fake News,” Ethics Alarms covered the fact, and it is a fact, not an opinion, that the mainstream media and Democrats—the AUC, essentially—deliberately lied to the public in order to appeal to emotion and hype the significance of the January 6 riot. It appears that they were caught at the last second, which is why the decision to call witnesses was suddenly and mysteriously reversed in favor of a vote the Democrats knew they were going to lose.

I think it’s an important post about an important story, but very few people have read it (it’s been viewed 5 times today), or know that contrary to the assertions of President Biden and others, nobody was killed by the rioters, and a park police officer did not “give his life in defense of democracy.” There have been very few news stories pointing out that the Times quietly changed its false story that launched this myth, or that the Democrats deliberately entered it as false evidence in the impeachment trial.

When Ethics Alarms becomes a primary source of news that supposed journalists refuse to cover, we are in big, big trouble, especially since fewer people appear to be coming here (theories abound).

Glenn Greenwald, the primary beacon of that post, is doing what he can to spread the word of just how dastardly the AUC has been in spreading disinformation about the riot. He, as you know if you have been reading here, lost his job at his own journalism organization when it refused to allow him to spill the beans about the Hunter Biden scandal. In his latest post, Greenwlad revealed that the Brian Sicknick falsehood was far from the only example. [I will mention again here that everyone who wants to fight against the increasingly tight noose biased journalism has around the neck of our republic should subscribe to Greenwald’s feed at substack. Do it here.]

For example, we have another false story peddled by the Times and repeated up and down the news media. Here’s Greenwald:

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Midnight Ethics Terrors, 2/17/21: Trump Attacks! Fake Law! Fake News! Fake Science!

nightterrors-orig-crop

Okay, I started this at midnight, then got the night terrors, and waited until (almost) daylight to finish…

1. Who didn’t see this coming? Yesterday, Donald Trump unloaded with both metaphorical barrels on Mich McConnell as no President, former or otherwise, has ever attacked his party’s Senate leader before. McConnell asked for it, got it, and deserved it. His post impeachment trial acquittal was a foolish attempt to turn the President’s vindication into a defeat, and a pretty transparent example of the “now that the guy who was never one of us is out of power, we can strike at him with impunity” syndrome. Is McConnell really that deluded and incompetent? He must be. He apparently doesn’t understand the cognitive dissonance scale. Amazing. See, Mitch, nobody really likes you. You have the charisma of a scrub brush. As controversial as Trump is, he’s so much higher than you on the scale…

Cognitive Dissonance

… that attacking him just drags you lower still. Don’t you get that? Now Trump has double the effect. Some prime excerpts:

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Comment Of The Day: “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”

Sentence first

Here is Aaron Paschall’s Comment of the Day (he gets extra credit for the “Alice in Wonderland” quote) on the post, “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”:

“Sentence first, verdict afterward!”

The nitpicking of “’Legally, due process only applies to life, liberty, and property,” she lectured. “A job is none of those.’” honestly terrifies me. This is the consequent of thought processes like the argument against Justice Kavanaugh: “It isn’t a ‘trial,’ it’s a job interview. Due process doesn’t apply outside a court of law.” Or the one which we see now extolled in defense of Facebook/Twitter bans: “Private companies can ban whoever they like – the government isn’t doing a thing. Freedom of speech has no bearing outside of the government.” In attacking Trump and more than Trump, they’ve whittled away virtually all defenses or niceties like fairness, decency, moderation, humility, justice, the benefit of the doubt and a million more. How they can bear to stand on such a barren plain of life and declare it rich and good is beyond me.

In C.S. Lewis’ “The Silver Chair,” Puddleglum the Marshwiggle was a gloomy sort. Near the end of their adventure, he and his comrades found themselves deep underground, with a fire emitting thick, bewildering fumes. The villain of the piece encouraged them to give up, that the surface world they were trying to escape to didn’t even exist – it was a figment of their imaginations. The sun, the sky, the wind – illusions, and one she was trying to save them from expending their lives in fruitless search of. At the last moment, when nearly everyone was convinced, Puddleglum stamps his foot into the center of the fire, putting it out – and filling the room with the scent of burnt Marshwiggle, which was not nearly so nice. And he addressed the witch with what is one of my favorite quotes ever:

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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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Journalism Ethics/Legal Ethics/Government Ethics Rot: The Democrats And Journalists Tried To Convict Donald Trump With Fake News

U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick lies in honor, in Washington

Gee, does this bother anyone out there who hates Donald Trump or who voted for Joe Biden?

If your answer is no, I’m disgusted with you. You’re beyond help, hope, or rehabilitation.

The farce of a Senate trial the nation just endured was predicated on emotion rather than law, logic, fact, language or evidence. Prime among the emotions weaponized was hatred of former President Trump (in the trial: hatred of then-President Trump was all the Democratic House needed for its evidence-free, investigation-free “snap impeachment” (credit: Prof Turley.) At the trial, House managers alluded to Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick being “killed’ in the riot, the intended implication being that President Trump was responsible for his death. Nancy Pelosi made certain that Sicknick’s body lay in the Capitol Rotunda, one of only five civilians so honored. All the better to show the nation that the President had blood on his hands. right, Nancy? The AP wrote on February 2,

Slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lay in honor in the building he died defending, allowing colleagues and the lawmakers he protected to pay their respects and to remember the violent attack on Congress that took his life.

That’s false on its face, but it is the mythology the public and the Senators were fed in the weeks and days following the House impeachment. Here’s CBS: “‘Hero’: Lawmakers honor officer killed in US Capitol riot.”

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Post Impeachment Trial Fiasco Ethics Notes

How’s that unity and no divisive rhetoric theme working out for you, Democrats? Joe? Both Senator Schumer and Nancy Pelosi insulted the Republican Senators who voted against conviction in their post-acquittal remarks. What happened to respecting good faith disagreement among colleagues? When Bill Clinton, who had, unlike President Trump, committed impeachable crimes, was acquitted by a straight partisan vote, no Republican leaders impugned the judgement or “morality” of the Democrats who chose to ignore a President of the United States engaging in conduct that would get any lawyer in the country disbarred for lack of trustworthiness, honesty and integrity. Comity, you know. Respect. Professionalism.

***

And so it begins...Senator Lindsay Graham suggested that a GOP majority in the House might well decide to adopt the precedent set by the Democrats and impeach, for example, Kamala Harris. Talking to Chris Wallace on Fox New, he mused.

“If you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House. Because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open. So we’ve opened Pandora’s Box here and I’m sad for the country.”​

Tit for tat! Revenge! Who could have predicted that?

***

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Ethics Hero: Trump Defense Lawyer Michael van der Veen

michael-van-der-veen-730x0

I have had dreams that I was in a position to tell a TV news anchor exactly how biased, unethical and destructive his or her profession has become. So far, I have not had that opportunity, but the fact that Donald Trump’s defense attorney in the just completed Senate “trial,” a victory for his client, did have such an opportunity and took full advantage of it marks him as an Ethics Hero.

President Trump’s attorney, Michael van der Veen, appeared on CBS News and was asked by Lana Zak about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (obnoxious and gratuitous) comments after Trump’s acquittal, specifically whether he was surprised at McConnell’s venom. “I’m not surprised to hear a politician say anything at all. No,” the lawyer replied. Zak then attempted to discredit van der Veen and his defense—he’s Trump’s lawyer, so her job is to discredit him—asking a “when did you stop beating your wife” question,

Throughout the trial you denied that President Trump had a role in inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. You argued first of all that there was no insurrection, but during your closing arguments you seemingly admitted that there was, in fact, an insurrection, using that word, saying that that was not up for debate. What role did the former President play —

The lawyer cut her off and metaphorically slapped her in the face with a mackerel, saying,

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Valentine’s Day Ethics Warm-Up: “Ya Gotta Love Ethics!”

valentines-day-hearts-9

I’m going to see if I can get through this entire post without mentioning yesterday’s acquittal of Donald Trump. There’s a whole other post around the corner for that. Let’s see.

I was sorely tempted to post the simple word “Good!” to my Facebook feed, but resisted the temptation. All it would have accomplished was to trigger some genuinely, or at least formerly, nice and reasonable people….who have nonetheless been smug, abusive, irrational, nasty, obsessed, hateful and harmful to the culture and society since November 2016. And as much as the Duke in “McClintock!” is an inspiration…

…I won’t. At least, not right now.

1, And the audacious hypocrisy continues! To a ridiculous and childish extent, too. Here’s Dr. Jill Biden’s kindergarten-style, “do as we say not as we do,” signaling-virtue-while-not-actually-engaging-in-it White House lawn display.

Biden diaplay

How nauseating.

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