Rueful Points, Updates and Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Scandal, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Ten Points, updates and observations:

  1. Both the FBI and the Department of Justice agree that Hunter Biden’s laptop and its emails are not some foreign effort at disinformation, which means that the media treatment of the New York Post as lepers for seeking to inform the public was disgusting. The FBI is indeed in possession of the laptop with Hunter’s emails, and they appear genuine. Yesterday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters that his staff has independently verified their authenticity. “Our staff has had conversations that authenticate that the fact that these emails are real, and that as reported I believe by Mike Emmanuel as well, that the Big Guy is a reference [to] the former vice president,” he said.

2. Meanwhile, Biden and his campaign did not and do not have plausible denials for what the evidence appears to show. Instead, the candidate’s response has been to attack the messengers, including the rare reporter who dared to pose the kind of question that must be asked. When a Wisconsin reporter asked Biden this week if there was “any legitimacy” to claims that Hunter Biden “profited off the Biden name,” Joe snapped, ”None whatsoever! This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman, it’s a last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family.”

Biden then cited 50 former intelligence officials who, shamefully, signed a purely partisan letter vouching for Biden’s innocence, though they are currently out of the loop and can have no basis to support Biden, other than the fact that they support Biden.

3. Biden continues to insist that he had no involvement in his son’s use of the Biden name as a meal-ticket. Who believes that? Hunter Biden received a high-paid position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company despite having zero experience in the energy sector or in Ukraine! Gee, what a lucky kid. He must have found a genie or something.

4. Recently we learned that Hunter Biden’s signature appeared on documents from “The Mac Shop” in Wilmington, Del., where the laptop was dropped off, and that his name appears in the “bill to” section for a cost of $85. John Paul Mac Isaac, the shop’s owner, has worked with the FBI on the case. Isaac also received a subpoena to testify before a U.S. District Court in Delaware on December 9, 2019. One page on the FBI documents appears to show serial numbers for a laptop and hard drive. Yup, the New York Posy was publishing rumors, all right.

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Rueful Points, Updates and Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Scandal, Part I

NPR screenshot

It is not as if anyone with integrity and respect for the democratic process should need more reasons to vote against Joe Biden, the party he represents, and the attack on American values and institutions his party represents.

Biden alone, without the implications of the s-l-o-w-l-y emerging scandal, is obviously unfit to be President as a matter of health, character, and history. He is, to begin with, too old to be President (as is Donald Trump); he is also, unlike the President, suffering from obvious cognitive decline. Biden is a proven sexual harasser and accused of sexual assault: by the vigorously stated principles of his own party and the smug Woke and crusading feminists it purports to support, he should be not merely disqualified as the party’s candidate but targeted as its enemy.

Biden’s sole argument for his candidacy once was that he was one of the few non-crazies among the Donkeys, but he has obliterated that excuse by embracing almost every radical position the worst elements of his party have put forth. Biden has shown that he has no integrity, and that his past positions and stated values are now, as they used to say in the Nixon administration, non-operable. The sole argument for Biden personally was, if you were really gullible, that he was a decent man (and obviously Donald Trump isn’t). Now that this fantasy has been stripped away, Biden is revealed almost literally as a human “none of the above” carton past an expiration date. The Democratic Party did not even have the respect for the public and the Republic to nominate someone who could be trusted to do the job.

As spoiled frosting on the cake, it appended to Joe an unqualified and generally despicable understudy chosen solely because of her color—not even her race, since she isn’t African American—and her lady parts. When given the chance to support Kamala Harris for any more substantive reasons, party primary voters held their noses, which unlike their consciences, apparently still work.

We knew, absent denial or stupidity, that Hunter Biden was engaged in influence peddling, and that Joe Biden’s fevered lies were just that. The Democrats even went to the extreme length of contriving an impeachment because the President took steps to investigate the disturbing evidence that a Vice President of the United States had acted against the interests of his country to assist his surviving, addict, loser son. Now the truth is dripping out, and, in what is for me the best reason of all to make certain the Democrats and their corrupt allies lose, the mainstream media and social media is actually , actively, traitorously burying the story.

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Another Morning Ethics Warm-Up Delayed Until Afternoon By Exigent Circumstances, 10/22/2020: Three Weird Stories That May Indicate That Everything Is Spinning Out Of Control

I would have mentioned tonight’s debate in the headline, but I’m not fond of thinking about the future of American democracy resting on the ability of Donald Trump to speak coherently and to control himself. Who came up with this script anyway?

Then again, God works in mysterious ways…

1. In Alaska ethics news…Here’s an ugly ethics train wreck, and one of the best examples I could imagine of the old adage, “Don’t sleep with anyone crazier than you are,” except it doesn’t seem like there was sleeping involved.  

The mayor of Anchorage, Ethan Berkowitz, resigned last week after admitting that he had engaged in an “inappropriate” “consensual messaging relationship”— I’m not even sure what that is”—with an Anchorage news anchor.  

Berkowitz’s resignation followed an unsubstantiated claim in a video posted to social media by the news anchor, Maria Athens, promising viewers an “exclusive” story showing that the mayor engaged in sex act with underage children. When the mayor responded by calling the allegations “slanderous” and false, Athens posted what she said was an image of the mayor’s bare backside, and added a laughing emoji.

Yes, she is apparently insane. The Anchorage Police Department said it had worked with the F.B.I. to investigate the allegations about the mayor and “found no evidence of criminal conduct.”

Before Athens posted her video online, she had left a voice message for him in which she engaged in an emotional rant, made  anti-Semitic references and promised that she would be exposing the mayor as “a pedophile.” “I’m going to get an Emmy, so you either turn yourself in, kill yourself, or do what you need to do,” Ms. Athens said, according to the audio clip. She then said she would personally kill him and his wife.

That must have been some messaging relationship.

Athens, 41, is—well, was– the main news anchor for two outlets, KTBY and KYUR. The station owner said the video she posted had not been approved. After her video went up, Athens was arrested following a physical altercation with her boss at the station, and was charged with misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

So remember, kids, never engage in an inappropriate messaging relationship with someone crazier than you are.

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Time Op-Ed Writer Bret Stephens

shhhh

“It’s a compromise that is fatal to liberalism. It reintroduces a concept of blasphemy into the liberal social order. It gives the prospectively insulted a de facto veto over what other people might say. It accustoms the public to an ever-narrower range of permissible speech and acceptable thought. And… it slowly but surely turns writers, editors and publishers into cowards.”

Bret Stephens, intermittently conservative New York Times columnist, in an op-ed condemning the acceptance of censorship and self-censorship as norms by the modern Left.

Stephens is certainly on a roll lately. His previous column (effectively and accurately) condemning the pet Times race propaganda “1619 Project” for what it is (that is to say, cultural and historical toxic waste) was not his last, as many predicted, and apparently emboldened by his survival, Stephens is determined to “let it all hang out,” as they used to say in the Sixties. Once again, he is attacking his own paper, which has doubled-down in its determination to publish only the news it feels safe to let its readers know about.

It is telling that Stephens’ column was published in tandem this week with another attempt by the Times to hide the utter corruption of the Biden family from the public, at least until the election is over. Above the Stephens piece—also telling—is the poisonous Michelle Goldberg’s screed suggesting that the discovery of Hunter Biden’s incriminating (to both him and his father) laptop is more GOP “collusion.” The Times’ truly despicable headline: “Is the Trump Campaign Colluding With Russia Again?” Note “Again”: the Mueller investigation found no evidence of “collusion” by any American citizen, much less the Trump campaign (to be fair, it didn’t investigate the Clinton campaign’s Russian dealings), and yet the Times allows that lie to lead its Editorial page. Polls show (I know, I know: polls) that over 70% of Democrats still think the President won the election by colluding with Russia, and mainstream media descriptions like this is a main reason. And it’s intentional.

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High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

As you may (and should) know, the classic Western “High Noon” was and is regarded by some conservatives as anti-American. I think it is, as excellent as it is. The ending, where the heroic law man (played by Gary Cooper in an Academy Award-winning performance) throws his star in the dirt in disgust (imitated by “Dirty Harry” for very different reasons in that conservative film years later), is widely seen as a rejection of American society as hypocritical. (The fact that the screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was a Communist doesn’t help.)

My favorite scene in the movie, where Cooper begs the church congregation to help, plays like a “Twilight Zone” episode, with the whole town rationalizing furiously to avoid helping the desperate law man minutes away from having to face, alone, vengeful thugs determined to kill him. (The whole scene is not on YouTube; I searched.) “Rio Bravo,” one of the best John Wayne Westerns and a personal favorite, was devised by director Howard Hawks as a direct rebuke of the selfish and craven America “High Noon” posits. In the Duke’s movie, the lawman, Wayne, constantly rejects the offers of help he receives, though he knows hired killers are massing to free his prisoner. Yet people go out of their way, at great personal risk, to help him anyway, time after time. “High Noon” is a better movie (maybe), but “Rio Bravo” is a fairer depiction of American values and history.

1. This is why I tell lawyers and government employees that it’s unethical to use Google for professional communication and client matters. Mac programmer Jeff Johnson has discovered that if you set Google Chrome to eliminate all website cookies and site data when you close the browser, the data remains un-erased for YouTube and Google itself.

What a coinkydink!

“Perhaps this is just a Google Chrome bug, not intentional behavior, but the question is why it only affects Google sites, not non-Google sites,” Johnson says. “I’ve tested using the latest Google Chrome version 86.0.4240.75 for macOS, but this behavior was also happening in the previous version of Chrome. I don’t know when it started.”

Bottom line: Don’t trust Google. Like I’ve been saying….

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OK, I Just Have To Do An Afternoon Ethics Potpourri So I Can Write About The Jeffrey Toobin Exposing Himself On Zoom Story…..

 

Toobin

I wake up from a nap and have to think about this???

1. Zoom ethics?  I don’t understand this story at all.

The New Yorker suspended legal reporter Jeffrey Toobin because he—wait, WHAT?—exposed himself during a Zoom call last week between members of the staff and WNYC radio.

Huh? Toobin has long been one of Ethics Alarms’ least favorite legal commentators dating back to his excuse-making for Bill Clinton during the Monica madness, but I thought he was just despicably biased, not insane. What’s going on here?

Toobin said in a statement: “I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers. I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video.”.

See you doing what, and why??? Was it a bathroom Zoom call? The New Yorker says: “Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended while we investigate the matter.” What’s there to investigate? If he exposed himself accidentally, it’s a Zoom mistake, and it should have been ignored and forgotten, because Zoom is evil. EVIL!!!! On the other hand—okay, bad choice of metaphors—If he whipped it out and ran around the room on camera singing “My Ding-a-Ling,” Toobin needs to be hospitalized.

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Observations On The Hunter Biden Emails Ethics Train Wreck

train wreck - b

That’s democracy falling over…

  • Lawyer/blogger Ken White, in his new incarnation of Popehat, has a useful, informative but misguided post about the misunderstanding of the law as it applied to Twitter and Facebook manipulating the news to push Joe Biden over the finish line. Yes, it’s true: there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about the social media platforms choosing to censor communications they don’t like, even if its objective is to “rig”—in President Trump’s term—the election. It is still, however, wrong. Ken is usually a bit more nuanced in recognizing the critical law vs ethics problem. Okay, I got it” members of Congress and conservative pundits arguing that Section 230 requires social media platforms to be fair and unbiased are wrong. They, are, however 100% right that the current conduct of those platforms threatens to undermine democracy. You can’t, as one of the links White points readers to does, call Section 230 “the internet’s First Amendment” and then complain that politicians think the law ought to prevent partisan censorship.

Boy, I sure hope Trump Derangement hasn’t gotten Ken too…

  • Imagine if the Hillary Clinton server story was buried by the news media the way it is trying to run out the clock on the Joe Biden/Hunter Biden influence peddling story. That tells you just how far the news media has deteriorated in four years (and also how much more certain journalists were that Hillary would win no matter what they reported).

I’ll wait to see what kind of coverage the story gets on the CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Sunday shows, but even if it is adequately covered, those programs have a relatively select viewership. By past standards, the Hunter Biden emails should be front page, above the fold material, and yet only a conservative New York City tabloid and its ilk are making it so.

And one more time, this should not be pigeon-holed as a “conservative” lament. All Americans of any ideological persuasion should fear and loathe the news media trying to slam its heavy fist on the electoral scales this way. Why don’t they? Are that many citizens really willing to see elections “rigged” if their favorite party wins? If so, theRepublic is lost no matter what happens in 2020.

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The Annoying 70th Rationalization: The Idiot’s Proof, or “Some Say…”

moronic-idiot

There I was, half-asleep, drinking my second cup of double caffeine coffee, considering how I had already missed the window for Saturday blog posts (if at least two posts aren’t up by 12:30 pm., the day’s traffic will be pathetic), and watching the Smithsonian’s educational and attractive “Aerial America” series, where a staid narrator waxes on abut various locales as a we see them from a lying camera above. (Did YOU know that “penitentiary” is a word devised by William Penn, who designed Pennsylvania prisons to cause criminals to be penitent (by making them spend their sentences in solitary confinement? I didn’t, and now I feel really stupid.)

Suddenly, as the airplane flew low over Central Park in Manhattan, I heard the narrator proclaim, “Some say that more gunpowder was used to make the ponds and landscapes in Central Park than was used during the Battle of Gettysburg.”

ARRGH! THAT again!

And there it was.

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Mid-Day Ethics Flashes, 10/16/2020: Casting Ethics, Celebrity Threats, Free Speech Suppression, And Conservative Clickbait

Flashes

1. The good brother. It’s not worth a full post, but Ron Howard deserves a call-out for being a good brother. Last night I finally watched “Frost/Nixon,” and wondered if, since it was directed by Ron Howard, Opie’s hideous younger brother Clint Howard would be in the cast. Sure enough, he was. Clint, like Ron, was a child star, most prominently in the TV series “Gentle Ben.” Unlike Ron, Clint was not treated well by the puberty fairy, and once his goofy looks stopped being cute, he had a face that was usable, if at all, in cheap horror flicks and in bit parts playing various creeps and thugs. Clint’s not a bad actor, he’s just not very versatile, and relentlessly hard on the eyes. He would probably not have an A movie to his credit were it not for the fact that his brother, the rich and famous star director, puts him in the cast whenever he can.

Well, good for Ron. Sure, it’s nepotism, but Clint is serviceable, and certainly capable of playing the parts he’s cast in, like one of the NASA guys in the control room in “Apollo 13,” or a referee in one of the less important Jim Braddock fights in “ Cinderella Man.” Getting such roles in Ron’s prestige films make Clint more attractive for the parts he’s up for in his usual vehicles, like the upcoming “Hell of the Screaming Undead.”

2. On a related casting issue, I watched the Netflix production “Enola Holmes.” It was fun, but the “anti-racism” casting was already in evidence: African Americans were scattered through Victorian London in odd and ahistorical places. It didn’t undermine the quality of the productions: all of the black actors and actresses were pros, but it did make the piece seem set in some fantasy land that never existed. If you know history, it is jarring; if you don’t, then it has no impact at all. I did find the non-traditional casting half-hearted: in virtually all cases, the actors “of color” were relegated to extremely minor roles a step above the extras. You know—like the parts Clint Howard plays in his brother’s movies.

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The Week That Turned Mainstream Media And Social Media Partisan Bias From An Accusation Into A Jumbo

Elephant Smothsonian

In retrospect, one has to wonder why they felt it was necessary.

In a single week, a few days really, journalists, the mainstream media and a key Democratic leader all demonstrated with virtual fireworks, neon signs and giant billboards what the President, Republicans, and principled observers (and Ethics Alarms) have been insisting all along. The news media and social media, among others, are attempting to manipulate the Presidential election to defeat the President, just as they have been collectively attempting to facilitate removing him from office or making it impossible for him to do his job for four years. If the polls and the repeated assertions of pundits and reporters have been correct, Joe Biden already has the election wrapped up. Why not play it straight from here to November 3? Why risk waking complacent Americans who might object to having an election, in the president’s clumsy phasing, not only “rigged,” but openly, arrogantly, shamelessly and smugly rigged?

Well, never mind. I suppose they can’t help it now; it’s a habit, and an addiction. But denials of the conspiracy to mislead Americans and corrupt our political processes have now unquestionably reached the Jumbo stage, and Ethics Alarms is making it official. Like Jimmy Durante (in the musical “Jumbo”) trying to steal the world’s largest elephant, getting caught with the beast on the end of a rope, and responding to the question, “Where are you going with that elephant?” with the immortal reply, “Elephant? What elephant?”, the defenders of the attempted theft of democracy look like the villains or fools that they are.

“Bias? What bias?”

Well.

Here is what we have witnessed this week, in no particular order because the significance is cumulative:

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