Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2020: Wherein My Head Explodes At Least Once

head-explode Calvin

1. KABOOM! Just when I thought 1) Georgetown could not embarrass this alum more thoroughly and 2) my head had been immunized from exploding comes the astounding news that Georgetown University has hired former FBI agent Peter Strzok as an adjunct professor. Strzok is now listed on the university’s staff page and he mentioned the Walsh School of Foreign Service on his Twitter profile. An alumnus, he will be teaching a “Counterintelligence and National Security” in the fall semester.

While engaged in an adulterous affair with then FBI lawyer Lisa Page in 2016, Strzok exchanged suspicious anti- Trump messages that called into question the legitimacy and fairness of the Mueller investigation. The FBI fired Strzok  in 2018 for  undermining public confidence in the non-partisanship of the bureau and federal law enforcement.

Stay classy, Georgetown! I already have my law school diploma facing the wall; I guess I can coat it with some kind of noxious substance…

2. The villains here is the professor. This is no time to be a weenie. Actually, there is never a good time to be a weenie. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law used “nigger” (referred to in infantile fashion by the law school’s announcement as “the n-word,” since “poopy badspeak” hasn’t caught on yet) in the context of discussing an offensive language case. But of course a student or six reported him, because they could, and it is an easy way for young progressive cowards to justify puffing up their pigeon chests because they get to cause trouble for someone who did absolutely nothing wrong.

The adjunct professor has not been identified, but in an email from law school administrators, including Law Dean Amy Wildermuth, it was announced that the professor has resigned.

“The instructor apologized and expressed his deep regret to the class, and informed the class at 1 p.m. today that he was resigning immediately from teaching at Pitt Law,” the announcement said in part.  “We condemn the use of this word, and we believe that saying this word and words like it, even in an academic context, is deeply hurtful,” the note concluded.

Words are not hurtful. Meanings are hurtful, when they are intentional. This is virtue-signaling and language policing of the most indefensible sort. The professor, whoever he is, had an obligation to the school, the culture, his profession, common sense and himself to fight, not surrender.

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Columbus Day Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 10/10/2020: Dumb Tweets, Rigged Reviews, Insane Academics, And Police Conduct Worth Protesting

Is it that time again already? Great, now we have to listen to more Statue Toppling rants from anti-Columbus zealots who don’t think changing the world unquestionably for the better and setting in motion the chain of events that allowed the United States to exist is worthy of a day of recognition.

1. I confess. Although I bailed out of following baseball this “season” when MLB’s groveling to Black Lives Matter became too much to bear, I do check the scores now and then, and thus am taking some pleasure in the fact that the New York Yankees were eliminated in the best of five Divisional Play-offs by the Tampa Bay Rays, making it eleven straight years since the Bronx Bombers got to the World Series.

2. Idiotic tweets that did not come from the White House. Whether one believes the Doomsday Polls or not, it is beyond question that President Trump’s prospects this November would be far brighter were he able to resist sending out dumb tweets, many of which I have highlighted here. (There is a Trump Tweets tag, if you want to reminisce. Like so many of his regrettable proclivities, this one is apparently contagious. Powerline recently flagged three head-exploders:

  • From Washington governor Jay Inslee:

Inslee tweet

  • From former CIA director and Deep State Trump saboteur John Brennan:

Brennan Tweet

Those who visit here often know that by Ethics Alarms standard, quoting “Imagine” as if this infantile doggerel by John Lennon is profound automatically wins any “Dumbest” competition.

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My Head Can’t Explode Any More Over Trump Derangement Stories—Like This One [CORRECTED]

Six professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School signed a letter demanding that Penn President Amy Gutmann investigate allegations that President Donald Trump fraudulently gained admission to the university 50 years ago.

“Failing to investigate an allegation of fraud at such a level broadcasts to prospective students and the world at large that the playing field is not equal,” wrote the professors in part.  The allegation? It was made by Trump-family feud exploiter Mary Trump, the President’s niece, in her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” She wrote that someone named Joe Shapiro, whom she described as a “smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker,” was paid “well” to take the SAT for the President, thus helping Trump get into the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate.

Now, she has clarified that this was a different Joe Shapiro than the one married to Maria Shriver, though that Joe has known the President for years. (That Joe Shapiro could sue her.) No, it’s another Joe Shapiro…one who can’t be found. Mary says she is certain  Trump cheated on his SATs, though she has no proof at all (and obviously wasn’t on hand for the test), because she trusts the people who told her, whom she does not name. “I’m counting on people I trust who told me this story. So, in terms of documentation, no, I can’t prove it. But I can certainly say with 100% certainty that I was told this story by a source very close to Donald,” she told George Stephanopoulas on ABC.

Mary later said  she got the idea from the President’s 83-year-old sister, whom Mary—this is a real class act we’re talking about here—surreptitiously taped trashing her brother. At one point in the hours of tapes made in 2018 and 2019, the President’s older sister said she “believed” her brother cheated on the “SATs or whatever.”  So apparently Mary is 100% sure that she “was told the story” by her aunt, who, since she said she “believed” her brother cheated on his, well, some test, apparently had no first hand information on the matter herself. Why nobody has asked the retired judge to explain why she “believes” her brother cheated, I don’t know. But she, being a lawyer, could tell them that the tape would be inadmissible as evidence of what she thought, if she was still around to testify directly.

[Notice of correction: I initially wrote that Trump’s sister was dead. Stupid mistake. Thanks to Michael for the heads up.]

That makes Mary’s claim double hearsay. Continue reading

Great: Watching TV Made My Head Explode TWICE, And It’s Not Even 10 AM Yet…

Head explosion #1: On HDL, Robin Meade happily (she says everything happily) told us that there were peaceful demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin yesterday…although some buildings were set on fire in the evening, and police tear-gassed “demonstrators.”

KABOOM!

  • I don’t know who thought up the “mostly peaceful” demonstration deceit, but any protest or demonstration that results in attacks on police, looting, rock-throwing or arson is a riot. Calling a demonstration that involves law-breaking and violence “mostly peaceful” is like calling Jack the Ripper “mostly law-abiding.”

It’s spin instead of reporting.

  • Oh! It was those horrible police who were violent!  The implication that tear gas is per se proof of police brutality is an old Alinskyesque trope going back to campus riots in the Sixties, and is, to be blunt, garbage. Tear gas  is a riot control tool, and “mostly peaceful demonstrators” without permits who do not obey police orders to disperse should be gassed, ideally before they start setting fires.

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Comment Of The Day: “KABOOM! Anti-White Stereotyping At The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture”

After a brief pause in eligible Comments of the Day, I am suddenly inundated with candidates, with blogging veteran Glenn Logan at the fore with two more to follow on his recent post. These, and another non-Logan COTD on the runway, were sparked by the Ethics Alarms post about the above content on a Smithsonian website, which threatens all records for “well-intentioned “racial stereotyping.

Here’s Glenn’s Comment of the Day #2 of three, (with the next coming up later today. Three is a row is a record!) on the post, “KABOOM! Anti-White Stereotyping At The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture”: Continue reading

Ethics Dunce AND Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Hancock, Maryland Mayor Ralph Salvagno [Corrected]

This would be unethical if a child did it. For a town’s mayor to do it would be head explosion-worthy, except that the behavior of municipal leaders during the George Floyd Freakout has been so constantly outrageous that it has raised the bar for “Kabooms.”

I guess that’s a silver lining.

Ralph Salvagno, the mayor of Hancock, Maryland, (population 1500 or so) painted over two images of the Confederate battle flag in a privately-owned mural on a wall outside the Town Tavern.

“I think I did the right thing,”said Salvagno.

He’s wrong, and he’s also an idiot.

Though the mural was in bad shape even before Salvagno’s vandalism, its message is no more and no less than that there was an American Civil War. See those triangles pointing in on the two flags in the drawing? They mean that the North and the South were fighting each other. The flags of the opposing sides symbolize the Union and the Confederacy. The artwork (and there are hundreds of similar, if better, such paintings) tells onlookers that there was an American Civil War, and, you know, there was. In addition to preserving the United States of America, that horrible conflict also ended slavery, and began the long road of recovery for American blacks and the nation. Americans need to know about that war, and understand it.

The Hancock mural may be cheesy, but all reminders of our history are useful. Lately there have been episodes where foolish officials have behaved as if the mere mention of one of the most important events in American history is “offensive.” Last week, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University announced that they will no longer refer to games between their athletic teams in their long-standing rivalry as the “Civil War,” because, UO director of athletics Rob Mullens said in a meaningless statement, “We must all recognize the power of words and the symbolism associated with the Civil War.”

Salvagno’s reasoning for destroying the property was rock-dumb but familiar. The mayor said he is concerned about the message conveyed by the flag, and that the images could have sparked anger if the George Floyd mobs came  to the small town. Continue reading

Yes, I Think EBay Has Wrapped Up The “Most Unethical Fortune 500 Company Of The Year” Prize…

Yikes.

Six eBay employees mounted a cyberstalking campaign  including sending boxes of live spiders and cockroaches and a Halloween mask of a bloody pig’s face —followed by a threatening Twitter message— against a Natick, Mass. couple who ran an online e-commerce newsletter, according to charges filed by federal prosecutors yesterday.

I’ve never heard of anything like this, except perhaps in one of the cheesy horror movies I watch late at night to anesthetize my brain.

The employees, all of whom have now left the company, engineered a campaign against the couple that included ominous emails and deliveries on unordered products obvious chosen to terrify, such as a bloody pig mask, a funeral wreath and a book about how to surviving grief after the death of a spouse. Just to enrich your nightmares, here are the mask and the book: Continue reading

KABOOM! I Do NOT Enjoy Having My Head Explode First Thing On A Saturday Morning, But NBC HIRED LISA PAGE!!!

On one level, my head blew because this is such a cynical, flagrantly biased act that rejects any concept of ethical journalism. On another, it blew up in shame. With all the nauseating evidence I’ve discussed here pointing to a rotting American journalism that sees itself as the engine of partisan propaganda rather than the means to an informed public, I somehow didn’t think it was this bad. This is my own bias at work: I’m a sap. I want to believe that somewhere, buried deep in the mainstream media, there is integrity and the spark of respect for democracy.

Page was the FBI attorney engaged in an adulterous relationship with Mueller investigation team member Peter Strzok. Their text messages raised legitimate questions about the anti-Trump bias in the FBI and  among those handling the “collusion” matter.  In particular, the reference to the FBI investigation as “insurance” if Trump was elected in an exchange between the lovebirds in  August 2016 seemed to be a smoking gun.

Recently, Page’s name has surfaced  in  the Michael Flynn case. In newly released  texts between Page and  Strzok, who was significantly involved in the pursuit of Flynn, Page suggested that Flynn could be set up using the federal law that criminalizes lies to federal investigators. She suggested to Strzok that “it would be an easy way to just casually slip that in,”  reinforcing other evidence that there was a “get Flynn” mentality at the FBI. Thus Page’s conduct will be a live topic in the upcoming inquiries in Congress and the Justice Department surrounding the methods and motives of the FBI as it pursued Flynn and sought to undermine the Trump Administration. It is outrageous to have an analyst who will be analyzing events that involve herself…or once was considered so, when journalists paid attention to ethics. Continue reading

KABOOM! Even I Did Not Think “Meet The Press” Could Sink This Low [UPDATED]

Above is a damning tweet from the Justice Department reacting to a stunning breach of journalism ethics, basic honesty and fairness by NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.  It memorializes the descent of the once iconic Sunday news show, and indeed the nation’s entire mainstream media, into total corruption to a degree that was once, even a few years ago, unimaginable.

We had already discussed here the shocking disinformation advanced by Barack Obama, decisively debunked by law professor Jonathan Turley, as the former POTUS claimed that the dismissal of the charges against Michael Flynn over prosecutorial misconduct (that Obama appears to have had a hand in) posed a threat to the rule of law. Several of our more cynical commenters here opined that the news media would cover for Obama as they set out to smear Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration in defiance of the facts. At the time, I had not learned about today’s debacle on “Meet the Press.”

Its host, ChuckTodd used a deceptively edited portion of Barr’s interview last week with CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge to attack the Attorney General while misrepresenting his statement.

Todd commented on the following exchange between Barr and Herridge:

HERRIDGE: In closing, this was a big decision in the Flynn case, to say the least. When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written? What will it say about your decision making?

BARR: Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.

Except that Todd used the introduction to Barr’s answer to the question and left out his actual response. All the NBC audience learned about what he said was,  “Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

The redaction alone is outrageously unethical, editing  the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement official and materially altering his response to distort his answer regarding a major Justice Department decision. But Todd  then attacked  Barr based on the false and deceptive version of what the AG said, saying, Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month, “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Division–And This Is A Classic!—The New York Times

…and by the way,

KABOOM!!!!!

“We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”

—-The New York Times, in the course of its long -awaited  reporting on Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault against Joe Biden. No, really, they really tweeted this. They really did. I wouldn’t make that up…they DID! I’m not kidding! See…?

The right hand side is what you got after the Times figured out that their outrageous pro-Democratic Party bias was not just showing, as it always does, but blinking on and off in blinding neon lights, accompanied by sirens.

No other allegations? Since launching his Presidential bid, , eight women have alleged that Biden either touched them inappropriately or violated their personal space, You know, like this…

In response, Biden issued a classic “non-apology apology,” then later said that he was “not sorry for anything I’ve ever done.” He has also been criticized for commenting on the sexual appearance of young girls and women while campaigning.

In a 2019 article, the Times  wrote that “Biden’s Tactile Politics Threaten his Return in the #MeToo era,” but that was when the paper was pushing Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Now they are stuck with Biden, just like their party.

I suppose it is obligatory to note the  Times emphasized the importance of believing women who accuse powerful men of sexual abuse when the one so accused was a conservative federal judge who did not have a voluminous photographic record of him sniffing, touching, hugging, kissing and groping women in the recent past.

You know, I’m rapidly reaching the point where I’m not going to be patient, civil or understanding—they are hopelessly biased, after all, ergo stupid—when progressives deny  mainstream media bias in the face of this kind of despicable journalism. It’s reaching the Orwellian point of “War is Peace.” It’s also “jumboing’—in fact, I am hereby creating the verb jumbo, meaning to lie to someone’s face, asserting something to be true when the evidence that it is not true is obvious and undeniable. It’s also evidence of ethics rot,

The gloves are off. This was the tipping point.