More Weird Tales Of The Trump-Deranged

This one has an up-beat and even promising ending, but it still raises the question of what the hell has happened to these people to make them like this.

Leo Guinan learned that his parents  placed a pro-President Trump sign on their lawn, and since he believes that they don’t have the right to have political opinions that differ from his (after all, his self-description on Twitter tells us that he “uses his privilege to raise the voices of others,” so he we know he’s an official arbiter of truth and virtue) he decided to punish them, announcing in a Medium post that he had decreed that either they censor their political expression, or they couldn’t see their grandchildren.

In this he was emulating his favorite party, which as we know, is now threatening to hurt the nation in retribution for the President doing what the Constitution says he is supposed to do—nominate a judge to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Loyal to a party of thugs, Guinan felt that it was incumbent upon him to behave like a thug.

Toward his parents.

Nice guy.

Before lowering the boom on Mom and Dad, Guinan had posted an earlier Medium masterpiece (BOY there’s a lot of crap on Medium!), an “open letter” to his folks explaining why they were abandoning Christian principles by supporting the Republican Party. The letter, to be kind, is pathological. The degree of blindness to one’s own biases required to write such garbage—and proudly publish it!—is staggering. When they study Trump Derangement and the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck in history and psychiatry classes—and they will, I promise you—this letter should be on the reading list. Despite the extravagant claims Guinan makes, there is no substantive argument in the thing at all—and that’s is typical. The Trump Deranged are heralds of wisdom and The Right Way because they just are, that’s all.

“I have done more research into these matters than you would believe,” he claims. I certainly don’t believe it, because if he really researched “these matters”  he would do more than parrot back social media bubble cant. “I have seen some shit, and I mean that very seriously.” That’s the closest Guinan comes to a factual assertion.  “If you would like to actually discuss any of the topics that Fox has been feeding you with an open mind, I will be happy to do so. And I will bring sources to back up my thoughts.” Talk is cheap, you fraud. I’ll discuss those topics with you, and also what MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post  and CNN have been feeding you, buddy. Bring it on. But it’s so much easier to bully your parents.

“Let’s say you decide to believe me, and we can go from there. I can help you find a selection of reasonable news sources,” he continued. I bet. Any guesses what those might be?  “Right now, the Republican party is something I have never seen. The level of corruption and simply evil people in some very powerful positions is something that quite literally resembles pre-WWII Germany,” he stated.

“Quite literally!” I’ll never forget Hitler how was  brokering peace deals for the Jews. And have you noticed how Trump’s brownshirts attack and intimidate…no, wait, that’s Black Lives Matter, endorsed by the Democratic Party

Guinan’s party is supporting riots and arson, and attempting to elevate one race over others. It is, as I mentioned, using threats to intimidate those who want to legally fill a SCOTUS seat; it has refused to accept the results of a Presidential election; it has employed Hitler’s Big Lie tactic as a primary tool, and Guinan concludes  Republicans are acting like Nazis! “I can help you find the historians who are quite clearly making these arguments.” Yes, so can I. You’re appealing to authority because you have no independent thoughts, and those historians have disgraced themselves.

Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 9/21/2020: The “Waiting To Hear What Democrats Will Threaten Next” Edition.

Does anyone else find it remarkable that Democratic Party leaders aren’t the least concerned with how reasonable Americans might react to them talking like mobsters and thugs? Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi seemed to say that they might impeach the President if he nominates a judge to replace Justice Ginsburg. I suppose it’s comforting that the party is finally being open about the fact that it now regards impeachment as a pure partisan weapon, but how do you you threaten impeachment if a President fulfills his constitutional duties? For that matter, how can Democrats scream that the late Justice’s “dying wish” must be respected when it would require contradicting her statement about final year SCOTUS nominations: “The President is elected for four years, not three. So the powers that he has in year three continues into year four… and that’s how it should be”?

Well, it’s a rhetorical question, of course. Democrats have abandoned any pretense of consistency and integrity in their destructive anti-Trump mania. I thought this arch tweet was on point, but incomplete:

The list is much longer.

1. Love it. Princeton, engaged in BLM suck-up grandstanding, confessed that systemic racism is embedded there, so the Department of Education asked if Princeton doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, as must be the case to continue recieveing federal funding.  The Education Department’s demand for an explanation got full huminahumina treatment in the statement Princeton issued in response. The excuse is that they aren’t at fault for the racism, since “everybody’s been doing it,” and at least Princeton acknowledges the problem.

Weak. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Joe Biden

“It’s estimated that 200 million people will die, probably by the time I finish this talk.”

—Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for President of the United States, speaking in Philadelphia over the weekend.

Yes, a man just stated on television that about 60%  of the United States’ population would die in seconds, and yet the vast majority of my Facebook friends are writing that civilization is doomed if he is not elected the leader of the United States.

As I think about it, this is only slightly less crazy than Joe’s statement. Maybe even a bit worse: after all, poor Biden is in the throes of progressive dementia. My friends are in the throes of progressive dementia. They want to have a sick man who is apparently unaware of what comes out of his own mouth leading the nation.

Biden has always said things that were careless, wrong or silly, because he’s just not very bright, and has never been. He had to repeat the third grade, you know. That’s just not a marker of future distinguished leadership. I remember my former classmates who had to repeat the early grades in elementary school, and they now are either in the custodian trade, unemployed, or teaching elementary school. Running for President was never in the cards for them, at least I used to think so. Yes, Joe’s career success is inspiring, in a way, kind of like Forrest Gump. But Forrest never ran for the White House. Not noticing that you have just falsely asserted that a national slaughter was underway is signature significance; a competent national leader simply doesn’t do that. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘On The Death Of Justice Ginsburg'”

This is a working day for me, as I have to revise perfectly appropriate legal ethics course materials because a low level bureaucrat at a bar association CLE department literally doesn’t understand what she is charged with approving, Nevertheless, I will be writing here about the developing Dead Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ethics Train Wreck, or whatever I end up calling it because passengers are boarding at a rapid rate.

Zoebrain’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Comment Of The Day: On The Death Of Justice Ginsburg”is an ideal way to get that discussion started, and Behold!— Here it is:

McConnell is as right to expedite a hasty appointment of any reasonably acceptable Trump nominee in September 2020 as he was as wrong to deny a hearing to any Obama nominee whatsoever in February 2016.

To do so would reveal blatant foetid dishonesty and utter hypocrisy, but I see no good argument against it, other than the limited time available for a thorough vetting, 45 days vs 270. Doing so less than 70 minutes after RBG’s death was tacky, but fitting for this regime, and arguably such haste is needed.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore? Judicially qualified, would certainly shore up the softening Evangelical support, and, most crucially, would cause Democrats to have conniptions. But not on the current shortlist.

Ivanka Trump? Excellent test of personal loyalty, would embolden personal followers of Trump, would cause Democrats to lose their minds, but would do nothing to encourage Evangelicals, and again, not on the short list. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: On The Death Of Justice Ginsburg

Another first: This Comment Of The Day, by Michael West, isn’t related to any post or previous comment. It was triggered by the death today of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), which has immediate political implications with ethical strings attached.

Some past Ethics Alarms posts relevant to the moment are:

and here is Michael’s timely Comment of the Day:

2) Leaders of every party have soiled themselves jumping straight into political maneuvers and demands within hours of Ginsburg’s body even beginning to cool.

3) They have a really really stupid nuclear armageddon countdown timer. If I were an enterprising political commentator, I’d establish a “civil war countdown timer”. No, not like the last civil war (which wasn’t a civil war)…but a real civil war, which would make the last one look like a boy’s nerf-war sleepover. And if McConnell does what he implies he’s going to do in his statement that came out like an hour after the news broke…I’d set that countdown timer to 5 minutes. Since it’s been at about 15 minutes since the Democrats refused to accept the 2016 election and 10 minutes since the riots began this year. Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 9/18/2020: Boy, It’s Hard To Write About Ethics When What You Really Want To Do Is Run Amuck With A Bloody Sword

I don’t even want to talk about the last two days, except to note that what has me proto-homicidal has nothing to do with anything we’ve been discussing on Ethics Alarms.

1. Now THIS is incompetent phishing: “Verizon” contacted me to say,

Dear User :Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte. You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.

  • I no longer have any relationship with Verizon.
  • Verizon no longer runs an email service. It sold its email users to AOL.
  • The letter is ungrammatical.
  • I received that email, along with about 50 others at the same time, telling me I was no longer getting email.
  • “Verizon’s” address was “bavaria2@centurylink.net”
  • The “letter” was signed “VeriZon.”

If you fall for something like that, you are a walking, talking mark, and incompetent at life.

2.  Why doesn’t the public trust the news media? It must be all those Trump “fake news” lies!  CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell used a photo from a “Latinos for Trump”  event in Phoenix to accompany a report on Joe Biden’s Latino event in Florida. The CBS’s chyron read, “Biden pitches crucial Latino voters during Florida campaign stop.”

Here was what viewers saw: Continue reading

Waning Day Ethics, 9/17/2020: An Unscientific Endorsement, A Frivolous Lawsuit, And Misunderstood Bomb-Throwers

1. Scientific American embarrasses itself. …like so, so many others. “Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly,” intone the magazine’s editors. Wrong. They are doing it to grandstand, and you can’t be more unserious than that. There is a reason SA hasn’t done this in 175 years—it’s a dumb thing to do. They don’t have any special expertise or perspective regarding national leadership, and scientific acumen is not a qualification for office. The alleged reason for the magazine’s endorsement of Joe Biden is its claim that the pandemic’s casualties would have been less had the President said and done things differently. This is total supposition, of course. “He was warned many times in January and February about the onrushing disease,” SA says, quoting juvenile anti-Trump source Axios. That’s odd, since those crack scientists in the CDC are on record as downplaying the seriousness of the virus, and even minimizing the need for masks.  More: “These lapses accelerated the spread of disease through the country—particularly in highly vulnerable communities that include people of color, where deaths climbed disproportionately to those in the rest of the population.” These people are scientists? The reasons for higher rates of infection among the poor and minority populations are many, and the interaction among them still undetermined. Lower levels of general health,  increased rates of illnesses like diabetes and conditions like obesity, more  crowded housing, a lack of the ability to stay at home—even a persistent rumor that blacks were immune have played a part, and nobody knows what measured would have changed anything.

“If almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine.” Yeah, scientists have been doing really well with their projections in the pandemic, like the projections that 5% of the population would be infected. Since the research and pronouncements of scientists have been a) inconsistent and b) politicized from the start, it is disgraceful for Scientific American to pretend that any clear signals were being sent, or that there is any reason to believe another “projection, ” except as a useful way to attack the President. There is still  a strong argument that rejecting the scientists in favor of following the advice of economists would have placed the nation in a better situation.

The Scientific American endorsement is an example of the politicization of science, and explains why  scientists cannot be trusted. Continue reading

One More Time: Yes, President Trump Is Qualified To Be President, And The Electorate Decides Who Is FIT To Be President

“OH NO! TAKE IT AWAY! IT’S EVIL!!! EVIL!!!

Ann Althouse does a nice fisking job with a New York Times column by Gail Collins called “Let’s Fret the Night Together/The Biden campaign and the world it’s playing out in are making us all nervous wrecks.”

I saw it in my print Times, and wasn’t going to waste time with it: it’s another smug media bubble scream about how horrible the President is (just like they decided before he was sworn in) and how essential it is to elect a sexual harassing dementia case to replace him and restore honor to the office. Isn’t it amazing how so many people keep saying this as if it isn’t completely hypocritical and actually makes sense? That’s what hate and bias does to you.

A genuine friend on Facebook recently went on a rant about how “unfit”President Trump is. I’m also amazed that people keep saying this as if the fact that the people who didn’t vote for him think he’s unfit should matter at all. So vote against him in November then! The victory of a candidate you thought was “unfit” means you lost the argument, and you don’t get a chance to deal with that supposed lack of fitness until the next election. Democrats never accepted that, despite the fact that it is the way our system has always worked. They, like my friend, convinced themselves that they have a unique right, indeed a mission, to remove an elected President before an election, or, failing that, to make it impossible to govern, because their assessment of what constitutes fitness is the unquestionable right one.

Assholes. This is the beating, rotten heart of the totalitarian impulse that has divided the nation and now threatens our strength as a nation and liberty as a people.I am sick of hearing, reading about and watching it, but it is important to realize what it is. My friend is too marinated in a biased and emotional peer group to see the phenomenon for what it is. Continue reading

More On The Atlantic’s “Anonymous” Hit Piece On The President

Here’s the overview: I don’t understand this part of the story at all. I don’t understand how Jeffrey Goldberg can get away with atrocious journalistic conduct like this, even as he fails to hide it. He merely assumes his offense to fairness and his profession will be ignored, forgiven, or even cheered.

How stupid and ethically-crippled do journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg, the Editor-in-Chief  of The Atlantic Monthly think the public is? Are they right? What aren’t all legitimate journalists furious about this? Are there any legitimate journalists?

In 2004, then CBS News star Dan Rather used a forged document to “prove” that President George W. Bush had ducked accountability for going AWOL with the National Guard. Rather’s justification was a spectacularly unethical one that lost him his job and reduced him to the wandering, discredited partisan hack pundit he is today, fit only for MSNBC. Rather claimed that using the fake document was justified because what it proved was “true,” and the public had a right to know. (Rather and his producer were deliberately attempting to defeat Bush in his re-election bid, just as The Atlantic has been working to ruin Trump for fours years. I read Jeffrey Goldberg’s rationalizations for for his “Trump said mean things about American soldiers two years ago” smear as arising out of the same unethical dung heap as Rather’s debacle.

He deserves the same fate as Rather, too.

Goldberg conceded on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes”  that anonymous sourcing is “not good enough”  to base a damning story like his on. Yes, just like a forged document is not good enough to base an explosive accusation on. In some ways, a forged document is better—you can check the veracity of a document. Anonymous sources might be biased,  partisan agents,  proven liars, or not in a position to see  and hear what they claim. How can their veracity be checked? They can’t be.
Continue reading

More On The Atlantic’s Big Lie

The news media and politicians keep using the Big Lie tactic because, sadly, it works.

One reason such lies work is that, unfortunately, people just aren’t, on average, very smart or attentive. The Atlantic Monthly’s two-year old “scoop” that the President had denigrated American servicemen during a trip abroad according to four “officials” who nonetheless didn’t have the integrity or courage to take responsibility for their story was self-evidently a pro-Biden smear job, identifiable both by its timing and its journalistic inadequacies. It arrived when there was legitimate news that was favorable to the President, yet the phony story received most of the ink and air time, even from Fox News and the conservative media, the latter of which discussed the rottenness of the tactic rather than its substance.

As Big Lies go—this was a micro-Big Lie, other than the recurring and still surfacing  macro-Big Lies that have served as the foundation of the relentless anti-Trump assault since the 2016 election—this one was rather well constructed, being based as it was on one of Trump’s stupidest and most damaging utterances, his campaign swipe at  John McCain and Vietnam prisoners of war. It was not a sub-Big Lie, relying on one of the Big Nine, because, after all, this one draws its strength from a fact: the President is an asshole, and unlike other recent asshole Presidents like Obama and Clinton, he doesn’t even try to hide it.

Nonetheless, the fact that a well-proven anti-Trump organ published this just as the riots were starting to take their toll on Joe Biden’s hate-fueled support and had to use anonymous sources to create it was, or should have been, plenty to allow even the semi-dim among the public to discern what was going on. Then came the multiple claims that Fox News and others had “confirmed” the story, which, of course, they hadn’t. This was incompetent and embarrassing, and it was immediately obvious to me, as it should have been for anyone with a modicum of education and two brain cells to rub together. I saw the “confirmation” report right after completing the September 4 post about news media disinformation, and wrote,

Fox saying it “corroborated” what Trump said is flat out false. If someone tells NBC I’m an anteater, and I deny it, then ABC talks to the same lunatic who says I’m an anteater and he repeats his accusation, did ABC corroborate that I’m an anteater?

Yet, incredibly—yes, after all this time, I still find the the lack of basic critical thinking skills among so much of the public hard to believe–a lot of people couldn’t see this. I know it sounds arrogant, but I have to regard this episode as either an IQ test or a corruption test: if you don’t see what’s going on, either you’re not very bright, or you are allowing yourself to enable lie.

Glenn Greenwald wrote a whole essay for the slow-witted about what the news media is doing here , unfortunately, slow-witted Americans don’t read The Intercept. He begins by recalling one of the worst CNN false reports pushing the Russia collusion coup effort, now down a memory hole, as CNN (and its fixer Brian Stelter) still insist that the networks reporting on that debacle was impeccable. Greenwald writes,

Very shortly after CNN unveiled its false story, MSNBC’s intelligence community spokesman Ken Dilanian went on air and breathlessly announced that he had obtained independentconfirmation that the CNN story was true. In a video segment I cannot recommend highly enoughDilanian was introduced by an incredibly excited Hallie Jackson — who urged Dilanian to “tell us what we’ve just now learned,” adding, “I know you and some of our colleagues have confirmed some of this information: What’s up?” Dilanian then proceeded to explain what he had learned:

“That’s right, Hallie. Two sources with direct knowledge of this are telling us that congressional investigators have obtained an email from a man named “Mike Erickson” — obviously they don’t know if that’s his real name — offering Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. access to WikiLeaks documents. … It goes to the heart of the collusion question. … One of the big questions is: Did [Trump Jr.] call the FBI?”

How could that happen? How could MSNBC purport to confirm a false story from CNN? Shortly after, CBS News also purported to have “confirmed” the same false story: that Trump Jr. received advanced access to the WikiLeaks documents. It’s one thing for a news outlet to make a mistake in reporting by, for instance, misreporting the date of an email and thus getting the story completely wrong. But how is it possible that multiple other outlets could “confirm” the same false report?

It’s possible because news outlets have completely distorted the term “confirmation” beyond all recognition. Indeed, they now use it to mean the exact opposite of what it actually means, thereby draping themselves in journalistic glory they have not earned and, worse, deceiving the public into believing that an unproven assertion has, in fact, been proven. With this disinformation method, they are doing the exact opposite of what journalism, at its core, is supposed to do: separate fact from speculation.

The effectiveness of this technique depends on confirmation bias. A late, periodically lamented left-biased commentator here insisted that he knew Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election because that’s the kind of person he is. This, of course, is bigotry as well as confirmation bias, but that kind of thought process is driving the willingness of so many to accept an inherently unreliable story. Continue reading