Unethical And Intolerable: Waters, Babbitt, Sicknick, Part 2.

The late Paul Harvey’s iconic “the rest of the story” isn’t quite as ugly as this story itself, which I wrote about here. It does, however, put a cap on one more disgusting example of the news media deliberately engaging in fake news reporting to advance a partisan agenda.

Let’s use CNN’s report, since we know if there was any way out, any way to spin the story and keep the false narrative going, the network of Fredo, Don Lemon and the atrocious Brian Stelter would try it. Nope, though the medical examiner did his best:

US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after responding to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Washington DC’s chief medical examiner has determined.The medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, didn’t note any evidence that Sicknick had an allergic reaction to chemical spray or list any internal or external injuries, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the ruling. Still, Diaz told the newspaper that “all that transpired” on January 6 “played a role in his condition.”The ruling all but ensures that the Justice Department won’t be able to pursue homicide charges in Sicknick’s death. In March, two men — Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia — were arrested and charged with assaulting Sicknick.

The reason they can’t be prosecuted is that there is no evidence that Sicknick’s death was connected to the January 6 riots in any way. There never was. Diaz’s gratuitous claim that “all that transpired played a role in his condition” is just face-saving hackery.

What does that even mean? “Played a role”? Either something that happened at the Capitol killed him or it didn’t. Did Sicknick die of a broken heart to see America’s house sullied by an angry mob? HOW did the events “play a role”? Diaz doesn’t say, meaning he’s engaging in irresponsible speculation to give the lying journalists something to cling to. The statement breaks down to “post hoc ergo propter hoc“—a logical fallacy so well-known and ancient that it’s in Latin: “After this, ergo because of this.” There is no reason to believe that Sicknick would not have died if nothing had happened at the Capitol.

Note also that CNN is sticking with “insurrection,” a description it has not applied to any of the far more violent and lengthy takeovers of government buildings during the George Floyd Freakout. We learned this week that with even a half-competent response from the Capitol police, the gang of idiots would never have made it inside the Capitol. They had no firearms; they were a mob of about 300; they had as much chance of taking over the government or having any substantive impact whatsoever as Shirley Temple had to be an Olympic powerlifting gold medalist.

But never mind that: this is business as usual for all of the mainstream news media. The AUC memo went out that January 6 was an “insurrection” because that was going to be the way they finally “got” Donald Trump: accuse him of plotting “a violent uprising against the government,” and the memo never was retracted. Sicknick’s death at the hands of the rebels was a key part of the fiction, so it was repeated over and over, even in the Senate trial by the House prosecution as fact. The Biden Administration and Democrats were accomplices: they took the nauseatingly cynical step of staging a Capitol Rotunda viewing of Sicknick’s casket, which made the lie that “he died defending his country” vivid and dramatic (and cheapened the honor, which only a handful of ordinary citizens have been awarded).

When the “they hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher” tale didn’t pan out, they went with the “He died because they sprayed him with bear spray,” or he was caught in a bear spray crossfire, or something. Yes, the President of the United Sates plotted an insurrection that would take over the nation using bear spray and fire extinguishers. Diabolical!

As the substack reporter did when the Sicknick story first started falling apart, Glenn Greenwald has given us the best dose of undiluted contempt for how it was handled, writing yesterday in part,

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up: Snap Out Of It!

This morning, instead of the usual grainy 1930’s movies TCM usually shows before noon, it was featuring “Casablanca” for some reason. It’s a good thing, because the recent news had me heading for the bridge. As usual, the legendary singing duel at Ric’s between the Nazis and the French put me in a defiant mood, so I decided it was a good time to bring back the incredible Mirielle Mathiue and one of her signature performances of “La Marseillaise.” I’m a big fan of “The Star Spangled Banner,” but as inspiring national anthems go, this is the gold standard.

Now I feel better, and will at least until I finish this post.

1. You want racial conflict? This is how you get racial conflict. One benefit of the warm-up format is that I can write as little as possible about things that would make me up-chuck if I had to compose full posts about them. Following on the “systemic racism” myth, Oakland, California is launching a guaranteed income experiment called Oakland Resilient Families. 600 families in the city will receive $500-a-month payments over the next 18 months “to eliminate racial wealth inequalities.” Oakland’s guaranteed income program is only for low-income black, indigenous, and people of color, or BIPOC, families.

Whites cannot apply. If Oakland’s whites are poor, they have no excuses. They are just lazy, useless losers, I guess.

Families must apply online in the coming weeks and months in order to enter a pool of potential recipients, from which eligible families will be randomly selected to receive the cash payments.

I don’t have to explain what’s unethical about this, do I? Or what’s stupid about it? Or irresponsible?

In related news, a Kentucky mother is in custody on murder charges after her 2-year-old son overdosed on fentanyl while she slept. She had bought the drug with her stimulus money.

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A “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Spectacular! The Washington Post Says,”You Know That Story About Trump Pressuring The Georgia Secretary Of State to “Find The Votes” To Flip The State? Never Mind. It Was All A Lie.” [Corrected]

Trump phone call

Gee, thanks. I guess this means your paper is trustworthy, right?

You know, I’m getting a little angry about this. Not at the news media: I figured out long ago that it was making up negative stories about President Trump, so when it ran “scoops” with anonymous sources like this one, I assumed that it was as likely fake news as not. You may note that I didn’t even bother to comment on this story when it was reported, although that was partially because it was almost immediately swallowed by the January 6 riot and the second impeachment debacle. No, I’m getting just a little bit disgusted with friends and relatives who continue to claim, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the mainstream news media did not repeatedly and intentionally hype, exaggerate, manufacture and otherwise publicize misleading and false stories for the explicit purpose of turning public opinion against President Trump to assist the Democrats in gaining power. The latest example, which was revealed today, is just another in a long, long trail. But it’s a major one.

In January, the Washington Post reported that then-President Donald Trump, still trying to undo the presumed results of an election he believed was stolen from him, “urged Georgia’s lead elections investigator to ‘find the fraud’ in a lengthy December phone call, saying the official would be a ‘national hero.’” There was a single anonymous source who supposedly “confirmed” the details of the private conversation on an audio recording, and this was enough for the Post.

Watch “All the President’s Men” again. This wasn’t considered enough verification when the Post went after Richard Nixon.

Other news sources quickly reported the same outrageous conduct, claiming they had independently verified the story. Several said that “Trump is heard on an audiotape pressuring the Georgia secretary of state to ‘find’ votes to overturn Biden’s win. ” But the reporters didn’t hear that audiotape. They were relying on someone who said they had heard it. This is why hearsay is not admitted into evidence in trials.

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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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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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Regarding The Trump Defense “Fight” Montage

As readers here know, I have not watched a second of the “impeachment” (it is no longer an impeachment) “trial” (it does not comport with the Constitution’s prescription for a Senate trial of a President because I have an unruly sock drawer. There was never a chance that President Trump would be convicted of the manufactured charges rammed through the House when he was in office, and the effort to convict a private citizen or construct a Bill of Attainder to prevent a private citizen from running for office are unconstitutional. If either or both were successful, which is impossible, they would be over-turned by a conservative Supreme Court whose Chief Justice has already signaled his contempt for the partisan exercise by refusing to participate in it. (I hear Roberts’ sock drawer is immaculate).

I’ve read many articles over the last week speculating on what the Democrats are trying to accomplish. Here’s one from yesterday. It’s been pretty clear to me, though incredibly and damningly not the Trump Deranged, that what they are accomplishing is embarrassing and disgracing themselves, their party and the nation; weakening the Constitution and ensuring similar behavior from Republicans in retaliation; exacerbating dangerous division and cynicism among the public, and generally continuing their despicable series of plots over the last four years to reverse the results of the 20i6 election no matter what harm it does to our institutions.

Bias, as the Ethics Alarms motto goes, makes you stupid, and the impeachment charade/fiasco/debacle/ farce/shit-show—you pick your favorite—and hate, as Richard Nixon realized too late, will destroy you. The “trial” is an abject lesson in both truths.

I didn’t watch the any of the trial, but I could not resist watching the video above, not that any of it was a surprise or should have been to any Americans who were paying attention, as in, for example, actually reading the text of Trump’s speech to the protesters. There was no “incitement” in his words, and no one could have been convicted on such evidence, as many objective authorities have pointed out, and many biased professionals have denied, to their eternal shame. Inciting a riot is a crime of intent, and outside of some amateur mind-reading, no intent has been proven or could be. The “case” against Trump—there is no case—has been based on the the “resistance”;s news media allies ludicrously re-casting a riot, a minor one compared to those we have seen over the last decade, almost entirely from the Democratic base with official approval, as an “insurrection,” which it was not. This has been repeated daily since January 6, as if repetition makes it so. It wasn’t even an attempted insurrection, because even the dimmest bulb among the small minority of angry Trump supporters who actually stormed the Capitol could have thought for a millisecond that a couple hundred fools, dummies and clowns had a prayer of overcoming the government or even slowing it down.

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Wasn’t It Obvious That The Lincoln Project Was An Unethical Scam?

Lincoln Project

If not, why not? It sure was obvious to me. Even more than the rest of the Never-Trumpers, the Lincoln Project had the stench of insincerity and ethics rot all over it. Why would alleged Republicans and conservatives set out to defeat their party’s incumbent President and hand over power to the most radical and irresponsible incarnation of the Democratic Party since the Confederacy? The most visible member of the cabal for those who are not political junkies (founders Mike Madrid, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, Reed Galen above are the ultimate D.C. insiders, aka “swamp creatures”) was Kellyanne Conway’s lawyer hubby George, who used the news media’s hatred of President Trump to get publicity for his relentless attacks on his wife’s boss, embarrassing her and putting her family life in conflict with her responsibilities to the President. Who does that? Answer: a self-serving, untrustworthy creep like George Conway, that’s who.

Organizations led by unethical people behave unethically and eventually self-destruct; the Lincoln Project was a lesson in signature significance waiting to be taught. Now it is falling apart in chunks, as ploys by arrogant and awful people always do, even if they thrive for a while because, as P.T Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” The suckers in this case were Trump Deranged progressives, who were so thrilled to have alleged conservatives linking arms with them to bring down an elected President with lies and abuses of power that they never asked the crucial ethics inquiry question “What’s going on here?

Glenn Greenwald, in a no-holds-barred excoriation of the group, answers that question with a tasty mix of disgust and brio:

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Once Again, Unethical Sentencing Using “He’s Suffered Enough”: That’s Not The Message That Needed To Be Sent

Collusion2

In August, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty in federal court to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the of the irregularities surrounding law enforcement actions regarding allegations of”collusion” between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, a manufactured charge used to delegitimize and undermine the Trump Presidency. Clinesmith’s guilty plea was to “one count of making a false statement within both the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the U.S. government, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”

Clinesmith admitted that in June 2017, he had sent a deliberately altered email to an FBI agent falsely indicating that Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was “not a source” for the Central Intelligence Agency. The email was used by the FBI to apply for a third extension of a FISA warrant justifying surveillance on Page. Paige had, in fact, been a source for the CIA. Clinesmith’s defense was that he had mistakenly thought the altered assertion in the email was correct, and he only altered it to save himself the trouble of getting a another email from the CIA.

If this doesn’t remind you of Dan Rather’s rationalization for using a forged document to accuse President George Bush of going AWOL while he was in the National Guard, it should. But Rather was just a journalist, albeit a one who carried the public trust. What he did was unethical, but what Clinesmith did was unethical and illegal. He knowingly manufactured evidence offered by the U.S. government to violate the Fourth Amendment Rights of a citizen, knowing that the warrant being sought would be used to spy on the Presidential campaign of the party opposing that of the sitting President, Barack Obama. The Trump Presidency was permanently sabotaged from its very start as a result of Clinesmith’s actions along with others in the Justice Department and FBI. Although the Mueller report found no evidence that any American anywhere, not just in the Trump campaign, coordinated with Russians to affect the 2016 election, the lie that Clinesmith facilitated constituted a deliberate effort by law enforcement officials to subvert a Presidential campaign and a President.

Yeasterday, Clinesmith was sentenced. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, delivered the proverbial “slap on the wrist.” He sentenced him to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service. He will serve no jail time.

My son, 18 at the time of his offense, was given five years probation and spent six months in jail for a traffic violation, just to provide some basis for comparison.

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Ethics Reflections, 1/19/2021: Good-Bye, Thanks, And On Behalf Of America, I’m Sorry, President Trump

Trump 2020

As I have said before, every American President is owed the thanks and gratitude of U.S. citizens. It is a hard job, a lonely job and a often killing job. Nobody takes it on without suffering and sacrificing a great deal. Nobody takes it on and accepts the massive responsibilities the job entails without wanting to do a good job for his country and fellow citizens. Those who say or think otherwise are broadcasting their ignorance, and failing their own civic responsibilities.

Donald J. Trump was a fascinating President. All 45 have been different, but he is a true outlier, in background, experience, and orientation. I was never a supporter of Trump when he ran, nor an admirer before he ran, nor an enthusiastic adherent when he was in office. As an observer, a presidential history fanatic and a student of leadership and presidential character, I found him to be infuriating, surprising, troubling, and in the end admirable in some ways.

He was also surprisingly successful, though the news media would never give him credit, and though much of what he was successful at upset progressives, to put it mildly. President Trump was unlucky, but many Presidents are; a game I used to play was naming a period in U.S. history when a great President would have failed and another when a “failed” President would have been great. Trump was ultimately defeated by a worldwide pandemic that ruined the excellent economy that his policies had largely created. I doubt that the despicable effort by the AUC to blame the extent of the pandemic on him was ultimately the reason for his defeat; American Presidents usually get the credit when things are good, and get the blame when they aren’t, regardless of the reasons. One of the Big Lies wielded by Trump’s foes was that everything was terrible when in fact things were remarkably good. The pandemic ensured that much was terrible for many months leading up to the election. Few, if any, Presidents could have been re-elected under such conditions.

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From The “Scared Yet” Files: The Rest Of The Story On The Persecution Of Professor Charles Negy

Nagy Tweet

As Ethics Alarms noted back in August (which seems like years ago), the University of Central Florida set out to destroy Professor Negy, who was tenured and has taught at the university for decades by inviting students to bring formal complaints against him “based on abusive or discriminatory behavior by any faculty or staff.” Students were already demanding his dismissal because he dared to post the accurate tweet above, but the institution knew it couldn’t fire him for that.

Negy’s lawyer,Samantha K. Harris, described the process:

Since June 4th, a litany (we don’t know the exact number, because they won’t say) of complaints has been lodged against Negy for his classroom pedagogy, for speech that allegedly occurred over a 15-year period from 2005 to 2020. The university charged Negy with discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, sex, gender identity/expression, and disability…while providing him with only a handful of “examples” of his alleged wrongdoing. … the university subjected Negy to an “investigative interview” that was one of the most Kafkaesque things I have seen in my 15 years advising students and faculty about campus disciplinary matters. For four straight hours, UCF’s investigator grilled Negy about accusations stemming directly from his classroom pedagogy, having made no effort to weed out the countless accusations that were obviously just critiques of his choice of teaching material….When Negy, physically and emotionally exhausted after four hours of interrogation, asked if the interview was almost over, we learned that the investigator had not even gotten halfway through her list of accusations. Another five-hour inquisition was scheduled for the following week.

This investigation was obviously undertaken in retaliation for Negy’s protected tweets… How many professors are going to be willing to speak out if the result is a nine-hour inquisition followed by an almost inevitable punishment?…Cases like this are canaries in the coal mine: if a public university—a government agency—can treat someone this way for deviating from the university’s orthodoxy, and face no accountability for doing so, then what (and who) is next? The answer, of course, is you and me. We are next. If decent people do not take a stand against these abuses, it’s not a matter of if the state-endorsed mob will come for us—it’s only a matter of when.

When, as we now can see, has arrived.

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