Ethics Quote Of The Day: Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake

“Since when can we not ask questions about our elections? As a journalist for many years—I was a journalist after 2016 and I distinctly remember many people just like you, asking a lot of questions about the 2016 election results and nobody tried to shut you up….”

—-GOP candidate for Governor of Arizona Kari Lake, responding to a reporter who baited her with a “whataboutism” question referring to Donald Trump “dividing the nation” by “falsely telling people he won [the 2020] election”?

I don’t know much about Lake or the Arizona governor race, but GOP leaders, candidates and party supporters should study and memorize Lake’s full response to the Democrat-pimping reporter’s question, ““You feel like Joe Biden is dividing the country. Do you feel Donald Trump is doing the same by falsely telling people he won that election when he lost it?”

Lake’s full (perfect) reply:

“How does that divide the country? Questioning an election where there are obviously problems is dividing the country? Since when can we not ask questions about our elections? As a journalist for many years—I was a journalist after 2016 and I distinctly remember many people just like you, asking a lot of questions about the 2016 election results and nobody tried to shut you up. Nobody tried to tell Hillary Clinton to shut up. Nobody tried to tell Kamala Harris when she was questioning the legitimacy of these electronic voting machines to stop. We have freedom of speech in this country and you of all that people should appreciate that. You’re supposedly a journalist. You should appreciate that. So I don’t see how asking questions about an election where there were many problems is ‘dividing’ a country. What I do see divided a country is shutting people down, censoring people, canceling people, trying to destroy people’s lives when they do ask questions. Last I heard we still have the Constitution. It’s hanging by a thread thanks to some of the work some people in this area have done. But we’re going to save that Constitution and we’re going to bring back freedom of speech. And maybe someday you’ll thank us for that.”

As to that last sentence, I very much doubt it.

Assuming the quote is being reported accurately, that is an impressive and fair response even if Lake had expected the question and had her answer polished and ready. Gee, isn’t it nice when candidates can speak in complete sentences and make clear, organized, articulate statements on the fly?

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Essential Addendum To “From The ‘Res Ipsa Loquitur’ Files: Rob Reiner Provides A ‘Bias Makes You Stupid’ Case Study” [Link Fixed!]

Lest this post mislead you into the dangerous conclusion that snide comic and would-be pundit Bill Maher has suddenly developed integrity, some perspective may be necessary.

You will recall that in said post, I recalled Maher’s previous approval on another installment of his HBO show of using any means necessary to bring down Trump, rendering his apparent current condemnation of a media “conspiracy” to defeat him in the 2020 election less than convincing:

Maher is, of course, right, but he’s ethically estopped from making this argument. Before he decided that exposing the Left’s unethical plots to take out Trump would get his show some publicity, Maher had said on his show, during Trump’s Presidency, that crashing the economy to defeat Trump was “worth it.”

Conservative blogger Don Surber has a better memory than I do: he recalls how Maher treated the Hunter Biden laptop story ten days before the election:

“It’s getting so crazy. The ‘October surprise’ that the Trump people have now… have you seen this? It’s Hunter Biden’s laptop. Joe Biden’s ne’er-do-well son, Hunter, has this laptop which apparently had incriminating evidence—maybe stuff about influence-peddling on it—that was contained in his emails. And apparently, according to this, Hunter was trading on his name, selling access to his father, accepting money for nothing—what Don Jr. calls living the dream….Here’s the part that gets a little swirly about the story. How do we know about these emails? Well, apparently Hunter took his computer—which wasn’t working—to a computer repair shop, as we all do in 2020… and left it there and forgot about it, because, says Rudy Giuliani… he was drunk. And the computer repairman is blind. I’m not making that part of the story up. So, how did the blind man know Hunter was drunk? How you repair a computer if you’re blind? I don’t know about that either. But in the process of repairing Hunter’s computer blindly, he read Hunter’s emails and turned it over to the FBI. Is that how you fix a laptop nowadays? You read somebody’s emails? It’s like a plumber saying, ‘Well, the problem with your pipes is that you have cocaine in your underwear drawer.’”

That Bill! Anything for a laugh! The ethical time to question the deliberate blocking of the Biden influence-peddling evidence raised by the laptop was before the election, of course. But Maher went along with the conspiracy he’s attacking now, because those involved in it are his ideological allies most of the time, not that Maher can be trusted by friend or foe. Now Maher thinks it’s advantageous to pose as a truth-teller, so he’s temporarily turning on the metaphorical hands that feed him, like poor, addled Rob Reiner.

Bill Maher is a Machiavellian, unethical, dishonest and unprincipled asshole. There are many such creatures in today’s popular media, but he is one of the most pernicious. Don’t let him fool you.

Breaking News On The Stolen Election “Lie”

I still see it almost every day: a reference to Donald Trump’s stolen election “lie.” Trump, as is his wont, makes this slur too easy by his usual sloppiness of expression. First, he employs the language of certainty to express a belief that cannot be verified, and second, he keep focusing on voter fraud. However, as Ethics Alarms had indicated on many days in in many ways, there is a substantial likelihood that Trump’s second term was stolen from him (and the nation), not by fraud but by the continuous series of deliberate and unethical acts of sabotage committed against his Presidency, administration and campaign by Democrats, progressives, the news media, social media, popular culture, Big Tech, NeverTrump Republicans and the “Deep State.” (As an aside, the denials by the Left that the Deep State exists remind me of the once commonplace denials by Italian-Americans that the Mafia existed.)

This week, two bits of evidence supporting this position emerged:

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The New York Times Scandal Regarding The Mainstream Media’s Cover-Up Of The Hunter Biden Laptop Story Is Bigger Than The Laptop Story Itself

And, dammit, I don’t have the energy or clarity of mind to cover it properly right now.

I hate using clips and cuts from other sources to examine ethics stories, though it is a common technique around the web, perhaps the most common technique. I can do better, but as I have noted here several times of late, I’m shot full of pain-killers and antibiotics, and have approximately the mental acuity of Joe Biden along with the energy deficits of the United States, so I’m reduced to something less than my preferred methodology. Still, attention must be paid. As recently as last week, several counter-“echo chamber warriors were still making the absurd claim that the New York Times was not the outrageously biased Democratic Party propaganda organ it so clearly is, an assertion that literally requires that one stick fingers in both ears and hum like mic having a feedback crisis.

On March 17, the New York Times admitted that the Hunter Biden laptop report was accurate and genuine, more than a year after it allowed the Biden disinformation machine to falsely claim it was all “Russian disinformation.” This prompted a rare (but delicious editorial by the New York Post, which broke the story on October 14, 2020, while the 2020 Presidential election was up for grabs and got itself banned from social media for printing the truth. The Post’s victory lap said in part,

Forgive the profanity, but you have got to be s–tting us.

First, the New York Times decides more than a year later that Hunter Biden’s business woes are worthy of a story. Then, deep in the piece, in passing, it notes that Hunter’s laptop is legitimate.

“People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity,” the Times writes. “Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”

Authenticated!!! You don’t say. You mean, when a newspaper actually does reporting on a topic and doesn’t just try to whitewash coverage for Joe Biden, it discovers it’s actually true?

But wait, it doesn’t end there. In October 2020, the Times cast doubt that there was a meeting between Joe Biden and an official from Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company for which Hunter was a board member.  “A Biden campaign spokesman said Mr. Biden’s official schedules did not show a meeting between the two men,” the Times wrote, acting as a perfect stenographer. Yet in the latest report, published Wednesday night, the Times said the meeting likely did happen. Biden had attended the dinner in question. Funny how this works when you don’t just take someone’s word for it.

In the heat of the presidential race of 2020, the Times never missed a chance to cast doubt on the laptop, saying the information was “purported” and quoting a letter from former Democratic officials who claimed — with no evidence — that it was Russian disinformation. As recently as September 2021, the Times called the laptop “unsubstantiated” in a news story.

Why was it unsubstantiated? Because of willful ignorance and the Times’ curious lack of curiosity. Hunter’s business partner Tony Bobulinski came forward immediately after The Post’s reports and confirmed that the emails bearing his name were legitimate. The Bidens didn’t even deny it was true! They just deflected, with the media’s help, saying it was a dirty trick or not a story. Mostly, the press just ignored it.Now we’re 16 months away from the 2020 election, Joe Biden’s safely in the White House, and the Times finally decides to report on the news rather than carry the Biden campaign’s water. And they find that hey, Hunter Biden’s business interests benefited from Joe Biden’s political status to a suspicious degree. Perhaps this is a topic worthy of examination.

How did the Times “authenticate” the laptop? It doesn’t say. Unlike The Post’s reporting, which detailed exactly how we got the files and where they came from, the Times does a hand wave to anonymous sources. No facts have changed since fall 2020. They knew the laptop was real from the start. They just didn’t want to say so….

Twitter banned us for supposedly publishing “hacked materials” that weren’t hacked. The company’s CEO apologized, but by that point, they had accomplished what they wanted. Like the Times, they cast enough doubt to avoid making their preferred candidate look bad.

Readers of the Times have discovered in March 2022 that Hunter Biden pursued business deals in Europe and Asia, and may have leveraged his father’s position as vice president to do it. Hunter also may not have properly registered with the government or declared all his income. All legitimate topics of discussion about a presidential candidate’s family, no?

The NY Post’s obvious bitterness should be matched by that of fair, civically competent, objective citizens who don’t like the idea of elections being stolen and the public having the metaphorical wool pulled over its eyes. Continue reading

First Amendment Scholars Flunk An Integrity Test

Lawsuits have been brought in several state and federal courts accusing accuse Project Veritas, Fox News, The Gateway Pundit, One America News and other conservative news and commentary sources of intentionally making false claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election, harming innocent civil servants and businesses in the process. Apparently a lot of “legal scholars” who typically take the side of the news media in such cases, like Sarah Palin’s recent lawsuit against the New York Times which she lost last month, feel differently about these lawsuits. Many First Amendment lawyers are rooting for a finding of liability in the cases to make it possible to punish the intentional or extremely reckless dissemination of false information while protecting the press from lawsuits over inadvertent errors.

You see, false information disseminated by a conservative news source is intentional disinformation, while false information disseminated by a mainstream media news source is just an inadvertent error. Clear?

New York Times v. Sullivan established the “actual malice” standard for defamation, which requires that a suing public figure must prove a person or media outlet knew what it said was false or acted with “reckless disregard” for the high probability that it was wrong. The lawsuits against the conservative outlets argue that by uncritically presenting “disinformation” from guests (Like Sydney Powell, above) who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election, the news sources were endorsing defamation and became a malicious party to it. The Times writes,

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Comment Of The Day: “On ‘Decertification,’ Everybody’s Wrong (Or Lying)…”

Ethics Alarms is about ethics, not politics, but politics, especially in recent years, has increasingly been about the defining and flagging of unethical conduct. Typically elections have been an area in which both parties revel in accusing each other of dishonest and unethical conduct that they also engage in when it suits their needs; we recently saw, for example, the report on Democrats using “dark money” in the 2020 election cycle after condemning Republicans for their lack of transparency regarding campaign contributions, and either party climbing up on a metaphorical high horse over gerrymandering is laughable.

The accusations over the 2020 Presidential election are materially different, in part because 95% of the news media has taken a side the constitutes aggressive partisan activism: the claim that suspicions about the fairness and legitimacy of the vote count—in the absence of many safeguards that previous elections had made standard practice—were “disproven” and “groundless.” The use of ballot drop boxes, for example, raise the immediate specter of voter fraud, and one that is difficult to dispel. Did the actual voter drop off the ballot? Did that voter mark the ballot with his or her name on it? How secure is the box against tampering? The existence of such dubious devices in any close election guarantees public distrust, and should. Yet the news media is pushing the left’s false narrative that laws that ban drop-off boxes are “voter suppression.”

Here is Null Pointer on the matter, in the Comment of the Day on the post, “On ‘Decertification,’ Everybody’s Wrong (Or Lying)…”

One tip before you read: what is being described regarding elections is the condition Ethics Alarms dubs “Bizarro World Ethics.”

***

Let’s just look a some truths about the 2020 election and see if we cannot deduce what might be going on.

Truth #1: The Democrats got up to shenanigans in the 2020 election, and if the exact nature of those shenanigans were laid out to the people, the people would probably nearly unanimously agree the shenanigans amounted to cheating. The people would not unanimously ADMIT it was cheating, but they would know. The Democrats do not want the people on the left to know that they engaged in behavior that essentially amounts to cheating.

Truth #2: The election is not going to be undone. It was never going to be undone. Everyone who isn’t a complete moron knows it cannot be undone. Everyone who knows it cannot be undone is not going to admit that they know it cannot be undone, however, because a lot of people hate the Democrats and like to piss the Democrats off. Polling is useless.

Truth #3: The Democrats cheat. The Democrats have always cheated, at least at the regional level. Everyone on the right knows the Democrats cheat. Everyone on the left thinks a majority of people agree with them about everything, rendering cheating unnecessary. The people on the left would be shocked to find out that a huge percentage of the population does not agree with them.

Truth #4: The Republicans let the Democrats cheat. The Republicans have always let the Democrats cheat because political calculations produced an equation that said it was more politically expedient to let the Democrats cheat than to call them on it. The Democrats have escalated their cheating over time because they can. The Democrats accuse everyone else of cheating to keep the political calculations in their favor by confusing their base. Continue reading

On “Decertification,” Everybody’s Wrong (Or Lying)…

When everybody’s unethical, it begins to be difficult to figure out what “ethical” would be.

In Wisconsin, some Republican officials have launched a serious (though ridiculous) “decertification” effort, an effort to persuade the Wisconsin Legislature to rescind the state’s 10 electoral votes, thereby starting a movement in other states where President Trump lost by a narrow margin and there are reasons to doubt the integrity of the count. In Arizona, a Republican state legislator running for secretary of state, and other GOP candidates for Congress, have also called for withdrawing the state’s electoral votes, which went to President Biden. Last September, Trump wrote a letter to Georgia officials asking them to decertify Biden’s Peach Tree State victory, but there was no response, appropriately.

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Observations On The Rasmussen Poll Showing Trump Crushing Biden If The Election Were Held Today

First of all, polls.

The one in question is Rasmussen, which is the among the few polling organizations that do not have a perpetual left-wing bias, and that may have a conservative political bias. It is also worth noting that the election will not be held today, or even this year. Thus it is in the category of fake news that Ethics Alarms calls “future news.”

Many doubt, with some justification, that Joe Biden will last as President until 2024. He’s 79, and before this year is out will turn 80, what my father called the threshold to “the red zone,” when anyone that ancient or older faces a not insubstantial daily risk of dropping dead with little or no warning. Dad made it to 89 before dying—unexpectedly—during a nap, but he looked and seemed a lot healthier and less on the decline than Joe these days. Comedian Bob Saget was just 65 when his time ran out last week, also without warning, and he wasn’t even in the yellow zone.

Trump is no spring chicken either. He’ll be 76 this Spring: would you want to bet the farm that he’ll make 78 sufficiently hale and hearty to run a vigorous campaign, hold chatty rallies, and insult everyone who disagrees with him daily? The life expectancy of a 78-year-old male now is less than 10 years. That’s cutting it close. I’ll keep that farm, thanks.

Oh yeah, about the poll. A new Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey concluded that if the election were held today, 40% of likely U.S. voters would vote for President Biden, and 46% would vote for the previous POTUS, a large advantage.  10% say they would choose some other candidate in a Biden-Trump rematch, which doesn’t mean much: nobody knows who those other candidates might be, or if there will be any worthy of attention. If the also-rans are no better than the pathetic alternatives who were on the 2016 ballot, 10% is a highly inflated number.

Trump would get 81% support from GOP voters—that’s against Biden, remember: he’d get almost 100% when if he ran against, say, a piece of cheese. Biden would get 75% of Democrats, which is low for a party’s incumbent President.  With  independent voters, however, Trump would win today by a 16-point margin,  45% to Biden’s 29%.

Other observations that flow from this data… Continue reading

The Worst Loser

Worst losers

It says something, I am not quite sure what, about our deteriorating political culture that the two poorest losers in American Presidential election history were the last two losing candidates, and whoever third place belongs to—Aaron Burr maybe? John Adams? Adlai Stevenson made some ungracious comments after his second defeat by Eisenhower suggesting that Ike’s weak heart would make Nixon President—is too far from them to be seen with the Mt. Palomar telescope.

Hillary Clinton had the title wrapped up, I assumed for all time, after her four-year whine-fest following her defeat by Donald Trump. She announced herself a member of “the resistance,” blamed everyone and everything imaginable except the real culprit (herself), and encouraged surrogates and the news media to attempt various dishonest arguments to cast suspicion on Trump’s victory. Was her refusal to make the traditional statement wishing the new President well and pledging to do what she could in the interest of unity and the national interest the catalyst for the Democrats’ villainous effort to undermine Trump’s Presidency by false accusations, contrived impeachment and ad hominem slurs? Whether it was or not, Clinton openly fumed and seethed about her loss, trapped in the anger stage of grief and never moving on to acceptance.

Donald Trump, of course, passed her in the Bad Loser race like she was standing still once the 2020 election night showed Joe Biden was a winner. Not only did Trump refuse to concede, he continued to insist that the election was rigged and even that he had won…in fact, won by a landslide. He encouraged public protests and employed lawyers who over-promised, made intemperate claims, and either came close to the line of unethical advocacy or crossed it.

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Now THIS Is Spin…

WILl report

The Wisconsin State Journal’s coverage of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty’s examination of the 2020 election in the state is headlined, “Conservative law firm’s review of 2020 election: No ‘big steal,’ but plenty of problems” and says in part,

“10-month review of Wisconsin’s 2020 elections conducted by a conservative Milwaukee law firm… found no evidence of the kind of fraud being alleged by allies of former President Donald Trump… who falsely contend last year’s presidential election was ‘stolen.’ At the same time, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty found ‘it is almost certain’ that ‘the number of votes that did not comply with existing legal requirements exceeded Joe Biden’s margin of victory.’ With the country’s two major political parties sharply at odds over whether the 2020 presidential election was legitimate, the review, released Tuesday, walks a fine line in asserting there were serious problems with the way elections were run in Wisconsin in 2020, but that it’s very unlikely those problems denied a Trump a second term….

The news media just can’t play it straight, particularly where Trump is involved.

Note that the story has to note that it was a “conservative law firm” performing the study, so its results are in question from the start, or at least that’s what the Journal wants readers to assume. Then notice that the claims of a stolen election are unequivocally described as “false,” though the report being discussed found that it’s only “unlikely” that the irregularities their research uncovered “denied a Trump a second term.” Yet if it is indeed “almost certain” that ‘the number of votes that did not comply with existing legal requirements exceeded Joe Biden’s margin of victory,” then it is possible that such votes—just illegal, I guess, but not “fraudulent”?—did “steal ” the election.

Nothing to see here…move along.

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