Last evening, I posted an Unethical Quote allegedly made by Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer that “Donald Trump’s impeachment acquittal will be meaningless because we never accepted the results of the 2016 election in the first place. Anyone who accepts an acquittal is a danger to our democracy.” I originally titled it the Unethical Quote of the Day, and later, as I read it again while responding to the predictable shocked comments, I upgraded the comment to Unethical Quote of the Century, a designation I was prepared to defend.
This morning, momentarily awake and planning to go back to sleep, I decided to check the Ethics Alarms comments, and saw this, from frequent commenter Here’s Johnny.
Re: Unethical quote:
I would think that, for the unethical quote of the century, I would be able to find a few references to it in the news media. My best Google search efforts have turned up reports from Ethics Alarms and The Sacramento Brie. The Brie does not appear to be a legitimate news site, and their reference to this quote appears to show a Fox News screen grab. Searching at Fox News did not turn up the quote. The quote does not appear in the Senate Democrats text of Schumer’s comments at the press conference where he supposedly made the comment.
So, what is going on here? Is there evidence that Schumer actually said what is in the quote? I could not find it.
This was disturbing. The post had no link, which is unusual, and I couldn’t tracj down where I got it from, though I believe the pointer came from a Trump Deranged friend on Facebook who quoted it approvingly. I’ve checked my browser history to no avail. After reading HJ’s comment, I listened to every YouTube clip I could find from Schumer yesterday. He made a number of disingenuous and hyperbolic statements about a trial with no witnesses not being a trial (The Clinton impeachment had no witnesses, and Democrats seemed to be happy with that), but nothing as outrageous as the alleged quote I posted.
Like Johnny, I cannot believe that if Schumer said something that irresponsible, it wouldn’t have been widely reported. Thus I am suspending the post pending verification, and as of this moment, assume that it was false. I also deleted the tweet that the blog generates for every post. I will continue to look for the quote and the source, and to identify exactly how this happened.
To some extent I know the latter: the news media and other Democrats have been foaming at the mouth for days, and many of the quotes are no less head-exploding than Schumer’s, except that they were not made by the leader of the party in the Senate. Assuming that there was no such Schumer quote, I was bitten by fake news that triggered confirmation bias. I have written for years that the Democrats/”resistance”/ mainstream media alliance have denied the legitimacy of President Trump’s election, and that conclusion is objectively unavoidable. Though I was stunned to see Schumer say so out loud, it was not as if what the quote indicated was out of line with reality. The second part, about “the danger to democracy,” echoed many of the irresponsible statements made by Rep. Schiff and others during the House impeachment managers’ presentation, and similar rhetoric by pundits and other Democrats. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), for example, tweeted yesterday,
“The Senate’s abdication of responsibility to the rule of law represents a much deeper threat to our democracy, our institutions, and our republic. The GOP knows that its agenda is incompatible with democracy, so their larger project is to dismantle it.”
That statement is as inflammatory and absurd as the alleged Schumer tweet, but not as shocking because OAC is, after all, an idiot. Schumer, however, is not.
I cannot apologize sufficiently for this. My attention has been even more divided than usual this past week—that’s not an excuse, but a partial explanation—and I’ve been bouncing around two computers and two many news sources to count, and, apparently, keep proper track of. I should never post a story or commentary with out verified links to the source, and, frankly, I don’t know why I didn’t this time.
Facebook is unreliable; I know that. There were plenty of aspects of the quote that should have set off my own ethics alarms, but I let my emotions take over: the quote really infuriated me, because as I suggested by noting the Schumer was “playing with fire,” that kind of rhetoric—and there has been a lot of it— rips at the connective tissue that holds this republic together. However, publishing unverified inflammatory rhetoric is just as wrong as saying such things.
Readers here have to be able to trust me; an ethics blog without trust is like a—oh, you can make up your own metaphor, I’m too upset to be clever—and this time I failed their, your, trust by not following my own procedures, and apparently being fooled because I didn’t heed my most important rule, to avoid bias making me stupid. I apologize to everyone reading this, everyone who passed along what appears to be Ethics Alarms fake news, and everyone who might have been misled by the fact that the invalid quote was passed along. I apologize to the commenters whose reactions are vanishing with the essay: I’m so sorry. I wasted your time. I also apologize to Senator Schumer.
I am going to have to do better, and I will.
I could say that I hope I can find that the quote was accurate after all, but I don’t. I am relieved that it appears to have been fabricated. I felt, when I read it, and foolishly believed it, that this was a tipping point, and a dangerous one.
Now, before I go back to bed and dream of self-flagellation, I am going to add the portion of the banned post that I know was accurate, because it had value. Indeed, another reason I accepted the quote impulsively, I think, is that it gave me a pwoerful lead-in to content I had already written. That will teach me.
Here’s the remaining section of the now zapped post, and one more time, I am so sorry: Continue reading
On the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale, a Level 8 apology, among the worst, is described as “A forced apology for a rightful or legitimate act, in capitulation to bullying, fear, threats, desperation or other coercion.”
Lonsdale, Minnesota priest Nick VanDenBroeke provided one of the finest—well, that’s not the right word since such apologies are insincere and indications of hypocrisy and cowardice, but you know what I mean—examples of such apologies after he was excoriated for saying in a sermon on immigration,
Both as Americans and Christians we do not need to pretend that everyone who seeks entry into America should be treated the same. I believe it’s essential to consider the religion and world view of immigrants or refugees more specifically we should not allow large numbers of Muslims asylum or immigration into our country. Islam is the greatest threat in the world both to Christianity and to America – of course there are peaceful Muslims, absolutely, but the religion as a religion and as an ideology and world view it is contrary to Christ and America.
I am not saying we hate Muslims, I am absolutely not saying that, they are people created out of love by God just as each one of us is. But while we certainly don’t hate them as people we must oppose their religion and world view. And if we want to protect our great country, not only as a Christian nation but also as the land of the free then we must oppose the immigration of Muslims, that’s an example of keeping bad ideas out of the country that we have the right to do as a sovereign nation.
I’m not a hater for saying this I’m not saying something anti-Christian because the religion is anti-Christian. I’m simply a realist to acknowledge that fact, they are the greatest threat to Christianity and America and we need to recognize that fact and our laws of immigration need to reflect that.
CNN’s Don Lemon’s joking and guffawing with his panel about the rubes and yokels who support the President has been an immediate source of criticism, and not only from conservatives. The RNC also quickly made a TV ad out of it,and if I were in charge, we would see it all year. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!
For anyone who has been paying attention, and definitely who’s been reading Ethics Alarms, this is all poison frosting on the cancer cake. It has been undeniable for years that Lemon is a foolish, juvenile, arrogant, unprofessional progressive hack who has become more reckless over time, convinced as he is that he would have to sexually assault Anderson Cooper on the air before CNN would even consider firing a black, gay favorite of the woke and Trump Deranged. Continue reading
I need a little blood-stirring today, and my father’s favorite hymn always does the trick…
You know, character is my business, and my record is visible, public extensive and undeniable regarding the position that leaders, and especially U.S. Presidents, should have exemplary character—not just average character, but outstanding. It is exceedingly dangerous to our culture in the short and long term to have a leader whose ethical values are obviously lacking. I say obviously, because leadership is substantially symbolic as well as substantive: a President who has a seriously flawed character does minimal harm if he 1) knows how the govern and lead and 2) is skilled at playing a leader of exemplary character, despite sociopathic tendencies, or worse.
However, as importunate as character is, the evident lack of it is not justification for impeachment or removing a President between elections. The false, opposite claim is essentially the basis of the entire three year coup attempt by the Axis of Unethical Conduct (Democrats, the “resistance” and the news media). That is why so much of the “case for impeachment” are really ad hominem attacks on the President’s presumed motives, personality and alleged beliefs, none of which are remotely relevant to impeachment. It is the duty of educated experts not driven by bias, as well as the news media (which is now incapable of doing it’s job, which is informing rather than confusing the public) to explain that impeaching a President for having an objectionable character (according to his critics) is an incompetent, illegal and destructive act. Yet this—he’s a liar, he’s a racist, he’s an idiot, he’s a sexist, he’s corrupt, etc., etc, and so on-–is the guarantee default retort when anyone correctly points out to the Trump-Deranged that the Democrats and the resistance have no evidence of impeachable offenses at all. This is also why the polling shows so many people want the impeachment to succeed; not because they have a clue about the limitations on the the act of impeachment, but because they interpret the question as, “Don’t you wish we had a President who wasn’t such an asshole?”
Maureen Dowd, the Times whatsit columnists who is half political commentator and half-Joan Rivers, thoroughly disgraced herself yesterday by writing,
“You don’t realize how important character is in the highest office in the land until you don’t have it,” Schiff said. But the more impressive the Democrats’ case is, the more depressing the reality becomes. They want to convince themselves that character matters. But many Americans knew they were voting for a thug. They wanted a thug who would bust up Washington, and they got one.
The Democrats are relying on facts, but the Republicans are relying on Fox.
No, Maureen (are you a dolt or a brazen liar?), the Democrats are relying on facts that have nothing to do with impeachment. Character matters (although during the entire two terms of Bill Clinton the Democrats argued it didn’t), but it doesn’t matter in an impeachment trial. Acts matter in an impeachment trial. The Constitution matters. Precedent matters. Our institutions matter.
It is the mark of how incompetent and irresponsible the President’s critics are than the impeachment debate is being argued at this base level of civic and ethics ignorance.
1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias… Continue reading
I have been thinking a lot about what I would do if I were Alex Cora.
In the past, people who have had the kind of precipitous public fall from grace that Cora has had often committed suicide. That’s neither an ethical nor reasonable response for the former Boston manager, but what is an ethical and reasonable response?
If you don’t know: Alex Cora was, until recently, one of the most popular, secure and successful young managers in Major League Baseball. His present was bright—he had a contract that paid him $800,000 a year, he was one of the faces of the Boston Red Sox, a storied franchise with a fanatic following, he was seen as a role model and an an inspiring figure who represented the game, his city and his team, as well as his Puerto Rico home. His future was if anything, brighter: more money, perhaps even greater success with a talented and wealthy club, endorsement contracts, upper management, books, broadcasting…and of course, adulation, celebrity and fame.
Then, in the span of days, it was all gone. Cora was named as the mastermind of a sign-stealing cheating scandal that devastated the Houston Astros, and as the likely one responsible for another cheating scandal in Boston. He was fired as Boston’s manager, and the fans, and sports media are furious. Cora is certain to be suspended without pay for two years, and to be pronounced persona non grata in baseball for the foreseeable future. No baseball team will want to be associated with Alex Cora even after his official punishment is over.
So far, Cora has not addressed all of this in public; presumably he is awaiting the MLB report after its investigation of Boston’s sign-stealing in 2018. He has not yet apologized nor acknowledged wrong-doing. What is the most ethical way for him to proceed?
If I were hired to give Cora professional guidance about the way to proceed in the most ethical manner possible, what would it be? Cora still has to earn a living. He has to go on living too: he has a family. He has responsibilities.
Here are the 12 steps—it just turned out that way, I swear. Okay, when I got to ten and realized I was near the end, I did think, “Surely this can be jiggered to have 12 steps..”—that I would urge Alex Cora to follow: Continue reading
I’m sure there are a lot of people doing ethical things and not trying to deliberately make me embarrassed to be a member of the human race—just not on social media, and not in the news. And there is Frances Arnold.
She is an American chemical engineer and the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at Caltech. Professor Arnold was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018 for pioneering the use of directed evolution to engineer enzymes. “Directed evolution” is a method used in protein engineering that mimics the process of natural selection to steer proteins or nucleic acids toward a user-defined goal. You know..this:
She had published a paper on enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactams in May 2019 in the Science journal. When she discovered recently that her research could not be replicated, however, Arnold repudiated her own paper, and pronounced it the product of shoddy research.
“For my first work-related tweet of 2020, I am totally bummed to announce that we have retracted last year’s paper on enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactams. The work has not been reproducible,” she posted on Twitter. “It is painful to admit, but important to do so. I apologize to all. I was a bit busy when this was submitted, and did not do my job well.”
On one hand, I wonder if it is easier for a Nobel winner to admit something like this. On the other, I am certain that the more eminent a scientist is, the harder it is to reveal a serious error. No matter how one looks at it, Professor Arnold exhibited integrity, honesty, humility and courage, may have done as much for science by showing how an ethical scientist handles an error as she did with her work on directed evolution.
I would be more certain about that if I understood what the hell directed evolution was.
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