Getting The Week Off To An Ethical Start, 3/15/2021! LBJ’s Doubts, Fake News, And second Acts

Today in ethics history, on March 15, 1964, President Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of a voting rights bill. Johnson declared that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote, a right supposedly guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment, passed after the Civil War but foiled by many states that erected barriers based on race such as literacy and character tests and outright intimidation. “Their cause must be our cause too,”Johnson said, referring to Africa-Americans. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

It is a propitious time to consider LBJ, because a newly published book has revealed that his wife Lady Bird had to talk him out of quitting not long after his voting rights bill had become reality.

Johnson dictated his ideas for a withdrawal statement to his friend, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas while in the depths of depression. “I want to go to the ranch. I don’t want even Hubert to be able to call me,” he told his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. “They may demand that I resign. They may even want to impeach me.” The First Lady ultimately talked her husband him through that period, allowing him to complete the final three years of his term. She wrote about the episode in her diary, she ordered the entry kept secret for years after her death.

I was not aware that Johnson was prone to clinical depression. Now I’m curious about how many of our other Presidents were. I was aware of three before Johnson—Pierce, Lincoln and Teddy. I’m sure there are more. Leaders, however, must not reveal their doubts and failures of confidence.

1. I believe this is called “putting the cart before the horse...” From the Boston Globe:

US officials have arrested and charged two men with assaulting US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 attack, but they do not know yet whether it caused the officer’s death.

Ah, how they want to be able to say that the rioters in the “armed insurrection” in which nobody had a gun (and that wasn’t an insurrection) killed Brian Sicknick. This mission has taken on extra urgency since the mainstream news media keeps saying, even now, that Sicknick was “killed” in the riot or by rioters. Yet as the Globe admits, as of today, this claim remains a lie, or if you prefer, fake news.

My experience is that reminding Facebook friends of this fact drives them bonkers.

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Fairness To Senator Ron Johnson: He’s Not A Racist, He’s Just An Irresponsible Idiot.

Johnson2

Here’s a rule of thumb: if you are a national politician and are moved to say, “This is going to get me in trouble,” don’t say “this” unless it is so brilliant that your message will eventually enshrine you in the Yale Book of Quotations…and maybe not even then.

In an interview Thursday with syndicated radio host Joe Pagliarulo, Wisconsin’s GOP Senator Ron Johnson said regarding the January 6 rioters who invaded the Capitol,

“I knew those were people who love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.Now, had the tables been turned, and Joe — this is going to get me in trouble — had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa, I might have been a little concerned.”

Now people are calling Johnson a racist, because he didn’t fear a white mob, but would have feared a black one.

Wow, what a stupid thing to say:

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I Hearby Forgive Prof. Jonathan Turley For My Having To Toss My Completed “What An Idiot!” Post On Rep. Swalwell…

Village idiot

…because Turley did such a superb job showing how ridiculous Swalwell’s lawsuit is. I couldn’t possibly compete.

I saw the note about Swalwell filing a a 64-page complaint against Donald Trump ( and Donald Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks) alleging nine counts in tort ranging from negligent emotional distress (suffered by Swalwell) to negligence, in an “incitement to riot.” That news sparked three thoughts: 1) “What an idiot!” 2) “Who was the hack lawyer who agreed to file such a suit?,” and finally, 3) “This will be a fun post to write!” And it was, except that while I was formatting, editing and arranging tags, commenter Steve Witherspoon dropped me an email that said in part, “Did you read Turley’s blog post about Eric Swalwell posted a couple of hours ago? WOW!!!”

I hadn’t, I did, and “Wow!” indeed. It’s a tour de force.

The take-no-prisoners defenestration of Swalwell is unusually merciless for Turley, who begins,

“French philosopher Voltaire said he had only one prayer in life — “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous” — and that it was uniformly granted by God. The answer to Donald Trump’s prayers may be Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)”

Do read the post. And as you do, remember that the idiot Turley is writing about was hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi to be one of the House Managers in the second Trump impeachment trial. The University of Maryland School of Law must be measuring the heads of its board, administrators, alumni and faculty for paper bags to wear, because that school gave Swalwell a law degree.

Sunset Ethics Round-Up, 2/2/2021: The Narrative That Refuses To Die, The Weenie Who Whines From A Safe Distance, And Other Tales

setting sun

Pop quiz! What’s the significance of the photo above?

It’s official: last month, February 2021 was the worst in Ethics Alarms traffic in five years, and last week was the worst non-holiday week in longer than that. I am at a loss to explain it, and I am going to stop obsessing about it. The comments are among the best and most erudite on the web, and I am confident that the quality and variety of content remains as high as ever.

1. Never give up that narrative! Over the weekend the Times had a puzzling news article telling us that the FBI had “zeroed in” on a suspect in the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who was falsely and repeatedly cited by mainstream media sources and the Trump prosecution in the impeachment trial as being “killed” in the riot or by rioters. The great discovery was that of a video showing someone in the crowd spraying pepper spray or bear spray on officers during the melee. However, as the article itself states, neither irritant is known to be fatal, and both the officers and the crazies were using it that day. Sicknick died of a stroke after the riot, and no link between his death and what occurred while he was trying to control the crowd has been established.

The usual course is to first establish that there has been a homicide, then to look for suspects. “Let’s see if we can pin this on someone” is not considered ethical. I predict that no one will be prosecuted for Sicknick’s death—not ethically, anyway.

2. Speaking of predictions: In yesterday’s post about Governor Cuomo’s apology, I wrote,

[T]he acid test for sexual harassment (and worse) is whether there are additional victims who come forward after the first one breaks the silence. Cuomo is now up to two. It’s a safe bet there are more.

Yesterday a third accuser came forward. Three usually is the tipping point at which even the most protective mainstream media hacks will finally turn on a Democrat. For example, I doubt that Justin Fairfax, the Lt Governor of Virginia, would have survived three rape accusers, but he’s a black Democrat, so the formula is a bit different. The Babylon Bee has it exactly right. Meanwhile, Jim Treacher writes,

Late night liberal “comedians” are finally jumping on the bandwagon to criticize formerly beloved New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. Taking the media’s lead, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert suddenly found the scandal-embroiled Democrat was an easy target, after several women came forward alleging sexual harassment from the governor.

On his Monday night show, Colbert spent roughly three minutes mocking Cuomo as an “old man” pervert for his alleged creepy comments and behavior towards young women. This after, he spent 2020 grossly promoting the Democrat’s leadership and sex appeal.

These are awful people. They were prepared to ignore the thousands of nursing home deaths Cuomo caused and covered up while praising him as a brilliant pandemic leader (unlike President Trump.) Indulging in the kind of sexual harassment and assault that Joe Biden engaged in regularly while cameras were shooting is too much to bear, however. Now Cuomo is a monster.

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Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/1/2021: Soccer, Evasion, A Drunk Driver And A Rewind

That clip has nothing to do with ethics, but it makes me laugh every time I see it, and then makes me angry because John Belushi threw his life away.

1. Not that I need more reasons to avoid watching soccer, but the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Council formally voted to repeal a policy that required players to stand for the National Anthem. That’s right: athletes representing the United States of America are now permitted to show disrespect for the nation they are representing while appearing in foreign countries, in which such useless grandstanding as taking a knee during the Anthem are meaningless and confusing to non-American audiences. At the Zoom meeting in which the vote was taken, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone embraced Rationalization #64 (“It isn’t what it is”) by caliming that the policy repeal wasn’t in any way intended to disrespect the flag or the military. “This is about the athletes’ and our staff’s right to peacefully protest racial inequalities and police brutality,” she said. “So I urge our membership to please support our staff and our athletes on this policy.”

She’s an ignorant fool, or she’s lying. The team has no “right” to protest on the playing field, before or during games, while representing the United States. This is just more cowardly woke capitulation. Anyone who says they are protesting racial inequalities and police brutality should be asked to specify 1) exactly what inequality they are protesting, 2) what instance of police brutality, and 3) how their grandstanding accomplishes anything that substantively addresses the issues.

2. Regarding Donald Trump’s speech at CPAC…I don’t want to have to write all this stuff all over again. If Trump tries to make another run for the Republican nomination, or, worse, launch a third party bid, he will be causing incalculable damage to the nation purely to satisfy his own ego. Go back to the posts here when he announced his short-lived candidacy in 2012. This is one reason I am hoping he takes the route of running for a House seat to exact his revenge. He’ll do less damage there, and Andrew Johnson will have some company in the history books for returning to Congress after being impeached.

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From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Files: This Is Now What The New York Times Calls “Objective Reporting”

Capitol riot

Yesterday, the Times front page featured an article headlined “Former Security Chiefs Trade Blame For Lapses In Guarding The Capitol.” It was more evidence that the Times, supposedly the role model for American journalism, allows biased innuendo, veiled editorializing and deliberate misinformation to corrupt what it is supposed to be reporting.

Here are some examples:

  • “It also showed that the overlapping jurisdictions of the Capitol Police, the District of Columbia government and other agencies created utter confusion that hindered attempts to stop the most violent assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812.”

That’s a deliberately false and inflammatory comparison. The Capitol was burned in 1812, and it was a war. The attackers were also an invading foreign force. It is also bad history. On July 2, 1915, a former German professor at Harvard, Erich Muenter, planted a package containing three sticks of dynamite in the Capitol near the Senate Reception room. The explosive detonated around midnight and during a time when the Senate had been on recess. I’d say the explosion of a bomb qualifies as a “more violent” assault on the Capitol, but if you disagree, how about March 1, 1954, when four Puerto Rican-Americans fired guns in the House of Representatives, injuring five congressmen?  Or is that not “an attack on the Capitol”?

The Times line was either quickly added to Wikipedia’s entry on the January 6 event, or the Times reporters cribbed the comparison from Wikipedia. This is how bad reporting becomes “fact.”

  • Here’s an example of how the Times lets others do their propaganda for them:

“None of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred,” the former Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund told senators. He called the riot “the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that I have seen” and said he witnessed insurrectionists assaulting officers not only with their fists, but also with pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades and flagpoles. These criminals came prepared for war,” Mr. Sund said.

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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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Evening Ethics Night-Cap, 1/18/2021: What A Terrible Bunch Of People!

nightcap

1. Wow. Now that’s a sex scandal even in France! Olivier Duhamel, a prominent French political scientist, radio show host and television commentator has quit his media and university posts after being accused of committing incest with his teenage stepson more than 30 years ago. His resignations included the Sciences Po university, where Duhamel, now 70, headed the body overseeing the renowned Paris institution. A book called “La Familia Grande,” just published and written by one of his stepchildren, revealed that Duhamel abused her twin brother beginning when he was 14. The brother told the news media, “I confirm that what my sister has written about the actions of Olivier Duhamel toward me is correct.”

Addressing her step-father directly in the book, Camille Kouchner wrote: “I am going to explain to you who sound off on the radio, you who offer the gift of your analysis to students, and strut about on TV stages. I am going to explain that you could, at least, have said sorry.”

Now there is a #MeToo-style incest movement in France, #Metooinceste, with over 20,000 tweets so far posted on accounts of people who say they had been sexually abused as children by adult family members.

2. This would be pretty embarrassing, if only the news media had the integrity to point it out. DC AG Karl Racine pronounced himself outraged that anyone would compare the Black Lives Matter riots to the Capitol riot. Last week, Racine called comparisons (accompanied by accusations of double standards and hypocrisy), “shocking and outrageous.”

Right. The BLM riots resulted in at least 8 dead, hundreds of wounded officers, and over $2 billion in damages. The D.C. installment of the riots attacked the White House and injured 150 officers. 60 members of the Secret Service’s Uniformed Division were injured holding off the mob while President Trump and his family were taken to a bunker. 65 Park Police officers were wounded and 11 had to be hospitalized, as compared to the January 6 toll of 60 Capitol Police and 58 D.C. cops injured.

One difference is that Democrats and the media accused police of violently assaulting “peaceful protesters” instead of condemning the BLM mob whose members threw bricks, bottles, fireworks, and bodily fluids at law enforcement officers. The BLM rioters set the White House gatehouse and the Church of the Presidents on fire. D.C. Democrats responded by demanding law enforcement leave and naming a plaza “Black Lives Matter.”

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