Just A Reminder: This Kind Of Stuff Is Why The Gateway Pundit Is Banned On Ethics Alarms

terrell-roberts-ashli-babbitt

I was going to put this as #5 on the “clarification” themed warm-up today, but it deserves special attention. The conservative blog’s clickbait headline is “Identity of Ashli Babbitt Killer Confirmed — Careless Capitol Police Lieutenant Is Being Protected by Democrats, Pelosi and Deep State FBI.” It’s a lie, through and through. Nothing is confirmed at all.

We get speculation on Tucker Carlson’s show [which I also will not rely upon here] from mid-June that the Babbitt family lawyer “believes” the shooter of the unarmed Capitol rioter was Lt. Mike Byrd, who earlier had been disciplined for leaving his loaded weapon in a restroom. [And Johnny Cochran believed O.J. was innocent.] Then the blog produces a transcript that indicates that Byrd was indeed the officer who left his gun. We see a transcript of testimony on the shooting in which the name of the officer involved is not mentioned. Then, today, the blog breathlessly announced that “Capitol Hill Sergeant At Arms Timothy Blodgett accidentally CONFIRMED during testimony that Lieutenant Mike Byrd killed Ashli Babbitt. He named Byrd during his testimony.” No, he didn’t. He said, “We’re in close contact. The situation where you discussed where officer Byrd was at the door when Miss Babbitt was shot. It was our sergeant at arms employee who rendered the aid to her.” That “confirms” that Blodgett believes that Byrd was at the door when Babbitt was shot. Until someone on the record says, “I saw Officer Byrd shoot her,” or “Mike Byrd told me it was he who shot Babbitt,” there is no confirmation.

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Memorial Day Ethics Warm-Up, 5/31/2021…

It will be interesting to see if the news media discusses the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 any more this May 31 than it has in the past. Discussing this horrible mass murder of blacks in Oklahoma over Memorial Day weekend has always been seen as sufficiently tasteless that the story has suffered the equivalent of a historical airbrushing. When did you first learn about it? I didn’t encounter the episode in elementary school, high school, college or law school. I was 50, and furiously researching the life of Clarence Darrow so I could churn out a one man show (that was already in rehearsal) after Leslie Nielsen pulled the rights we had paid for on the Darrow show performed on Broadway by Henry Fonda. I was looking for the context of Darrow’s epic closing argument in the Sweet case (1925), in which he referenced examples of white mob violence against blacks. That was my introduction to the tragedy. How was this possible? I was and am a voracious consumer of American history, movies, and television. Yet the facts of the Tulsa Race Massacre never entered my consciousness.

Here’s one useful resource…there are many others available online. A brief summary: After World War I, Tulsa’s African American community was notable for its affluence. The Greenwood District was known as “Black Wall Street.” But on May 30, 1921, an incident between a white woman and a black man on an elevator—nobody knows exactly what happened—was reported in the Tulsa newspapers as an attempted rape. The young African-American, Dick Rowland, had been arrested, and members of the community believed that he might be lynched. When an angry white mob gathered in front of the courthouse, a group of over 70 back men, some of them World War I veterans with weapons, confronted them. A gun went off in a struggled, and chaos descended on Greenwood. A white mob of thousands overran the Greenwood District, shooting unarmed black citizens in the streets. It burned an area of some 35 city blocks, and more than 1,200 houses, numerous businesses, a school, a hospital and a dozen churches. It is estimated that 300 people were killed in the rampage, though official counts at the time were much lower. 300 is the same death toll as the 1871 Chicago fire. I knew about that tragedy by the time I was 8.

1. IIPTDXTTNMIAFB! That’s short for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…”, introduced here. The current example: during a speech at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Langley,Virginia two days ago, President Biden began spontaneously complimenting a pre-teen girl who had joined her parents and two older brothers on the stage after her mother had introduced Biden to the crowd. Biden said, inappropriately and creepily, “ I love those barrettes in your hair, man. I tell you what, look at her. She looks like she’s 19 years old sitting there like a little lady with her legs crossed.” Republicans pounced, as the MSM cliche goes whenever Democrats are legitimately criticized. The episode was barely mentioned by the media dedicated to propping up Biden—that is, almost all of it—at all. IIPTDXTTNMIAFB…and President Trump didn’t even have a photographically preserved series of encounters like this:

Creepy-Joe-Biden-President

2. AHHHH! It’s a virus ! Get a gun!!! The headline on the front page of the NYT website yesterday read, “Pandemic Fuels Surge in U.S. Gun Sales ‘Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen.'” Incredible. People bought guns for the first time because rioting was going on all over the country, and in many places the police were doing little or nothing to stop it. Buildings were burning and being looted; citizens were being threatened. Who gets a gun to fight a pandemic? (There was never any threat of the kind of civic breakdown from the virus like that portrayed in the movie “Contagion.” Toilet paper riots?)

The degree to which the Times—the “paper of record’!—continues to distort reality to mislead the public and warp public opinion is astounding. Later in the same article, the Times said, “While gun sales have been climbing for decades — they often spike in election years and after high-profile crimes — Americans have been on an unusual, prolonged buying spree fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, the protests last summer and the fears they both stoked.”

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Representative Andrew Clyde (What An Idiot.)

6th riot

Representative Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) demonstrated once again that a critical mass of conservative Republicans just can’t stop themselves from embodying the worst stereotypes imprinted on the public by progressives and the news media.

He actually said that some videos of the January 6 riot at the Capitol looked like scenes from a “normal tourist visit.” He really said this. No, I wouldn’t lie to you, he really did. What an idiot.

It is no mitigation that Clyde stuck his entire leg up to the hip into his mouth in the course of correctly condemning the ongoing Big Lie that the embarrassing mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol were engaging in an “insurrection.” It was such a stupid thing for him to say that it disqualified Clyde as an authority, a respectable commentator, or a trustworthy public official.

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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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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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