ARRGGH!!! NAZIS!!!!!

Conspiracy design

Apparently, vaccinations are needed for Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is not going away despite the exit of Donald Trump. There’s also a significant likelihood that this is just one more manifestation of The Great Stupid, and as we all know, you can’t fix stupid. Or at least there’s no vaccination…

That’s the nifty stage at CPAC above, where conservatives are flocking right now to tell tales of the good old days of child labor, women baking pies while barefoot and pregnant, and the coloreds happily singing in the cotton fields. Or something: all Democrats are sure of is that it’s some kind of evil cult. So now a bunch of conspiracy theorists led by unemployed actress Alyssa Milano, with assistance by TMZ and Snopes, are telling social media that the design is an open admission of the fascist sympathies of the Right.

Milano tweet

ARRGGH! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! IT’S TRUE IT’S TRUE!!!

Yes, these are the same people Republicans sat back, snoozed, and allowed to out-maneuver them on voting regulations. The GOP is literally dumber than the people who believe things like this.

Observations:

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The Predictable Fate Of TIME’s Election-Rigging Scoop, And The Comment Of The Day On “You Know Why Real Conspiracies Are Always Discovered, Don’t You? It’s Because Someone Always Talks…Gee, Thanks, TIME!”

Uneven playing field

TIME Magazine’s surprising exposition of how the 2020 Presidential election was “rigged” was both a major media story and an important contribution to the public’s understanding of how their liberties are being extracted from them in stages. Unfortunately, nobody reads TIME any more—for good reason—and the mainstream media, among the conspirators indicted by TIME, had no reason to treat this any differently from the other inconvenient and counter-narrative revelations they buried or failed to report during the campaign and before. Their other tactic, as we saw repeatedly, was to discredit such news as “conservative stories,” meaning that they were contrived and the product of fanatic right-wingers. TIME’s story was a special problem, because TIME has been a dependable source of progressive spin for decades.

The solution wasn’t a problem, however. The mainstream news media just ignored TIME’s story. Problem solved! They didn’t try to rebut it—that would trigger the Streisand Effect. It was so much more helpful to the effort to marginalize Republicans, the ex-President, and conservatives to make the silly conspiracy theory-obsessed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene the center of public attention. It was perfect, really; highlight a conspiracy theory wacko to discredit a genuine conspiracy the mainstream media participated in.

Of course, Fox News covered the TIME story, but you know...Fox. The New York Times took a clever counter-measure, publishing a three part series on “Trump’s efforts to subvert the election.” Whatever online discussion of TIME’s piece there was occurred on blogs like Ethics Alarms (See the PJ Media contribution, and Ann Althouse’s contribution.)

Here is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on the post, “You Know Why Real Conspiracies Are Always Discovered, Don’t You? It’s Because Someone Always Talks…Gee, Thanks, TIME!”

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Observations On Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s House Speech In Her Own Defense

Watch the whole speech. It’s only ten minutes long. Do not rely on media characterizations of it. For example, here is the despicable CNBC web headline: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene expresses some regret about conspiracy claims ahead of vote to punish her.” Tell me if you think that’s a fair characterization of what she said.

1. It is a well-delivered, seemingly sincere, sympathetic and appealing and effective speech for anyone with any objectivity at all, designed to appeal to strong conservatives, and to send a message to progressives that she is not ashamed of her values and will not be intimidated into backing down from them

Good for her in that respect.

2. Her practical and ethical problem, however, is that she did not make this speech before the prospect of losing her committee assignments began looming. Why didn’t she say than that she was not a believer in the QAnon garbage? Why did she attack the messengers that revealed her other conspiratorial social media posts, rather than admitting what she had advocated and retracting it, with an explanation? This calls into question her honesty now. Yes, we now know she possesses at least one major asset for a politician: the ability to defend herself in a political crisis—like Bill Clinton. The ability to lie under pressure is another talent she might have.

3. I am troubled by the shadow of possible deceit in her choices of words. She never claimed the 9-11 attacks didn’t happen; she seemed to agree that it was “an inside job.” Saying now that the disaster happened is a non-sequitur..or just rhetorical carelessness. Her comments about school shootings are similarly ambiguous.

4. The fact, if true, that she has not met any of her Democratic colleagues is a terrible reflection on House leadership, and Nancy Pelosi in particular. How can that be defended? Not even a meet and greet for the entire freshman class? That’s rank incompetence.If you want a divided and dysfunctional body, that’s how you get one.

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Rep. Green Has The Right To Her Opinions And the Right To Free Speech. But There Is No Right To Make Laws If You Are An Ignorant, Undisciplined Fool, And Republicans Have A Duty To Treat Her Accordingly

greene

House Democrats moved yesterday to strip GOP Georgia rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments if Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy refuses to do so. Mark this moment: House Democrats are right, and their demand is responsible. Greene is on the House education and budget committees, and she has amply demonstrated that she does not possess the judgment to serve om a PTA rummage sale committee.

If House Democrats being reasonable blows your mind, imagine: Mitch McConnell is also making sense. Calling Greene a “cancer for the Republican Party,” the GOP Senate leader said,

“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality.This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”

Gee, I hadn’t heard about the “Clintons killed John-John” plot! But the Greene theory that came out this week is even better. Eric Hananoki is an investigative reporter at “Media Matters,” which means he’s a partisan hack, but in this case he has found juicy evidence. In a November 17, 2018 Facebook post, since removed, Greene expressed support for the so-called Campfire Conspiracy, which holds that the deadly California wildfires were deliberately set by a cabal seeking to clear land for the high-speed railway, led by PG&E. Here is the whole post that Hananoki unearthed:

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)

Pentagon attack

It’s good that Georgia elected Rep. Greene to Congress. The GOP needed some more wackos to balance Rep. Octavio-Cortez and her friends.

Greene, you will recall, is the one who has already filed impeachment charges against President Biden, which is ridiculous. She’s also apparently a believer of the QAnon conspiracy theories, which puts her about on par intellectually with Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson, who believes that Guam is in danger of tipping over. Slimy progressive smear factory Media Matters for America uncovered old Facebook posts from Greene apparently endorsing the theory that the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings were “false flags,” which doesn’t even make sense. If the kids were shot, they were shot. It doesn’t matter why they were shot, even if they were murdered by gun control activists….a conspiracy theory that nobody sane would allow to sit in their head for more than a second lest it cause their brains to melt out of their ears.

Greene’s response to the Media Matters hit job was as incompetent as some of her conspiracy theories.“Communists bloggers like @mmfa run the same playbook of lies and smears on people they feel threatened by,” Greene wrote. “Produce fake news, spread it all around, then tag all fake news stories about their victim in all future stories. Guess what? Nobody cares about your BS.”

How about explaining the Facebook posts, Congresswoman (she took them down instead)? This is just attacking the messenger.

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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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Ethics Dispatches From The Sick Ward, 5/26/2020: Arg! Yechh!

Ugh.

I was supposed to be all better yesterday, and instead I took  a step back.

Sorry.

That photo above is from the last scene in “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” after all of the comedians and Spencer Tracy have ended up in the hospital with horrible injuries following  their self-created disaster on an out-of-control fire truck ladder at the supposedly hilarious climax of the Sixties epic chase comedy. The film-makers were very creative in their uses of bandages, casts and traction, but even as a kid, I was struck by how it just isn’t possible to make injuries seem very funny.

1. Since everyone is watching as much TV now as I usually watch routinely, I’ll mention this: have you noticed that several commercials show parents playing pirates with their kids? Did you ever play pirates with your parents? Have you ever seen anyone play at being pirates?

The reason this is being forced on the culture as a thing is that political correctness has robbed kids of almost all fantasy outlets, so someone decided that pirates were safe and inoffensive–especially since Disney had to remove the rapey stuff from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” rides. (Pirates are actually murderous thieves, today as always; what a weird safe haven to choose!)

In “Parasite,” Oscar’s Best Picture last year, the little South Korean son of the wealthy family was obsessed with playing “Indians,” complete with feathered headdress and arrows. I wonder if this feature would have disqualified an American film for cultural insensitivity. American kids can’t be cowboys anymore, since they were genocidal; soldiers are taboo, as are cops and robbers; even space invaders are verboten, since they involve guns. As my friends and I discovered long ago, you can try to play superheroes but they don’t leave you much to work with. Sword and sorcery games, like acting out fairy tales, trip on too many anti-feminist stereotypes.

I wonder what the next generation will turn out to be like, absent any symbolic fantasy villains and conflict to instruct their play. Pirates are not the answer, and again, I doubt any kids are playing pirates like the imaginary families in Bounty commercials. The iconic pirate novel “Treasure Island,” once a standard assignment in grade school, has been purged from the canon—too male, or something.  (It’s still a terrific book.) The other classic with pirates is “Peter Pan,” and that one is in the process of being scrubbed and gender-twisted beyond recognition. There still are Johnny Depp’s weird pirate movies, I guess, though his drunken, bumbling pirate slob anti-hero seems unlikely to inspire normal kids into flights of fantasy.

Our culture just is not in competent hands, and what the end result will be, nobody knows.

2. I’m not sure if this is unethical, exactly, but something’s definitely wrong… Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/19: Planes, Tribe and McCain

Good morning!

I’m pretty groggy after one intense early morning seminar, five delayed flights,  the long trip home from San Diego, and a midnight arrival back in Virginia, but my ethics alarms seem to be functioning…

1. Today’s air travel ethics saga: I travel as light as possible for trips of two nights or fewer, carrying only my stuffed soft briefcase and a garment bag the is almost empty. I will not become part of the selfish flying hoards who lug ridiculous roller-boards onto the plane, slowing the loading process and hogging the limited storage space. (The airlines should charge passengers for bringing the luggage on board, not for checking it. Morons.) The barely filled garment bag (I wear my suit on the plane) always fits somewhere,  and even when they announce that all bags must be checked at the gate because there is no more space in the bins, I have always been allowed to bring my bag on board…until last night. Two rude and officious American gate monitors ordered me to surrender my bag or, they threatened, be forced to take a later flight. (“Hmmm..what does “later flight” mean to American since this flight is late taking off and the other four flights I’ve been booked on this trip were also late?” I queried. They just didn’t listen to what I was saying, and kept reciting the policy that I had to store one bag overhead and another under my seat.

I have always believed that you can’t take bureaucratic bullying passively, so I asked if there was a supervisor I could talk to. There was: a harried middle-aged guy with a bad toupe. He did listen, as I explained that I knew my own travel supplies, and that unless every compartment was filled with cement, I could easily find a place for my bag, because in nearly a hundred flights, I always have. Furthermore, I pointed out that it was unfair to treat me , one of the few passengers who carries minimal baggage as a matter of consideration and ethics, this way when other passengers were abusing the privilege of carry-on luggage. The guy said that he agreed with me, but since he hadn’t seen my confiscated bag, he couldn’t assess whether I was right or his subordinate Gate Nazis were. Having made my stand, I thanked him, and made my way down the jetway. Continue reading

Mid-day Ethics Warm-Up, 11/28/18: Thanks, Twitter, A Properly Derisive Label Needed, And More Mainstream Media Bias That Is All In My Mind

Having a nice day?

1. A tardy recognition of things to be thankful for. Several of the regular readers here, notably Other Bill, valkygirrl, Pennagain, Michael West, Neil Dorr and Zoltar, but also others, have been flagging ethics stories for possible Ethics Alarms coverage. This has been especially helpful during my recent bronchitis battle, but I can always use tips, especially since my amazingly productive ethics scout of many years, Fred, had to take his talents elsewhere. The best way to send me your links and recommendation is at jamproethics@verizon.net.

2. This explains a lot. Pollster Frank Luntz says that 67% of Democrats believe it is “definitely true” or “probably true” that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected.” There is no evidence, none, that Russia tampered with vote tallies. There isn’t even evidence that Russian-planted “fake news” in social media and other meddling had any measurable effect on the election. Never mind: two-thirds of Democrats are convinced that Hillary Clinton couldn’t possibly have lost to a creep/Nazi/ lunatic/ moron/racist  like  Donald Trump without sinister forces making it so.

This delusion does explain a lot. As a foundation for false beliefs, it is strong impetus to confirmation bias, which Democratic officials and the news media have aggressively and cynically—and successfully—courted. I thought Republicans should hide their heads in bags after polls showed that about 40% of them as recently as 2016 believe that Barack Obama probably wasn’t born in the U.S. Two-thirds of Democrats believing Russians hijacked the election is, if possible, worse. Of course, Republicans didn’t force an endless investigation over Obama’s qualifications to be elected President, so that’s in their favor.

We do need a name for the Left’s conspiracy theorists regarding the 2016 election, though, since the group appears to comprise the majority of Democrats. “Truthers”…”Birthers”…and?

Submissions welcome. Here’s the poll data (more here): Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/5/2018: Doppelgangers And Other Weirdness

Oh-oh! It’s a creepy morning…

1. If “there are no coincidences,” then what the hell does THIS mean? The ethics category, if there is one, would be “Nature Incompetence,” or perhaps “deity abuse of power.” Look at minor league baseball pitcher Brady Feigl:

Oh! I’m sorry! I meant “Look at these TWO minor league baseball pitchers who are both named Brady Feigl.” One is in the Texas Rangers system, and the other is in the Oakland A’s system.

A similar example of God fooling around for his own amusement and our confusion had historical significance.

This man is Will West, a convicted criminal who was sent to Leavenworth Prison in 1903…

 

…and this is William West, who was already being held there:

The fact that the two men were so facially similar helped convince American law enforcement to begin using fingerprints rather than facial measurements for identification.

2. Over-blown conservative news media controversy of the week: In “First Man,” Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong. For some reason, director Damien Chazelle decided to omit the iconic moment when Armstrong planted the American flag on the Moon. The Horror. Fox News can’t stop talking about it. President Trump has declared that he’ll boycott the film. Morons. Continue reading