Further Observations On The Pro-Trump Rioting At The Capitol

Capitol riots

I wasn’t able to track everything that was going on yesterday, at the Capitol, in the media, and in cyberspace. I confess: I didn’t even try to listen to the news networks. I know their biases, assumed, correctly, that the rioting would just give the news media perceived license to unleash all of the hate for President Trump they might have left unexpressed over their four years of resistance. I don’t respect these people, I don’t trust them, and I don’t care what they think or say. They are at least as responsible for the violence as the President; I would argue that they are more responsible.

Here are some ethics observations on matters that came to my attention since the post on this topic last night:

1. I’ll repeat this one:

First and foremost, anyone who did not condemn all of the George Floyd/Jacob Blake/Breonna Taylor/ Black Lives Matters rioting that took place this summer and fall is ethically estopped from criticizing this episode.

That covers almost all of the mainstream media, Joe Biden, “The Squad.” and many others. Now that I have checked, virtually all of the conservative media and its pundits have unequivocally condemned those who invaded the Capitol yesterday as they should.

2. The President’s statements about the rioting following the one I quoted were irresponsible, but about what I would have expected. Conservative writer Tyler O’Neil, who, like me, has chronicled the wretched way Trump has been treated by the AUC since his election, wrote (in part), in an admirable post titled, “Trump Needs to Forcefully Condemn the Rioters, Not Coddle Them”:

Never in my life did I expect to see the president of the United States refuse to unequivocally condemn a mob that broke into the U.S. Capitol. There is no place for political violence in America, and the president needs to be the first person to always insist upon that. Tragically, President Donald Trump not only failed to denounce the mob but even praised some of them, essentially coddling rioters….

Trump’s comments remind me of the way Joe Biden responded to the Black Lives Matter and antifa riots over the summer. Biden asked protesters to remain peaceful, but he also repeatedly praised the protests that devolved into riots and condemned America’s “systemic racism,” repeating the arguments that inflamed the riots in the first place. Biden refused to full-throatedly condemn the noxious ideology behind the riots. Like Biden, Trump has called for peace even while suggesting that this political violence followed from a legitimate grievance. Yet even at his worst moments, Biden did not say “we love you” to antifa and he did not insist that riots were the natural response to systemic racism.

He continued,

The 2020 election was not a pristine exercise of democracy, as many legacy media outlets have claimed, but it wasn’t a “steal,” either. As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) pointed out, it is unlikely that the very serious irregularities and mistakes in the 2020 election were responsible for Biden’s win. Trump’s legal team had many chances to present evidence in court, and when push came to shove, they caved.

It is important for Americans to demand election reform after 2020, but it is also essential for them to accept that Biden won…President Trump decided he would fight the loss, which is his right. Yet the president did not just call for recounts or raise specific problems — he repeatedly claimed that he won by a “landslide.” He also cited the 74 million Americans who voted for him as an achievement. That 74 million number is indeed an achievement — but if the president says the election results are in doubt, he should not brag about the election results. Tragically, Trump’s supporters were primed to listen to him, rather than the legacy media and other sources, because the legacy media has proven itself heinously biased against Trump, again and again. … a Media Research Center poll found that many Americans who voted for Joe Biden said they would not have done so if they had heard about one of eight key election-related news stories that the legacy media suppressed (like allegations of Joe Biden’s personal connection to Hunter Biden’s corruption). If these Americans had not voted for Biden, Trump would have won the election.

Trump did not win, however, and his rhetoric after the election has been dangerous. The president never encouraged his supporters to storm the Capitol, but he did support various schemes to overturn the election results, including crackpot theories about the vice president’s ability to reject Electoral College votes from certain states. (Mike Pence wisely refused to take this course.)

When Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump had a moral duty to vocally condemn their lawless attack. This situation also gave him an opportunity to demonstrate that he supported law and order more than Joe Biden had over the summer.

Instead, Trump arguably proved himself worse than Biden. The president coddled violent elements among his supporters, even when they broke into the People’s House. This was despicable. Trump’s comments were beyond the pale.

The president needs to reverse course. He should follow the lead of Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who called for the mob to face “prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law.” He should not equivocate or suggest that it was natural for some of his supporters to break into the Capitol. He certainly should not praise them or declare his “love” for them.

Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Pro-Trump Rioting At The Capitol

DC riots

1. First and foremost, anyone who did not condemn all of the George Floyd/Jacob Blake/Breonna Taylor/ Black Lives Matters rioting that took place this summer and fall is ethically estopped from criticizing this episode.

That means I can, and will, condemn it as stupid, useless, self-destructive and anti-democratic violence, but most Democrats, progressives and media pundits cannot.

2. Representative quote of the day: “Stop this bullshit right now…This should be condemned. I’m saddened and disappointed by what I’ve seen.”—Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R).

3. From the President: “You have to go home now. We have to have peace. I know how you feel, but go home in peace.”

4. The President did not “incite” this riot, but those who have essentially blamed him for everything imaginable for four years of course are saying this now. I seldom quote Glenn Reynolds, who is quite a bit too doctrinaire Right for me, but I will this time, because he’s right:

“With 40% of the country thinking the election was stolen, this was to be expected — especially after the unified voice of the media saying for years that if you feel disenfranchised it’s okay to riot. Our ruling class, and particularly our media, have been playing with fire for years and I hope that this will be enough to shock them into more sensible behavior. But so far they’ve not lived up to my hopes.”

With the nation facing what was going to be an unusually bitter election, Democrats deliberately pushed through a mail-in ballot scheme guaranteed to make a Biden victory, if it occurred, suspicious, and the news media exceeded even past extremes in refusing to give both candidates fair coverage. This placed the President and Republicans in the position of meekly accepting a corrupt fete accompli or risk inflaming anger that could easily burst into violence by challenging it legally and rhetorically. On Ethic Alarms, I have advocated the former approach, unsatisfactory as it is and contrary to my nature, for exactly the reasons made clear today.

5. More than anything else, the rioting was stupid, stupid, stupid. It didn’t even have the beneficial effects (for the activists) of the Black Lives Matter riots. This fiasco undercut the also ill-conceived GOP protest in Congress of the election results. Of course it did.

6. The Democrats who are calling for impeachment or a 25th Amendment removal of the President based on this just show how obsessed and unmoored to reason and reality so many Democrats are. But look at the list: Ted Lieu, Gwen Moore, Ayanna Pressley, Ed Markey, Illhan Omar… these officials spewed hate at the President and his supporters for four years, and when the violence finally erupted, they are shocked and outraged.

7. And let me give a special call out to the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, a nearly unparalleled ass, who declared a curfew in Northern Virginia just to make the D.C. disruptions seem more ominous than they were.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/18/2019: “The Pussy-Grabber Plays,” And More

1. The Comment Of The Day That Wasn’t. An aspiring troll calling himself “Alan P Siegfried, PharmD” attempted to post a debut comment on “Prophesy Confirmed: SNL And Our Nation Of Assholes,” which concerned Saturday Night Live mocking the war wounds of then candidate, now Congressman Dan Crenshaw as part of a campaign of ad hominem attacks on Republican. I considered making the post a Comment of the Day, as I have in the past with especially amusing rants, but it’s not that funny. I am going to reproduce it here, though, first, to provide another example of the kind of approach that the Comment Policies explicitly warn against. You don’t get leave to comment here by insulting me or condescending to your host, much as I am in thrall to the wisdom of pharmacists. I don’t know how someone can think that it is ethical to enter a house and immediately to start vomiting on the furniture, but commenters who do think that aren’t going to be tolerated. I also thought the attempted comment would be instructive on the question of why the current imbalance between commenters on the Left and Right here or late. Recent progressives have been arriving sneering and spitting; new moderate and conservative oriented readers have been acceptably civil. Why is that, I wonder? Here is the post, and my comments follow intermittently:

How many adults did you see ‘roll with laughter?’

This is called “a bad start.” I wrote that the mockery of Crenshaw by snickering Pete Davidson had the SNL barking progressive seals roaring with laughter, which it did. The first line also was signature significance, apparently suggesting that the vicious disrespect of a wounded veteran was mitigated if the laughter was muted. “Ah!” I say, when a comment begins like this. “An idiot!”

Or is that conjecture from a big city gal who dine went and lost touch with reality??

Wait—I’m a “big city gal”? I don’t even identify as one. Continue reading

Armistice Day Ethics Warm-Up, 11/11/18: Pettiness, Tit-For-Tat, And Fake All-Stars

Good Morning!

Why Nora Bayes? Let me tell you a story…

I learned about Nora Bayes (1880-1928) while mounting a production of a “lost” musical, George S. Kauffman’s Hollywood satire “Hollywood Pinafore,” which was essentially a parody of Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic, “H.M.S. Pinafore.” Nora was mentioned in a laugh line in the script, so the 1941 show assumed that the audience knew who she was. I had never heard of her, so I did some research. She was a fascinating character, and a huge vaudeville and Broadway singing and comedy star, household name huge. “Over There” was one of her biggest hits; another was “Shine on Harvest Moon,” which she wrote with her second husband (she ultimately had five), Jack Norwith. He also wrote “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” another Bayes standard. According to one online biography, Bayes Bayes “provided some flamboyant, indeed extreme, examples of the broad social changes happening in the United States in the early twentieth century, namely the questioning of traditional roles for women as well as the challenges to male political and economic power that marked the women’s movement of the time.”

I almost wrote about her in April. As regular readers here know, I believe it is the our duty to honor the memories, accomplishments and cultural influence of past figures in American history, because the more we remember, the more we learn, and the wiser and more ethical we are. Somehow Nora Bayes, famous as she one was, had been in an unmarked grave for 90 years.  On April 21, a group of Nora Bayes enthusiasts placed a granite headstone over her plot. The New York Times told the strange tale here.

Now I think of Nora Bayes every time I hear “Over There,” “Shine on Harvest Moon,” and “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” Maybe you will too.

1. Truth in labeling. Major League Baseball has sent a team to Japan to play a series of exhibition games against a Japanese All-Star team, reviving a long-time tradition that had been suspended for several years. As you may know, the U.S. was critical in introducing baseball to Japan, and sent several major stars there to help get the sport established. Playing in Japan is mostly a lark for the American players, but the games are taken very seriously by the Japanese. In the first two games, the MLB All-Stars have lost, greatly pleasing the locals.

I don’t begrudge the Japanese fans their David and Goliath fantasies, but calling the U.S. team “All-Stars” is misrepresentation. For example, one of the pitchers who got clobbered in the last game, a 9-6  contest that began with the Japanese team jumping out to a 9-0 lead, was a Red Sox pitcher named Brian Johnson. I like Johnson, a crafty swing-man who had some good moments last season, but he’s a lifetime 6-6 pitcher who was left off the Red Sox post-season roster, and will have to battle to stay in the majors next season. I know you can’t sell tickets if the U.S. team is called the “All the players we could talk into coming to Japan Team,” but that’s what it is.

2. Tit for Tat  may be funny, but it’s not ethical. Representative Dan Crenshaw, the veteran who was mocked last week on Saturday Night Live for his disfiguring war wound, appeared on the show last night to mock the appearance of his tormenter, Pete Davidson. Crenshaw was unusually poised for a pol on a comedy show, and the bit successfully got Davidson and SNL, which had been widely criticized for its nasty routine, off the hook. Clever. Successful. Funny. Still wrong, however. This represents an endorsement of Donald Trump ethics, as well as the endlessly repeated rationalization for the non-stop ad hominem attacks the President has inflicted on him daily by the news media and others. The President famously—infamously around here—has always said that if you attack him, he’ll attack you back harder. His haters argue, in turn, that their tactics are justified by his. This is how the culture got in the escalating spiral to Hell it is in. I don’t blame Crenshaw: if he hadn’t accepted the invitation to get funny revenge on Davidson, he would have looks like a petty jerk. Nonetheless, he has now officially become part of the problem, not just a victim of it.

3. Stop making me defend President Trump Dept.  You see, I am kicked around on Facebook for not just falling meekly into line and declaring that everything Donald Trump does is an outrage and proof that he should be impeached. I tell you, it’s tempting. The mass bullying campaign to herd everyone into the undemocratic effort to overthrow an elected President using relentless criticism and flagrant double standards has been effective in stifling others, and it also serves as a kind of mass cultural hypnosis. I don’t like defending Trump. He is doing serious damage to his office, as are his unhinged foes, who are apparently willing to destroy the nation, democracy, and the Constitution to “save” it from him. But I will not be intimidated out of pointing out the revolting pettiness, hypocrisy and unfairness of his critics. Two examples surfaced yesterday. Continue reading

Prophesy Confirmed: SNL And Our Nation Of Assholes

The most unforgivable part of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” mockery of Congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw was ridiculing a decorated veteran because of the disfigurement he recieved serving his country, though that was bad enough. It was his dismissive reference to the fact that he lost his eye in “war or whatever.” Yeah, my father had his foot blown up in “war or whatever.” Whatever.

My prophesy that electing Donald Trump President would rapidly convert the United States into a “Nation of Assholes ” was accurate, and here’s the proof. In any civilized community since our nation—indeed, any nation, began, a six-year-old who mocked a veteran for his wounds would be punished and every adult who witnessed such ignorant disrespect, even from a child, would be embarrassed to see it.  Now, however, that same infantile, disrespectful insult is featured on national television, as alleged adults roar  with laughter.

Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter on the way to the White House. He denigrated prisoners of war like John McCain, and recently called Stormy Daniels “horseface.” Of course, the civilized and respectable approach to discouraging such rude and vulgar behavior is to condemn it, and shun its practitioners. The Left and the resistance are now emulating it. They have used mockery of the President’s physical appearance for years, the purest and most inexcusable form of ad hominem attack. Now they are widening the target area, so a veteran who lost an eye in battle is considered fair game. (As an aside, how does someone  like Davidson have the gall to mock anyone’s appearance? The guy looks like a ventriloquist dummy come to life….)

But the same people who deride the President’s boorishness, viciousness and lack of ethics alarms are not justified in adopting his bad habits, and corrupting the culture. When they act like President Trump, they are subject to the same standards. Davidson’s ugly routine wasn’t a joke. This was “We all hate conservatives and Republicans, so isn’t it funny to mock how they look!” Sure it’s funny, if you’re ten. Continue reading