Sunday Ethics Cheer-Up, 10/25/2020: A Gaffe, A Cake, A Charge, And A Check

Well, I’m trying to cheer up, anyway. It’s raining, I’m behind in several projects, including several posts, I’ve been exhausted without good cause this weekend, and I’m depressed. I even broke out my anti-depression play list (21 pieces in all), with artists noted:

  • “One Fine Day” by the Chiffons
  • “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” by Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Doodles Weaver, soloist.
  • “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” and “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall)
  • “Only You” by the Platters
  • “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  • The First Act Finale of “Iolanthe” and the Overture to “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan
  • “I’m a Fool,” by Elvis.
  • “Neverland,” sung by Mary Martin.
  • “The Star Spangled Banner” by Whitney Houston
  • “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “When I Saw Her Standing There” by the Beatles.
  • “Where the Boys Are” by Connie Francis
  • “La Mer”by Charles Trenet
  • “The Carousel Waltz” by Richard Rodgers.
  • “Runaround Sue” by Dion
  • “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys
  • “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.
  • “A Christmas Festival” by the Boston Pops

If that group doesn’t restore my spirits, it’s time to head for the bridge.

1. I know Ethics Alarms has assigned Joe Biden’s now routine gaffes and misstatements to the Julie Principle category, but you have to admit, “We have the most extensive voter fraud organization in history” is special.

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“Abducted In Plain Sight”: Maybe People Really Are Too Stupid To Be Trusted With Democracy

Abducted

If that title sounds harsh, by all means watch the Netflix true crime documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” Otherwise, I’m not sure the ordeal is worth it, since it may throw you into a depression from which you never recover. That’s where I am now.

With the nation facing what might be—“I do believe in people, I do believe in people,” he says in his best Cowardly Lion imitation—an existential election, I really did not need any more reason to despair of the life competency deficit and declining mental state of the nation’s voters. In fact, I decided to watch “Abducted in Plain Sight” to take my mind off of The Big Stupid, with its ongoing efforts by the news media to keep Americans ignorant of the Biden scandal, the brain-melting tale of the Zoom adventures of He Who Must Not Be Named, and polls that seem to show that most of the American public is incapable of paying attention to matters that will effect their lives, family and nation.

Big mistake. What watching the 2017 award-winning documentary did was vividly remind me that normal, decent, religious middle-class Americans like those you live and work with may well be too moronic and irresponsible to be entrusted with children, never mind make decisions about leadership and public policy that will affect the rest of us.

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From The Ethics Alarms Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: A Lot Of People Are Not Taking Democracy Sufficiently Seriously In New Hampshire

With a slogan like “Fuck the police!” how could she lose?

The ultimate example of the legal principle of res ipsa loquitur,  meaning that the existence of something alone is sufficient evidence to prove misconduct, comes from a classic case,which I have quoted here before, involved a  lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds. The suit was brought by a  customer who had chawed down on a  rotting, severed human toe while trying to enjoy a plug of chewing tobacco. He initially lost his case based on the theory of “let the buyer beware,” but won on appeal. On the subject of whether the plaintiff had to prove negligence, a wry appellate judge wrote (in 1918) that assuming ordinary care, it boggled the mind to…

“imagine human toes could not be left out of chewing tobacco, and if toes are found in chewing tobacco, it seems to us that somebody has been very careless.”

In today’s example of the same principle, I can imagine no reason why, with ordinary care, a trans, anarchist, Satanic candidate using the campaign slogan “Fuck the Police” should be the Republican candidate for sheriff in Cheshire County in New Hampshire. If a trans, anarchist, Satanic candidate using the campaign slogan “Fuck the Police” is the Republican candidate for sheriff in Cheshire County in New Hampshire, it seems to me that somebody has been very careless.

The story is here. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Andrew McCarthy, And The Integrity Test It Presents

“The Obama administration and the FBI knew that it was they who were meddling in a presidential campaign — using executive intelligence powers to monitor the president’s political opposition. This, they also knew, would rightly be regarded as a scandalous abuse of power if it ever became public. There was no rational or good-faith evidentiary basis to believe that Trump was in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin or that he’d had any role in Russian intelligence’s suspected hacking of Democratic Party email accounts…To believe Trump was unfit for the presidency on temperamental or policy grounds was a perfectly reasonable position for Obama officials to take — though an irrelevant one, since it’s up to the voters to decide who is suitable. But to claim to suspect that Trump was in a cyberespionage conspiracy with the Kremlin was inane . . . except as a subterfuge to conduct political spying, which Obama officials well knew was an abuse of power. So they concealed it.”

Former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy in the National Review

McCarthy isn’t just giving an opinion here; he’s analyzing evidence as the skilled prosecutor he is. As McCarthy explains, he’s basing his conclusion on recently unclassified documents, and they are incriminating.

McCarthy concludes, after excellent background,

But this much we know: In the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, President Obama authorized his administration’s investigative agencies to monitor his party’s opponent in the presidential election, on the pretext that Donald Trump was a clandestine agent of Russia. Realizing this was a gravely serious allegation for which there was laughably insufficient predication, administration officials kept Trump’s name off the investigative files. That way, they could deny that they were doing what they did. Then they did it . . . and denied it.

The information McCarthy relies upon and its clear implications create integrity tests, or will very soon, for many individuals and institutions. Continue reading

Still More From The Ethics Alarms “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files, Double Standards Section

As various wags have noted recently, the partisan, ideologically-driven and deliberately manipulative mainstream news media isn’t even trying to hide its bias any more. It openly is taking sides, and the news media isn’t supposed to take sides when reporting events. Nor is it supposed to frame what it reports in ways that warp a reader’s comprehension of it.

Two details are notable in the items above. First, the Post report refers to the individuals as vandals or engaging in vandalism rather than as protesters, as was the apparently agreed upon terminology when describing various statues being defaced or toppled. This was a typical report:

CNN: Protesters tore down a George Washington statue and set
a fire on its head: A crowd of protesters gathered around a statue of George Washington in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday night and lit a fire on its head before…

Second, the race of the protesters is never mentioned unless they are white…and, as the previous post demonstrated, sometimes the report attempts to make the reader think a white-supremacy minded  individual engaged in wrongful conduct even when the miscreant wasn’t white.

There was a third bit of sinister misdirection in the evidence above; at least it fooled me. Slogans painted in block letters on a street do not constitute “murals.”  When I read the media reports, I assumed that artwork was destroyed.

This is a mural:

This  (in D.C.) is government propaganda:

The definition of “mural” specifies that it is on a wall or ceiling

Streets don’t count, yet somehow multiple news media sources deci—all on their own!—to use a word that was  misleading, and made the act seem like something other than it was. What a coincidence!

It did nor require an artist to create this “mural, “or to design it;  it took a few government employees with yellow paint and big stencils. In fact, I’d be tempted to call painting political slogans on public streets vandalism by the government. Legal vandalism.

The stories also demonstrate that the city governments and the news media are allied, which should make fans of democracy nervous. Police aren’t looking for those peaceful protesters who tore down the Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore’s Little Italy and threw it in the bay, but the police have the bloodhounds out for the pair of white vandals who painted over “Black Lives Matter.”

Final notes:

  • It’s all vandalism, unless those destroying public property allow themselves to be arrested and charged. Neither the white vandals nor the raceless protesters who protest by engaging in vandalism but the media won’t call it that because they approve of tearing down the statues of Founders, Presidents and others had the guts or integrity to  accept the consequences of civil disobedience.
  • City governments should not be plastering the political views and biases of its elected officials on city property. “Black Lives Matter” is no more legitimate than “Vote For Biden,”  “Eat at Joes” or “Mayor Muriel Bowser is God” (no, not mural. Cut that out!) I hope lawsuits against this ominous trend succeed: giant block letters telling us what to think is in the same noxious category as giant portraits or Lenin, Stalin or Mao.
  • Increasingly. “Fact Don’t Matter” to the news media: the “movement” does, the “resistance” does, social justice “by any means necessary” does. This means that, also increasingly, we have no news media, just partisan agents. The Founders whose statues are being toppled believed that democracy was impossible without a free (and responsible) press.
  • They were right.

 

Independence Day With Ethics Alarms 4…Ethics Quotes By Americans To Preserve And Revere

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson, edited, ratified and signed by him,  Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Hancock, Samuel Chase William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkin,  William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, and Matthew Thornton.

“It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, independence now and independence forever. “

—-Daniel Webster, U.S. politician and orator

“Liberty is the soul’s right to breathe, and when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight.”

—-Henry Ward Beecher,minister and abolitionist.

“When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that “all men are created equal” a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim “a self evident lie” The fourth of July has not quite dwindled away; it is still a great day–for burning fire-crackers!!!”

—-Abraham Lincoln

“Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense – the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.”

—- Senator William Borah (R-ID), 1917

 “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

—-George Orwell

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

—- Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

“The Republic may not give wealth or happiness, she has not promised these. It is the freedom to pursue these, not their realization, which the Declaration of Independence claims.”

—-Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist

“The freedom of America is the freedom to live your own life and take your own chances.”

—Thomas Sowell, scholar and social scientist

“Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.

Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.”

—–John Phillip Sousa, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”

“Democracy is like sex. When it is good, it is very very good. And when its is bad, it is still pretty good.

—–Anonymous.

“The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.”

—-Henry Ward Beecher, American preacher

“Democracy is moral before it is political.”

—- Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice

“The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself…always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity.”

—-  Jimmy  Carter, President, philanthropist
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Nearing The Abyss: The Democrats, “The Resistance” And The Media Cheer On Campaign Sabotage

Brian looks pleased, doesn’t he?

What Ethics Alarms terms the Axis of Unethical Conduct or AUC—the alliance of the Democratic Party, “the resistance” and the mainstream news media—reached a new low in hostility to democracy and  new high in hypocrisy yesterday after it was confirmed that the turnout for President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa had been undermined by Nixon-style “dirty tricks.”

Yesterday morning, the front page of the Times was gloating over the surprisingly small audience for the President. Written by a team including staff Trump assassin Maggie Haberman,  the story, which yesterday had a headline stating that the rally “sputtered” and on line says it “fizzled,” said in part, “The weakness of Mr. Trump’s drawing power and political skills, in a state that voted for him overwhelmingly and in a format that he favors, raised new questions about his electoral prospects for a second term at a time when his poll numbers were already falling.” It quickly became clear that there were sinister factors at work, but the reporters allowed confirmation bias to suppress what should have been an automatic instinct: “Gee, what could have caused this?” Instead, they went with an analysis based on their desires and hostility to the President, and presented readers with fake news.

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias.

It soon became clear that Tik-Tok and K-Pop users, mostly teenagers, reserved hundreds of tickets for the rally, without any intention of showing up. Brian Stelter, CNN’s risible “media watchdog,” happily reported Sunday morning,

“And it seems that one of the other reasons why there were so many empty seats is a no-show protest. A no-show protest. This all started with a video on TikTok created by Mary Jo Laupp, who is effectively being called a ‘TikTok grandma.’ So, she made a video more than a week ago urging viewers to go to Trump’s site, sign up to attend the rally, but pointedly not show up at the rally. And look, it did seem to work to some degree. We don’t know exactly how well but Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale was out there talking about how many people were signing up…..

In a tweet, Parscale had announced that there had been 800,000 requests for tickets.

Stelter then rewarded the organizer of this operation by bringing her on his show to interview. Her rationalization for the dirty trick was that black activists were angry because the President had scheduled his rally on the same week as “Juneteenth,” that revered annual holiday that virtually no one, including CNN, had ever talked about before the George Floyd Freakout. Continue reading

Ethics Verdict: Everyone Stinks. A Case Study

This is why we can’t have nice things…

…or even be certain what nice things are.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was Jake Tapper’s guest  on CNN’s “State of the Union,” since he wasn’t going to talk about Tara Reade. Jake asked Pelosi, “Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign told me earlier this month that he supported President Trump’s partial travel restrictions on January 31st blocking foreign nationals from China from coming to the United States. Do you agree that it was the right move by President Trump at the time?”

She answered, “Tens of thousands of people were still allowed in from China. It wasn’t as it is described as this great moment, there were Americans coming back or green card holders coming back. If you’re going to shut the door because you have an evaluation of an epidemic, then shut the door.”

It’s a despicable, despicable response.

First, let’s go back to the question. Tapper, had he been the fair and objective journalist I once said  he was (I apologize; I was wrong. He’s a hack.) should have noted that Biden’s approval now is a flip-flop. The day after President Trump issued his Chinese travel ban, Biden called him xenophobic. This was important context for Tapper’s question, but Jake doesn’t think his audience cares about context, or something.

Well, let’s go back even further, shall we?

On March 26, President Trump said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, “I had Biden calling me xenophobic. He called me a racist, because of the fact that he felt it was a racist thing to stop people from China coming in.”

PolitiFact, the very partisan and untrustworthy factcheck site that I see has now been taken over by the Poynter Institute but maintains its previous biases, decided to spin for Biden in fact-checking Trump’s statement. Biden called Trump ‘xenophobic” the day after the travel ban was announced. What a coincidence! PolitiFact sees no reason to conclude Trump’s major announcement the previous day had anything to do with Biden’s tweet. Completely unrelated. After all, Biden’s camp pointed out that he’s always called the President xenophobic, which is true.

Now, is that self-evident spin or not? Obviously Biden was having a lucid moment and hedged his bets. He called Trump xenophobic after the China announcement because the Democrats have called every travel ban xenophobic, including bans on people breaking the law to enter our country. The timing of Biden’s tweet wasn’t accidental. But it allowed him to say, wink-wink,nudge-nudge, ‘Oh no! I never called the travel ban xenophobic! I called the President xenophobic, because he is.’

And a supposedly “non-partisan” factcheck operation  accepts that, and tells its gullible readers that they should accept it as well. Continue reading

I Don’t Think The Mainstream Media Can Get Away With This: The Tara Reade Blackout

Today’s coverage of the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden.

None of the major Sunday morning news talk shows mentioned Tara Reade’s increasingly credible allegations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden today, April 26. CNN’s “State of the Union,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and, yes, even Fox’s “Fox News Sunday”—See? It’s trustworthy after all!— all gave their audiences the impression that Reade did not exist, or that her claim that Joe Biden—who has stated that all female accusers should be presumed credible and have their accusations taken seriously—harassed, assaulted her and, indeed, raped her while he was a U.S. Senator, wasn’t newsworthy. 

This, even though there were new developments regarding her more than month-old claim. A transcript obtained by The Intercept, as well as a video uncovered by the Media Research Center two days ago, showed that someone from Reade’s mother’s city called into CNN in 1993 and asked for advice about her daughter’s problems with a “prominent senator.” Even CNN ignored the story today.

How can anyone justify this, or explain it except as a flagrant, partisan, stunningly unethical effort by the networks to keep the public in the dark to serve a political agenda? Continue reading

It’s Time Again For The Ethics Alarms Mailbag! The Question: Wait, What? Your Vote In 2016 Was A Write In?

Here I was, all set to write a substantial post  updating the newly launched Coronavirus Ethics Train  Wreck, and I encountered this question in the comments to today’s Warm-up, in reaction to my reply to another commenter:

“Wait…at the time you were lecturing all the commentariat about how it was unethical to “throw away your vote” by not voting for one of the two major political party candidates? When did you change your mind on that a do a write-in?”

The questioner was Tim Levier, one of five active Ethics Alarms regular commenters who date back to the old, still off-line (but coming back!) Ethics Scoreboard, so attention had to be paid. If he could have missed my late campaign reversal of the position he described–I would describe my stated logic a bit differently, as “the lesser of two evils is still the lesser of two evils—then that critical moment could have been missed by anyone, or even everyone.

Thus I went back into the October and November 2016 archives, which was fascinating.:

  • As always when I do this, I start wondering what became of some previously active commenters. Whither THE Bill? Where have you gone, wyogranny, T Bird, carcarwhite, joed68?

I know I take this too personally, but it still bothers me.

  • You know, this is damn good blog: thorough, extensive, unpredictable, well-written, diverse, funny, educational. I like it! The only one that comes close to being as interesting without descending into periodic eccentric weirdness or ideological rigidity was the old Popehat, and that’s gone now.  I worked hard on it that year, and have ever since. It should have a lot more traffic and influence than it does, but that’s a reflection on the inadequacies and bad taste of those who don’t come here. I’m proud of the product.

There. I said it.

  • The first time I expressed doubt in my position that I would have to hold back my gorge, defy my principles, and vote for Hillary Clinton was earlier than I thought. It was here, on September 25, 2016. The subject of the post was Clinton’s campaign manager, Robbie Mook, saying that  debate moderators should run interference for her and intervene to contradict and rebut Trump’s assertions, “unlike every other Presidential debate and every legitimate and fair debate of any kind, where that responsibility rests with the debaters.”

I responded to his  Unethical Quote Of The Month by writing, in part, Continue reading