“Insurrection” Hysteria Appears To Be The Democrats’ Sole Strategy For Holding Power, And The Media Is Enabling It. Of Course, This is Unethical….And Ominous [Corrected]

Insurrection committee

Glenn Greenwald’s latest newsletter from substack was nicely timed today. I was genuinely puzzled to see the front page of the Sunday Times left on my lawn this morning dominated by a 50 square inch photo, a scare headline and an article about the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. The episode occurred 9 months ago. This was neither news or history. What’s going on here? [Notice of Correction: the original version had the date and time passed wrong. Stupid mistake.]

Then Greenwald’s piece arrived. “When a population is placed in a state of sufficiently grave fear and anger regarding a perceived threat, concerns about the constitutionality, legality and morality of measures adopted in the name of punishing the enemy typically disappear,” he wrote. “The first priority, indeed the sole priority, is to crush the threat. Questions about the legality of actions ostensibly undertaken against the guilty parties are brushed aside as trivial annoyances at best, or, worse, castigated as efforts to sympathize with and protect those responsible for the danger. When a population is subsumed with pulsating fear and rage, there is little patience for seemingly abstract quibbles about legality or ethics. The craving for punishment, for vengeance, for protection, is visceral and thus easily drowns out cerebral or rational impediments to satiating those primal impulses.”

I have never been able to understand how anyone could accept the obvious exaggeration of the extent, intent, and import of the riot. I really can’t: it amazes me. This was 300, more or less, irresponsible, mostly middle-aged fools, behaving like the Chicago peaceniks at the 1968 Democratic National Convention but with less coherence. Their riot paled in all respects to the Black Lives Matter rioting across the U.S.: less damage was done, far, far fewer people were injured, and the only individual killed was a rioter. Although the post-George Floyd riots shut down businesses and government functions for weeks, the process of certifying the 2020 election results, allegedly the action that the Capitol protesters wanted to halt, weren’t even delayed a day. The claim that these unhappy Trump loyalist idiots were trying to take over the government with bear spray and funny hats was and is nonsense, and transparently so. Yet Greenwald writes,

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Unethical Quote Of The Month (But Thanks For The Candor, Terry!): Former Va. Governor And Current Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.”

Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, in  the televised debate with Republican adversary Glenn Youngkin

Every now and then one of the crypto-totalitarian Democrats or progressives slip up and rip his or her mask off, and McAuliffe’s sudden outburst of damning truth was a real Jack Nicholson “You’re damn right I did!” moment. I know virtually nothing about Glenn Youngkin, but I know too much about Clinton bag-man McAuliffe, and if God’s in his heaven and there is justice in the cosmos, this outburst will keep McAuliffe, who is corrupt and almost as slimy as the Clintons, out of the Governor’s mansion. It isn’t the reason I won’t be voting for Terry, who was Bill’s fundraiser, only because it doesn’t have to be. There are so many other reasons, as his Ethics Alarms dossier shows and the alarming essay below from my previous platform, The Ethics Scoreboard, amply demonstrates.

But enough of McAuliffe for now, for this post isn’t really about him as much as it is about his quote and what (and who—Terry was also Chair of the Democratic National Committee) it represents. For it expresses fairly the current attitude of the Left regarding public education. Children are in school for progressives, Democrats, Marxists and anti-American activists to indoctrinate. Gabriel Gipes, the so-called “Antifa Teacher” was an extreme case, but lazy parents and apathetic citizens allowed the Left to take over the educational establishment (as well as other institutions) a long time ago. Now they are shocked—shocked!-–with the advent of critical race theory and the “1619 Project’s” pollution of public school curricula—to find that our children have been and are being programmed to accept progressive cant as truth, and even to oppose the Bill of Rights as well as the foundational culture of the nation itself.

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Let All Good And Objective Americans Deride And Mock San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Those Who Voted For Her, And Anyone Who Dares To Defend Her…

SF-Mayor-London-Breed

What a ridiculous excuse for a mayor.

What an embarrassment to her city and party.

What an arrogant, silly, clueless fool.

The usual Ethics Alarms tag I would consider in this kind of story, “Incompetent Elected Official of the Month,” just doesn’t do San Francisco Mayor London Breed justice. Letting her astounding explanation for why she violated her own mask mandate simply brand her as incompetent would be a cruel insult to all previous incompetent elected officials. Previously, Ethics Alarms wrote about Breed being videoed unmasked, singing, and dancing with a largely unmasked crowd inside a jazz club in the Tenderloin last week. This made her the latest Democratic mayor, governor or other official—and there have been a ridiculous number of them— to regard themselves as immune from their own pandemic restrictions on “the little people” they deign to govern. However, none of these hypocrites have come within miles of Breed’s mind-melting hauteur. Here’s what she said:

“We don’t need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should or shouldn’t be doing. My drink was sitting at the table, I got up and started dancing because I was feeling the spirit and I wasn’t thinking about a mask.”

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No, No, NO, Biden Must NOT “Go”: Biden Must Stay, And All Responsible For Putting Him In The White House Must Be Made Accountable

Joe confused

Over at the Spectator, conservative pundit Dominic Green writes in a piece titled Biden Must Go,

“If Trump had confused his Vice President with a ‘general’ or fumbled with his cue cards because he couldn’t match a scripted question to a scripted answer, as Biden did at his press conference on Thursday; or shown the bizarre callousness and failure of short-term memory in his ‘That was four days ago, five days ago!’ outburst; or spontaneously abandoned the policy of strategic ambiguity on Taiwan in an interview with ABC, as Biden did with George Stephanopoulos on Thursday, the psychiatrists would be lining up outside the cable stations to explain why the 25th Amendment needed to be deployed now. It’s that simple. The buck really does stop with the President. The world has always seen Biden’s incapacity, and now the American people can see it too. He carries direct responsibility for a disaster so undeniable that even a partisan media can no longer deny it. He can neither speak truthfully nor accurately. Not so much the emperor with no clothes, as Lear’s fool on the heath, naked and shivering as the kingdom comes to the ‘great confusion’.”

Oh no you don’t! “The resistance,” progressives, Democrats and the news media can’t be let off that easy. It is essential to restoring the nation’s principles and the integrity of the political process that Joe Biden remain in office to do all the damage and inflict all the embarrassment on the nation he will undoubtedly can and will. It will be painful for him to be sure: good. He was irresponsible and unethical to allow himself to be used by his party when he knew—and I’m sure he knows—that he had become a shadow of his already mediocre self. It will be even more painful for his party and its supporters, which will not be able to blame anyone but themselves for the disaster at the border, the stuttering response to the latest virus strains, the exploding national debt, the creeping inflation and the disgraceful embrace of racial discrimination. And, of course, it will be painful for the public, and again I say, good. They were dupes, fools and incompetent citizens. They deserve to suffer. There are consequences to being lazy, gullible, biased and stupid. They are about to learn them. Hard.The Democrats and media tried to brainwash America with the dangerous idea that when we elect a President that enough people don’t like and the news media decides to destroy, there are constitutional ways to ignore elections and get rid of him. There are not. Impeachment, contrary to the undemocratic plots endorsed by Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and the rest, requires actual “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not mean tweets, contrived violations of dead letter provisions and conduct routinely engaged in by other Presidents that are suddenly repurposed into “crimes” to avoid the trouble of defeating an incumbent at the polls.

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Reader Comments Safari: Revealing NYT Reader Comments, And Althouse Reader Comments On Those Comments

Biden meeting

Blogger Ann Althouse has gone full circle and now allows reader comments again. I must confess that the episode cooled much of my long-standing enthusiasm for her blog: her reasoning in banning them was so arrogant and dismissive of the loyal readers who support her that she crashed her cognitive dissonance scale with me. (And I still don’t forgive her for refusing to include Ethics Alarms in her links; eventually she stopped linking to any other sites at all, which, come to think of it, was similar to banning comments.) I assume her traffic was crashing, or maybe someone she pays attention to pointed out that her constantly changing the comment hoops to jump through (“No comments, but you can email me with a comment, and maybe I’ll quote it as a comment…”) did not put the former law prof. in a flattering light. I don’t know, and don’t really care. I just know that I don’t check her quirky posts as often as I once did.

I checked today, though, and Ann posted on “Miscue After Miscue, U.S. Exit Plan Unravels/President Biden promised an orderly withdrawal. That pledge, compounded by missed signals and miscalculations, proved impossible” , a an article that I had already read in the print edition. The Times story describes a disturbing meeting President Biden had with his military and other advisors about the plan to pull out in Afghanistan. Ann read the online comments from Times readers and reported herself,

“If you go into the comments over there at the NYT and you put them in order of “most liked,” you’ll see an unbroken chain of comments supporting Joe Biden: “It seems to me that the media is being less than fair to Joe Biden over this,” “Has it really gone wrong?,” “Did the Trump Surrender Agreement with the Taliban provide for evacuation? If it did, what did it say? If it didn’t, why not?,” “Frankly I’m dismayed that the media is now declaring this a disaster,” “Thanks President Biden for making this brave decision albeit flawed execution. When we end this if there are no US troop live lost and Americans evacuated with as much of our allies. It will be remembered as a very good decision and no one will care about execution like Vietnam withdrawal.”

Good research there, Ann! I would never do that; I detest “likes,” which I regard as lazy substitutes for serious consideration. But her discovery is useful: this is a major reason, along with the biases of its employees, why the Times has abandoned journalism for progressive propaganda. Of course, I could read pretty much the same sad reactions from my own Facebook feed, if my “friends” didn’t block me from reading what they know I’d take apart, ruthless and with glee.

Then Althouse’s commenters had a field day, reminding me again how foolish it was to silence them. Among the best responses,

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Further Reflections On “Juneteenth”

Guest Post by Michael West

My summary observations of something that is more complex than most people make it out to be:

The Fourth of July must always be the preeminent holiday in the American “liturgy”. Even for the slaves whose lives were spent in a state of legalized kidnapping, it was their Independence Day also even while they didn’t enjoy the reality of it. Yet I understand some arguments, such as those who perpetuate Frederick Douglass’s observations on Independence Day. But frankly, anyone espousing that attitude *still* are anti-American.

BUT, it should surely be acknowledged that even while Independence Day was for ALL Americans (even those who in reality didn’t enjoy its blessings), there were those who in reality didn’t enjoy its blessings. And an end to their legalized kidnapping, finally realizing the values of the Declaration, SHOULD be celebrated.

Now, whether that celebration ought to be “Juneteenth”, or the ratification of the 13th Amendment (January 31, 1865), or the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863), or the defeat of the Confederacy, I don’t know. Still, it is appropriate for the U.S. to honor such a momentous event that all Americans should be grateful for.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/25/2021: The George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck Is One Year Old Today

happy-birthday-cake-for-1-years-old-girl_225938

It really is amazing: I have already read three references today to George Floyd’s death as a cultural watershed in the U.S. society’s recognition of racial injustice, yet there remains not a single piece of evidence or a logical argument that Floyd’s death had any relationship to his race whatsoever. This was a manufactured narrative that the news media deliberately advanced in flagrant defiance of the facts. I have challenged more indignant progressives than I can count to justify treating Floyd’s death as anything but negligence and brutality by a local cop who should never have been allowed to keep his badge. All they can come up with is that the officer was white, and Floyd was black—in other words, presumed racism based on skin color, which is itself racism, or that the episode had a positive impact, justifying treating it as something it was not. That, of course, is an “ends justifies the means” rationalization.

The ugly episode is a lesson, not in “racial reconciliation,” but in how events can be manipulated for political gain—in this case, involving violent protests and virtual societal extortion— if there is no trustworthy news source to keep the public informed.

Today is also the anniversary of another ethics low in U.S. history. It was on this date in 1861 that President Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus so he could keep a Maryland state legislator locked up on the charge of hindering Union troops.

SCOTUS Chief Justice Taney issued a ruling stating that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus, but Lincoln, channeling his inner Andrew Jackson, just defied the Court. Five years later, another Supreme Court case held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus.

1. The Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck misses its biggest target. Good. The giant images of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into Stone Mountain as Confederate nostalgia’s answer to Mount Rushmore have survived the latest effort to tear them down. The Confederate flags at the base of Georgia’s Stone Mountain, placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, will be removed, and new exhibits will offer a more thorough history of the park, including the role the Ku Klux Klan and resistance to desegregation played in its creation. Also good. The thing is a pro-Confederacy monument to be sure, a defiant one, but it also is a piece of history that should be seen, debated and thought about.

Many dedicated historical censors are upset that the mountain art will not be blown up any time soon. arguing that racist anger, not a desire to honor the South’s heroes, inspired the monument’s creation. OK, and so what? It is a vivid historical relic. Fall River’s Joe Aronoski, 82, told the New York Times after touring Stone Mountain, “It’s American history. It shouldn’t be destroyed. What are you going to do? Make-believe the Civil War didn’t happen?”

Well yes, that’s the general idea behind statue-toppling: make believe any events that make some people “uncomfortable” didn’t happen.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/21/2021, To A Chorus Of Cicadas

Cicada Ethics: Sweep up all the disgusting things (and their husks) that have accumulated on your front walk at least twice a day so people don’t have to walk on them and their dogs don’t eat them.

1. Charles Grodin (1935-2021): Thanks a lot! Charles Grodin was a talented and versatile actor who was extremely good at playing dislikable characters. We can blame him (not Jon Stewart) for creating the unfortunate cultural phenomenon of the allegedly funny TV talk show host who decides he is qualified to bombard viewers with partisan rants. It’s a self-indulgent abuse of power, position and trust, but it’s also now the norm, with every late night talk show host (and Staurday Night Live) but the generally sweet James Cordon using their show as a platform to bash Republicans and conservatives and extoll progressives no matter how mockworthy they are. Grodin started the bait-and-switch (He’s funny! Wait, why is he so angry and preaching at us?) in the mid-Nineties, and though it eventually killed his show (not soon enough), the template was born.

Grodin made Ethics Alarms in 2014, with his campaign against the felony murder rule.

2. Speaking of staying in one’s lane…Yet another ugly result of social media is the phenomenon of people publishing uninformed opinions that they are unqualified to be so emphatic about. A baseball writer and recovering lawyer, Craig Calcaterra, whom I have referenced here before, has migrated from NBC Sports to substack, and is asking me to subscribe to his newsletter. Craig is funny and smart, and his baseball analysis is superior to most. But he is addicted to making political pronouncements, and while he has a right to his biased and often ignorant opinions on things he’s far from an expert on, I’ll be damned if I’ll pay to read them. For essentially the same reasons I object to watching football players “take a knee” during the National Anthem, I expect sports writers to stick to sports. Here’s a tip to anyone peddling a newsletter to me: I regard referring to the January 6 Capitol riot as a “deadly insurrection” as Democratic Party propagandist and signature significance for a pundit who is not concerned with facts.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/20/21: Happy Birthday, John Stuart Mill!

Mill

John Stuart Mill (1806–73), was born on May 20, not merely the most important figure in ethics to have a connection to this day, but also the most important human being born on this day in the history of civilization—yes, even more than Cher, who turns 75 today. Mill’s refined the concept of liberty that required the freedom of the individual in opposition to state control. He was the most influential proponent of utilitarianism, the crucial ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham. He helped reform scientific inquiry and research, recognizing the pervasive risks of confirmation bias, by clearly explaining the premises of falsifiability as the key component in the scientific method.

Mill was also a Member of Parliament and a towering figure in liberal political philosophy. You have certainly heard or read his most famous quote: “A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither.”

A thorough biography and analysis of his work is here.

1. Justice Breyer doesn’t care about making sure the Supreme Court doesn’t get more conservative. Good. That’s not his job. Democrats realize that their control of the Senate is hanging by a thread, “thread” defined as a few superannuated Senators who could drop dead any second, giving the GOP a majority. Thus they are increasingly pushing Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 82, to retire now so Joe Biden can name an appropriately liberal replacement (who will also have to be female and black, vastly limiting the pool of possible choices without concern for actual legal competence.) “Breyer’s best chance at protecting his legacy and impact on the law is to resign now, clearing the way for a younger justice who shares his judicial outlook,” wrote Erwin Chemerinsky, the hyper-partisan dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley in The Washington Post this month. Got that? The 80+year-old Democratic Senators have to hold on to their jobs like grim death, but Breyer is being lobbied to retire. Hypocrisy, they name is Democrat! But it isn’t Breyer:

The Justice has been particularly vocal about the importance of not allowing politics to influence judges’ work, including their decisions about when to retire. “My experience of more than 30 years as a judge has shown me that, once men and women take the judicial oath, they take the oath to heart,” he said last month in a lecture at Harvard Law School. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment….If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power.”

I wonder if he’s read (or seen) “The Pelican Brief”…Meanwhile, research suggest that retirement tends to kill Supreme Court Justices. A paper in The Journal of Demography studied the effects of retirement by Supreme Court justices on their future longevity, and found that the effect of retirement was about the same as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The Democrats don’t care if Breyer dies sooner than later, though, as long as he does it when they can pick his successor, or after he’s quit.

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The Democratic Party Has Announced That Discrimination Against Asian-Americans Can Be Justified

It can’t.

This was a significant and revealing vote in the Senate last week in many ways.

Senate Democrats united to vote down an amendment from Senate Republicans designed to bar “Federal funding for any institution of higher education that discriminates against Asian Americans in recruitment, applicant review, or admissions.” The addition was proposed for the grandstanding Senate legislation called the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” that would require “expedited review of hate crimes” by the Department of Justice with “online reporting of hate crimes or incidents” and “expand public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes and reaching victims.”

This unnecessary legislation, sponsored by Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, passed the Senate 94-1, because nobody is against “hate crimes.” Yet oddly, the Democratic Party, at least in the Senate, appears to be in favor of discrimination against Asian Americans. Why is that? The Yea-Nay vote was 49 – 48, with no Republican voting against the amendment, and not a single Democrat voting for it.

“We have major universities in this country that are discriminating in admissions against Asian-Americans,” Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy (R-La) said. “Discrimination is discrimination…This is wrong, it is contemptible, it is odious.” Yes, yes it is. But the current ideology of the political Left now holds that discrimination against whites is good discrimination (they have it coming, after all, the racist bastards!) and discrimination against Asian-Americans is necessary discrimination. The argument is vile, and indefensible in law or ethics, which is why, so far at least, the mainstream news media is burying the story and the vote. The passage of the pandemic hate crimes act is being trumpeted everywhere, perhaps because the news media is complicit in the wildly inflated public belief in the extent of the problem it addresses, but the Democratic rejection of S.Amdt. 1456 is barely mentioned at all. Regarding this, I will repeat the same rhetorical question I asked once already here: “Why is that?”

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