And The Shackles Tighten Still More: The Continuing Big Tech Censorship Of Donald Trump

Once I would have headlined this post with “Stop Making Me Defend Donald Trump!” But this is no longer about Donald Trump, and readers who can’t figure this out, frankly, are too dense and gullible to read here.

Earlier this week, former President Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump posted on Instagram: “BIG SHOW TONIGHT – I will be joined by President Donald Trump on The Right View!!”

Then, when she posted her “big show,” Facebook took down the video of her interview with the ex-President after sending her an email stating that content with the voice of former President Trump “is not currently allowed on our platforms (including new posts with President Trump speaking).” The Facebook spokesman said the video was not permitted on Facebook and Instagram because of the former president’s indefinite suspension. Facebook also warned that any future posts featuring Trump would also be removed “resulting in additional limitations on accounts that posted it.”

I wouldn’t walk down my stairs to watch Trump be interviewed by Eric Trump’s wife, or just about any interviewer, frankly. Nonetheless, he is a recent President, a former President, a political leader, and an important historical, cultural and political figure in the United States of America, which is allegedly a free country. Millions of members of the public are interested in his words, beliefs and activities, and access to information about those should not be impeded by powerful private companies.

The news media’s embargo on facts and events for its partisan objectives created this slippery slope, and this slide is accelerating. Tech companies and communications corporations are actively controlling what Americans can see, hear, think about, and think. An entire political party and its corrupted “base” are perfectly satisfied with this distortion of democracy. Others are just quietly being misled, and are now the apocryphal slowly boiling frogs, doomed to have teeth ripping at the flesh of their legs before they understand what has happened to them.

Meanwhile, anyone–like me—seeing something ominous in this is a “conspiracy theorist”—you know, liars and wackos. Why would anyone see a conspiracy at work when a major political figure approximately half the nation voted for to be President less than four months ago is erased from the public eye and ear by a joint campaign stretching across the airwaves and the internet? Crazy!

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Sunday Evening Ethical Thoughts, 3/21/21: IIPTDXTTNMIAFB, And More

watergate-sunset

I attended my first Zoom memorial service today. Ethics tip, if you are considering doing this for a loved one: set an end time and stick to it, for God’s sake. This event today was to honor a great presence in my childhood and a friend of both my parents, and I was grateful for the chance to pay my respects. I don’t even begrudge the fact that her one child who has a serious stutter carried the duty of the eulogy, But as we got to the dreaded open mic for the assembled to share memories of the departed, one ancient attendee after another droned on with no discipline or relevance, often just trading niceties with others present and generally repeating what had already been said.

One more tip: if you had never even met the person being memorialized, shut up. One guy went on and on about how he always hoped to meet her, “but we were never invited to her house.”

I bailed when we hit the one hour, 15 minute mark and I saw no sign of a conclusion.

1. I don’t understand this at all. The Biden administration is restricting press access to the mess at the boarder. How can the news media allow it to get away with that? Is there anything the Democrats dishonestly accused the Trump administration of doing that they aren’t happily attempting to do themselves? I just know I’m going to get sick of the mantra, “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…”—in fact, I’m sick of it all ready,

Until I get a better suggestion, I’m just going to abbreviate it as IIPTDXTTNMIAFB. It has a ring to it…

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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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Midnight Ethics Terrors, 2/17/21: Trump Attacks! Fake Law! Fake News! Fake Science!

nightterrors-orig-crop

Okay, I started this at midnight, then got the night terrors, and waited until (almost) daylight to finish…

1. Who didn’t see this coming? Yesterday, Donald Trump unloaded with both metaphorical barrels on Mich McConnell as no President, former or otherwise, has ever attacked his party’s Senate leader before. McConnell asked for it, got it, and deserved it. His post impeachment trial acquittal was a foolish attempt to turn the President’s vindication into a defeat, and a pretty transparent example of the “now that the guy who was never one of us is out of power, we can strike at him with impunity” syndrome. Is McConnell really that deluded and incompetent? He must be. He apparently doesn’t understand the cognitive dissonance scale. Amazing. See, Mitch, nobody really likes you. You have the charisma of a scrub brush. As controversial as Trump is, he’s so much higher than you on the scale…

Cognitive Dissonance

… that attacking him just drags you lower still. Don’t you get that? Now Trump has double the effect. Some prime excerpts:

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One Acquittal, Three Quotes, Four Reactions

Trump acquitted

Former President Trump was acquitted in the second impeachment trial stemming from the Democrats’ relentless effort to remove him from office after his shocking election in 2016. In both efforts, the two-thirds super-majority necessary to convict was always impossible, because unlike previous impeachment efforts, these involved no crimes, and were not bi-partisan . They were exercises in pure partisan warfare, despite the contrary intent of the Founders and the flood of exaggerated rhetoric from Trump’s enemies who had presumed he needed to be impeached from the moment he was elected.

The sudden vote yesterday came as a surprise, as the Senate had just voted to allow witnesses in the “trial,” and that would have extended the fiasco considerably. I assume, without knowing, that the Democratic leadership finally figured out that its plot wasn’t working, and that it was time for the party to cut its losses. They might still be considerable. I hope they are considerable. This has wounded the nation badly, and the party that has blathered on about accountability needs some, and hard.

Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania voted guilty along with every Democrat. Interestingly, only two of the seven have a law degree, which may partially explain why they think a guilty verdict is defensible (it’s not.) The two lawyers, Romney and Murkowski, are barely Republicans and have been consistently anti-Trump. The fact that not a single Democrat had the integrity to buck the party’s mandate and oppose such a damaging precedent and such a dubious impeachment tells us all we need to know about the state of the current Democratic Party.

Now, three quotes following the vote:

Quote #1: From law professor and blogger Glenn Reynolds:

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Update: The SECOND Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck

trainwreck

When we last looked in on the destructive, divisive, unconstitutional and unethical fiasco known here as the Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck II, Senator Rand Paul had delivered an excoriating speech about the unconstitutional nature of it all, every Democratic Senator had voted to continue with a trial that is, as Paul stated, unconstitutional on its face, Democrats openly discussed passing a Bill of Attainder (which is what any action barring a single private citizen, Donald Trump, from running for office would be), the Chief Justice refused to sully his name by any involvement with such an embarrassment, and President Biden, while vowing out of one side of his mouth to be a unifying presence, lifted nary a finger to stop his party from engaging in a trial that was based on hate, vengeance, and the craven need to satisfy the worst of its supporters. Meanwhile, the mainstream news media refuses to inform the American public why the whole thing is bad partisan political theater and little else.

Now we have the following fun developments:

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The All-Consuming Mad Hate For President Trump Is Now Signature Significance

Signature significance on Ethics Alarms means a single aspect of an individual’s conduct that all by itself is proof positive of an untrustworthy character because an ethical individual will not behave that way ever, not even once. Trump hatred and the unquenchable desire to punish him for his very existence (and daring to be elected President, thus foiling Hillary Clinton’s dreams) was mostly the result of people living in an echo chamber and trusting a corrupt media: decent ethical people fell victim to Trump Derangement. But the determination to persecute him now cannot be excused. It is the mark of someone who has allowed, as Richard Nixon observed on the way into the helicopter, hate to destroy him. Such people are untrustworthy, and they show us the ugliness of irrational anger and bitterness.

Too many such people have power and influence right now.

A friend sent me this article in the Washington Post, my home-town paper whose unethical bias became so extreme that I switched to the New York Times, which is a bit like choosing a heart attack over brain cancer. It is quite amazing: in it, the art and architecture critic for the paper insists that Donald Trump should be blocked by law from having a Presidential library. Why? Oh, the critic says, Trump incited an “insurrection”! Besides, “even a privately funded and operated Trump presidential library, which would be devoted to whitewashing his record and rewriting history, is a terrible and even dangerous idea…. given Trump’s alleged misuse of charitable funds, including self-dealing, waste and other illegal activities, at his now dissolved New York-based foundation….” And “any intention to start another public entity can only be considered a crime scene waiting to happen.” Plus, “…the danger of Trump using a presidential library to burnish his image is far more serious, with the ex-president and his surrogates still promoting the idea that his electoral loss was somehow fraudulent. That creates an ongoing uncertainty in American public life, which Trump and even more unscrupulous actors will use to further division, inflame tension, exacerbate racism and delegitimize the American democratic system.”

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The Ethics Alarms Directory Of “Fake News”: Prelude

The first use of the tag “fake news” on this website was on March 4, 2015. That’s more than three months before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President on June 16, 2015; the oft-published claim that Trump launched the term “fake news” to deride the news media for criticizing him and his Presidency is, ironically enough, fake news.

The 2015 piece was about CNBC publishing as legitimate news a press release by an anti-vaxx group, a category of fake news called “Hearsay news” in today’s directory to come. I posted three more articles tagged “fake news” before Trump was elected. One of them was the Mother of All Fake News episodes, when the Boston Globe hit the news stands and front walks on April 10, 2016 featuring a satirical front page with headlines about a fictional, dystopian Donald Trump Presidency. “This is Donald Trump’s America. What you read on this page is what might happen if the GOP frontrunner can put his ideas into practice, his words into action,” went the introduction. I wrote in part

This is a spectacular  failure of professionalism and a journalistic disgrace. A newspaper is pledged to report the news, not imagine it. It is not ethically entitled to morph into Saturday Night Live or the Onion because it really, really, really feels strongly about an issue….No paper published such a “future news” piece about the world under Nazi rule, or the race war if civil rights laws didn’t change. No respectable publication predicted a similar dystopian future under President Huey Long, or Joe McCarthy, or what a U.S. with open borders would look like, or what a Ron Paul style US with heroin for sale off drug store counters would lead to. That is because this means of political advocacy and commentary is reserved for the features and entertainment sections, not where facts are supposed to be, and where readers must be able to expect a reasonable attempt at truth, not a showboating effort to distort it.

The episode marked, as it turned out, the beginning of an epidemic of metaphorical canaries dying in the poisoned mine of American journalism. 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

Film Cutting Ethics: Three Episodes

 1.  The Canadian Broadcast Company edited Donald Trump’s cameo out of “Home Alone II” when the Christmas-themed family film was aired this week. That sets some kind of record for pettiness, don’t you think? The CBC lamely denies that they meant anything by it, responding to an inquiry,  “As is often the case with features adapted for television, Home Alone 2 was edited to allow for commercial time within the format.” Sure. I believe that! Don’t you believe that? Continue reading