Comment Of The Day: “Still More Twitter Ethics: Musk’s Cynical Poll And Another Twitter Files Summary”

I’m a bit behind in posts covering the Twitter Files; I’m also behind in posting Comments of the Day. Ethics Alarms veteran Glenn Logan authored one more than a week ago, and had it not been for a recent comment that rang my “Glenn Logan” alarm, this one might have been lost.

Here is Glenn’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Still More Twitter Ethics: Musk’s Cynical Poll And Another”Twitter Files” Summary”…

***

Jack wrote:

Musk can’t run Twitter by poll, though, if he is truly devoted to promoting free and open public discourse.

No, you’re right about that. It needs to stop. The optics are very poor to anyone not invested in Twitter at the expense of rational thought.

“The past seven years (or more) make the conclusion unavoidable that the FBI is untrustworthy, partisan, corrupt,dangerous, and a threat to undermine the Republic. That is not a news that easy to process or accept, but it can’t be ignored or shrugged off any more…”

The FBI has always been a problematic venture. It was corrupt nearly from birth, and we are surprised that it somehow has changed its spots over the decades? Sure, there have been a few stretches where it was less corrupt than at others, but at its core, it is a functioning federal bureaucracy with a law enforcement component, largely governed by political partisans.

That partisanship has clearly been allowed to filter down to at least middle management and even the rank-and-file. Throw in the “You’re either with me or against me” politics of the social media age, and how can you not have a corrupt catastrophe?

Disbanding the FBI root and branch would be a huge public service. Continue reading

The FBI’s Rationalization For Its Twitter Content Manipulation: “We Do This Kind Of Thing All The Time!”

Well alrighty then! All is well!

The Federal Bureau of Investigation  issued a supposedly exonerating statement today following the latest “Twitter Files” dump, which disclosed information detailing the FBI’s correspondence with Twitter in October 2020. Substack’sMatt Taibbi revealed that the agency warned the previous management at Twitter of a “hack-and-leak” by “state actors” surrounding the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop to influence the 2020 presidential election. The “Twitter Files” also revealed that the FBI and Twitter worked closely in the lead up to the election, with documents published this week showing that the FBI paid Twitter nearly $3.5 million between October 2019 and February 2021 for  the expenses entailed by complying with the FBI’s demands/requests. The FBI also flagged certain tweets for Twitter to remove from the platform, the documents show, and FBI agents were  even employed at Twitter during this period.

If I were a publicity experts advising the FBI, my recommendation would be that no comment would be preferable to this statement, which is desperate and damning:

“The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous detailing companies over multiple sectors and industries. As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers. The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”

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Still More Twitter Ethics: Musk’s Cynical Poll And Another”Twitter Files” Summary

Ugh. The 6th installment of the “Twitter Files,” this one tweeted out by Matt Taibbi (your host just had to copy and paste 31 damn tweets together to be readable, always what I love doing before a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. This might have something to do with why I just spilled orange juice on my modem…You’re welcome.). It is the most alarming of the installments so far. I can’t wait to read how the Washington Post and the other complicity proto-totalitarians in the news media try to spin this one as a “nothingburger.” It is a given that the main methodolgy will involve simply not reporting on it, as has been the primary response to the earlier “Twitter Files” revelations via substack’s rebel journalists. Let’s see: I haven’t checked today’s digital Times yet: Any mention?….

NO!

The only mentions of Twitter involve Musk’s suspension of journalists (BAD Musk!) discussed here yesterday. The embargo on the Twitter revelations are at least as sinister and outrageous as the Hunter Biden laptop media/social media conspiracy; I confess that I’m surprised at the audacity of the Times and the rest (almost everyone but Fox News and the New York Post, and the conservative websites. Well, the ethics blogs, of course)

A few observations before you commence your assignment as an informed citizen:

  • Musk cagily backtracked on the suspensions using the “poll” devise he employed to justify restoring Trump’s tweeting privileges. He was facing threats by the EU (it was going to be expensive and time-consuming to tell the Europeans “bite me,” though that’s what they deserved and it may have occured to him that Ethics Alarms was right: the banning of so many progressive reporters looked like payback even if it were justifiable. Musk can’t run Twitter by poll, though, if he is truly devoted to promoting free and open public discourse.
  • The past seven years (or more) make the conclusion unavoidable that the FBI is untrustworthy, partisan, corrupt,dangerous, and a threat to undermine the Republic. That is not a news that easy to process or accept, but it can’t be ignored or shrugged off any more.
  • In a complete reversal of positions from what was routine in my youth, Republicans are targeting the FBI for criticism and investigation while Democrats appear to be saying by their silence, “What’s the big deal?” The Republican House Judiciary Committee account tweeted, “Does anyone still trust the FBI?” (“republicans pounce!”)  Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo), speculated that  the FBI’s alleged interactions with Twitter could suggest they were working with Google and Facebook as well. Gee, yah think?

  • Again, because it can’t be over-stated, the mainstream media is deliberately trying to keep the public in the dark about all of it.
  • But the major effect of this seems to be only the further erosion of public trust in the news media. The truth is out there, as Mulder and Scully would say, and it’s sinking in. The December Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll  finds that nearly two-thirds of voters believe Twitter shadow-banned users and engaged in political censorship during the 2020 election. Seventy percent of voters want new national laws protecting users from corporate censorship.
  • What is described below is, in fact, the U.S. government violating the First Amendment by proxy:

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Breaking News On The Stolen Election “Lie”

I still see it almost every day: a reference to Donald Trump’s stolen election “lie.” Trump, as is his wont, makes this slur too easy by his usual sloppiness of expression. First, he employs the language of certainty to express a belief that cannot be verified, and second, he keep focusing on voter fraud. However, as Ethics Alarms had indicated on many days in in many ways, there is a substantial likelihood that Trump’s second term was stolen from him (and the nation), not by fraud but by the continuous series of deliberate and unethical acts of sabotage committed against his Presidency, administration and campaign by Democrats, progressives, the news media, social media, popular culture, Big Tech, NeverTrump Republicans and the “Deep State.” (As an aside, the denials by the Left that the Deep State exists remind me of the once commonplace denials by Italian-Americans that the Mafia existed.)

This week, two bits of evidence supporting this position emerged:

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Gee, What A Surprise: The FBI Finds No Evidence That The Jan.6 Capitol Riot Was An “Insurrection”

shocked face

There’s the “shocked face” of the once popular commercial featuring a talkative and opinionated infant. (The kid must be 40 by now, but his expression is immortal.)

Yet another Big Lie that the Axis of Unethical Conduct (“the resistance”/ Democrats/ Mainstream media) wielded shamefully for a disgusting amount of time is tumbling down. From Reuters:

The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials. Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations. “Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”

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Regarding “Athlete A”….[Corrected!]

“Athlete A,” the Netflix documentary that tells the awful story of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s decades of sexually abusing young female gymnasts—perhaps as many as 500 of them—, how he was allowed to continue his crimes after complaints from parents and others, and the young women who finally sent him to prison with their testimony, is both disturbing and depressing. I watched it last night with my wife, who was horrified that she didn’t know the Nassar story.

Ethics Alarms wasn’t as much help as it should have been. Its first full post about the scandal was this one, which, in grand Ethics Alarms tradition, slammed the ethics of the judge who sentenced Nasser to 60 years in prison, essentially a “Stop making me defend Dr. Nasser!” post. I’ll stand by that post forever, but it didn’t help readers who are link averse to know the full extent of Nasser’s sick hobby of plunging his fingers and hands into the vaginas and anuses of trusting young girls while telling them that it was “therapy.”

The second full post, in August of last year,  was more informative regarding Nasser, but again, it was about the aftermath of his crimes, not the crimes themselves. That post  focused on the the Senate hearings following the July 30 release of the report of an 18-month Senate investigation  that found that the U.S. Olympic Committee and others failed to protect young female athletes from Nasser’s probing hands, detailing “widespread failure by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (the “Committee”) and other institutions to keep athletes safe.”  Then there was this: Continue reading

On The Recent Steele Dossier Revelations: An Open Letter To An Un-Named Former Ethics Alarms Commenter, Written In Disappointment And Disgust

Dear You Know Who You Are,

As you remember, well over a year ago you staged a grandstanding, insulting exit from participation on this blog, declaring that I had “drunk the Kool-Aid.”  Your false claim was provoked because I had successfully navigated through  lies, calculated disinformation and lawbreaking—engineered by those within and without the U.S. government—to conclude that a coordinated effort had been and was underway to overthrow the elected President of the United States. At this point, the fact that your accusation was based on your own blindness and bias is not subject to rational denial or debate.

I knew that at the time, of course. I also felt, and feel, that for you to behave that way, in public, here, was a personal as well as a professional betrayal. We had, I thought, a cordial and mutually respectful relationship. We had exchanged details about the high and low points of our lives face to face.  We are in the same field and profession. I trusted you.

I have provided you some slack in my ultimate judgment on your character because I know that, as we say here often, bias makes us stupid, even the best of us. I have seen this particular bias make many people, even some smarter than you, as difficult as it may be for you to conceive of that, both stupid and  destructive, apparently without a glimmer of self-realization. I recognize that it the phenomenon is, at this point, indistinguishable from an illness, one triggered by emotion and group-think. Thus I am, up to a point, sympathetic, just as I am regarding so many of my Facebook friends who figuratively make asses of themselves every single day  because they are addicted to “likes” and peer approval. Some of them are even lawyers, but you know…lawyers. That is a professional group, along with historians, politicians, historians, scholars, psychiatrist, educators and, of course, journalists, that has broken its duty of trust with the public as it joined a dangerous and unconscionable effort to break our democracy. Continue reading

Ethics Train Wreck Analysis: The Richard Jewell Case

“Richard Jewell,” Clint Eastwood’s excellent but much maligned film about a historical episode with many ethics twists and turns, is extremely accurate and fair in all respects, except for the glaring exception of the screenwriter  Billy Ray’s representation that reporter Kathy Scruggs obtained the information that Jewell was under suspicion by the FBI in exchange for one night stand with the agency’s lead investigator. This was the point where the Richard Jewell Ethics Train Wreck of 1996 acquired a car containing the 2019 movie “Richard Jewell.”

Let’s look at those other cars.

I. Jewell

Jewell was a socially awkward, lonely, obese man who lived with his mother. He was in many ways a stereotypical misfit with low  self-esteem, who developed ambitions about becoming a law enforcement officer, a job that would would provide him with the respect and power that he lacked and wanted. The film begins with Jewell’s stint as an office supply clerk in a small public law firm, where he becomes friends with attorney Watson Bryant. Jewell quits to pursue his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer, and Bryant, in saying good-bye, asks his friend to promise that if he ever acquires the authority he seeks, he won’t become a jerk, and abuse it.

This was a real life conversation. Bryant recognized that Jewell was a border-line Asperger’s sufferer, whether or not he knew the name or the clinical condition, and exactly the kind of personality who should never be given a shield and a gun.

Jewell took a job as a campus security officer at Piedmont College, and rapidly realized Watson Bryant’s worst fears by reacting to his authority by abusing it, being over-zealous and generating an unusual number of complaints from students. Jewell was fired, but the need for security personnel at the upcoming Atlanta Olympics gave Jewell another chance at some authority at least. He probably shouldn’t have had such a chance. Jewell was not a man who should have been in the security field or the law enforcement field; his judgment was poor, and his emotional problems made him a bad risk.

Thus the conditions for the ethics train wreck were put in place. It was up to moral luck whether hiring Richard Jewell would turn out to be a disaster, or a  fortunate near miss. Instead, it turned out to be something else entirely, a classic example of a bad decision having a good result—at least for a while.

2. The Bomb

In the early morning of July 27, 1996, Jewell, now working in Atlanta’s Centennial Park as part of the Summer Olympics security force, noticed an abandoned backpack by a bench. Over-zealous, officious and a fanatic about following procedure, Jewell insisted on reporting the pack as a “suspicious package,” despite the chiding of his colleagues, who wanted to take it to Lost and Found. If, as was overwhelmingly likely, the backpack had been just a backpack, Jewell probably would have been mocked. But again moral luck took a hand. He was right. It was a bomb. Jewell and other officers began clearing the area, and the bomb went off, killing one victim, Alice Hawthorne, and wounding many, still  far less serious damage than what might have occurred had Jewell not been so scrupulous in his discharge of his duties.

3. The Hero, the Scapegoats, and the Tip
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Ethics Catch-Up, 12/12/2019: Special Two-Day Edition!

So far, this pre-Christmas slog has been especially horrible.

This post started out as yesterday’s potpourri, and I was interrupted just as I was about to post it. So now its a two-day edition.

1. The IG’s report embraces Hanlon’s Razor. What the report on the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged “collusion” says is that he Inspector General could find no documentation of a “conspiracy” or bias against the President, but that the FBI’s conduct was remarkably inept throughout. Hanlon Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

When the AG says that the FBI handling of the investigation raises questions about how it conducts itself in more routine matters, isn’t the obvious next step to find out? If the evidence shows that the FBI doesn’t make such “mistakes” normally, only in a situation—the investigation of a Presidential candidate from the party opposite from the one currently represented in the White House—where one would assume special care would be applied, what would that tell us? One of the AG’s revelations is that “an F.B.I. official who had to sign an affidavit attesting to the accuracy and completeness of a court filing had specifically asked about any relationship with the C.I.A. Mr. Clinesmith altered the email so that it stated that Mr. Page was “not a source,” contributing to the Justice Department’s failure to discuss his relationship with the C.I.A. in a renewal application.”

That’s interesting. And why did he lie? Just “sloppiness”? At some point, repeated errors begin suggesting bias and intent.

It is astounding that James Comey is crowing in the media about the report, when the agency he led showed itself to be thoroughly incompetent at the exact moment when trust and care were most essential. He should hide his head in a bag, as Justice Scalia liked to say.

2. Ann Althouse reads Jamelle Bouie so I don’t have to. Thanks, Ann! After making Bouie an Ethics Dunce numerous times and finding him to be biased, anti-white fool who had no business being published in any fair and responsible conversation, I stopped reading him. Fortunately, Ann Althouse has a stronger stomach than I do, and pointed readers to “Two Articles of Impeachment for Trump Are Nowhere Near Enough/The House should take its own sweet time and investigate many more aspects of the president’s perfidious behavior,”  where he openly analyzes the Democratic impeachment follies as tactic to affect the 2020 election, and, ethics-challenged that he is, endorses that clear abuse of the Constitution, writing in part,

Democrats, in other words, can use the power of impeachment to set the terms of the next election — to shape the national political landscape in their favor. In a political culture governed by negative partisanship and hyperpolarization, restraint won’t save the Democratic majority. But a relentless anti-Trump posture — including comprehensive investigations and additional articles of impeachment — might just do the trick.

He’s scum, pure and simple.

Ann responds, “Does he not hear what he is saying?! He’s telling Democrats to drop the pretense of principle and patriotism and go all out for political advantage.”

3. Benefit of the doubt! That’s rich. The New England Patriots are again implicated in a cheating controversy. I have no read several commentaries, mostly from Boston source, arguing that the team “deserves the benefit of the doubt.”

This is the most unethical, untrustworthy, win-at-all-costs team in a sports league that has no problem crippling young athletes for profit. Sure, it should be proven guilty on facts, not presumption, but a history of being deceptive and breaking rules at very least removes the “How can anyone think we would do such a thing?” factor.

4. Top stories? Below are the results of a poll that tried to determine what the public considered the “top stories” of 2019 according to the proportion of those polled who “heard a lot about” each, by party affiliation.

5.  This is propaganda, not news reporting. Time Magazine, which admittedly is an animated journalistic corpse these days, still makes headlines with its choice of its “Person of the Year,” but that nostalgic notice won’t last much longer with selections like this year’s honoree:  teenage climate change scold Greta Thunberg. The choice is dishonest, manipulative, and absurd. Her impact has been nil; her expertise is imaginary; her cause is futile, and her rhetoric is insulting and hysterical. Few Americans know her name, and the number is still higher than it should be.

Of course, the idiocy of Time’s choice doesn’t excuse President Trump’s gratuitous tweet mocking her and the selection. This is beneath him, or should be. I grasp his logic: since the mainstream media will treat the ridiculous choice with reverence, being all-in on climate change hysteria, so he has to publicize the truth. Sometimes that logic is valid, but not when it comes to punching down at a manipulated and exploited child, which is what Thunberg is. Continue reading

High Noon Ethics Warm-Up, 9/5/2019: Arggh!…Yay!…Yechhh!…Hmmm…and Good!

Mornin’!

1. More historical ignorance to make you suicidal: Here’s Anna L.’s review of her visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield on the park’s Yelp page:

Boooorrrringggg. First off, it was nothing like the movie. All I saw were a bunch of fields and rocks. All the tourist shops, bars, and hotels in the area kept saying how I should check this place out. I kept getting confused with all of the plaques and monuments. Who was fighting who, I have no idea. The abandoned cannons looked tacky. I give this one star for the overweight character actor in the square, but that’s about it. Yaaawnnn.

I don’t even want to think about the political positions and favored candidates of an American this…this…I can’t even think of a good description. “It was nothing like the movie”????? And how many people like her are out there, rotting our culture and values from within?

Arrgh.

2. It’s about time. wouldn’t you agree? I’m amazed this took so long. Starting next year, BMC Toys in Scranton will begin adding  little green  Army women to the little green Army men that are such a standard kids’ toy. Since they debuted in 1950s, none of the iconic toy’s  manufacturers  have crossed the gender line. BMC is one of the  ew producers of plastic soldiers left in his country, and will soon be offering these:

Yay! Continue reading