Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/7/2017: Compromise, Competence, Verrit, A Congressional Jerk, And Democratic Crooks Don’t Matter…

Good Morning!

1 President Trump stunned the political world and particularly the left’s “I hate him” news media by crossing party lines and cutting a debt deal with Democratic leaders in defiance of his own hyper-partisan party. One reason they were stunned is because this is what competent Presidents do and are supposed to do in order to govern, and we have just finished eight years with a previous President who was unwilling and incapable of doing it.

This single episode doesn’t make Trump a competent President, but it does show that he is competent in at least one aspect of democratic leadership (Obama was competent at exactly two: appearing Presidential and speaking coherently), and has some guts. The demonstrated ability to negotiate and the willingness to act in the teeth of furious opposition were two characteristics that the advocates of his candidacy cited as justification for electing him.

It is also dawning on some that the structure of the DACA executive order may well be to fashion the measure as a bargaining chip to be cashed in later. This is also the kind of thing competent leaders do.

2. There is a new website called Verrit, which appears to be an openly, proudly, left-biased news source which purports to “verify” news stories, obviously based on its own progressive world view. Verrit founder and CEO Peter Daou told the news media,

“We’re in a time now where you just no longer trust anything that you’re reading,” Daou said. “Facts are now in question. Reality is now in question. So we want to do something where we rigorously vet these facts and we actually stand by our research and put an authentication code on every fact that we put up.”

And what qualifies Verrit as a fair and objective “authenticator”? Apparently it is the virtue of being hard-progressive and anti-conservative to the bone. Here is a recent Verrit collection of its “cards”:

Continue reading

Remember These Names: The Freddie Gray Not Guilty Verdict Is Exposing Race-Baiters And Mob Justice Supporters

Angry-Mob

As almost every legal analyst without an ideological agenda has pointed out, officer Edward Nero was found not guilty in his trial for alleged crimes related to the death of Freddie Gray because there was no evidence to prove him guilty. The case shouldn’t have been brought at all; the prosecutor was unethical and conflicted.

Most critics of the responsible and just verdict  by the  Judge Barry G. Williams (who is black; did you know that?  Few news media reports pointed that fact out: it doesn’t fit the narrative of white justice failing black victims, I guess) didn’t read it, and don’t appear to care what it says. Judge Williams explained:

“Based on the evidence presented, this court finds that the state has not met its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all required elements of the crimes charged….It was [Officer] Miller who detained Mr. Gray, it was Miller who cuffed Mr. Gray, and it was Miller who walked Mr. Gray over to the area where the defendant met them. When the detention morphed into an arrest, [Officer Nero] was not present…This court does not find that a reasonable officer similarly situated to the defendant, at the point where there are people coming out on the street to observe and comment, would approach the lieutenant who just got out of the van to tell him to seat belt Mr. Gray or make an inquiry concerning the issue of whether or not Mr. Gray has been seat belted. There is no evidence that this was part of his training, and no evidence that a reasonable officer would do the same…The court is not satisfied that the state has shown that [Officer Nero] had a duty to seat belt Mr. Gray, and if there was a duty, that the defendant was aware of the duty.”

Did the officers, including Nero, endanger Gray through negligence? Baltimore has already paid a settlement of millions admitting that, true or not. Criminal convictions require intent. Mediaite legal writer Chris White correctly observes that a conviction based on the prosecution’s case against Nero that it was criminal for him not to intervene in another officer’s conduct  would essentially set a  precedent requiring all police officers to second-guess each other out of fear of being charged with crimes.

Never mind, though. The powerful progressive-black activist-biased news media alliance has determined that Nero should have been convicted, that a racist system is the reason he wasn’t, and that’s all there is to it:

  • Juliet Linderman’s Associated Press story  on Nero’s acquittal on all charges began:  “Prosecutors failed for the second time in their bid to hold Baltimore police accountable for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.”

Foul. Nero wasn’t held legally accountable because there was no evidence that he was legally or factually accountable. The sentence drips with the assumption that Nero was accountable. As Tom Blumer noted. Linderman’s story also labelled Gray as black and the white officers accused in the case by their race, but omitted racial identification of the judge or the black officers charged. Hmmm...why would she do that? Why would her editors allow her to do that?

  • Whoopie Goldberg, on the IQ-lowering “let’s have ignorant female celebrities weigh in on serious topics” daytime show “The View,” sanctimoniously told an audience shocked at a verdict in a trial it knew nothing about, “This is the world we live in and this is going to happen. We’re going to have to deal with all of this.”

Deal with what, Whoopie? That the justice system still requires evidence before locking people up, even when a white police officer is accused in a black man’s death? Continue reading

Observations On The Fox GOP Candidates Debate in Detroit

GOP-DEBATE_

The transcript is here.

1. I’m in Atlanta, teaching ethics to lawyers, and watching some shows I seldom get to see. I believe I have discovered why so many citizens are ill-informed, have warped priorities, are entranced by a vulgar reality TV star, and appear not to comprehend that electing a President isn’t something that should be used as the means to express free-floating frustration. This morning I made the excuse of tuning into “Good Morning America!,” the top rated morning show,and watched in disbelief as the happy, giggly crew “covered” the debate by briefly highlighting Donald’s defense of his penis and the silly exchange about yoga Romney’s thorough dismantling of Trump didn’t make the cut, but the big news, according to ABC, was that a GMA cast member was announced as new “Dancing With The Stars” contestant. We were treated to a 10 minute segment including her mother, her DWTS partner, and a montage of the career of a typical TV weather girl.  The news that Hillary Clinton’s tech guy who set up her server and who had used the 5th Amendment to avoid answering the FBI’s questions was granted immunity yesterday by the Justice Department wasn’t anywhere to be found. Hey, the gang on GMA don’t seem to think who gets to run for President matters, why should anyone else? Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), what isn’t reported has as much effect on distorting Americans’ views, beliefs and civic conduct as much as what is.

But isn’t it exciting that Ginger is going to get to wear those skimpy dance outfits, and so soon after having her baby?

2. Back to Donald’s penis: I was tempted to re-post this in it’s entirety. I correctly forecasted that a President Trump would transform the culture and leave us with a “nation of assholes,” but I did nor foresee that he would be able to substantially accomplish his mission by just running.  In a Presidential debate, a candidate discusses his penis size and the audience hoots delightedly like Bill Maher’s crowd when he says “fuck you.” A civilized U.S. worthy of international respect would regard a candidate who stooped to such crudeness and idiocy as having eliminated himself from consideration.

3. Marco Rubio showed that Trump’s reliance on rationalizations is communicable. Asked why he spent last week name calling and suggesting that Trump wet his pants, after once vowing that he wouldn’t stoop to personal attacks,  Rubio answered that the media gives “an incredible amount of coverage” to Trump’s attacks—Oh. so it’s OK because it works. How big is your penis, Marco?– and Trump “deserves” to be attacked the same way. Great: the ends justify the means, and “he had it coming.” Later, Rubio objects to Trump calling him a “little Marco” instead of giving a substantive answer to a plocy question. Yes, ad hominen attacks are the hallmark of weak thinkers, bullies and fools. Explain to us again why you started using them, Senator?

4. Nonetheless, Trump’s constant use of “little Marco” should be the last strawfor any parent who doesn’t want to raise a bully or have a child tormented by one. Trump is validating bullying behavior, at a high level. Here, I’ll link to “A Nation of Assholes” again. Insufferable conservative bloggers and pundits who know how bad Trump is but who are actively rooting for him to destroy the Republican party as retribution—Why don’t they just root for a dirty bomb to take out the Capitol?— write about how the “elites” just don’t understand:

“To the establishment, this breakdown looks like chaos. It looks like savagery. It looks like a man with a flamethrowing guitar playing death metal going a hundred miles an hour down Fury Road. But to the American people, it looks like democracy.”

Well, that’s because the “elites'” contempt for people who applaud bullies, torture and penis-boasting is absolutely justified, and if the American people think electing someone like Trump is democracy, then it proves that they understand neither democracy nor their obligations as citizens. There is nothing noble, or admirable, or justifiable about someone supporting Donald Trump. Writes another right-wing apologist for Trump supporters (the pompous conservative gang are all saying the same thing—they are interchangeable):

“The messenger doubtless is deeply flawed. Trump is no Washington, that’s for sure. Donald Trump would not have been my first choice as a GOP nominee. He wouldn’t have been my 100th choice. But if the counter-revolutionaries decide they want Trump as the nominee, I will not oppose them. And I will hope that the counter-revolution has now become too big for one deeply and profoundly flawed man to derail.”

What an irresponsible statement. And by the way, if Trump would be your 10,000th choice, your respect for ethical values and responsible leadership is woefully insufficient. The Left ridicules Trump, and the Right roots for him to wreck the country. The Left is correct, and the Right is disgracing itself while showing the deep, deep cynicism and ugliness within.

4. Trump was, of course, asked if the tape of his off-the-record discussion with the New York Times, in which he supposedly expressed a willingness to be flexible on his immigration stance, should be released, and he says he won’t authorize it. This is identical to Hillary Clinton refusing to release her  Goldman Sachs  speeches. If the tape wouldn’t contradict what he has said in public, there is no reason not to release it.  Trump’s angry zombie supporters will excuse this just as Hillary’s corrupt zombie supporters will ignore the fact that she says what any given audience wants to hear.

When I hear the complaint that politicians have contempt for ordinary Americans, I am tempted to say, “And they have earned every bit of it.” Continue reading

New Rule For 2016: Elected Officials, Politician And Presidential Candidates Will Be Accountable For What They Say, Not What They “Meant To Say”

You know that quote time machine that politicians keep using? It doesn't exist. Stop letting them act as if it does.

You know that quote time machine that politicians keep using? It doesn’t exist. Stop letting them act as if it does.

We have a growing mass of public figures in politics and government who increasingly communicate in sloppy, vague, hyperbolic and ambiguous language and assume that they can wait and see how the public reacts to it before they, their spokespersons, defenders, enablers or friendly pundits need to clarify what they “really meant.”

Well, the hell with that.

Communication precision is more crucial than ever in the new, technology-driven public media, when tweets can be circulated to millions within minutes, and on-camera statements live on YouTube forever. This habit of allowing influential figures to spout lies, nonsense , smoking gun revelations about their character and worse and then insist on a do-over when they are called on the obvious meaning of their own words must stop. Among other things, it appears to be killing the little switch in the brains of these people that is supposed to stop human beings from saying stupid things before they say them. That switch goes by the name Prudence, which  encompasses common sense, respect, responsibility, restraint, honesty in communication, and more. We should want our leaders to have that switch working perfectly. Unfortunately, most of our most prominent leaders and would-be leaders appear not to have a functioning switch at all. Continue reading

Ebola Ethics Train Wreck Update

train wreck - b

Wow! THAT train wreck picked up passengers fast!

  • News Media Car: “Good Morning America” co-anchors Paula Faris and Dan Harris, who  told their audience members, thereby lowering their IQ’s, that a flight ban makes no sense since Ebola can only be passed via contact with bodily fluids. Well, let’s just let the infected fly, then! How much imagination does it take to think of ways passengers can get another passenger’s bodily fluids on themselves?  (HINT: bathrooms).  Faris and Harris also know that infected people can move around the country quickly using planes—hell, do they watch their own medium, television? Movies? Thomas Eric Duncan had no  symptoms when he boarded a plane to the US, where he infected at least two people before dying.  In a situation such as this, effective pubic education is one of the most critical functions of the news media. Choosing to blurt out spontaneous misinformation instead is incompetent and irresponsible.
  • Desperate Obama Defense Derangement Car: American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, who in an Ebola-like outbreak of the DODD that he has been suffering from for years, issued a truly despicable post including vile statements like these:
Put a scary disease together with a new terrorist organization and the ever-present threat of undocumented immigrants sneaking over the border, and you’ve got yourself a putrid stew of fear-mongering, irrationality, conspiracy theories, and good old-fashioned Obama-hatred that they’re luxuriating in like it was a warm bath on a cold night…When people are afraid, they’re more likely to vote Republican, so it’s in Republicans’ interest to make them afraid. And you couldn’t come up with a better vehicle for creating that fear than a deadly disease coming from countries full of dark-skinned foreigners. So what if only two Americans, both health care workers caring for a dying man, have actually caught it? You don’t need facts to feed the fear. And they only need two and a half more weeks. 
Yes, when all else in your party’s government fails and is failing, blame it on racism. After all, nobody would be worried about a highly infectious, horrible, organ liquifying disease with no vaccine and a 70% fatality rate if it came from Asia or Europe. This is all because Republicans hate the black President. By all means, keep pushing that slander: maybe a real Rodney King-style riot can be launched in St. Louis! That should turn out the base! The fact that the Center For Disease Control that said trust us, we’ll stop this disease “in its tracks” was revealed to be a clown act has nothing to do with the criticism.

Continue reading

Dear Juror B29: Shut Up.

Maddy

ABC News has decided to stir the pot by persuading one of the George Zimmerman jurors—one hopes the dimmest one, but who knows—to grab 15 minutes of fame on “Good Morning America!” Friday morning. Thus will America not only be wished a good day, it will also be simultaneously treated to the marvel and horror of the jury system. The horror: that ignorant fools like Juror B29 sit on juries, ever. The marvel: that such juries still bumble their way to the right decision as often as they do…and one did in the George Zimmerman trial.

The last is hardly a consolation for having to listen to Juror B29, who dares to show her face on national TV, presumably because she is Puerto Rican and not one of the inherently and presumably racist white jurors, and because she has set out to confirm the misguided convictions of those ignorant about the case but determined to be angry about it anyway. “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” she says. “But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence.”

Shut up.

  • Juries aren’t supposed to “feel” criminal defendants are guilty until the evidence shows they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • She has no idea what other jurors “felt in their hearts.”
  • Let go of your heart, B29, and spare us the self-glorification.

A nursing assistant and mother of eight children, the woman, calling herself “Maddy,” will be heard to say that she believes she owes Trayvon Martin’s parents an apology because she feels “like I let them down.”

Shut up.

  • A jury’s duty is not to the victim, or the victim’s parents. A jury’s duty is to the justice system.
  • The point of view of the parents of the victim in any crime is the most biased and irrelevant to a jury’s decision.
  • Stop sucking up, B29 What are you going to apologize for? Not sending a man to prison without evidence?

She says that the case shouldn’t have gone to trial and that it was ”a publicity stunt.”

Shut up.

  • It never should have gone to trial, but Zimmerman was guilty of murder and she wanted to convict him? That does not compute. B29 is hell bent on obliterating any credibility or respect a critic…or adherent…of the verdict could have had, in order to grab her moment in the spotlight.
  • Whatever the trial was, it was not a publicity stunt. But if Juror B29 really believed it was a publicity stunt, she should have been insisting on an acquittal from Day 1. But no…
  • ..because she says “I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury.” You know, The dumb one. The one who felt a defendant brought to trial in a publicity stunt and a case that shouldn’t have gone to trial should be found guilty anyway.

She goes on to say, we are told, that

“It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain.”

Oh, for the love of God, please shut up!

  • She was not “forcibly included in Trayvon Martin’s death,” whatever that is supposed to mean.
  • The more she talks, the more convinced rational people will be that juries should be entrusted to robots, computers, psychics, or maybe really smart household pets, because this is whiny, cowardly gibberish, and a disgrace.
  • Juror B29 is undermining the integrity of the verdict.

For a juror to do that is despicable, unless he or she is alleging jury tampering or other irregularities. It is every juror’s job to accept responsibility for a verdict, and not to try to game public opinion in an unpopular verdict by saying that she didn’t really believe in the final decision. Saying, as Juror B29 reportedly does (you can tell me about it, because I would rather gnaw my foot off than  give ABC a second of commercial viewing time for airing this offal), that Zimmerman “got away with murder”is ludicrous, and can only mean that 1) she doesn’t know what murder is, 2) she is pandering to the anti-Zimmerman fanatics, or 3) she didn’t vote according to the evidence as she saw it. If there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman was a murderer, by definition  he didn’t “get away with murder,” because he didn’t commit murder under the law, and “murder” is a legal definition.

Despite the media jackals barking at their heels, responsible jurors should not speak about a case, the deliberations or the verdict. Irresponsible, blathering fool jurors like B29 shouldn’t either, and news shows shouldn’t seek to nauseate America and undermine the justice system by giving them a forum. Shame on ABC, which also, on its website, again called Zimmerman “a white Hispanic,” the term invented solely for the race-baiting to skirt the inconvenient fact of Zimmerman’s  multi-racial heritage. “Maddy,” however is just an uncolored Puerto Rican.

And the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck keeps rolling on…

_______________________________

Sources: ABC News, Washington Post

Graphic: ABC News

The Power To Ignore

“And now the news…”

The news media’s choice of news stories, which to highlight, which to ignore, which to bury, has never seemed more suspect. NBC has made heroic efforts not to cover the Fast and Furious scandal; the Washington Post made a painted-over slab of rock at a hunting lodge a front page story to embarrass Gov. Rick Perry, and now the latest madman shooting tragedy is being mined for all the anti-gun sentiment that can be stimulated by human interest stories about the victims and solemn grandstanding statements by politicians. Meanwhile, the fact that every psychologist experienced in such matters cautions that publicizing such shootings encourages future massacres carries no weight with journalists at all. They will lecture us on the panacea of gun control but refuse to restrain themselves from giving homicidal maniacs exactly what they seek…fame. Ironically, the anti-gun slanted news coverage may ultimately be more responsible for the next Aurora than lax gun laws.

Journalists also will avoid confusing the public with stories that suggest that the issue of gun violence is more complex than they would like to acknowledge.

A week ago, 71-year-old Samuel Williams and his wife were  with 34 other patrons at a Jacksonville, Florida internet café.  Duwayne Henderson, 19, and Davis Dawkins, also 19, burst in on the scene, Henderson with a handgun and Dawkins with a baseball a bat. They announced their intent to rob the café and its customers, prompting Williams, a concealed carry permit holder, to pull out his .380-caliber handgun, drop to a semi-crouching position, and open fire on the would-be robbers. Continue reading

Liar of the Week: Mike Huckabee, as He Fails The Integrity Test

A Mike Huckabee advisor?

…and also the courage test.

Speaking unpopular truths and backing down once they prove unpopular is worse than what most politicians do, which is to avoid speaking the truth at all. In Huckabee’s case, he compounded the villainy by not only backing down, but by absurdly lying about what he had said, despite the fact that his words were recorded and his meaning was clear as a bell.

Huckabee, in case you don’t follow the remarks of former state governors under the delusion that he can they can be  elected President, had criticized Oscar winner Natalie Portman’s proud single mother-to-be act, saying, Continue reading

ABC News’ Unethical, Dishonest and Biased “What Would You Do?”

ABC’s News’ periodic segment “What Would You Do?” is public opinion manipulation crossed with bad social behavior research, seeking the entertainment value of hidden camera shows. The segments stage outrageous public scenarios—a caretaker mistreating a wheelchair-bound senior, for example, to see how bystanders will react. Any potential benefit of the segments—might they encourage people to consider intervening when they see blatantly unethical  behavior?—is swallowed whole by the more likely negative results. One is that the existence of a hidden camera show that stages such charades creates inevitable cynicism and skepticism. Most witnesses to crimes and other shocking public conduct have enough mental and social hurdles to clear before they can reach the decision to take action without ABC News giving them another. The thought “I wonder if this is fake?” may be just enough to still someone’s ethics alarms and cause them to discount the duties of rescue and confrontation. Indeed, several of the scenarios stages for the show have been unconvincing. “What Would You Do?” also provides a convenient rationalization for those who are inclined to ignore fellow human beings in peril: “This must be set-up.”

In addition, “What Would You Do?” often carries a more sinister feature, courtesy of the biased journalists at ABC. Sometimes the simulated conduct appears to be designed to portray the worst of human values, with the clear implication that such conduct is common in America. And sometimes, like last week, this is driven by a political agenda. Continue reading

Child Exploitation or Great Adventure: What We Need To Know About “The Biking Vogels”

America was just introduced to the biking Vogel family, as they embark on a charm offensive seemingly with a potential reality show in their sights. They appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Labor Day, and expect to get a boost in publicity thanks to a typical softball interview by a beaming stand-in for George Stephanopoulos. (Video taken and selected by the Vogels themselves accompanied the interview, further allowing them to present their trip in the most favorable light.) It would be have been both responsible and right, however, if the Vogels had been asked more pointed questions, probing the serious issue of whether John and Nancy Vogel may be exploiting and even abusing their children in pursuit of fame, fortune, and  an “Easy Rider” life-style that being parents of young children ought to preclude. Continue reading