Final Pre-Election Ethics Notes I

Election 2020

[I may have more of these as the day goes on, before the riots start.]

1. I just heard a notable radio ad “approved” by Joe Biden. An African-American male voice [Aside: I was once told that identifying a voice as African-America was racist. Can you guess my response to this?] talked about voter suppression—poll taxes, literacy tests, terrorism and intimidation. “They” are up to the same “old tricks,” we are told. Then came a montage of sound clips, one of which was from an unidentified news source stating that “President Trump continues to oppose mail-in voting.” Then the voice says, “Be sure to vote. Not because I want you to, but because HE wants you not to.”

Biden approving this despicable message would have been enough, all by itself, to convince me that he is a liar and a cheat. Every American can go to a polling place and vote if they care enough. Requiring them to prove they are citizens and voting on their own behalf is not “suppression,” and opposing mail-in ballots that are an obvious invitation to voter fraud.

The ad is hate-mongering and a disgusting use of Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist. ”

This does seem to be the latest strategy to send the Deranged, the Marxists, the antifa, the anarchists and the Black Lives Matter mob into the streets if the President wins.  Playing his part, the House Majority Whip, Rep. James Cliburn (D-S.C.) told Fox News over the weekend that the only way Democrat Joe Biden could lose the election would be “for voter suppression to be successful.”


Clyburn also evoked Big Lie #4, and said that he would “pray” for blacks who voted for Trump. I give him credit for originality: when asked why such a vote was apparently worthy of damnation, Clyburn did not immediately jump to Trump’s birther period, which is usually the best anyone challenged to show the President’s alleges racism can come up with. No, he cited…Omarosa!

“I’m the father of three black women. I am the son of a black woman. If any black man can go in a polling place and cast a vote for a man who referred to a black woman as a dog on national television, I’m going to have to pray for them. I will have to pray for them. I don’t know of any man [who] can abide that kind of disrespect and insult,” the habitually race-baiting Representative said. Huh? I had to look it up. Yes, the President called his former “Apprentice” villain a “dog” after she turned on him—as he should have known she would do—and published a tell-all book after being fired from a White House position that he was a fool to appoint her to  in the first place. Of course, Trump has called others he was displeased with “a dog,” and uses the insult on all races and genders. It’s not Presidential and it’s not civil; it’s also not evidence of racism, but if that’s the best Clyburn had to flog the narrative, I guess he was stuck with it.

Then we have this, from the Attorney General of Pennsylvania:

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Is The Mainstream Media Really Going To Bet All Of Its Remaining Credibility On Suppressing The Biden Family Influence-Peddling Scandal Until The Election? Really? Wow.


Glenn Greenwald has published the damning article that was censored by his own creation, The Intercept, which was originally designed to  address rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world,” and “ to support independent journalism.” You can quickly see why he resigned.

An excerpt, as the reporter concludes:

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Sunset Ethics, 9/30/2020: Conflicts Of Interest, Sexual Harassment, Movies And Lies

1. Conflicts of interest on my mind. I narrowly averted a disastrous conflict of interest yesterday out of pure moral luck, so the topic is much on my mind; I’m still distracted by the near miss. Professionally, it was the equivalent of almost being picked off by a bus.

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg reacted to the death of Justice Ginsburg with an essay on her 48-year friendship with RBG, saluting Ginsburg’s “extraordinary character.” That’s funny: Totenberg never told NPR’s listeners, nor did  NPR, that she had a personal relationship with the Justice, despite being charged with covering the Court and critiquing its decisions.  Kelly McBride, NPR’s public editor and senior vice president of the Poynter Institute, threw a metaphorical ethics foul flag,

“In failing to be transparent about Totenberg’s relationship with Ginsburg over the years, NPR missed two opportunities,”she wrote on the NPR website. “First, NPR leaders could have shared the conversations they were having and the precautions they were taking to preserve the newsroom’s independent judgment,” McBride said. “Second, having those conversations in front of the public would have sharpened NPR’s acuity in managing other personal conflicts of interest among its journalists.”

Ginsburg, who officiated at Totenberg’s wedding in 2000. Nonetheless, the correspondent,  who wears her progressive bias on her sleeve as it is, denied that the conflict compromised to her journalism, telling  the Washington Post that NPR’s listeners benefited from ther friendship because it gave her greater insight into and Ginsburg’s  thinking.

And that justifies keeping the relationship secret from listeners how, Nina?

2. From the “When ethics alarms don’t work” files: Lawyer Phillip Malouff Jr. of La Junta, Colorado, was censured for a series of episodes of unprofessional behavior and sexual harassment.

In November 2016, Malouff  winked at a magistrate judge and said, “When you get back from your vacation, I better be able to see your tan lines.” When he visiting the same magistrate’s chambers to discuss scheduling matters, he  said, according to the female judge,: “Ask your husband a question for me when you get home tonight. Ask him what it’s like to have relations with someone who wears the robe. It has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but there have never been any women judges until now.”

Malouff  was informed that his comments were unprofessional and a violation of the Colorado Judicial Department’s anti-harassment policy. Ya think?

In July 2019, Malouff asked a judicial assistant to check whether the mother in a parental rights hearing had an outstanding warrant. When the assistant replied, “She is good.” Malouff  responded, “Her husband told me that she is good.

Wink wink, nudge nudge. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum On Zoom Day!” (Mail-In Voting Thread)

As veteran visitors know, there is little that thrills me more than when a commenter tackles a topic that I know I need to write about, saving me the trouble of researching and writing a post. Thus I am grateful to Chris Marschner (as well as others who discussed the issue on yesterday’s Open Forum) for this Comment of the Day on the annoying mail-in voting controversy, which, I venture, the Democrats are using to give them an automatic excuse to challenge the results of November’s elections, or, in the alternative, to be able to claim that the President is “refusing to accept the results of the election” should he lose in the midst of dubious handling of the mail.

The USPS has been in a state of progressive rot for decades, one the internet made it almost, but not quite, obsolete. The service bleeds money, is progressively more unreliable, and now is an extremely expensive operation that the nation can’t afford. Our local post office was closed years ago. I literally cannot remember the last time anyone in the house got a personal letter. (The closest was the various official correspondence from the pathetic Ethics Alarms commenter who sued me, demanding $100,000 for defamation.) Christmas cards, junk mails, government mail, and bills, along with the occasional check if it is  lucky enough to be delivered at all. To suddenly demand that the U.S. mail must be used to facilitate voting in a crucial, perhaps existential election like the upcoming one is so cynical or foolish—Hanlon’s Razor again—that it boggles the mind (if one has a mind) that anyone would fall for it. 

We are, unfortunately, in the era of Facts Don’t Matter.

For some time, the USPS has epitomized the slogan, “Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.” If the U.S. relies on the mail for this election, it will simply be “Can’t live with it.”

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post,  “Open Forum On Zoom Day!”:

Between 2011 and 2016 200,000 mailboxes were moved. Those getting the vapors over logistical decisions on mailbox placement are using a normal activity and concocting an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Lest we not forget,  states run elections. Why does the federal government have to pay for a choice pushed by the party that believes it can make political hay from demanding it? Nothing stops people from requesting an absentee ballot. I intend to vote in person as I did in the primary. Voting in person is no more dangerous than going to WalMart.

Back to the mail: All boxes are subject to be moved if they get an average of only 25 pieces each day. If poor people are sending lots of mail then they will get more boxes. If they don’t send mail then they can hand their mail to a postal employee. I am getting tired of the argument that poor people have no choices other than the one that makes them do something else. If a low income person works, take the ballot and put it in with the business mail or in the outgoing slot. If they don’t work, then wait for the carrier and give it directly to them. Failing this, if they are so concerned about being disenfranchised they can get off their ass and walk or take a bus to a post office. Continue reading

Among All The Smoking Guns Showing The Mainstream Media’s Willingness to Lie Outright To Impugn President Trump, This Might Be The Smokingest

Here’s a sequence from yesterday’s news conference:

Watch it, please. Here’s a summary of what transpires:

Step 1.:  A reporter asks the President about his thoughts on the theory floated by a Constitutional law professor in Newsweek that Kamala Harris shouldn’t be considered a ‘natural born citizen” and thus technically isn’t eligible to be Vice-President or President.

Step 2: The President offers no opinion on it whatsoever, and makes it clear he didn’t read the article (who reads Newsweek?). He says 1) he heard about it 2) it is his understanding that the author is a genuine authority 3) he doesn’t know what the guy actually argued (Trump asks the reporter if the problem is that Harris “wasn’t born” in the U.S.)

Step 3.The reporter quickly summarizes the professor’s point.

Step 4. The President says, first, that he has no idea if the professor’s claims are right, and  concludes by saying he “doesn’t know about it” that he “just heard about it” and will “take  a look.”

And Step 5?

CNN headlines, “Trump promotes another birther lie, this time about Kamala Harris”

Reporter wrote,

” President Donald Trump spent years pushing lies about the birthplace and presidential eligibility of President Barack Obama, the first Black president. On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president. Trump’s incendiary nonsense about Harris was part of a Thursday self-described “news conference” he largely used to campaign against his Democratic election opponents…”

Three reporters wrote this completely false story, and CNN published it!

Let’s count the lies: Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/13/2020: Kamala Harris Selection Hangover Edition” [Corrected]

Why is johnburger2013′s latest epic a Comment of the Day? I’d like to use it to launch a series of such accounts as people try to navigate the Great Stupid as it merges with 2020 campaign craziness.

We’ve talked here before about how it isn’t ethical to deliberately upset people, especially people who are suffering from emotional maladies intensified by one’s existence in a peer group bubble devoid of diversity of thought, experience and expression. However, it is also not ethical to allow those who have announced to the world, or even just you, that they don’t know what the hell they are talking about to not even have the chance to improve their lot. We are all members of the human family, and family members are obligated to say something when other family members speak or act like idiots.

Here is johnburger2013′Comment of the Day on the post, “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/13/2020: Kamala Harris Selection Hangover Edition”:

This past Monday afternoon, I went to an upscale Houston area hardware store (yeah, I know, the whole idea is dumb but I needed a certain type of screw and nut that only they sell so don’t yell at me)*. They had CNN playing on the TV screen. I watched a bit of the Kamala Harris selection/pick coverage. An employee who is quite nice on most occasions watched with me. I asked her, “What does Harris bring to the ticket? Biden is going to win California and the west and east coasts, and Harris’s background as a DA in California has some real problems. She has not been overly impressive in her term as a senator, and her behavior during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing is hypocritical as it relates to Biden’s history will the ladies.”

Thus ensued a tongue lashing I haven’t had since the last time my wife was really mad at me (which may have been the day before!). She declared that she had the First Amendment right to speak her truth and that I was not to prevent her from doing so. (Me: “Uh . . .” ) She told me that she used to be a registered Republican but wouldn’t vote for one of those slimy jerks if they were the last candidates on the planet because they are weak and cowed by Trump, too afraid to stand against him who embodies all that is pure evil on the side of the universe. She also declared that Biden’s choice was the most amazing choice in VP candidates in the last 50 years, that Harris will bring grace, strength, and wisdom to the ticket, and will solidify a Biden Presidency that will save this nation from horrible Donald Trump and his infernal legacy of corruption, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny. When I pressed further** about Kamala’s qualifications, considering that Biden may have dementia or other cognitive issues, she scoffed, furrowed her brow and demanded if I truly believed that Biden was suffering from dementia any more than the Current Satan-in-Chief. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/13/2020: Kamala Harris Selection Hangover Edition [UPDATED]


In the 1945 drama “The Lost Weekend,” Ray Milland (above) played alcoholic Don Birnam, and won  the Oscar for Best Actor. The film also won the Oscar for Best Picture. Have you ever seen it? The film is virtually never shown on TV. Milland is another one of the once major Hollywood stars who are almost completely forgotten today, a fascinating group that includes Claire Trevor, Fredric March, Irene Dunne, John Garfield, and Norma Shearer, among others. If their major works were in black and white, they weren’t lucky enough to star in a film regarded as a classic, and they didn’t have a popular TV show when their movie career waned, the culture just forgets about them….and loses as a result. How many non-film nerd Americans under the age of 40 could recognize any of those actors, never mind all of them?

1. Nothing to see here: move along! Yesterday it was reported that the Democratic Party purchased the domain, and that clicks on the link went directly to the Biden campaign site. I checked: it did. Then, by 5:30 pm, the Biden redirect was eliminated. Res ipsa loquitur!

UPDATE: I’m putting an official question mark on this one. It is true that the went to Biden’s site, but that could have been a partisan dirty trick.  Of course, if true, this is the kind of story that the mainstream media would bury. If it was a set-up, it’s the kind of story the right-leaning media would credulously report as proof of Democratic de facto embrace of violence.

Trustworthy, objective journalists would be nice…

2. The vise tightens...Yesterday I noted that colleges and universities were increasingly cancelling their acceptances of students based on revelations of their past social media posts. In one case, Liberty Woodley, 17, the 2020 valedictorian of her high school class in Cape Coral, Florida., had accepted an offer to attend the University of Florida. Then a self-righteous and vicious  actress and “influencer” named Skai Jackson last month asked her more than 500,000 Twitter followers to send her screenshots of  “hateful” social media posts, so she could wrck lives and inflict pain on strangers. Someone sent in one of Woodley’s old Instagram posts in which she wrote when she was 16.

“I really try so hard not to be a racist person, but I most definitely am, there’s no denying it,” it said. Based on that, her acceptance was revoked.

 In an interview with The Gainesville Sun,  Liberty explained that had written the post out of anger at a time when she was being constantly bullied by some black classmates. “I am not racist at all, and I am not full of hate,” she said.  Well, there’s a Catch-22 for you! Oprah Winfrey and others are haranguing whites to admit their inherent racism as a first step to addressing “systemic racism,” but if they do what is asked, it means they are hateful and must be cancelled.

What do you want to bet that Liberty will vote for all Democrats in November? Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“I saw in a tweet that [Biden] was forefronting the Charlottesville “fine people” hoax… despicable. They have chosen quite deliberately to commit to a lie that is intended to make black people feel hated and they are doing it for political gain… I blogged in April 2019, “If Biden does not come forward and retract [a video relying on the Charlottesville hoax] and apologize and commit himself to making amends, I consider him disqualified. He does not have the character or brain power to be President.” Now, more than a year later, Biden has done the opposite. He’s doubled down on the lie and he’s making it the centerpiece of his campaign!”

—-Retired law professor/blogger Ann Althouse this morning, reacting to “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Speech Transcript August 12: First Campaign Event as Running Mates.” 

Here’s the tweet:

Ann could be best described as an  old school  moderate Democrat, which in today’s environment means she is a conservative, a racist, and a traitor. She is shocked—shocked!—that the Democratic nominee for President would advance a false narrative based on Big Lie #3, arguably the foundational lie of the “resistance” that has been repeated by activists, pundits, reporters and Democratic leaders and elected officials for nearly four years. That Big Lie is “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist.”

The Charlottesville canard has become the go-to “proof” of the President’s racism by the Trump Deranged, either through ignorance (from believing the news media) or malice. To refresh your memory (and give you a quick reference to cut and paste into social media posts to shake on your “friends'” cyber-faces, here is the relevant section from the “Big Lies” compendium: Continue reading

It looks Like Biden Has The Hypocrite Vote Locked Up!

Shaun King is a social justice warrior star and a Black Lives Matter shill. As far as I can determine, King is black the way Elizabeth Warren is Cherokee. Never mind: he has built his career on identifying as a victimized person of color because, he says, his mother told him his father wasn’t the white man on his birth certificate, but a light-skinned black man. For many, many reasons, I wouldn’t trust anything Shaun King  says or writes, nor would I trust him to mail my water bill. One litmus test for me: he still claims Mike Brown was murdered by a racist cop. He is the very model of a modern major advocate of “Facts Don’t Matter.”

Here, next to King’s tweet about Biden and Harris from two years ago,  is his tweet yesterday celebrating Super-Hypocrite Kamala Harris’s selection as Joe Biden’s running mate.

To be fair, did say 1%. Continue reading