Friday Ethics Potpourri, 9/24/2021: On PBS, Boeing, A Political Hack Law Dean, And Caring

Lawn sign

Many thanks to reader and commenter Jeff for bringing that lawn sign to my attention. It’s available here. I wish I had thought of it; one of these days I’ll get around to making a “Bias Makes You Stupid” T-shirt as an Ethics Alarms accessory. I would never post such a sign on my lawn for the same reason I object to the virtue-signaling signs in my neighborhood: I didn’t ask to my neighbors’ political views thrust in my face, and I don’t inflict mine of them. However, if a someone living in a house on my cul-de-sac inflicted a “No human being is illegal” missive on their lawn where I had to look at it every day, the sign above would be going up as a response faster than you can say “Jack Robinson,” though I don’t know why anyone would say “Jack Robinson.”

1. Roger Angell on caring…It’s September, and the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees start a three game series tonight with nine games left to the season. It could well determined which of the two teams will go on to the post-season, with a shot at the World Series. The encounter brings back a flood of memories, wonderful and horrible, about previous Sox-Yankee battles of note, including one from 1949, before I was born. I worked with a veteran lawyer at a D.C. association who was perpetually bitter about all things, and all because the Red Sox blew a pennant to New York that year by choking away the final two games of the season. For me, moments like this are reassuring and keep me feeling forever young: as I watch such games, I realize that I am doing and and feeling exactly what I was doing and feeling from the age of 12 on. Nothing has changed. Roger Angell, one of my favorite writers, eloquently described why this is important in his essay “Agincourt and After,” from his collection,”Five Seasons”:

“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look — I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete — the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball — seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”

A small price indeed.

2. PBS may be a progressive propaganda organ, but the facts will out. A streaming service offers the channel’s documentaries for a pittance, and they are a reliable source of perspective and enlightenment. One that my wife and I watched this past week was about the development of the FDA and other federal agencies that protected the public and workers. When workers at manufacturing plants making leaded gasoline started dying of lead poisoning, the government scientists’ solution was to just ban the product. General Motors and Standard Oil fought back and overturned the ban, assuring Congress that they could make leaded gas safe to produce, and they did. This was a classic example of why we must not let scientists dictate public policy: leaded gasoline transformed transportation and benefited the public. The scientists’ approach was just to eliminate risk; they didn’t care about progress, the economy, jobs or anything else. Science needs to be one of many considerations, and when scientists have been co-opted by partisan bias, as they are now, this is more true than ever.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2021: “Having A Hard Time Keeping Up” Edition

Just a housekeeping note…I am struggling to find a way to keep Ethics Alarms reasonably current and informative at a time when the ethics issues are resembling an avalanche from my point of view. Avoiding the trap of letting political matters eat the blog is also a constant chore; it has been for many years, but the problem seems to be getting worse. The daily warm-up format was developed to help me cover more issues, but it has become an amazingly time-consuming project, usually taking me two hours on most days. That’s still less than it would take to cover each of the four or five items in full posts (tagging, proofreading and completing the links now takes longer than ever, thanks to WordPress “improvements). Of course, posting 8 or 9 posts a day instead of just three or four would help traffic, which depresses me, but unfortunately, I have other responsibilities. Then there are the long-delayed but promised Part Twos and Threes that are staring at me like unpaid debts, making me feel guilty. I can’t believe the Ethics Scoreboard would have an essay a week, and sometimes not even that. I’ll figure it out….

1. Well, this makes me feel a little better...it appears that the commentariat on both Ann Althouse’s blog and the home of Professor Turley’s usually excellent analysis have also become overwhelmingly conservative as the progressives have fled except for a few determined souls. Ann and the professor are both left-leaning, but their integrity has led them to be critical of the progressive hive as well as the news media that nourishes it. Being objective is now the mark of an evil conservative, apparently, or so their critics claim. That’s a horrifying cultural development, but at least the flight of the progressives on Ethics Alarms was not an isolated phenomenon.

2. More on “Peril”...

  • The story in Bob Woodward’s latest book about Gen. Milley’s breach of the chain of command because, apparently, he was biased by several Big Lies about his Commander in Chief only rated page 16 coverage in the New York Times, behind, for example, Squaw Valley changing its name because a lifetime petty criminal was accidentally killed by a Minnesota cop. Meanwhile, this is front page, multiple op-ed stuff over at the Washington Post. It the Post’s Bob Woodward’s claims are true, then it should be a front page story in both papers. If it isn’t, THAT’s a front page story. 
  • Of course, the story may be garbage, but the Post won’t consider that. Example: in a piece by Greg Sargent called “Awful new revelations about Trump and Jan. 6 show Mike Pence is no hero,” this excerpt from “Peril” is cited as factual enough to be called an “awful revelation.” Trump and Pence are supposedly arguing about whether Pence should block the certification of the election:
“If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?” Trump asked.
“I wouldn’t want any one person to have that authority,” Pence said.
“But wouldn’t it be almost cool to have that power?” Trump asked, according to Woodward and Costa.
“No,” Pence said. He went on, “I’ve done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It’s simply not possible.”
 
How can these quotes be believed? It was a conversation between two people. Trump wasn’t Woodward’s source, and neither was Pence. Yet we are told that these are exact quotes. Unless Woodward was there, which he wasn’t, the account is hearsay at best, and maybe third- or fourth-hand hearsay. Greg Sargent, however, believes them, and a Post editor thinks that’s enough to justify representing a fabricated conversation as real.
 

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“Is We Getting Dummer?” Based On The Mainstream News Media’s Propaganda On The Texas Heartbeat Law, We Is, And That’s What They Want

Texas law hysteria

Op-eds that make American dumber shouldn’t be published. There is an op-ed in today’s New York Times by Jamelle Bouie, adding another fact-free rant to the current freak-out over the so-called Texas freak-out law. Bouie chooses to repeat a theme of his from other columns, that the case proves that the Supreme Court “has too much power.” Bouie was first spotted by Ethics Alarms as Slate’s resident race-baiter, a job at which he was embarrassingly bad. Naturally, this qualified him to be added to the New York Times stable of socialists, fantasists and Trump-Deranged fanatics, since one incompetent and biased black columnist (Charles M. Blow) wasn’t enough in these times of “diversity and inclusion.”

Bouie, on the topic of the Supreme Court, literally (which I mean literally) doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is not a lawyer, and if he ever read a whole Supreme Court decision (or had someone knowledgeable explain one to him), I’ve seen no evidence. of it. Guess which of the (incompetent) dissents to the SCOTUS majority decision not to suspend the Texas law when there is no procedural precedent for doing so. Come on, guess! Why Sonia Sotomayor, speaking of “diversity and inclusion,” of course. She was a cynical choice for the Court by Barack Obama, using approximately the same identity-based standards that made Kamala Harris Vice-President.

Non-lawyers love to quote Sotomayor, because she seldom makes legal arguments, just emotional ones. “The court has rewarded the state’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation,” she wrote this time, in a snippet being repeated by other pro-abortion hysterics. That’s because the Court doesn’t strike down unconstitutional laws until the government tries to enforce them. What Bouie cites as an example of the Court having too much power is in fact proof that its power is limited.

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Ethics Hero: Prof. Jonathan Turley (And The Indefensible Whitewash Of The Shooting Of Ashli Babbitt)

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Ethics Alarms already noted Jonathan Turley’s accurate and searing condemnation of the outrageous and sinister double standard applied to Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt on January 6. Incredibly, the blatantly partisan wound on the illusion of our justice system’s integrity got worse after Turley’s first post on the topic. The investigation of the mind-meltingly stupid riot concluded that it was not coordinated, was not incited by Donald Trump, and was not an “insurrection,” just as any objective and reasonably informed citizen could have figured out by themselves. Then Byrd, whose identity had been shielded from the public (and oddly unrevealed by the mainstream media, who could have discovered and published it if they were still practicing journalism), gave a nauseating NBC interview in which he pronounced himself a hero, made the absurd claim that he had saved untold lives by shooting an unarmed woman, and, most significantly, revealed that he had no legal basis to use deadly force. (He also revealed himself to be unfit to be trusted with a weapon.)

This prompted Turley to write his second attack on the politicized cover-up. Turley, despite the names he is called by the aspiring totalitarians of the Far Left and the Trump-Deranged, is a Democrat and a lifetime liberal. Because of what can only be an abundance of character, he has not had his values warped by being marinated in the campus culture of his typically uber-woke institution, George Washington University. Not had he shied away from disparaging the illiberal and anit-Democratic antics of the Axis of Unethical Conduct (“the resistance,” Democrats and the mainstream media) during their four-plus year effort to destroy Donald Trump. He has been remarkably consistent, legally accurate, fair, and right in this, and has paid the price.

In the Virtues, Values and Duties page here (Have you ever visited? You should you know…) I list what I call “The Seven Enabling Virtues.” These are character traits that often are necessary to allow us to be ethical:

  1. COURAGE
  2. FORTITUDE
  3. VALOR
  4. SACRIFICE
  5. HONOR
  6. HUMILITY
  7. FORGIVENESS

Turley annoys me sometimes with his professorial reserve (developments that should send American screaming into the streets are just “troubling” or “problematical” in his typical lexicon), but he is well-girded in all of the seven. Every time he goes against the prevailing progressive narrative, he is called a Trumpist, a phony, a Nazi, and worse. His integrity and dedication to truth-telling has undoubtedly cost him speaking gigs, book sales and TV interviews on any network but Fox. Yet Turley has not backed down.

Turley’s recent article in The Hill regarding the Babbitt shooting is superb.

Highlights:

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The Ashli Babbitt Cover-Up

Someone please explain how the closing of the investigation of the shooting of Ashli Babbitt can be reconciled with the sentence just handed down in the case of the Alabama officer who shot an allegedly suicidal man who would not drop his gun.

The US Capitol Police officer who shot and killed pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2020 will not face any disciplinary action. “USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury,” the department said in a statement. The department will not name the officer out of consideration for the officer’s safety, although his name has been unofficially on the web for quite a while. If this is not a USCP double standard, it is certainly a journalism and political double standard. A black officer who shot an unarmed white women is protected with official anonymity while one white officer after another in police-involved shootings of black men have had their names not only released, but published and made the targets of attacks by elected officials.

Prof. Jonathan Turley, hardly a rabble-rouser, writes in damning prose:

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Scared Yet? I Want To Hear A Legitimate Defense Of YouTube Censoring Senator Paul’s Speech…

Spoiler: There isn’t one.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the U.S. Senate’s most passionate libertarian, was suspended from YouTube for expressing his strong opposition to Wuhan virus mandates and calling for widespread citizen resistance. This is res ipsa loquitur: Big Tech is using its corporate power to support government policies and prevent dissent. The argument that YouTube (that is, Google) is a private entity and not bound by the First Amendment is disingenuous, just as similar arguments defending Facebook, Twitter and other social media banning President Trump as well as posts that offer opinions and positions they don’t want the public to see. When corporations use their massive power and influence to suppress speech and control the flow of information, they pose an existential threat to democracy. When they exercise this power to advance the political agenda of a specific group, individual or party, that threat is worse. When they are censoring and distorting on behalf of the government, the threat is dire.

Paul released a rebuttal and condemnation of YouTube’s indefensible action, and it was also taken down by Our Video Masters. You can view it here, on Rumble. If I could embed it, I would.

Let me turn the floor over to Professor Turley, not as an appeal to authority, but because there is no reason for me to write in different words what he has said persuasively already:

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Anatomy Of A Pit Bull Narrative

american-bully2

Rhoda Wagner, 60, was killed by three dogs that appear to have been some variety of pit bull-type breeds or pit bull breed mixes. She was caring for the dogs for her roommate. Jonathan Turley flagged the story for his own purposes: he was interested in talking about how the law treats such attacks. This one was in Pennsylvania, which has no “dangerous breed laws” (yet), and the owner had the dogs euthanized. However, as in almost all of the tragedies exploited by dog bigots to cast any dog that looks like pit bull supposedly looks as dangerous monsters, this story is missing too many facts to know who to blame and what happened.

Turley doesn’t help, and reveals himself as a a dog breed tyro by referring to the dogs as “pit bulls.” “Pit bull” isn’t a single breed, and as I’ve written here already too often, incidents involving eight or more distinct breeds, as well as mixes, are routinely reported as involving “pit bulls.” This accounts for the extreme statistics reported by anti-pit bull breed propagandists like dogsbite.org (which was naturally used as an authority in several of the articles about the Pennsylvania attack).

The police called the dogs “pit bull terriers.” The American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed, but unless abused or trained to fight, not one known for aggression. The few, inconclusive photos I’ve seen of one of the dogs suggest a Staffordshire Terrier mix of some kind, but who knows? There is no information so far about whether the three dogs were even the same breed or mix or from the same litter: police don’t know dog breeds. An incident can’t be used to impugn a breed or breed of dogs without accurate identification of what they were.

Next, as Turley notes, we don’t know if any of the dogs had been abused or had any prior incidents of aggression. Were they rescues? Many, maybe most, pit bull breeds and mixes are. Rescues—of all breeds— have special issues and triggers. Most important of all, how well were the dogs trained? All of the pit bull breeds are intelligent and train relatively easily. They also often will obey only their master. Not training large dogs adequately is negligence. (No, I still can’t get Spuds to lie down.)

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Friday Late Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2021: Pot, Bribes, “Advocacy Journalism,” Baseball’s Domestic Abuse Policy, And How Did A Woman Win The Gold In The Men’s Decathlon?

White rabbit 2

I often check multiple websites to see what of ethics significance occurred on given dates. This July 30 isn’t a major ethics day, though the fiasco that resulted in 1864 when the serially incompetent Union General Ambrose Burnside made his third major blunder of the Civil War in the Battle of the Crater carries a crucial leadership lesson that apparently is impossible to learn: don’t give incompetent leaders second (or third) chances to lead.

However, on one of the sites, “This Day in History,” the headline on a note reads, “1976: Caitlyn Jenner wins Olympic decathlon.” That may be politically correct, but it’s cowardly (would the trans activist mob pounce if the event was stated straight?) and absurd on its face. Bruce Jenner won the Olympic decathlon, and it was a men’s event. Caitlyn was, as far as we know, not even a twinkle in his eye. Bruce fathered children after winning the gold; the event and the other events in his life when he was a he were not magically altered by his later transgender journey, like “Back to the Future.”

1. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” note of the day. Frequent commenter and invaluable tipster Steve Witherspoon sent me a link to a Jonathan Turley column I had missed. The law professor covers a lot of issues we have discussed here as he notes that “Professional ethics, it seems, has become entirely impressionistic in the age of advocacy journalism.”

It seems? There is no question about it. Turley also points out the hypocrisy of the Times with several examples, writing, “If none of this makes sense to you, that is because it does not have to make sense. Starting with the [Senator Tom] Cotton scandal, the New York Times cut its mooring cables with traditional journalist values. It embraced figures like Nikole Hannah-Jones who have championed advocacy journalism.” He also notes that “while the Times has embraced advocacy journalism, its has not updated its guidelines which state that “Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that The Times is seeking to cover objectively.”

Read it all, and I recommend sending it to any friend or relative who calls assertions that the news media is a left-wing propaganda machine at this point “conservative disinformation.”

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Follow-Up: Guess Who Is Telling FaceBook Which “Disinformation” To Censor?

jen_psaki_hunter_biden_russian_disinfo_07-17-2021

With this post. a follow-up to this one regarding the hypocritical and ominous Presidential attack on vaccine-related “disinformation” on Facebook, Ethics Alarms ends the suspension of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who writes the generally excellent “Res Ipsa Loguitur” blog and who has distinguished himself during the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck for refusing to follow the unethical lead of his biased and Trump-Deranged colleagues in law and academia, and having the courage to point out many of their worst betrayals of the public trust. I suspended the professor at the beginning of June for carelessly advancing a favorite Democratic party Big Lie on his blog, that a media recount after the 2000 election showed George W. Bush had actually lost the popular vote in Florida, and thus Al Gore was the rightful winner of the Presidency. I wrote, “Ethics Alarms is giving him a month’s suspension, or until he fixes his error and apologizes.” Well, he sort of fixed the error but never apologized, so I made the suspension six weeks. I’m happy to be able to reference his blog again, and as a happy coincidence, one of his recent posts nicely supported what I had just written.

Turley pointed to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitting that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on the Whan virus vaccine and related matters. She had said that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies. He wrote in part,

Obviously, anyone can object to postings. There is a greater danger when the government has a systemic process for aggressively flagging material to be censored. The real problem however is with the censorship system itself. We have seen how there needs to be little coordination between political figures and the media to maintain controlled narratives in public debates and discussions.”

By “little” the sometimes obsessively cautious professor means “none.” He continues,

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Ethics Dunce: Prof. Jonathan Turley

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Oh, fine. Now Professor Jonathan Turley, whom Ethics Alarms often relies on for sound, unbiased reasoning and constitutional expertise, is perpetuating an apparently unkillable progressive false narrative. And there is no excuse for it. Not for Turley, not for anyone.

I was going to reference his commentary regarding the idiotic and ignorant claim being pushed by deplorables—like Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, a real embarrassment to the legal profession—that Trump could be “reinstated” as President once it is proven that the 2020 election was stolen and he really won. As shouldn’t even need to be explained, not by Turley, not by a community college volunteer civics teacher with a losed head injury, that cannot happen. Never. Even if it could be shown that Trump won, which is also so close to impossible that it’s not worth discussing, there is still no way to undo a Presidential election. Then, right in the middle of Turley’s explanation, I read this:

“In Florida, later tallies indicated that Al Gore likely won that state. It did not matter. George Bush was already sworn in as president.”

Et tu, Turley? That’s something Trump might write, but he’s not a professor or a lawyer. It’s something Powell might write, but she’s an idiot. Hey, I know blogging takes a lot of time, and checking the accuracy of what you write when you just want to get a post up is a pain, but people trust you, damn it. You have an obligation not to be careless. You have an even greater obligation not to perpetuate Left-wing lies and propaganda.

I trust Turley to such an extent that I began to doubt my own knowledge and research. Wait, could that be true? How did I get that wrong for all these years? It took me 42 seconds to confirm that Turley repeated an easily-checked partisan falsehood, probably because so many of his leftist colleagues at the George Washington law school believe it. From that infamous conservative lie machine, PBS:

Media Recount: Bush Won the 2000 Election

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