So: Facebook Decided That Kyle Rittenhouse Was Guilty, And Enabled False Media Narratives. Now What?

Facebook-Censorship

Facebook announced shortly after Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested after the Kenosha shootings, “We’ve designated the shooting in Kenosha a mass murder and are removing posts in support of the shooter.” At this point, there had been no investigation, no assessment of the evidence, and, obviously, no trial. Nonetheless, Facebook, which purports to be a protector of free speech and expression (but is not), decided to cut off debate as well as access to mitigating facts in the incident, and leave the field to one side only. Guess which? Here’s a hint: it’s the side that almost all of social media and Big Tech uses its power and influence to support. (See: 2020 Presidential election)

Want to begin with Facebook’s declaration that two deaths under still undetermined circumstances is a “mass murder”? Ironically, a jury that had far more information before it ultimately determined that this wasn’t a murder at all. Never mind: Facebook removed pro-Kyle Rittenhouse posts, including posts from legal scholars attempting to explain why the teen could well have a valid self-defense claim. Then the platform manipulated its search engine so you couldn’t find any non-negative references to Rittenhouse that slipped through.

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“The Twelve Lies Of Rittenhouse”

Sadly, this is how my mind works and has always worked, if you can call it “working.” Once I wrote in the previous post that my mention of twelve lies in regard to the Kyle Rittenhouse case suggested a Christmas song parody, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head until I wrote it. Fortunately, there were more than twelve lies to play with, or the challenge would have been impossible.

Here it is; do with it as you choose. The video above is provided so you can sing along: Continue reading

Take The Ethics Alarms Rittenhouse Case Pledge: “I Vow To Slap Down The False Narrative Whenever I Encounter It, Forever!”

Witherspoon tweet

The five jagged prongs of the fantasy version of the Rittenhouse case are 1) He carried a semi-automatic weapon “across state lines” to cause trouble; 2) the teen is a white supremacist, hence a racist, and was “hunting” virtuous social justice crusaders justly and peacefully protesting ; 3) the three men he shot were innocent victims, and two of them were murdered, 4) the rioting Rittenhouse was opposing was a protest over a white police officer brutally killing an unarmed black man, and 5) the jury’s failure to convict resulted from the inherent racism of the justice system.

Within those prongs are at least (let’s see…) twelve lies that can no longer be excused by confusion over the facts. Nor is it an excuse that someone like Witherspoon has been reading and watching the wrong news reports (as well as getting her political views from within a progressive bubble), because every American knows or should knows that such sources cannot be believed or trusted.

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Thanks, Professor: We Needed That

Professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. is criminal law specialist who trains Harvard Law students and practices law. He has just issued a superb explanation and analysis of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict—fair, objective, and best of all, readable by those whose eyes usually glaze over at legal scholarship.

It should, in a just and sane society, permanently shut up—embarrass, even— the politicians, celebrities, and social media dolts who are still calling the jury’s verdict “racist” or an indictment of the legal system. Of course, it won’t. If there is a more annoying example of people loudly braying uninformed opinions about a technically complex matter that they know little or nothing about, I can’t think of it right now.

On “The View,” ABC’s depressingly popular “gullible idiots watching progressive idiots” news show, panel leader Whoopi Goldberg (because in the land of the blind…well, you know the metaphor), declared that Rittenhouse was a murderer. People will take that as authority, you know. She played a video of Anthony Huber’s father on CNN holding an urn containing his son’s ashes and emoting bitterly against Rittenhouse going free, as if the lament of a parent in such situations ever is anything but an irrelevant appeal to emotion. Then, armed with this irrefutable “evidence,” Whoopi gave her verdict on Rittenhouse, saying of Huber (who was shot while beating the teen with a skateboard), “He saw someone get shot. He thought he was doing the right thing. So … even all the excuses in the world does not change the fact that three people got shot. Two people were murdered. To me it’s murder. I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry too, Whoopi. I’m sorry you lack the sense of responsibility to keep your opinions on issues you don’t have the knowledge and background to understand to yourself, and instead wield them to make the public stupid. I’m sorry you believe “thinking you are doing the right thing” is ever a justification for doing the wrong thing (and you don’t believe that yourself: were the men who lynched Emmett Till blameless because they thought they were doing the right thing?). You have no way of knowing what Huber thought anyway. I’m sorry you are so ignorant that you can say something like “if he shot them and they died, then he’s a murderer,” which is redolent of your failure to take the initiative over the years to fill the gaps in your high school dropout education. Mostly I’m sorry that you’re not getting enough work as an actress and comic, both occupations you’re brilliantly qualified to do, so you’re stuck with being an incompetent pundit for a living.

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Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory…Part III: Facts Don’t Matter”

jojo

Russian dolls-style Comments of the Day can be the best feature of Ethics Alarms, when erudite commenters do a tag-team job on complex issues. So it is in this case, with Humble Talent taking off from Steve-O’s astute chain reaction observation.

What is remarkable to me is that the conversations about Rittenhouse’s travails somehow never explored the fact that all three of those he shot were felons with significant criminal records. The first I realized this was when I was directed to Ann Coulter’s piece.

While it is irrefutable that this information should not have been brought to the jury’s attention because it was inherently prejudicial, it is also irrefutable that the fact that the three men were 1) violent lawbreakers and 2) white fatally undercuts much of the Left’s narrative, as mapped out by the news media. It is particularly weird that now, after the verdict and when the proclivities of the three men have finally been widely revealed, the Rittenhouse-Deranged are still talking about them like they were peaceful demonstrators who wanted nothing more than to ensure racial justice, social equity, rainbows and moonbeams for all humankind. Actor-activist (good actor, fatuous activist) Mark Ruffalo’s tweet was a classic of the genre: “We come together to mourn the lives lost to the same racist system that devalues Black lives and devalued the lives of Anthony and JoJo.”

Huh? “Jo-Jo” raped five boys. It’s awfully hard to “devalue” the life of someone like that, who has had negative value to society. If Ruffalo knows this, then his tweet is demented. If he doesn’t, then it’s irresponsible. Either way, shut up and act, Mark.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post (by Steve-O-in NJ), “Comment Of The Day: A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory…Part III: Facts Don’t Matter”

***

I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I was thinking about the left’s newly beloved “JoJo” and the narrative that Kyle didn’t have any business being on scene.

We knew, previous to this, that “JoJo” Rosenbaum had just been released from a mental health institution. We knew that he was off his meds. We knew that he had several prior convictions for molesting children. We knew that the bag that he threw at Kyle was filled with toiletries that he took home from the mental institution, and that he had that in part because he hadn’t even gone home to change. He was released the night of the riot and immediately went on about the business of rioting. We know that he appeared hyper-aggressive all night, we know that he called some of the people in Kyle’s group, quote, “niggers”.

Aside from that last sentence, Kyle knew none of this, so it really shouldn’t factor into the actions of Rittenhouse on that fateful August night. But if we’re going to armchair quarterback the plays that Kyle was making, maybe it makes sense to ask questions like “What was “JoJo” doing there?” Because there are a whole lot of reasons to believe that he wasn’t even aware the Blake shooting had occurred.

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Comment Of The Day: A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory…Part III: Facts Don’t Matter

dominos

I’m sorry about the apparent obsession here with the Rittenhouse case, but I believe that the episode has ethical significance on many levels, particularly in the way it demonstrates that toxic progressive bias has headed into end game territory, sort of like with rabies when a victim becomes afraid of water.

What we are seeing and hearing is ugly and would be frightening if it wasn’t so self-evidently irrational. I guess we have seen other examples where political fanaticism causes vast numbers of previously functional Americans to blow out their critical reasoning fuses for all to see, but right now I can’t think of one so striking. Groups that cease to be capable of reason tend not to do very well after a while.

Yes, Steve-O-in NJ has another Comment of the Day, and yes, it’s long, but it touches perceptively on too many important matters to let go by. I especially admire his description of the “chain reaction.” (I could not disagree with his last sentence more, however.)

Here it is, on the post, “A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory Of Ethics Heroes, Dunces, Villains And Fools, Part III: Facts Don’t Matter”

***

So, the verdict is in and Kyle Rittenhouse walks on all charges. I thought about it, and as an attorney who has occasionally worked civil rights cases I do not see any bases for federal civil rights charges against him. Most of the federal civil rights statute has to do with punishing those who act under color of law to deprive individuals of their constitutional rights. Those statues are generally designed to bring down law enforcement officers who abuse their authority for no good reason. There is also the question of a hate crime, however, there has been no allegation nor proof that anyone he killed was a member of a protected class killed because they were a member of protected class.

The Federal statutes are simply not designed to give the federal government a second bite at every state murder prosecution that fails to make. I suppose the Feds could try to cobble together gun charges or terrorism charges (but that’s a very long stretch). However, they would still have to draw a jury pool from Wisconsin, and all of Wisconsin has now seen this trial and knows this would be just an attempt to punish someone for a crime he was already acquitted of. Jerry Nadler should have known better then to suggest this, but he was simply pandering to his base and his party’s base.

This was another classic domino situation of one breach of the law leading to more as described by the Hon. Guido Calabresi, senior judge of the Second Circuit Court of appeals, in an address at my law school graduation. Things were already tense in this country because George Floyd decided he would break the law and pass fake money, then resist arrest while high as a kite, then Derek Chauvin decided he would break the law and press George Floyd against the ground with his knee until he was fatally injured, then a huge number of people decided they would break the law and riot, then a whole lot of public officials decided they would break the law and fail to do their sworn duty to protect the people. While the nation was still reeling from this, Jacob Blake decided he would break the law and resist a lawful arrest, officers got heavy handed, and still more people decided they would break the law and riot, set fires, and destroy and ransack property that was not theirs to destroy or ransack. Kyle Rittenhouse unwisely decided to get involved in this mess, while armed. Three individuals with lengthy criminal records decided they would break the law and violate common sense and attack Kyle and try to kill him while he was armed for the rifle. Finally Kyle found himself with no alternative but to open fire, killing two and wounding a third.

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To Be Fair, Sometimes Twitter Justifies Its Existence: The Hilarious Maria Shriver Takedown

SG-Rittenhouse-SG-Shriver-GW-Ted-Kennedy-1200x630

Maria Shriver, once a Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist for NBC News and now an occasional guest host, took to Twitter to post, “I’m trying to take a beat to digest the Rittenhouse verdict. My son just asked me how it’s possible that he didn’t get charged for anything. How is that possible? I don’t have an answer for him. The idea that someone could be out with a semi-automatic weapon, kill people, and walk is stunning. I look forward to hearing from the jury. This is a moment for them to explain how they came to their decision.”

Shriver’s brain fart is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s fatal debate fantasy on 1980 when he claimed that had been discussing nuclear policy with his daughter Amy. If anything, Shriver’s tale is more unlikely: her sons are 24 and 28. Aren’t these products of the best private schools better educated than to be mystified by the basics of criminal law? And how could Shriver think that Rittenhouse wasn’t charged with any crimes?

Knowing a hanging curve right over the plate when he sees one, Ted Cruz, as they like to say of Republicans, “pounced.” He tweetstormed,

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Weekend Ethics End Notes, 11/21/21: Rittenhouse Hangover Edition

July 5 Hangover

Arghh. Here’s one more thing to blame on Kyle Rittenhouse: in focusing on the deranged reactions to the verdict yesterday, I missed the opportunity to flag the anniversary of a landmark in world ethics: the beginning of the Nuremberg war crime trials on November 20, 1945. The trials were conducted by an international tribunal made up of judicial representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain. The defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity. The trials lasted 10 months and consisted of 216 court sessions.

There is no question that had the war turned out differently, it would have been Allied generals and officials facing war crimes charges. It is often said that the trials were unprecedented, but there was a precedent, and it was cited as one at the time: the 1865 trial of Capt. Wirz, the Confederate Commandant of the Andersonville prison. That trial raised many of the same ethical issues as its successor. I have serious reservations about the ethics of the Nuremberg Trials, and I am sure that in this I am reflecting the objections of my father, a WWII veteran who felt they were the height of hypocrisy. “All wars are crimes against humanity,” he said.

On October 1, 1946, 12 Nazi leaders were sentenced to death. Seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life, and three were acquitted.

1. Sorry, more Rittenhouse ethics offenses:

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A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory Of Ethics Heroes, Dunces, Villains And Fools, Part III: Facts Don’t Matter

Above is a comic I never heard of (but one with a regular platform), grandstanding over the Ritterhouse verdict as she reveals that she either has no idea what the facts are in the case, or is deliberately hate-mongering by sending lies into the public consciousness. She tells us that she takes her responsibility to “tell people what they need to know” seriously, and then tells them what isn’t true. “It’s not OK”, she says with great emotion. “For a man to garb a rifle, travel across state lines, and shoot three people and walk free.” In fact, it’s not “OK” for anyone to deliberately misstate the key facts of a controversial episode to the many ignoramuses who may be listening and are likely to be misled.

Rittenhouse did not “grab a rifle” and cross state lines. The law says that it is “OK” for someone—regardless of their race— to defend themselves with deadly force if they reasonably believe his life is at stake. Then she goes on to outright racism, claiming that whites have “always” escaped consequences when they engage in murder. She calls the judge and jury racist, for participating in a trial that acquitted a white man for shooting three other white men.

She seemed like an excellent introduction to this list of similarly dishonest, ignorant or hateful people showing their lack of fairness and critical thinking skills as they descended into hysteria and ugly rhetoric…because so many on the Left are receptive to it. This is not about a difference of legitimate opinion when Americans of note or in positions of influence and responsibility engage in inflammatory declarations based on a false description of what occurred.

Certainly the news media, even more than usual, played its “enemy of the people” role to the hilt, but its flagrant false reporting on the Jacob Blake shooting was four months ago. There is no excuse for anyone with integrity and responsibility still talking about the Kenosha police shooting “an unarmed black man” or representing Blake as anything other than a dangerous outlaw who was engaged in a crime, and justly shot. Because there was no racism or police brutality involved, the protests and riots supposedly prompted by the episode were contrived and based on incompetent (or intentionally incendiary) reporting. The subsequent narrative, that Rittenhouse was opposing “racial justice” and thus a “white supremacist” because he (foolishly, recklessly) sought to mitigate the destruction caused by an ongoing riot (triggered by an incident that only was “racist” in the overheated minds of the reporters and race-hucksters) cannot be defended.

The fools and dunces whose statements are noted below are shooting off their mouths (or social media accounts) in defiance of reality. As Bari Weiss points out in her substack essay (Pointer: John Paul),

To acknowledge the facts of what happened that night is not political. It is simply to acknowledge reality. It is to say that facts are still facts and that lies are lies. It is to insist that mob justice is not justice. It is to say that media consensus is not the equivalent of due process.

And, I would add, it is to say that just because politicians, celebrities, pundits and your Facebook pals are taking a position that literally makes no sense and is based on extreme bias and fantasy is not justification for following the parade.

Below is an incomplete list of the “Facts Don’t Matter” mob. Not surprisingly, I didn’t particularly respect any of these people even before they beclowned themselves in this ethics train wreck. Even so, there are serious problems in the culture (and the educational system) when so many default to gullibility, confusion, miserable logic and emotion. The unethical reaction to the Rittenhouse verdict is, perhaps, more significant than the verdict itself.

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A Rittenhouse Verdict Inventory Of Ethics Heroes, Dunces, Villains And Fools, Part II: Rogues Gallery [Updated!]

Rogues

Having reviewed the depressing small population of Ethics Heroes in this Ethics Wreck in Part I, I’ll largely leave the determination of which of the following ethics miscreants should be designated as dunces, villains or fools (or all three) to you. In this, I take my lead from the Saturday Night Live game show, “Geek, Dweeb or Spazz?”

However, there are some easily identified Ethics Villains, beginning with

1. The President of the United States, who signed this official statement:

While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.

I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy. The White House and Federal authorities have been in contact with Governor Evers’s office to prepare for any outcome in this case, and I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety.

Ethics verdict: Despicable and inexcusable.

  • What’s Biden “angry” about? Nobody should be “angry” that a jury did its job, and nobody who paid attention to the trial can be “angry” that a jury couldn’t find Rittenhouse  guilty after the prosecution’s botched case. Anger implies wrongdoing. The President of the United States should never, in any case, express an opinion about a jury’s decision.
  • Does anyone think Biden followed the case carefully, or watched it unfold? His comment is a deliberate pander to the worst of the Democratic base, and does as much to encourage violence as anything Trump said after the election.
  • Moreover, Biden is personally responsible for much of the confusion and anger over the case, having twice called Rittenhouse, falsely, a “white supremacist.”
  • Then he has the gall to say that he promised to “bring Americans together” after he deliberately enabled the race-baiters in Kenosha, and that he believes that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, after he poisoned public opinion against Rittenhouse.

Biden’s not just a weak and addled President. He’s a two-faced, mean-spirited creep.

The rest of the Rittenhouse Rogues Gallery members who can be comfortably designated as Ethics Villains:

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