A Sensible Reaction To The Election (And Ethical, Up To A Point)

Stop the steal2

Powerline, the conservative blog, has been catching flack from conservatives over two posts that were regarded as “limp noodle” reactions to a stolen election. But the acceptance of reality is always ethical. Excerpts from the two posts, by Scott Johnson and Steven Hayward:

The Trump litigation has proven a bust. Indeed, most recently, in the Wisconsin federal district decision held over the weekend, the Trump legal team entered into an agreed statement of facts and declined to call a single witness. Called to put their cards on the table, the Trump team all but folded. The court’s decision rejecting President Trump’s claims is posted online here. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on it here. Sidney Powell and Lin Wood in particular have prompted me to recall Eric Hoffer’s observation: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” Hoffer’s observation has been echoing in my mind over the past few weeks.

Anyone who uses that Hoffer quote, a favorite here, is jake with me.

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Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Ethics Insomnia, 11/29/2020: No Wonder I Can’t Sleep!” (Item #2)

Item #2 in this morning’s potpourri was…

2. “Hello, Newman…” According to the Postal Service’s own records, more than 150,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered in time for them to be counted on election day. This is, of course, as I and anyone else who was paying attention expected and predicted, because the USPS is undependable I am surprised that the number was that low.

The US Postal Service is a glaring mass of unethical bureaucracy—incompetent, archaic, irresponsible. Made mostly superfluous by email and private delivery services, it continues to waste taxpayer money while not even doing a good job at what’s left of its original function. The USPS, like lesser boondoggles like NPR and PBS, are kept alive by official laziness and cowardice, plus an unwillingness to solve a problem when that problem has vocal allies. Putting the integrity of a national election in the hands of such an organization was so illogical that it naturally created, and creates, the belief by many that it was a deliberate attempt to create chaos resulting in enough smoke and fog to cover up deliberate mischief.

There, I’m glad that’s off my chest.

Steve Witherspoon’s Comment of the Day begins with the quote above. Here it is, sparked by Item #2 of the post, Sunday Ethics Insomnia, 11/29/2020: No Wonder I Can’t Sleep!:

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Sunday Ethics Insomnia, 11/29/2020: No Wonder I Can’t Sleep!

1. I hate 99.9% of the petitions offered at Change.org. but I’m signing this one . It reads,

Professor Dorian Abbot, a tenured faculty member in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, has recently come under attack from students and postdocs for a series of videos he posted to YouTube expressing his reservations about the way Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts have been discussed and implemented on campus.
In these videos Prof. Abbot raised several misgivings about DEI efforts and expressed concern that a climate of fear is “making it extremely difficult for people with dissenting viewpoints to voice their opinions.” The slides for each of Prof. Abbot’s videos can be found here, and his own account of events and his opinions can be found here. Nowhere in these materials does Prof. Abbot offer any opinion that a reasonable observer would consider to be hateful or otherwise offensive.

Shortly after uploading the videos, Abbot’s concerns were confirmed when 58 students and postdocs of the Department of Geophysical Sciences, and 71 other graduate students and postdocs from other University of Chicago departments, posted a letter containing the claim that Prof. Abbot’s opinions “threaten the safety and belonging of all underrepresented groups within the [Geophysical Sciences] department” and “represent an aggressive act” towards research and teaching communities.

[Pointer: Pennagain]

2. “Hello, Newman...” According to the Postal Service’s own records, more than 150,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered in time for them to be counted on election day. This is, of course, as I and anyone else who was paying attention expected and predicted, because the USPS is undependable

I am surprised that the number was that low.

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Good Morning! Here’s Your 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update To Start The Week Off Right… [Updated And Revised]

red flags

NOTICE OF UPDATE: The numbers J.D. Rucker used in the sources for this post can no longer be verified. Now HIS alleged source is showing numbers that don’t support his argument. I can’t imagine that Rucker, who has some credibility and writes for various conservative publications, would make up statistics wholesale for a post about statistics. I can imagine the statistics being altered after he called attention to their suspicious nature, since there is such a concerted effort to discredit any claims that the voting totals may not be accurate, but there is no evidence of that. This is the whole problem. There are no reliable sources.

\You want smoke? You want red flags? You want the appearance of impropriety? You want to hear about yet another dubiously flipped crucial state in the 2020 election?

Conservative writer J.D. Rucker reported that numbers from DecisionDeskHQ showed that 5,867,609 people in Michigan voted for President  while only 5,717,819 voted in the hotly contested Senate election. That’s a 149,790 difference. As of the time of his post, he wrote, Joe Biden was ahead by 145,935 votes.

“What a coinkydink!” (Special credit for identifying the film quote and the actor!)

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Election 2020: The Appearance Of Impropriety Or Real Impropriety? Part II, An Accountant’s Analysis

Larry Correia, a perceptive blogger who approaches issues with the mind of a veteran accountant and auditor, has concluded regarding the 2020 election that “Fuckery is Afoot.” In a 3000+ word post, Correia (whose tart and blunt analysis I last featured here), begins,

I am more offended by how ham-fisted, clumsy, and audacious the fraud to elect him is than the idea of Joe Biden being president…. However, what is potentially fatal for America is half the populace believing that their elections are hopelessly rigged, and they’re eternally fucked. And now, however this shakes out in court, that’s exactly what half the country is going to think.  …In auditing you look for red flags. That’s weird bits in the data that suggest something shifty is going on. You flag those weird things so you can delve into them further. One flag doesn’t necessarily mean there’s fraud. Weird things happen. A few flags mean stupidity or dishonesty. But a giant pile of red flags means that there’s bad shit going on and people should be in jail.

Here are just some of the “red flags” that Correia identifies…

  • The massive turn out alone is a red flag.
  • The late-night spikes that were enough to close all the Trump leads are a red flag.
  • The statistically impossible breakdown of the ratios of these vote dumps is a red flag.
  • The ratios of these dumps being far better than the percentages in the bluest of blue cities, even though the historical data does not match, red flag.
  • The ratios of these vote dumps favoring Biden more in these few battlegrounds than the ratio for the rest of the country (even the bluest of the blue) red flag.
  • Biden outperforming Obama among these few urban vote dumps, even though Trump picked up points in every demographic group in the rest of the country, red flag.
  • The poll observers being removed. Red flag.
  • The counters cheering as GOP observers are removed, red flag.
  • The fact that the dem observers outnumber the GOP observers 3 to 1, red flag (and basis of the first lawsuit filed)The electioneering at the polls (on video), red flag.
  • The willful violation of the court order requiring the separation of ballots by type, red flag.
  • [The] USPS whistleblower reporting to the Inspector General that today they were ordered to backdate ballots to yesterday, red flag.
  • The video of 2 AM deliveries of what appear to be boxes of ballots with no chain of custody or other observers right before the late night miracle spikes, red flag.

Any of those things would be enough to trigger an audit in the normal world.This many flags and I’d be giggling in anticipation of catching some thieves…This is going to the courts.

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Election 2020: The Appearance Of Impropriety Or Real Impropriety? Part I, Georgia On My Mind

Georgia vote Count

I woke up this morning to find that overnight (at about 4 am) Georgia, a state President Trump had to must win to wend his way through the tiny window now open to his re-election (Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) had flipped to the Biden side with a less than a thousand vote edge to the ex-VP. This now makes three crucial states (the others being Wisconsin and Michigan) that switched leads in the dead of night…possibly a coincidence, but not a good look for Democrats, or the nation.

Of course this is substantially the result of mail-in ballots, which the Democrats championed. Anyone capable of thought could figure out that the system was a recipe for fraud, manipulation and chaos, so it is basic logic to presume that this is what the Democrats (and their allies, the news media) wanted. As I have read in maybe ten places this morning alone, the longer and more convoluted a process is, the easier it is to rig it. That is true.

See the tweet above? It appears that Democrats in Georgia organized to “get out the vote” after the election. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation, but 1) you can’t blame people for being alarmed 2) there are no such tweets from the Republicans.

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LATE Morning Observations On Election 2020. So Far…

Screenshot-2020-11-04-at-11.09.15-AM-600x391

Tip: The most important observation is the last one.

1. In the hours between when I started the last post when I got back out of bed two-and-a half hours later, two crucial states where the President was shown leading flipped to narrow leads for Biden. This does not prove or even suggest chicanery, but under the circumstances it looks bad. (“Gee, they cheat fast!” was a comment on one of the conservative blogs following the election live.) The meme above may be unfair, but it accurately expresses what went through my mind when I saw the new totals.

This is why it is unethical to create “the appearance of impropriety” if you have anything to do with the government. People need to trust the government, its institutions, and the fairness and openness of elections. The appearance of impropriety is just as damaging as actual impropriety. We have already seen this in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation and the prosecution of General Flynn.

2.  Both parties have worked to deliberately create suspicion about the political process, and the decision to vastly increase the use of mail-in ballots, in what should have been recognized as a close election, knowing that doing so would delay the process, create opportunity for mischief, and keep the results of the election mired in uncertainty for days and even weeks was either epically incompetent or sinister. Now, instead of the single state having a “too close to call” vote total with the Presidency hanging in the balance as in 2000, we have six, which will presumably multiply litigation and uncertainty. That’s a disaster, no matter what the final result is, and it is a disaster that should have been avoided at all costs. It was unethical and negligent not to avoid it at all costs.

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Reality: New Jersey Election Results Invalidated Because of Voter Fraud. Democrats, The New York Times And Your Facebook Friends: “Stop Trying To Confuse Us With Facts!”

We didn’t need the latest evidence to know that the push for mail-in balloting for the November election was a recipe for an existential national catastrophe—accusations, multiple disputed election results at all levels of government, endless lawsuits, a Constitutional crisis, riots, violence. The use of the pandemic to justify such an unacceptable risk has been one of the Democratic Party’s more audacious plots, and that’s saying something. So you run the polls like Trader Joe’s runs its grocery store: masks required, machines wiped down after every use, little footprints keeping everyone socially distanced,monitors enforcing them. Big honking deal.

The Post Office has been a waste of money and untrustworthy for at least a decade, creating a Catch 22. The amount of mail that has to be delivered the old-fashioned way is minuscule compared to the volume of former snail mail now going out over the internet. The U.S. could save money by phasing out the USPS and hiring FedEx and UPS to handle the essential mail remaining. Suddenly entrusting a national election to the rotting institution is, well, you know…

Even half-objective news reporting would make that obvious to all but the most addled citizens and children under the age of 14.  But we don’t have any half-objective news reporting  since the 2016 election made journalists permanent agents of the Left. 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

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/10/2020: Stelter Gaslighting, “Neither Rain Nor Snow,” A Good Lawsuit, And Orwellian Marketing [CORRECTED!]

Goooood Morning!

The song is from one of my favorite Broadway cast albums. The show (which I directed in college) is something of a mess, but the songs are terrific. Anthony Newley was a talented songwriter (with writing partner Leslie Bricusse) and a triple threat performer who was just a little bit too intense for some people. Among his best known songs with Bricusse are “The Candyman,” “Feelin’ Good” (from “Greasepaint,”) “Gonna Build A  Mountain” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” (from “Stop the World, I Want To Get Off.” “On a Wonderful Day” is sung on the album by Cyril Richard, whom older readers will remember as the definitive Captain Hook, menacing Mary Martin in the live TV versions of “Peter Pan.”

1. This is wonderfully hilarious. Brian Stelter strikes again. From his CNN show yesterday:

STELTER: “When you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent of that on the left, tearing down Trump?”

GUEST: “There really isn’t.”

Do any CNN viewers really believe this? How much gaslighting can a CNN talking head get away with?

2. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Running a small business trying to struggle through the lockdown when our main income is from live presentations, my wife and I are finding cash flow tougher than ever. Today we were alerted by the USPS that a large check we have been waiting for was delivered two days ago. (It wasn’t.) A few weeks back, we received what looked like an important letter addressed to someone in Spokane, Washington. Yet I will be encouraging voter suppression if I suggest that mail-in ballots are a disastrous idea.

It’s interesting: the same people who insist that the United States is out of step if it doesn’t emulate “other developed nations” in such matters as government health care and banning capital punishment are oddly silent about the overwhelming hostility to voting by mail in Europe. Paul Bedard points out,

Most developed countries, especially in Europe, ban mail-in voting to fight vast fraud and vote buying that had threatened the integrity of their elections, according to an exhaustive review of voting rules and histories in over 30 major nations. In the European Union, 63% have put a ban on mailing in ballots except for citizens living overseas. Another 22% have imposed a ban even for those overseas. And most of those that allow mail-in ballots require some form of photo ID to get one, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center shared with Secrets. “These countries have learned the hard way about what happens when mail-in ballots aren’t secured. They have also discovered how hard it is to detect vote buying when both those buying and selling the votes have an incentive to hide the exchange,” said author John R. Lott, the center’s president.

Meanwhile, we don’t have to rely on Europe’s example to figure out this is a terrible and dangerous idea. From NBC:

More than 1 in 5 mail-in ballots were rejected in New York City during the state primary June 23, the city’s certified election results revealed this week. City election officials rejected 84,000 ballots — 21 percent of all those received by election officials. More than 403,000 ballots were returned to election officials, according to city data, but only about 319,000 absentee ballots were counted, the certified results showed… The U.S. Postal Service, unused to the deluge of prepaid mailers, reportedly left postmarks off ballots, leaving thousands of them to be rejected because it was unclear they were sent on time.

If I were conspiracy-minded, I’d suspect that Democrats want chaos in the November election–all the better to reject the results and take to the streets. Continue reading