Ethics Quiz: Seriously, Mona Charen?

Mona Charen is, I think it’s fair to say, a Trump-Deranged conservative pundit. I recall her faintly from the days of CNN’s Capital Gang,which ended its run in 2005. She was one of the designated conservatives on the weekly panel after Pat Buchanan left, back when CNN wasn’t quite so left-biased and at least pretended to care about ideological balance. The election of Donald Trump sent her wandering in the wilderness with the likes of Bill Kristol and George Will, a bitter Never-Trumper, and now she edits that nest of Never-Trumpers, The Bulwark. Charen isn’t an idiot, or at least shouldn’t be: she’s an honors graduate of Columbia back when that meant something and a lawyer. And yet she wrote this for Time: “We Elected Biden to Be Better Than This,” which begins with the head-exploding assertions….

In 2020, America elected Joe Biden to be not-Trump—a role for which he seemed well-suited. In 2016, the country voted for burn-it-all-down upheaval. Trump was the tribune of those who felt betrayed and misled and mistreated. Four chaotic years later, alarmed voters fled into the arms of an aging former vice-president and senator—a man they had twice rejected as a presidential contender—who seemed the personification of the steady hand.

No one expected Biden to be transformational or extraordinary, but we did need him to be the anti-Trump in the most important ways. We needed him to be sober and responsible, to play by the rules, and to uphold the primacy of law and procedure. And he delivered. President Biden freed the country and the world from the tyranny of tweeted insults, conspiracies, threats, lies, fantasies, and reversals. And while naturally some will criticize his policies, Biden has conducted the presidency with dignity. He has gone some way toward restoring a sense that the system, whatever its flaws, is basically sound.

This Ethics Quiz is a bit different than most. I’m not asking what the ethical course is, or whether particular conduct is ethical.

The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this…

Is Mona Charen lying, or is she a ‘useful idiot’?

It is flat out impossible that any astute, long-time observer of Washington could believe that statement absent some kind of cognitive impairment.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/26/18: Spin! Hypocrisy! Heresy! Demagoguery! Idiocy! And Weren’t Those Sex Slaves Cheering For North Korea Adorable?

Good Morning!

Of course it’s a good morning…the 2018 Winter Olympics ended last night!

1 The Schiff Memo. The Democrat’s alleged rebuttal to the Devon Nunes memo regarding how Carter Page came to be the object of secret surveillance that extended into the Trump campaign should have been the big story of the weekend, along with the fact that government systems repeatedly failed to protect the students in Parkland from an unbalanced young man who had been repeatedly identified as a risk for exactly the kind of mad act he ultimately engaged in. But the left-biased news media downplayed it after trying to spin it, because the hyped memo did not rebut the key allegations in the previous Republican House document. The FISA court was not informed that the Russian dossier was created and funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. The dubious dossier  was a key component of the evidence that led a secret court to remove the Constitutional rights of a citizen, while interfering with a Presidential campaign.

Amusingly, the Schiff memo spins that the Obama Justice Department application was “transparent,” and then describes transparency as a FISA warrant application that said that Christopher Steele, referred to as “Source #1,” was “approached by” Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, referred to as “an identified U.S. person,” who

indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a longstanding business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.

Andrew McCarthy, in the National Review, concludes that the Schiff memo does the Democratic narrative more harm than good. I agree: it looks like a desperate spin attempt to me, so desperate that the news media abandoned the story as quickly as it could.

2. Segue Alert! And speaking of transparency…From the Boston Herald: Continue reading