Ethics Warm-Up, 2/20/2021, Because Everyone Needs To Warm Up: CNN And An Unethical Historian Smear Nikki Haley, Who Had Already Kneecapped Herself

suspended-animation

Well, I went ahead and gently set the trap by asking my deranged Facebook friends if they knew that the narrative that Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick had not been killed by beating by the January 6 rioters, had not been “hit with a fire extinguisher,” and had not “died of his wounds” in the riot as reported by the news media long after that story had been debunked, and used as evidence of the “deadly insurrection” by Democrats during the impeachment trial. The response, from a really smart audience including many lawyers, was disappointing if not unexpected. So far, all of the responses tried to avoid the issue. “Are you saying that his stroke (the current cause of death theory) was not brought on by the riot?” No, and since nobody knows what brought on the stroke, one can’t say, and shouldn’t write as news, that it was. I asked about the “killed by the mob” and “died in the line of duty” story. “The park police website says he was killed in the riot!” That’s a novel approach: using an already false report in a biased source to insist that the false report must be true. “But..but…but…but,” “humina humina humina”…”well, what about…”…they just couldn’t admit it. It was a deliberately used false narrative, first without verification and then after the story was proven false, for the purpose of hyping the riot and inflaming public opinion against the President. Nothing about being a Democrat, progressive or a Trump-hater should prevent someone from acknowledging that. Yet they just couldn’t do it. Even the lawyers. Heck, especially the lawyers!

1. No zombie lawyers allowed in Florida. If you think trying to convict Trump after he was no longer President was bad, how about this: Sabrina Starr Spradley, a 41-year-old attorney in private practice in Delray Beach, Florida, was disbarred in December, 2020 though an official death certificate from the Florida Department of Health stated that she died in October of 2019. Nobody told the bar association or the Florida courts.

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Ethics Hero: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley

Usually it is a sign of loyalty and responsibility when a subordinate takes the fall for his or her superior in the best interests of the organization. Not in this instance, however. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was the victim of another inexcusable example of  White House incompetence, and was designated to take the fall. She refused.

Brava.

White House aides tried to blame Haley for speaking on national television about the administration’s plans to roll out new sanctions against Russia when the President had decided to defer them but never informed her of his course correction.White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, either on his own or according to direction, said in a statement that Haley had suffered “momentary confusion” and gotten “out ahead of the curve.”  Haley didn’t stand for it, and demanded and received an apology. “With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” she said.

Says Politico:

“But the sanctions episode is a stark reminder that this president has little compunction about letting his top staffers and appointees dangle. As the White House scrambled to explain the president’s change of heart on issuing Russia sanctions, Haley became a convenient target for West Wing aides working to smooth a ragged decision making process without blaming the president himself.”

Good. The White House needs such a reminder, and needs to be embarrassed, publicly. This kind of ridiculous sloppiness has plagued the Trump Presidency from the start, and while I doubt that he is capable of learning and reform, covering for his incompetence will just guarantee more and worse.

Before Kudlow tried to make Haley Trump’s scapegoat, the White House spun that while the President signed off on sanctions legislation last week, the announcement was delayed because the Treasury Department did not have the legislation ready.  Oh, it was the Treasury Department’s fault then. Welllllno. The White House sent talking points to spokespersons the day before Haley’s TV appearance. It just forgot to alert the President’s official voice in the international body known as the United Nations. Hey, anyone can make a mistake!

Morons. Continue reading

Reluctant And Uncertain Ethics Observations On The U.S., Israel, And United Nations Squabble

International relations is an ethical morass, and the Israel/Palestinian mess is an ethical morass inside an ethical morass. In international relations, gaffes turn out to be masterstrokes, and vice-versa, and my usual rejection of consequentialism doesn’t always fit. It is politics on steroids, and a never ending Ethics Train Wreck. Thus I approach the topic of the events that roiled the U.N. right before Christmas with trepidation. There were obviously ethical principles in play here, but beyond that, my certainty recedes like my hairline in 1976.

The background: On December 18, UN ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed an Arab-proposed Security Council resolution that rebuked President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and start the process of moving the US embassy there. All other 14 Security Council members supported the anti-American resolution, including U.S. allies Great Britain, France, and Japan. Then the UN General Assembly went on to pass a non-binding resolution disapproving of the Trump administration’s decision. Several more U.S. allies failed to vote with the U.S., including Canada and Australia, which abstained.  Before the general assembly vote, Haley announced the US was “taking names” of those voting against the US. and afterward, the U.S. held a party where the only countries invited were Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo, all of which voted with the U.S.

Finally, Haley announced that the U.S. had negotiated quarter billion dollar cut to the UN’s annual budget, saying  “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”

1 Was it responsible for the U.S. to condemn the actions of the nations, including its allies, that voted for the resolution in the Security Council and the the General Assembly?

The U.S. should be strong rather than weak, and must stand up for core principles. It is beyond argument that much of the hostility to the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem was based on anti-Israel bigotry, which flourishes in many of the nations that voted against Israel and the U.s., notably France. The Obama policy was to generally allow the U.N. to direct the U.S., with Obama “leading from behind,” an oxymoron that was a euphemism for “not leading at all.” Many of the nations opposing the U.S. are Arab nations, Muslim nations, and nations who are worried about unrest in their large Muslim populations.

The assertion of a false moral equivalency between Israel and the Palestinians among a majority of the world (and a lot of Democrats) should not be enabled. The Palestinians still officially refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, for example, said that “The status of Jerusalem should be determined through a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians} and that that Jerusalem must “ultimately be the shared capital” of Palestine and Israel. Yes, that will work well, with the Palestinians still refusing to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

The status of Jerusalem, like the status of Palestine, is what is technically known as “all messed up.” In 1949, Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal” and “sacred” capital, saying that only hostilities against Israel  had “compelled” its  leadership to establish the seat of Government in Tel Aviv.  “For the State of Israel, he said, “there has always been and always will be one capital only – Jerusalem the Eternal. In 1950 all branches of the Israeli government—legislative, judicial, and executive—were moved to Jerusalem, except that the Ministry of Defense, stayed in Tel Aviv. At the time of Ben Gurion’s proclamations Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan and thus only West Jerusalem was proclaimed Israel’s capital. Then, in 1980, Israel passed the  Jerusalem Law, which declared Jerusalem the “complete and united” capital of Israel. In response, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 478 that same year, declaring  the law  “a violation of international law.”  “null and void” and that it “must be rescinded forthwith.” Member states were told to withdraw their diplomatic representation from Jerusalem, and 22 of the 24 countries that previously had their embassy there moved back to Tel Aviv.  In 1995, under President Clinton, the United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required, subject to conditions, that its embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Whether the U.S. tactics will work out well or not is a matter of conjecture, and impossible to know. Are they ethical? Sure they are, compared to the alternative.

2. Was Haley’s Trumpian, tit-for-tat, we take this personally and you’ll regret it rhetoric responsible and ethical? Continue reading

Helen Thomas, Bias, and the Demon Pazuzu

Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with superannuated newswoman Helen Thomas believing that the Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Germany and Poland. An if she believes it, there is nothing wrong with her saying so, as she did to a questioning rabbi. It’s good to know. Since we now know her biases on the matter, we can better assess her credibility when she writes about Middle East politics.  As Joe Gandleman writes on “The Moderate Voice:

“Just saying “Go back to where you come from” is the same as the misguided, empty-headed Americans who shout “Go back to Africa” to blacks or “Go back to Mexico” to American born Latinos when they know they are American born Latinos. It shows her so hopelessly biased and lacking realistic perspective that stories written by her beg to be skipped over…. on the Middle East story, how can anyone think that when she asks questions she is seeking information to flesh out a story (unless it was a special on airfares so Jews can fly out of Israel)?”

As I said: good to know. What is wrong and dishonest, however, is Thomas’s “apology” after it began to sink in that her candidly expressed and crude bias could be a career-ender. So, emulating that eminent anti-Semite, Mel Gibson, Helen released this: Continue reading