Tag Archives: Occam’s Razor

An Ethics Hypothetical: If “The Nation” Is Right About The DNC Hacks, How Should Democrats And The Mainstream Media React?

And how will they react?

Yesterday, The Nation, the most Left of the Left’s major national publications, reported this:

  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

“This narrative” has been a cornerstone of the effort, undemocratic and indefensible, to undermine the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency from the beginning. It was launched as a primary rationalization for Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss, James Comey and a sexist, racist, stupid electorate being the others. As the Nation writes,

“The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.”

The Nation’s report, essentially declaring that a major element in the “Russiagate” narrative, the DNC hacks, is fiction, that the intelligence agencies that declared it otherwise are wrong, and that Wikileaks, Russia, Putin and Donald Trump have been correct all along is noteworthy because the publication is no ally of the Republicans or Trump, but their declared intractable foes. This is an ideological publication, squarely in Bernie Sanders’ camp because it is run by Socialists like Bernie. But bias doesn’t necessarily make you stupid. The Nation has been around for a long time because while its analysis is colored by it view of humanity and the world, it has largely avoided the kind of dishonesty and distortion that are slowly destroying the credibility of CNN, Rolling Stone, the New York Times and others. The Nation has strived to maintain its integrity, not always succeeding, but obviously trying. Its staff believes that the truth supports its dedication to socialism, so it does not usually try to hide the truth—unlike the mainstream media reporters, for example, who apparently tried hard to make the troubling episode of Bill Clinton’s meeting with Loretta Lynch go away. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Science & Technology, Workplace

From The Ethics Alarms “Blathering Makes You Incoherent So That Those Who Bias Has Made Stupid Think You Are Stupid, Making Them Look Stupid” Files: The Sweden Affair

Here is something apparently nobody noticed from the past two years: Donald Trump doesn’t speak in linear fashion, use words with precision, or think about what he’s saying until it has already left his mouth. Did you not know that? I’ve been complaining about it here for, oh, about five years. (That YouTube video above is Exhibit A) Yet every time he says something garbled and seemingly confused,  journalists and bloggers instantly take what he said literally, and go on a spree. Now, when most politicians say something that makes no sense, as when President Obama’s tongue slipped and he said there were 57 states or Joe Biden, who makes head-scratching comments almost every day, announced at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner on March 17, 2010, “Barack Obama is the first African-American in the history of the United States of America!” ( Joe forgot that key word, “President”)  it prompts a brief mention, if at all. With politicians whom the news media has decided to take down, however, like Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, and now the President, there is no such break. Of course these conservative fools meant what they said to express the most senseless thought imaginable.

Now Trump is President, so he is obliged to choose his words especially carefully, and be clear in his meaning. Well, he can’t. He’s communicated in this slovenly, stream-of-consciousness word cloud all his life, and its made him rich, famous, and President. He’s not going to stop. Now, by all means criticize him for this, but not for alleged statements that are bad guesses at what he might be trying to say.

This brings us to The Sweden Affair. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership

The Truth Behind School Anti-Gun Madness: In The Battle of the Razors, Occam’s Beats Hanlon’s

"GUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

“GUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

My parents once gave me a tie clip with a tiny derringer on it, which I wore to school frequently. Occasionally, I loaded it…you see, the gun took a miniscule cap, and when you pulled the trigger, the report was shockingly loud. Had this been the kind of itsy-bitsy gun that 12-year-old Joseph Lyssikatos had on his key chain (his gun was slightly larger than a quarter; mine was slightly smaller than a nickel), then his school might have had a valid reason to object. But it wasn’t. His gun was a decoration only, but it didn’t stop the school from suspending him for three days.

I’ve been pretty dense about these cases, I must admit. I used to think it was just no-tolerance idiocy, merged with post-Sandy Hook paranoia, that was behind all of the silly news stories. It finally dawned on me that it is far more sinister than that: this is a deliberate and relentless process of state indoctrination. The schools, teachers and administrators are determined to make  future generations of Americans just as fearful and negatively disposed toward guns, and thus toward self-sufficiency and the Second Amendment, while pushing them to embrace complete dependence on a government that cannot be depended upon, and trust in a government that has proven progressively more untrustworthy. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Rights, U.S. Society

The Difference Between Unemployed Scientists and Unemployed Lawyers

A front page story in today’s Washington Post casts interesting perspective on an Ethics Alarms rumble that broke out here a couple of weeks ago. One of the many websites where underemployed, over-indebted law grads hang out to commiserate—sites with pathetic names like “butidideverythingrightorsoithought”—discovered a post from the days when people were taking Occupy Wall Street seriously, in which I chided a protester whose sign blamed his law school  for his failure to  find a job, without giving due weight to the fact that sitting in a park whining about his plight wasn’t doing him any good either. Suddenly Ethics Alarms experienced an avalanche of indignant and often personally insulting comments introducing me to the strange world of the JD conspiracy theorists, who maintain that law schools engaged in an intentional conspiracy or “scam” to gull naive college grads into believing that a law degree was a sure-thing ticket to Easy Street and six-figure starting salaries.

In the Post’s report, we learn that other advanced degree-holders, namely PhDs in scientific fields, are also unable to find work or toiling in fields unrelated to their degrees. The Post says:

“Traditional academic jobs are scarcer than ever. Once a primary career path, only 14 percent of those with a PhD in biology and the life sciences now land a coveted academic position within five years, according to a 2009 NSF survey. That figure has been steadily declining since the 1970s, said Paula Stephan, an economist at Georgia State University who studies the scientific workforce. The reason: The supply of scientists has grown far faster than the number of academic positions.”

Sounds a lot like the legal market to me! Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology, U.S. Society, Workplace

Comment of the Day: “Fast and Furious: An Open Letter To Columnist Colbert King”

Glenn Logan scores the Comment of the Day with his answer to the questions I posed in my open letter to Colbert King, the anti-corruption Washington Post columnist who nonetheless regards Congress’s inquiry into a possible Fast and Furious cover-up as trivial. He also penned a worthy candidate for ethics quote of the week: watch for the last sentence, which I bolded. Love it, Glenn!

I’ll have some additions to Glenn’s thoughts at the end; meanwhile, here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Fast and Furious: An Open Letter To Columnist Colbert King.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Lara Logan’s Cairo Ordeal Starts An Ethics Train Wreck

A female CBS correspondent gets cut off from her security while doing live coverage of the demonstrations in Cairo, is surrounded by a group of Egyptians in the crowd, attacked, and sexually assaulted. She is rescued by Egyptian police and flown back to the U.S., where she is hospitalized.

This what happened to “60 Minutes” Correspondent Lara Logan, and you wouldn’t think such an unambiguous example of brutality and criminal conduct would raise any ethical controversies. But the already nasty incident has metastasized into a full-fledged Ethics Train Wreck, with both the Left and the Right taking turns disgracing themselves.

And the media, of course. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Professions, Religion and Philosophy, The Internet, U.S. Society

Unethical Questions, Anti-Semitism, and Greenberg’s Chase

I first encountered the device of the unfounded accusatory rhetorical when, as a teenager, I became fascinated by the Lincoln assassination conspiracy. A best-seller at the time was Web of Conspiracy, an over-heated brief for the theory that Lincoln’s War Secretary, Edwin Stanton, and others were in league with John Wilkes Booth. The author, a mystery writer named Theodore Roscoe, was constantly suggesting sinister motives by asking questions like “The sealed records of the official assassination investigation were destroyed in a mysterious fire. Was the War Department afraid of what the documents would prove? Would they have implicated Stanton? We will never know.”  This tactic is on view regularly today, used generously by the purveyors of modern conspiracies, but it is also a regrettably common tool of journalists and historians. Now the eclectic sports journalist Howard Megdal (who also edits a terrific website, The Perpetual Posthas found a new use for it. His question: “When Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers made a run at Babe Ruth’s season home run record, falling two short with 58 in 1938, was he pitched around because he was Jewish?” Continue reading

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Filed under History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Religion and Philosophy, Research and Scholarship, Sports, U.S. Society