Scared Yet? I Want To Hear A Legitimate Defense Of YouTube Censoring Senator Paul’s Speech…

Spoiler: There isn’t one.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the U.S. Senate’s most passionate libertarian, was suspended from YouTube for expressing his strong opposition to Wuhan virus mandates and calling for widespread citizen resistance. This is res ipsa loquitur: Big Tech is using its corporate power to support government policies and prevent dissent. The argument that YouTube (that is, Google) is a private entity and not bound by the First Amendment is disingenuous, just as similar arguments defending Facebook, Twitter and other social media banning President Trump as well as posts that offer opinions and positions they don’t want the public to see. When corporations use their massive power and influence to suppress speech and control the flow of information, they pose an existential threat to democracy. When they exercise this power to advance the political agenda of a specific group, individual or party, that threat is worse. When they are censoring and distorting on behalf of the government, the threat is dire.

Paul released a rebuttal and condemnation of YouTube’s indefensible action, and it was also taken down by Our Video Masters. You can view it here, on Rumble. If I could embed it, I would.

Let me turn the floor over to Professor Turley, not as an appeal to authority, but because there is no reason for me to write in different words what he has said persuasively already:

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Comment Of The Day: “Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics…”

I was getting ready to write about Sen. Rand Paul’s manifesto above ( he really is a libertarian, isn’t he?) when Humble Talent’s Comment of The Day, on the post “Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics: If I Were Still Running My Theater Company And We Had A Large Cast Show In Production…”

Perfect timing, and my favorite kind: it saved me the effort of writing a post. This should open up the pandemic and vaccine debate nicely, and get it out of the constricting limitation of live theater.

Heeeeeeere’s Humble…!

***

I find these Covid threads just… really tedious.

I have found common cause with the American left on precious few issues in my lifetime, and I often find that even when I agree with them, they put the issue forward in the most obnoxious and useless way possible: They mock, they demean, they use bad arguments, and even when they’ve come to the right conclusion they rarely understand the source material. It’s frustrating.

But on this one discrete topic…. I understand mocking anti-vaxxers.

Sorry guys, if you’re in the vaccine skeptic group… You are being dumb. Your body your right, yada yada yada. Sure. You have the right to be dumb. Just because it’s your right to be an idiot doesn’t shield you from the consequences of being an idiot. And while telling you that you’re an idiot, pressuring you not to be an idiot, and there being consequences to being an idiot might harm your tender egos, America isn’t going to end.

The reason why I feel on this one discrete topic, mocking anti-vaxxers, particularly American anti-vaxxers is appropriate is because there was no convincing you. On this topic, more than any other in recent history, you are completely information resistant.

“Well Jeff! Look at Israel, they’re having a spike right now, and most of their cases are breakthrough cases, how do you explain that?!?!”

Because everyone is experiencing a spike right now, international travel isn’t completely locked down, the vaccines were never sold as being 100% effective and as new variants come out the efficacy is only going to lower, and because more than 95% of Israeli adults are vaccinated. So when anyone in Israel gets Covid it is orders of magnitude more likely that the case will be a breakthrough than a non-vaccinated case.

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Ethics Dunces: The 55 U.S. Senators Who Voted That It Is Constitutional For The Senate To Impeach A Private Citizen

Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) offered the obvious and obligatory point of order resolution that a Senate trial of a private citizen, that being former President Trump, is unconstitutional, which it unquestionably is. The resolution failed 55-45, with every Democrat voting for the measure along with five NeverTrump Republicans: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

This means that 55 U.S. Senators, all of whom took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, have stated on the record that they will do no such thing. Yet their votes do not decide what is constitutional. The Constitution decides. Consider: not a single Democratic Senator had the integrity, independence and courage to declare that what the Constitution says is what the Constitution says, and that the U.S. Senate should not, indeed must not, ignore it to satisfy obsessive Democratic spite. Not one.

That’s one helluva party you got there, Joe.

In addition to that,

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The Ted Cruz Eligibility Controversy

Cruz birthSenator Ted Cruz was born to an American citizen mother in Canada. The Constitution says that to be eligible to be President, a citizen must be “natural born.” Donald Trump, who also challenged the birth place and eligibility of President Obama, has raised the possibility that the circumstances of Cruz’s birth might be a “problem.” Cruz laughed the issue off saying that it is “settled law” that a citizen born of an American citizen abroad qualifies as “natural born” under the Constitution, following the definition in the British Common Law.

What’s going on here?

Weeeelll…

1. Trump is being a jerk, but as has been the case before, somebody needs to be one, because it is not—exactly—“settled law.” It is way past time that this controversy was settled once and for all. Continue reading

A Final Post Debate Observation: Cognitive Dissonance And The Welch Effect

Rand Paul23I’m literally the only one writing about this—which is to say that everyone else is wrong— so I might as well wrap it up.

You will recall that I predicted (and hoped) that one of the candidates in the CNN debate on Wednesday would have the wit, historical perspective and guts to prepare a Joseph Welch take-down of Donald Trump, as it is an excellent way of shining harsh light on a bully and ethics miscreant. This is how lawyer Joseph Welch ended the reign of terror of Sen. Joe McCarthy on live TV in the medium’s “Golden Age,” and McCarthy was bigger and more deadly game than The Donald.

I wrote:

Will the same tactic work on Trump? It should: it would have worked in the first debate. Now, it may not, because many Welches will not be as effective as a single one, and I would not be surprised if several of Trump’s competitors will have a Welchism rehearsed. It also won’t work if the wrong Welch jumps in first, or if he blows his delivery. (Welch was quite an actor.) We shall see. If someone doesn’t at least try it, none of these 15 non-Trumps are  smart enough to be President.

Well, the Welch moment came almost immediately, as the first candidate with an opening to deliver it took his shot: Sen. Rand Paul. As I wrote in my follow-up piece yesterday, it wasn’t completely Welch-worthy, but it stung:

The Joseph Welch moment that I predicted occurred, though it was a wan and, as I feared, an incompetent version.  The Welch-wannabe was Rand Paul, and he directly referenced Trump’s “sophomoric” personal attacks, saying…

“Do we want someone with that kind of character, that kind of careless language to be negotiating with Putin? Do we want someone like that to be negotiating with Iran? I think really there is sophomoric a quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about having him in charge of the nuclear weapons because I think his response, his real response to attack people on their appearance, short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”

…First, a Welch retort has to be delivered with withering contempt, not snotty combativeness. Second, the deliverer has to talk directly to the target; this is key. Not “he,” Senator. “YOU.” Third, whether or not the question was about the temperament of the man with his finger on the button, the danger of having a leader who behaves like Trump goes far beyond that….Still, Welch’s tactic worked a bit. Trump’s rejoinder, essentially “You’re ugly, too!”, got what sounded like awkward laughter, and Donald Trump, who is an entertainer, and who, like most experienced performers, can sense what an audience is feeling, was very subdued the rest of the debate.

What happened is that while the whole bucket of water didn’t land on the Wicked Trump, enough splashed on him to slow him down. When Fiorina delivered a mini-Welch later and Trump simpered his submissive “she’s got a beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman” line, he was still melting. She, more than anyone else, jumped in the vacuum left by Trump’s “shrinkage.” Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Republican Presidential Candidates Debates

GOP debate

[I have another three hour legal ethics seminar (fifth seminar in six days, in four cities) to handle this morning, then I drive to Boston and fly to D.C. Getting up all the posts on the runway will be a challenge: wish me luck. I began the day at Ethics Alarms getting this nice message from a new commenter, a Mr. S M Tenneshaw, who wrote, “You’re not a joke, you’re a worthless piece of shit” in response to this controversial post from 2013. Ah, how exhilarating for that sentiment to be the day’s first contact with human life!]

Here are my comments on the marathon debate last night:

  • Jake Tapper did an extraordinary job at  being a fair, organized, efficient and firm moderator. I was in awe. I was less impressed with his  late innings resort to questions reminiscent of Barbara Walters’ infamous question to Katherine Hepburn, “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?’ [ NOTE: In the original post,, I incorrectly attributed this to Barbara’s Jimmy Carter interview, which was also cloying. Always got those two mixed up…] Later, after the debate, Tapper complained that there were some important questions he didn’t get to ask. If that’s true, Jake, why ask such silly ones as “What woman would you place on the ten dollar bill?,” and “What would your code name be as POTUS?” Some of the answers were inexplicable  (I had to have someone explain to me why Carly Fiorina said “Secretariat” as her code name. She was referencing her humble beginnings, not the Triple Crown winner…), some were alarming (Chris Christie wants to put the ADDAMS FAMILY on a bill? Oh, right, Abigail. ONE ‘D’. Good answer.) and some were pathetic pandering (Dr. Carson: “One Nation”? As the code name for the President? Uh, Ben, what are you doing?)

“Do we want someone with that kind of character, that kind of careless language to be negotiating with Putin? Do we want someone like that to be negotiating with Iran? I think really there is a sophomoric quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about having him in charge of the nuclear weapons because I think his response, his real response to attack people on their appearance, short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”

Obviously nobody with any historical knowledge, theatrical sense and rhetorical skill coached Paul, who is apparently too arrogant to watch YouTube. First, a Welch retort has to be delivered with withering contempt, not snotty combativeness. Second, the deliverer has to talk directly to the target; this is key. Not “he,” Senator. “YOU.” Third, whether or not the question was about the temperament of the man with his finger on the button, the danger of having a leader who behaves like Trump goes far beyond that.

  • Still, Welch’s tactic worked a bit. Trump’s rejoinder, essentially “You’re ugly, too!” got what sounded like awkward laughter, and Donald Trump, who is an entertainer, and who, like most experienced performers, can sense what an audience is feeling, was very subdued the rest of the debate.

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Senator Walsh’s Plagiarism

Walsh (top); Paul (bottom) "Whooo are you? Who, who, who, who?"

Walsh (top); Paul (bottom)
“Whooo are you? Who, who, who, who?”

U.S. Senator John Walsh (D-Mt) has an obligation to resign.

He was never elected to office;  Montana Governor Steve Bullock appointed him to fill the vacant  seat of Max Baucus, who resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. Though he was Montana’s Lieutenant Governor at the time, Walsh’s primary qualification for the job was his military record and honors, including a master’s degree at the U.S. War College. The New York Times revealed this week that Walsh’s  2007 thesis, titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” was substantially plagiarized, copied from other sources without attribution. Now the War College is investigating to determine whether Walsh’s degree should be revoked.

If this happened to a partner at a law firm, he would be fired. If it happened to a professor at a respectable university, he would be terminated. When it has happened to high ranking corporate officers, they have usually been forced to resign. The importance of honesty and trustworthiness to the duties of a U.S. Senator are more important than either of these.  Moreover, the fact that he could not complete an adequate 14 page thesis ( I am still reeling that the War College hands out masters degrees for such paltry work) without stealing the word of others does not inspire faith in his abilities as a lawmaker. Walsh has an obligation to resign.

Instead, he has been making lame excuses and rationalizations, and encouraging others to lie for him. He and his supporters are calling this  “a mistake.” Using someone else’s work to make up 25% of your masters thesis and taking credit for it is not a “mistake.” It is proof of a deficit in character. Had his plagiarism been discovered when he submitted the paper, he would have been kicked out of the masters program, presumably. The military is especially strict regarding dishonesty and dishonorable conduct. Would he have been appointed  if that had occurred? Presumably not. At least I hope not.

Flailing to find an escape, Walsh has played the veteran pity card, suggesting that the plagiarism may have been the result of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It doesn’t matter why he plagiarized, though this seems like a particularly slimy excuse. He plagiarized. His current credentials, which were among the factors that got him nominated, were based on a lie. Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Sen. Claire McCaskill

“I think most women understand that they should not be held accountable for the behaviors of their husbands. And you know, frankly, it was a long time ago, and our country did very well under the leadership of Bill Clinton.” 

—-Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo),  on MSNBC, doing a lousy job rebutting Sen. Rand Paul’s recent statements accusing Democrats of hypocrisy by pursuing their lucrative and politically successful “war on women” attacks on Republicans while continuing to embrace the Clintons, ignoring Bill Clinton’s treatment of his wife, Monica Lewinsky, and women.

Sen McCaskill pulls me back in, damn her.

Sen McCaskill pulls me back in, damn her.

Curse anyone who reminds me of anything related to Godfather III, but there was Claire, turning me into Michael: “Just when I think I’m out, they puuull me back in!” I know I write about Bill Clinton too much; I have promised multiple times to enshrine him in the Ethics Alarms Ethics Hall of Eternal Contempt, but haven’t had time to build the damn thing. His sly, shameless, smirking, dishonesty and manipulations drive me crazy, almost as crazy as the way so many otherwise rational ethical people, especially women (oh, that Bill’s a charmer, like so many sociopaths), keep giving him pass after pass to keep on doing it.

When Sen. Rand Paul, whom I generally do not admire but who has his moments, recently turned a “Meet the Press” question about the “war on women” around and attacked the Democratic hypocrisy for making such a claim while defending and cheering on the likes of Bill Clinton, I enjoyed the jiu-jitsu, as Paul was right….but I didn’t mention it! I resisted! I was even about to write a post today criticizing Senator Paul, who has  apparently embarked on a long-term anti-Clinton jihad (fine with me!), for saying that Clinton’s settlement with Paula Jones in 1999, in which he paid $850,000 to settle her claims of sexual harassment, was an admission of guilt, which is an unfair, legally ignorant statement embarrassing for a Senator. I even wrote the headline: Ethics Dunce: Sen Rand Paul. Then Sen. McCaskill has to respond with her display of virtuoso unethical nonsense, and—I’m Michael Corleone.

Her quote really is one for the ages…dishonest, insulting, loaded with rationalizations: Continue reading