Comment Of The Day Double Feature: “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”… And The Abuse Of Symbolism (2)

Symbols

Chris Marschner completes our two-headed Comment of the Day with this reaction to Null Pointer’s comment featured in the first installment. Here is Chris’s COTD on the post, “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”:

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Comment Of The Day Double Feature: “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”… And Metaphorical Squirrels (1)

Incredibly, some media news sources are still blathering on about how Ted Cruz took his family to sunny Mexico while poor, normal, working Texans were trapped in their freeing homes. The Spectator had some wry words about this on Friday, describing the phenomenon as “squirrels”: distracting but inconsequential attractions the biased news media sends out to avoid covering stories that are unflattering to their client, the Democratic Party. Scott McKay writes in part,

Squirrels. What dog can resist chasing one? And if you don’t want a national discussion of a topic on which your side cannot hold its own, it’s best to set loose an arboreous rodent or two.

Like, for example, if Andrew “Sonny” Cuomo, the New York governor who played Grim Reaper to thousands of his state’s seniors by stashing COVID-19 patients in nursing homes where they resided, would suddenly find himself under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That wouldn’t be a good look, would it? The Democrat establishment has done all it could to pump Sonny up as a potential national figure. Considering their bench is so shallow they had to present the decrepit and addled Joe Biden as their nominee for resident, er, president, Cuomo is what passes for a future ace in the hole when Biden has been put to pasture and the Democrats recognize Kamala Harris isn’t sellable to the country even if the dead can be made to vote again in strength.

If Cuomo didn’t offer a future presidential prospect, he would surely be someone to throw under the bus. He’s a gubernatorial Biden — a shameless clown devoid of credibility or competence who represents everything regular Americans despise about the political class. Cuomo is the very picture of our coastal elites: his success owes almost completely to the name he inherited from his father Vito, er, Mario Cuomo and his membership in the ruling-class club. Cuomo spouts all of the pieties of the managerial elite, and he’s mastered the art of faking sincerity when he does so. His abject corruption and incompetence in office is easy to paper over — the Cuomos have run so much of New York’s middle class out of the state there are no longer enough of them to ever vote a Democrat out of office, and therefore their party has perfected at the state level the Weaponized Governmental Failure that’s usually reserved for Democrat machines in the cities.

And of course, brother Fredo — sorry, Chris — hosts a show on CNN when he’s not engaged in pugilism with less-than-adoring viewers or faking a COVID quarantine. CNN’s management actually thinks it’s cute to have Fredo interviewing Sonny on its air despite the breathtaking affront to journalistic integrity that represents. That occasional moment of on-air fraternal bliss suddenly lost its luster when the G-Men began covering the set.

Later, he concludes,

Nor are the squirrels going back into the trees anytime soon, because it won’t be long before the Democrats and their compliant minions in the news media and pop culture recognize the urgency of air cover for all kinds of coming disasters.

There’s the unscientific failure to reopen schools as parents groan under the strain of trying to survive the COVID economy while becoming amateur homeschoolers. There’s the burgeoning failure to fulfill Dirty Joe Biden’s vaccine promises while Biden purports to have conjured the vaccines out of thin air. There’s the fact Biden is calling a lid on conducting foreign policy and delegating it to Kamala Harris. There is the looming disaster in China and Iran policy, and particularly the coming crippling shortage in rare-earth minerals. There is the growing recognition that the Brian Sicknick story, on which the Jan. 6 “insurrection” narrative has been built, appears not to have contained a wisp or a smidgeon of truth.

And on and on.

The problem with squirrels is eventually the dogs lose interest. What comes afterward could be fascinating, and not in a good way.

I feel complicit, a bit, in the squirrel problem, but it is a matter of focus. The cover-up that Cuomo has been credibly accused of is obviously unethical: nobody needs me to point that out. Cruz’s mess, which he blundered into, raised ethical issues, which is why it has been more evident on Ethics Alarms.

Two commenters, Null Pointer and Chris Marschner, have contributed Comments of the Day on the matter, one in response to the other, and they make an attractive matched set. First up is Null Pointer’s COTD on the post, “Ted Cruz ‘Scandal’ Significance: Another Smoking Gun”:

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Ted Cruz “Scandal” Significance: Another Smoking Gun

Screen-Shot-2021-02-19-at-9.26.42-AM-e1613750753297

I keep wondering: at what point do even the progressives and Democrats whose political interests the media dishonestly and unethically advance stop and say, “Wait a minute! This just isn’t right. How would I feel if journalists were warping facts and faking news to hurt progressives like me?”

You know, the Golden Rule? That thing? Hello?

The Ted Cruz kerfuffle over his ill-considered decision to flee freezing, energy-starved Texas was all outrage over symbols, not substance. As discussed here, Cruz made a dumb and careless decision that he ought to have known would have negative political consequences, but no one should mistake it for a decision with actual, tangible results. Nor did Cruz breach any ethical duties. Those who think a U.S. Senator has any power to address a state crisis like the one facing Texas just doesn’t know how the government really works.

Unfortunately, that’s about 90% of the public.

The real significance of the Cruz-Cancun “scandal” is how it provides one more smoking gun that the committed apologists for the biased news media can try to ignore, as in “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! It’s another wacko right-wing conspiracy theory.”

While Ted was getting hammered for taking a quickie vacation with his long-suffering family, a real scandal was emerging in New York, where Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom the media worked to absurd degrees to hold up as a hero of the pandemic, was accused of a particularly nasty cover-up. His own aide blew the whistle on him, revealing that the Cuomo administration had hidden the real death toll of the Governor’s disastrous and deadly decision to send Wuhan-infected seniors into nursing homes. Now there is an investigation, and even the possibility of impeachment. It’s a major story—except that it involves a prominent Democrat. Thus it was Republican Ted Cruz’s bad optics that dominated the news coverage last week rather than Cuomo’s genuine, serious, “alleged” misconduct.

Fox News was mean enough to prepare and broadcast the graphic above. It’s accurate; imagine the fun Rush Limbaugh could have had with that. Newsbusters adds some details:

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Ethics Inquiry: Did Sen. Cruz Do Anything Wrong?

Cruz trip

As Bill Clinton might say (and probably has, maybe more than once), it depends on what your definition of “wrong” is.

Millions of Texans were left without electricity this week in the middle of the state’s power crisis following a massive winter storm. The Senator’s wife Heidi sent text messages to friends and neighbors complaining that their home was “FREEZING,” and that she wanted the family to escape on the 17th to someplace warmer, at least until Sunday. The mission, if her husband chose to accept it: get to the luxury Ritz-Carlton in sunny Cancún, Mexico. The destination is apparently a family favorite. The GOP Senator did accept, and the Freezing Cruzes fled Houston, hopping an afternoon flight. The consensus of the news media, the commentariat and social media was that…

In fact, you would think Cruz had been caught having a secret romantic rendezvous with a goat. Incriminating photos of Cruz and his wife boarding the flight launched a full-fledged scandal. How dare he flee a crisis when his state was in misery? Ted responded by playing the Parent Card, explaining he had flown to Mexico “to be a good dad” and to chaperone his daughters and their friends, and he promised he was coming back yesterday, which he did.

When he returned, Cruz admitted that his family trip had been a mistake. That is undeniable.

But was it unethical? Was it wrong?

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Wednesday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/18/2020: The Betraying Friend, The Abusive Model, The Grandstanding Lawyer, And The Partisan CEO

Several of these items could support stand-alone posts, I suppose, but I have bigger metaphorical fish to fry. I’ve also figured out that traffic would look better if I broke some of these 800-1000 word posts into multiple 400-500 word bites, but to hell with it: a post should be as long as it has to to make the points I want to make. Traffic has also been excellent lately: from Election Day through yesterday EA has had the best extended streak since 2017. As usual with such surges, this has involved some quirks. For example, the post about Margaret Thatcher’s favorite poem has been leading all posts in clicks for three days. I didn’t see that coming…

1. Ethics Quiz: Which is more unethical, the creep who offers such tales out of school, or the publication that gives her a platform?

The entire genre of former school mates coming forward with unflattering and ancient anecdotes about political figures is unethical. Now that Ivanka Trump’s father is likely to be out of the White House next year, her seventh grade friend Lysandra Ohrstrom decided it was a safe to reveal what a creep the First Daughter was as a 13-year-old, because so few of us lacked a functioning ethics compass at that age. She also decided that she would enjoy being interviewed on various Trump-hating TV shows, I assume.

Why the woman continued to stay friends with someone she now says was an elitist snot is a mystery; yes, some of Lysandra’s tales impugn adult Ivanka as well as the child version.

One of her earliest memories of Ivanka is her blaming a fart on a less popular classmate. The monster! In their twenties, Ivanka asked Ohrstrom for a book suggestion and when her friend suggested “Empire Falls,” replied, “Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?” Ohrstrom also recalls Ivanka once telling her “You’ve really turned into a Marxist” during a discussion about affordable housing in Manhattan.

Is there anyone who has ever lived who doesn’t have embarrassing incidents that occurred early their lives and that they trust that the family and friends who witnessed them have the decency and loyalty not to inform the world? Ohstrom’s ignorance of the Golden Rule and her pathetic lunge for 15 minutes of fame tell us more about her character than reveal anything relevant about Ivanka Trump.

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Notes On The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ethics Train Wreck

To remind regular readers who may have forgotten, and newer readers who have not taken the time to review the list of Concepts and Special Terms (Shame! SHAME!!!), ethics train wrecks are “chains of unethical conduct created by a central unethical action. As the event becomes more complex and involves more participants, it becomes increasingly difficult to sort out right from wrong, and all parties who become involved with the episode in any way are at risk of engaging in unethical conduct themselves, intentionally or inadvertently.”

In no particular order:

  • It’s not called The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ethics Train Wreck for nothing. The individual responsible for this ethics train wreck is, aptly enough, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was irresponsible for her to stay on the court well past her shelf date, as it is irresponsible for any judge to deny the unavoidable effects of age on their acumen and ability. This would have been true if she were completely healthy, but the Justice had cancer, and that also had to sap her energy.

This was arrogance, and any harm to the nation that comes from her refusal to retire ten years ago is part of her legacy.

  • Everyone is a hypocrite. If Mitch McConnell is a hypocrite for treating the SCOTUS nomination by a sitting Republican President differently from his treatment of a Democratic President’s nomination under similar circumstances,  so are Democrats for insisting that he should again do what they claimed was unconscionable in 2016, because this time they think it will benefit them.

Althouse points out: “The strongest argument for Trump to go right ahead and immediately nominate someone is that President Obama made a nomination in the election year of 2016 when Antonin Scalia died. Obama’s nominee was not confirmed, but that was because the GOP controlled the Senate. There was nothing about Obama’s lack of support in the Senate that made him more willing to put forward a nomination in an election year. He made the nomination in spite of the lack of support. Why should Trump refrain when he has Senate support?”

Oh, you know: Because he’s different, and what other Presidents do or did is automatically outrageous when he does the same thing. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/7/2020: Writing The Morning Warm-Up While In A Foul Mood Is Like Grocery Shopping When You’re Hungry..

In other words, a bad idea…but I don’t have much choice.

1. Let’s see if talking about two ethics movies helps. In honor of Wilfred Brimley’s death last week, I watched “Absence of Malice” from the beginning for the first time in decades. The film is shockingly relevant. It deftly exposes both the culture behind unethical journalism and the abuse of government investigations, and in both cases the arrogant “the ends justify the means” mentality that infects both professions at fault. I venture that it is impossible to see the movie now and not think about Mike Flynn, the Times and CNN, fake news, the Russian collusion investigation, Adam Schiff  and the weaponization of leaks.

The main difference between the movie and what we have watched in real life over the last nearly four years is scope: “Absence of Malice” is about a local investigation, and there is an implication that what we see isn’t typical, but a single instance of a system going wrong because of a couple of “bad apples.” Now we know, or should, that the film was a harbinger of things to come.

All of the ethics points are made the Assistant US Attorney General James Wells, played by Brimley, when he gathers the involved parties at a courthouse in the movie’s climax. The whole scene isn’t on YouTube, which is too bad, but two of Brimley’s speeches stand out:

To the ambitious and arrogant reporter played by Sally Field:

“You know and I know that we can’t tell you what to print, or what not to. We  hope the press will act responsibly. But when you don’t, there ain’t a lot we can do about it.”

And referring to his subordinate, an ambitious and arrogant prosecutor played by Bob Balaban:

“We can’t have people go around leaking stuff for their own reasons. It ain’t legal. And worse than that, by God it ain’t right.”

The other ethics film I watched was “Hondo,” a John Wayne movie based on a Louie L’amour novel. Somehow I had missed it, even though I have seen almost all of Wayne’s “A” films, and quite a few of his “B” and “C” efforts as well. “Hondo” was a product of Wayne’s own production company. There are ethics themes in many Wayne movies, but perhaps this one qualifies more than the rest as an ethics film.

The movie has honesty and integrity as its main themes, and is especially interesting in the light of efforts by the cancel mob to paint Wayne as a racist. In “Hondo,” he plays a wandering gun-fighter who is part Indian, and whose respect for the tribes and sympathy for their plight in America is palpable. It’s an excellent and thought-provoking film; picking the Duke’s top ten is impossible, but “Hondo” is easily in his top 20.

2. The awful Senator Hirono. Hawaii Senator Maizie Hirono repeatedly refused to specifically condemn Antifa, retreating to “all violent extremists are bad” rhetoric. She ultimately walked out of Senator Ted Cruz’s hearing on “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence” after he asked her to clarify whether she included Antifa in her definition of violent extremists. She refused, and then walked out of the hearing, taking six other Senators with her, and for the life of me I can’t find out their names because our news media is hopeless.

3. More on Cruz: Senator Cruz’s statement on Black Lives Matter during his hearing warrants circulation, and I’d love to hear all the lazy and craven Black Lives Matter shills respond to his points. He said this after Hirono said that “Defund the police” wasn’t intended literally:

What else does BLM the organization support? On its website it is called for a “boycott of white capitalism.” In 2017, they called on people not to spend any money with white corporations. And not only that, the BLM website says that one of their objective is dismantling the “patriarchal practices and disrupting the Western prescribed nuclear family.” That’s what they say their objectives are. Now the reason that matters is right now corporate America is desperate to demonstrate their virtue as we see great racial dissension.

So Black Lives Matter, BLM the group, raises money on ActBlue, the fundraising mechanism for virtually every elected Democrat in Congress. Among the donors to BLM the organization, according to public reports, include the company Ubisoft, which has given between $50,000 and $100,000. DoorDash, which has given reportedly $500,000. Amazon, which has given an unidentified portion of $10 million. Gatorade, which has given an unidentified portion of $500,000. Nabisco, which has given an unidentified portion of $500,000. Deckers, which has given an unidentified portion of $500,000. Microsoft, which has given $250,000. Dropbox, which has given $500,000 and Fitbit, which the amount given is not identified.

I would note Microsoft, the largest individual shareholder is Bill Gates. It’s more than ironic that Microsoft is funding an organization calling for boycotting all white corporations. Bill Gates is white. Microsoft is literally funding an organization calling for Microsoft to be defunded. Jeff Bezos, the largest owner of Amazon, who likewise is funding this radical Marxist group. Jeff Bezos is white too. And he’s funding an organization that is calling for the boycotting of Amazon.

This is dangerous and it’s worth understanding that when corporate America floods millions of dollars into explicitly Marxist terrorist organizations that glorify cop killers, that glorify violence, that the violence and terrorism that flows from that should not be surprising.

Bingo. Continue reading

When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring, Schools Don’t Teach And Brain Cells Die From Under-Use: The San Antonio City Council

The city of San Antonio has passed a resolution outlawing words associated with the coronavirus that it deems to be racist or xenophobic.

The resolution states: “The City of San Antonio denounces antisemitism, anti-Asian bigotry, and all hateful speech, violent action and the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19 that casts blame, promotes racism or discrimination or harms the City of San Antonio Asian and Pacific Islander, Jewish, immigrant or other communities.”

According to reporter Jaie Avila, Councilman Jack Finger was speaking against the resolution when his mic was cut off. Well, that figures, right? One form of censorship is as good as another. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/9/2020: Coronavirus Ethics And A Pop Ethics Quiz

You’re looking lovely today, I must say! Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?

Fortunately, I’m almost always “self-quarantined…”

1. Ethics tales of Covid-19:

  • Ethics Hero: Senator Ted Cruz has just made a point of serving as a role model by self-quarantining in his Texas home because he interacted with a person at the Conservative Political Action Conference who, according to Maryland heath officials, tested positive for coronavirus, . Cruz says  he had only a brief conversation and shook hands with the person, and that  the contact took place ten days ago. Cruz  isn’t experiencing symptoms, and the odds are low that the virus passed to him.

Nonetheless, a public example from a prominent figure of using an abundance of caution can only help.

  • On the other side of the Covid-19 ethics divide, we have the father-daughter pair,  family members of the St. Louis County woman who tested positive for COVID-19 as the first confirmed carrier of the virus in Missouri, who attended a father-daughter dance at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Missouri, after being told by health officials to be like Ted.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told reporters that the family understood what they had been instructed to do, and just ignored the directives anyway.

Again I ask, what is the appropriate way to punish people like this? All plagues and epidemics spread this way, with the unhealthy contribution of idiots. Mary Mallon, aka Typhoid Mary, was an Irish cook at the beginning of the 20th Century who kept escaping authorities as an asymptomatic carrier of the deadly disease, and going back to work under false names. At least three deaths are definitely blamed on her; she infected more than 50 people before she was finally placed in isolation for the rest of her life. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/7/2019: BAM! POW! BOOM!

Welcome.

1.BAM! Billionaire sex-predator Jeffrey Epstein was arrested again, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial ethics iceberg:

  • This was the feds doing the arresting, which is confusing, since one of the controversies involving Epstein is a federal non-prosecution agreement that was part of his plea deal, negotiated by a team of super-lawyers including Alan Dershowitz.

This means that the victims in the new prosecution must be different victims from the ones in the case that send Epstein to prison for a paltry 13 months.

  • If so, I’m shocked–shocked!–that a mega-sex trafficker and sexual predator like Epstein hasn’t learned the error of his ways!

Actually, it would be shocking if a billionaire sex predator who got just a slap on the wrist for paying procurers to search the world for underage girls to be ravaged by Epstein and others at Epstein’s private plane, his Palm Beach mansion, and other locales didn’t keep engaging in his extra-curricular passion.

  • Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers in Florida case contending Epstein’s no prosecution deal must stand, with the filing stating,  “The past cannot be undone; the government committed itself to the NPA, and the parties have not disputed that Epstein complied with its provisions.”

    Now the The victims in the Florida case have until Monday to respond to the Justice Department’s filing.

  • The news media and social media resistance squads are hustling to connect Epstein to President Trump. Are they friends? Were they friends?  Most of the nation’s billionaires know each other: Trump has confirmed that he knows Epstein. Nothing has connected Trump to Epstein’s sex parties, however.

The same cannot be said of Bill Clinton.

  • The Trump connection is Labor Secretary Alexander Accosta. He was the Miami prosecutor who cut the outrageous deal with Epstein. I wrote in detail about the scandal here. Knowing all of this, President Trump still appointed Accosta as his Labor Secretary—you know, “the best people”—and the Senate confirmed him, even though this was a guaranteed ticking time-bomb.

It looks like it may finally blow.  Stay tuned.

2. POW! Res Ipsa Loquitur? Here is the Antifa’s press guidance distributed in advance of its planned disruption of a conservative protest against what the New York Times calls “perceived censorship of conservatives on social media.”

Hmmm. Continue reading