(I don’t know about you, but it’s always a good morning for me when the Boston Red Sox win the most exciting game of the baseball season so far with a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth after what should have been the last out reached first because a swinging strike three went through the catcher for a passed ball….)
1. Yesterday, the gang at HLN were laughing and guffawing over the fact that someone sent e-mails purporting to be from Anthony Scaramucci to various White House officials and fooled the recipients into responding. Such publicity is what hoaxers dream about. This is why we have despicable fake news sites like “The News Nerd” and others. This is why Facebook feels it needs a special task force to search out and destroy false representations. CNN and other news media also treated the e-mails as significant news—more newsworthy, for example, than the Pakistani crooks the Democratic party had handling sensitive e-mails and other data. Why is this news, other than the fact that the “bad guys” were fooled, in the warped perspective of “resistance” journalists? More to the point, why is it funny? Why is the news media encouraging hoaxes by rewarding them with the notoriety they crave, so they can puff up their little pigeon chests and say, “See? I matter!”
The reports attempted to bootstrap the story by explaining that fake e-mails are how cyber-predators can get access to e-mail accounts. Those phishing episodes, however, involve the credulous recipients clicking on links in the message, which did not occur here. That’s what Hillary Clinton and John Podesta did. I don’t recall HLN chortling about that, however.
2. I’m still waiting for the news media’s apology to Sarah Palin. The news from UK socialized medicine today:
“Obese people will be routinely refused operations across the NHS, health service bosses have warned, after one authority said it would limit procedures on an unprecedented scale.Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations. The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the “most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing will become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.”
In other words, death panels, or the close equivalents. This is what single payer, national health care inevitably requires. The government begins dictating how you live your life, and uses the extortion of withheld medical care to enforce it. Now, the public can certainly choose to surrender its autonomy and liberty to the wise, wise bureaucrats in the government, but the public should also be fully informed of the eventual consequences before it does.
Let’s see how widely this story is covered in the U.S. Will someone ask Bernie or Senator Warren to comment on this development? I’ll wait.
Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, condemned the decision to bar obese patients and smokers from routine surgery, saying,
“Leaving patients waiting in pain for treatment longer than is clinically necessary cannot be accepted. In the last month alone, the Royal College of Surgeons has learned of at least three clinical commissioning groups that are planning to introduce policies that deny or delay patients’ access to surgery as a means to cut spending. At this rate we may see brutal service reductions becoming the norm, rather than just being exceptions.”
“Will see”, not “may see.”
3. The ethical dilemma resulting from the wholesale looting of antiquities from second and third world nations over the centuries remains one of the great ethics controversies. It has arisen again in the decision of Manhattan prosecutors to take custody of a 2,300-year-old bull’s head that was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art because of concerns that it had been looted from a Lebanese storage area in the 1980s during Lebanon’s civil war. The legal entanglements arising out of these disputes are baroque and mindboggling, including property rights, cultural patrimony laws, statutes of limitations and jurisdictional issues. A couple bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million, and claim that they have clean rights. They blame the dealer. In these matters, the ultimate rationalization is to blame the country where the art or artifacts were taken from, arguing that a wealthier nation’s museums are best equipped to keep them safe for posterity. This has been the British Museum’s position regarding the Elgin Marbles, a large portion of the Parthenon exhibited there, though everyone agrees that they were stolen from Greece in 1801. Greece has been trying to get them back ever since. Last year a bill was offered in Parliament to finally return the Marbles. Like similar measures before it, it went nowhere. The ends—having the irreplaceable artwork available to be seen by tourists in the British Museum—justifies the means—keeping stolen good from the rightful owners.
Full disclosure: My mother, daughter of Greek immigrants, stole an eight inch chunk of marble from the Parthenon site when my parents visited Greece, smuggled it home, and had it on display on the TV set until they moved from Arlington, Mass., to Arlington, Virginia. My sister and I had vowed to return it to the Greek embassy, but my late mother claimed it had been “lost.” I think she took it with her to the grave, somehow.
The tale of the Marshall Marble is the shame of the family.
4. Ethics Alarms will certainly feature more on this development, but for now I’ll just welcome the decision, sure to be attacked as “white supremacy,” by the Justice Department’s civil rights division to begin investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants. Affirmative action has always been a euphemism for “race-based discrimination in favor of the right race,” and while it can be argued that it was a necessary evil in the wake of Jim Crow, it is still a hypocritical and unconstitutional policy. I hope the Justice Department includes discrimination against Asian-American students in its crackdown as well.
I heard Van Jones, one of CNN’s resident racialists, reacting to the news and saying that “turning against each other” was not the way to address racial injustice. Where’s the laugh track? Installing a policy that tells qualified white students that they have lost a slot in a college class in favor of a black student based on skin color is benign, but returning to a policy that takes color out of the equation is “turning against each other.” This is epic hypocrisy.
The current admission policies cannot be reconciled with any ethical system, nor the Constitution.
5. This story, filed by Ethics Alarms ethics scout Fred, bears watching.
The Trump administration is systematically and illegally blocking people from applying for asylum in the United States, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in California.Instead of allowing people with asylum claims to enter the country, Customs and Border Protection agents are lying about the process or intimidating people from crossing into the country at legal ports of entry, according to the lawsuit brought by six asylum seekers and the legal services group Al Otro Lado. The complaint describes CBP’s alleged actions at the border as an “officially sanctioned policy” that sends people back to the danger they fled.
“CBP’s unlawful practice of turning asylum seekers away from [legal ports of entry] is forcing asylum seekers, including Class Plaintiffs, to return to Mexico and other countries where they remain susceptible to serious harm such as kidnapping, rape, trafficking, torture or even death,” the complaint says.
…the lawsuit… contends that authorities are violating the Immigration and Nationality Act, along with international treaty obligations, by turning people with asylum claims away or coercing them into signing forms saying they don’t fear returning to their home countries…
CBP declined to comment on the lawsuit, writing in an email that the agency can’t speak publicly about pending litigation. In the past, CBP has denied barring immigrants from attempting to enter the United States to claim asylum or other forms of humanitarian relief.
But the practice has been widely documented by several human rights groups, immigration lawyers and the news media. While the lawsuit was filed against Trump administration officials, the complaint says the practice was first documented in the summer 2016, during the Obama presidency.
Lawsuits are allegations, not facts, and activist lawsuits are often designed to publicize issues rather than resolve them. Fred’s comment is apt, however. He writes,
“It is a policy debate how immigration judges rule on asylum requests. It is an ethics matter if the would-be immigrants don’t get to make their case at all.”