Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/14/18: Comfort Women, Presidential Health Lies, Pit Bulls And No “Goodbye Columbus”…Yet

Good morning!

1 Attack of the Dog Bigots. The 2015 Ethics Alarms post designating an anti-pit bull breed website “Unethical Website of the Month” was once again targeted by dog breed bigots and has been getting the same, mindless comments from hysterics that it has been recieving since the post went up.  I don’t allow comment threads to be polluted by propaganda, so I have posted an update requiring any comments to be substantive and to make a genuine effort to address the inconvenient facts I have laid out here over time, facts that the dog bigots routinely deny or ignore, and facts that virtually all experts in the dog field have confirmed.

I recommend  scanning the comment thread, however, for a reason unrelated to dogs. The commenters in the mold of the one who recently wrote this—“But tomorrow, and every day after, when ANOTHER pit bull mauls ANOTHER person, the nutters will take a break from their busy schedule of rampant drug use and domestic violence to jump onto the comments section of the news article to defend these useless pieces of canine garbage.”—are perfect examples of 1) the reasoning of racists and 2) individuals who no longer process information that challenges their belief system, so they simply ignore it all, deny it all, and just keep mouthing their ignorant manifestos.

They are indistinguishable in this regard from the indignant women who have now for three months running come up to me during a break in a legal ethics seminar, recited their feminist cant  talking points objecting to my accurate explanation of legal ethics priorities when the clash with political correctness, and then turned their back on me and walked away when I attempted to address their points.

2. A Japanese Ethics Train Wreck. The Japanese army forced captured Korean women, many thousands of them, to be their sex slaves, or “comfort women.” This is documented fact, and it also launched an ethics train wreck of unusually long duration.  The long-held official position of the post war Japanese government that South Korea’s complaints about these war crimes were either exaggerated or imaginary—the equivalent would be if the German government denied the Holocaust, which it has not—has undermined relations between those countries to this day. There is no end in sight, as this report explains.

What a mess. Japan’s current Prime Minister,  Shinzo Abe, was once a Comfort Women Denier. In  2015, the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, signed an agreement with Abe  as a “final and irreversible” settlement of the controversy, including an official Japanese government apology and an $8.8 million fund to help provide care for the now elderly ex-“comfort women.” The damages were judged inadequate by critics, and Park was later impeached. Now the current South Korean president wants the deal to be renegotiated. Abe, however, rejected  the “additional measures” sought by Seoul, saying that, in essence, a deal’s a deal. He’s on strong ethical ground there, except that the 8 million was ridiculously low,  and Japan’s acceptance of its responsibility for the sex slave outrage has always been grudging at best. 

3. The New York City monuments. Historical airbrushing is all the rage on the Left—after all, those who control the past control the future–and New York City’s social justice warrior mayor, Bill de Blasio, is a fan. Following the Charlottesville violence, he declared that New York City would conduct a review of all “symbols of hate” in its parks and on its streets. That was a pre-biasing and obnoxious characterization, since the inventory for review included statues of Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt, among others.

To be fair to de Blasio, he said that tweeted statement wasn’t really from him, though it went out under the mayor’s name. To also be fair, when public officials delegate their tweets, they are 100% accountable for what gets tweeted.

His special commission, after months of closed door meetings, public hearings and an online survey, came back this week with recommendations that the city relocate just one statue, that of Marion Sims, a 19th century doctor who developed important advances in gynecological surgery by conducting operations on black slave women without anesthesia. His statue stands in Harlem. but will be moved to a cemetery. Surviving the statuary purge for now are monuments to Teddy Roosevelt, a former NYC mayor and, of course, a great President,  Christopher Columbus, and others. It looks as if the city will try to use plaques to place the statues in historical and cultural context.

That is certainly preferable to tearing them down, but is also an invitation to political and ideological mischief, as we saw with the anti-nuke, anti-Truman plaque initially posted near the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian annex where it is on exhibit. The headline on the Times art critic’s coverage of the commission’s recommendations reads, “Half-Measures Won’t Erase the Painful Past of Our Monuments.”The unstated assumption behind  that phrasing is that the pain of history should be erased.

Wrong. Monuments and statues honoring figures from a different time and context should be constantly considered, debated, pondered, and re-evaluated for what they mean, the values they represented then and now, and what they can teach us. Erasing history is not just a bad solution to the pain, it’s a dangerous and unethical one.

4. The President’s health and “The Roosevelts” White House doctor Ronny Jackson pronounced  President Donald Trump “in excellent health” following his physical this week. In a brief statement, Jackson said, “The President’s physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well. The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday.”

I was re-watching Ken Burns’ documentary “The Roosevelts,” specifically the last few episodes about FDR as President. Yes, it was part of my research as I prepare a post about the narrative from the “resistance” (Academic Division) that President Trump is an existential danger to the democracy because he has, unlike respectable Presidents, breached “norms.” It’s fun to keep this nonsense in your mind as you watch Franklin in action, because you keep giggling. History is fun!

But I digress. What I was reminded of in the penultimate episode was that months before D-Day, with almost a year to go before he ran for a fourth term in office (norms!), President Roosevelt, just 62 but looking a decade or more older, was secretly examined by Navy doctors and found to be dying. The White House then issued a statement that he was in fine health for a man of his age. By sheer coincidence, all four Presidents who conspired to keep serious health conditions from the public were Democrats: Cleveland, Wilson, FDR, and Kennedy. If Trump’s doctor is hiding something, and he is already being accused of this—by Democrats—it will still be unethical, but it will hardly violate “the norm.”

14 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/14/18: Comfort Women, Presidential Health Lies, Pit Bulls And No “Goodbye Columbus”…Yet

        • They’re fixated on getting him removed because he’s mentally incapacitated. One thing at a time, Chris. High cholesterol is Plan S. It’s a few weeks off.

    • Perhaps that was a misspelling of Dr. Jackson’s name in an earlier release, or perhaps something else was going on; I’m not familiar with But, his name was spelled correctly in what appears to be the press secretary’s tweet from Jan. 12 on the twitter web site:

  1. “. If Trump’s doctor is hiding something, and he is already being accused of this—by Democrats—it will still be unethical, but it will hardly violate “the norm.”

    And the cause of this is willful ignorance of American history…just like CNN conveniently forgets about LBJ’s private use of profanity.

    • This particular objection is always the same: is it unethical for a law firm to accommodate a client who says “I want a male/female/black/white/old attorney as my lawyer.” And the answer is, unequivocally, NO. The client gets to decide who represents him or her. Then the question is, should a law firm refuse a client who makes such a demand? The law firm CAN, but it shouldn’t. It’s not the lawyer’s role to substitute his or her values for a client, and moreover, clients should feel comfortable and trust their lawyers, because otherwise the lawyer can’t do a good job. WHY a client distrusts a lawyer or would feel more comfortable with another lawyer is none of the lawyer’s business, once he or she has advised the client that the rejected lawyer would be a wiser choice.

  2. #3. Historical airbrushing seems to have lost steam at this point, as other issues move to the forefront that are less fraught with problems for the left. I read the report of the NY commission, and I came away with the conclusion that, as much of a social justice warrior as Bill DeBlasio is, he is a politician first, and more importantly, he is a politician with his eye on going farther, maybe even on 2020 (although I think he would get no farther than being an also-ran). He knows the hard left alone is probably not enough to carry him to Albany or to the Senate and definitely not enough to carry him farther. He also knows that making too many enemies is not recommended for politicians who have further ambitions.

    I believe that from the get-go he never intended to examine every monument in the Five Boroughs, with 116 that have the status of National Historic Landmark and 29 in Central Park alone. I believe this was a fig-leaf weaving exercise by which he could give those who actually felt passionate enough to speak up a forum to be heard, see how that went, then generate a report with some recommendations, and close the book claiming that he did all he could do, probably thinking that by this time all the heat from Charlottesville would have cooled down.

    To examine only four monuments of the huge numbers within the City comes off as either cherry-picking or deliberately doing too little. To examine only the Columbus Circle monument when another statue of Columbus stands within walking distance of it in Central Park begs the question of whether this commission was just going through the motions.

    As pointed out, the only statue that is going to be not destroyed, but relocated, is that of Marion Sims, who is not a defining character in American general history and does not have much of a following. The absence of his statue, located along the sidewalk on the west side of Central Park, will frankly be neither noticed nor mourned by many, including this writer. He was an easy sacrificial lamb to offer so that the commission would at least have moved or gotten rid of something.

    The Henri Petain marker frankly might not have been noticed, but its removal would have set a potentially dangerous precedent. It was placed after WWI, when Marshal Petain was a hero, before he made his rotten deal with the Nazis to become proconsul of Vichy France. What then, might happen to other monuments if something unsavory were later discovered in the honoree’s history? What if a jazz musician were revealed to have not only used but traded drugs, or an abolitionist were revealed to have forced himself on a woman? Do we want to open that door?

    Teddy Roosevelt and Christopher Columbus are both iconic figures in American history, both significant, and, most importantly, I believe, both have huge followings. Roosevelt’s following is fairly bipartisan, since he was big in the conservation movement as well as all the other colorful stuff he did. Columbus, like it or not, is considered the standard-bearer for Italian-Americans, of whom there are still huge numbers in New York and the surrounding area. DeBlasio knew that, and he knew damn well he wasn’t touching either of these memorials, because to do so would have made him a lot of enemies he can’t afford to have going forward. He also knows full well that saying you’re just going to plow ahead with something and plowing ahead with it are two different things. One of the first things he said he was going to do at the beginning of his first term was eliminate the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. The carriages are still very much there, and he is not likely to get rid of them before he is term-limited out and needs to look for a new gig. By adding contextual plaques, or at least recommending them, though, he can appear to have done something.

    What I think he hoped to do by doing all of this is give himself cover and quiet at least some of the farther left voices. The commission did recommend the addition of new monuments to honor those communities that apparently don’t feel special enough. Most of us don’t have a problem with the Indians having their own monument or their own day to celebrate their heritage. That’s actually relatively easy and makes almost too much sense. After all, if the Indians get their own day and their own memorial, then they might actually concentrate on celebrating in their own way in their own time, stop butting heads with the Columbus Day people, and there goes the controversy and all the political hay to be made from it.

    In the long term DeBlasio may think he was doing the right thing, and he may have bought some quietude at least for a while. Maybe he’s even hoping that these recommendations can go to the bottom of the pile and he can tell any inquirers they are being worked on. I think he may have misjudged those farther left than himself (its a long way to get there, but you can get there if you are determined to). There’s always a danger in compromising when at least some of your supporters or allies are absolutists. Michael Collins in Ireland and Robespierre and Marat in France found that out the hard way. We’ve seen firsthand this past hear just how absolutist antifa and their hangers-on and enablers can be. It only takes one idiot to plant a bomb or crash a truck into a monument, and there are plenty of idiots out there willing to do just that. They aren’t going to go home, put on some Beyoncé, and crack open a few cold ones just because some committee said they won’t disturb the monuments. Is the mayor now willing to go on record as saying the question of the monuments is a decided question and anyone who tries to destroy one will feel the NYPD’s full weight?

    It’s unethical to just go through the motions in the hopes you can kick a can down the road or appease crazies. I hope that’s not what we have here.

  3. Let start this comment by saying; this is not what it looks like.

    My dog (a mutt, maybe a little bull terrier, who knows?) is not in this fight between Japan and the Republic of Korea. To categorize it as a fight probably isn’t correct either as the facts have been settled and there has obviously been a huge evil committed by Japan against the people of Korea, one I am not writing this to convince anyone of anything but rather to inform people of something they may not of known before hand. Whataboutism this is not, anger, disgust and a bit of shame it is.

    Everyone loves a hypocrite; watching someone fall always delight the side of us that craves spectacle and someone who betrays themselves only raises the precipice higher. Which is why I want to talk about the massive human trafficking problem that goes on in The Republic of Korea.

    The Korean people are polite. They do not talk about scandalous things in public, not with strangers and definitely not with foreigners. They would rather ignore a problem in their polite society than admit it exists. Getting an average to self citicize the culture is like pulling teeth and just as likely to end in blood loss.

    For example, it is an blatantly open secret that while prostitution is illegal (as well as pornography) in Korea, it is rampant. There are literal whorehouses that display their wares in the open on the street behind pink curtains and glass walls, police walk by without comment. These are known as “glass houses” and the implied metaphor for the country is apt.

    While the Korean government is chastising the Japanese for refusing to apologize for atrocities committed over half a century ago, they are practicing the very same evils today.

    Every year an unknown number of women are forced into prostitution and domestic servitude on a country that is rated as a TIER I nation on the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, TIER I being reserved that nation’s that comply with international laws on human trafficking.

    I wonder if South Korea is afforded leniency because of it’s strategic position in advancing US interests in the region, a reclassification would bring sanctions and weaken US Korean relations. I can personally tell you that that status is crap, unlike the US where human trafficking is hidden behind closed doors there it is as mentioned visible from the street.

    How do I know? I was stationed at Camp Hovey, South Korea for a period of one year while serving in the army as an 11B. It’s a smaller camp connected to Camp Casey which is one of the largest and furthest north of the primary American installations. I was stationed there in 2010 and witnessed this with my own eyes. Comfort women still exist, but they are being sold willingly by the Korean public to friends not Invaders.

    There in lies my feeling of shame. At both gates of the camp I was stationed at, Toekieri and Ville outside the main gate, by the time you finished whistling the stars and stripes you can find yourself in a whorehouse, literally an entire street full of them. Everyone, and I mean pretty much everyone gave these “Juicy Bars” (named for drinks you buy the girls inside to accumulate points) their patronage. I have seen everyone from a private to a full bird colonel in these places, and while they were might not of been paying for sex at the time, their dollars were still supporting the same criminal groups who run the whole scheme. I saw some other soldiers who posted about being in Korea and they will understand, after all Osan AFB is only a 20 minute train ride away from Itaewon and the notorious hooker hill. I know because I spent money in the same bars, I talked to the same girls and I didn’t say or do anything. It was a mass rationalization; if everyone’s doing it, then it can’t be wrong, can it? It can and there’s no one else responsible but us.

    The women who are employed at these bars are mostly foreigners, not like the poor Korean farm girls who staff the brothels that the utilize. Korean culture regards outsiders as less than real people, especially those from Central and south east Asia. These girls are sent to work with foreigners in the “Special tourist zones”, so that Korean women do not have to. They we’re mostly Filipinas when I was there, but they came in waves, Russians, Czech, Thais, different faces, same story. In the beginning it was Korean women as well, though that stopped being the case when the Korean economy expanded and they could afford to import cheap forced labor to replace them.

    The women’s (and men’s, lots of crossdressers) stories usually begin in their home countries where they are approached by “talent agent” that promises them a great job. Musician, chef, hostess, it doesn’t matter what they are looking for the young, the poor and the desperate. Once flown to Korea, usually illegally by way of Hong Kong, they are headed into a room where their new “managers” bid for their contracts from the coyotes. Like cattle they are evaluated and the skilled ones are sent to be domestic servants while the pretty end up worker for mob underlings at the sex bars. Bused to their new home, their passports and visas are taken from for “safekeeping” and they are given new, clothes, a phone and rent. Of course they have to pay it back, which keeps them indebted and they face a three month probation where their pay is stopped. If they do not bring in enough pay, they are forced to pay penalties, which is to have sex with customer for higher fees. If they try and run away, without their bosses endorsement they would be arrested and without the money to pay for a plane trip home are left to rot in prison.
    It is a vile system and you can call them nothing but by what, slaves. They are all desperately poor and have no other means to support their families so the compulsion is there. They are often exposed to both violence and sexual abuse from their bosses and customers. The police do not care as they turn a blind eye to all things. They live multiple girls in a single room and share beds. They are not allowed to leave the apartment except while, working, once a month for a free day, or while with a client. In short it is a miserable existence. Of course there is plenty of other exploitation going on, factory work being the biggest among them, but this isn’t he most foul.

    The United States Army’s and PACCOMs official status on human trafficking is zero tolerance, you have to take a course in “Combating Human Trafficking” before you even set foot on the peninsula. This is a joke. They don’t care at all. If a complaint is issued, they sometimes blacklist the bar, until it changes it’s name a week laterand reopens, with the same girls and the same practices firmly in place. I always speculated when I was over there that someone high up at the Garrison and maybe even divisional level was taking kickbacks from the mob. I don’t know, but what is even more pathetic is that the Korea mafia reaches across both sides of the DMZ. Or maybe it was because if they prosecuted every soldier who ever supported human trafficking, myself included, there would be no one left.

    This is a shame on the U.S. Military, the Republic of Korea and myself.

    Hopefully one day this will all change and all parties involved will realize how stupid they were. Slavery was pushed back once before, why couldn’t it be again. Though honestly I doubt it, they are far away and our ugliness at home is hidden enough for us to remain comfortable. I guess after all it’s easier to demand an apology for an ancient evil than to actually fight one that you can prevent today.
    If your wondering if I have a personal stake in this, I met my wife in Korea. She had run away from all this and was technically on the lamb. I payed for her ticket home and we kept in touch, got married a few years later. Going on 4 years now. That’s why I’m so angry, though even more so I feel guilt that I was a part it, even indirectly.

    Sam Halverson

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