It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
1. The sad part is that this is newsworthy. The Boston Red Sox accepted their invitation to visit the White House and be honored for their World Series victory. In doing so, they buck the trend of the past couple years of championship teams “boycotting” what should be a unifying, purely ceremonial event of national pride (and fun, since that’s what sports are supposed to be about) in order to make some kind of incoherent statement of disapproval regarding President Trump. Of course, this is all virtue-signalling, as if being expressly unpatriotic, disrespectful and divisive while insulting the President is a virtue. (Sportswriter love the boycotts.)
Boston manager Alex Cora is Puerto Rican, and had criticized the national response to the island’s hurricane emergency. Some thought that he would lead his team to snub the White House, but Cora is a smarter, wiser, stronger leader than that, as he showed all season long.
2. Great. France accepts government by mob rule. President Emmanuel Macron’s administration today suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of violent protests. The fuel taxes, which most heavily burden French citizens least able to endure them, were expressly aimed at curbing climate change, though there isno evidence whatsoever that they would accomplish that. So it was a bad policy, but even bad policies should not be vetoed by mob rule. Macron’s capitulation to violent protests is cowardly—though so, so French—and undermines the rule of law, not just in France, but worldwide.
These are the times even the most hardened-Trump-hater should be grateful that the U.S. has a leader who cannot be extorted in this manner.
Should be, but, of course, won’t.
3. If they didn’t have double standards…well, you know the rest. Human rights groups say China has detained up to 2 million Uighurs, a Muslim minority in the country, to promote “ethnic unity” in the country’s far west. This week over 270 scholars from 26 countries released a statement drawing attention to “mass human rights abuses and deliberate attacks on indigenous cultures” taking place in China. “In the camps, these detainees, most of whom are Uighur, are subjected to deeply invasive forms of surveillance and psychological stress as they are forced to abandon their native language, religious beliefs and cultural practices,” the statement said.
Never mind. The news media is just thrilled that the President has called a temporary truce in the trade war with China, is meeting with its leader, and that the two countries may soon again be working together, creating jobs and wealth on both sides of the Pacific. Meanwhile, the same people cheering our efforts to accommodate China have pronounced the President a monster for not risking relations with the Saudi’s over the murder of a single journalist.
4. Facts are stubborn things, as a wise man once said. From the Examiner: “A majority of “non-citizens,” including those with legal green card rights, are tapping into welfare programs set up to help poor and ailing Americans, a Census Bureau finding that bolsters President Trump’s concern about immigrants costing the nation. In a new analysis of the latest numbers, from 2014, 63 percent of non-citizens are using a welfare program, and it grows to 70 percent for those here 10 years or more, confirming another concern that once immigrants tap into welfare, they don’t get off it.”
But “Think of the children!” “They only want a better life!” “We’re a nation of immigrants!” Facts aren’t racist or xenophobic. Open borders and porous borders hurt Americans. Arguments supporting these policies are irresponsible, and usually dishonest.
Similarly, this was largely ignored by the media. I have now heard the asertion quoted by Republicans numerous times, but it has not been reported by the New York Times, the Post, or the networks as far as I can determine.
More than 600 members of the 10,000 migrants traveling from Central America to the U.S. are convicted criminals, the country’s top security official said Monday evening. In a Facebook post defending U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s handling of a large group of people who attempted to run over the U.S.-Mexico border Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said a significant number of those migrants were known as criminals in their countries of origin.
“[W]e cannot confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country. However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape, child abuse and more. This is serious,” Nielsen wrote. “Additionally, Mexico has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico.”
Is 600 an accurate number? Gee, I don’t know. It would be nice if journalists acknowledged the statement, and inquired, since that’s their job, or once was. Maybe it’s 300. Maybe it’s 50.
One is too many.
5. Here is a needlessly confusing but interesting essay on a simple ethics problem. Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship, in the New Yorker discusses when it considered acceptable for an author to misrepresent his or her identity, life, or what the author represents as fact in a book. Tied in with these issues are whether an author’s background, ethnicity and conduct should matter, or if all that a reader should care about is what is on the printed page.
I don’t think most of the supposedly difficult ethical issues raised are all that difficult:
- It is unethical for an author to intentionally deceive readers, either regarding the truth of what he or she writes, or his or her identity and credentials.
- Fiction should be presented as such. An author who knowingly represents that events have occurred that did not, or who uses experiences of others as his or her own, is engaging in indefensibly unethical conduct.
- In memoirs, if the author honestly remembers an event as occurring a certain way, such an account is not dishonest, as long as it is made clear that this is a recollection, not a statement of facts.
- The author’s identity and experiences can legitimately change the value and impact of a book on the reader, so misrepresentations are material.
6. About those “shut off your ad-blocker” demands. The Daily Beast, which I have used often here as a source of stories, particularly those of a leftward slant, now requires that I shut off my ad-blocker or pay a premium to read the site. Many websites are doing this now, like Forbes, Fortune, and several local newspapers. “These ads support the free content you enjoy” I am told. These ads also make using these sites an obnoxious experience, and I say to hell with them. Sell ads if you want, and put them permanently in the margins or between paragraphs. That’s fine. Programming endless, and I do mean endless on some sites, pop-up ads that block the text and require closing is unnecessary, assaultive, and a waste of my time. I wouldn’t do that to my readers.
Almost as annoying are the screens that make turning off the ad-blocker optional, but you have to click on a statement like, “No, I don’t want to support high-quality journalism,” or “Sorry, I’m a worthless free-loader.”
Goodby, Daily Beast.