A rainy good morning from Northern Virginia!
1. Weekend Update: I’d like to point readers to two posts from the weekend, recognizing that many of you don’t visit on Saturday and Sunday. I think they are important.
The first is” I Hereby Repudiate My Undergraduate Degree, As My Alma Mater Has Rendered It A Symbol Of Hypocrisy, Ignorance, And Liberal Fascism” about Harvard’s shocking punishment of a college dean and Harvard law professor for defending Harvey Weinstein. There was more to the story than I knew when I posted about it (thanks, Chip Defaa! ). Ronald Sullivan’s wife is also being stripped of her position as a dean—Harvard now designates both spouses as “deans” when they lead residence Houses. It’s not exactly “guilt by association,” since she also only had the job by association, but she still lost her job and cpmpensation. Ronald Sullivan had quit his position as a defense attorney for Weinstein the day before Harvard announced he would not be dean of Winthrop House for the next school year. That’s not very admirable on his part, but I sympathize with his dilemma.
The other is this multi-lateral ethics break-down, which I am upset about now and will continue to be. It demonstrates how far gone rational ethical decision-making is in some segments of our society, and honestly, I don’t know what to do about it.
2. Here’s one of the many little ways the “resistance” is undermining the President (and in so doing, our democracy.) The Children’s Hospital Association paid for a full page ad last month in the New York Times, thanking “Congress and the Administration” for passing the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids). This is pandering, partisan, ungrateful cowardice. Laws are passed by Congress and the President, who must sign legislation into law. “The Administration” has no Constitutional role in passing laws. This pusillanimous association was afraid of backlash if it dared to publicly thank Present Trump for making their bill law.
Presidential policies, words and actions that the “resistance” can complain about are over-publicized; accomplishments that they can’t find fault with are ignored or attributed to someone else.
Here’s another example, from this week’s Times book section. In a review of a book about the decision to fight the Iraq war, the reviewer refers to “Trumpian malpractice.” That’s just an unsupported and gratuitous slur, assuming that readers believe that the President’s name is synonymous with incompetence, or trying to embed the idea that it is.
3. Not news, not fact, just deceptive climate change propaganda. The New York Times liked this quote from a book review so muchg that it published it twice, in the book reviews supplement, and on page 3 of its front section:
“Global emissions could be cut by a third if the richest 10 percent of humanity cut their use of energy to the same level as affluent, comfortable Europe.”
“Affluent and comfortable” by whose standards? Since the Times is a U.S. paper, one presumes it means U.S. standards. Well, Britain is poorer than every U.S. state by our standards. Most of Europe is poorer than the U.S. Even much ballyhooed economies like those of Germany and Sweden would rank in the lower third of our states. How then, is it not misleading to refer to “affluent, comfortable Europe”?
4. The crucial distinction between rights and privileges. Presidential hopeful Cory Booker’s anti-gun plan would require a citizen seeking to buy a gun to apply for a license in the the same way one applies for a passport, except with far more requirements. The applicant would have to submit fingerprints and endure an interview, and applicants would have to complete a certified gun safety course. Each applicant would also undergo a federal background check before being issued a gun license and it would only be valid for up to five years.
When I read this, half-way through the Times article I thought, “Huh. He wants to convert a Constitutional right into government controlled privilege. You can’t do that.” Then later in the article I read this…
In a statement, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a gun-rights organization, described Mr. Booker’s plan as a way to turn a “Second Amendment right into a government-regulated privilege.”
It is also flagrantly unconstitutional. Some of the leaders of the Democratic Party appear to want to gut many rights, and must be counting on a Supreme Court-packing plan to get away with it, perhaps bolstered by all those 16-year-old voters that Speaker Pelosi favors. I bet they can be conned into supporting the slashing of their own liberties even more easily than the grown-ups. (Incidentally, ultra-liberal Maryland’s legislature just voted to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. Go figure.)
5. More Fox fake credentialing . Fox News introduced contributor Jason Chaffetz as “Congressman Jason Chaffetz.” Arghh! Chaffetz isn’t a Congressman (he left the House in 2017) , and Judge Napolitano isn’t a judge. This is misleading.
6. Does “so help me God” belong in the swearing-in oath for witnesses? Democrats are increasingly cutting “so help me God” when administering witness oaths. The fatuous explanation of usually-fatuous Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties notwithstanding (“I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress. Republicans are using God, and God doesn’t want to be used.” How the hell do YOU know what God “wants,” you ass?), it’s an ethical conflict of some complexity. If the government can’t constitutionally establish a religion, can it continue to use official language that presumes a government connection to religion generally? I don’t see how, and I’ve never seen how.
Prayers before legislative sessions, “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, “In God We Trust” on coins and currency, and “so help me God” all should be excised to be consistent with the Establishment Clause. Oaths should be based on law rather than faith: “under penalty of perjury” works just fine.
7. Transgender powerlifter update! Earlier this month we discussed the ethics issue of a biological man, Mary Gregory, who is undergoing gender reassignment treatment setting the Masters world records for women’s squat, women’s bench press, and women’s deadlift. Now the Powerlifting Federation has stripped Gregory of her wins, stating,
“It was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a Transgender female. Our rules, and the basis of separating genders for competition, are based on physiological classification rather than identification. On the basis of all information presented to the Board of Directors for this particular case, the conclusion made, is that the correct physiological classification is male.”