A pleasant Sunday…
as long as I don’t read the newspaper or watch the Talking Heads…
1. Before I finish a long post about the most recent contrived Brett Kanavaugh smear by the New York Times, ponder this quote from the Times review of “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh”: “[The authors] come to a generous but also damning conclusion, which is that Blasey Ford and Ramirez are believable and were in fact mistreated by Kavanaugh as teenagers, but that over the next 35 years he became a better person.”
Ugh. The conclusion is “damning” because it relies almost entirely on confirmation bias: Blasey Ford’s own lawyer revealed that her motive in using her “recovered memory” against Kavanaugh was to discredit any future anti-abortion opinions he participated in as a member of the court. The accusation by Ramirez isn’t, apparently, even believable to Ramirez herself, since she says she isn’t certain that the Mad Penis-Dangler was Bret Kavanaugh. Why then, do the authors find the claims “believable”? Oh, because they want to believe them, of course; they work for the New York Times, and they certainly weren’t going to get their book promoted by their employer and snatched up by its readers if they concluded, as objective reporters would, that there is no more reason to believe Justice Kavanaugh did these things than there is reason to believe he didn’t.
The real ugh is this, however: if even these biased analysts conclude that the accusations, even if true, do not have any relevance on the grown man who was nominated to the Supreme Court because they relate to a minor who existed 35 years ago—and who has, as most children do, grown up—then the episodes that their book focuses upon literally don’t matter, shouldn’t have been brought into Kavanaugh’s hearing, and should not be used now to denigrate and discredit him.
2. From “Social Q’s,” a glimpse of what a malfunctioning ethics alarm is like. Prompting the frequently appearing question in my mind, “How does someone get like this?” was the query into Phillip Gallane’s advice column from a woman who threw herself a birthday party, directed guests not to bring gifts but to make a donation to a charity she supports instead, and was annoyed that some brought gifts anyway. She asked if it would be inappropriate to send the gifts back with a disapproving note so they “would listen” to her “next time.”
I know what I would do “next time”…
3. Hey, sounds great, Facebook! Why wouldn’t everyone trust your judgment? Facebook announced a series of changes last week to squelch hate speech and extremism—meaning what Facebook and its allies consider such— on its platform in a letter to the chairman of a House panel. Facebook said it would prevent links from the fringe sites 8chan and 4chan from being posted on its platform—you, know like it blocks links to Ethics Alarms! Then it explained how it would develop an oversight board of at least 11 members to review and oversee content decisions—like the decision that a wide-ranging ethics blog that has no political affiliation or agenda, written by a professional ethicist of some note, doesn’t meet the Facebook “community standards.”
In other, unrelated news regarding the obstacles being thrown in my path, the Appeals Court in Massachusetts finally alerted me that it was taking “under advisement” the request for an appeal of the rejected frivolous defamation suit filed about two years ago by a banned commenter here whose boo-boo I wounded.
(I am not concerned.)
4. And while we’re on the topic of unethical lawsuits...Everybody knows that Japan’s Imperial Army’s made sex slaves of tens of thousands of Korean women and others in military brothels during World War II. Everybody, that is, except perhaps the Japanese, who have been taught various spun and distorted versions of the truth while the country has refused to fully admit its crimes, either domestically or internationally. The official cover-story is that all of those captured women were paid; in other words, not sex slaves, just prostitutes. Even an official Japanese Government apology in 1993 fell far short of complete candor.
Miki Dezaki made a meticulous documentary for his graduate thesis, examining the reasons for the endless obfuscation. His work concluded that racism and sexism were largely behind the false history. In response, five of the most active apologists for the army are suing him for defamation.
His two-hour documentary, “Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue,” has been shown in Japan and South Korea and will travel to U.S. college campuses next month.
Dezaki is a second-generation Japanese-American who was not told about the “comfort women” in any detail by his Japanese immigrant parents, and assumed that the Western news media “had gotten it wrong somehow.” For his film project, he interviewed historians, activists and lawyers, reviewed official documents that proved the Japanese military’s direct role in managing the brothels, and read the accounts of hundreds of survivors who described conditions there.
Some audience members in Japan were surprised by the documentary’s revelations that were absent from their history textbooks. Tsubasa Hirose, a freelance copywriter, wrote on her movie blog that she had always thought comfort women “treated people at the hospital, like nurses.” I didn’t know anything,” she wrote, “and I wasn’t given any opportunity to.”
It sounds to me as if Dekaki is already bending to the intimidation effort. “My conclusion is not final,” he told one interviewer. “I don’t know everything. I feel like I can defend my conclusion based off what I know. I’m always aware that there’s a possibility that one of the factors in my argument might not hold.”
Don’t let them beat you down, Mike.
5. Why Pete Buttigieg is a weasel. OK, maybe there’s a nicer way to say that. Or maybe not. The South Bend mayor who habitually lectures conservatives about what Jesus would do and their alleged hypocrisy was asked about the grisly discovery of the remains of more than 2,200 fetuses/unborn babies at the Illinois home of a former Indiana abortion doctor with the German war crimes name of Ulrich Klopfer, who died earlier this month. The good doctor had an abortion clinic right in South bend. Buttigieg’s response:
“I find that news out of Illinois extremely disturbing, and I think it is important that it be fully investigated. I also hope that it does not get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to health care.”
Buttigieg knows a good Democrat cannot find the deaths and callous disposal of the unborn “disturbing” without having to admit that there is something wrong with aborting millions of such beings every year. Thus he breezily slides past the issue to focus on the other side of the ethical equation, where the votes are.
I would have more respect for Mayor Pete if he had the integrity to say, “Obviously this needs to be investigated. However, if the fetuses were legally aborted with the full consent of the women involved, this is a matter of improper disposal of biological waste. These were not human beings, and they had no right to live, as much as the foes of women’s rights and Roe v. Wade would like us to believe.”