1. On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, empowering the Army to issue orders emptying parts of California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona of immigrants from Japan, who were precluded from U.S. citizenship by law, and nisei, their children, who were U.S. citizens by birth. After the order, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court including future liberal icon William O. Douglas, the Japanese-Americans were first warehoused at “assembly centers,” which could be racetrack barns or on fairgrounds, then shipped to ten detendtion camps in Western states and Arkansas. Armed guards and barbed wire, plus morning roll call were part of the degrading and punitive experience.
It is fair to say this treatment was substantially rooted in racism, for there was no mass incarceration of U.S. residents with ties to Germany or Italy. Once the U.S. appeared to be on the way to victory along with its Allies in December 1944, the Executive Order was rescinded. By then the Army was enlisting Japanese American soldiers to fight in Africa and Europe. President Harry Truman told the all Japanese-America 442nd Regimental Combat Team: “You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice—and you have won.”
California is now preparing to formally apologize to the families of those interned.State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) introduced a resolution that will formally apologize for California’s “failure to support and defend the civil rights” of Japanese Americans during that period,” and it is expected to pass today.
It’s naked grandstanding and virtue signaling, of course. The federal government apologized for the unconstitutional imprisonment and granted financial redress to survivors with the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and the Supreme Court overruled its decision upholding internment in 2018.
2. I don’t understand how this can happen, indeed, keeps happening. At The Lodge at Cactus in Las Vegas, Nevada, two uniformed Las Vegas police officers were denied a meal by a restaurant’s bartender last week.When they entered the establishment following their late night shifts, the Lodge’s bartender shook his head “no” and when the officers asked if they could take a seat and order food, he replied, “We don’t serve you guys here anymore.”
Who do you think he’s supporting in the upcoming Nevada caucuses?
After the incident was publicized, the restaurant apologized and said that the bartender was on indefinite suspension and facing termination. Well, of course. But what kind of warped world view, upbringing and education would disable that particular ethics alarm?
3. Why is that “freedom of speech” thingy so illusive for some people? In Kentucky, atheist Bennie Hart drove around in a car with a license plate reading, “I Am God.” for 12 years without legal interference, being struck by lightning or turned into a pillar of salt. Then he moved to Northern Kentucky, and his choice of vanity plate—you have to admit, declaring yourself God is real vanity—was rejected by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The governing agency ruled that the message was contrary to its rule against “vulgar or obscene” phrases. So Hart sued,with the support of the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. A federal judge ruled in his favor, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky must pay his legal fees, all $150,000 of them.
Good. The message was silly, or defiant, or blasphemous, but the state can’t enforce prohibitions on blasphemy, and his message was obviously not vulgar or obscene. It takes fanatics like Hart who are willing to make a stink over government intrusions on the freedom of speech, even freedom of silly speech, to protect our civil rights from dying the death of a thousand cuts.
4. And this is OK because…what, because a Democrat did it? Senator Chris Murphy, one of the most enthusiastic Trump impeachment huns in the Democratic Congress–Collusion, you know?—- confirmed that he privately met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif without State Department knowledge or approval in Munich last week. The Federalist had initially reported the meeting, but Murphy’s staff had refused to deny or confirm it. Murphy’s attempted justifications for his actions were of the huminahumina variety. He admitted that he “cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should….“A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.”
Interesting. In 2017, this same Rep. Murphy demanded an investigation into then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn because he had a phone call with a counterpart in Russia. “Any effort to undermine our nation’s foreign policy – even during a transition period – may be illegal and must be taken seriously,” Murphy said.
Two years earlier, when President Obama was negotiating his dubious nuclear deal with Iran, Senator Tom Cotton and 46 GOP Denators sent an open letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran about how treaties work. Murphy called the letter “unprecedented…undermining the authority of the president.” Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry claimed to be in “utter disbelief” when asked about the letter. Then, when trump was in office, Kerry met with Zarif to try to ‘salvage’ Obama’s Iran deal. This was in direct opposition to the position of the position of the Trump administration.
I hate to keep pointing this out, but here we have another example of a news story of importance that is barely being reported to the public.
5. The Trump pardons. I see my Facebook friends are going bananas over the President’s latest grants of clemency and pardons. Here’s the complete list and the white House justification for them.
As we have discussed here before, the position on Ethics Alarms is that the Presidents pardon power is vastly under-used, and since it is by definition an expression of the ethical values of mercy, compassion and forgiveness, I am reluctant to criticize however a President chooses to apply it. Progressives who have been arguing against confinement for non-violent offenses are ethically estopped from complaining about any of Trump’s pardons, since none of the m were convicted of violence crimes.
I do think, however, that some of are were intentional in-your-face pardons to irritate Democrats, and that is not an ethical motivation.