Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/2/2020: Imaginary Fans In New York, Elusive Justice In England, And Utter Cluelessness In Colorado

There’s nothing like a great hymn on a Sunday, and it’s always a good time to hear the rousing Battle Hymn of the Republic. When they sang it at Winston Churchill’s funeral—he chose it for that occasion–the moment was unforgettable. I made sure it was sung at my father’s funeral service at Arlington as well in 2010. Thanks to the largely theatrical mourners in the chapel,  side benefit of directing so many musicals and operettas, the rendition was spectacular. “Wow!” the surprised chaplain exclaimed.

It’s a good thing Dad wasn’t singing. He loved belting out that song, and he was completely tone deaf. His version of the Star Spangled Banner would bring anyone to their knees. It made Rosanne seem like Beverly Sills.

1. A gaffe with signature significance. The governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, was widely conceded to be a shoo-in to take the Senate seat away from Republican incumbent Cory Gardner. Then he said “All lives matter.” The Horror. Worse, he said that George Floyd was shot. He really did.

I can’t imagine a more conclusive sign that a politician is simply exploiting an event rather than bothering to learn what happened or think about it. The entire catalyzing effect of Floyd’s death was the symbolism of the cop’s knee on his throat. This guy even ran for President, and this is the seriousness and diligence with which he approaches political leadership. What were all those “I Can’t Breathe!” signs about, Governor?

Glenn Reynolds often says that we have the worst political class in U.S. history. I am reflexively opposed to “this is the worst it has ever been” pronouncements, but in this case, I am inclined to agree.

2. Yecchh!

  • Watching the Fox broadcast of the Red Sox-Yankee game, I was assaulted by MLB’s ridiculous pro-Black Lives Matter spot featuring the faced of one privileged black multi-millionaire after another in an epic display of hypocrisy and tone-deafness. I’ll tell you what, guys: pool your vast riches and do something constructive for the black community rather than handing us vague exhortations about how it’s time to “take action” and “for change,” and I may take you seriously.

In just the group of players I saw in the ad, I counted about two billion dollars in gross assets. The next time the ad came on, I muted the broadcast.

  • Fox, which in all of its incarnations is ethically inert, periodically inserts CGI fans into the empty baseball stands. Not only is this dumb—the fans appear and disappear, like Brigadoon—but it also raises integrity questions. If the broadcast is showing viewers things that aren’t there, why should they trust anything they see?

3. The Harry Dunn mess continues…I first covered this story here. British citizen  Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August of 219 in Northamptonshire, England 42-year-old by Anne Saccolas, a former CIA operative and the wife of Jonathon Sacoolas, a CIA operative working at the United States Air Force listening station at RAF Croughton. She admitted that she was driving on the wrong side of the road, then  invoked diplomatic immunity and left the country for the U.S. on an Air force jet. Thereafter all manner of disruption occurred. British police asked the US mission to waive her immunity, and the US State Department denied the request. Great Britain also asked for her to be extradited, a request that was also refused.

An official’s home country can waive immunity, but  this tends to happen only when the individual has committed a serious crime unconnected with their diplomatic role, or has witnessed such a crime.  I noted in the earlier post that individuals have no authority to waive their own immunity, but I should have also pointed out that nothing stops Saccoolas from voluntarily surrendering to British authorities. She has been charged in Great Britain with causing death by dangerous driving.

President Trump tried to arrange a meeting between Dunn’s parents and the woman who killed their son when the parents traveled to D.C. to meet with him. They refused. They also have refused to accept damages paid by the U.S. They want “justice,” which when personnel with immunity are involved, is not as simple as it sounds, but then justice seldom is. Saccoolas was the beneficiary of an inadvertent loophole: Under the United Nations’ Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, members of diplomatic staff and their families positioned in a foreign country are entitled to immunity. An arrangement between the U.S. and Britain waived this immunity as it applied Americans working at Croughton as embassy staff, like Saccoolas’s husband. The waiver negliected to cover the families of the employees. American personnel at the base could not claim immunity in the event of a crime committed outside their duties, their family members could.

As a result of the Harry Dunn case, that loophole has been closed, but not retroactively. Saccoolas can still evade responsibility for her act, and Harry Dunn’s parents will remain frustrated.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/2/2020: Imaginary Fans In New York, Elusive Justice In England, And Utter Cluelessness In Colorado

  1. Jack,

    Since it’s Sunday, and since Rep. John L. Lewis is still dead, these lyrics are just for you:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of John Lewis on The Bridge;
    Cops had bashed his head – nigh killed him –
    And that mem’ry makes me cringe.
    But so much of what he did thenceforth is ethically unhinged!
    His fraud is marching on..

    Bor-ing, boring John L. Lewis.
    Bor-ing, boring John L. Lewis.
    Bor-ing, boring John L. Lewis.
    His fraud is marching on.

  2. 1. The left, or whatever they are called now, is so furious with the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election that they projected it onto the Republican guy, Cory Gardner. Hickenlooper also had 95 counts give or take of ethics violations investigated. Hickenlooper refused to show up at the subpoena in front of the ethics committee then was fined just under $3,000 for ethics violations while governor. Nothing to see here!! (Is that an ethics rationalization?)

    https://coloradosun.com/2019/11/07/john-hickenlooper-ethics-investigation-report/

  3. 2. I saw that BLM chant-fest “ad,” too. My right forearm, resting on the armrest of my easy chair, almost instinctively sprang from horizontal to vertical, pivoting at my elbow, and – like hoisting a flag on Mt. Suribachi – held steady through that blast of wind from hell, topped by my hand flipping the bird. It was therapeutic.

  4. Jack, despite the annoying and hypocritical virtue signalling, and despite the WTF broadcast factor, I suspect you have the game on now, as do I, although we are drawn to it by different allegiances.
    To me, it seems the league and the teams and the broadcasters are in, or at least close to, an ethics zugzwang. Their way out of that mess is to get back to what the American pastime used to be, a mostly apolitical athletic event in which everyone could set aside all differences for awhile, except for the rivalry. I don’t see a path for them to get back to that.

  5. Jack,

    “I’ll tell you what, guys: pool your vast riches and do something constructive for the black community rather than handing us vague exhortations about how it’s time to “take action” and “for change,”

    This also applies to the countless throngs of people who nightly protest outside the courthouse here in Portland. Until the cops shut it down last week, they’d established a (dirty, but functional) village in the plaza across the street with free (cooked) food, medical supplies, and other essentials — all on a volunteer/donation basis. It amazed me that no one advocate moving this same infrastructure away from the courthouse and into one of the underprivileged communities these middle-class white kids feign so much concern over. One local organization, Rose City Justice, even faced intense criticism (internally and externally) over where and how their donations have been spent. After the protests broke, they saw a HUGE influx of cash that no one within the organization apparently knew how to handle or account for. “Non-profit tax filing?! Sounds like mansplaining to me. Fuck YOU! I care about THE PEOPLE!!!”

    Never before Portland had I seen so many “be the change” displayed everywhere; meanwhile, many of these same people nightly demand change come from elsewhere. It reminds me of those vague “somebody should invent a machine that ..” pronouncements that kids so often make, as though resources and ingenuity run off and endless tap somewhere. though it does explain the “the government should just pay everyone to stay home” argument popular among many far (and middle) leftists.

    Hope you’re well!

  6. As a result of the Harry Dunn case, that loophole has been closed, but not retroactively. Saccoolas can still evade responsibility for her act, and Harry Dunn’s parents will remain frustrated.

    Share this:

    Can she not be prosecuted or sued in the United States?

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2010/04/how-far-does-diplomatic-immunity-go.html

    Diplomats can’t go around shooting people without consequences. The United States has the right to declare someone a persona non grata and to send him home for any reason. The official’s home country can also try him at a local court.

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