Open Forum!

From now until around 12:30 pm (E.S.T), I’m going to be occupied with  holding a Zoom seminar for the New Jersey State Bar, ably assisted by the stellar Mike Messer, who will be presenting the legal ethics problems and dilemmas by singing my parody lyrics of such pop and rock classics as “American Pie,” “Fire and Rain,” and “The Boxer,” while accompanying himself on guitar and piano (though not simultaneously.)

It seems like a good time for an Open Forum, where Ethics Alarms commenters can pose their own issues, debate, and otherwise enlighten cyberspace, keeping everything civil and on topic, of course. There also were some provocative posts here over the weekend (if I do say so myself, though not all of them were mine), but the traffic was inexplicably spotty.

Have at it, and I’ll be back in the afternoon.

33 thoughts on “Open Forum!

  1. I have been contemplating such things as the “mostly peaceful protests”, Ted Wheeler’s letter to President Trump rejecting federal aid, and Biden’s statement about the riots being the President’s fault, and as usual I shake my head and wonder just what planet these people are from. But every now and then I have a nagging doubt. Am I missing something? Can it really be that such a broad swath of the nation fully believes that the protests are mostly peaceful? And could they be right about it, in some sense? I believe it is necessary to periodically check what we think we know and see if we can find contradictory evidence, but for the life of me I cannot see whatever it is that my acquaintances on the left are seeing. When people are assaulted, shops looted, and property burned, and the police are out in riot gear practically every night trying to keep the rioting under control, how can anyone say they are “mostly peaceful” with a straight face?

    • Biden’s statement about the riots being the President’s fault

      On Wednesday, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden finally addressed the federal response to the horrific antifa riots and lawlessness in Portland. Rather than acknowledging the violence and destruction in that city — which have carried on for 54 nights — Biden slammed federal officers, claiming they were “brutally attacking peaceful protesters” in service of President Donald Trump’s “political interests.” His statement did not even mention the firing of mortars at police officers and at the federal courthouse or the brief “autonomous zone” that emerged in Portland earlier this month.

      “We have a president who is determined to sow chaos and division. To make matters worse instead of better,” Biden began. “We all remember the appalling scenes in front of the White House, when peaceful protestors were gassed to make way for a Trump photo op. Now Homeland Security agents — without a clearly defined mandate or authority — are ranging far from federal property, stripped of badges and insignia and identifying markings, to detain people.”

      “They are brutally attacking peaceful protestors, including a U.S. Navy veteran,” the Democrat insisted.

  2. The CDC updated its Wuhan virus statistics last week. They found that 94% of deaths previously attributed to the malady had additional underlying causes. This means only nine thousand Americans died of the Chinese flu. Further investigating their data, only nine hundred under the age of fifty-five died of the Communist seasonal chest cold, barring comorbidities.

    Even with these numbers, it seems the flu-death values are 1/5 of previous years. I suppose the coronacough is more effective than the flu vaccine, if we don’t want to consider that the numbers were skewed toward the engineering of an economic collapse.

    • Question regarding the Covid- 19, Chinese Flu, Wuhan Virus, or my personal favorite Woo-hoo Flu. Did the Chinese government deliberately unleash this pandemic on the world? I am not saying it did or didn’t; I just would like to hear people’s thoughts given the following:

      Since Nixon opened relations with communist China, Chinese influence on world economics has grown unchecked by world leaders in and out of governments until Donald Trump said enough.

      Hong Kong dissidents in 2019 were creating a real problem for the communists. They were gaining support outside China and aggressive repression by the communists could damage the carefully crafted benevolent image the totalitarian government has been promoting for decades.

      After the outbreak, China locked down internally but did nothing to prevent international travel.

      As far as I know historically, quarantining was reserved for the sick and not the well. With this pandemic, the world followed the Chinese model and quarantined everyone.

      Prior to the pandemic, President Trump’s reelection seemed quite probable. Now not so much.

      Currently, Hong Kong dissidents don’t seem to exist. Did the flu conveniently kill them? Who knows?

      China has been able to implement severely repressive restrictions on Hong Kong without much notice globally. The world has understandably had more important things on its mind.

      With the already weak economies around the world hobbled by the global shutdowns, China will most probably emerge stronger after this pandemic than before.

      If this virus was deliberate, it would be the most unethical action the world has known.

        • I think rather than “leap” I’d say “moderate step, narrowing by the day” as the circumstantial evidence piles up, but we can agree there’s nothing conclusive. I like to err on the side of ‘the Commies plan to ruin us’ though, especially given their other behaviors.

          We’re long overdue for another good, old-fashioned Red Scare. Maybe we shouldn’t let our media and political establishments and productive capital fall into the hands of foreign interests, freedom of speech notwithstanding.

      • There’s considerable evidence the virus was engineered, and the dismissals of the idea are thin on reasoned defense and heavy on bad-faith (is there any other kind?) accusations of racism. This could lend itself to the hypothesis that it escaped from the Wuhan lab. There’s some chatter about the overbearing Chinese response being a bit of media theater, but I haven’t seen evidence to that effect yet. One other explanation is that the escaped-or-released virus quickly mutated to be less lethal to its host.

        • “There’s considerable evidence the virus was engineered”

          People keep saying this, but cannot articulate what “evidence” there might be. A dismissal based on a lack of convincing evidence is not “thin”.

          • Would a seemingly inserted sequence bracketed by sequences used in laboratories as markers to confirm successful expression which aren’t so conspicuously observable in nature as brackets count as considerable evidence? There’s literature on the subject. I’ll dig around and find it later, if you can’t.

      • It looks like the CDC paid them to do ‘gain of function’ studies on coronaviruses in bats dangerous to human health. Such studies are illegal in the US because they are too dangerous. It seems that the CDC unit Fauchi is in charge of gave them a multi-year grant to do this during the Obama administration despite being told the lab was not capable of handling such viruses safely. So, this very well could be a case of both ‘Your tax dollars at work’ and ‘Chinese outsourcing’.

      • I am not sure which razor is applicable (Hanlon’s, Occam’s, or Bic’s) but this is what I think:

        1. Wuhan has a very large virology lab. They are “studying” viruses from all over the place, including the virus carried by bats some 800 miles away from the lab.

        2. They were “studying” this particular virus in that Wuhan lab, where security protocols were not being followed. Employees contaminated/infected by the virus left the lab, some buying stuff at that fish or meat or open air market a few blocks from the lab, contaminating food and/or shoppers at the market.

        3. Wuhan Province has a work program with Italy to share workers. Contaminated/infected workers from Wuhan traveled to Wuhan for the Chinese New Year, some of whom became infected but asymptomatic.

        4. Chinese New Year meant that people all over China when home to their hometowns to celebrate. Some of them were infected, transporting the virus to the rest of China. Afterwards, workers returned to northern Italy, infecting Italians in the Milan area, the industrial center of Italy.

        5. A lab researcher “discovered” the problem and alerted the Chinese government, who being open and honest about everything Chinese, dismissed the claims as hysteria and told the WHO that the researcher had a nervous breakdown and was being attended to. The WHO, thoroughly independent and honorable, accepted Beijing’s pronouncements as valid and told the world that all was well in Wuhan. Until it wasn’t, whereupon panic set in and the Chinese government, trying to save face and its place as a first world nation, circled the wagons and blamed Italians for the spread of the Milan Virus.

        So, no. I don’t think the release was intentional. China’s deceptive, misleading, and corrupt response, down playing the serious nature of the virus afterwards, when the truth was known, was intentional. That is why China should pay the world community for the damage it has done. It won’t though. If Biden wins, Burisma and other Biden offspring companies will “assist” with the aftermath of the contagion. If Trump wins, China will keep building military islands in the South China Sea and all will be well in the world. Until it won’t be.


    • Don’t do this.

      It doesn’t mean *only* 9,000 died of the Wuhan Virus. It does mean that far less than 180,000 can be honestly blamed on the virus. But those who died with *comorbidities present* doesn’t mean that many of them still didn’t die because of the virus. It does mean that a major portion of the 180,000 *shoud* be reevaluated to see if the mere presence of the Wuhan Virus in their body when they died was a direct cause of their death or not.

      • Oh, I’m doing it. If you’re going to make a facial diaper mandatory for my continued employment on thin grounds to begin with, you’re going to have to eat every reasonable doubt available. For the lives and livelihoods lost, I’ll wage this war. My progeny will wage this war until every last person who empowered this atrocity is brought to nothing and scorned by the whole human race. This is officially a blood feud.

        If you died of cancer and the flu mislabeled as Coronachan, you died of cancer. If you used that statistic to cripple the economy, or especially funnel the sick into nursing homes to drive up an artificial death toll, you belong against a wall with a blindfold and cigarette. Negotiation with terrorists is a disgusting, effeminate act of cowardice. I should hope I would endure every torture imaginable rather than commit even one such mortal sin.

        No, it is no longer a question of whether this is a global fraud but how big the lie actually is. That question is a minor triviality while we’re letting these criminals traipse about on our televisions.

        • I believe there is a more stable middle ground.

          I have been saying that saying a 88 year old with COPD or a person involved in an MVA or suffers a GSW died of covid 19 because the patient tests positive just prior to death is a fiction.

          However, going to extremes is not helpful to advance the argument that these stats are being manipulated to sway the election. The push should be to challenge every cause of death that is associated with significant co-morbidities.

          • The simplest and probably most accurate way to determine how many deaths could be attributed to the pandemic is to compare the monthly death by locality in 2017 through 2019 to that same locality in 2020. That will give you the most unbiased impact of the pandemic.

  3. Los Angeles County continues its fight with Grace Community Church. A judge allowed the church to hold services with appropriate social distancing and the use of masks. Rather than waiting for the situation to work itself through the courts, the county is ending a 45 year lease of land it’s used as a parking lot.

    “Los Angeles County is retaliating against Grace Community Church for simply exercising their constitutionally protected right to hold church and challenging an unreasonable, unlawful health order,” said Jenna Ellis, Special Counsel to Thomas More Society. “In America, we have a judicial system to ensure that the executive branch does not abuse its power, and Grace Community Church has every right to be heard without fear of reprisal.”

    This eviction is for a large area of the parking lot utilized by the church—and has been leased since 1975. The land is in the flood control area and unsuitable for most uses.

    • It rather reminds me of the Obama administration’s attempt to make the government shut down as bad as possible on regular people, up to and including shutting down the parking lot to Mount Vernon. The government doesn’t run Mount Vernon, you see, just its parking lot.

    • This weekend, my wife and I rented the recently released movie, “Fátima”, a film about Marian apparitions in Fátima, Portugal, in 1917. As a film it is well done, the acting is excellent, the cinematography is stunning (I want to move to Portugal), and the story is well written. I do recommend it.

      Now, what does this have to do with LA County fighting Grace Community Church? For those who aren’t familiar with Fátima, a little background might help. Beginning on May 13, 1917, three Portuguese children had visions of seeing Mary, the Mother of the Rosary, in a field. They were told to return to that spot on the same day of each month for 6 months, when Mary would give them messages about faith in a world destroying itself during World War I, a stupid a war as anyone can define in my mind. One of the children was only 6 years old (Jacinta) and told her parents, who then talked to Lucía’s family. Word soon spread in town about the children’s visions. At the time, there was great conflict in Portugal between the government (deeming itself progressive and not beholden to religious superstitions) and the Roman Catholic Church, which still exercised great influence over Portuguese society. Visions of the Virgin Mary in Fátima soon began to upset the proverbial apple cart, especially as word spread farther outside of Fátima to the country and beyond.

      During one of the visions/visitations, Mary encouraged praying the Rosary as a way to atone for sin, which also meant seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation. People lined up for confession. The local mayor, fancying himself as a good secular progressive, shut the church down, declaring that his administration had prohibited “rallies”, and had determined that attendance at Mass was a rally under this local order.

      How is that not an allegory for what is happening today across our nation? Local and state governments have shuttered religious facilities and services (Christian services, Jewish seders and funerals, etc – though, little has been said about Muslim calls to prayer). Yet, demonstrations, statue toppling, protests, riots, in support of St. George Floyd and the Blessed Jacob Blake and against legitimate government authority are encouraged, supported, and beatified as essential to the conversion of the national soul for systemic racism and oppression.


  4. Oregon governor Kate Brown blamed Patriot Prayer’s coming to Portland for the recent fatality in Portland, and pretty much all else, while she wants to put together a council to end this – including incompetent Ted Wheeler, black protest leaders, etc., but not really ordinary people who just want to work and live. I saw a meme that said that the only reason we are talking riots and not Civil War 2.0 is that the other side hasn’t shown up yet. Well, the other side IS starting to show up now, just like in Northern Ireland the Protestants started to form their own militias to fight the IRA and be everywhere the police and military couldn’t be. What’s more, the BLM/Antifa sympathy is starting to erode. It’s one thing to march alongside neighbors seeking justice. It’s another to become a sacrificial lamb in a flock of sheep where a socialist militia are the wolves and there are neither sheep dogs nor shepherds. Just how much abuse of the process and constitutional protections are we supposed to suffer before we avail ourselves of another constitutional protection? When are you supposed to say enough is enough, rise off your knees, stop kissing ass, and start kicking it instead?

    • I watched some of the news this weekend. Why are CNN, et al, not surprised that counter-protesters have shown up and are swinging back? Didn’t anyone think that someone would pick up a rifle and take defensive action of property* when police and local governments either failed to stop destruction, are incapable of stopping destruction of property, or have outright encourage destruction of property?


      *Ed. Note: I take no position on the validity or lack thereof of that 17 year old’s claims. I just note that it is a sign that the other side is beginning to show up.

    • Kate Brown has an active recall campaign with the signature deadline of noon today. I think it’s going to be close on meeting the requirements. I don’t think it would be close if she made the same comments a week ago. All of the sane people I know are livid about her statement. The suspect in this shooting was busted in June on the other side of the state for illegally carrying a firearm, then again in early July for having a gun at the protest. He was charged… then on July 30th, charges were dropped. Local officials really do have blood on their hands.

      She doubled down on her unethical statement- the side that didn’t shoot anyone is being blamed.

  5. Also, the media gearing up for the biggest gaslighting operation that I can remember when Biden stepped out of his basement to “condemn the violence” and “challenge” Trump to do the same. MSM is actually going to run like Biden is taking the lead on this.

    • Yup, as far as they’re concerned, all the president has ever done is respond to peaceful protests and direct diplomacy with a ham-handed approach, and Federal law enforcement are the SS (until there’s a Democrat up top).

      • My longtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, has been right about the media since 1994.

        We all remember this tweet.

    • “In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for”.

      Open admission of what was already obvious – the intent of giving Obama the Nobel Peace prize was to bolster a particular narrative…not actually give an award.

      • Which of course is pertinent in the news as another Norwegian lawmaker has nominated Trump for the prize.

        My cynical side tends to think that Trump has been nominated only to be reject to further craft the narrative. Of course the Norwegian lawmaker is characterized as “far right” politician for narrative purposes. In the same dishonest and nefarious tradition that the Leftwing propagandists rely on when earlier headlines about the murderous Antifa member killed the pro-Trump protester in Portland…by merely mentioning Michael Rienohl’s name but the victim, un-named, shows up in headlines as “right wing extremist”.

  6. “In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for”.

    Open admission of what was already obvious – the intent of giving Obama the Nobel Peace prize was to bolster a particular narrative…not actually give an award.

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