Monday PM Ethics Parcels, 11/16/2020: Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy, Harvard


1. Hypocrisy One. Another note on crazy-making discussions with the Trump Deranged; I admit to snapping when a once-intelligent Biden voter tossed off the Big Lie that Trump was a danger to individual rights, specifically free speech. “What?” I exploded. “Give me a single example where the President has taken any action that threatens free speech! Meanwhile, conservative speakers have been blocked from reaching audiences on campus, members of  Congress, all Democrats, have argued that “hate speech” isn’t protected under the Constitution, executives, board members, faculty members and others have been forced to resign because of communications that do not comport with progressive positions; citizens wearing MAGA hats have been attacked; Democratic leaders have endorsed Black Lives Matter, which enforces compelled speech (because silence is violence), social media platforms run by Democratic Party supporters are actively censoring conservatives, the a  New York Times editor was forced to apologize and ultimately resigned for allowing an opinion the staff didn’t like to be published as an op-ed, a Democratic Representative and others area calling for supporters of the President to face accountability, and President Trump is a threat to free speech?

Do you know what her sole justification for that position was? The President attacked the news media and declared them the “enemy of the people.” That was it. That was enough: words, not actions. Barack Obama’s administration bugged a journalist. Obama himself attacked Fox News. But Donald Trump threatened the First Amendment.

I don’t understand how such nonsense can come out of an educated person’s mouth without her hearing it and gasping, “Wait! That was completely ridiculous! What’s the matter with me? How did I get this way?”

2. Hypocrisy 2. One reason another national lockdown will not work, and will be greeted with massive defiance, is utter abuse of power and logic like this, from the Governor of California:

Mask between bites.

As Gov. Gavin Newsom was preparing a coordinated pandemic crackdown by his state, Oregon and Washington, he attended a birthday party for a lobbyist at The French Laundry, an ultra-exclusive restaurant. In the midst of decreeing that only one unitary family could participate in Thanksgiving dinner, Newsom was at a meal where twelve families were represented. This is quite an eatery, where the tasting menu costs over $300, and, as one wag wrote, its famous blue door magically keeps out the Wuhan virus.

Does anyone believe this privileged crew put their masks on between bites? I certainly don’t, because, in addition to the fact that laws and rules are for the little people,

Caught in his hypocrisy, the best Newsom could come up with was ‘I shouldn’t have done it’:

“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner.”

“I shouldn’t have done it” is a weak mea culpa that is equally applicable to a shoplifter or John Wilkes Booth. It essentially boils down to “If I thought I would get caught, I wouldn’t have acted this way.”   During the pandemic we have seen this double-standard game from one government official after another, from Dr. Fauci dropping his mask when he thought the cameras weren’t rolling, to Nancy Pelosi and the Mayor of Chicago pulling rank to get their hair done, also maskless.

These people are entitled, power-abusing, untrustworthy assholes.

They are also almost exclusively Democrats.

3. The rest of the story: last year I posted this item:

Harvard has launched  an “independent investigation” into a series of suspicious events that occurred in 2016. Wealthy businessman  Jie “Jack” Zhao paid inexplicably paid $989,500 for a home in the Boston suburbs that was valued at only $549,300.  Seventeen months later he sold that home for $665,000, for a loss of $324,000.

The home he purchased was being sold by famed Harvard fencing coach Peter Brand, who was already coaching Zhao’s older Harvard undergrad son, Eric.   Brand and his wife purchased a $1.3 million Cambridge condominium  for $989,500 a week after Zhao bought their house that just coincidentally had been listed at $989,000. Shortly thereafter, Zhao’s younger son, Edward, was admitted into Harvard as a student-athlete and member of the fencing team.

Zhao insists that his real estate transactions were completely unrelated to  Harvard’s admissions process….At very least, Brand should be fired for this multiple conflict of interest scenario and creating an appearance of impropriety damaging to the university.

Well, Brand was fired, and today he and Zhao were arrested on federal charges alleging they conspired to secure admission for the Zhao’s two sons into Harvard in exchange for $1.5 million in bribes.

It turned out that Zhao’s purchase of the Harvard coach’s home at an inflated wasn’t the only cash transfer involved: there were the fencing coaches’ charities that Zhao wrote checks to, and a Virginia land deal.

I wonder how many Harvard students have been admitted over the years and decades with similar scams while the University looked the other way? It must have required even bigger bribes back when Harvard wasn’t a disgrace to higher education and civil rights.

28 thoughts on “Monday PM Ethics Parcels, 11/16/2020: Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy, Harvard

  1. #2. Hypocrisy 2.

    Ha! I know how to do this. I take the mask off when I sit down and put it back on after I have finished eating and leave. Does this graphic illustrate the relative average intelligence of those residing in CA?

  2. 1. First being educated is not synonymous with emotionally intelligent. Secondly, these people have an irrational need to be liked so they adopt the beliefs of the group they believe will be the winning opinion. It is how mean girls succeed.

    • Interesting theory, CM. Maybe there’s something to it. I just don’t understand how so many (all?) lawyers and other supposedly educated and intelligent people have been turned into, unthinking, robotic, talking point spouters by Donald Trump being President. The worst example I’ve encountered (but there’ve been so many, I’m not sure): A guy who was a freshman dorm “suite” mate of mine and is now a retired Atlanta big firm environmental lawyer, was railing (recently, if you can believe it) about Trump’s firing Sally Yates. He concluded his rant with, “And I know Sally Yates. She’s a wonderful mother!” Res ipsa loquitor to the max.

      • OB
        The need for affinity is a powerful motivator. I would bet many lawyers and other professionals choose to join prestigious firms not for the money but the association. Why do so many lament the “good Ole boy network” when they are excluded. Being part of the popular group begets power and money.

      • Ok, so just intelligence. Modern education is defined as prescribed plan of learning that leads to desired understandings and behaviors. The volume or type of learning does not define intelligence.

        Intelligence is the ability to gather relevant data, organize and process the data to create testable hypothesis or assess the merits of other hypothesis. Memory, is the process by which prior data collection and analysis is stored and retrieved. Memory is not intelligence. My computer has memory but cannot store, retrieve or process data without external input. So, if someone tell me that X happened my ability to regurgitate that fact is based on memory not intelligence.

        Many of those with the gift of great intelligence are not among the most formally educated.

  3. Re: No. 1; The Delusional’s Two-Step.

    I would like to relate an interesting anecdote that supports the premise that the Trump Deranged simply cannot be trusted in any way, shape, or form, and should not be allowed out of their homes. This deals with a sensitive family dynamic so names will be omitted to protect the delusional.

    A family member visited this weekend from California. During a red wine infused conversation, said family member could not wrap a head around legitimate reasons for voting for Trump. This, to the extreme belief said vote (meaning your less than humble correspondent’s vote) constituted a vote for fascism, racism, totalitarianism, and just down right meanness. When pressed by me why said person voted for the Biden/Harris ticket, the response was: “Because Biden isn’t Trump! Don’t you get that?! How could you vote for a FASCIST?!”

    I don’t like being told that I am stupid, a fascist, a racist, an anything, especially in my own home and more particularly because I flatly reject those belief systems, and I do not and will not suffer empty allegations lightly. I asked, rather rhetorically, why it is impossible to think that a vote for Trump was not a vote in support of Trump but because Trump was not Biden and the Democratic Party platform a Biden-Harris ticket represented. The only response was “Trump’s not Biden! Trump’s a FASCIST! How could you?!”

    I pressed further for evidence that Trump is a racist. “Because he is!” was the response. As was the response to evidence that Trump is fascist. When asked to define what fascism is, the response was “Trump! What further definition do you need?” Socrates made me ask further was factors determine whether someone is a fascist, only to be told that a fascist bullies others, pushes people around, and generally is not a nice guy. Stipulated, I said. Then, I asked if those elements really defined fascism. Affirmative, I was told. “That means any leader who bullies people, pushes people around, and is meant others is a fascist?” “Yes.” Then, thing went sideways when I pointed out that, by those same factors, the following would be fascists: Andrew Cuomo, Ted Wheeler, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Cruz, Rashida Tlaib, Sandy Ocasio-Cortez, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, Marco Rubio, Robert F. O’Rourke, Stacey Abrams, John N. Kennedy (the Louisiana guy), Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro and Lori Lightfoot.

    Then, I was told that Trump’s rescission of DACA clearly established that he was a fascist and a racist. I asked what DACA did. Nebulous answer about protecting people from being ripped from families. When I pointed out that DACA did no such thing, that the family separation action started with Obama along with the cages, and that DACA only applied to a limited group of people brought here by parents with no legal status but only provided a defense to removability and a work visa, but offered no ability to adjust legal status, I was then declared to be jaded and inhumane. Facts matter, I guess.

    Then, things got even uglier when the specter of the ACA going down in flames was broached, because Trump wants to deny half the country health care. I asked what the central issue in the recent SCOTUS case was. No idea just that Trump hates poor people. When I asked if SCOTUS was considering severability of the ACA now that the individual mandate has been declared unconstitutional, no response. That led to Justice Coney-Barrett undoing critical advances in women’s health care by overturning Roe v. Wade. I asked which of her appellate court opinions formed that belief. None. I explained what Roe actually did and why most objective legal scholars think Roe was wrongly decided and is bad law, precedent though it is. Crickets.

    Then, I was declared an idiot because I get my news source from Fox News. Wrong. I get my news from a ton of sources including the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Fox News (yes, I do), as well as CNN, and a host of other newspapers, blogs, Rushinati sites, and online sources. When pressed, the news source most relied upon by my family guest was HBO comedy show guy John Oliver. That’s it. Not even Bill Maher.

    I realized that any conversation was really pointless when we could not even agree on definitions of terms. Fascism, as stated above, was never accurately defined, nor was racist or woman hater.


    • Sheesh!

      Um, something tells me there is a possibility they won’t be back to your house for Thanksgiving dinner. 😉

      Nicely done, btw. You likely did much better than I would have been able to.

    • Good for you man. Maybe Jack could have a thread where we can submit the worst Trump deranged conversations and excuses.

      Last night I listened to a new friend say Trump was leading a “death cult” of not wearing masks. I just listened because I wasn’t in the mood to get into the unlimited abortion/sterilizing hormones for kids/elder euthanasia – death cult of the extreme left. Not to mention the many protests/riots/Biden celebrations done without masks.

      Sometimes I like to be subtle. So I said at a later point in the evening, that I have things I’m conservative about and other things I’m liberal about. Then I mentioned that I don’t join political gangs as a Democrat or as a Republican. Finally I said something I wrote about here. That I’m a kaleidoscope of things and will never just think or be one way. My progressive friend loved that and hopefully got the message.

      Then it was revealed my friend is friends with the Koch brothers. Variety really is the spice of life.

  4. During the pandemic we have seen this double-standard game from one government official after another, from Dr. Fauci dropping his mask when he thought the cameras weren’t rolling, to Nancy Pelosi and the Mayor of Chicago pulling rank to get their hair done, also maskless.

    These people are entitled, power-abusing, untrustworthy assholes.

    Many states have enacted very intrusive restrictions on private behavior to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    These restrictions require puiblic cooperation, and, as such, requires public trust in the public health establishment to work.

    But that trust had long been forfeited.

    I summarize here.

    “However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as
    risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national
    public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in
    the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest
    protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to
    gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive
    stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.
    Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also
    rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives.
    Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden
    of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must
    be supported.” – 1200 public health experts

    After saying no to so many things, a significant number of public health
    experts have determined that massive protests of police brutality are an
    exception to the rules of COVID-19 mitigation. Yes, these protests are
    outdoors, and yes, these experts have encouraged protesters to wear masks
    and observe six feet of social distance. But if you watch actual footage of
    protests—even the ones where cops are behaving badly themselves—you will see
    crowds that are larger and more densely packed than the public beaches and
    parks that many mayors and governors have heavily restricted. Every
    signatory to the letter above may not have called for those restrictions,
    but they also didn’t take to a public forum to declare them relatively safe
    under certain conditions.

    “For many public health experts who have spent weeks advising policymakers
    and the public on how to reduce their risk of getting or inadvertently
    spreading the coronavirus, the mass demonstrations have forced a shift in
    perspective,” The New York Times tells us.

    But they could have easily kept the same perspective: Going out is
    dangerous, here’s how to best protect yourself. The added well, this cause
    is important, though, makes the previous guidance look rather suspect. It
    also makes it seem like the righteousness of the cause is somehow a
    mitigating factor for spreading the disease.

    Examples of this new framing abound. The Times interviewed Tiffany
    Rodriguez, an epidemiologist “who has rarely left her home since mid-March,”
    but felt compelled to attend a protest in Boston because “police brutality
    is a public health epidemic.” NPR joined in with a headline warning readers
    not to consider the two crises—racism and coronavirus—separately. Another
    recent New York Times article began: “They are parallel plagues ravaging
    America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women.”

    Police violence, white supremacy, and systemic racism are very serious
    problems. They produce disparate harms for marginalized communities:
    politically, economically, and also from a medical standpoint. They
    exacerbate health inequities. But they are not epidemics in the same way
    that the coronavirus is an epidemic, and it’s an abuse of the English
    language to pretend otherwise. Police violence is a metaphorical plague.
    COVID-19 is a literal plague.

    These differences matter. You cannot contract racism if someone coughs on
    you. You cannot unknowingly spread racism to a grandparent or roommate with
    an underlying health condition, threatening their very lives. Protesting is
    not a prescription for combatting police violence in the same way that
    penicillin is a prescription for a bacterial infection. Doctors know what
    sorts of treatments cure various sicknesses. They don’t know what sorts of
    protests, policy responses, or social phenomena will necessarily produce a
    less racist society, and they shouldn’t leverage their expertise in a manner
    that suggests they know the answers.

    It’s clear that we’ve come to the point where people can no longer be
    expected to stay at home no matter what. Individuals should feel empowered
    to make choices about which activities are important enough to incur some
    exposure to COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to someone else, whether that
    activity is reopening a business, going back to work, socializing with
    friends, or joining a protest against police brutality. Health experts can
    help inform these choices. But they can’t declare there’s just one activity
    that’s worth the risk.”- Robby Soave

    “It’s not that public health folks are wrong that racism and police
    brutality have significant public health consequences; while coronavirus has
    the potential to kill hundreds of thousands in a short period of time, over
    the long-term racism and state violence can cause even greater harm.

    But here’s the thing: while it’s understandable that people want to take to
    the streets to protest racism and state violence, there is no
    epidemiological or other scientific evidence that such protests will have
    positive public health effects by spurring positive social and political
    change. Any scientist or public health expert who suggests otherwise is
    engaging in political and sociological speculation that is not only beyond
    their expertise, but that really beyond anyone’s expertise. But it’s worse
    when such speculation purports to be scientific, from experts whose
    credibility is crucial for containing the current and future pandemics.”-
    David Bernstein

    Some of my social media friends have been insisting for some time that many
    of the hardcore lockdown/social distancing advocates were less concerned
    about public health and more about imposing their own value system against
    what they considered an unenlightened public, and some subset of those
    people actually welcomed the lockdown because they prefer people to live on
    the government dole that to allow “capitalist exploitation.” I’m not, to say
    the least, a big fan of the political and public health establishment, but I
    nevertheless thought this was too cynical, and I did (and still do) think
    that many aspects of the lockdown were justified by public health needs.

    Yet today we see Mayor DeBlasio arguing that protesting racism is more
    important than being banned from attending religious services indefinitely,
    and Governor Murphy of New Jersey stating that protests against racism may
    flout social distancing rules, but he’s going to continue to enforce them
    against lockdown opponents.

    Worse yet, Slate reports that:

    Facing a slew of media requests asking about how protests might be a risk
    for COVID-19 transmission, a group of infectious disease experts at the
    University of Washington, with input from other colleagues, drafted a
    collective response. In an open letter published Sunday, they write that
    “protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden
    of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must
    be supported.”… By Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 epidemiologists,
    doctors, social workers, medical students, and other health experts had
    signed the letter.

    So much for the “expert public health community.”

    I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as at all credulous, but
    I think I need to get even more cynical.

    A final thought: For many of the left, anti-racism is basically a religion,
    and they don’t want the Covid crisis to interfere with an important
    anti-racism ritual, protest. But when it comes to accommodating actual
    religion, like having a religious quorum at a funeral? Feh, that’s not
    important.”- David Bernstein

    The very idea of public health has been discredited.

    It is as scientific as creationism, Lysenokism, and Nazi racial “science”.

    These lockdowns were doomed to fail on June 5, 2020, when the public health establishment lost our trust.

    • I was as on the verge of challenging MTE’s post as to its claims of police violence, and “police killing black men and women”, but the Mrs. saved me by reminding me I had things to do before the rain began. While doing them I mentally formulated my reply. I noted that he had included a lint at the beginning. When I returned to my planned scorching of Michael, I decided to check the link: all became clear.
      A lot of what is posted in his name is comments related to his response on another blog I apologize for bad thoughts not published, and recommend that any who may want to respond read the link he included. A lot of that material is from misguided public health types, NPR and Reason.

  5. As one of my favorite songs says: “There ain’t no good guy. There ain’t no bad guy. There’s only you and me and we just disagree.” Well, not quite true. Just trying to illustrate that someone could indeed vote for either candidate just because they aren’t the other candidate and still not be evil. Neither Trump nor Biden has clean hands. I challenge anyone in government to avoid taint. Not the way our version of democracy has evolved. So, for people like me (i.e., progressive social justice liberal), it came down to 2 things: 1) hope that the person for whom I voted would carry out their promises, not betray us behind our backs, not do the dastardly things that he and others have done in the past nor any new ones, and otherwise be someone better than they used to be; and 2) illusion/delusion or not, the candidate for I whom I voted seems more like me than the other one, and there’s no one I hold more accountable than myself.

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