Rainy Monday Ethics, 11/30/2020: Statues, Dogs And Lies

Also getting me down, Karen Carpenter songs. As with great movies with O.J. Simpson or Gig Young in them, these are hard to enjoy now, at least for me. One of the most lovely natural voices in pop music history was silenced by the pernicious disease of anorexia, exacerbated by, among others, her brother, her family, and music industry executives, who made Carpenter so self-conscious about her weight and appearance that she slowly starved herself to death before her 33rd birthday. I wish I could hear her sing—and I will do that a lot in the days approaching Christmas—without thinking about that, but I can’t.

1. Proposition: any nation’s historical figures who had the impact on those nations that Margaret Thatcher did in Great Britain over a significant period of time deserve to be memorialized with statues, absent some cataclysmic disqualifying act, like Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Even in Nixon’s case, I would support a public memorial to such a historically influential figure.

In the English town of Grantham, where Thatcher grew up, an 11-foot pedestal awaits the arrival next year of a large statue of “the Iron Lady.” Apparently many in Britain, and a large proportion of Gratham’s working class residents, disapprove of Thatcher’s conservative politics and policies, and thus oppose the statue, which will be in immediate danger of toppling the minute it is erected.

Morons. One doesn’t have to personally agree with a historical figure’s position or even admire her to appreciate the impact that figure had. The criteria for memorializing prominent citizens should center on whether future generations need to know who they were and what they did, not whether their achievements and conduct are approved of according to often fleeting political, social and cultural values. Charles Moore, who wrote an authorized biography of Mrs. Thatcher, says, “It’s obvious there should be statues to Britain’s first woman prime minister. But…but…George Floyd! The New York Times’ article on the controversy says that statue toppling has become a world-wide phenomenon since the death of George Floyd. Now that makes sense: one of Great Britain’s most successful and important leaders should be robbed of her legitimate honors because a rogue cop accidentally contributed to the death of a black criminal in Minnesota.

2. Joe and his dogs. My rescue dog Spuds, a Biden supporter, wants to point out that the informal President-elect will be, presuming that efforts to expose the corrupt manner of his election fail, the first President to have a rescue dog (like Spuds) in the White House. Good for Joe. On the not so good side, Biden’s spokespeople are blaming one of his dogs (Major, a German Shepherd) for Biden’s foot injury, which will cause him to wear a walking boot. I didn’t doubt the story at all, having almost suffered several injuries while walking my own large, enthusiastic canine pal. Yet here is Trump-whisperer and “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams on Twitter:

Adams Tweet2


  • This kind of presumption of misconduct and bad faith is typical of what President Trump has been subjected to almost daily by the AUC. The least I can do for any President is to take him at his word when he says he was hurt playing with his dog.
  • The response does, however, suggest that conservatives and Republicans will not be dissuaded from treating Biden just as badly and unfairly as the AUC treated Trump, no matter how much goody-two shoes like me argue that revenge of this sort is not in the nations’ best interests.
  • Trump, it should be noted, doesn’t especially like dogs, unlike Hitler, who liked dogs more than he liked people. Adolf also had German Shepherds…

Do you disbelieve the story of how Joe hurt his foot?

3. The lesson: Any organization using PolitiFact as a fact-checker has no interest in objectivity, bias, or facts. Ridiculously, conservative commentator Candace Owens had her Facebook post rated “false” when she noted the undeniable fact that Joe Biden was not yet the “president-elect.” The culprit was the infamously partisan, biased and incompetent factchecking organization Politifact, which has made Ethics Alarms news numerous times with its phony factchecking. Owens sued, and Politifact, caught red-handed, had to retract its lie.

Ironically, it was Facebook’s third-party factchecker that was spreading disinformation, which means one of its other third-party factcheckers (one of them is Snopes) should have flagged that.

They should all be fired. Facebook should fire itself.

4. Ah, those wonderful Scandinavian countries that the U.S. should model its society after! From Reuters (the emphasis is mine):

Norway’s parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender people on Tuesday, expanding its penal code which has protected gay and lesbian people since 1981. People found guilty of hate speech face a fine or up to a year in jail for private remarks, and a maximum of three years in jail for public comments, according to the penal code.

[Pointer: Steve Witherspoon]

Here’s a likely fact: a majority of those who voted for Joe Biden would support a similar law in the US, if not regarding “hate speech” against transsexuals, definitely regarding “racist” speech.

Professor Turley:

The most chilling fact is that European-style speech controls have become a core value in the Democratic Party. Once a party that fought for free speech, it has become the party demanding Internet censorship and hate speech laws. President-Elect Joe Biden has called for speech controls and recently appointed a transition head for agency media issues that is one of the most pronounced anti-free speech figures in the United States. It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

For free speech advocates, we need to educate the public on where this road leads in places like Norway. What is at stake is the very right that has long defined us as a nation. Once we cross the Rubicon into speech criminalization and controls, Europe has shown that it is rarely possible to work back to liberties lost.  We are moving into potentially the most anti-free speech period of American history — and possibly the most anti-free speech Administration. Many politicians are already arguing for citizens to give up their free speech rights in forums like the Internet. With the media echoing many of these anti-free speech sentiments, it will require a greater effort of those who value the First Amendment and its core place in our constitutional system.

Remind your totalitarian values-supporting, Biden-voting friends of this when they say there was no justification for anyone voting for President Trump.

61 thoughts on “Rainy Monday Ethics, 11/30/2020: Statues, Dogs And Lies

  1. Chauvin was not a “rogue cop” who “accidentally contributed” to Floyd’s death. He followed all of the procedures in subduing a subject resisting arrest. Floyd was already dying and accelerated his own death by resisting. There was no wrongdoing on the part of any policeman that day.

    • He is correctly described as a rogue cop. His conduct already had indicated that he was inherently cruel and gratuitously abusive. Moreover, the police procedures did not sanction ignoring expressions of physical distress from a suspect. He was also presumably trained to recognize drug overdose victims.

      Negligent homicide.

      • First, there is no indication from the video that Chauvin acted cruel or abusive. You are making an assertion without evidence.

        Next, an ambulance had been called while Floyd was restrained and expressing distress. Floyd was not ignored, and his assertion that he could not breathe was NOT due to Chauvin putting his knee on his neck.

        Lastly, one can still be dying and yet still be a danger to himself and the public. Floyd had already demonstrated his ability to overpower others using his size, even in his dying state.

        Not guilty, all counts.

  2. #4 The photo below represents the same kind of irrational thinking that caused Norway’s parliament to outlawed hate speech against transgender people.

    We better start watching out what we think, soon the thought police that are gaining power now will be criminalizing what they think others are thinking. Everyone must remember that the 1st Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t give us the right to think whatever we want, it only gives us the right to speak whatever we want – this is an absurd loophole that I’ve heard some social justice warriors proclaim and anti-2nd Amendment activist allude to.

  3. I don’t actually know whether the dog story is true. I do think that the broken foot will feed into the Parkinson’s rumor. I lost two Aunts to Parkinson’s and part of progression of Parkinson’s are the balance issues.

    • And I’m suspicious of the dog story for other reasons. Specifically, “Hey, LOOK EVERYONE! Biden has a DOG! That means he’s one of the GOOD PEOPLE – unlike that Dogless bastard Trump.”

      • I hadn’t thought of the dog story being a cover up until I read the item above. Seems plausible but I’m not sure I see Joe as being robust enough to horse play with a good sized dog at his age. If I did so at my age (69), I’d lay down to play with the dog. Big dogs can take people out at the knees when they’re excited. My son’s great German pointer mix used to dive bomb me at high speed for fun and could have easily wiped me out.

        I was also mystified by the initial report from a doctor that Joe had twisted his ankle. Then the diagnosis was changed to micro-fractures of the foot. That just struck me as strange. Twisted ankle becomes a broken foot? Who knows, it may be the case that a broken foot will heal more quickly than an (high) ankle sprain will, which would be good.

        I still thin Joe is way past his sell by date. I can’t imagine his handlers will let him do any extemporaneous events. A press conference? An interview? Forget it unless they’re scripted in advance and involve teleprompters.

        • Twisted ankle becomes broken foot? Sure. not that complicated. Reports are hairline fx to two of the three cuneiform bones, which are proximal (close) to the ankle. That these fractures exist (they were found via CT scan) doesn’t mean that a sprain didn’t occur as well – though the pain produced by the fx could easily have made one assume a sprain.

        • “Forget it unless they’re scripted in advance and involve teleprompters.”

          Good news, then! The lapdog media will be only too happy to accomodate these preconditions, and many other such allowances for Ol’ Joe…

  4. On hate speech:
    If we criminalize speech deemed hateful to minorities, the equal protection clause will criminalize the speech by minorities directed at whites. If this occurs many in the media will be broadcasting from a federal penitentary. Being unjustly called a racist is no less hateful than any o the pejorative. If I am accused they better prove it because I will be seeing them in civil court.

  5. Trump’s explanation for not having a dog in the Whitehouse is that he’s too busy and would look ridiculous walking a dog on the Whitehouse lawn. I think in general he’s just indifferent to dogs. Might have helped him to have one though. It sure did for Nixon.

    • “It sure did for Nixon.”

      I hope everyone got that. Of course, the dog you are alluding to was not around by the time Nixon became President. By then, it was King Timahoe, an Irish Setter.

      Trump shares with James Polk the distinction of being the only Presidents who had no pets at all. Teddy and Silent cal, in contrast, both had veritable zoos.

  6. I live with several working-line German Shepherd dogs and I see nothing suspicious or implausible about the story behind Biden’s injury. Our dogs have been known, from time to time, to show us their love in kinetic form, behind both knees, at 35 mph. I have to wonder, assuming Biden was injured playing with his dog, is there any way it could have been phrased such that Adams would not deem it suspicious?

    • No. He’s doing tit for tat, that’s all. Everything, almost literally everything, Doanld Trump did or said following his election was deemed suspicious. Adams is a professional troll, but he also has served notice that Biden can expect exactly the same treatment. And, sadly, he’s right.

  7. I voted it is a plausible story. I have no inclination to attribute this to any other cause. Even if Biden fell without the aid of a dog that is not indicative of a neurological problem.

    We have far more important issues to focus on. It appears that we will be seeing a repeat of an Obama administration based on announced appointments. My question is will Obama be controlling this administration?

      • I too am beginning to think this is an Obama Restoration. The Bernie Bros and the Squad and the Justice Democrats and even Elizabeth Warren’s followers are not going to be happy. The entrenched Democrats have defeated the radical left, beginning with Joe winning the primaries, who knows how. I have to say it will be interesting to see the Dems fighting among themselves. They really have no agenda now that Trump has been removed. Think of Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff. What is their role now? They’ll be kicked to the curb. Will John Brennan and James Clapper and James Comey be back in the saddle ASAP? John Kerry as environmental czar to get government money money given to his Heinz catsup heiress wife’s foundation? Susan Rice will probably be back at the UN or acting as Secretary of State. Who knows, Hillary may be brought back!

  8. Is the boot they fitted him for small enough for him to still fit his foot in his mouth?
    I guess we’ll know the next time he speaks.

  9. I still love Karen Carpenter’s songs — what a wonderful voice!

    And I am still pissed that she basically killed herself so young.

    When I see some of the singers from that era who are still touring today ….. *sigh* There’s no way, 40 or more years later she could still have that same voice, but we lost so many years of a treasure.
    And until just now, it never crossed my mind that Biden’s injury was anything but what was announced, although they way it’s been covered and other stories — maybe he tripped over packs of reporters slobbering all over him.

    • There have been very few freak female voices in my estimation. Many good ones and even great ones, but the freak voices have the X factor of expressiveness and depth, and you know nobody will ever sound like they did. The five I know of are Judy Garland, Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Karen Carpenter, and Connie Francis. Linda Ronstadt comes close.

  10. Re: hate speech.

    No, it’s not murder.
    In the US, there is no definition of it, it does not exist.

    A total of 3664 trans and gender-diverse people were reported killed in 75 countries between January 2008 and September 2020 for being Trans. Plus a few non Trans people killed because they were perceived as Trans.

    28 murders were in the US, but some countries are far worse. Not Norway though.

    Hate speech leads to murder. Freedom of speech is a human right. The US draws the line of balance at one point, Norway another. Both are defencible. My own view is that such restrictions may be necessary for the most extreme cases, but in general, they are bloody dangerous and should be subject to very strict scrutiny. Banning such restrictions is no very bad thing, though I would tolerate some.

    Reporting as fact that Jews are drinking the blood of Christian children is traditional in some places, along with a call for their eradication (“they’ll burn down the synagogues at 6 oclock and we’ll all go along like before”)

    That’s one I’d prosecute, simply because of the historical record, and that it is still widespread in some places today.

    • 2020-2008 = 12 years.

      3664 murders / (12 years x 75 countries) = 4.1 murders per year per country. Is that statistically out of line with the typical murder rate?

      Let’s just do the United States. Based on the population estimates per year since 2008, compared to the murders, the United States has hovered around .005% murder rate. *point* 005%. +/- .0005.

      Based on a reasonable estimate of how many transgender individuals there are, and spreading 28 murders across 12 years, you end up with a murder rate of about .00019% *point* 00019%. +/- .00001.

      So, non-transgender people are 25-30 times more likely to be murdered than transgender people (a number that increases if the estimated population of transgendered individuals is actually larger, as the survey linked below implies)

      Were you implying that transgendered people were targeted? What was your point again?




      • Many more Trans people were killed. These were the ones that on the balance of probability were killed for being Trans.

        Just as many more Blacks were killed in the 20s than are counted in the statistics on lynching. In many cases, deaths were unrecorded. Because they were unrecorded, “many” is all we can say, not definite figures.

        In some of the worst states and jurisdictions, just as there are official policies in some places in the US today not to report figures to the FBI database, some of those policies embedded in legislation, the figures are 0. Some of the worst places on paper are actually the best, as the figures are meticulously kept and reported, rather than marked ” N.H.I” – no humans involved.

        • So, statistically speaking then, we need to find up to 30 times as many trans people killed than those killed “for being trans” in order to actually reach the national rate of overall murders.

          That’s a tough ask.

          I think my original concern with your implied point stands.

          • There are about 17000 homicides in the US annually.

            Given there were 24 black trans women killed for being trans, that would imply 1 in 700 Americans are black transwomen, or they are over represented.

            Black Americans make up about 1 in 8 of the US population. Women make up about half.

            So either 1 in 43 Black women are trans, or they are over represented.

            The expectation based on measured proportion of the population being Black and Transwomen is about 0.3 homicides per year. Not 24.

        • Many more Trans people were killed.

          Due to domestic disturbances, fights over stupid things, gang violence, armed robberies…

          In some of the worst states and jurisdictions, just as there are official policies in some places in the US today not to report figures to the FBI database, some of those policies embedded in legislation, the figures are 0.

          Which jurisdictions would these be?

  11. #2. Scott Adams talks on the basis of ‘influencing’ others and comprehending what you see, and understanding how things you see/hear are ‘spun’.

    When you listen to his podcast/youtube you will hear him saying things like: “I’m not saying this happened, but if someone wanted to spin this; this is what they’d do.”

    As such he seldom makes accusations/claims, but often presents situations with a view to helping you learn to assess reports. Now, with reference to his Tweets, he admits that he is often more provocative!

    I find his presentations thought provoking. I’m not suggesting that you, or I, will always agree with his thoughts, but it’s worth listening in for the same reason I follow Ethics Alarms religiously. It’s always thought provoking and often challenging.

  12. It seems like you are mixing up beliefs with speech. Speech is the articulation of a belief. As such, limiting speech is a means to prevent an idea to be adopted by another. Does hate speech include the written word? If so who will decide which books to burn. Shall we burn the Bible or the Koran? I believe speech limiters have little confidence in their own expressed ideas which is why they resort to bully tactics to overcome that personal sense of inferiority.

    You wrote:
    “Hate speech leads to murder”. So too does envy, greed, avarice, laziness and many other behaviors. Shall we ban those?

    Far too many things precipitate violence so the only appropriate recourse is to punish the violence act but not the thoughts that lead up to such acts. The best we can hope to do is to work toward communicating a positive alternate idea before such bigoted ideas metastasize into hatred induced violence.

    Further, not all murders are precipitated by “hate speech” and not all hate speech results in murder so hate speech cannot be considered the proximate cause of an act of aggression unless the speaker is the one murdered by the one offended.

    Who decides what is hateful?

    What if it had been decided that Rosa Parks’or MILk’s statements were to be classified as hate speech because they offended the sensibilities of the community?

    Calling speech hateful is one thing but legislating it out of existence is a bridge too far for me.

      • Furthermore, 3664 people being murdered for being trans, over twelve years and seventy-five countries is clearly not a distinct problem from murder in general.

        I recall reading a while ago about how a couple of Black Trans people were murdered in the U.S. within a year.. The story is not trending now, perhaps because there was no evidence these murders were related, not enough to justify a task force of detectives and inspectors to investigate these specific murders. In fact, if I remember correctly, some of these Black Trans victims were killed in robberies or gangland shootings.

  13. 1) Lady Thatcher accomplished much and lived to a ripe old age despite her congenital condition but I’m afraid Jack that I and most of the populace in both the US and Britain don’t share your weird statutory obsession.

    It’s neither unethical nor unusual for people to prefer other ways of noting a person’s significance than throwing up some bronze-plated cast-iron eyesore for every impacted–erm impactful asshole. I’d rather not walk down a lane of ten-foot plinths displaying models of every megalomanic that got their jollies killing Argentines. Just put her on a stamp or something.

    That statue of Joan of Arc in New Orleans is kind of cool though.

    • You really think that’s an accurate or fair description of the Falklands war? Because, you know, it’s not. And it’s not megalomania to insist that another country doesn’t just claim your territory, betting that the more powerful country will fear PR repercussions if it defends its property. Osama Bin Laden made the same stupid bet; so did Castro, in 1962.

      Holding that memorials and honors should be based on objective and non-partisan standards rather than polling isn’t “weird.” The alternative is to keep erasing history according to the fads of the day.

      • Choosing who to honor and in what form is not “erasing history” the history’s all still there with all the same documentation it always had. Save your ridiculous hyperbole for radicalized right-wingers who think lack of adulation is the equivalent of an attack. I ain’t buying it.

        You want to honor a politician who’ been dead less than 100 years? That’s a political choice no matter how you try to rationalize it and if it’s more than 100 years it still reflects the politics of the people who bestow the honor. No one who comes later is forced to agree.

        And the history will still be available to anyone who cares to go read a book.

        • Disingenuous in the extreme. History that is not tangible nor accessible is forgotten, and increasingly so. The entire point is that it shouldn’t be a political choice. FDR inflicted a lot of evil on the world and the people he loved, but he certainly deserves his DC memorial, and should not have to wait 100 years for the ignorant young to have their curiosity piqued by his images. I assume you didn’t think carefully about a hundred years as a requirement: in addition to Thatcher, that would disqualify FDR, Truman, Marshall, Ike, JFK, and Martin Luther King, as well as Churchill.

          • You’re being trolled, Jack. There’s a whole hell of a lot more to Baroness Thatcher than her decisive defeat of the Argentines and proof that the UK still had some life left in it. I’d start with her decision to treat the Provisional IRA as the gangsters and criminals they were, but I think her main claim to fame is being a stalwart Cold Warrior who had no problem telling the Soviets that if you push your “allies” in the Warsaw Pact to let you deploy nukes with a very short fight time on their territory, we’re following suit, we saw this movie before. Valky knows it, she’s too well-read not to. Arguably Thatcher ranks right up there with Reagan and JPII as the decisive victors in that conflict. She’s also the first woman to lead a major Western democracy, and the first conservative woman to do so, possibly the only one if we don’t count Golda Meir, since Israel isn’t a major world power, only a regional one. There have been other woman leaders since, but I can’t think of another one who wasn’t a liberal weenie. In fact it’s precisely because she was a decisive conservative that the liberals want her memory buried.

            Ah yes, the old “go read a book if you want the history” argument, which has been trotted out again and again this past year to justify destruction of public art. That might hold more weight if it wasn’t obvious that big tech and big sales a la Amazon are clearly about to make access to information and views of history that don’t toe the party line harder to get. It’s not about that. It’s about trying to get a monopoly on history and a monopoly on honor. But, we had that discussion in 2017. The death in custody of a POS like George Floyd was just an excuse to revive it and silence those who disagreed.

        • valkygrrl wrote, “Choosing who to honor and in what form is not “erasing history” the history’s all still there with all the same documentation it always had.”

          Hmmm, maybe you aren’t paying attention to what’s happening in our society.

          Social justice warriors are literally trying to rewrite history and what’s being taught in schools. Remember the 1619 indoctrination project, that bastardization of history is literally being used in some school system to openly indoctrinate youth. These wackos are trying to cancel the historical value of anyone that they think doesn’t measure up to their irrational 21st century standards; even President Lincoln was not pro black people enough so they are trying to tear down both his memory and his statues. Our 21st century social justice warriors are doing the same kind of obliterating of history or rewriting of history that ISIS was doing a few short years ago, our social justice warriors are just a little less violent about it, so far.

          valkygrrl, if you truly don’t think social justice warriors are trying to rewrite history to fit their irrational 21st century mold then you’re just plain ignorant.

          • While I agree with your comments, I disagree that they are wackos. Those promoting ideologies like the 1619 Project are committed activists who intend to change the future by erasing the past. If 1619 Project is successful, then the underlying history of the nation will fundamentally change. The US will cease to be a “shining light on a hill” but will forever be stained as a racist, illegitimate country. The intent is to destroy what the nations is.


            • The scary thing about it is that, throughout history, committed activists and determined minorities more often than not get their way.

            • johnburger2013 wrote, “While I agree with your comments, I disagree that they are wackos.”

              Since wacko means insane, you might want to at lease reconsider your opinion on that point.

              Insane: in a state of mind which prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; exhibiting a severely disordered state of mind; unable to think in a clear or sensible way

              johnburger2013 wrote, “Those promoting ideologies like the 1619 Project are committed activists who intend to change the future by erasing the past. If 1619 Project is successful, then the underlying history of the nation will fundamentally change. The US will cease to be a “shining light on a hill” but will forever be stained as a racist, illegitimate country. The intent is to destroy what the nations is.”

              You can call them “committed activists” if you like but that doesn’t mean they’re not insane.

              Also; it sounds like you think these “committed activists” are intelligent and have a plan and therefore they cannot be insane. Insane ≠ lack of intelligence. Many insane people are very intelligent?

              It’s completely clear that the perception of reality of these “committed activists” is not just skewed a little bit, it’s completely off the rails of reality and if you bring reality and facts into a conversation with these people you get an over the edge emotional reaction that borders on or is clearly verbal abuse and violence; this is not how normal rational people act! These “committed activists” are not “normal” people, it’s indoctrinated, politically correct and encouraged irrational behaviors that have become their new normal, it’s beyond cultish, it’s insane.

              It appears to me that social justice warriors have been systematically conditioned for years using some form of invasive operant conditioning.

              First they’ve been conditioned to be obsessed with an emotion button that, when pushed, feeds them a single nugget of emotional virtue signaling “feel-good” stimuli.

              Second, they’ve been conditioned that everything outside of that emotion button is a substance that will make them violently ill.

              The results of this conditioning is that they choose to push the emotion button as often as possible to get their fix for their emotional virtue signaling “feel-good” stimuli addiction while they completely ignore the intellectually rational common sense nuggets that are freely available in the world around them. These emotionally addicted people are all around us, we’re even electing them to Congress. These lost souls might be irretrievably broken with reality – literally insane.

              • We are talking . . . erm . . . writing past each other. I don’t think they are not “intelligent”. but they are not stupid. In fact, I think they are irrational and blinded to reality. That, though, doesn’t mean they are insane. Dismiss them at your peril. These same people are the ones in bureaucracies setting the policies. They are the ones getting elected to school boards and push the “Great Reset” agenda. They are the loud-mouths (Ocasio-Cortez) who yell and scream until they get their way. They are the quiet ones stirring the pot (Rep. Omar) who make obnoxious statements knowing that the mainstream media is terrified to challenge her.

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