Sunday Ethics Decorations, 12/20/20: I’m Sorry, This Stuff Is All Depressing

1. So it’s come to this...the #1 post on Ethics Alarms over the last 365 days is this one, which has been up for less than a month. The bulk of it isn’t even my work. I guess I should be writing a poetry review blog.

2. From the “What were they thinking?” files: David Werking, a Michigan man who was temporarily living in his parents’ home after a divorce, sued them for destroying his pornography collection of videos and magazines worth an estimated $29,000. US district judge Paul Maloney ruled that his parents had no right to throw out his collection. “There is no question that the destroyed property was David’s property,” Maloney said. “Defendants repeatedly admitted that they destroyed the property.”

Werking’s parents said they had a right, as his landlords, to toss out his collection. Where they got taht crackpot idea, I do not know. I would consider the lawyer who took their case unethical, and sanctionably so. Not many cases breach legal ethics Rule 3.1 prohibiting frivolous litigation, but this seems like one to me.

“Defendants do not cite to any statute or caselaw to support their assertion that landlords can destroy property that they dislike,” the judge said. I’m not surprised, since there are none.

3. The anti-American, anti-Capitalism, anti-Constitution activists’ theory must be that if they put enough absurd and unethical proposals out there, some of them might get adopted by pure luck. You know, kind of like sea turtle hatchlings. The Nation, not surprisingly, is a treasure trove of these, complete with false and misleading data and history. Here’s one! Barndon Hasbrouk argues for “vote reparations,” which means counting votes by black citizens twice, and everyone else’s only once. Seems like a clear breach of Equal Protection and one man/one vote to me, but hey, I’m not an Assistant Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University. (I wonder how this guy can justify working for an institution named after two slave-holding racists?) Before I finished his nonsense, I bet myself a million dollars that he would use the Big Lie about the 3/5 compromise to help justify his proposal, and sure enough: I won! See:

Theodore Johnson, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, discussed a similar proposal in 2015 in The Washington Post. While his plan to make Black Americans’ votes worth five-thirds has a poetic symmetry with the three-fifths clause of the Constitution, we shouldn’t bind a remedy to the mathematics of the compromise that formalized and furthered the dehumanization of Black people. That bargain allowed the very people who stripped us of our rights to have their votes counted for more—even more than other white people—in Congress and the Electoral College.

It is irresponsible for a law school or universality to employ a professor who repeats this eternally debunked fake history. The Founders’ counting slaves as only 3/5 a citizen was an anti-slavery measure: the slave states wanted all of their black slaves to count as full citizens, giving the Southern states overwhelming representation in the House. This “de-humanization,” which slaves didn’t know or care about at the time, was critical to limiting slavery and eventually eliminating it. When an activist, pundit or academic cites Hasbrouk’s backwards history, that’s signature significance for race-bating Machiavellian.

4. And here’s one on those unconstitutional ideas that has slipped through, so far: The Spectator reports:

In order to redress ‘structural racism’, the state of Oregon…has reserved $62 million, out of a total Covid relief fund of $200 million, for black people. Black individuals who’ve suffered losses from government shutdowns can apply for grants of up to $3,000 per family, while black-owned businesses struggling during the pandemic can qualify for relief up to $100,000. If you’re familiar with America’s north-western demographics, the first peculiarity that leaps from this weighted state benevolence is its disproportion… Only 2.9 per cent of Oregonians are black. Yet close to a third of the relief fund is to be administered exclusively to this tiny, sanctified sliver of the population. Per capita, black applicants are bequeathed more than ten times the financial assistance as residents of other races. Isn’t that ‘structural racism’? Furthermore, by fostering resentment in the unanointed, this is a dubious formula for teaching everyone to get along.

Likewise problematic is the fact that 13.3 per cent of the state is Latino. Though more than four times more populous than black residents, Hispanic Oregonians don’t qualify for ‘The Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency’ — as Maria Garcia, owner of Portland’s Revolución Coffee House, has discovered. Although her profits have withered from coronavirus restrictions, Ms Garcia’s application to the Cares Fund was declined because ‘0 per cent of its owners identify as Black’. The café owner is now suing in federal court, arguing that a blacks-only fund violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

5. Remember how the President was condemned for calling human beings animals when he used the term to describe MS-13 gang members? Twitter, meanwhile, bans tweets that use animal imagery to denigrate…well, any group Democrats like. Never mind: illegal immigrant criminals are human beings, but to the Washington Post, those who challenged the dubious election results are animals, specifically rats. Here is what today’s Sunday Post presented its readers with:

Trump supporters are rats! Let’s see…what other group referred to those they wanted to marginalize and destroy as rats? [Pointer: Steve Malloy]

And don’t preach to me about Godwin’s law. It’s a generally useful warning against extravagant and irresponsible comparisons. But an alliance that employed one Big Lie after another to gain power, has openly advocated criminalizing dissent and political opposition, declared an entire race the cause of all our ills, attempted to restrict church-going, free expression and gun rights, and has turned journalists into agents of propaganda needs to be reminded whose playbook they are using, and what that says about them.

So do the rest of us.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Decorations, 12/20/20: I’m Sorry, This Stuff Is All Depressing

  1. All of it is depressing. Ignorance of our constitution and our country’s laws is making it easy for these would-be totalitarians to use the playbook of Dr. Goebbels while, at the same time, accusing their opponents of being the Nazis.

  2. They took the opinion page, a space theoretically intended for people to air different viewpoints and expand the Overton window (the window of subjects people consider mainstream and acceptable to discuss openly), and instead of putting nuanced perspectives in it, they filled 80% of it with pictures of generic cartoonish rats and names of people they don’t like, which is even less insightful and edifying than a regular political cartoon. Are they sure those pictures aren’t of their editorial staff?

  3. Twitter, meanwhile, bans tweets that use animal imagery to denigrate…well, any group Democrats like. Never mind: illegal immigrant criminals are human beings, but to the Washington Post, those who challenged the dubious election results are animals, specifically rats. Here is what today’s Sunday Post presented its readers with:

    These people sure like to complain about subverting the Constitution- except when they do it.

    They sure as hell did not oppose the whole “Russia hacked the election” propaganda campaign.

    These people are subhuman, and should get a subhuman’s due!

  4. #4 – The resolution will be the tough part. The state actually gave the money to non-profit organizations and they have been handing it out. Those two non-profits have now given the money to the federal court for safekeeping because they are worried that they could lose. Of the $62 million, only $8.8 million remains.

    So let’s say this is ruled unconstitutional (duh) – what is the settlement? How does the state get out of this one? It’s been granted class action status, so the outcome could be far more than the remaining $8.8 million.

    This isn’t the states only action here. They created a fund for strippers. That’s big in Oregon, the courts have struck down nearly all restrictions. The pandemic has them shut down, and they’re gig workers so they don’t get unemployment. The state granted a fund to help strippers, and here too they created a black only segment. I doubt anything will happen because the white and latino strippers are on the margins and won’t be able to muster the resources to bring a case.

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