April Fools Ethics Warm-Up, 4/1/2021: I Am Not Fooled Nor Fooling

april-fools-day-banner

I have come to detest April Fool’s Day, and cultural developments have shown me that, as William Saroyan liked to say, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong.” Early in the history of Ethics Alarms, more than ten years ago, I dared to criticize—indeed, called unethical—a blogging criminal defense lawyer who falsely announced that he had taken on a new prestigious job (as I recall: it’s not worth checking what his exact lie was), and it was then reported as fact by the New York Times’ crack reporters. The announcement was an April Fool’s joke, you see, so my assertion that lawyers shouldn’t deliberately misrepresent facts, even on blogs, even in jest, even unrelated to cases and even on April First was set upon by the lawyer’s angry defense lawyer allies, who pummeled me here from all sides. I had, in fact, over-stated my complaint (Can you imagine ME doing THAT?), and I duly apologized to the lawyer. But his pals remained insulting and vicious, and I wasn’t wrong in the principle I was asserting. Professionals shouldn’t lie, ever. Even on April Fool’s Day.

1. Hart concedes. The rest of the story: Iowa Democrat Rita Hart announced late yesterday that she is withdrawing her demand that her loss in Iowa’s 2nd congressional district be overturned, so the House Committee on Administration will no longer be seeking a justification to do so. I wrote about the Democratic Party’s attempt to de-certify an election result after it proclaimed Republican efforts to decertify the Presidential election as “an insurrection” here. Apparently internal polls were showing that there are still some levels of perceived hypocrisy that the Democratic faithful won’t cheer on. That’s encouraging…

2. The concept at play here is “deceit.” I guess after having three straight Republican Presidents who couldn’t speak clearly, it shouldn’t be a shock that the GOP has allowed Democrats to get away with flagrantly dishonest language games. Still, the transformation of the term “voting restrictions” into something sinister is quite an accomplishment for the Blue team, as well as cynical and dishonest. Unless a nation is going to allow anyone alive on the planet to cast votes in its elections, “voting restrictions” are natural, logical and necessary. It’s the “restrictions” part that the pro-voting manipulation side has weaponized. “Restrictions” are baaaad. But the right, informative and descriptive word is voting qualifications. You have to be alive and living in the district where you vote: this is why voter rolls have to be purged of dead people and those who have moved away. You have to be a citizen, and who you say you are, which is why voting IDs are necessary. You have to register before elections, because otherwise vote harvesters will just pay large groups of poor, confused, bored or drunk passive citizens to the polls to vote as they have been instructed. You should have to vote in person, because all mail-in ballots, including early voting and absentee voting, create verification problems, and increase the chances of fraud.

I have neither the time nor functioning brain cells to delve into this issue competently here and now, but I would not find the imposition of other voting qualifications odious or unethical, including requirements of the minimal civic literacy we would expect of, say, a 12-year-old.

3. “CNN.” That’s about all you need at this point...In a NEWS article reporting on Kristi Noem’s exceutive orders issued after her veto of a controversial the Fairness in Girls’ Sports bill, CNN breaking-news reporter Devan Cole wrote that there’s no way to determine a child’s “gender identity” at birth. Now THAT’s news! All these centuries where if a baby had a pee-pee it was deemed a boy and if not it was a girl, a simple and direct formula that was accurate—what, 99.9% of the time?—was in fact a fallacy! Who knew?

The article is incompetent journalism, opinion-writing presented as fact, and blatantly deceptive. Try to count the unsettled assertions (or settled in ways the “reporter” doesn’t agree with) in the article. All of this is presented to ridicule the idea that declaring that males transitioning to females should not participate in girls’ and women’s sports is reasonable, and that the position is “transphobic.”

Is there any precedent for such a tiny and anomalous minority being elevated to such an overblown social issue, and with such grandstanding, virtue-signaling and dishonesty? I can’t think of one. (Incidentally, I know two transsexuals pretty well, both wonderful people for whom I wish all the best in life. They don’t scare me a bit, and I respect them completely. I still think it’s damn obvious that allowing former males to compete against women in women’s sports is nuts.

4. Here’s something else that I don’t understand at allRead the summary of the oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the current case over NCAA restrictions on pay for college athletes. Law aside, isn’t this argument all about which rationalizations to use in defense of an ethically corrupt and irredeemable system? It’s unethical for schools to use athletes to acquire alumni support that has nothing to do with education. It’s unethical for schools to divert large funds that should be used for education to athletics, and to allow colleges to be compensated for serving as a cheap feeder system for pro football and basketball. The arguments in the current dispute amount to “We have no choice,” “Everybody does it!,” “We can’t stop it,” “It’s for a good cause,” “It’s not the worst thing!” and dozens of others.

Students should attend school to be educated. Non-educational activities should be secondary. Paying alleged students to engage in non-educational activities for a school’s benefit is corrupt and corrupting. If a kid is hired as a football player, then he shouldn’t get a degree that falsely certifies he was a successful student.

A good beginning to eliminating all of the misapplication of funds and dishonesty would be to ban athletic scholarships altogether. Tell me why that would be wrong, and “It’s racist!” will not be accepted.

As an aside, I really like the graphic accompanying the story at SCOTUS Blog:

SCOTUS sports

5. Let’s see just how stupid Major League Baseball is. Democrats want MLB to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta because Georgia passed a voting regulations bill that the party is lying about. If the sport allows itself to be used this way—I’m sure many players will boycott the game without having a clue about the law—many of them look for ways to opt out of it anyway—there will be no end to such manipulation., and baseball, of all sports, cannot effort to be seen as partisan. I’ll write a full post on this mess later.

21 thoughts on “April Fools Ethics Warm-Up, 4/1/2021: I Am Not Fooled Nor Fooling

  1. Do not denigrate April 1st, suh! ‘Tis the date of my birth. (Everyone who knows me may now stop laughing hysterically at the appropriateness of this fact.)

  2. I happened to come across that April Fools incident you mentioned in the intro some time ago. I read through some of the blog posts and it was quite viscous and I recall they also viciously criticized your apology. I believe even your son entered a comment into the record on the SJ blog. I read that blog occasionally but never comment there. Commenting over there is not as friendly as commenting here by a long shot. If you aren’t on point or on topic, you’ll be admonished. I know I can comment here and even if it’s off topic you won’t “blast” me. I feel I can make comments of a personal nature or off topic or slightly tangential comments without any harsh feedback here at EA. If you get criticized for comments here then you most likely deserve that criticism.

    Keep up the great work Jack.

    • Plus one!
      [an Internet forum kind of thing whose meaning is unclear to me, but I see it a lot and might constitute agreement]

    • I apologized because when I read the rule closely, I realized that it was impossible to violate the terms of the honesty rule while not reaching a point of deserving sanctions, which is how I described the lawyer’s behavior. Ken White, late of Popehat, was one commentator who complimented my apology.

      As Ben Bradley says in the movie of “All the President’s Men,” I screwed up, but I wasn’t wrong. But on the plus side, I did learn some lawyer-bloggers—four of them—to steer clear of.

    • I ended up here *because* of that incident. Via Popehat. Years later I also became good friends with one of Jack’s critics at the time (famous and fundamentalist first amendment lawyer). He accepted the apology as good and mostly agrees with the final assessment, but still thinks Jack is a bit of a loud mouth. A charge I cannot defend him against. 😉

  3. “…baseball, of all sports, cannot afford to be seen as partisan.”

    The horses are galloping way! Shut that barn door!

    • Of course the all star game will be pulled from Atlanta. But where do you move it to? What major league city doesn’t have at least a history of Jim Crow or similar? L.A? Rodney King. Seattle? Homeless people galore. Detroit or Chicago? Riots in the ’60s. New York? Are you kidding me? Bedford Stuyvesant? Boston? Southie and Busing. St. Louis? Hands up Don’t Shoot! And so forth. They’ll need to play the game somewhere in Liberia. Oh wait, that’s where Abraham Lincoln wanted to repatriate freed slaves to Africa!

      • William Faulkner’s “the past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past” has been fully weaponized by the Commie Left.

  4. (4) Why is this even happening? The NLRB is full of weenies, that is why. They ruled that the NLRB does not have jurisdiction over college football players. Why? College football players aren’t employees. This is the same circular logic every federal judge for the last 50 years has fallen for. “They can’t be employees because they are ‘student-athletes'” .
    I tried to find the account of the investigation, but it is no longer on the internet. I do have a saved copy, however. If you remember, the NLRB investigated Northwestern and found that the athletes were indeed employees. Why, you may ask? This is from the article in SBNation “Explaining what the Northwestern College Football Union Decision Means” by Patrick Vint.

    *During August training camp, players engage in 50 to 60 hours of football-related work per week and are subject to a strict itinerary for up to 16 hours a day.

    *During the regular season, players devote 40 to 50 hours per week to football, including travel, and again are subject to a strict schedule of activities. The Director also points out that many of the activities required of football players, such as training meetings, travel, seven-on-seven drills, and film study, are not included in the NCAA’s limit of 20 hours per week for “countable athletically related activities.”

    *If the team makes a bowl game, the season extends into December. Players are still expected to go through their full weekly routine. There is a brief break near the holidays, but players are required to be back by Christmas morning and must provide position coaches with their flight itineraries showing their intent to return on time before being allowed to leave.

    *For road games, players are on a strict schedule from early Friday morning through late Saturday that includes travel, team meetings, and training. In a footnote, the Director criticizes the fact that while “the players devoted more than 24 hours on Friday and Saturday to travel and football related activities, this only constituted 4.8 [countable hours] under the NCAA’s guidelines.” Northwestern players are permitted to spend two to three hours studying while traveling as long as they “get their mind right to get ready to play,” per head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

    •Optional offseason workouts during off weeks are monitored by the player “leadership council” for attendance, and team training personnel monitor mandatory offseason workouts. Players spend 15 to 20 hours per week during the offseason on football activities.

    •Spring practice requires 20 to 25 hours per week of practice and film study.

    •Freshmen and sophomore football players are required to live in dorms, and upperclassmen living off campus have to submit their leases to Fitzgerald for approval.

    •The athletic department must approve any outside employment and monitors their work.

    •Players are required to give detailed information about their cars to the athletic department.

    •Players are restricted from what they can post on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and must accept friend requests from Fitzgerald or other coaches so that their posts can be monitored.

    •Players cannot profit off of their likeness or image, and are required to sign a release allowing Northwestern and the Big Ten to use their name, likeness, and image.”

    From another article, the NLRB auditor was shocked to find that the coaches chose the athletes’ majors and either approved or dictated their courses. He was most shocked to find that they often missed finals week and had to take finals a week early. The NLRB auditor followed the team around with a stopwatch. As he found, college athletes spend much more time on sports than on college courses, they are not free to choose their college courses or majors, and they are subject to pre-labor-movement type restrictions on their personal lives. There is no way to suggest that these people are college students first, employees second. Why is this at the Supreme Court? Because the NLRB didn’t have the guts to protect American workers, that’s why.

    • Thanks Michael. Super interesting. Sheesh, we get better reportage in the commentary at EA than we do in the media (so-called).

  5. In addition to voter ID and such, if I had my way, in order to vote one must:

    1. Have a high school diploma or GED
    2. Be 21 years old or older (when the human brain reaches peak maturity)
    3. Pass the same citizenship test given to immigrants

    None of these rules, I think, should be insurmountable to people with average or higher intelligence and a true desire to participate in the system.

    • A test of intelligence has been found as unconstitutional. I think a more effective paradigm would be to flip an old founding rallying call that will prevent people voting the treasury to themselves. “No representation without taxation”.

      I also like the idea of giving taxpayers the power of the purse. Don’t want your tax dollars funding contraceptive services? Check this box on your return.

      • If you don’t pay taxes, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you are receiving government entitlements, it is a conflict of interest for you to vote for tax measures and for representatives who vote for spending measures. You are a ward of the state until you are no longer receiving such benefits. Pay-to-play benefits would be exempted (unemployment insurance, Social Security, etc). To have a say in how the taxes are spent, you need to pay taxes. If you feel that is disenfranchising too many people, why don’t more people pay taxes? Also, people shouldn’t be allowed to vote for any government they work for. State employees shouldn’t vote in state elections, teachers shouldn’t vote for the school board or for school bond issues, etc.

        My town had a special election recently to pass a bond issue for the school district. There was no advertising. The local paper didn’t cover it. The day of the election, there were little ‘Election Site’ signs up at the polls, but that was it. The school district allowed all teachers and staff to leave work to vote that day. Word of mouth spread and it was defeated narrowly. This was after the 2% sales tax increase to fund the schools and teachers better (up to 9% sales tax).

  6. 5. Remember when the Democrats bashed large corporations as EVIL Government Influencers who didn’t have the right to free speech and used their wealth to buy favorable regulations and exploit employees? Now, they are fine with those same companies not only shutting down competitors’ platforms, pulling harmless merchandise and firing non-conforming employees, but also using their vast power and wealth to influence laws in other states.

    • The left seems to have moved towards the implementation of full blown fascism. I wonder when the communists in their base will notice. If I had to guess, the answer is never, because most of the base isn’t educated enough to know the difference between communism and fascism.

      • Well, the communists will complain that people have too many rights under fascism. These fascists don’t seem to be able to make the trains run on time, however. I watched an interview with Janet Yellen last night. It was shocking as it seemed to take every bit of mental concentration she had just to form words. She made Joe Biden seem positively lucid and aware. Everyone in this administration seems to be mentally AWOL.

      • There’s not much of a difference. We need to call it what it is – because both isms use the same tactics – totalitarianism.

  7. Democrats want MLB to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta because Georgia passed a voting regulations bill that the party is lying about.

    Would they oppose a voting regulations bill as strict as New York City’s gun control lawws?

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