Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/2/21: The All-****Swaddle Edition

1. Just a little insurrection. Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested last week after attempting to barge into the office where Gov. Brian Kemp was signing a the new Georgia voting reform bill into law. Yesterday she argued that her actions were justified. Why? Because when a Democrat thinks a law is misguided, that justifies trying to stop the democratic process, apparently, as opposed to when citizens think that a Presidential election has been stolen. They are completely different. No really. They are.

“I believe the governor signing into law the most comprehensive voter suppression bill in the country is a far more serious crime,” Cannon said. That sounds familiar too, embodying several illicit rationalizations that the idiots who attacked the Capitol on January 6 also would probably echo. Legal act X that we disagree with justifies illegal act Y we resort to because since we disagree with it, Legal Act X is really a crime. This can, of course, be used to justify almost anything.

As with most statements by critics of the Georgia law, Cannon’s raise the question of whether she has actually read the thing or is just going on what she has gleaned from Democrat and news media propaganda. Cannon described the law as a “voter suppression bill” that with “one stroke of a pen….erased decades of sacrifices, incalculable hours of work, marches, prayers, tears and … minimized the deaths of thousands who have paid the ultimate price to vote.” She says this because the bill requires that absentee ballots be properly verified—nobody died to vote by absentee ballot—-and allows the state to take over when it looks like something fishy is going on with partisan election boards. If the bill really was so restrictive in its terms, those trying to demonize it wouldn’t have to make up stuff. President Biden repeated his lie about the law closing voting at 5 pm, a day after the Washington Post reluctantly noted that it was a whopper, or as Joe might say, “malarkey.”

Still, the news media is doing its level best to prop up the propaganda: Yahoo News, which really is a disgrace, referred to the law as adding “voter restrictions.” Meanwhile, Park is raising money for her legal defense on a GoFundMe page titled “I Stand With Park,” as the crowdfunding site bans citizen efforts to impose critical race theory indoctrination in the schools.”

2. “Good Germans.” Threatened with boycotts, the complicit totalitarians of the corporate world in Georgia are repeating the progressive party line. In a memo this week to the company’s employees, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said it was “evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong.” I want to see Bastian asked in a public forum exactly how the provisions of the law make it harder to cast a legal vote, how black voters are “underrepresented” compared to any other voters, and mostly what business it is of his to use his position as a CEO to push any political views whatsoever. Shut up and fly. This is an abuse of power, and I would hope that a union or some leader among employees points that out. I have worked in organizations that tried to dictate charitable causes and other personal choices by employees that an employer should have no say in, and that even tried to force me, as a manager, to apply the unethical pressure. I formally refused as an employee, and rejected the assignments as a manager.

This may have had some effect, I am told, on my lack of longevity in the organizations I worked for.

3. Does anyone know what “cockswaddle” is? As you may have read in an earlier post,

University of San Diego Law School professor Tom Smith published this essay on his blog. As he made the case that it is clear and convincing that China was responsible for the Wuhan virus being loosed on the world, a not difficult case to make, he wrote at one point, “If you believe that the coronavirus did not escape from the lab in Wuhan, you have to at least consider that you are an idiot who is swallowing whole a lot of Chinese cockswaddle.” For this he is being investigated by the University…

…which, following the unethical lead of campus activists, via the Dean of the San Diego University Law School, called his criticism of China itself the equivalent of a racial slur. “Cockswaddle” has no official definition, unless you regard the online Urban Dictionary as having any authority whatsoever, which I do not, perhaps because the same source defines “JackMarshallize” as “to write, pontificate or act in such a manner that resembles unconscionable, sadomoralistic douchebaggerry of the very highest order.” Now, Stephen Colbert described Vladimir Putin as the President of the United States’ “cockholster” without even an admonition from his employer, CBS, and professors are supposed to have more freedom to offer offensive political opinions than allegedly humorous late night hosts, who, at least once upon a culture, were required to maintain a minimal level of civility.

In the San Diego Union Leader, there are three op-eds on this controversy that shouldn’t be a controversy at all. In the one of the two worth reading, Constitutional law prof Eugene Volokh points out,

“To say speech is protected as a matter of law is merely a starting point. Smith’s speech must be protected as a matter of academic freedom, social mores, and a culture of liberty. We must always have the right to forcefully criticize governments — American, Chinese, Israeli, Russian, Saudi or whatever else. Such freedom of criticism is necessary so that we can help influence our own governments’ internal behavior. It’s necessary so that we can help influence our own governments’ behavior towards other governments. It’s necessary so that we can figure out the perils that these governments might be posing, to us, to their own citizens, or to their neighbors.”

In the other, one of Smith’s colleagues on the faculty writes,

“Several of my colleagues and I wrote the dean to object that Smith’s post had been mischaracterized. No reasonable reader could conclude from the context that Smith’s reference was to the people of China or to people of Chinese ancestry. Nor does “—- swaddle” appear from an internet search to constitute an established slur against people of any ethnicity. Subsequent to our letter, the Academic Freedom Alliance — a group of scholars from across the political spectrum — characterized the dean’s email’s representation of the blog post as a “tendentious misreading.”

In the third, members of an Asian-American activist group argue that criticizing China makes assholes attack Asian-Americans, so nobody should criticize China. Got it.

4. The Chauvin prosecution appears to have nothing. I conclude this because the case so far consists of appeals to emotion almost exclusively. My astute lawyer sister cited as a “Perry Mason” moment when the young woman who videoed part of George Floyd’s abuse by Chauvin was asked by the defense if the video “changed her life,” apparently to show that she benefited from the product. Then, on re-direct, the prosecution asked how it changed her life, allowing the woman to describe her continuing horror at what she witnessed (or thinks she witnessed). None of which is relevant to whether the police officer caused Floyd’s death.

Similarly, the prosecution called Floyd’s drug addict girl friend, presumably to build sympathy for Floyd and his struggles with drug use. Why is this evidence? If Chauvin is guilty of murder, it doesn’t matter under the law whether his victim was St. Francis of Assisi or Vlad the Impaler. The justification for this approach is falsely characterized in the New York Times report, which says today that the “defense’s focus on Mr. Floyd’s drug use, which arose numerous times in pretrial arguments and motions, echoes other high-profile police brutality cases, especially ones like this where police officers are accused of killing Black men. It is a familiar playbook: In the Rodney King case in Los Angeles in the 1990s, defense lawyers brought up Mr. King’s alleged drug use; after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, officers said Mr. Brown was high on marijuana…”

Wait: in neither of those cases was the defense’s argument that the drugs were the cause of death.

Apparently the prosecution’s rationalization for showing Floyd was a frequent drug user while having a witness describe their “first kiss” is to suggest that the fatal level of fentanyl and meth in his system wouldn’t be fatal to him.

Sound like cockswaddle to me....

17 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/2/21: The All-****Swaddle Edition

  1. 4: They put hurtful evidence front and center to get it in front of and then past the jury. It’s a fair tactic to say here’s a thing that’s not so good, here’s what we have to say about it, let’s move on now. Better to hear it from you than your opponent. What exactly is the problem?

    • If you’re trying to convict a defendant of murder, do you really want to expend any time and effort establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that a nine year-old would be saddened upon seeing an adult die?

        • So, tell me: what probative value does a 9 year old’s testimony have besides pulling on the jury’s emotions? Does it establish beyond a reasonalble doubt that Chauvin killed Floyd? No. It does inflame the jury that a 9 year old now thinks cops are out to kill Blacks and especially black males.


          • Non sequitur. It does not follow

            Your comment has nothing to do with George Floyd’s ex-girlfriend, not what Jack had today about her as a witness and not what I had to say about using her as a witness. If you want to spout your opinion about other witnesses, fine. There’s no call for you to bother me about it though.

  2. 3. Speaking of cockswaddle, there are evidently five Covid “variants of concern.” They are referred to generally as the United Kingdom variant, the Brazil/Japan variant, the South African variant and the California variant (of which there appear to be two). How is this acceptable? Why aren’t these variants referred to by their Pango lineage (whatever the hell that is) pursuant to which the U.K. variant is B.1.1.7? Are people from California being attacked all over the country? Brits? South Africans? Brazilians? Japanese? Where is the outrage?

    My God, the Chinese Communist Party must have a massive and effective media control apparatus in place in the United States.

    • If Californians start getting attacked all over the country, it will probably be for reasons other than the coronavirus variant.

  3. Re: 2 None of these people bother boycotting New York City, even though their gun control laws make it harder for Black people to own and bear a firearm, as well as contribute to the mass incarceration of young Black men for victimless crimes.

  4. 3. twaddle
    trivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsense.
    “he dismissed the novel as self-indulgent twaddle”
    nonsense · rubbish · balderdash · gibberish · claptrap · blather · blether · rot · [more]
    talk or write in a trivial or foolish way.
    “what is that old fellow twaddling about?”
    chat · talk idly · chatter · prattle · prate · go on · run on · rattle on/away ·

  5. So MLB has pulled the All Star game from Georgia (well, that’s one MLB I won’t be watching).

    What occurs to me is: Does the city of Atlanta or the state of Georgia have any legal remedy, i.e. can they sue MLB for damages? For they are surely damaged by this move. Can a state be legally slandered? Can they make a case for spreading these lies about the law other than actual malice?

  6. 3. If there is evidence that COVID-19 came from a LAB in Wuhan, I’d (actually) love to see it. I like to think I read fairly broadly, and I’ve only encountered conspiracy theory-level information to that effect. To my knowledge, COVID-19 most likely came from wet market/Wuhan-area viral reservoirs.

    4. Opioid tolerance is salient to the case. Prescription and recreational users of opioids both develop tolerance to the intended and side effects of increasing doses. Doesn’t mean that point should be buried amongst discussions of a first kiss, though.

  7. Here is another point of view.

    State Rep. Park Cannon was subjected to black codes, post Obama; like they, apparently, STILL have in full effect in Southern states like Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, etc. and others like Minnesota and even Massachusetts where I’ve witnessed the practice as “those on the outside” value a piece of paper, i.e., a $20 bill – man made – over what God has created and nurtured with His hands. That’s what I got from Jonah who appeared to be far more concerned with his own shade than the people whom had repented of their sins upon hearing his message from God when there is one greater whom, even today, many would reject solely for the color of His skin; ergo, even Jesus was made a felon so you shouldn’t expect anything different from the sons of those who murdered the prophets because, indeed, they do as their fathers do….

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