Friday Open Forum!

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Let’s see if the brilliance, perception and foresight of the Ethics Alarms Commentariat can put an upbeat exclamation point at the end of what for me has been an unexpected entry into my Top Ten Worst Weeks ever—which, by the way, pales in worst-ness compared to what the vast majority of humanity has experienced. I know I’ve been very, very lucky. This is just one of the weeks where I wish I was luckier. And smarter.

As one of the many excellent mentors, role models and teachers I’ve had, Tom Donohue, recently retired as head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, use to say, “Charge on!”

49 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. Is it unethical to plead guilty to a law that appears to be unconstitutional?

    Case in point; Mark McCloskey of St. Louis, MO pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault.

    565.076. Domestic assault in the fourth degree, penalty. — 1. A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the fourth degree if the act involves a domestic victim, as the term “domestic victim” is defined under section 565.002, and:

      (1) The person attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury, physical pain, or illness to such domestic victim;

      (2) With criminal negligence the person causes physical injury to such domestic victim by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;

      (3) The person purposely places such domestic victim in apprehension of immediate physical injury by any means;

      (4) The person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to such domestic victim;

      (5) The person knowingly causes physical contact with such domestic victim knowing he or she will regard the contact as offensive; or

      (6) The person knowingly attempts to cause or causes the isolation of such domestic victim by unreasonably and substantially restricting or limiting his or her access to other persons, telecommunication devices or transportation for the purpose of isolation.

      2. The offense of domestic assault in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor, unless the person has previously been found guilty of the offense of domestic assault, of any assault offense under this chapter, or of any offense against a domestic victim committed in violation of any county or municipal ordinance in any state, any state law, any federal law, or any military law which if committed in this state two or more times would be a violation of this section, in which case it is a class E felony. The offenses described in this subsection may be against the same domestic victim or against different domestic victims.

    The ONLY thing in that statute that McCloskey could have possibly violated is the third clause, “The person purposely places such domestic victim in apprehension of immediate physical injury by any means” and that appears to me to be unconstitutional because it’s an open ended clause and makes it against the law for ANYONE to appear to be prepared to protect themself in ANY manner against ANY perceived threat and in ANY situation?

    That clause of the statute needs to be stricken from the books because it violates a person’s civil rights and it would be unethical to plead guilty to something that violates your own civil rights.

    • Yea, as long they plan to appeal. IANAL, but I believe constitutionality is usually something to argue on appeal rather than during the trial, isn’t it? Perhaps Nolo Contendere would be better.

      • To be honest, when I saw “Nolo Contendere” written my first thought was to try to figure what the heck you tried to write in the midst of that double typo, then critical thinking took hold of my brain and told me to look it up to see if I was ignorant of another legal term. 😉

        I like this site; I learn useful things!

        • Huh… I was so used to seeing that on the net since it was young, I just assumed it was well known.

          I have no idea where I picked up nolo contendere. I could have just written out ‘no contest’ instead.

    • You have to look at the definition of “domestic victim” to figure out his plea. Under that statute, a domestic victim is “a household or family member as the term “family” or “household member” is defined in section 455.010, including any child who is a member of the household or family[.]” I suspect he pleaded guilty to assaulting a family member, and not the people who were marching past his hou . . . Oh wait. I just read the story. I have no idea why he would plead to that charge. It’s a misdemeanor and not a felony but it would not apply to the people on the street. Yeah, it is unethical to plead to the charge but it is more unethical to pursue charges against them. Welcome to the Thunder Dome.

      jvb

    • Furthermore; If Mark McCloskey is guilty of fourth-degree assault based on 565.076. 1 (3) The person purposely places such domestic victim in apprehension of immediate physical injury by any means; then absolutely every one of the trespassing protesters are also guilty of violating the exact same fourth-degree assault statute.

  2. Okay. Here I go, for now.

    How in the world did the citizens of Chicago elect this person as mayor? She is, in all respects, unfit for office of any kind. How did we get to this place? I am befuddled. I think we’re doomed. Where is any critical thought or analysis? Does it all come down to propaganda? If so,we have lost our minds. I would liken it to the rise of Nazism, but this is cheaper and even more stupid. What has happened to the American mind? Help me.

    That’s it. Just a cry in the dark.

    • Democrats will only vote for someone that is running as a Democrat regardless if the person is an ignorant social justice warrior or a blithering idiot, they aren’t actually voting “for” the Democrat, they’re voting against any Republican, that’s how they have been programmed to vote over the last 50 years.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ wrote, “The Democrats, or at least a lot of them, would vote for a pile of shit if it had a D next to it.”

          That’s exactly how they’ve been programmed over the last 50 years, you cannot be a Democrat unless you blindly vote for Democrats in ALL elections, no matter what they portray, there is no exceptions to that unwritten rule when you walk into the voting booth. Some moderate Democrats or “classic Liberals” can talk the talk but they cannot walk the walk.

        • “The Democrats, or at least a lot of them, would vote for a pile of shit if it had a D next to it.”

          Interesting, because I read somewhere, a medical journal I think, that what Steve-O- describes is one of the more common symptoms of acute and/or chronic TDS. It gets even worse as one reads further into the sequelae, but to describe in such a wholesome forum would be utterly too gross.

  3. When I first read that Biden was going to make “Juneteenth” a Federal holiday, I cringed. NOT because of my privilege or inherent racism (snark), but because I cannot believe we are going to celebrate a made up word.
    I don’t resent the holiday, although do the Feds really need more time away from work? But, for something so serious, using a ridiculous, made up word seems to diminish the seriousness or symbolism of the end of slavery in Texas. Was “Juneteenth” honestly the best we could do?

    • I believe they are now calling it National Emancipation Independence Day or something like that, but, yes, the colloquial Juneteenth sounds ridiculous.

      • I just read he signed it as Juneteenth National Independence Day. I hope they’re wrong, but fear they aren’t.

        • At the same time it brought a lot of the Columbus-haters out, saying at the same time that holiday should go, to cap the number at 11, and stop celebrating a vicious slaver. Never happen here, though, too many Italians to risk pissing off. This is soooo predictable.

          • “Never happen here, though…”
            Of course it will. We have a holiday devoted entirely to MLK, and now a previously little-known “Juneteenth” state event made federal, while George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln, et al. are lumped together in a generic day only noted by retailers needing ad themes. The fabricated separatist celebration of “kwanzaa” often gets equal billing with Christmas. We’ll likely have a “Tulsa day” pretty soon now.
            The colonizers’ privileges must be extinguished!

        • The cool thing is that the holiday will just be another “day off” marked on the calendar. I can’t wait until the 2022 Hallmark calendars don’t have MLK or Juneteenth marked as holidays along with Labor Day and New Year’s Day and Fourth of July day and Christmas/Kwanzaa and Presidents’ Day. That is going to be fun.

          jvb

    • About the new Federal Holiday; is the Federal government paying Federal employees to have that day off? If so, you can bet your ass that businesses will follow suite or social justice warriors will tar them as racist.

    • I am from Ohio but moved to Houston, TX in 1986. I had no idea what Juneteenth was before I moved here. I am still a bit unclear, I guess because I am conditioned to fax machines, telephones, and other modern technologies making notifications of stuff instantaneous, I have a hard time wrapping my Dr. Pepper-deprived mind around the fact that it took over two years to read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, TX.

      I am even more befuddled about why the founders of Houston/Galveston thought this climate was a good place to start a city. I mean, it’s frickin’ hot and humid ALL THE TIME!, has these pesky mosquitos that can’t be defeated, and flying cockroaches the size and strength of Ford F150s.

      Those cockroaches are beyond terrifying. You can’t beat them. In Ohio, you turn on a light and they scatter. Here, you turn on a light, they look at you with those evil eyes, daring you. You have to detonate your house to get rid of them (sadly, taking your poor pooch’s life in the process) and they mock you (not like they did to ol’ Ryan of a prior post) asking “That’s it? That’s all you got?”

      jvb

      • I have, in fact, since moving back to Texas (I’m a native) seen with my own eyes at least one dog and one cat recoil from a cockroach, clearly intimidated, after first doing their instinctive, curious, presumed-able-to-overpower-the-little-thing pursuit, pawing and biting. Once in the past two weeks, I might have even been bitten by one low on my ankle, just above my heel, while sleeping. The sore has not healed yet.

  4. So let’s talk about Juneteenth, shall we?

    A blatant attempt to pander to the African-American community. A federal holiday that only a small group of people actually celebrate. I’m still trying to figure out if I can go to the post office tomorrow.

    I’ve also read one article already by a person of color who admits to feeling uncomfortable with the thought of white people celebrating this holiday.

    So, no, this won’t be divisive, will it?

    Like Labor Day and Martin Luther King Day, Juneteenth will likely be another holiday that will be like any other day for most working people. African-Americans make up a large percentage of those who work in food service and retail stores – industries that balk at giving employees even one or two federal holidays off work, much less paid days off.

    The white collar businesses that are most likely to close on holidays are going to tread very carefully here. Even large companies don’t like to give employees extra paid days off. My company once gave employees Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off as holidays, but not Martin Luther King Day. Then they let the employees vote and the result is that now we have Martin Luther King Day off, but not Christmas Eve.

    Any business that adds Juneteenth as a paid company holiday is likely to do so after yanking another paid holiday from the calendar, such as the day after Thanksgiving.

    Yep, that won’t be divisive either.

    Any thoughts on how easily America is going to transition into two Independence Days, one for whites, one for blacks?

    • My summary observations of something that is more complex than most people make it out to be:

      The Fourth of July must always be the Preeminent holiday in the American “liturgy”. Even for the slaves whose lives were spent in a state of legalized kidnapping…it was their Independence Day also even while they didn’t enjoy the reality of it. Yet I understand some arguments, such as those who perpetuate Frederick Douglass’s observations on Independence Day. But frankly, anyone espousing that attitude *still* are anti-American.

      BUT, it should surely be acknowledged that even while Independence Day was for ALL Americans (even those who in reality didn’t enjoy it’s blessings), there were those who in reality didn’t enjoy it’s blessings. And an end to the legalized kidnapping that finalized the values of the Declaration SHOULD be celebrated.

      Now, whether that is “Juneteenth”, or the passage of the 13th Amendment, or the Emancipation Proclamation, or the defeat of the Confederacy, I don’t know…but such a momentous event should probably be celebrated.

      Here’s what I do know – it’s being proposed by Democrats, and I don’t think Conservatives should oppose something simply because it originates with Democrats, BUT. BUT, when Democrats, who have proven themselves to *HATE* America and its Value set, propose anything “patriotic”, one should ask, why? What’s the angle they are working? What’s the smokescreen? What are they working on down the road that the language of this is being used to set up?

      I’d be all for a celebration of the end of slavery. But ONLY if people who actually like America (Therefore NOT Democrats), get to define what that celebration is and get to define how those “rituals” play out.

      So, in principle it’s a good idea to celebrate this…but I’m sure some specifics on how this has been pushed are hard no’s from me.

      Nevertheless, from the looks of this, it’s being pandered to as “Black Independence Day”, which can only ever hope to perpetuate the destructive narrative of “White America” versus “Black America”.

      • Because Democrats thrive on division, and this is just another way to stick a chisel in division and crak it wide open.

    • A.M. Golden wrote, “Any thoughts on how easily America is going to transition into two Independence Days, one for whites, one for blacks?”

      That’s exactly how they will be portrayed from now on and in a way that’s exactly what they are and that’s why I’ve been against it being an actual holiday from the start, I think it should have been an honorary day of remembrance similar to Martin Luther King Day, or similar days.

          • If Columbus Day can be changed to Indigenous People’s Day to celebrate victimhood rather than achievement, and also as a “fuck you, white people!” then MLK Day can be changed to Victims of Adultery Day to do the same and as a “fuck you” to the black people.

              • I’m not quite sure how to take your meaning, BUT, if you are saying the argument about achievement vs. victimhood is an interesting one, thank you. This country didn’t get to where it is by glorifying victimhood and self-hatred nor by saying “fuck you!” to the last generation or the generation before that. I’ve talked here at some length about the late 19th and early 20th century immigrants. They got here with almost nothing, learned to fit in, and became successful. Now they are resented for it, and the descendants of those who got their freedom around the same time, who also had almost nothing, hate them for their success.

                If the pioneers hadn’t braved the wilderness, there probably wouldn’t be a west coast now. If the prospectors hadn’t gone into the west, the US would be a lot less wealthy. If Columbus hadn’t landed, this continent would still be a New Stone Age wilderness north of the Rio Grande and the priests of the Aztec gods would still be tearing out hearts on the pyramids at Uxmal and Chichen Itza south of it. A case could be made that if the Founding Fathers hadn’t done what they did, the idea of basic human rights might not have gotten off the ground, and we’d be living with a clear understanding that our freedoms were revocable benefits, which the leadership could take away at any time for any reason or no reason.

                History isn’t always fair and it isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s downright ugly. However, it’s because of that history, all of it, that we’re where we are now. If we see farther, it’s because we stand on the shoulders of those who came before. It is unfair for those from 2 years ago to hate those from 200 years ago and discard their achievement because their attitudes were not today’s attitudes. It is also grossly unfair to hate the highest achievers most of all. I won’t defend slavery, it was a system founded on a moral wrong that benefited increasingly fewer and fewer. However, the system that gave us that also gave us the Constitution that’s still considered the greatest example of such a document and all the ideas that went with it. What system will you defend more? The Aztecs, who tore out hearts to satisfy their gods? The Iroquois, who lived almost exclusively by making war on other tribes? Mandarin China, which bound noblewomens’ feet to make them unnaturally tiny and cut off the entire private parts of civil servants? Mogul India, which burned widows on their husbands’ funeral pyres? Or what about the ancient African empires, which kidnapped their own people into slavery? Well? Is America really that bad in comparison?

                • Steve-O-in-NJ wrote, “I’m not quite sure how to take your meaning, BUT, if you are saying the argument about achievement vs. victimhood is an interesting one, thank you.”

                  Sorry I wasn’t clearer. Yes the comparison of the “achievement vs. victimhood is an interesting one”.

                  • They also required their king to puncture his penis with a stingray spine and draw a thorny rope through his tongue in a bloodletting ceremony.

    • Easy. It will just be part of transitioning into 2 Americas. I also remember when I was in private practice we didn’t take MLK Day off too, with the owners of the firms shrugging and saying “no black employees, so why bother?”

  5. I live out west. We have many, many things named after Indians, it’s names are embedded in plants, counties, street names, towns, cities, rivers and streams. There’s so many, I couldn’t imagine trying to divorce it from everyday life. It’s everywhere and the names were here before we were, for the most part. We adapted them, because they were called that first. I think this cultural white washing gross.
    https://www.yumapioneer.com/mascot-bill-headed-toward-governors-desk/

  6. There has been a story in the local Phoenix newspaper of late. A mother and her two high school aged children were riding in their Honda Civic and passing through an intersection with a green light on an arterial street (I used to travel every day to and from work for fourteen years) when their car was T-boned by a stolen Cadillac running the red light at an estimated ninety-seven miles per hour according to police.

    That’s right. Nine. Seven. Three miles an hour below one hundred miles per hour. On a residential street on which our kids’ middle school was located. The mother and the two children were killed instantly and the Caddy and the Civic caromed around, hitting a bus and a couple of other cars, injuring, but not too seriously, three or four other people. The mother was white and her three children (the youngest was not in the car) were mixed race, all as shown in the photographs eulogizing the evidently wonderful but evidently fatherless family, in a subsequent article. People are contributing to go fund me for the surviving and evidently orphaned pre-teen survivor. Next an article appeared saying a suspect had been identified. Then an article said the suspect had been apprehended. The suspect was named but no photo. Hmm. This was all in the Arizona Republic, which was at one time named The Arizona Republican. It should now be called The Arizona Democrat.

    I looked around on the internet at other local media and finally found a mug shot. Surprise, surprise, surprise. The suspect is a man of color. I was was shocked, shocked I tell you.

    I emailed one of the writers at the Republic and asked why no mug shot. Her response follows:

    Hi William,
    Our newsroom, along with many across the country, is moving away from publishing mugshots of suspects. Mugshots are taken at what is likely one of the worst moments of a person’s life and the image style for so long has been associated with crime that some argue it implies guilt. We are in the process of announcing this change but here is a great explainer from another news outlet: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/02/11/newsrooms-rethink-a-crime-reporting-staple-the-mugshot
    Best,
    Kaila White

    To which my response is, “Oh Bull Shit, Sweetie.”

    Does this mean police will no longer be identified by their race or identified in photos? Will papers no longer report fatal car wrecks because they involve more than likely one of the worst moments of a person’s life? I can’t help thinking this is covering up black on white crime and black on black crime or simply black crime. But frankly, I’m not sure why that would be. If black crime is the result of systemic racism and white supremacism, shouldn’t the media be showing the public proof of this fact? Shouldn’t we see repeatedly until we believe it that racism has pushed black guys to steal cars and commit other crimes as their only way to provide for their families in an unjust society like ours? If there were no police, he wouldn’t have feared being caught and he could have obeyed the speed limit and the red light! Should these victims of oppression suffer in obscurity or shouldn’t we instead see their faces so they are SEEN? Won’t people assume the perpetrators are white supremacists if they’re not identified as people of color?

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