I missed the warm-up yesterday, as life, deadlines and the Red Sox-Yankee one game play-off interfered. Now I’m horribly backed up.
Yesterday was an important ethics date in our history, and an especially bad one for Native Americans. On October 5 in 1813, during the War of 1812, a combined army of British and Native American forces were defeated by General William Harrison’s American army at the Battle of the Thames in Ontario, Canada. The leader of the Indian warriors was Tecumseh, the powerful Shawnee chief who organized inter-tribal resistance to white settlers on Native lands. He was killed in the fighting, spelling doom for Native American resistance east of the Mississippi. The defeated tribes soon moved west, which bought them time but no peace. Sixty-five years later, on the anniversary of Tecumseh’s defeat, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribes surrendered to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana. Joseph was another remarkable Native American leader: after the U.S. government broke a land treaty with the Nez Perce that forced them out of their homeland. The area in Idaho they were ordered to move to was unacceptable, so over three months, Chief Joseph led about 300 Nez Perce to the Canadian border, a 1,000 mile trek, as they fled and fought 2,000 pursuing U.S. soldiers. Only 40 miles short of the Canadian border, Chief Joseph’s group was trapped by the U.S. Army, and escorted to a barren reservation. His famous quote expresses the futility and sadness of the entire, cruel but inevitable destruction of the Native American tribes and the appropriation of their territory by white settlers.
Is something that experience teaches us cannot be avoided still unethical? I believe so, but that conclusion leads to the slippery slope of “life is unfair” and what can or should be done about it.
1. ‘Where have you gone, Jackie Robinson?’ Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is resigning from office after accepting a plea deal regarding charges of financial misappropriation. She joins a long list of black, female mayors in major cities—San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, which has had a succession—that have embarrassed their cities, parties and supporters by proving utterly untrustworthy and incompetent, if not outright corrupt. This doesn’t help. If the idea is to increase the number of female, black officials, it is important that all of these ‘firsts” actually be good leaders. Having one spectacularly awful black, female mayor after another is how biases take hold. Of course the fact that so many black, female mayors of recent vintage have been unqualified, obnoxious fools shouldn’t reflect negatively on future mayoral candidates who are deserving of support and trust, but inevitably it will. This is why parties and voters can’t adopt the Kamala Harris Standard that the Democrats imposed on us: “gender and color is qualification enough.” No, they aren’t. They aren’t qualifications at all.
2. Sometimes I think Biden isn’t even trying. Banks and their trade groups, including the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, are almost certainly going to oppose Biden’s choice to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Why? Oh, not much, just that her past writing suggest that she’s a communist. The Wall Street Journal wrote that Omarova wants to adopt a Soviet-style banking system, which isn’t too surprising since “she graduated from Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Thirty years later, she still believes the Soviet economic system was superior, and that U.S. banking should be remade in the Gosbank’s image.”
She’s tweeted about the deficiencies of the free market in terms of guaranteeing gender equity—why should any economic system generate gender equity? She also doesn’t like the idea of supply and demand determining the salaries and product prices; she wants these set by the government. Yeah, if there is one thing banking organizations want, it’s a Commie setting their regulations. Does the Biden administration vet these people at all? Or is the fact that she’s a minority female—another potential first!–automatically mean she’s a great choice in the eyes of the White House gang.
“The core of all of this and the source of our most significant concerns is we look at everything that she has said or written publicly, there are bold ideas that essentially look at eliminating the banking system as we know it today,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, the president of the Independent Community Bankers of America.
If this is mistaken, wouldn’t you think the supporters of Comrade Omarova would have a rebuttal ready? So far, no comment.
3. Eventually, I’m going to break down and ask. Someone wrote that wearing masks in public is the new MAGA cap for the woke. I think that’s about right, except that a cap doesn’t make you unintelligible, difficult to relate to, and generally degrade social interaction generally.In progressive Northern Virginia, I’d estimate that 75% of all adults and about 50% of children are wearing the damn things, inside and outside. I am dying to stop some of them and ask, “I’m sorry, why are you wearing that? There’s no one near you. Are you vaccinated? If so, why the mask? If not, why the hell not? And why is your 10-year-old wearing a mask? Do you intend to do this forever? Why? Do you know that the mask you are wearing is virtually useless? What are you trying to convey?
4. Who would nominate this fascist for the Supreme Court? Merrick Garland announced that the FBI would work with U.S. attorneys and federal, state, local, territorial and tribal authorities in each district to develop strategies against the threats pose ed by parents who vigorously object to school boards seeking to impose critical race theory, a.k.a. mandatory ant-white racist indoctrination, in the schools.“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” he said.
It does extend, however to the government chilling free speech by, just to pick a wild example out of the air, threatening to treat dissenters against school indoctrination as “domestic terrorists.”
5. Space, the really final frontier… William Shatner, who is 90 years old, is scheduled to fly to the edge of space a Blue Origin rocket, launched by the private space company owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Bill can do what he wants, and I’m sure Bezos has all necessary waivers from Shatner, who probably wouldn’t mind dying in space at this point. Blue Origin, however, is irresponsible and ruthless for recruiting him to do it. Kant’s Categorical Imperative holds that using a human being as a means to an end is unethical. That’s what’s going on here.
6. The New York Times asks “Is there an ethical way to “fake it til you make it”? No. Next question? The issue of start-ups shading the truth in order to suck in investors is suddenly a hot topic. Someone at Ozy Media, a rising digital media company, impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with Goldman Sachs investors. This discovery led to other revelations about Ozy’s business practices, including marketing materials, potential investors fled, and it announced last week that it was shutting down. This story broke while Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is being tried on 12 counts of wire fraud after the company’s blood testing technology, once valued at $9 billion, was revealed to be less that she had claimed. so the New York Times tracked down an alleged ethical entrepreneur, Eric Ries, to ask him how far start-up businesses could fudge what they could do before they actually could do it in order to acquire the funds to do it. Ries said in part, “As long as you’re hiding something that the customer doesn’t need to know and you have not made promises that contradict it, there’s no ethical problem there. But these are fine distinctions to make and you see how it is easy for people to get into trouble.”
Why are you hiding it, if the customer doesn’t need to know? Omitting information that suggests to someone that the information doesn’t exist is still deception. The examples that Ries pronounced as “ethical” included “a task may be accomplished by a human instead of technology” and ” items may be purchased from a store instead of shipped from the company’s own inventory.”
This goes in the “I don’t know why I bother” file.