Thanksgiving Week Ethics Memories And Echoes, 11/29/202: Peloton Goes Stupid, Two Charities Go Racist, And A Corruption Expert Goes Rogue

November 29 marks the anniversary of the world making a firm choice in a position of ethics zugszwang, as the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition Palestine and create an independent Jewish state. Things have never been peaceful or, apparently, resolvable since. Jews and Arabs had been arguing over the region since the first decade of the 20th Century, as both groups wanted the British-controlled territory. The Jews had come from Europe and Russia establish a Jewish state in their ancient homeland. The native Palestinian Arabs wanted to stop Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state. In 1929, violence between Arabs and Jews broke out, and Great Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration to appease the Arabs. The Holocaust spurred many Jews to entered Palestine anyway, however illegally, and in the 40s the Jews were the terrorists, attacking British forces in Palestine. When the U.S. sided with the Zionists in 1945, Great Britain gave up and handed its dilemma over to the United Nation, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.

The Jews got more than half of Palestine, despite constituting less than half of the population. The Palestinian Arabs fought the newly empowered occupants, but the Jews prevailed, not only securing their U.N.-granted share of Palestine but some of the Arab portion as well. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared its official existence, and the the next day, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq attacked. They chose…poorly. The Israelis again prevailed, and again expanded their territories at Arab expense, taking Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. The Palestinians have never abandoned their goal of eliminating the Jewish state, and after so many decades, the chances of a peaceful and permanent resolution of this hundred-year-old ethics train wreck are approximately zero.

Meanwhile, Happy Hanukkah, and remember the Maccabees!

1. Note from The Great Stupid. In a new holiday-themed Peloton commercial, a modern Scrooge discovers his best self by peddling away. Awakening, he rushes to the window, just like in the Dickens tale, and shouts to the juvenile in the street, “What day is it, child?” Child? Everybody knows that the line is “What day is it, boy?” Ah! But because all commercials and casts must have a requisite number of black actors, the lad was black, and even Scrooge can’t call a black individual boy, even if he is a boy. So the “Christmas Carol” parody, which is the whole point, is knee-capped for political correctness. This director’s advice: either be bold and cast a white kid to play the white kid in the story, or ditch the concept entirely. Or…

…cast two white actors in a two-character TV ad. Now that would be revolutionary!

2. Did I miss Hillary Clinton taking over the Salvation Army? The Salvation Army’s solution to being called on it’s CRT embrace: deny, deny, deny. Also: lie. Indignantly!

As Ethics Alarms noted a few days ago, two internal Salvation Army documents, a guidebook titled “Let’s Talk About Racism” and another called the “Study Guide on Racism” fully endorse the “anti-racism” pro anti-white racism theme. “In the absence of making anti-racist choices, we (un) consciously uphold aspects of White supremacy, White-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society,” the first document states—you know, like casting a black kid as Scrooge’s new friend. From the latter: White people are guilty “unconscious bias” and “unwittingly perpetuate racial division…We must stop denying the existence of individual and systemic/institutional racism. They exist, and are still at work to keep White Americans in power.”

I feel “Bite me!” rising up my gorge into my mouth even as I type that.

The Salvation Army is shocked—shocked!—that anyone would think it’s playing race games. In a perfect Jumbo, the group responded, “Critical Race Theory? What Critical Race Theory?”

“…[S]ome individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas. They have claimed that we believe our donors should apologize for their skin color, that The Salvation Army believes America is an inherently racist society, and that we have abandoned our Christian faith for one ideology or another. Those claims are simply false, and they distort the very goal of our work….” The Salvation Army occasionally publishes internal study guides on various complex topics to help foster positive conversations and grace-filled reflection among Salvationists. By openly discussing these issues, we always hope to encourage the development of a more thoughtful organization that is better positioned to support those in need. But no one is being told how to think. Period.”

Except that both of the documents tell employees how to think… like Ibram X. Kendri.

The next part of the denial is hilarious…

In this case, the guide “Let’s Talk About Racism,” was issued as a voluntary resource, but it has since become a focus of controversy. We have done our best to provide accurate information, but unfortunately, some have chosen to ignore those efforts. At the same time, International Headquarters realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified. Consequently, for both reasons, the International Social Justice Commission has now withdrawn the guide for appropriate review.

Translation: “OK, you caught us!”

The explanation, perhaps even more than the anti-white play-books, makes it clear that this is a charity that no longer can be trusted.

3. In related news, it’s time to start looking for non-racist, pro-America charities… Goodwill Industries is apparently pushing its stores to adopt critical race theory-style training as part of the organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative.

Timothy O’Malley, a whistleblower, told The Federalist that Goodwill began holding “implicit bias training” for store managers in early 2021, including a mandatory“three to four hour” session led by a “racial equity trainer.” In May, Goodwill CEO Steven Preston confirmed that he signed the post-George Floyd Freakout “CEO Action Pledge” to “provide a more supportive and inclusive workplace,” meaning, according to the pledge, to commit to implementing and expanding “unconscious bias training,” which aims to help “employees recognize and minimize their blind spots” and to “facilitate more open and honest conversations.” Internal Goodwill materials obtained by the Federalist reveal the company pledging to “only create merchandise’ that represents members of preferred races.”

“Preferred races?” Nice.

4. Oh, what else can I find to ruin your morning? How about… Bruce Bagley, a previously a trusted expert and author on crime and corruption in Latin America and a frequent source for journalists on the topic, was just sentenced to prison for his role in a bribery and corruption scheme in Venezuela.

Bagley used bank accounts in his name and that of a company he created in Florida to launder about $2.5 million, keeping a commission for himself that netted $192,000 from November 2017 to September 2018. Bagley pleaded guilty in June 2020 to two counts of money laundering, hence the sentence…which was far too lenient.

His lawyer had argued for no prison time and a sentence of time served, because it was a non-violent crime (So what? It did more damage than a lot of violent crimes), it was his client’s first criminal conviction (a feature that is given far too much weight in sentencing), Bagley was in poor health (Again, so what? Baretta’s law applies: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”) and…get this.. that “he had an otherwise distinguished career as a professor and mentor.” That makes his crime worse. If you can’t trust a corruption expert not to be corrupt, who can you trust?

10 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Week Ethics Memories And Echoes, 11/29/202: Peloton Goes Stupid, Two Charities Go Racist, And A Corruption Expert Goes Rogue

  1. 3. One of my old friends, another retired cop, who has volunteered as a Salvation Army bellringer for many years, told them “no mas” this year and wrote a detailed letter explaining why they had screwed the pooch with their woke propaganda.
    4. My wife’s cousin managed the local Goodwill store for many years, but recently left the organization over their own woke programming.
    For the time being, I am directing all my charitable efforts to specific faith-based organizations with which I am personally familiar, through my local church. I am comfortable with their non-participation in woke politics.

  2. Minor point, but, second decade, I think, since the UK doesn’t take Jerusalem until 1917, no? The fact is that it was time for a national homeland for the Jewish people, where they could be the majority, and not be constantly ordered about, restricted, limited, judged, and bullied by those not like them. The Ottoman Empire also chose…poorly, and got chopped up like a pork carcass after its decisive defeat in WWI. Of course the allies divided it up based on what would benefit THEM, not necessarily the local folks (that’s why the Kurds got really badly screwed). They only didn’t get chopped up worse because Kemal Ataturk stood up to the west, and the west wasn’t going to fight another war so soon after WWI (of course the Armenians paid the price for that). I can’t pretend that the Jews didn’t do some less than wonderful things in the Mandate (koff koff…blowing up British police stations… koff koff…King David Hotel), but, after the Holocaust, I guess I’m willing to look the other way, and so was the rest of the world, same as a lot of people look the other way on and even cheer on IRA terrorism. It doesn’t hurt that I loathe Arabs and Muslims, one of the world’s first (although not THE first) major conquerors, imposers of their own religion and culture on others, and destroyers of other cultures, who briefly conquered my people’s homeland before Robert Guiscard and the Normans threw their asses out. I just don’t get how allowing 1 Jewish nation covering just over 8,000 square miles to 22 Arab nations covering just over 5 MILLION square miles is such a problem. The 1948 assault was unwise, but what was less wise was a lot of the Israeli Arabs walking out, intending to walk back in once Israel was defeated. They lost, so they rebranded as “Palestinians,” and whining ever since. Egypt and Jordan both have peace treaties in place with Israel, and so want no further part of this, and Syria has withdrawn from Lebanon. It’s time for these other 22 Arab nations and Israel to yank their heads out of rectal defilade and find a place to settle these people that isn’t Israel.

    1. (shrug) there just can’t be another single race commercial, I guess.

    2. Yup, and it ALMOST worked for Hilary. It ALMOST worked here, but not quite.

    3. Preferred races belongs right next to living space, i.e. lebensraum.

    4. (Clang) no big loss, same with any Chavez ass-kisser.

  3. “The Salvation Army occasionally publishes internal study guides on various complex topics to help foster positive conversations and grace-filled reflection among Salvationists.”

    I would be curious to see this reading list.

    -Jut

  4. “The native Palestinian Arabs wanted to stop Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.”

    I’d like to clarify something. The history of the area is… complicated, to say the least. You think America has history? Imagine an area that has been settled about 20 times longer than the entire history of America, conquered about 150 times by people who spoke exceptionally different languages, cultures, mores and traditions.

    Part of the problem in “Palestine” is the argument that “Palestinians” have some kind of hereditary claim to the area. They don’t.

    The word “Palestine” did not exist before 500BC. “Palestine” derives from “Philistia”, which is the name given by Greek writers to the land of the Philistines, who around 1300BC occupied a small pocket of land on the southern coast between modern Tel Aviv and Gaza. But even those “Philistines” didn’t call themselves that…. We don’t know what they called themselves. We don’t know who they were. “Philistine” etymologically is a Greek import that came in sometimes during the period of 540BC and 300BC because despite a scathing history of Persian/Greek conflicts in and around the area, trade flowed and cultural exchanges happened. For better or worse, in the Greek speaking world, the area became known as Palestine abound 300BC, and they started minting coins in Phoenicia to that effect.

    More importantly, there is no such thing as a Palestinian bloodline, or even a culture. Again… We don’t even know the actual name of the people “Palestine” is based off of. They were a tribe of people living in mud brick huts in a speck on the map on the coast of the Mediterranean somewhere around 1500BC. We don’t know if they died out, emigrated, or mixed with a neighbor but their story is completely lost to history and anyone who asserts differently is lying to you. “Palestinians” today have such a potpourri of a culture that I very much doubt that anyone could identify a single unique identifier that existed before 1940. There is no 23-and-me identifier for someone from Palestine. There was never a country of Palestine.

    And so why “Palestine”? In an area called a thousand different things over four thousand years, why settle on a Greek imported word for a people who settled a small town on the coast, who’s real name we do not even remember? “Palestine” as named by the Greeks a millennium after the tribe disappeared, was at it’s most serious the name of a Roman province. “Palestine” as a province was renamed by the Ottomans in the 16th century. It was neither first, last, or most impactful.

    “Palestine” in a modern context, is a political fiction used as leverage. You want to assert it existed? Sure. Fine. But what made up that province? The exact demographics will depend on the timeframe you’re talking about, but it was never an Arab ethnostate. Even during the Muslim occupations: Jews were there. Greeks were there. Persians were there. A hundred languages spoken by a thousand tribes, melted together over millennia. If someone wants to make the argument that “Palestine” should be governed by “Palestinians”, well… I hate to break it to you, but it is. “Palestinian” and “Jewish” is not any more mutually exclusive than “New Yorker” and “Jewish”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine

  5. My exposure to the topic of Jewish/Arab relations in “Palestine” comes through the game of ping-pong (or, “table tennis”, for those more serious about the game). One regular opponent of mine refused to even utter the word “Israel” and was prone to speak at great lengths about the injustices done to his family (my suggestion to encourage immigration to more welcoming places was not received well). I’ve also played a tourist from Israel wearing an IDF t-shirt. I considered, as a joke, shouting “Allahu Akbar” after scoring a point, but, fortunately, refrained.

    As an aside, I highly recommend ping-pong as a form of exercise and socialisation (it attracts a highly diverse group of people).

  6. 1. “Everybody knows that the line is ‘What day is it, boy?'”

    I’m not convinced this is a culturally harmful change. If they’re already changing the story by setting it in modern times and replacing the ghosts of Christmas with an exercise bike, they might as well update Scrooge’s dialog to reflect that fewer people address children as “boy” or “girl” anymore. Even “child” sounds quaint; I probably would have written “kid.”

    However, it sounds like you might be concerned about the euphemism treadmill, which makes people feel they have to change how they speak because other people have decided to be offended by conventional words. I detest the euphemism treadmill as well, because it implies that when a word picks up a bad reputation or negative connotations, then the Cognitive Dissonance Scale kicks in and we have to stop using it even though it’s still accurate and was once neutral. What’s worse is that the word may not have an adequate or succinct replacement. I prefer words to remain neutral, and for that reason I think it’s preferable for people to avoid coded insults or innuendo. Insults should be unambiguous so that they don’t tarnish perfectly ordinary words.

    In the meantime, I’m hoping that if we use regular words with honor and dignity, and in sentences that convey respect, we can prevent those words from accumulating negative impressions. That way they can remain neutral descriptors, as they’re supposed to be.

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