Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/8/2022: Rights, Loot, Fraud, “Boom,” Lynching and Wuhan-Madness

1. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the decision overturning Bill Cosby’s rape conviction in Pennsylvania. Good. The appeal was on the verge of being frivolous. Cosby was and is guilty as sin and a monster, but even monsters have constitutional rights, and prosecutors violated his. The public has been badly informed regarding this case and the due process rights involved, and the prosecutors who appealed the results of their own botch don’t help with statements like this one from Montgomery County district attorney, Kevin R. Steele, who said in a statement regarding the case, “All crime victims deserve to be heard, treated with respect and be supported through their day in court.”

That’s deliberate obfuscation and #MeToo pandering. Cosby’s argument for being released had nothing to do with his victims at all.

2. There is hope! One ethical trend that has reversed centuries of Western apathy and arrogance over looted treasures from less affluent countries is the grudging acknowledgement that these artifacts were stolen, and that there is an ethical imperative to return them. The latest example of late justice is the 55 antiquities returned to Greece by the Manhattan district attorney’s office last month. The Elgin Marbles still are trapped in the British Museum, but there is real progress. Greece may get them back yet.3. I didn’t post about this earlier because I’m sick of saying the same thing over and over, but…Special Counsel Michael Gableman, the retired state Supreme Court justice appointed by the Wisconsin Assembly to investigate integrity concerns about the 2020 election, vetted more than 90 nursing homes in five different counties, and concluded there was “widespread election fraud at Wisconsin nursing homes in November of 2020.” Of course there was, because this particularly vile version of “vote harvesting” is permitted by the laws in most states, and when legislatures try to pass measures against it, Democrats call it “voter suppression.”

The whole, ugly and infuriating story is here. Wisconsin is only one state, and the nursing home fraud wouldn’t have been enough to flip that state into Donald Trump’s win column, and certainly not the election. But the extent of the fraud, and the fact that the loose enforcement of voting laws allowed—I would say “encouraged”—it rebuts the still routinely repeated Big Lie by the mainstream media that Trump’s claims that Joe Biden’s victory was tainted is “groundless.” This is “grounds,” all by itself. It is also proof that more stringent voting laws that prevent such tactics are essential, and not “a return to Jim Crow.”

In case you couldn’t guess, the Wisconsin report has been largely dismissed by liberal pundits and the media as a “partisan exercise,” and that’s why you may not have learned about it.

4. Nah, the Times isn’t a pro-Biden propaganda organ...Today’s New York Times front page contained no stories, none, that did not involve the Ukraine war. Among the omissions: the alarming fact that the average gasoline price in the US has topped four dollars a gallon for the first time. Inflation? What inflation? Last week, the Times’ crack Nobel Prize-winning economist, blue-on-blue (as Bobby Vinton would say) op-ed columnist Paul Krugman, really and truly wrote that the U.S. economy was “booming” but those dumb yokels we call “citizens” don’t believe it for some strange reason. Krugman calls it “peculiar.” Meanwhile, the media’s obsession with the invasion of Ukraine crowds all sorts of damning news about the Biden Administration off the headlines, while keeping Putin front and center. Am I excessively conspiratorial-minded to believe that the media thinks Putin-hate is one more way to diminish Trump’s popularity? It’s a simple cognitive dissonance trick, after all. The resistance/Democrats/mainstream media [the Axis of Unethical Conduct in Ethics Alarms-speak] spent four years telling the public that Trump was Putin’s “cockholster,” in the charming lexicon of Stephen Colbert on national TV, and that the two “authoritarians” had conspired to steal the 2016 Presidential election. It was all lies, confirmation bias, planted rumors and circumstantial evidence, but never mind: that’s a lot of insidious fake news over a long period of time. Putin is still linked to Trump in the minds of many of the deceived, and Trump being Trump, he continues to help out by such gaffes as saying that Putin is “smart.” (That opinion hasn’t aged well, as the Russian dictator’s attack on Ukraine looks dumber by the minute.)

5. Least necessary law ever…The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would make lynching a federal hate crime. You know, to distinguish it from all those hangings where the mob really likes the victim. The bill carries the name of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Under the measure, lynching is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Is that all? Lynching is premeditated murder, isn’t it? The bill is not only superfluous and flagrant virtue-signaling, it’s also absurdly lenient.

6. This is what two years of hysteria, changing “science,” lies and fear-mongering from the news media and Democrats have done to some people, with serious damage to the nation. Read “‘I Don’t Feel Like This Is a Safe Choice Yet’/The end of NYC’s school-mask mandate is a relief for many, but some worry the move is premature”. The woman is bonkers, but I know many, many once sane people like her. In Northern Virginia, it seems like nearly everyone is still wearing masks, especially seniors, and most of the little kids I see walking outside with their parents are also masked. I am coming closer each day to stopping such newly-minted phobics and asking them, “Forgive me for asking, but what the Hell is the matter with you?”

14 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/8/2022: Rights, Loot, Fraud, “Boom,” Lynching and Wuhan-Madness

  1. Regarding #5:

    1. I don’t like federal crimes bills where there is not a clear federal interest involved. I don’t see one here, but could be persuaded otherwise.
    2. Completely unnecessary law, as you said, so nothing to add there.
    3. Embarrassingly late. Congress will likely pat themselves on the back for this groundbreaking piece of legislation that was passed 104 years after such legislation was originally imposed and named for someone who has been dead around 67 years. That’s some mighty fine legislaturing you got got done there!


  2. #5 – Hate crimes are the one case where progressives want to be tough on crime. You hit exactly the point where that fails because progressives don’t want to be tough on crime, and often what they’re asking for is less than what the rest of us are OK with for that very crime, regardless of the bias that drove it.

    I always like to cite the example of the Murder of James Byrd Jr. of Texas. The murder happened on June 7th, 1998, when Shawn Berry, Lawrence Brewer, and John King tied him to the back of a pickup and drug him to death. This case was cited as the basis for federal hate crime legislation, yet Texas seems to have addressed this crime in a manner exceeding what the bulk of progressives are willing to met out in a murder. Berry was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in 2038; I doubt he’s going to be released even then. He is in solitary confinement for his own protection. Both Brewer and King have been convicted, sentenced to death and executed 13 years later.

    • Yup—I almost mentioned Byrd’s murder. Then Gov.. Bush was called a racist because he said he saw no reason to add “hate crime” penalties to a heinous murder that was already a life-sentence for its perps at a minimum and a death sentence at best anyway.

  3. I don’t know about the New York Times’ print edition. All I can do is pull up the online version with its layout optimized for tablets and laptops. Naturally the top series of stories are about Ukraine in one way or another. Here are the first two headlines further down that aren’t:

    Rising Gas Prices Have American Drivers Asking, ‘Is This For Real?’
    U.S. Mask Mandates Ease Quickly, With a Few Holdouts

    Boy, those stories don’t sound like propaganda for the current regime in Washington. Meanwhile, yesterday I remember scrolling down and looking for the first “Guest Essay,” which is what op-eds are called now. (“Op-ed” used to stand for “opposite the editorial page,” which has much less visual meaning for online readers these days.) Here it was, from a female college senior at the University of Virginia who is described as having “interned with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education,” which people here may recognize as a conservative, free speech, anti-PC advocacy organization:

    I Came to College Eager to Debate. I Found Self-Censorship Instead

    Weird, I might have expected that headline in National Review or something.

    Look, I think EA readers have a choice. You can wallow in the host’s daily screeds about the New York Times, or you can check it out yourself. You don’t have to set aside your CNN-hating bona fides – they’ve done a terrible job on national politics, the pandemic, and coverage of foreign affairs (i.e. none up until the point where it’s titillating, like, you know, a war). But if you’re sitting there thinking the “mainstream media” is all the same thing – i.e., the New York Times = CNN or something – you’re just way, way off and cheating yourself. And you’re running the risk of this website’s #1 insight: Bias Makes You Stupid. Which doesn’t just apply to “the other guy,” it applies to all of us. Thanks for listening.

    • Yes, that article by the oppressed student has gotten a lot of attention specifically because the Times published it and is presumably similarly hostile to the same positions and ideas she espouses. I view this as the Times —under the same editor and with the same staff—trying to erase the stench of the Tom Cotton op-ed fiasco, which was magnified by Bennet’s wan and blathering pseudo-defense of publishing it. (He also ignored the fact that the op-ed editor who green-lighted it was driven out of his job.) I should have posted on Bennet’s nonsense, which, among other things, slyly compares Cotton to a terrorist. Nice. What a weasel.

      • Honestly Jack, this is such lazy and tiresome logic for you. Read my lips: The New York Times Made a Mistake, in particular in firing the op-ed editor. That was almost two years ago. Okay? The idea that today, in March 2022, the Times happened to finally get around to publishing a conservative op-ed in compensation is ridiculous when they do this all the time. AND – part of my point in commenting now in the face of the inevitable aggressive blowback from you is – everyone here needs to open Ms. Camp’s Guest Essay and then READ THE COMMENTS. They are fascinating! Notice that the New York Times ITSELF picks “Times Picks” to lead the comments as a clear mix of agreement and disagreement with her piece, but all of them profanity-free items that lead to fascinating sub-threads. Somebody here said that they were sure the Times’ comments are the same as the ridiculous and pointless back-and-forth ad hominem yelling in the Washington Post’s comments, and they are completely, utterly wrong!

        Tomorrow I am sure there will be some ultra-super-duper-woke item from one of the Times’ far-left columnists or the 200th iteration of Paul Krugman’s own confirmation bias in his embarrassingly stupid justification for his long-past Pulitzer or Nobel Prize (I forget which and it doesn’t matter). You can tell people here that’s the entirety of the NYT, but the fact is, you have to try to make it appear that way. Either feed your outrage or help the people here. Your choice, man.

        • 1. I don’t consider that a conservative op-ed at all. Since when is condemning speech supression and intimidation “conservative”?

          2. “Almost two years ago’ is a pretty lame excuse, since the editor and staff are the same, and the Times has never said it was a “mistake.” Of course it was a mistake; it showed the paper’s true colors.

  4. 2. I don’t understand why the British Museum doesn’t declare victory and return the Marbles. They could say the Marbles were taken as a preservation action, now the situation in Greece is stable and it is safe to allow the Greeks to take all their Marbles and go home. Easy peasy!

    3. The facts uncovered in the Wesconsin audit really are breathtaking. Francis Menton at The Manhattan Contrarian pulled out some of the juiciest portions of the audit.

    4. I have no idea whether Putin was constrained from invading Ukraine by Trump being in 0ffice, but can you imagine the reaction by the AUC if Putin had invaded Ukraine while Trump was in office?

  5. 6. Jack, these are situations where I’d encourage you to live and let live. Everybody’s risk tolerance is different and there are many reasons to wear a mask, so while I strongly suspect that some mask-wearers are illogically cautious, virtue-signalling or both, it’s nothing worth confronting an individual over.
    On a related aside, I think it’s a good thing if in the long-term mask wearing is more still done — something akin to how East Asian countries used to do it. I think, overall, infectious disease prevention prioritisation was quite poor in Western culture and the pandemic has caused a beneficial correction.

    • As I explained in my post about the wrongness of the lockdown, I do not think masking is healthy no matter how many cases of flu or other maladies it might prevent. We do not have an Eastern culture,all of which de-emphasize the individual. The US does not, and should not, and is at this moment fighting a cultural shift that would prioritize safety over rights, individualism, freedom and risk-taking. I consider those wearing masks now as signalling their approval for that cultural shift, and using peer pressure to convince others.

      If that’s not their intent, then the impact of what they are doing needs to be explained to them. Masks isolate people. They make communication difficult. But totalitarians love them.

  6. 4. In last week’s SOTU speech, the President talked about the need to get prices down. I don’t recall that he specifically mentioned gas prices, though he did mention releasing oil from the strategic reserves (which of course, does nothing because it’s a pittance). Anyways, in the ensuing week, our pump prices have jumped nearly a dollar, and food prices at our local Wal-Mart border on laughable.

    Maybe “down” is code for “up” with the President…

  7. Regarding #1, what could such a review by the Supreme Court accomplish? Cosby was acquitted, there is no undoing it. If there were misconduct in the acquittal, it would be a separate crime to investigate and prosecute. Even if court found that the grounds were overturning the conviction were found to be incorrect as a matter of law, what would that accomplish, except to confuse the public and sully the irreversible acquittal of an already thoroughly sullied individual?

    • Nononono! Cosby was convicted, beyond a reasonable doubt! he served almost three years, then was released because prosecutors used a deposition that he took with the promise that it would only be used in the civil case. See EA posts here and here.

      So SCOTUS could overturn the Penn SC ruling and send Bill back to prison….except that the Penn SC was right.

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