This date in 1865 marked one of the great hypocrisies of all time. The Confederacy, back to the metaphorical wall and facing defeat, approved the use of black troops. Slaves were the last source of recruits left for the Confederacy, but forcing them to fight against their own interests was as cruel as it was illogical. One Southern politician asked, “What did we go to war for, if not to protect our property?” Another pointed out, “If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong.” Ya think?
Focused only on military survival, General Robert E. Lee’s brutal contribution to the debate was “We must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves.” At least Lee asked that the black soldiers who fought for the Confederacy be ensured their freedom, but the Confederate Congress’s bill authorizing black soldiers on March 13, 1865, did not include that feature.
1. What is the ethical reply to a Facebook comment like this? An old friend and nice guy weighed in on a Facebook thread entirely occupied by tunnel-visioned, knee-jerk progressives (like him) and launched by a fatuous comment about what a great leader Zalinsky is and how the U.S. has no similarly admirable political leaders. My friend wrote, “Biden’s doing a good job!” I had to wrestle my fingers to the ground. By what possible perspective could anyone of any political persuasion say that Biden is doing a “good job”? My friend isn’t especially political; he’s not lying: he must really think that, and, of course, all of the knee-jerks “liked” that assessment. I ultimately decided to let his statement go, and instead wrote that bravely refusing to accept defeat during an invasion and inspiring your nation is a narrow band of admirable leadership in a very specific kind of situation, but it doesn’t, by itself, make someone a “great leader.” Before the Russian attack, nobody thought of Zalinsky as a great leader. He has guts and principles, but there is more to leadership than that.
2. Verdict: Jussie Smollett is an Ethics Villain, and so are his defenders. After being sentenced to five months in a Chicago jail, the actor, activist and hate-crime hoaxer stood up, absurdly declared his innocence, and warned the room that if anything should befall him while in jail, it would not be his own doing. Then the man who falsely claimed that two white Trump supporters attacked him left with his right fist raised. His lawyers insisted that he be kept in protective custody, pointing to all the “nasty” comments about him—every one of them deserved—on social media.
The judge had Smollett’s conduct in proper perspective, describing his testimony on the witness stand as “pure perjury,” which it was, and condemning him as a narcissistic attention seeker who wasted police resources while making it more difficult for real hate crime victims to be taken seriously. Still, Smollett refuses to admit or accept any responsibility for what he did.
In related news, Kim Foxx, the incompetent and biased state’s attorney whose office initially refused to prosecute Smollett, mirrored the actor by criticizing the prosecutors who did the job she refused to do, risibly calling the result “mob justice.” An investigation of Foxx’s conduct by a special special prosecutor found that she had abused her discretion in deciding to drop the charges.
3. Today’s IIPTDXTTNMIAFB (“Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden”): President Biden actually said yesterday that the 40 year high in inflation is Putin’s fault. This is so transparently ridiculous that it almost reaches the “Nobody will believe it, so you can’t really call it a lie” level, what my old Ethics Scoreboard would call a “David Manning Lie.”
Inflation was rising sharply for six months before Putin’s invasion. A column at the NBC News site says “Republicans are trying to make sure voters don’t forget that.” Republicans pounce! It’s the news media’s job to make sure voters know that Biden and his party are deliberately trying to duck responsibility, but you see, Donald Trump was the one who lied all the time. Biden is doing a good job!
4. Expect this suspicious ruling to be used to support another false narrative: Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department ruled the death of Officer Jeffrey Smith a line-of-duty death, though the officer killed himself nine days after being involved in battling the rioters at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The ruling is a reversal of long-held policy, for suicides of police officers are virtually never attributed directly to a particular event. No suicide note blamed the officer’s decision on the riot.
I think it’s pretty clear that two factors were involved in the unusual determination by the D.C. Police: the desire to be able to pin a police death on the riot and, by extension, President Trump, and the fact that the ruling means that his widow can now get the $390,000 federal benefit awarded to the families of fallen police officers and firefighters that otherwise could not be granted for a death “caused by the officer’s intention.”
Among the various unethical ploys being used to rig the partisan persecution of the rioters and to find some way to use January 6 to block President Trump from returning to the White House, this one is especially clever.
5. When ethics alarms don’t work and brain cells don’t spark.…on “The Rachel Maddow Show” last week, Michael McFaul, a former Obama ambassador to Russia, got carried away by being on MSNBC (where Facts Don’t Matter) in his Putin-hate (the new national pastime) and tried to explain one aspect in which Putin was worse than Adolf Hitler. “One difference between Putin and Hitler is that Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans, German-speaking people. Putin slaughters the very people he said he has come to liberate,” McFaul said. Then Maddow’s show approvingly put the quote up on its Twitter feed.
The ridiculous effort to call Putin “worse than Hitler” even attracted the contempt of the keepers of the Auschwitz Memorial, who tweeted,
“On a factual note: Hitler did kill ethnic Germans & German-speaking people: those who opposed the Nazi regime, those who resisted, those who did not fit into the ‘Weltanschauung’. He ordered the murder of people with different disabilities & finally the murder of German Jewry.”
6. Speaking of national pastimes...Baseball’s All-Star Game is toast. In the fine print of the182-page memorandum of understanding signed last week by MLB and the MLB Players Association is this nauseating news in “Exhibit 13, titled “Tentative Agreement — All-Star Game and Home Run Derby”:
“If the All-Star Game remains tied after nine innings, the game will be decided by a Home Run Derby between the teams, subject to the parties’ agreement on details and format.”
And that, as they say, is the ballgame. The All-Star Game once was, though an exhibition game, a real contest in which the players from the American and National Leagues, organizationally distinct and genuine rivals, played hard and to win as a matter of pride regarding which was the better league. Managers handled the game accordingly: it was not unusual for starting pitchers to toss three innings, and for each team’s biggest stars to play the entire game. This started eroding with rich, long-term contracts, as more and more players began regarding the game as a chore rather than an honor that might get them more money. The game also used to swell the funds of the players’ pension funds, while now it is a minor feature in the richest pension deal on Earth. All-Star managers started seeing their job as getting as many players into the game as possible regardless of the score; players stopped sliding, running hard or diving for balls. The players yucked it up on the field, and it was obvious nobody cared about the score or the integrity of the game. Extra-innings became a problem, because the managers had already exhausted the rosters. Former Commissioner Bud Selig’s solution of making the All-Star Game “count” by having it decide home field advantage in the World Series was roundly despised (like Selig himself) and finally dropped.
Having already abandoned all integrity, something like the Home Run Derby feature was inevitable. They might as well decide the game by having the players compete in charades or a three-legged race.
I won’t be watching the All-Star Game again. [Pointer: JutGory]
7. Good! A woke-pandering mayor gets a court slapdown…Mayor Ben Walsh of Syracuse decided to polish his progressive bona fides by engaging in historical airbrushing and toppling the Christopher Columbus Monument. It was erected in 1934 by Italian-American immigrants and given to the city as a source of pride for an ethnic minority that had long been mistreated. Today, however, Italians are the wrong color minority. In 2020, Walsh announced he planned to remove the Columbus statue from the circle and use the area to celebrate the contributions of Native Americans and “traditionally marginalized groups.” Of course, some recognition of Italian-Americans would be in there somewhere.
The Columbus Monument Corp. and other supporters of Chris sued, and State Supreme Court Judge Gerard Neri ordered Syracuse and Mayor Ben Walsh not to remove the statue, ruling that Walsh does not have the legal authority to remove the statue. [Pointer: Steve-O-in NJ]