Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/15/22: It’s Getting Crazy Out There

I missed a couple of major ethics landmarks by skipping the ethics round-ups the past few days, so let’s catch up, beginning with today. The Ethics Alarms UK contingent has been AWOL from the comment wars of late, but this one’s for them: In 1215, after England’s rotten King John (you know, Robin Hood and all that) had been breaching tradition and law across the land, the barons rose up in rebellion. John, preferring to compromise rather than fight, agreed to sign a document requiring the king to guarantee rights and privileges as well as the freedom of the church. On June 15, 1215, at Runnymede on the Thames, King John set his seal to the Articles of the Barons, which was formally issued as the Magna Carta. It actually did little to restrain John and other British tyrants, but by standing for the principle that a king’s power could be limited by law, it laid the foundation for our own Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Clause 39, for example, stated that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised…except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

On June 13,1966, the Warren Court announced its landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. This was important, but the Supreme Court should not have been the body to compose the now iconic warning, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.” A clearer example of legislating from the bench would be hard to find, and though the words were clear and well-conceived, they represent an abuse of power and role.

TV writers will be eternally grateful, however.

1. Well, she’s good at grandstanding, we knew that…Yesterday, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a permanent member of the Ethics Alarms Hall of Unethical Officials since she directed that “Black Lives Matter” be painted on a D.C. street, hadg 51-star flags hung along Pennsylvania Avenue. She thus violated the United States flag code passed in 1947, which states, “The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.”

“Ahead of Flag Day, I directed our team to hang 51-star flags along Pennsylvania Avenue as a reminder to Congress and the nation that the 700,000 tax-paying American citizens living in Washington, DC demand to be recognized,” she wrote in a statement. “On Flag Day, we celebrate American ideals, American history, and American liberty. But the very foundation of those ideals, and the basis for our liberty, is representation.” Bowser is correct that the residents of D.C. deserve representation in Congress, but this is not ancient Greece, and city-states don’t belong here. The reasonable solution has always been either for the District to get a voting member or more in the House of Representatives, or, better yet, to become part of Maryland. If DC politicians would drop the non-starting demand to be the 51st state, there might be a workable compromise. DC mayors, however, especially this one, like grandstanding better.

2. Great: I have a Disney problem. An organization that regularly contracts for my services and has been a loyal resource and supporter of my ethics work has engaged in recent conduct that I consider ethically questionable and that I would normally feel obligated to criticize publicly. There is no way I can, however, without violating several ethical principles myself. Sorry. Conflicts of interest are a bitch.

3. Unethical Headline of the Week. There is actually a genuine baseball ethics story here which I hope to post on soon [Pointer: Curmie], but for now: Has society really descended so far into routine vulgarity that a headline like “MLB Experimenting with Minor Leaguers’ Balls to Find Best Sticky Substance” is acceptable?

4. Remember now, it’s those Republicans who are fomenting violence...New York’s Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman went on MSNBC (of course) to frighten and inflame the already deranged far-left network’s viewers by spinning out what is in store if Republicans triumph in November:

The January 6 commission would cease to exist, the findings will be completely suppressed and will not be admitted into any further investigations while the GOP will be in power. They would impeach president Biden as quickly as possible and they will continue to find ways to impeach him going forward. It would also embolden Republicans and the far-right and white nationalists across the country to begin to believe that it is their time to not just take power in the House but the Senate the White House and state houses across the country.

And we’ve got to understand that this is a group that has been radicalized by the great replacement myth and many other things and have been pushing for violence and pushing for even civil war. So that is what’s at stake right now in terms of this election.

The January 6 witch hunt would cease to exist! The Horror…the Horror… Even Rachel Maddow, Queen of MSNBC, has admitted that the transparent witch hunt is an embarrassment, pointing out that the commission’s argument that Trump’s rally triggered the riot makes no sense:

“Yes, there was a pro-Trump rally, at which the President spoke, and we can absolutely talk about all the things the President said there. But the idea that that rally is the thing that got out of hand and that somehow resulted in the breaching of the Capitol—that rally was very far from the capital, and the people who […] did the initial breach that allowed everybody else to come in, they never went to that rally?”

Perhaps even more absurd is Bowman raising the specter of the GOP engineering a partisan impeachment, as if his own party hadn’t created the precedent for such an abuse of the measure. (I sure hope Republicans have the sense to avoid this temptation.) Then he moves on to race-baiting, and even tries the latest Democratic canard, “the Great Replacement,” aka “Let’s blame Tucker Carlson for the Buffalo shooting, and maybe we can get him off TV!”

Finally, Bowman hints that electing a Republican Congress will lead to civil war. Nice.

It is the duty of Democratic Party leaders to moderate the rhetoric of its officials to responsible levels. They aren’t doing it.

5. Today’s note from The Great Stupid...I should probably write a freestanding post about this, but I know I won’t have the time. The National Park Service announced last week that Yellowstone National Park’s Mount Doane would be renamed First Peoples Mountain.  The agency said the change was taken to remove an “offensive name” from America’s first national park. This is not only nuts, it’s unjust.

Did you know that “Doane” is an offensive name? How many people in the U.S. are offended by that name…1%? Less? A lot less? The mountain was named for Gustavus Cheyney Doane (May 29, 1840 – May 5, 1892) who was a U.S. Army Cavalry Captain, explorer, inventor and Civil War soldier and a crucial figure in the exploration of Yellowstone, leading the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition. That means that the mountain in Yellowstone was named to honor an individual crucial to the establishment of the park, and that the honor preserves part of U.S. history while allowing future generations to investigate and learn.

Why then is his name “offensive”? The National Park Service says that in 1870, Doane led an attack on a band of Piegan Blackfeet in response to the alleged murder of a white fur trader. This is now known as the Marias Massacre. 173 American Indians were killed, including many women and children. “Doane wrote fondly about this attack and bragged about it for the rest of his life,” the agency wrote. This occurred during the Indian wars during the Grant administration. But the sources I have seen do not have Doane as the leader of that attack. Major Eugene M. Baker is usually listed as being in command. It appears that the National Park Service just accepted the claims of Native American tribes, deeming it easier to erase Doane from public consciousness than to point out that the mountain honors the man’s genuine contribution to Yellowstone and not every aspect of his career.

The standard being applied to Doane is an impossible and unethical one, for virtually every man or woman who has achieved anything in this nation’s rich history did something that legitimately offends someone.

6. Your tax-payer dollars at work...And people say that NPR is partisan and biased!

“For many”! “People who menstruate”! How did the Left get trapped into having to deny the existence of women, but more to the point, why is a supposedly non-partisan, objective, trustworthy public radio corporation pandering to trans GoodSpeak?

19 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/15/22: It’s Getting Crazy Out There

  1. On 1 – For the record, the same people complaining bitterly about the disproportionate representation of states like Iowa (3.1 million) having the same number of Senators as California (39.5 million) want to provide statehood, with the same requisite 2 senators to a city with 700,000 people. You want to give the citizens of DC a vote? Sure. “No taxation without” and all that. Annex it into Virginia or Maryland.

    • Give that man a cigar! That’s what the left really wants, is 2 more guaranteend Democratic senators. That’s why the idea of making Puerto Rico a state has faded – turns out that the place might be a little too purple. Well, I guess it’s more reasonable than that idea in the Harvard Law Review that called for making every DC neighborhood into a state.

      • Probably close to Vermont and Alaska too.

        The reasoned explanation is that the point of the Senate wasn’t to give proportional representation to the people, they already have that in the house. The point was to try to give the states something approximating a voice so big states couldn’t just exploit their less populous peers. This isn’t an accident, and you shouldn’t be able to get around it just by adding new states in ideologically safe places.

        But they don’t care.

        Look, it’s the exact same people having these conversations. The same people pushing for DC statehood are the people pushing for a more proportionately representative senate, even though the issues are diametrically opposed. And they’re able to handle that absurdity by not actually caring about the issues. They don’t actually care about DC statehood. They don’t actually care about proportional representation. It’s about how much of a thumb they can put on the scale. Like Steve pointed out: The moment that Puerto Rico looked like it might be a wash in the Senate instead of a +2D, we stopped hearing about it, this, despite Puerto Rico having a population of 3.1 million. Square that circle… If these are legitimately held beliefs, why is the focus on DC? No, dear reader, no; If the current system enfranchised the Democrats, they’d never bring this up.

        It’s pure, naked, craven gamesmanship, and I’m not going to give them the benefit of taking their arguments seriously so long as they’re being unserious about them: This isn’t about fairness, or representation, this is about Democrat party power and rules lawyering, because they hate losing, despite being so damn good at it.

    • I have a counter proposal – since the Founders understood that people directly in the employ of the Federal government and all the 2ndry and tertiary people in such a district being beholden to the Federal government – such a voting bloc would forever be voting to aggrandize itself at the cost of the other states. Given that the incredible bloat of the Federal Government has actually led to such a scenario that most of those people now live significantly outside the 10 mile square of the District – the logical option is, as a matter of principle – to expand the borders of DC 10-15 miles in every direction – that is, the Capitol district should be a 30-40 mile square.

      And then continue to deny it Senate seats and House of Representative seats.

      I will make an exception to this rule that enclaves one single residence on a particular dead-end street in Arlington back to Virginia.

      And also, as a matter of principle, they should NOT be taxed. I’ve always found it really stupid that government employees, who are paid by taxes, then turn around and give back some of their paycheck… in taxes… which goes back to themselves… to go back into taxes…. you see the silliness.

      Merely reduce their pay scales by the amount of taxes they would owe.

      And fire half of them and close most of the federal agencies. But now I’m just ranting.

      • It should be noted that almost all of the people in favor of this sort of thing would likely refer to themselves unironically as “feminists”.

        It’s absurdity all the way down.

    • Ugh. Even if you’re wanting to pacify gender ideologists, it’s really not that hard to find a workaround that doesn’t infuriate actual girls and women by reducing them to their body parts (uterus havers) and bodily functions (people who menstruate).

      Like so: Supply chain upsets reach the feminine care aisle: customers complain tampons are becoming harder and harder to find on store shelves across the U.S. right now.

      Using ‘customers’ instead of ‘people who menstruate’ makes sense because (1) the article relates to businesses’ inventory; and (2) males do buy tampons, just not for themselves. It’s completely normal for a man to pick up a box for his wife, girlfriend, daughter(s), or to stock his workplace’s bathrooms.

      • The problem is that the media should not be taking sides in the debate. That is not their role. Even if I completely agreed with everything you said, I would still be upset because the media continually tries to take sides in a debate and pass it off as objective journalism. You use the standard, normal language. If you want to put a disclaimer at the bottom that some activists argue for a change in language, fine, because that would be true.

        Because the media is now thoroughly dishonest, I am in favor of reworking New York Times v. Sullivan. They lied about Nick Sandmann, they lied about Kyle Rittenhouse, and then they insert their own ideology into reporting. This means they aren’t objective journalists; they are dishonest activists. They no longer deserve the protections of the Sullivan decision.

          • Because that’s not the way most people would speak or write about this if they weren’t focused on pleasing gender ideologues. A shortage of tampons would affect the female customer base. You wouldn’t write customers generally unless you are trying to be p.c., and being p.c. is taking sides in cultural debates.

            To put it simply: If you are making word choices based on gender ideology, you are taking a side in the cultural debates about gender ideology, and taking sides in a cultural debate is not the role of the media.

  2. If DC residents want two Senators and voting Representatives all they have to do is move or let them vote in Maryland’s Senatorial election and let Steney Hoyer represent them. DC was never intended to be a residential city. We are already seeing the problems with drawing unbiased jurors from the District

  3. Funny how the date of the Magna Carta and its existence was about all our school history books seemed to concern themselves with. The Big Card is actually pretty short, to the point, and neat. It basically has twelve (pretty sure) bullet points having the King agreeing not to commandeer or steal things and people from the knights/lords and otherwise abuse them. The knights/lords had simply had enough, and they said, “No mas.” Mrs. OB and I had the good fortune of being able to read one of the four original copies of The Big Card on display in Winchester Cathedral. Why are so many people so enthusiastic these days about unlimited government power? What’s wrong with these people? I doubt The Big Card gets any coverage at all in grade or high schools these days.

    • By the way, The Big Card is pretty darned big. I’d guess it’s about four feet high and two or three feet wide. Might even be on sheepskin if not parchment.

  4. 1. I read years ago that the biggest obstacle to D.C. becoming part of Virginia or Maryland was that Maryland thought it should be in Virginia, while Virginia thought it should be in Maryland. Ba-dum-dum, I’ll be here all week!
    2. Is this an ethics quiz?
    3. The answer to your question depends upon how one defines “society.” The prevailing popular culture certainly accepts such “routine vulgarity” -and worse- on its steady march to depravity. Out here in the hinterlands, not so much. By a large margin, most people I know and associate with keep a civil tongue and don’t routinely use actual or suggested vulgarities in regular dialogue. I’m no prude, but I am of the old school that holds that profanity and vulgarity must be reserved for rare occasions to communicate emphasis in a way that cannot be properly expressed otherwise.
    4. Both Democrats and squishy Republicans are the ones actually fomenting eventual and widespread violence by steadily eroding our God-given rights, and they need to be concerned about what will happen when the people who really care about freedom finally say, “Enough!” The Left seems to be the side always talking about “civil war,” while most people I know on the right would prefer a national divorce on more amicable terms. We are, however, rapidly approaching a fork in the political road where we might have to choose either fighting for freedom or accepting despotism. When they have disarmed us and come to move us to the FEMA camps or load us onto the cattle cars it will be too late. When we cannot maintain freedom by using the soapbox, the jury box or the ballot box, only the cartridge box remains.
    5. The Great Geological Feature Replacement Theory in action!

  5. On the tampon shortage, I saw piers morgan’s mockery of that statement earlier this morning

    Regarding DC statehood, might I suggest that every person living in DC be forced to name a home state, and be counted as part of it for census and election purposes?

  6. Jack, if that sophomoric baseball headline makes you despair for the health of our society, you probably should avoid seeking out the commercial for the new PostMates “bottom menu” for Pride Month. Let’s just say it’s not the sort of thing I personally would want customers to associate with my brand if I were trying to sell them food. There’s a reason very few restaurants talk about the eventual final disposition of the food they sell you.

  7. #6. A few years ago I decided to contribute $150/yr to NPR (VPM -Virginia Public Media) to give me access to their online library. We’ve done that for the past few years, during which time I’ve gotten increasingly frustrated by the thrice-a-week emails from VPM that tout their “reporting” – most of which is so biased that it might even cause MSNBC to blush.
    Well, yesterday I’d finally had it and asked The Boss (of nearly 5 decades) how much she used our NPR access. Her answer was pretty specific – “never”. So it looks like we’ve made our last NPR contribution – not counting, of course, the contributions that I make through my federal taxes.

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