Sunset Ethics Shadows, 8/11/2022: The “I Don’t Understand” Edition

This was the date, in 1984, that President Reagan made his factitious announcement about bombing Russia “in five minutes.” It’s one of my favorite examples of how careful leaders have to be, every second of every day, and how even those with excellent leadership skills and instincts risk disaster if they let down their guard.

It is also worth remembering that the news media did not make a big deal out of it. They liked Reagan, for the most part. If Donald Trump had done that, Nancy Pelosi would have tried to impeach him, and if Biden did it, there would be a serious effort to deploy the 25th Amendment.

The nation was healthier in 1984.

1. How can the hypocrisy of NYC Mayor Adams’ tantrum not be obvious to everyone? New York City is a “sanctuary city,” meaning that it supports illegal immigration and the swarm of US border-breaching foreigners that the Biden Administration has enabled and encouraged. The city refuses to cooperate with the enforcement of our immigration laws. The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has enraged Adams by busing thousands of migrants to the Big Apple, and though his city and party say the illegals are welcome in the abstract, the mayor claims the few thousand have strained the the city’s social systems. So Adams thinks this threat, issued earlier this week at a press conference, makes sense: “I already called all of my friends in Texas and told them how to cast their vote, and I am deeply contemplating taking a busload of New Yorkers to go to Texas and do some good old-fashioned door knocking because, for the good of America, we have to get him out of office.”

Yes, Adams (and D.C.’s  Mayor Muriel Bowser, also leading a sanctuary city that is suddenly horrified to have to cope with the illegal immigrants it happily is willing to inflict on the states on our Southern border, for Abbott is busing illegals there too), are perfectly proving the elite progressive hypocrisy on illegal immigration, and they seem to be unable to grasp how dishonest their protestations make them look.

Adams’ threat to send New Yorkers to campaign against a Texas governor in Texas is also the mark of a politician who has lost touch with reality. Abbott’s perfect response: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Reminds me of an old salsa commercial…

2. What’s going on here? I have no idea. A jury this week acquitted commercial truck driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy for the deaths of seven motorcyclists in 2019 a  head-on collision in New Hampshire, despite the fact that Zhukovskyy had taken heroin, fentanyl and cocaine  on the day of the accident, was observed repeatedly swerving back and forth on the highway before the collision and told police that the bloody crash was his fault.The judge dismissed eight charges related to his impairment, and the jury apparently believed the driver’s attorneys, who blamed the lead biker, Albert “Woody” Mazza Jr., saying he was drunk and not looking where he was going when he lost control of his motorcycle and slid in front of Zhukovskyy’s truck.

All I have to go on along with that is possible biases. He was in jail since the crash, so “he’s suffered enough” (Rationalization 38B) may have played a part. The driver is Ukrainian, and it’s the Year of Loving All Things Ukrainian. There is a lot of negative bias against motorcycle gangs.

3. Why are so many blacks and Hispanics, teens and children included, wearing masks? I was in a crowed 7-11 this afternoon: all of the whites were unmasked, all of the customers “of color” were covering their noses and mouths. Mask-wearing is of dubious benefit  to health, socially crippling and a really bad habit, especially for children. Is it some kind of political statement? If so, it’s a truly annoying and incompetent one that also continues the damage to U.S. society caused by the pandemic freakout.

SUNY New Paltz Professor Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón, described on social media as an “interdisciplinary Latina feminist performance studies scholar,” announced on Twitter that she will be enforcing mask mandates in her classroom and  “building mask wearing” into her syllabus, though SUNY no longer requires masking. She argues that “Refusing to mask indoors is a manifestation of ableism and racism, an exercise of individual privilege that tells the most vulnerable that their health does not matter.”

Gee, I wonder if any students, seeking to oppose abuse of power and authority like their predecessors did in the Sixties, will have the guts to stop this intersectional tin tyrant.


4. Why won’t the news media play it straight when the White House issues an obvious whopper, like Biden’s claim that there was “zero inflation” in July? Has the entire Democratic Party decided that words games and linguistic tricks will work their magic to make public perception of all problems bedeviling us now vanish into moonbeams and lollipops? Let’s see: inflation is now zero, there’s no recession, the raid on Trump’s home was a “search,” abortions are “reproductive health care” and sex-change surgery is “gender affirming treatment.”
5. Can’t documentary makers restrain the urge to wreck their credibility with partisan spin? I watched Showtime’s “We Need to Talk About Bill Cosby,” a four part documentary by writer/director W. Kamau Bell. And it was good and fair…until the very end. As the various commentators, women’s rights activists and Cosby’s victims summed up the lessons of the mess, the film emphasized America’s “rape culture” and began to bang the “believe all women” drum. Then we got a montage of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein…and Anita Hill testifying against Clarence Thomas, Prof. Blasey-Ford smearing Justice Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing, and a young Donald Trump.  Ethics foul, and disgusting pandering. Cosby was a rapist; so was Weinstein. Rose and Lauer were proven workplace harassers. The last three impugned figures were conservative Republicans whose accusers all appeared as part of partisan political attacks. You know who wasn’t included in the montage? Bill Clinton. Joe Biden.

16 thoughts on “Sunset Ethics Shadows, 8/11/2022: The “I Don’t Understand” Edition

  1. Jack,

    #1 If it weren’t for double standards, progressives would have no standards at all!

    #4 See #1, although this could qualify as a new game we might call DC Boggle®, a cross between the original game of similar name, Pictionary®, and, maybe Charades, to add a little zest to it. I recognize that language, and especially definitions, is dynamic, but to the extent that Social Media accelerates the change so that word meanings and grammatical usage can’t be relied upon, maybe it’s time to apply the brakes, unlike Mr Zhukovskyy of New Hampshire in #2, though apparently the jury found the pedal just fine.

    Related to #4, and perhaps worthy of a JM column, or at least a comment from AIM, I’d love to know when and why the pronoun, “who,” left common usage as personal appositive in favor of the word, “that.” It always gets me “het up,” as they used to say in the deep South.


    • Shoot, I still hear “het up” regularly used here in the mid-South, one of the preserved words of our British Isles forebears who came to Appalachia. I have heard it used this week, as a matter of fact. (For the uninitiated, it is short for “heated up,”) My third-grade teacher Mrs. Campbell would surely “get the vapors” over folks commonly using “that” rather than “who” when referring to people. But of course, that was back in the day when grammar mattered, and wasn’t merely a display of one’s privilege.

      • JH,

        Thanks for the affirmation; I thought it was just me!

        As an aside, your teacher (Mrs Campbell) didn’t have a first name of Joan, did she? Curious because my 6th grade teacher (’59–’60) was her first ever teaching class in NYC & married a USCG officer named Campbell. We renewed our relationship 3 or 4 years ago and maintain it, still.


        • No, this was certainly a different Mrs. Campbell. I was in third grade 1961-62 here in Tennessee. She taught 3rd grade at my elementary school from the late ’40s until retiring sometime during my high school years. She was also my sister’s piano teacher!

  2. My only comment is this: the “raid” on Trump’s home really was a “search”. It was former President Trump and minions who characterized it as a “raid.” According to DJT Jr (on Fox nonetheless) they were notified in advance of the warrant and the search, and Trump’s lawyer was on site for the search. This time, the “politicization” is definitely by Trump calling it a “raid.”

    • A raid doesn’t have to be a surprise, though, Michael. Webster defines “raid” as. among other things, “a hostile incursion” (CHECK!), “a sudden invasion by officers of the law” (CHECK!), and, interestingly, “a daring operation against a competitor” (BINGO!)

      To be fair, this being Miriam-Wesbster, we can expect the online definition to be stealth-altered so as to line-up with whatever the current Left definition of “raid” is to give Garland and Biden cover.

  3. That salsa ad was a sudden burst of nostalgia. I’ve had vague memories from chidhood about TV ads that ended with the “New York City?!” line, but I couldn’t remember what they were for.

    • i remember the ad to very clearly, that it was cowboys around a campfire. I could have sworn it was for baked beans rather than salsa!

  4. The New Hampshire biker accident trial is confusing to me as well. I remember when it happened, reading about Zhukovsky, I thought, holy hell, what a reprobate degenerate, who makes Ukrainians look bad. The accident also caused a shake up at the Massachusetts RMV, because it made it look like that bureaucracy was run as a make work program for a slow witted cousin of someone in office. Zhukovsky apparently had been pulled over for drugs and whatnot in Connecticut and other states before. These states would then send this info to Mass, where it would promptly be filed in a basement and forgotten. That guy should have had his license suspended way before the accident. When Gov Charlie Baker was asked about where these notices from other states were, he flatly answered “in a room”. What a moron! It’s one of those cases where if the government did it’s job, that guy would not have been behind the wheel that day.

  5. 1. I have a feeling that Gov. Abbot likely considered the “Get a rope” line but went with Inspector Callihan’s less specific warning instead.
    2. “There is a lot of negative bias against motorcycle gangs.”
    I guess there’s still some bias if you’re talking about the “Sons of Anarchy” stereotype, but surely any competent prosecutor could draw a bright line between “outlaw biker gangs” and a group of Marine vets and their supporters on a charity ride. Far more motorcyclists in my neck of the woods are cops, doctors, lawyers, accountants (including retired members of those groups) or veterans than are criminals or vagabonds.
    3. I have noticed and wondered about this phenomenon as well. At a local diner where some friends and I gather for breakfast a few mornings a week, most of the patrons “of color” wear masks, but virtually no one else does. Also, one of my wife’s black coworkers has been double masked in the office since the day Lord Fauci proclaimed it wise, and yet she has had the Wuhan Flu twice!
    4. The general acquiescence to the COVID mandates has weakened my confidence that the mass of Americans will resist tyranny before the federal government is loading the busses for the FEMA camps, and maybe not even then.
    5. “You know who wasn’t included in the montage? Bill Clinton. Joe Biden.”
    Of course not. They’re the good guys!
    Concerning the raid and search at Trump’s Mar-A-Largo, take it from one who has obtained, planned and executed dozens of searches pursuant to warrants (employing anywhere from two to more than a dozen officers), any such operation that involves more than a couple of dozen agents armed with machine guns is a raid. The preparation process is called “raid planning” for a reason. The “search” is what happens after the premises is secured and all persons present accounted for and contained. Just because no one kicked open a door or fired a shot doesn’t mean it wasn’t a raid. Saying this was “just a search” is mere turd-polishing.

    • I have had the opposite experience regarding masks at the start of the “second wave”, where masks were voluntary, but “strongly encouraged”. I went to a Walmart, and saw everybody in the parking lot wearing masks, and thought the local store was requiring it (at which point I would have turned around, because I wasn’t buying anything pressing).

      The greater offered a mask, which I declined. I then felt like I enter a bizarro world where everyone was wearing a mask voluntarily. What fresh hellscape is this? Then I saw an African American couple, and neither had a mask. Then saw several more African American individuals, none with a mask. Nearly all the “white” individuals were covered up, and almost none of the non-white individuals. This was a town with a large minority population, so I don’t know if that played into the dynamic at al.

  6. 2. It’s odd that you say you have nothing to go on, when you linked to this article which explains exactly why he may have gotten off. An independent report that was provided to the defense by the state claimed that the lead motorcyclist was over the meridian and appears to have been looking backwards when the accident started.

    Despite the presence of drugs in his system, it’s plausible that he wasn’t actually at fault, the drunk lead motorcyclist was. The traces of drugs in his system were evidence that he had taken them that day, but not that he was actually impaired for the crash.

    • Still doesn’t make sense. NH law: It’s 2nd degree murder if one “causes such death recklessly under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life. Such recklessness and indifference are presumed if the actor causes the death by the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of, or in an attempt to commit, or in immediate flight after committing or attempting to commit any class A felony.” Driving a commercial truck while under the influence of heroin, coke and fentanyl obviously shows extreme indifference to human life. I presume driving a truck under such circumstances along with using the tippity top of illegal substances qualifies as felony murder, but maybe not. Still, how can such impairment not be viewed as causal in those 7 deaths? Were the driver’s reactions to the crisis what they would have been if he were not violating the law? He also had a record of questionable driving conduct, hence the civil suit against the truck company. Seven people are dead, and all the deaths are blamed on a single cyclist? In the movie “Flight,” pilot Denzel Washington saves the passengers of a plane despite flying stoned and drunk, but he’s sent to prison anyway because flying at all was criminal. That makes sense. This case doesn’t, at least so far.

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