Undercovers Ethics, 4/27/21

Well, here I am trying to write a post in bed. This never works our well, but it’s this or nothing. I have clients waiting, my dog is mad at me for not walking him on a gorgeous day, and I wish I could just soldier through it all. I can’t, though, and feel like an utter failure. I’ve in pain in more than one location, a lower back strain being the latest addition, I’m in the midst of an allergy attack, and all the drugs have made me nauseous and dizzy. But ethics waits for no one, and it certainly isn’t going to wait for the likes of me.

1. This is what “systemic racism” propaganda produces…an op-ed by a civil engineering student from the University of California, Los Angeles, written for the the College Fix documents some of his discussion with the woke-infected on campus. He says he recently took part in an online debate about “systemic racism” during which some UCLA students complained that automatic soap dispensers are racist. One student said the dispensers “don’t see her hands” because of her dark skin. Another student claimed that the dispensers force “black and brown” people to show their palms, “the only light areas of the skin,” before the liquid soap comes out.

Both students are delusional, but this is how the current “racist America all the time everywhere” makes gullible and insecure blacks paranoid and miserable.

2. Blame Mitch McConnell for the “court packing” rationalizations. Last week, a Georgetown law student—poor bastard— confronted Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) when he accused Democrats of making a “power grab.””You didn’t see Republicans, when we had control of the Senate, try to rig the game. You didn’t see us try to pack the court,” he said. The law student protested, “How is court packing any different than what the Republicans did in 2016 and 2020?”

“We filled vacancies, that’s not packing the court,” Cruz insisted, as the law student insisted there was no difference between what Republicans refusing to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia, did and what Democrats are now trying to do by expanding the court. “They’re doing something that’s allowed under the Constitution,” the student countered. “It’s not an obstruction to the rule of law if it’s in the law.”

Ugh. Mitch McConnell’s unethical—not illegal—gambit to bury the Garland nomination under a contrived election year rule may have worked, but Republicans will be suffering for it for generations—and they deserve to. No, what the GOP did wasn’t “court packing,” which has had a specific, well-understood meaning since FDR tried it. But the laws student is already adept at the progressive craft of redefining words and concepts to meet whatever goal they are seeking to justify at the moment.

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Ethics Hero: Naomi Wolf

Naomi-Wolf

Acclaimed feminist and card-carrying progressive Naomi Wolf has become the latest of a an insufficient but growing group of principled liberals and Democrats who are risking their careers, reputations and incomes to sound the alarms about the relentless assault on democracy and American values being waged since 2016, using the election of Donald Trump as a justification.

In a powerful essay on the AEI website (presumably no leftist site would touch it) she focuses on how the pandemic has been exploited to strip American of rights and freedoms. This effort has been almost entirely the work of the political Left. Wolf writes in part,

In the United States we now have:

  1. Emergency measures in many states, which suspend due process of law. This is the hallmark of a police state. Covid-19 is invoked as the reason for the introduction of emergency law – but there is no endpoint for lifting these emergency laws.
  2. The closures of schools, which break the social contract with the next generation.
  3. Bills being passed for “vaccine passports,” which bypass the Fourth Amendment to the constitution by allowing the government and Big Tech companies to intrude on medical privacy and to create a comprehensive digital surveillance state. 
  4. Forced closures of businesses. By intervening directly in the economy and allowing certain businesses to flourish (Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target) at the expense of small businesses, Main Street shops, restaurants, and sole proprietor businesses in general, the State has merged government and corporations in a way that is characteristic of Italian fascism, or of modern Chinese communism. (Indeed the fact that tech stocks rose by 27% in one quarter of the pandemic shows one driver of this war against human freedoms and human society: every minute human beings spend in a classroom, at the pub or restaurant, or in a church or synagogue, is time that tech companies lose money by being unable to harvest that data. Covid policies driven by “Covid-19 Response” – tech companies – ensure that humans are not allowed to connect except via digital platforms. The reason is profit as well as social control). 
  5. Restrictions on assembly. Some states such as California are fining people for seeing their friends in their homes, and making it unlawful for kids to have playdates with their friends. Massachusetts restricted gatherings of more than ten people at a time, forcing synagogues and churches to stay closed, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling against states forcing churches to close. Parks, playgrounds and beaches have been closed off. In countries such as Britain, people are fined for leaving their homes for more than an hour’s exercise a day.
  6. Forced face coverings. In Massachusetts, people are fined if they are not wearing masks outdoors – even children as young as five are forced to do so by law. Again this mandate has not been undergirded by peer-reviewed studies showing medical necessity; and there is no endpoint proffered for these extraordinary violations of personal freedom.
  7. Suppression of free speech. Big Tech companies are censoring critics of Covid policy and vaccine policy, as well as censoring views that are on the right hand of the political spectrum. “Incitement,” a word that has a long history in the 20th century for closing down free speech, has been weaponized by the left to shut down First Amendment freedoms of expression. In other forms of censorship and management of speech and public debate, tycoons such as Bill Gates have been funding major news outlets, with millions of dollars directed to “Covid education.” As a result, dissenting voices are marginalized and shamed, or even threatened with legal action or job losses. 
  8. Science has been hijacked in the interests of “biofascism.” By heavily funding scientific commentators such as Dr Fauci in the United States, Imperial College and SAGE in the UK, and Dr Christian Drosten in Germany, a dominant set of policies and pronouncements about Covid that benefit a small group of bad actors – notably tech and pharmaceutical interests, acting in concert with governments – have had secured credentialled supporters. But when other scientists or institutions seek debate or transparency, they are threatened with job loss or reputationally attacked, as in the case of Dr Simon Goddeke of the Netherlands, who was told to keep quiet by his university, when he challenged the flawed Covid PCR test protocols. 
  9. Data have been hijacked to serve the interests of this biofascism. This manipulation of truth, which I foreshadowed in The End of America, is typical of the Soviet censors. Covid platforms such as Covid19tracking and John Hopkins University, funded by technocrats such as Michael Bloomberg, serve unverifiable Covid data that directly affect the stock markets. Again, while this un-American merger of corporate interests and public policy is reminiscent of Italian Fascism, the twist provided by digital data presentation and its relationship to the stock market is very much of the 21st century. 
  10. Attacks on religious minorities. The orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, and Christian churches in California, have been singled out for punishment if they do not follow Covid rules – a targeting of religion that is characteristic of Communist policies on the left, especially in China. 
  11. Policies that weaken bonds between human beings and weaken the family have been introduced and policed. This is the most serious development of all.

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Ethics Hero: Dave Cieslewicz. Sort Of…

Mayor Dave

Dave Cieslewicz is an ex-mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, one of the more super-woke college towns, though they are all super-woke these days. Avid reader and commenter Steve Witherspoon nominated him for the Ethics Hero honor because he wrote a recent post on his blog rejecting Critical Race Theory. I initially misread Steve’s email to say that the post was from the current Madison mayor. Now that would have been courageous: students with pitchforks and torches would have gathered outside her home the second such a post hit the web. No, Cieslewicz, a he not a her, was mayor a decade ago, long before the shadow of The Great Stupid fell across the land.

I have some trouble designating anyone an ethics hero for stating what should be obvious to anyone with two neurons to rub together. Dave Cieslewicz calls himself a moderate, which only shows what is regarded as a moderate in Madison: he’s a hard progressive in almost every respect. He’s just not a racist, anti-American progressive, the most visible species in 2021.

Does not being an anti-white racist and saying so out loud in a hotbed of Marxism like Madison qualify someone as an Ethics Hero now? I guess so.

That’s depressing. I thought Ethics Heroes were supposed to lift our spirits.

Cieslewicz writes in part,

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Mid-Day Ethics Alarms, 3/22/2021: A Wonderful Father And A Judge Sees The Light, Though Others Not So Much…

Alarms2

1. Spitballing ethics? When everyone is throwing out ideas—you know, “Just say whatever crazy thing pops into your head, don’t worry whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, just let ’em rip!” is it fair later to hold someone to account because a discarded idea was offensive or politically incorrect? I tend to think not.

Hiroshi Sasaki, the creative director for Tokyo Olympics, was participating in a brainstorming session about the opening ceremony with members of a committee a year ago, and at one point suggested that a popular overweight female Japanese comedian and plus-size fashion designer, Naomi Watanabe, be costumed in pig ears, perhaps a snout and curly tail, and parachute out of the heavens as an Olympic messenger: “Olympig.”

No? OK, bad idea. Let’s move on. The inspiration received immediate negative reviews in the private meeting, but when the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, 83, resigned this year after saying that women talk too much in meetings, the year-old conversation about “Olympig” was recalled in an article on the website of “Shukan Bunshun,” a weekly magazine. Yes, one of Sasaki’s trusted colleagues had talked. (That’s an easy call: Unethical.)

So you know what comes next, right? Groveling. “Now many people know what I wrote. I cannot apologize enough to Ms. Watanabe,” he said, adding that he was a big fan of hers. “I have been trying not to hurt others by making fun of diversity, gender and physical appearances. But it was a great misunderstanding. I realized my low consciousness and insensitivity.” He resigned.

Now you know that at least for now, when someone says to just suggest whatever pops into your head, no filters, no fear, don’t.

On the positive side, it’s comforting to know that The Great Stupid isn’t just an American phenomenon.

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Ethics Hero Emeritus: Shelia Washington, 1960-2021

Shelia Washington

Shelia Washington is a sterling example of how a dedicated, passionate citizen can repair gaping wounds in history and law.

Washington died last month, but not before fulfilling a self-assigned mission. She accepted that mission at the age of 17, when, as a native of Scottsboro, Alabama, she found a book hidden under a mattress at her home while she was doing some cleaning. Her stepfather told her to hand it over. “You don’t need to know about that,” he said. “Just keep quiet about this now.” The book was “Scottsboro Boy,” a 1950 memoir by Haywood Patterson, an innocent young man who was convicted four times by all-white juries and sentenced to death three times.

Washington did not obey her stepfather. To the contrary, Washington set out to obtain posthumous justice for the nine young black men known as The Scottsboro Boys, who were falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. They were subjected to many trials at the height of the Jim Crow era, two reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. The ugly story of the Scottsboro Boys became the country’s most sensational civil rights case up to that point. Their tragic story later inspired feature films, documentaries, a Broadway musical, and was a factor in shaping the plot of Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Yet how many Americans today can tell you anything about The Scottsboro Boys?

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Sunday Evening Ethical Thoughts, 3/21/21: IIPTDXTTNMIAFB, And More

watergate-sunset

I attended my first Zoom memorial service today. Ethics tip, if you are considering doing this for a loved one: set an end time and stick to it, for God’s sake. This event today was to honor a great presence in my childhood and a friend of both my parents, and I was grateful for the chance to pay my respects. I don’t even begrudge the fact that her one child who has a serious stutter carried the duty of the eulogy, But as we got to the dreaded open mic for the assembled to share memories of the departed, one ancient attendee after another droned on with no discipline or relevance, often just trading niceties with others present and generally repeating what had already been said.

One more tip: if you had never even met the person being memorialized, shut up. One guy went on and on about how he always hoped to meet her, “but we were never invited to her house.”

I bailed when we hit the one hour, 15 minute mark and I saw no sign of a conclusion.

1. I don’t understand this at all. The Biden administration is restricting press access to the mess at the boarder. How can the news media allow it to get away with that? Is there anything the Democrats dishonestly accused the Trump administration of doing that they aren’t happily attempting to do themselves? I just know I’m going to get sick of the mantra, “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…”—in fact, I’m sick of it all ready,

Until I get a better suggestion, I’m just going to abbreviate it as IIPTDXTTNMIAFB. It has a ring to it…

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Ethics Heroes: “Critical Race Theory” Victims William And Gabrielle Clark

Clarke

Gee, we seem to be having a lot of race-bullying and race-based indoctrination stories here of late. Well, don’t blame me. Blame those perpetrating it for the advancement of their political and cultural power, and the cowards and weenies who are making it easy.

Today we have an episode from Democracy Prep, a public charter school in Las Vegas, Nevada. William Clarke attends the school. He lives with his mother, Gabrielle (above), who is biracial. She works at a local fast food restaurant. All Democracy Prep seniors are required to take what is clearly a Critical Race Theory and intersectionality-based class called Sociology of Change. In that “re-education” class, William and all the other students, were told to openly declare their race, gender, religious, and sexual identities. The next step was to attach negative labels to those identities, after which students were instructed to “undo and unlearn” their “beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that stem from oppression.”  

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Saturday Ethics Diversions, 3/6/21…And Remember The Alamo!

Alamo morning

On this March date in 1836, after a 13 day siege, the Battle of the Alamo ended when a pre-dawn attack by the much larger Mexican force slaughtered the 200 (or more) Texan defenders, creating many legends—the line in the sand, Jim Bowie’s desperate fight from his sickbed, Davy Crockett battling on as the Mexicans poured over the walls of the fort— and an iconic symbol of American bravery, sacrifice, and resistance of tyranny. The final minutes of the defenders were spent in desperate hand-to-hand combat with knives, swords and clubs.

Thirteen days earlier, on February 23, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered a siege of the Alamo Mission, near present-day San Antonio. It was occupied by rebel Texas forces. They spent the next two week ducking shells during the night and repairing the fort during the day. On the night of the 5th, however, there was no shelling. The exhausted men of the Alamo finally had a chance to sleep, and the Mexicans were almost inside the walls before they awakened. The bloody battle was over in less than 30 minutes. Several Texans reportedly surrendered, but Santa Anna ordered all prisoners executed, as he had promised when William Barrett Travis refused to surrender at the outset of the seige. Historians estimate that the battle cost Santa Anna between 400 and 600 soldiers, a high price for a fort with little strategic value. On April 21, 1836, Texas and Mexico fought again at the Battle of San Jacinto. This time it was the Mexicans who were surprised, and the rout won independence from Mexico and brought the Texas Revolution to an end.

I’ll be watching the 1960 John Wayne movie tonight. It is historically inaccurate in almost every way, but if there was ever an event in our history when the legend was more important than the reality, it is the battle of the Alamo.

1. It’s great to see that the news media and others have adopted a more fair and forgiving sta… Oh. Oh, right. “It’s amazing. Indian-descent Americans are taking over the country: you, my vice president, my speechwriter,” President Biden told Swati Mohan, NASA’s guidance and controls operations lead for the Mars Perseverance rover landing. Imagine the reaction from Democrats and pundits had the previous President said that. It would have been a story for weeks. The episode would have been cited any time one of the Trump Deranged was asked to defend the hardy Big Lie that Trump was a racist. Now that Joe Biden is President, the office is back to having the benefit of a presumption of good will, which is necessary for any President to do his job. About the only people mentioning Joe’s latest—read his quote with Jews or “blacks” in place of “Indian-descent Americans”—are bitter conservative pundits, and people like me, who foolishly believe that the same standards should be applied regardless of race, creed, gender or political affiliation.

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Ethics Hero: Ada First United Methodist Church

ADA church

This is the sort of thing we should expect from tax-exempt religious organizations.

In Ada, Oklahoma, First United Methodist Church partnered with RIP Medical Debt to purchase and forgive $3.8 million in medical debt owed by Oklahoma residents. The debt was owed by 1,327 residents in Coal, Garvin, Hughes, Pontotoc, and Seminole counties. Organizers targeted households that were at least 200% below the federal poverty level, insolvent, or going through serious financial hardship.

Krystina Phillips, who coordinated the mission for Ada FUMC, said,

“Medical debt doesn’t discriminate—anyone can get sick or be involved in a serious accident. I hope our church and others in the community can revisit this mission in the future, particularly when it provides such tangible benefits to our neighbors.”