Tales Of The Great Stupid: Clarence Darrow’s Worst Idea Takes Hold In New York City

America’s greatest trial lawyer, Clarence Darrow, defended guilty criminals in part because he believed that it was cruel and unjust to punish citizens who committed crimes, even violent ones. Darrow, a pioneering progressive, lectured, debated and wrote that people committed crimes because of conditions beyond their control: bad parents, stupidity, mental illness, no education, poverty. Since those who committed crimes literally couldn’t stop themselves, punishment was revenge without reason. Sending someone to jail, far from advancing civilized conduct, not only destroys the life of the perpetrator but also creates a false sense of accomplishment, ignoring the socioeconomic “root causes” of crime. Nobody born free, the lawyer fervently held, should lose his or her liberty because of bad genes or bad luck.

It was and is a batty theory, and until very recently, one wouldn’t find anyone advocating it who wasn’t lying, ignorant, or a criminal himself. No longer. Today Darrow’s worst idea is running amuck in several big cities in the grip of woke Democratic government, and where it stops, nobody knows.

Take New York City…please.

The Big Rotten Apple has decided not to prosecute “quality of life” offenses, from littering to public urination to jumping subway turnstiles, with the predictable result that the quality of life for law abiding New Yorkers has cratered. Last summer, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice crowed that “the number of New Yorkers held in New York City jails had shrunk by 27% in 10 weeks, bringing the city’s incarcerated population down to the lowest level since 1946.Wow! Isn’t that great? Of course, by some coincidence, murders and shootings were rising more quickly than ever before.

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Sunday Evening Ethics Nightcap: Not Watching The Olympics Edition

TV off

Happy birthday Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” conceived via in vitro fertilization in Manchester, England, on this date in 1978 to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The bioethics controversies that flowed from this landmark event and subsequent scientific advances have not stopped yet.

1. When the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck meets the Olympics, this is the sort of garbage you are going to get, at least from Kurt Streeter. He’s the black New York Times sports columnist who really appears to believe that the main function of sports is to raise racial and gender grievances. Woke sports commentary isn’t just bad sports journalism, it’s also boring. Politics makes sports less fun and less of what it was intended to be, entertainment, not crusading. By “this” I mean columns like his most recent titled “The Olympics Rely On, but Don’t Support, Black Girl Magic.” Never mind that the headline is racially offensive at the outset—nobody should care what color bodies athletic “magic” comes from, and only bigots like Streeter view sports that way.

Streeter’s brief supporting his obnoxious thesis is based on selective facts and personal bias. Here are his examples:

“Simone Biles is one of the most brilliant talents at the Games. But if recent history holds and she tries her most stunning moves in Tokyo, gymnastics officials will place an arbitrary limit on her score. Some say this is meant to discourage other competitors from attempting similarly dangerous aerial maneuvers. I say the sport’s regulators cannot deal with her sheer audacity.

And what does this have to do with her being black? Nothing, and nobody has alleged that it is otherwise, though if Biles does not win her expected gold, I’m sure Streeter will be among the first to cry “racism.”

Naomi Osaka is …perhaps the most widely known female athlete on the planet…will get tossed under the bus if she is not polite and pleasant in her interviews with the news media, a backlash prompted by her withdrawal from the French Open because she did not want to participate in news conferences there. That pressure exists alongside the dread that she’ll be derided as either too Black or not Japanese enough if she does not win a gold medal.

Whose “dread”? Apparently Streeter’s, the race-baiter. Meanwhile, any athlete who is not polite and pleasant in interviews always gets criticism from the news media, and deserves it. She didn’t withdraw from the French Open because “she did not want to participate in news conferences,” she quit because she wanted special privileges to break the tournament’s rules, and was foiled. None if this has anything to do with race either, except that Osaka may have thought that her appeal to the King’s Pass might be especially hard to turn down since people like Streeter would be quick to call enforcement of the same rules for all “racist.”

“Gwen Berry is one of the most powerful hammer throwers in the world and one of the boldest athletes in protesting racism and injustice. But the Olympic overlords have made clear she’d better behave on the medal stand — or else.”

Those “overlords” have the same rules for everyone. Berry is bold in protesting what she isn’t in the Olympics to protest; she’s a narcissist and a lousy citizen who should have been kicked off the team once she proclaimed that she didn’t regard herself as representing the nation that is honoring her by giving her a chance to compete. Streeter thinks her “Black girl magic” isn’t being supported because she won’t be allowed to embarrass her team and act like an asshole on the world stage.

2. From the “Blind Squirrel Finds Nut” files…Criminal justice reform activists and some lawmakers are upset the the Biden Justice Department is inclined to follow through on a Trump-era memo by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel requiring inmates who were allowed out of stir to reduce the spread of the pandemic in prisons and whose sentences lasted beyond the “pandemic emergency period” to go back behind bars. Awww! How mean. Criminals will actually have to serve their sentences! Systemic racism, of course. But the Biden legal team concluded that the memo correctly interpreted the law, which applies to about 4,000 nonviolent inmates. There are still plenty of fanatics and anti-incarceration extremists among Joe’s minions, so they might get the policy reversed yet.

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Another IIPTDXTTNMIAFB Classic: Biden On Vaccinations!

Biden town hall

IIPTDXTTNMIAFB is Ethics Alarmseese for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden.” I could probably feature such stories every day, but that would be as boring as these episodes are infuriating. They all come under the sub-heading of “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias,” which I could justifiably update to “Nah, the mainstream news media didn’t steal the Presidency for Joe Biden.”

This one was so egregious that the AP even did a “factcheck”, but muted its description so absurdly that it is a perfect IIPTDXTTNMIAFB.

You see, President Biden said, in a CNN town meeting during which he periodically babbled incoherently, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die…You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

That is a lie. It’s a lie because it is demonstrably false, and like so much else involving the pandemic, it is deliberate misinformation to manipulate the public. The Democrats, after all, fervently believe that the ends justify the means in all things. Apparently the truth, which the Biden Administration knows and thus its head is responsible for knowing, just isn’t good enough to move the herd along as its masters desire, so the strategy is to lie.

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Andrea Dick And The “Fuck Biden” Ethics Train Wreck

fuck-biden-flag

I was just thinking of neighbors like Andrea Dick yesterday, after I walked my politically tolerant dog Spuds past the many obnoxious lawn signs that have proliferated in my little corner of Alexandria, Virginia. There is, of course, the large, hand painted wooden sign reading “Black Lives Matter” that is festooned with rainbow flags and a full size suit of armor for some reason. That’s been an eyesore for more than a year. Then there are the moronic “End Racism” virtue-signaling signs—“End Stupidity” would be equally effective—and that list of facile progressive nostrums, including “No human is illegal.” You know, this one:

love-is-love

Well aren’t you wonderful! There is also that oldie but goodie, “Dissent is Patriotic,” whatever that means. There are several versions of this one…

Our America

All of them are the equivalent of the homeowner standing on his or her front lawn and preaching through a megaphone, and in the cases of the homes that post signs like this one…

Welcome sign

…the implication is that all the other houses nearby are full of greedy, racist bigots. All the signs offend me. The entire practice of using one’s property to preach, proselytize or politic is offensive. Yes, it’s protected speech, and using speech like that is abusing the right.

Andrea Dick is an angry supporter of former President Donald J. Trump and detests President Biden, so she has banners and signs expressing these view on her New Jersey house and lawn, including “Don’t Blame Me/I Voted for Trump” and several banners and signs with the message in the graphic under the post’s title. These are also ugly and offensive, but no more so than the virtue-signaling blather I have to see every day.

But her neighbors complained, so local officials first asked her to take down several of the banners that they said violated an anti-obscenity ordinance. She refused, and now she is resisting a judge’s order that she do so or face $250 fines every day the “Fuck Biden” banners and signs remain. Andrea Dick is pledging to fight it in court on free speech grounds.

“It’s my First Amendment right,” she said in an interview on Monday, “and I’m going to stick with that.”

Ethics Verdicts:

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From The “I Don’t Understand This At All” Files: Why Should ‘Historically Black Colleges’ Be Getting A Surge In Donations?

Make no mistake: I know why they are getting a surge in donations: cynical virtue-signalling and mindless George Floyd Freakout tribute. However, like the historically black colleges themselves, the phenomenon of picking now to celebrate segregated education, and mostly inferior education, is self-contradictory. It also highlights the hypocrisy of the “antiracism” movement itself, and the incoherence of the “diversity” chants coming from the Left.

For these colleges are the opposite of diverse. They are, in fact, discriminatory in concept and execution, and to see them “thrive” while activists are demanding literal quotas in other institutions in order to create numerical demographic parity—at least—is a blazing example of how the George Floyd Ethics Train wreck is less a cultural awakening than it is an opportunistic and unethical power play fueled by white guilt and cowardice.

The front page article in the New York Times today is so full of head-banging-on-the-wall moments I ran out of head before I ran out of wall. Here are some…

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Follow-Up: Guess Who Is Telling FaceBook Which “Disinformation” To Censor?

jen_psaki_hunter_biden_russian_disinfo_07-17-2021

With this post. a follow-up to this one regarding the hypocritical and ominous Presidential attack on vaccine-related “disinformation” on Facebook, Ethics Alarms ends the suspension of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who writes the generally excellent “Res Ipsa Loguitur” blog and who has distinguished himself during the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck for refusing to follow the unethical lead of his biased and Trump-Deranged colleagues in law and academia, and having the courage to point out many of their worst betrayals of the public trust. I suspended the professor at the beginning of June for carelessly advancing a favorite Democratic party Big Lie on his blog, that a media recount after the 2000 election showed George W. Bush had actually lost the popular vote in Florida, and thus Al Gore was the rightful winner of the Presidency. I wrote, “Ethics Alarms is giving him a month’s suspension, or until he fixes his error and apologizes.” Well, he sort of fixed the error but never apologized, so I made the suspension six weeks. I’m happy to be able to reference his blog again, and as a happy coincidence, one of his recent posts nicely supported what I had just written.

Turley pointed to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitting that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on the Whan virus vaccine and related matters. She had said that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies. He wrote in part,

Obviously, anyone can object to postings. There is a greater danger when the government has a systemic process for aggressively flagging material to be censored. The real problem however is with the censorship system itself. We have seen how there needs to be little coordination between political figures and the media to maintain controlled narratives in public debates and discussions.”

By “little” the sometimes obsessively cautious professor means “none.” He continues,

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Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/12/2021: It’s The Great Stupid, Charlie Brown!

Gypsy moth

1. Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Guess who! Yes, of course it is VP Kamala Harris, and this would be a stand-alone post if I hadn’t begun the day with another Kamala story. You may have heard about this one, if you don’t depend on mainstream media.

The Vice President suggested during an interview at the end of last week with BET News that voter ID laws will make it unacceptably difficult for rural voters who do not live near Kinko’s or OfficeMax to cast ballots. “In some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them,” she warned. “Of course people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are.”

Naturally the interviewer, the historically unobjective Soledad O’Brien, who was the worst talking head at CNN before the whole network went to Journalism Hell, just smiled and nodded as if Harris had said that the world was round. Elsewhere, Kamala’s idiotic statement got the reaction it deserved. Harris had managed to insult rural America and show her own ignorance in one single gaffe. Kinkos hasn’t existed for several years; it’s called FedEx Office now. Wrote PJ Media’s Bryan Preston, his tongue piercing his cheek,

“Rural Americans have access to these things called ‘smartphones,’ which they can use to scan and send their IDs if they need to. They also have access to these things called ‘scanners,’ ‘printers, and these amazing devices that can scan,  print, and even digitally transmit information wirelessly. It’s like magic, really. Rural Americans also have this amazing communications tech called ’email.’ They also have various means of getting their information from where it is to where it needs to be — in physical form! There’s even a whole government service dedicated to moving physical pieces of paper and even packages from place to place called the ‘U.S. Postal Service.’ We truly live in an age of miracle and wonder.”

One Tweeter writes, “She’s so misinformed and so ridiculous. It’s absurd.” Yes, It’s that trademark Harris smug laziness, all right. If she is going to keep up the dishonest Democratic talking point that voter ID is racist and a means of “voter suppression,” it would be prudent to check some facts. Harris doesn’t do that very often. The episode was reminiscent of President Bush the Elder expressing amazement at a grocery store checkout scanner, causing widespread mockery in the media over how out of touch he was. Yet I can’t find any mention of Harris’s telling botch outside of the “conservative media.” Gee, why is that? When poor Dan Quayle was VP, the fact that he misspelled “potato” was news for a week. Harris shows that she thinks of rural America as a primitive wasteland, and it isn’t newsworthy at the Times, Washington Post, CNN, CBS and the rest.

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An Analysis Of How The Government, The Resistance And The News Media Forfeited The Trust of The American People

Image: Pro-Trump Protesters Gather At State Capitols Across The Nation On Day Of Electoral College Ratification

I wish it were my analysis, although every component of it (I think) has been covered here in the past, most of them several times.

One of those elements is the complete betrayal of the American public and our democracy by the news media. President Trump was excoriated and condemned for his pronouncement of the mainstream media as the”enemy of the people,” typical meat-axe rhetoric for him in an area that calls for more nuance and restraint by a President, but he was generally right, and Ethics Alarms declared him so. Similarly, he decried the weaponization of “fake news,” an accusation which was undeniable, yet people of good will and intelligence (well, they were once anyway) denied it, no matter how many instances occurred before or afterwards.

Last week a Rasmussen poll—it’s a conservative outfit: the other pollsters wouldn’t dare ask the questions—reported that 58% of likely voters agree with the “enemy of the people” assessment. It’s amazing and disturbing that the figure isn’t much higher. Who are the 23% who told Rasmussen they “strongly disagreed” with that description? What are they? Idiots? Saboteurs? Relatives of journalists? Or just progressives covering for their allies in a hostile takeover of the culture and nation?

But as I said, this was just one element. The tweeted epic by “Martymade,” apparently a podcaster whose real name is Daryl Cooper, covers far more than that. He wrote this in a series of 36 tweets on July 8, making it essentially unreadable by people like me (especially people like me who have quit Twitter), but managed to “go viral” nonetheless. Tucker Carlson read it all on Fox, but of course it’s not Fox News viewers who need to consider the analysis, but everyone else.

Here is the whole thing, made possible by an innovative new app called Threadreader. It is long, but it needs to be long. It is also clear, and true; I cleaned it up a little for readers here:

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A “Bias Makes Professionals Stupid And Unprofessional” Update

Trump photo defaced

Perhaps the saddest aspect of the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck and the resulting mass effort to bring down Donald Trump was the corruption of virtually all of our society’s professions, and the vast majority of their members. Educators, psychiatrists, teachers, judges— journalists, of course, though they were already pretty far gone; broadcasters, of course. Entertainment professionals and performers, heaven knows (That’s the Dixie Chicks and their clever and subtle political commentary above.) In addition to theater professionals, two more of my professions have disgraced themselves: lawyers and ethicists. The listserv of a legal ethics organization I belong to was virtually cackling with joy over Rudy Giuliani’s partisan and dangerous interim suspension in New York, while the same group has been notably unenthusiastic about criticizing out-of court hyperbole by anti-Trump lawyers like the recently sentenced Michael Avenatti. (I may have missed some more balanced attention because I dropped out of the group for about 18 months in disgust over its bias.) Here is a tweet by a conservative attorney that was just offered to the group for comment on whether it raised issues of professional misconduct:

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