Morning Ethics Warm-Up, April 19, 2022: “A Good Day To Die” [With Easter Bunny Update!]

The 19th of April is a violent ethics day in history.

In 1775, on this date, the evening before had seen Paul Revere’s ride, and a few hours later, right about at dawn, 700 British troops marched through my home town of Arlington, Mass., then known as Menotomy, into Lexington. 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waited for them on the town’s common green. Shots were exchanged, and when the Battle of Lexington ended a few minutes later, eight Americans were dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. No British soldier was killed and just one was injured, but the battle launched the Revolutionary War, for which most of us, and most of the world, are or ought to be grateful.

In 1943 on April 19, the courageous but doomed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began when Nazi forces attempting to clear out the Polish city’s Jewish ghetto were met by gunfire from Jewish resistance fighters. The surprised Germans withdrew but soon returned, and on April 24 launched an all-out attack against the Warsaw Jews, slaughtering thousands. The Nazi army progressed down the ghettos, blowing up buildings as they went. The resistance took to the sewers to continue the fight, but their command bunker fell to the Germans on May 8, and its leaders committed suicide. During the uprising, some 300 German soldiers were killed, and thousands of Warsaw Jews were massacred.

—In Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a tear-gas assault on the home of the Branch Davidians, an armed religious cult, after a 51-day standoff. The compound was burned to the ground, with 80 Branch Davidians, including 22 children, dying as a result.

April 19, 1995 saw the beginning of mass domestic terrorism here, as a massive truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The blast instantly killed more than 100 people and trapped dozens more in the rubble. When the rescue effort finally ended two weeks later, the death toll stood at 168 people killed, including 19 children who were in the building’s day-care center at the time of the blast.

Liberal pundits and Democrats blamed Rush Limbaugh, among others, who had been vocally condemning the government since the election of Bill Clinton.

1. When did Derek Chauvin get appointed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals? In this case, the 5th Circuit ruled that an officer who deliberately caused pain to a woman because she was being “uncooperative” was in the clear. She had been arrested and was in custody, but refused to respond to the officer’s questions about her name and age. In response, the officer raised her handcuffed arms behind her back, causing, the woman said, “[e]xcruciating pain.” This was captured on the officer’s camera, and wasn’t disputed. The woman sued for violations of her Fourth Amendment rights. In ruling on an appeal, The Fifth Circuit held that such conduct by the officer—deliberately inflicting pain on a subject in custody to force compliance—was acceptable:

Nor did Martin violate Hymond’s Fourth Amendment rights. Hymond was shouting at Martin throughout the entire confrontation. She did not comply with any of Martin’s commands or instructions. Only after Hymond refused to provide Martin with her name did Martin employ any force against her. Martin’s use of force—lifting Hymond’s handcuffed arms behind her back—was relatively minimal. Hymond continued to verbally deride Martin while Martin was lifting her arms and immediately after he put her arms down. Given Hymond’s continued resistance, Martin’s use of force against Hymond was not objectively unreasonable.

The opinion literally excuses a police officer’s inflicting pain on a subject in handcuffs in response to verbal abuse and a lack of cooperation.

2. Watch: she’ll probably be elected, too. Here you can read former sex-worker and stripper Alexandra Hunt’s argument for being elected to Congress. It nicely ticks off all the boxes necessary for progressive love. I think this paragraph’s my favorite:

One does not need to boast a law degree to see how criminalization has become about a person’s identity rather than any grievance they may have committed. The prison-industrial complex has come to serve the purity model of white supremacy and places individuals into egregious living conditions if their identity deviates from white supremacy in anyway ― their race, their sexuality, their gender identity, their economic status, their nationality, or their occupation.

In fact, not having a law degree assists reaching that asinine and counter-factual conclusion. (So does hitting yourself in the head repeatedly with a frozen leg of lamb.) Elsewhere, explaining her abortion when she was 18, Hunt engages in one of my all-time most reviled rationalizations for abortion:

“I as a person was not ready to bring a child into this world, but also the world was not in a state — and is not, 10 years later, is not in a state — that I wanted to bring a child into yet, which is my decision to make. My generation faces a lack of jobs, a lack of living wage, a housing crisis, an affordable housing crisis, a student debt crisis, the climate emergency, the prison-industrial complex, and the list goes on and on. And I wanted to offer my child better.”

Actually, Alexandra, you wanted to offer your next child better. The first one you decided was better off being rubbed out of existence than getting a chance to live in the less-than-perfect world you seem to be enjoying. I’m pretty certain all potential human beings, asked whether they would prefer an imperfect life than none at all, would like their shot.

3. And now for something completely stupid…This nicely illustrates the quality of American punditry. Matt Yglesias has been a long-time progressive pundit for Slate and Vox among other platforms. He tweeted this brilliant revelation yesterday:

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From The Ethics Alarms “How Stupid Do Democrats Think The Public is?” Files: Inflation Denial Games

This will be an interesting test of the gullibility and brain mass of the American public. Faced with epic inflation greatly worsened by the Democrat’s wild spending sprees, incompetent handling of supply chain disruptions, and virtue-signaling suppression of oil production that cannot possibly have any ameliorating effects on global climate change whatsoever, the Donkey High Command has apparently decided on a carpet-bombing “Jumbo” strategy: “Inflation? What inflation?”

We have discussed already the “Putin price hike” mantra Jen Psaki keeps repeating. Last week, I saw a White House release admitting the inflation explosion but noting that if you took out food and gas prices, the rate of inflation increase had declined thanks to deft Biden policies. This, of course, brought back memories of former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry’s immortal statement that if you didn’t include all the murders, D.C. crime rate was actually pretty good! Nancy Pelosi, Psaki and Biden have all distorted the meaning of a letter from a group of acclaimed economists endorsing the trillion dollar infrastructure bill to falsely claim that they said spending all that money would reduce inflation, so, SEE? It’s can’t be Biden’s fault! (The letter actually said, correctly, that repairing and upgrading the infrastructure would make commerce more efficient and less costly in the long-term. As the Washington Post confirmed, they were not making any statement about current inflation.)

Last week we learned that the Biden new military budget assumes only 2% inflation, meaning that its numbers are fictional.

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.); Ethics Dunces: GOP House Members Who Listened To Him

I know the maxim is that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, but how do you explain this? It appears to be an example of a total fool leading the slightly less foolish.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

PM Ethics Shadows, 4/12/2022: Civil War Memories, Crazy Climate Change Terrorists, Someone Figures Out That BLM Is A Scam, And More [Corrected]

The Civil War started on this date in 1861, as Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. That’s about all that needs to be said. All wars are ethics nightmares, but none has had more ethics ramifications for this country, from the lives sacrificed to end slavery, to the war crimes of Andersonville, and the total war tactics of Sherman, to the myriad instances of astounding courage, cruelty and incompetence on the battlefields and the ongoing debate about how best to glean the right ethics lessons from them. (Tearing down statues is not it, though.) The Civil War took away our greatest POTUS, Lincoln, and gave us Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison and McKinley, Civil War veterans all. The one non-veteran in the sequence, Grover Cleveland, is an ethics controversy himself because of it: Grover paid someone else to take his place in the draft. And yet….try asking the nearest college grad to give you the dates of the Civil War. I asked a Cornell law grad and former associate of one of the most prestigious law firm in the nation once.
She guessed “Somewhere in the 1930s, right?”

1. I’ll take “Unethical environmental fanatic nutballs, Alex!” Adbusters, a self-described “international collective of artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, punks, philosophers and wild hearts” posted instructions on how to deflate the tires of “rich people’s” gas-powered vehicles. [Pointer: JutGory] “Wedge gravel in the tire valves, leaflet the SUV to let them know the tires are flat and why it was done, and walk away. It’s that simple,” the group said in a tweet. The group cautioned “to avoid targeting vehicles with disabled stickers or hangers.” That’s considerate of them…

This is what climate change hysteria does to people who lack ethics alarms. Here’s what they want you to leave on the windshield when you disable a car:

2. Good. Now what took you so long? On the Huffington Post, progressive opinionater Stephen Crockett authored a rueful essay bemoaning the fact that Black Lives Matter is apparently a racket. (Please note that this space figured that out years ago, and it wasn’t hard.)

He writes, Continue reading

“Transgender Day of Visibility” Ethics Duncery

Did you know yesterday was “Transgender Day of Visibility”? That’s funny, it seemed to me that this tiny minority in the U.S. has been disproportionately visible for years. Here’s the Presidents’ obsequious pander:

“To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know your president sees you, Jill, Kamala, Doug, our entire administration sees you for who you are. On this day and every day, we recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people. We celebrate the activism and determination that have fueled the fight for transgender equality. We acknowledge the adversity and discrimination that the transgender community continues to face across our nation and around the world. Like never before, they are sharing their stories in books and magazines; breaking glass ceilings of representation on television and movie screens; enlisting — once again — to serve proudly and openly in our military; getting elected and making policy at every level of government; and running businesses, curing diseases, and serving our communities in countless other ways. Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity…I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating discrimination against all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people — and all people.”

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The White House Gets Another Jumbo

You know, at some point, this has to matter, doesn’t it?

For four years, the mainstream media, Democrats and the Trump-Deranged claimed that anything that President Trump said or tweeted, whether it was gaffe, a mistake, a joke, hyperbole, puffery or, as was indeed often the case, deliberately misleading, was a democracy-threatening lie. This media theme was an exaggeration on its own, and a damaging one, diminishing Trump’s public trust and making it difficult for him to do his job—as indeed was the whole point of the “Trump lies” obsession.

So what is the American public supposed to conclude when President Biden says something that is clear and unequivocal, and the official White House position is that he didn’t say it?

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Pssst! Joe! If Your Goal Is To Not Be Petty and Juvenile Like Trump, This Isn’t How To Do It…

What’s going on here? I honestly have no idea, but I do know it’s idiotic. The Council is the ultimate non-partisan body. For the President to boot two celebrities, one from sports, another from TV, off the Council as some kind of political strike can only look bad. Both are also “of color”—Joe knows that if Trump did this, he’d be called a racist. But he’d also be called a petulant child, and rightly so.

Who in the White House thought this was a good idea? It does not fill me with faith in the quality of Biden’s advisors.

Oz, like Walker, says he won’t resign. I wouldn’t either. For a President, this is the essence of punching down.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Serious Question: What Kind Of Person Would Want Someone To Be U.S. President Who Would Consider Something Like This…

…never mind say it out loud?

During a speech to donors in New Orleans, Louisiana a few days ago, Donald Trump actually, really, honest-to-goodness said that maybe the U.S. could trick Moscow and Beijing into fighting each other by disguising its F-22 fighter jets with Chinese flags “and bomb the shit out” out of Russia! “And then we say, China did it, we didn’t do, China did it, and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”

Oooh, good plan!

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Comment Of The Day: The Alamo, March 4, 1836

I hope a lot of you are enjoying Michael West‘s generous labor of love during the countdown to the Alamo’s fall. It is, as I’ve said here often, one of the most vivid and fascinating of all ethics chapters in U.S. history, and the fact that it is neglected in popular culture and public education to the degree it is disgraceful, like much of this nation’s negligent and cavalier attitude toward history.

I want to apologize to readers and especially Michael for a mistake I have made. One of my sources, echoing others, printed the Mexican dictator’s name as “Santa Ana,” with one “n.” Convinced that I had been perpetrating an error, i began lnocking off the second “n” in Michael’s posts and my own, though I always had assumed that “Anna” was correct.

Well, it was and is correct. His full name is Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón. Now I have to go back and correct the correction.

Here is Michael’s focus on Day 11 of the siege, March 4, 1836.

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It was cold that evening that the Mexican Artillerymen of the 1st Brigade under command of General Gaona settled down into their camp somewhere south of modern day Yancey, Texas. They had been on a forced march since late January. The moon was full that evening, perfect for night operations – and despite the Texans being bottled up about 45 miles away, Native American raiders were still a possible threat. Reports had been received that straggling soldiers had been ambushed. Continue reading

Still More Ukraine Invasion Ethics Points…Now With “The Trump Connection”!

1. How many times do I have to say that Twitter makes you stupid? Here’s a U.S. Senator publicly calling for the assassination of a foreign leader:

It is fine to think this or even to say it in private, as long as you are not Donald Trump and you know whoever you talk to will immediately leak it to the media. However, Executive Order 11905signed on February 18, 1976, by President Gerald Ford, banned political assassination.This EO was reinforced by Jimmy Carter’s Executive Order 12036 in 1978. It is still the law in the United States. Graham is a lawyer, and he knows that as a lawyer, it is an ethics breach to cause a third party to do what the lawyer cannot do himself.

Moreover, if such an act were to take place, Graham’s tweet would be justification for Russia to suspect, or even conclude, that the U.S. government was responsible. A foreign power assassinating or even attempting to assassinate a nation’s leader is an act of war.

2. Where’s Bandy Lee when you need her? It is unethical for a psychiatrist to diagnose anyone with mental illness without examining the patient in person. This is why the American Psychiatric Association’s  Principles of Medical Ethics state that its members should not give a professional opinions about public figures whom they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements. Never mind: Bandy Lee of Yale, a Professor of Psychiatry, made a brief career out of breaking the rule regarding President Trump, because hating Trump suspends all ethical obligations and values. MSNBC and CNN flocked to her; eventually, Yale fired her. Now, if it was unethical for a psychiatrist to be diagnosing a political figure as mentally ill from afar, and it is, what is it called when a non-psychiatrist goes on Fox News and claims to be convinces that something has snapped in Vladimir Putin’s head? That what Condoleeza Rice has done twice already. Her opinion on the topic of Putin’s sanity is no more authoritative than that of anyone else who hasn’t spoken to Putin face to face in years. Continue reading