The Road To Totalitarianism: California Shows, Once Again, Which Party Is Driving

Late yesterday, the State Bar of California  announced that Orange County attorney John Eastman (above), a former law school dean, law professor, and a long-time respected member of the bar, is the target of a disciplinary investigation into whether he violated laws while advising President Trump on options available to him in the wake of his election defeat in 2020. Eastman wrote two legal memos that advised Vice President Mike Pence that he could declare that the results in several states were disputed and therefore their electoral votes would go uncounted.  The State Bar’s chief trial counsel, George Cardona, announced  that Eastman has been the center of an investigation since September, saying in part,  “A number of individuals and entities have brought to the State Bar’s attention press reports, court filings, and other public documents detailing Mr. Eastman’s conduct.”

That’s odd: bar investigations of ethics complaints are supposed to be confidential, so complaints can’t be used as political weapons or to impugn lawyers’ reputations. Why is Eastman being treated this way? Oh, I’m sure there is some fine print exception somewhere, but the real reason is obvious from the LA Times story headline yesterday: Breaking News: Trump-connected lawyer John Eastman under investigation.” Eastman is “Trump-connected,” so it’s guilt by association, a Joe McCarthy specialty and a favorite tool of despots for centuries.  Beware, any lawyers out there prepared to give counsel, representation and legal assistance to He Whom Progressives Hate and Fear! There will be consequences. Continue reading

Our Unprofessional Professionals, Our Inexpert Experts: The Ethicist And The Economist

One of the most disturbing aspects of the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck was the ugly spectacle of once esteemed professions deciding en masse to ditch their integrity in order to join the “Get Trump!” mob with the cool kids. Historians, lawyers, judges, psychiatrists, scholars, civil libertarians, journalists, educators…yes, and ethicists—all these groups disgraced themselves and breached the one, overarching mandate for those who supposedly labor for the public good: be trustworthy. Then came The Great Stupid, compounding the damage to society and the culture by showing “experts” to be equally unreliable, burdened as they were by crippling bias, political agendas, and flawed skills and assumptions.

Two recent examples highlighted this trend. First up, the ethicist.

Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a professor at Duke Law School, is co-director of the Center for Sports Law & Policy and a senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. She authored a jaw-droppingly lame op-ed for the Washington Post headlined, “Yes, Kamila Valieva should be skating in Beijing.” There isn’t a single valid ethical principle behind her entire, constructed-for-sentimentalists argument.

Her first sentence would normally make me quit reading any opinion piece: “Russian Kamila Valieva is the best figure skater on the planet, she is gorgeous to watch perform and she should be skating in Beijing.” This is the equivalent of “Barry Bonds is a great player and we should ignore the fact that’s he’s a steroid cheat.” An ethicist is openly elevating the most obvious non-ethical consideration seasoned with personal bias, that the author thinks she is “gorgeous” on the ice, over the clear ethical consideration that the skater broke the rules, and had they been enforced, she wouldn’t be at the Olympics at all.

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Will The Audacious “It Isn’t What it is” Propaganda Assault By The American Left Succeed?, Part 2

Taking off from Part 1 (which took off from this), let’s review some (only some) of the anti-democratic conduct of the Democrats, their Congress and their President.

  • We saw President Biden withdraw troops from Afghanistan without consultation with Congress and in opposition to the military, abandoning thousand of U.S. citizens in the process.

  • We have seen the individual liberty-defying mask and vaccine mandates in Democratic states and cities.
  • We have witnesses attempts at the state and national level to discriminate against one racial group in such benefits as Small Business assistance and pandemic remedies.
  • We have watched the Senate Majority leader directly threaten the Supreme Court if it fails to support Democratic Party policies and positions.
  • We have seen the escalating air-brushing of history, to eliminate references to individuals and ideas that the party in power opposes.
  • We have seen Democrats and their allied professions and institution attempt to discriminate against religious groups, using the pandemic to ban their activities while favoring gatherings of similar size when they supported leftist activism.
  • We have seen concerted efforts to disarm law-abiding citizens, including removing the right to bear arms from those judged mentally or emotionally ill, both historical tactics of totalitarian governments.
  • We have seen the effort to corrupt the criminal justice system and the Rule of Law by demonizing and presuming the guilt of police officers, conservative protesters and others (like Kyle Rittenhouse) based on  skin color and political preferences.
  • We have seen an endorsement of mob rule, with “defund the police” being advocated across the country, radical progressive prosecutors refusing to prosecute crimes “of need,” and police being turned into targets by more than six years of demonizing by the Left.
  • We have seen an unprecedented attack on the Constitution and various amendments, with the goal of undoing protections wisely placed in the documents by the Founders. Among the targets: the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the amendment process (so the dead-letter Equal Rights. Amendment can pass after the deadline for adoption has passed), the Electoral College, the composition of the Senate, and more.
  • We witnessed the Democratic party embracing a Marxist, anti-American, anti-White, violent and corrupt organization, Black Lives Matter.
  • We are watching that same party continue to support a program of anti-American, pro-Left indoctrination in the public schools.
  • We are seeing the deliberate promotion of class divisions and hostility, while the Democratic Party pursues radical ideological goals such as the devaluing of citizenship, the elimination of meritocracy and the pursuit of excellence,  and
  • Perhaps most glaring of all, we witnessed, for the first time in our history, not just one but two contrived impeachments based not on the kinds of “high crimes” prescribed by the Constitution, but on the simple fact that one party had a House majority  that it abused to attempt to remove an elected President it despised, plus
  • …so, so much more that represents a gross weakening of democracy and its values by the conduct and rhetoric of Democrats. The four year effort to cripple Donald Trump’s Presidency by withholding the basic, crucial, core aura of respect and deference to the office that every other President was bequeathed by his predecessors is, in my view, the worst of these, which is why Ethics Alarms has laboriously tracked it with the tag “2016 Ethics Post-Election Train Wreck.”

This has all occurred in plain sight, so for Democrats and progressives to pick this moment in history to declare Republicans as an existential threat to democracy is Jumbo-level audacity. Is this gaslighting the result of desperation, idiocy, delusion, or “It’s so crazy, it just might work”? Continue reading

It’s Too Early To Make Ethics Judgments On The Story, But Not To Judge The Mainstream Media’s Disgusting Bias In Ignoring It So Far

From the New York Post, in part:

“Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign paid an internet company to “infiltrate” servers at Trump Tower and the White House in order to link Donald Trump to Russia, a bombshell new legal filing alleges.

The Friday filing from a Department of Justice prosecutor tasked with investigating the origins of the FBI’s Russian probe served to throw cold water on Democrats’ longstanding allegations of collusion.

Special Counsel John Durham filed a motion related to potential conflicts of interests in connection with the case of Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who is charged with lying to the feds, according to Fox News.

Sussmann allegedly told the FBI he was not working on behalf of Clinton when he presented the agency with documents that supposedly linked the Trump Organization to a Kremlin-tied bank two months before the election.

The lawyer has pleaded not guilty to the charge of making a false statement to a federal agent.

Durham’s motion reportedly alleged Sussmann “had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign.”

Records showed he “repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations,” which involved an investigative firm, a tech executive, cyber researchers and numerous employees at internet companies, the motion reportedly stated…

Among the accusations leveled at that time was that suspicious DNS lookups by Russian-affiliated IP addresses “demonstrated Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations,” the motion reportedly said.

The allegations “relied, in part, on the purported DNS traffic” that Tech Executive-1 and others “had assembled pertaining to Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s New York City apartment building, the EOP, and the aforementioned healthcare provider,” according to Fox’s report.

Durham said his office found “no support for these allegations,” claiming the supposed evidence Sussmann provided was incomplete and skewed…”

If you only follow the mainstream media, meaning only those outlets that are directly doing everything they can, every day, in every way, to bolster Democratic Party narratives, progressive agendas and the prospects of minimizing the public’s support of the Republican Party, you are learning about this for the first time. Continue reading

Two 2022 State Of The Union Addresses [Corrected]

Guest post by A.M. Golden and Steve-O-in-NJ

[Introduction: These two entries from this week’s Open Forum are a collective natural for a combined post. A.M. and Steve-O take different approaches to what President Biden’s second State of the Union message is likely to be. You can guess which one I would rather see delivered. [Notice of Correction: I erroneously wrote that this was the first Biden SOTU. What confused me was that last year the Speaker of the House neglected to perform the traditional “tearing up of the speech” that marks the official end of the event…]

First up: A.M. Golden…]

***

I’ve been working on this for a bit. When President Biden ran as the Unity candidate and urged unity in his Inauguration address only to maintain the business as usual divisiveness that has characterized his party’s tactics, I started to wonder if there were anything he could do to change it.

With permission and forgiveness- for the length and the hubris it took to write this – I wonder what would happen if Biden’s State of the Union address in 2022 went something like this.

My Fellow Americans,

The purpose of the State of the Union address is to inform the citizenry of where we stand as a country at the beginning of a new year. In keeping with the spirit of that intent, I’m going to use this time a little differently than you may expect. In my Inaugural Address, I urged the country to come together in a spirit of unity. Since that time, we have become more divided than ever. We have seen hostility between people based on race, gender, religion, class and ethnic origin spike. Our children’s education is at risk as parents battle teachers, teachers battle parents and all battle school administrations. Our law enforcement officers and first responders are at risk more than ever. Families are at war with each other, tearing the basic unit of our society apart. We have lost the ability to give each other the benefit of the doubt, preferring instead to assume the worst of others.

I’m here to apologize to you on behalf of myself, the Democratic Party and its entire leadership for our part in creating and maintaining this schism.

For decades, the Democratic Party has contributed to the undermining of our national institutions. We questioned the legitimacy of the elections of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and the election of Donald Trump in 2016, using irresponsible rhetoric that encouraged ignorance of our Constitution and the protections provided in it by the Founding Fathers. Indeed, we have undermined the Founding Fathers themselves, dismissing their incredible gift to us, by characterizing them by the worst decisions they ever made. In doing so, we have fomented disrespect of our way of life, our history, cultural heritage and national achievements among our youth. Democratic officials in county, city and state politics have followed our poor example, refusing to concede elections and destroying local customs and the memory of historical figures alike with iconoclastic fervor.

We have undermined the legitimacy of the Supreme Court with dangerous hyperbolic statements about the threat to our democracy if a decision doesn’t go the way we want. We used our allies in the news media, the entertainment industry, academia and friendly corporations to mischaracterize high court rulings, spreading ignorance among the population as to how the court is designed to work. We have turned Supreme Court confirmation hearings into circuses, demonizing anyone nominated by our opponents and encouraging our aforementioned allies to engage in relentless character assassinations so that we can protect our pet platform issues.

We have tried to get around Constitutional protections of Freedom of Speech, Religion, Press and Assembly by putting pressure on private businesses to shut down opposing viewpoints and to punish our political critics while claiming that it’s an acceptable practice so long as it’s not government committing the actual violation. We have irresponsibly inserted ourselves into local law enforcement issues, sometimes demanding outcomes that hinder a defendant’s right to due process and ability to receive a fair trail. We have pressured higher education to destroy the lives of students by virtue of a mere accusation, again mocking the concept of due process.

In particular, we have disappointed the parents who entrust their children to us for their education. We keep unfit, unqualified teachers in the classroom, give lip service to quality education while pushing out graduating classes of increasingly failing students and spend precious education time indoctrinating students on wedge issues important to us.

We have encouraged racial enmity by advocating suspicion of law enforcement, endangering all of us with irresponsible demands to defund the police, allow violent protests that destroy property and lives and incentivize lawbreaking by refusing to enforce the laws in existence. We have harmed minority communities with endless social welfare funding that exacerbates the problem of poverty instead of solving it, creating generations of families unable or unwilling to learn how to support themselves. We have engaged in relentless fear-mongering of our opponents to keep the minority vote, painting any alternatives to eternal dependence on government as being motivated by racism while we ourselves have engaged in the soft bigotry of low expectations, trying to convince you that you can never compete fairly with white citizens, can never truly be successful in the Land of Opportunity and are not intelligent enough to do simple things, such as get a government-issue ID.

Irresponsibly, we contributed to a crisis at our Southern border for political gain by encouraging untold numbers of poverty-stricken people to violate our immigration laws and opposing any legislation designed to resolve the issue.

We have helped put this country in unsustainable debt that will take generations to pay so that we could toss money at every problem and fund our programs.

We labeled anyone who questioned the wisdom of these actions as bigots and dangerous extremists.

These practices were ramped up after the 2016 election. Instead of going high, as our former First Lady asserted, we went as low as we could. We gave no quarter to President Trump and did everything we could, along with our supporters in the various industries I’ve already mentioned, to keep him from doing his job. We made sure he would never be given even the most minor of Presidential honors that have been afforded incoming Presidents traditionally. We approved the most unlikely conspiracy theories regarding his election and nodded in agreement when our allies in the news media published rumors as fact, cited anonymous sources and failed to report accurately any news that favored the administration. Prominent members of our party encouraged public harassment of administration officials with no disciplinary action or even a rebuke in response. Congress made no effort to work with the President at all on any important piece of legislation, to the detriment of our country and its citizens. Every move by our party’s Senators and Congresspersons was done to harm the Trump administration, regardless of the collateral damage done to all of you.

When the pandemic loomed, we ignored it while we engaged in partisan political theatre intended to damage the President’s re-election chances. Our Speaker of the House violated democratic norms by tearing up the President’s speech on television. Suddenly, as the strong economy began to falter on pandemic fears, we seized on that as a way to pull a victory out of the 2020 election. We insisted on stringent lockdowns, encouraged abuses of power by state and city officials and undermined every effort by the Trump administration to contain the pandemic within Constitutional parameters. We further pitted family members against each other, already divided along political lines, by vilifying anyone who questioned the effectiveness of such methods.

We exhibited blatant double standards when it came to what constituted acceptable gatherings, showed our own hypocrisy multiple times as prominent members of our party violated their own restrictions and excused confusing, contradictory messaging about the virus coming from government agencies and the scientific/medical communities. We did our best to destroy the morale of the country before the election. Worst of all, we discouraged confidence in the vaccine so that President Trump would not get any credit for its remarkably rapid development only to change course after the election results were in.

Speaking of the election, we continued the undermining of our election process by demanding the use of unsecure paper ballots, dismissed any concerns about tampering and used our allies to propagandize for us again, counting on them to bury stories that helped the administration or hurt us. We ignored the bizarre hours-long cessation of ballot counting in swing states that ultimately turned in our favor. We demanded that the results of this election be accepted without question or pause, not hesitating to again label concerns as dangerous extremism, knowing full well how we would have responded had the election gone the other way under the same circumstances.

And we denied that we did any of those things.

We were hypocrites.

Since I have taken office, we have continued these same practices. We laid down the law on the frustrated, but misguided, people who forced their way into the Capitol on January 6. We have encouraged repeated misrepresentations of that event. We have used our corporate allies to shut down opposing political speech and to try to force vaccine compliance. In our country’s darkest days, it has been the job of the country’s leader to give hope. Instead, I have lectured you ceaselessly and allowed excuses to be made for my failure.

I want to take time now to apologize specifically:

To President Trump. You deserved a chance. We didn’t give that to you. The political climate today exists because we could not accept that we lost. We have no right to complain about 2020 election concerns after spending four years questioning your victory. No right to complain about incivility toward me when we practiced it toward you relentlessly.

To Betsy DeVos, Sarah Sanders and other members of the Trump administration who were prevented from doing their jobs or even enjoying a private dinner out because of harassment encouraged by the Democratic Party. You deserved the same consideration that I would want for my own officials.

To Trump administration associates and colleagues who were targeted by the DOJ, whose employers were pressured, who faced constant threats for their association with President Trump. We made a mockery of the right of Freedom of Association.

To Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and, especially, Brett Kavanaugh. You were badly treated because of who nominated you. We went as low as we could go and that’s saying something. You deserved fair hearings and didn’t get them.

To Republicans. You have been unfairly maligned as racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes and every other unpleasant characterization. We should have listened to your opinions with respect, even if we disagreed with them. Congressman Steve Scalise and other Republicans with him on the day a gunman opened fire on them were endangered by the same kind of rhetoric we have routinely maintained poses a danger to others. We have set a poor example for our supporters.

To Law Enforcement officials nationwide, including our Border and Customs agents. We have made your jobs impossible by openly siding with lawbreakers and risked your lives with our damaging grandstanding. You deserved our support and we threw you under the bus.

To parents who have every right to know what their children are learning and to express their concerns about it. No one should ever be made to feel like an enemy for speaking out at a School Board meeting. Your participation in your children’s education is essential.

To businesses and property owners, large and small. We facilitated the destroying of our economy for political gain. We placed the unreasonable demand of expecting you to enforce local and federal mandates while struggling to stay afloat financially. You should never have been made responsible for policing the public.

To our minority communities. Our cynical pandering to you for decades to prop up our voter base has caused significant harm to you and helped cause the racial animus we are seeing now. You have the right to think for yourselves and make choices as individuals, not groups, even if one of those choices is not voting for me.

To religious believers. We have shown open hostility to those of faith on a regular basis and practiced double standards in how various groups of believers are treated. You deserve to be treated equally and fairly.

To the American people. You deserved better. You didn’t get it. You have the right to expect honesty, fairness, impartiality and transparency from your elected officials who should be working hard for you, not on their campaigns or personal agendas. I intend to change things for the better starting today.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this. I personally believe that every American should be vaccinated. I do understand, however, that there is a great deal of mistrust here that we have been responsible for creating. I hope that, in the coming months, we can gain your trust by reaching out in partnership with our political opponents and working together to repair the damage to our country. It will be difficult and we won’t always make the right decisions. I have confidence that the people of this country can overcome all the obstacles in our path if we join hands and tackle them together.

We are Americans. This is who we are and what we do.

God bless you. And God bless America.

[Next…Steve-O-in NJ’s version]

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Ethics Observations On The Lincoln Project “False Flag” Stunt In Charlottesville [Corrected]

Lincoln Project Stunt

In case you missed it (or have a life and aren’t following the nauseating race for Governor in Virginia) five people holding tiki torches and pretending to be fans of the Charlottesville white supremacy group, Unite the Right, that sparked a riot in 2017 showed up to show their support for GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin last week. The stunt was met with furious criticism of Youngkin’s opponent, Terry McAuliffe, who was presumed to be behind the incident, and why wouldn’t he be? As the slimy former Clinton fundraiser has slipped in the polls, his “ends justify the means” approach to politics (and life) has become especial pungent. However, the Never-Trump group The Lincoln Project came to McAuliffe’s rescue, claiming responsibility for the deception.

Hmmmm…

Yesterday one of the group’s co-founders, Stuart Stevens, refused to apologize for attempting to influence an election by deceiving voters. “Listen, every day I hear people pleading with the Lincoln Project to help show Democrats how to win, how to play hardball. You know, this is an example,” he said on CNN. “The question here is not about some guys who showed up at a rally,’ said Stevens. ‘It’s why hasn’t Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump for saying that there are good people on both sides? I mean, that is absolutely outrageous. And it’s because Glenn Youngkin wants it both ways. And I think that’s the message that needs to be driven here. You know, the Lincoln Project was the first in this race to put Charlottesville in an ad. And some people thought maybe it went too far. But we did it. And it worked. And then McAuliffe’s campaign followed us and put Charlottesville in a very good ad they did. So I think the question here is, we can’t ignore what happened in Charlottesville, the question is why hasn’t Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump?”

Meanwhile, the McAuliffe campaign pronounced the hoax “disgusting” and called on the Lincoln Project to apologize.

Ethics Observations:

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Three Ethics Metaphors: The Rise, The Presidency And The Fall Of Donald J. Trump, Part II

Part I of this series appeared in May of this year. I bet you thought I had forgotten about it, didn’t you?

The second metaphor explained the election of Trump as President in 2016, as well as his march to the nomination fueled by a populist base that crossed party lines and that took political “experts” completely by surprise. It occurred to me when a friend, a Democrat and progressive (like most of my friends—and relatives) opined bitterly that electing someone like Trump was “stupid.” At a basic level I agreed with that: I had been writing exactly this for more than a year. But his words triggered an epiphany, and, as is often the case with my rare moments of clarity, a movie scene came to mind.

Electing Trump certainly seemed stupid. Yet it served a purpose, indeed several purposes, just like the “stupid and futile gesture” that is the climax and operatic finale of “Animal House,” when the abused members of Delta House turn Faber College’s homecoming parade into a violent riot.

What was the election of Trump supposed to accomplish? Other movies come to mind, like “Network.” A segment of the population decided that the system was rigged against them, that Democrats and Republicans were both involved in a massive, decades long con in which their primary goal was not to do what was in the public interest, but what was most likely to keep them in power and eventually line their pockets, and that their voices were not just being ignored, but that they were being insulted while being ignored. The so-called “deplorables” were mad as hell, and they weren’t going to take it any more. Voting for Trump was an “Up yours!” to the elites, the sanctimonious media, the corrupt Clintons, the hollow Obamas, and obviously corrupt Democrats like Pelosi and Harry Reid, machine Republicans like Mitch McConnell, and pompous think-tank conservative like Bill Kristol.

As I wrote on the same theme right after the election,

“Americans got tired of being pushed around, lectured, and being told that traditional cultural values made them racists and xenophobes. They decided to say “Screw that!” by electing a protest candidate whose sole function was to be a human thumb in the eye, because he was so disgusting to the people who had pretended to be their betters. Don’t you understand? It’s idiotic, but the message isn’t. It’s “Animal House”! and “Animal House” is as American as Doolittle’s Raid….In Germany, The Big Cheese says jump and the Germans say “How high?” In the US, the response is “Fuck you!” Obama never understood that…. I love that about America. And much as I hate the idea of an idiot being President, I do love the message and who it was sent to. America still has spunk.

“I love spunk.”

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Trans Activist Ethics Train Wreck Update: The Dave Chappelle “Hate Speech” Hypocrisy

From the New York Times front page today:

“Netflix…the tech company that revolutionized Hollywood, is now in an uproar as employees challenge the executives responsible for its success and accuse the streaming service of facilitating the spread of hate speech and perhaps inciting violence.”

Observations:

1. It’s time—way past time, in fact—to emphatically define what “hate speech” is. First of all, hate speech, whatever it is, is 100% protected speech. It is Constitutional, First Amendment, lawful, beyond all argument speech. Second, I use “whatever it is” because the phase is deliberately vague and subjective so those seeking to censor discourse, advocacy, non-conforming points of view, satire and insults can place the expression of ideas by someone else into a category that suggests malign agency and intent.Then, those crying “hate speech” can advocate silencing whatever it was they are labeling.

We’re on to them, or should be by now. Calling something “hate speech” is like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dishonest “hate group” label. It’s a cheat.

2. Hate is not a good thing in human relations (there are exceptions), but it is legal and, like all emotions, not unethical. Acting on the hate may be unethical, but not hate itself.

3. I have watched “The Closer,”Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special now under fire, twice. There is nothing hateful in it, unless one thinks that all mockery, satire and jokes with an edge are hate.

I don’t think “The Closer” is very good, especially by Chappelle’s standards. It’s not especially funny, for instance. It’s also not very smart, and Chappelle, if nothing else, is smart and usually shows it. It’s not smart because the controversy over how society should regard transgender individuals is interesting, perhaps difficult, raises interesting ethical and practical issues, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not as important as the attention paid to it makes it seem. This is a tiny minority: yes, these issues are important to them. But Chappelle’s show is like a deliberate employment of the Streisand Effect: he’s obviously annoyed about having to deal with trans issues, so he spends a whole, high-profile special complaining, explaining, and riffing regarding it. Since he’s a comedian, this could be justified if he mined it for comedy gold, but he doesn’t.

If he isn’t going to be funny, then he has to be profound, or he’s wasting our time. Not only is the thing not profound, it’s barely coherent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: stand-up is a high wire act, and the best comics sometimes fall hard. But the contrived controversy over “The Closer” is giving the performance more significance than it deserves, and allowing Chappelle to accept accolades for a performance that was really subpar.

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Mid-Day Ethics Survey, 10/6/21: Enterprise Lies, And Shooting Capt. Kirk Back Into Space

I missed the warm-up yesterday, as life, deadlines and the Red Sox-Yankee one game play-off interfered. Now I’m horribly backed up.

Yesterday was an important ethics date in our history, and an especially bad one for Native Americans. On October 5 in 1813, during the War of 1812, a combined army of British and Native American forces were defeated by General William Harrison’s American army at the Battle of the Thames in Ontario, Canada. The leader of the Indian warriors was Tecumseh, the powerful Shawnee chief who organized inter-tribal resistance to white settlers on Native lands. He was killed in the fighting, spelling doom for Native American resistance east of the Mississippi. The defeated tribes soon moved west, which bought them time but no peace. Sixty-five years later, on the anniversary of Tecumseh’s defeat, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribes surrendered to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana. Joseph was another remarkable Native American leader: after the U.S. government broke a land treaty with the Nez Perce that forced them out of their homeland. The area in Idaho they were ordered to move to was unacceptable, so over three months, Chief Joseph led about 300 Nez Perce to the Canadian border, a 1,000 mile trek, as they fled and fought 2,000 pursuing U.S. soldiers. Only 40 miles short of the Canadian border, Chief Joseph’s group was trapped by the U.S. Army, and escorted to a barren reservation. His famous quote expresses the futility and sadness of the entire, cruel but inevitable destruction of the Native American tribes and the appropriation of their territory by white settlers.

Is something that experience teaches us cannot be avoided still unethical? I believe so, but that conclusion leads to the slippery slope of “life is unfair” and what can or should be done about it.

1. ‘Where have you gone, Jackie Robinson?’ Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is resigning from office after accepting a plea deal regarding charges of financial misappropriation. She joins a long list of black, female mayors in major cities—San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, which has had a succession—that have embarrassed their cities, parties and supporters by proving utterly untrustworthy and incompetent, if not outright corrupt. This doesn’t help. If the idea is to increase the number of female, black officials, it is important that all of these ‘firsts” actually be good leaders. Having one spectacularly awful black, female mayor after another is how biases take hold. Of course the fact that so many black, female mayors of recent vintage have been unqualified, obnoxious fools shouldn’t reflect negatively on future mayoral candidates who are deserving of support and trust, but inevitably it will. This is why parties and voters can’t adopt the Kamala Harris Standard that the Democrats imposed on us: “gender and color is qualification enough.” No, they aren’t. They aren’t qualifications at all.

2. Sometimes I think Biden isn’t even trying. Banks and their trade groups, including the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, are almost certainly going to oppose Biden’s choice to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Why? Oh, not much, just that her past writing suggest that she’s a communist. The Wall Street Journal wrote that Omarova wants to adopt a Soviet-style banking system, which isn’t too surprising since “she graduated from Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Thirty years later, she still believes the Soviet economic system was superior, and that U.S. banking should be remade in the Gosbank’s image.”

She’s tweeted about the deficiencies of the free market in terms of guaranteeing gender equity—why should any economic system generate gender equity? She also doesn’t like the idea of supply and demand determining the salaries and product prices; she wants these set by the government. Yeah, if there is one thing banking organizations want, it’s a Commie setting their regulations. Does the Biden administration vet these people at all? Or is the fact that she’s a minority female—another potential first!–automatically mean she’s a great choice in the eyes of the White House gang.

“The core of all of this and the source of our most significant concerns is we look at everything that she has said or written publicly, there are bold ideas that essentially look at eliminating the banking system as we know it today,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, the president of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

If this is mistaken, wouldn’t you think the supporters of Comrade Omarova would have a rebuttal ready? So far, no comment.

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“The Best People” Strike Again! The Latest Trump Campaign Scandal

Trump lawyers

There is a legitimate “bombshell” story rapidly flashing across the news today. Its speed and prominence—specially on MSNBC and CNN, naturally— is explained by the fact that it can be used to attack and weaken Donald Trump, of whom the Axis remains justly terrified of having back in the White House (as should we all, though for other reasons). That the mainstream news media can barely restrain their glee and that Democrat partisan hacks will over-hype the revelation doesn’t make the story any less revolting. Nor does the fact that it should surprise no one.

The New York Times’ front page story reports…

“Two weeks after the 2020 election, a team of lawyers closely allied with Donald J. Trump held a widely watched news conference at the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington. At the event, they laid out a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming that a voting machine company had worked with an election software firm, the financier George Soros and Venezuela to steal the presidential contest from Mr. Trump….By the time the news conference occurred on Nov. 19, Mr. Trump’s campaign had already prepared an internal memo on many of the outlandish claims about the company, Dominion Voting Systems, and the separate software company, Smartmatic. The memo had determined that those allegations were untrue. The court papers, which were initially filed late last week as a motion in a defamation lawsuit brought against the campaign and others by a former Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, contain evidence that officials in the Trump campaign were aware early on that many of the claims against the companies were baseless. “The documents also suggest that the campaign sat on its findings about Dominion even as Sidney Powell and other lawyers attacked the company in the conservative media and ultimately filed four federal lawsuits accusing it of a vast conspiracy to rig the election against Mr. Trump.”

I try to limit the number of posts here commenting on obvious unethical conduct unless the conduct is extreme, unusual, or culturally significant. Of course the conduct of the Trump campaign was unethical, but it was also distressingly close to what Trump’s enemies have been saying about the January 6, 2020 riot, and, to make another more apt comparison, what the Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton and Deep State saboteurs within the government, attempted to accomplish with their contrived “Russian collusion” plot. The objective in both cases was to use false information to shake the American public’s faith in their own institutions and systems of government to justify seizing power illicitly.

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