Evening Clean-Up On The Ethics Aisle, 4/7/2022: “Yecchh!”

April 7 is a really bad ethics date. In 1994, the worst episode of genocide since World War II was triggered in Rawanda, resulting in the massacre of between 500,000 to 1 million civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Rwandan forces even managed to avoid significant international intervention after the murder of ten Belgian peacekeeping officers: the Tutsis, a minority population that made up about 10% of Rwanda’s population, were never deemed important enough to be rescued by the international community. (Yes, the United Nations has been fearful, negligent, and in this case, racist, for a long time now.) The U.N. did eventually admit that a mere 5,000 soldier peace keeping force could have stopped the slaughter at the start.

That was big of the U.N.

Let’s send them more money.

The genocide’s seeds were planted the early 1990s when President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, began using anti-Tutsi rhetoric to consolidate his power . What followed were several massacres, killing hundreds of Tutsis. The government and army assembled the “Interahamwe” (meaning “those who attack together”) and armed Hutus with guns and machetes for the explicit purpose of wiping the Tutsis out. On April 6, 1994, President Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down. In response, Hutu extremists in the military began murdering Tutsis within hours. Belgian peacekeepers were killed the next day, and the U.N’s reaction was…

It bravely pulled its forces from Rwanda. Thousands of innocent people were hacked to death with machetes by their neighbors, but the international community, and notably the United States, took no action to stop the genocide. An estimated 75 % of the Tutsis living in Rwanda had been murdered. Bill Clinton later called America’s failure to intervene “the biggest regret” of his administration.

At least it beat out Monica.

1. They are still trying to excuse Will Smith and blame Chris Rock! Surprised? There were two additions to the canon today. The New York Times featured an absurd piece called “The Slap, Hair and Black Women.” A sample: Continue reading

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

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Reflections, 1/7/22: Two-Day Jan. 6 Hangover Edition”

I don’t know if it’s necessary to de-bunk the absurd claim by Kamala Harris and others that the January 6, 2021 riot was an existential threat to the nation and on par in historical significance to the bombing of the Twin Towers and the attack on Pearl Harbor, much less the claim by the Huffington Post’s White House correspondent that it was “1000 times worse.” Regarding that astounding assertion, I asked, “How can anyone justify or explain that, except as uncontrolled Trump Derangement or deliberate false narrative building?”

But Steve-O-in-NJ decided to explain in detail just how bats this fake narrative is, and I deem it a worthy Comment of the Day for several reasons. First, there may be some readers here who believe the nonsense. Second, I am habitually shocked at just what garbage even intelligent people will accept as true, so I am inclined not to assume that even this self-evident crap won’t pollute some minds. Third, I’m feeling sick today, and should probably be in bed, so I was hoping for a COTD-worthy piece. Fourth, almost no one is commenting today, even fewer than usual on a Saturday, so maybe Steve’s passion will draw fire where I have failed.

Finally, Steve-O was unfairly attacked over the past few days by a nasty bridge-level troll here unearthed by the “echo chamber” survey, and I allowed the jerk to run amuck far too long before banning him/it and sending his worthless comments to Spam Hell.

So here is Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Reflections, 1/7/22: Two-Day Jan. 6 Hangover Edition.Abbondanza!

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9/11 – the Twin Towers destroyed, the Pentagon badly damaged, 2,977 people killed, including 343 firemen, 72 law enforcement officers, 8 medics, 55 members of the military, 8 children. Victims and first responders alike are still dying of related illnesses. Result: the War on Terror.

Pearl Harbor – 188 military aircraft destroyed on the ground or shot down, five battleships sunk or disabled, three others damaged, 8 other vessels damaged. 2,403 people killed, including 2,008 sailors (1,177 of those on the USS Arizona), 218 soldiers and airmen, 109 marines, and 9 Honolulu firemen who came in to help. Result: American entrance into WW2.

Fort Sumter, April 1861 – no one was killed, but the result was the opening of the Civil War, 600,000, Americans all, killed, and a wound opened which apparently still hasn’t healed, although a lot of us thought it had.

Assault on Washington, August 1814 – unknown number killed, the destruction of much of the public buildings, including the gutting of the White House and severe damage to the Capitol.

Assault on Hampden, ME, September 1814 – only one killed and a few others wounded, two American towns burned to the ground by UK Captain Robert Barrie, who said that he’d have been within his rights to massacre the inhabitants.

Manhattan Draft Riots, July, 1863 – 120 killed, riots crushed.

Bonus Army, July, 1932 – 2, possibly more killed, demonstration dispersed.

Occupy Movement, 2011 – 32 killed, achieved nothing.

Kent State – 4 killed.

George Floyd Riots – 58 people dead (I think), billions in property damage.

Compare this to one rioter shot dead by a police officer and no major damage done last year.

Now we can also talk about occupations – the 2011 attempted takeover of the Wisconsin State Capitol in opposition to a budget repair bill that Governor Scott Walker pushed, which was crushed with no concessions, the Occupy movement, which accomplished nothing except maybe getting a lot of millennials to move out of their parents’ basements (hopefully mom and dad immediately changed the locks), and oh yes, the assaults on both the Senate and the Supreme Court during the Kavanaugh hearings. Funny…each of those times the media sided with the protestors, not the authorities. After all, those times it was all oppression of their good buddies in the Democratic Party and the professional protest community getting stepped on. This time it was a bunch of brainless, fat, toothless (ever notice how conservatives are always supposed to have bad teeth?) yahoos attacking the Capitol and putting their pals in the Squad in danger. It never once struck them as ironic that this time they were strongly against the same behavior their pink pussy hat wearing friends had committed not even four years earlier. Continue reading

Responsibility For The January 6 Capitol Riot, Part I

It is certainly appropriate to analyze and carefully consider the context and causes of the January 6 riot. Doing so, however, does not require the extended hyping, spin and deceit that we have been subjected to by Democrats, Trump-o-phobics and the news media for a full year, culminating in a contrived “anniversary” today. Over the past year, we have heard absurd comparisons of the one day riot to the bombings of September 11, 2001, Pearl Harbor, and maybe Darth Vader’s destruction of Alderaan—I don’t know, I didn’t read every hysterical screed on the topic.

Today’s retrospective overkill in the New York Times, for example, occupies four full pages in the A Section, with seven of the 24 containing at least one riot-related article. Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into World War II, crippled the Pacific fleet and cost almost 3000 lives. 9/11 ushered in a new era of struggles against Muslim terrorists, also took 3000 lives, and profoundly affected the economy, privacy, civil liberties and politics. And January 6? It provided Democrats with a useful narrative to use to try to neutralize Donald Trump, and opened a new door to criminalizing the Right. The riot never threatened to overturn the election results at any point. It never even delayed the Congressional certification of those results, nor could it.

The motivation behind this orgy of narrative framing is clear: Democrats, progressives and the media are terrified that they are headed for an epic (and oh-so-richly deserved) wipe-out in the 2022 mid-term elections, and the only weapons they appear to have in their arsenal are fear-centered: fear of the end of “democracy” (meaning Democratic Party rule), fear of Trump, and fear of “the deplorables,” with fear of climate change thrown in for variety. It is a massive, shameless, relentless, desperate propaganda effort, divisive, dishonest, thoroughly despicable, and, of course, unethical.

Nonetheless, it would be helpful to examine the reasons the January 6 riot occurred, and I find it incredible that I haven’t seen a single balanced and ethically objective analysis anywhere. Typical of what I have seen is yesterday’s op-ed by The New republic’s contributing editor Osita Nwanvetu. The Times headlined it using a rare form of dishonesty, advancing a lie by denying the lie: “Trump Isn’t The Only One To Blame.” Trump certainly shares a large portion of responsibility for the riot, but since he neither led the mob to the Capitol nor participated in the riot himself, he obviously wasn’t the “only one to blame.” But the politicians and “journalists” who are terrified of him have worked tirelessly to embed that false impression.

Who and what are “to blame” for the ugly events of a year ago? Who isn’t at fault? Here is the Ethics Alarms list. If you know of another equally non-partisan and unbiased analysis, please let me know. I haven’t seen it.

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Dusky Ethics, 1/5/2022: Of Capitol Punishment And Other Things

Yesterday was the anniversary of one of The Boston Strangler’s more audacious murders: Albert DeSalvo (right, above) raped and strangled Mary Sullivan in her Boston apartment, then left a card reading “Happy New Year” leaning against her foot. She was the 13th and last victim of the maniac who terrified the Boston area between 1962 and 1964. I had a near meeting with DeSalvo: in 1964, he knocked on the door of my family’s neighbors, the Morelands, one afternoon. I saw him; of course, I didn’t know who he was or why he was there. It turned out that he had the wrong address, and went to the street parallel to ours in Arlington, Mass. and murdered the woman who lived at the same house number.

DeSalvo was a serial maniac. In the late 1950s, he knocked on the doors of young women’s apartments, claiming to represent a modeling agency and telling them he needed to take their measurements. Then he fondled the women as he used his tape measure. Police called him “Measuring Man.” Next he broke into hundreds of apartments in New England, tying up the women and sexually assaulting them. He always wore green handyman clothes and became known as the “Green Man.” But “The Boston Strangler” was the name that stuck. DeSalvo avoided execution or even the full life sentence F. Lee Bailey negotiated for him. He was stabbed to death by an  inmate at Walpole State Prison after less  than a decade behind bars.

Richard Ramirez, aka.”The Night Stalker,” was, amazingly, worse than DeSalvo; last night I watched a documentary about his reign of terror in the ’80s. A Satanist, Ramirez murdered at least 15 people, committed burglaries and rapes, and sexually molested children. He remained defiant throughout his trial, and though he was sentenced to death, California’s endless appeals system kept him alive, at great taxpayer expense, long enough to perish of cancer after less than twenty years in prison.

Both DeSalvo and Ramirez are excellent examples of the kind of anti-social predators who warrant society having and using a death penalty to establish the ultimate punishment for those who have unequivocally forfeited their right to exist in civilized society. For people like them, capitol punishment is ethical. Allowing them to live on society’s dime is unethical, as well as unjust.

1. To lighten the mood, consider this public service spot by Hawaii’s Department of Health. “Keiki” is Hawaiian for “child.”

Yes, this is the level of awareness so many of our state bureaucracies exhibit. The thing was actually greenlighted. After it had been viewed many times, the video was pulled. “As soon as I saw it this morning, I thought, ‘Hey guys, let’s pull this,’ ” Brooks Baehr of Hawaii’s DOH told reporters. “The intentions were noble, but it was clearly not our best work.”

Boy, I hope it wasn’t their best work. With thinking like this going on in our health departments, no wonder the pandemic is still with us. Continue reading

Ethics Alarms On The New York Times’ “Most Important Debates” Of 2021, Part 2

Part I set some kind of Ethics Alarms record for reader disinterest, which I much admit, I don’t understand. These are all topics we have covered in some detail here over the last year, and the analysis of them by the alleged “newspaper of record’s” experts is, to say the least, perverse and revealing…yet the post’s first installment inspired just a single comment. Well, the Times’ take on the remaining issues are arguably worse. I find it fascinating, anyway. Here’s the rest of the highlights…

Can we save the planet?

It is embarrassing for a supposedly respectable news organization to frame an issue in such a hysterical and intentionally fear-mongering manner, which assumes one side of a debate is correct without reflection of nuance. The Times’ author on this topic, Farhad Manjoo, is a tech reporter, not an expert on climatology, so he has been given a platform to opine on something he doesn’t understand sufficiently to discuss reliably. On the topic of climate change, this is, sadly, typical. His article contains the kind of sentence midway through that would normally make me stop reading because of the bias, spin, hyperbole and mendacity: “During the Trump years — as the United States tore up international climate deals and flood and fire consumed swaths of the globe — unrestrained alarm about the climate became the most cleareyed of takes.”

There were no “climate deals,” just unenforceable virtue-signaling and posturing like the Paris Accords; the link between present day “flood and fire” and climate change is speculative at best, and unrestrained alarm is never “cleareyed,’ especially when those alarmed, like Manjoo, couldn’t read a climate model if Mr. Rogers was there explaining it. Then, after telling us that the Trump years were a prelude to doom, he says that since 2014, things are looking up. Much of what he calls “bending the needle” occurred under Trump.

Should the Philip Roth biography have been pulled?

This one is so easy and obvious that the fact that the Times thinks it deserves special attention is itself a tell. The answer is “Of course not!,” as an Ethics Alarms post explained. An absolutely competent biography was pulled by its publisher, W.W. Norton, never to be in print again, because its author, who had written other acclaimed biographies, was in the process of being “cancelled” for allegations of sexual misconduct toward women. I wrote,

“…[P]ublisher W.W. Norton sent a memo to its staff announcing that it will permanently take Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth out of print, as a result of allegations that Bailey sexually assaulted multiple women and also behaved inappropriately toward his students when he was an eighth grade English teacher.

If that sentence makes sense to you, The Big Stupid has you by the brain stem.

It apparently makes sense to the Times, although its review of the matter doesn’t answer its own question. Why not? This is also obvious: as journalists, the idea that what a writer writes should be judged by what a writer’s personal life has involved is anathema, but the Times’ readers are so woke that the paper would dare not say so. Integrity! Continue reading

Hillary’s Unethical Lawyer Has An Unethical Plan To Keep The House Democratic

Machiavelli

It is increasingly looking like Marc Elias, the chief lawyer architect of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s efforts to manufacture baseless suspicion that Donald Trump and his campaign “colluded” with the Russians to tilt the 2016 election, may face legal and ethical consequences for his role. We shall see: the investigation’s results are still being analyzed. Meanwhile, Elias is unrepentant and still devising ways to assist his favorite political party ( he has been often called the most prominent Democratic attorney in America ) with strategies for which “dubious” is a compliment.

Behold this tweet by Elias from this week:

Elias tweet

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So Fox News Hosts Wanted President Trump To “Stop The Jan. 6 Riot”…So What?

text messages

Why is this news? Why is this being used as evidence of anything by the partisan kangaroo court posing as a House select committee investigating the events of January 6? Text messages by Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade and Sean Hannity were read aloud by Rep. Liz Cheney during last night’s hearing. Who cares?

“According to the records, multiple Fox News hosts knew the president needed to act immediately,” Cheney said. “They texted Mark Meadows, and he has turned over those texts.” Fox News propagandists Ingraham, Hannity and Brian Kilmeade all wanted Meadows to make some kind of exhortation to the rioters. Kilmeade, who co-hosts the nauseating “Fox & Friends,” called upon Meadows e to “please get him [that is, Trump] on TV” because the riot was “destroying everything you have accomplished.” Hannity wanted Trump to “make a statement” and “ask people to leave the Capitol.” “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” host Laura Ingraham texted Meadows. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”

Well…

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A Musical Ethics Quiz: D.C.’s Biased Jailer

Landerkin fuck

There’s really nothing special about this tweet from a woman named Kathleen Landerkin. I have friends and relatives who might tweet the same sentiments, if they were, you know, vulgar, uncivil clods. They aren’t, fortunately: I don’t consort with vulgar, uncivil clods. However, the tweet above is significant, because Ms. Landerkin is the current Correctional Training Facility (CTF) Deputy Warden at the Department of Corrections in the District of Columbia, and thus assists in overseeing day to day operations, inmate transportation, and case management at the D.C. Jail. The D.C. Jail is where Donald Trump supporting participants in the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol are being kept.

Landerkin has been wildly vocal abut her hatred of al things related to Donald Trump, especially his supporters, and has been tweeting rants and nasty messages about those she creatively calls “deplorables” for years. One of the more provocative comments was this one, from 2018:

landerkin-white-people-extinct

Why should anyone care? Well, she has power over the January 6 inmates, and this degree of hostility, which could be fairly called demented, calls into legitimate question her ability to do her job fairly. Or does it? Literally dozens of over-heated tweets were uncovered by an enterprising social media sleuth, so Landerkin took down her account…but not before he reduced them to a video.

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The 111th Rationalization: “Tom’s Delusion”

Tom’s Delusion, or “Everyone agrees with me!” is unique in the annals of Ethics Alarms. The latest addition to the rationalizations list was inspired by banned commenter of short duration here, but I genuinely intend the title as a sincere honor: it really is a useful rationalization, and I would not have realized it had “Tom” made, as one of his last annoying comments before he quit in a huff, this assertion to support his claim that the January 6, 2020 riot at the Capitol was a seminal event in U.S. history, of the same magnitude, or close to it, as the terrorism of 9/11, as he attempted to counter the observations of Steve-O-in NJ (and others, including me) that this is a contrived Democratic talking point without basis in fact or logic:

“Well the majority of the country disagrees with you.”

And there it was!

1E. Tom’s Delusion, or “Everyone agrees with me!”

Tom’s Delusion is another point where the rationalization list intersects with logical fallacies. #1E is a particularly foolish version of the Appeal to Authority fallacy, which is bad enough when the user believes that the fact that someone of note has adopted his or her position is evidence of the dubious position’s validity.

Using the argument that a position, belief or action is correct or defensible using “everyone” as the authority appealed to is infinitely worse. First, it is based on a lie: “everybody” doesn’t agree on anything. Of course, in its common use, “everybody” is  shorthand for “most people” or in Tom’s case, “the majority,” which is why this rationalization is under #1, “Everybody Does It.” Even if it was literally true that “everybody” believes something, that is not proof, evidence or even a coherent argument. “Everybody” used to believe the world was flat. Most people are lazy, apathetic, poorly educated and ignorant: what the majority of such people may believe creates problems, but it is certainly is not evidence one can rationally to rely on.

Indeed, when the mob agrees with you, it’s a strong indication that you need to reexamine your beliefs.

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