Thank you, Glenn.
Thank you, Washington Post
Now somebody tell Black Lives Matter, all of the copycat activist groups, and all the progressive, pandering politicians, like Bernie Sanders, currently giving deference and respect to such groups that still tacitly use Dorian Johnson’s Big Lie in their literature and demonstrations. Somebody tell the Democratic National Committee, which endorses Black Lives Matters, shameless race-baiters that they are. Is the antecedent ambiguous? Never mind: race-baiters applies to both.
Most of all, somebody tell America’s African Americans, most of whom have been conditioned to believe the lie, and thus to believe that young Mike Brown was executed on the streets of Ferguson because he was black. They have been thus taught so they distrust whites, law enforcement and their nation, and so they will vote Democratic.
Here was the original debunking of the lie, in March. I’ve been tracking the lie since before then: it was evoked in Farrakhan’s march on Washington and in August’s Ferguson demonstration. In both cases, the news media soft-peddled the implicit endorsement of a vile falsehood for its value in spreading distrust, fear and hate. Continue reading
On August 8, political leaders, national activists and hundreds of people including Cornel West and the relatives of Eric Garner and Oscar Grant came to Ferguson, Missouri. They chanted, sang and marched in a vigil to commemorate the death of a young black man who was shot in the act of attacking a police officer, because a false account by one of the young man’s pals created racial division, began an unraveling of trust in police nation wide, ruined the police officer’s career, prompted attacks on the grand jury system, and launched a lie, “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!,” that dominated protests in many cities for months. There are many destroyed businesses and lost lives because of the events in Ferguson last year.
Why is anyone commemorating them?
Because, in this issue, facts don’t matter. Or “Facts Don’t Matter.” This will be a regular mantra on Ethics Alarms, until they do.
Activists urged the crowd not to let Brown’s death “be in vain.” What does that mean? Mike Brown threw his life away. He was no martyr, no hero. Can an ethical and positive movement be constructed on a false narrative and a phony hero?
Nope. Continue reading
At a “Movement for Black Lives” rally at Cleveland State University, a public institution, an announcement was made to the crowd that “this is a peoples of African descent space. If you are not of African descent please go to the outside of the circle immediately.” White reporter Brandon Blackwell retreated to the back of the crowd while being jeered by participants, as he was told by members of the crowd to stop filming, accused of being a white supremacist, and hands were held up in front of his camera. At one point as Blackwell demanded that those blocking his view not touch his camera, a participant in the rally confronted him by saying, “I got 800 black people behind me, what the fuck you going to do?” [The video is available here .]
I have ten questions for African American activists, progressives, Democrats, BlackLivesMatter supporters, Democratic presidential candidates, liberal pundits, Cleveland State University officials and anybody else who dares to consider them: Continue reading
Protests are an American tradition, with protective rights enshrined in the Constitution, and a distinguished legacy that includes the Boston Tea Party and Martin Luther King’s civil rights marches and rallies. They are also perhaps the most misused and abused device in national politics. Most of them are useless, many of them are stupid, and too many of them do tangible harm.
The Obama Administration’s crisis of the hour is the Ethics Trainwreck in Ferguson, Missouri, where a perfect storm arose when an an inept, distrusted and untrustworthy police force and a poor and frustrated African-American population clashed over the Rashomon shooting of an unarmed black teen. Now there are demonstrations every day in Ferguson; several people have been killed, and the demonstrations have spawned rioting and looting.
What is the purpose of all of this? It better be a good one, given its cost, and the protesters better be right. The problem is that the protesters can’t possibly be right at this point, because the facts aren’t known. We are told that the reason for the demonstrations is larger than mere anger over the shooting of Michael Brown; that it’s about police harassment, abuse and violence against African-Americans and their lack of accountability for it. That would only be a sustainable justification if in fact the death of Brown was an unequivocal, clear-cut example of the phenomenon being protested. It is not, not yet, and it may never be. So again the question has to be asked: is it ethical to be protesting in Ferguson at all? Continue reading
” I swear, you can do this in court. I saw it on “Ally McBeal”…
Holy crap! Here is a courtroom stunt you don’t see everyday…or ever.
The dramatic bribery trial of Rhode Island defense lawyer Donna Uhlmann and co-defendant Jamaal Dublin took a hard left turn into “Boston Legal” territory and beyond with the, well, creative closing argument of Dublin’s lawyer, Christopher T. Millea. It was so creative, he was nearly held in contempt of court.
“You see, all of this has to do with the throwing of feces,” said Millea, cleverly reminding the jury of the bizarre conduct of a key state witness who once threw his own excrement at a prison guard. “The state wants to throw as much against the wall to see what sticks, just like Michael Drepaul throwing his feces …”
With that introduction, Millea took two bean bags out of a box he had placed in front of the jury, and threw them at the courtroom door. Then he retrieved the turd stand-ins and placed them in another box near the door, and placed that box next to the one in front of the jury, which, it was later discovered, read “Reasonable doubt,” though only the jury could see the words. The first box was labelled, “State’s case.” Continue reading
It is never too late to recognize an Ethics Hero, and thanks to a recent retrospective by the BBC, Ethics Alarms can salute Keisha Thomas, who 17 years ago exhibited both courage and other outstanding ethical values like kindness, sacrifice, responsibility, empathy and valor, by coming to the rescue of a man who would never have done the same for her.
In 1996, Keshia Thomas was just 18. The Ku Klux Klan held a rally in her home town, Ann Arbor, Michigan, then as now a college town and a bastion of liberalism. Predictably and as planned by the KKK, plenty of local protesters gathered to jeer the white robed marchers and to show their contempt.Thomas stood with a group of anti-KKK demonstrators on the other side of a security fence, as police in riot gear positioned themselves between the angry demonstrators and the Klan members. One of the anti-Klan counter-demonstrators spotted a white, middle-aged man with an SS tattoo on his arm and wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt standing among the spectators. “There’s a Klansman in the crowd!” she shouted into her megaphone, and a group of protesters began to chase him, shouting threats and “Kill the Nazi!” He was knocked to the ground, and the group, now a mob, began kicking him and hitting him with wooden bases of their placards.
Thomas, an African-American girl still in high school, came to his rescue. She forced herself between the mob and their victim, fell to her knees, draped herself over him and became his shield, saving the stranger from serious injury. Continue reading
Supreme Court protests: pointless when anyone else organizes them, unethical when the White House organizes them.
I was stunned by the news reports of the White House organizing pro-Obamacare demonstrations outside the Supreme Court, and then found myself stunned that I was stunned.
It should have been obvious to all, which includes me, that President Obama and Democratic supporters of Obamacare were so determined to pass this mess that it stopped mattering to them long ago what democratic and constitutional principles were nicked, warped, distorted and violated in the process. This should be obvious regardless of whether one likes the final product (as if anyone knows what that really is, even today—principle nicked: transparent government).
The final bill was passed with a series of legislative maneuvers that had never been mustered all in the support of one controversial bill (principle warped: process and representative democracy); it was built on an expansion of Congressional power the is either unconstitutional or a frightening slippery slope (principle distorted: individual freedom); the individual mandate was (and is) simultaneously sold to the public as not being a tax while argued to the courts as one (principle violated: honesty and integrity), the Congressional Budget Office’s verdict was obtained using accounting tricks and deceitful projections (principle nicked: fairness); and misrepresentation was the norm on both sides of the debate (principles violated: respect for the public; candor, transparency and honesty). Now that the President is already campaigning for re-election and the health care law remains his signature accomplishment—if you consider it that and not a fiasco—the White House has made it clear that, while it may not be fair to say it will stop at nothing to save it, what it won’t stop at to protect the measure is a damning indictment of its integrity.
From the New York Times, one of the few non-conservative media sources to cover the story: Continue reading
“… while Occupy Boston protesters may be exercising their expressive rights during their protest, they have no privilege under the First Amendment to seize and hold the land on which they sit… ‘Occupation’ speaks of boldness, outrage, and a willingness to take personal risk but it does not carry the plaintiffs’ professed message. Essentially, it is viewed as a hostile act, an assertion of possession against the rights of another. The act of occupation, this court has determined as a matter of law, is not speech. Nor is it immune from criminal prosecution for trespass or other crimes.”
—Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances A. McIntyre, in a 25 page decision lifting the temporary restraining order that has blocked Boston officials from forcibly dismantling Occupy Boston’s encampment by declaring that mere occupation does not constitute “speech” within the First Amendment.
Well, of course.
Occupying property, public or private, and preventing rightful owners or those who should also have access to do likewise is hostile, and has been from the beginning. “Boldness, outrage, and a willingness to take personal risk” pretty much defines all the Occupy movement has been able to communicate clearly, its more substantive positions being a matter of some dispute, or changing according to tactical needs.
Too many municipal leaders, their political biases and yellow streaks showing, have been reluctant to make this obvious and necessary point in order to toady to hard-left voting blocks and cynical Democratic operatives who think the Occupiers bolster the class warfare theme that seems to be the agreed-upon 2012 electoral strategy. But as public annoyance with the endless occupations wore on (and the novelty wore off), the yellow streaks worked against the demonstrators. They are going to have to find some other way of “speaking” besides sitting around.
A well-reasoned, articulate and rational position would be nice.
I began work on a protest code of ethics a decade ago, periodically putting it aside, then adding to it, subtracting from it, and refining it. I regard the current version as a work in progress still, but the discussion here regarding the “Occupy” movement prompted me to complete this initial final draft, at least. This is the first time it has been published.
It has been a source of continuing amazement to me that there was no such Code had been proposed previously, or none that I could locate. When an activity such as organized protesting, activity that is obviously rich with ethical dangers and the potential for excess, does not have proposed or established ethical standards of conduct, the reason is usually that nobody wants to be limited by ethical considerations or to be held accountable for misconduct. I strongly suspect that is the case here. Well, too bad. Now we have proposed standards with which to measure the ethical nature of protests. Whether these 25 principles are the first or the last, or just begin the discussion and inspire something better, is of no import. They open the discussion. It’s time.
The Protest Code of Ethics
A. Guiding principles
All participants in protests and demonstrations should recognize and respect the important role lawful assemblies for the purpose of airing grievances and advocating change and reform have played in the history of the nation and civilization, must strive to uphold the best of that tradition by upholding these ethical principles. A protest without leadership and objectives is only a mob, and a protest without discipline and respect for others is a riot.
B. Public protests
Any protest involving demonstrations or other public conduct… Continue reading