What Destruction Of Public Art? What Slippery Slope?

I woke up today wondering  whether those who blindly applaud the carnage of the George Floyd Freakout are lying, frightened or ignorant. The late post last night on Commentary Magazine’s manifesto quickly attracted a comment from Rationalization #64 Land, where John Yoo’s Rationalization, “It isn’t what it is,” holds sway. Implicitly denying the editors’ substantive list of the mob’s acts, “Adam” wrote in part,  “Art must be propagandist or be chopped away? (What art? Where? Who? Propagandist? How?)”

The growing movement to “chop away” at the memorials and statues to men, women and events whose interaction with history and culture no longer conform to what most or many Americans consider admirable (or politically correct) has been growing for years, with the clash of protesters in Charlottesville over a Robert E. Lee statue being only the most publicized of incidents around the country. “What art?” If a citizen is so ignorant of current events,  he shouldn’t be registering an opinion until he educates himself.

Almost on cue (protesters have been very accommodating of late in confirming past Ethics Alarms analysis), a George Floyd mob in D.C. pulled down a perplexing piece of public art, the statue of Albert Pike (above), an obscure Confederate diplomat and general who wrote alternate, bellicose, lyrics to “Dixie.” Writing this morning about why the D.C. police stood by and permitted the vandalism, Althouse wrote,

[W]hy isn’t mainstream media delving into the details of why the police are not acting to protect city artworks and to restore order? Where’s the journalism?! My hypothesis is that the media want to help Joe Biden get elected, so they’re presenting a rosy picture of the protests and refraining from any negativity about the Democratic politicians who control the cities where the disorder rages. I’m sure the journalists realize that at some point the majority of Americans will prioritize their interest in law and order, but — I imagine — they hope to hold us back from that tipping point.

The second question I am musing on is when and whether there will be that tipping point, or if, in the alternative, a critical mass of oblivious or dishonest “Adams”  will keep the public somnolent until it’s too late to tip, with disastrous consequences. Continue reading

Senator Kaine’s Slavery Speech: A Farce In Four Acts

ACT I

During Senator Tim Kaine’s remarks yesterday on the Senate floor (actually, since this post concerns the use of words and accountability thereof, I guess I should clarify: he wasn’t speaking about the floor. Nobody talks about the floor in the Senate) as the Virginia Democrat addressed the issue of police department accountability , he uttered this remarkable passage:

“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. They were slaves. They had been captured against their will. But they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery. There were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time. The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it. It got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states. It got created by the court systems in colonial America,We created it.”

“We” did not “create” slavery. There is no rational dispute on this point. Even if Kaine was  saying that Virginia, his state, created slavery, that’s not true either. The colony of Virginia is not “we”: it is not the state of Virginia, and it is not the United States of America. “We” used here is transparent white guilt peddling by Kaine, and it is inaccurate.

That transgression, however pales by contrast to the head-scratching statement that “we” created slavery. Of course the United States didn’t create slavery: slavery existed before the United States did. (Nor did slavery create the United States, which is the discredited and intellectually dishonest thesis of the New York Times’ “1619 Project.” which somehow won a Pulitzer Prize for its “creator,” Nikole Hannah-Jones , who, like Kaine, was just making stuff up.) The United States certainly did inherit slavery from somebody (that makes two words in this bizarre passage that Kaine either deliberately misapplies or doesn’t know what they mean): the U.S. inherited slavery from the colonies, which had inherited them from Great Britain.

In the 17th century, the British colonists (and the colonists of other European nations)  used African slaves in North America rather than  European indentured servants. Althoughit didn’t “create” slavery either, Spain, not “we,” probably deserves credit for introducing (but still not “creating”) the commerce of slavery in the Americas. (Native Americans practiced slavery long before Europeans arrived.) Historians estimate approximately 6 million to 7 million enslaved people were taken to North America before the United States’ founding. Inherit, the description that Kaine rejects, is an apt word: the colonies inherited slavery from its European owners.

It’s not unfair to expect a U.S. Senator from Virginia to be familiar with the Declaration of Independence. Why did Thomas Jefferson, who authored the first draft of the the founding document,  condemn King George III over England’s participation in the slave trade if his own colony “created it”? Tom wrote,

“He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain.”

After intense debate, the Second Continental Congress removed Jefferson’s passage condemning slavery, thus setting up the conflict that metastasized into the Civil War, but allowing the Declaration to receive the indispensable support of the slave-holding colonies, which were, like the other colonies then, part of the British Empire.

Conclusion: Senator Kaine’s statement that the United States “created slavery” was untrue by any historical and linguistic measure. It was either dishonest, stupid, or ignorant, and there is no defending it. He was engaging in U.S. bashing, because that’s what the George Floyd mob’s purpose is, and his Party is along for the ride.

ACT II Continue reading

Today’s “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Note

Honestly, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by constantly writing about the news media’s toxic, destructive, self-destructive partisan bias. The problem is that the horse isn’t dead, and that once fair and intelligent people, millions of them, stare at the stinking, rotting, whinnying and snarling zombie carcass, and then will look you in the eye and tell you the beast is ready to run in the Preakness. This continues to be amazing to me, but also increasingly infuriating. We are far past the guilty beyond a reasonable doubt stage, and even the beyond all doubt stage, and yet they persist in increasingly unsupported denial. So I am forced to keep producing the carcass, and hoping against hope that somehow, a bolt of clarity, or integrity, or disgust, or something, will stir these sad, brain-washed  people to awareness, and they will finally exclaim, “Oh my GOD! That thing is disgusting!” And I am dedicated to keep hauling these repetitive smoking guns to the top of the pile, until that miracle occurs.

The now blazing and audacious conspiracy by the mainstream media to refuse—just refuse, that’s all!—to report on Joe Biden’s #MeToo accuser is, or should be, another piece of conclusive evidence. The New York Times interview of its won editor was as smoky a gun as there is, but there is so much more.

In 2018, when Christine Blasey-Ford accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of a suddenly (and conveniently) remembered sexual assault while the two were in high school, CNN put out seven articles the same day that the news became public. After that, it was “Katie bar the door!’ wherever that old expression came from. Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist did a search, and behold! CNN did more than 700 articles about the Blasey-Ford allegations, this in addition to the hundreds of hours of televised discussions on the topic.

Hemingway links to many of the headlines. She writes, Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“As I’ve said many times on this blog, I think election results deserve respect, Democrats have failed to accept that they lost an election and that those who won deserve their victory, and those who were disappointed should be focusing on winning the next election, not undoing to results of the election they lost. Democrats need to turn back from the precipice. They need to give up the drama and hysteria about Trump and show that they are more stable and responsible than Trump. A “no” vote on the impeachment proceedings will only happen if Democrats — some of them — have the sense to say “no.”

—-Ann Althouse, iconoclastic Wisconsin law professor/social commentator/ blogger, in a post this morning.

[Before I start, let me interject that “I think election results deserve respect” is revolting equivocation, and credible commentators should avoid it. In this nation, in this system, in a democracy, election results deserve respect. ]

As frequent readers hear know, I quote or refer to Althouse more frequently than any other web commentator (George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley is a close second) now that Ken White at Popehat has moved on to greener pastures. Her post today, “What I can’t figure out and what really interests me is why today feels different” explains why, at least to me. In the  matter of Donald Trump’s election and the reaction to it by the  Axis of Unethical Conduct (AUC) that I last discussed here, Althouse almost exactly mirrors my analysis, and reveals that she occupies a similar position for making it. I have one up on Ann, I think, because while I almost voted for Hillary Clinton out of my unshakeable (actually it has been a bit shaken now, if not stirred) contempt for Donald Trump, she actually did despite matching my distrust and dislike of Hillary Clinton. In the post containing today’s Ethics Quote of the Week, she reveals why I was right and she was wrong.

The Democratic Party proved to me in late October of 2016 that it seeks power over all else, and no longer possesses a sufficient commitment to American values, our fundamental principles, or our institutions that can compete with that obsession. This means that not only can the party and its members not be trusted, it means that it is actively corrupting the American public and will continue to do so unless and until something makes it change both its strategic and its ideological course.

That Ann still thinks there is any chance at all of the party doing so now shows that she still can’t bring herself to accept the frightening reality that the AUC is willing to destroy the nation to save it. In that respect, I’m still ahead of her, perhaps because the professor is so emotionally committed to being neutral that she cannot accept that the time for neutrality has past when the responsible choice is unavoidable, or ought to be. Continue reading

Joe Biden’s Eye

“Joe Biden’s eye just started bleeding? This isn’t a joke what in the hell just happened,” tweeted one individual who for some reason had nothing better to do than to watch CNN’s “climate change town meeting.” Indeed it had, and in some universes, like social media, this was the big story of the night. The Washington Times and Washington Examiner reported it; so did Fox News and The New York Post.  If you couldn’t figure it out from those clues, it was the conservative news media that thought this was an event worth knowing about. In the parallel an corrupt universe of the mainstream news media—you know, the ones determined to  influence the election so Donald Trump is a one-term President? That one?—it was “Eye? What eye?”

The New York Times hasn’t mentioned it yet. On Memeorandum, the useful news aggregator that I thought was non-partisan but now I’m wondering, didn’t have a single link about it. Even CNN, which hosted the debate, ignored the moment. I couldn’t believe it, so I searched for “eye” in the debate coverage  on the CNN website, and got only “At times, candidates waged a bidding war to show liberal activists their plan was the most audacious — and even expensive. But with an eye on November 2020, others warned against throwing the economy out of the window.” The story was headlined “What happened during CNN’s climate town hall and what it means for 2020,” so as far as CNN is concerned, nothing happened. Politico, the left-leaning website, at least alluded to the eye by joking, “Even the shallow matter of what we now call “optics” went badly for Biden. He chose to sit through his appearance—Harris, Sanders, and Warren all stood—and by the end of it, a burst blood vessel in his left eye was noticeable.” Optics, get it? AOL, which I would call anti-Trump, distingished itself by importing coverage from the Wrap headlined, “Biden’s mysterious bloody eye overshadows CNN climate town hall.”

Wait: how could something “overshadow” the event, and simultaneously not be worthy of news coverage? Continue reading

Insomnia Ethics Dump, 8/19/2019 (at 3:16 am): What Keeps Me Up At Night

Hi.

So depressing to observe the reactions of the Facebook Borg to my post about Elizabeth Warren’s self-outing as a lying demagogue. They couldn’t process it; they put their metaphorical fingers in their ears and hummed; they attacked the messenger (me); they channeled the generally-derided Politifact whitewashing of the “Mike Brown was murdered” lie. One lawyer friend apparent deep-dived Ethics Alarms to try to  find a post that would contradict my position regarding Warren (and Kamala Harris). She couldn’t, but pretended she had by metaphorically waving an essay in which I applauded a man acquitted of murder by reason of insanity who later admitted to others that he had killed someone when he was younger and insane. (I can’t find the damn thing myself.)  She then called me a liar and a hypocrite, because I had described the man as a murderer when he was innocent in the eyes of the law. A lawyer made this argument, mind you. I explained, not too nicely, that her analogy was idiotic, since there was no murder and no crime in the Brown case, so law prof Warren’s calling it either was dishonest and indefensible, while in the case of the recovered madman, there was a murder, a crime, and a murder victim. Though the acknowledged killer he was fortunate enough to have committed his crime in a state that holds the insane unaccountable, that fact didn’t change the act or the  crime.

I don’t know why I bothered. Warren fans, like Bernie Bros, appear to be completely immune to facts and reality.

1.  Why is there such a compulsion to corrupt the innocent, even the fictional innocent? I was hardly an admirer of those late 60s and 70s Sid and Marty Kroft Saturday Morning TV shows with people dressed in huge, garish thing-costumes and being relentlessly cheery. You know the ones: “H.R. Puffnstuff,” “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour,” “Lidsville”—those. In addition to being assaultive and unfunny, they also inspired Barney, for which the Krofts should never be forgiven.

Still, lots of kids loved the shows and characters, and they should be able to cherish those memories. Hollywood, however, seems determined to debase everything it can, especially fond memories, either by sexualizing them or making them dark, or both. (The re-boot of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Riverdale,” the series based on the “Archie” comics, are cases in point.) Now we have the new in which are re-imagined as murderous psychopaths.

Nice. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace”

I want to apologize to the legitimate Comments of the Day that are still waiting on the runway, but this one ticked me off. If you want to know why we don’t get more progressive perspective around here, it’s because I end up dinging submissions like this using the Ethics Alarms Stupidity Rule. However, a first time commenter named Mike Fitzgerald offered this, and I decided it was worth highlighting because it has all the features of the average missive from the Left. Mike says he’s not a liberal, so I will take him at his word. His assertion, however,  that President Trump is a “would-be dictator” is signature significance for a non-liberal who doesn’t have the historical knowledge, perspective or awareness not to swallow  “resistance” Big Lies whole.

In truth, the “dictator”smear has been used against many Presidents by political opponents, always when they use their legitimate powers to seek ends the opponents object to. Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, TR, and FDR are prominent among the so-accused. Such Presidents, whatever their virtues and deficits otherwise, are known as strong Presidents. The opposition always hates strong Presidents, and tries to use fear-mongering to undermine them.

But you have to know some Presidential history to realize this.

Here’s Mike’s comment, in response toUnethical Quote Of The Month: MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace,” to be followed immediately by my restrained reply to it.

In honesty the point(s) raised about Wallace are valid but Trump supporters pretend the Fox is a balanced unbiased news agency, None of you mentioned Hannity or Shapiro or the three geniuses on the morning couch. Very selective memories to support a would be dictator.

PS. I am not a liberal

My reply: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace

“What can we do better for those of us covering your candidacies far away from where the first votes will be cast in Iowa and New Hampshire?”

—MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, to former “It” candidate Beto O’Rourke regarding his campaign for the democratic party nomination to run against Donald Trump.

Later, she told Beto, “I’ll leave you with some free advice. Grab Garrett [Haake], who is NBC’s correspondent on your campaign and tell him what’s on your mind. If you don’t like the coverage, you can change it. You’re the candidate.”

Funny, I don’t think President Trump was ever told that when he was running in 2016.

This, I think, is how the blatant and intensifying mainstream media bias will eventually blow up what’s left of American political journalism. Reporters will become so used to supporting the Left and pursuing their own progressive agendas that they won’t even try to hide it. Firmly in their own bubble, they will gradually forget that there is something to hide.

Oh—do I need to point out that in ethical journalism the subject doesn’t get to dictate to the reporter? Or that a reporter should not seek the approval of a subject regarding how he or she is covered? I hope not.

If reporters reveal such unethical collaboration with campaigns and candidates on national TV, what do you think goes on behind the scenes?

This episode once again raises a conundrum I’ve mentioned before. Do the Democrats and progressives who continue to argue, often condescendingly, that the perception of mainstream media bias is all in the minds of conservatives really believe it,  are they really so deluded and biased themselves that they can’t see what is so obvious, or are they deliberately aiding media manipulation by a strategy of continuous denial?

Please Shake This Story In The Faces Of All Those Who Say That Islam Is A Religion Of Peace And Poses No Special Problems For A Democratic Nation And Culture

Muslim leaders in Philadelphia apologized Wednesday after video emerged of children speaking in Arabic about beheading Jews at an event at a Philadelphia Islamic center last month.

The Muslim American Society’s Philadelphia chapter acknowledged ownership of the “mistake” in a statement, Israel Hayom reports.

“Over the last decade our members have poured their soul and resources to create a harmonious, peaceful and engaged community,” the statement said. “We are very sad that within minutes all of this work was tarnished and we realize the mistake is ours to own. … We are deeply saddened to have hurt our partners in the Jewish community and beyond.”

The Muslim American Society initially called the incident “an unintended mistake and an oversight” after the video was published.

In the video, one girl says “we will chop off their heads” to “liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem.

“We will defend the land of divine guidance with our bodies, and we will sacrifice our souls without hesitation. We will lead the army of Allah fulfilling his promise, and we will subject them to eternal torture,” a girl reads.

Children also sang about the “blood of martyrs” and “Rebels, rebels, rebels.”

Officials said a volunteer aide selected the songs to represent Palestinian people, but added she “feels terrible she made a mistake” and has stepped down.

This is not a “mistake.” This is the mask slipping. No place of worship makes a “mistake” like this, and if the Philadelphia “Let’s kill Jews” song slipped out. then it is a fair assumption that similar indoctrination has occurred here and elsewhere that has not slipped out.

I will not pretend to have a coherent, Constitutional solution to the problem of Islam and Muslim immigrants, legal or otherwise. The U.S. must always oppose officially and culturally, discrimination and oppression based on membership in any group, be it Muslims, Communists, Scientologists, or Republicans. On the other hand, Justice Jackson’s over-quoted statement that the Constitution is not a suicide pact has never been more applicable.

Islam is a problem. It is as unethical to deny that as to react rashly and unjustly to it.

In a related development, what national news outlets other than Fox reported this story? I haven’t found any. After all, how can the Left maintain that Islam is benign and that its followers are no more dangerous than the Care Bears, the Cub Scouts and Golden Retriever puppies if people learn about Muslim children being taught songs about beheading Jews? Can’t have that! The story isn’t news, because it undermines the Greater Good, or perhaps because it undermines progressive mythology.

_____________________

Pointer and Source: Washington Free Beacon

Ethics Quiz: Is This Fair?

Just kidding!

Of course it’s not fair.

In fact, it’s ridiculous. So the real question is, why does anyone, activist or otherwise, argue with a straight face that it is fair?

That photo is from Oct. 13, 2018, when  transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon of Canada won the  UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Carson, California. The other cyclist is Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands. The other competitors were similar in stature and build to Carolien. She was born female, and unlike McKinnon, grew up female.

It makes a difference.

In fact, as Martina Navratilova wrote in a February 17 op-ed for The Sunday Times of London, “It’s insane and it’s cheating.” Well, it’s not cheating if a sport says it isn’t. It is, however, insanely unfair, and unarguably unfair. Advocates, like McKinnon herself, an educated trans woman, actually try to deny these conclusions that are as plain as that photograph. In her debate with the legendary tennis star, she argued,

 “She imagines a nonexistent cisgender man who will pretend to be a trans woman, convince a psychologist and a physician to prescribe hormone therapy, undertake the process for legal changer recognition, then wait the minimum 12 months of testosterone suppression required by the current IOC rules, compete, and then change his mind and ‘go back to making babies’? No such thing will ever happen. This is an irrational fear of trans women.”

But, significantly, she does not argue against Navratilova’s central assertion (which she garbled badly by making the lame slippery slope argument), which is that it’s unfair to allow women who have matured as men to compete against women who haven’t. Obviously. Look at the picture.

I’ve discussed the ethics of allowing trans athletes to compete against non-trans competitors, and frankly, the only interesting part of the topic is that fear of trans activists and being accused of bigotry has succeeded in so many locales in bullying officials into allowing it. It is unfair. It is obviously unfair. It destroys the integrity of the competition; it makes women’s sports a joke. Why do they allow it? Well, this is a small but revealing example of how ideology can strangle common sense and reality when those committed to the ideology find facts and ethics hostile to the world as they would like it to be. The result is that people, with nothing but good intentions, convince themselves that wrong is right and that what doesn’t work, does. Continue reading