On Bill Cosby’s Get-Out-Of-Jail-Forever Card…

Bill Cosby4

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has overturned Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction, and the 83-year-old comedian/Jello pudding salesman/serial rapist will be released from prison with no chance of his having to go back, according to the ruling vacating his conviction issued yesterday.

Is that justice? Well, it’s a kind of justice, but only for Cosby. Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned his conviction because a previous prosecutor had granted him immunity from prosecution in order to force the Coz to admit to some of his criminal sexual activity. Cosby could not use the Fifth Amendment nor lie without risking perjury charges, so he made several incriminating statements on the record. These should not have been used to convict him later, but a different prosecutor determined that his office was not bound by the previous deal. But it was. Because Cosby’s statements were improperly used against him, the conviction was based on inadmissible evidence. This new ruling bars any retrial in the case.

Much as Bill Cosby deserves to rot in prison, upon reading the opinion, I see no way to criticize the decision. Even bad people have to be prosecuted and convicted the right way, and Cosby, who is about as bad as one can get, was not. I’m sure there is some reason why Cosby’s lawyer wasn’t able to block the use of his client’s damning but unusable testimony before Cosby had to spend time in jail, but so far, I can’t find it.

If a sociopathic predator like Bill Cosby can be freed on the basis of an unfair trial—and he can and should be—so can and should a brutal cop like Derk Chauvin, whose trial was also unfair, though for very different reasons. We shall see how far the integrity of the justice system goes.

Nobody is going to riot over Bill Cosby going free. That, I fear, might be the critical difference.

Ethics Reflections And Questions On The Chauvin Verdict, Part I

I haven’t read much commentary on yesterday’s verdict yet. I’m assuming that I’ll have more observations later in the day.

1. Ultimately, it appears that the jury just decided that it wasn’t worth it to acquit Derek Chauvin even if there was reasonable doubt. That’s sad, but the calculation can be defended on utilitarian grounds, meaning that, ironically, the arguably unethical decision to discard the law, individual rights, a fair trial and the integrity of the justice system might have been an ethical decision because it will cause less harm in the long and short run. In other words, it can be defended as a decision in which ethics won and the law lost.

I’m not saying that I would defend it that way, but I acknowledge the argument as respectable.

2. It is important to remember that cases where verdicts were based on emotion, human nature, and sociopolitical dynamics rather than the evidence and strict adherence to the law have occurred periodically, and will continue to do so.

The Nuremberg Trials were travesties from a legal standpoint, and the verdicts “ethical” only in the sense that a formal, solemn statement that some conduct is so heinous that civilization has an obligation to reject it was deemed more important than such niceties as avoiding hypocrisy or respecting the law’s aversion to ex-post facto legal penalties. The trial of the alleged conspirators to murder Lincoln was as rigged as a trial can be. This isn’t an “it happens all the time” excuse for the Chauvin trial, but a reminder that the Chauvin case isn’t the cataclysmic scar on the justice system that many will claim it is.

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Morning Ethics Warm-up, 4/9/21: You Know, Caring About Ethics Is Not A Psychologically Healthy Place To Be Right Now…

1. I can’t mount the intestinal fortitude to even visit Facebook lately. I’m afraid I’ll snap and write something like, “You people are all such hypocritical assholes, at least 90% of you! For four years, you barfed out post after post mocking the President of the United States, attracting boats of “likes” and “loves” for every misspelled word, every exaggeration, every off-the-cuff dumb remark, and when the mentally-failing President you elected completely blows all trust and credibility in less that three months with material lie after lie, deliberate racially inflammatory statements, and outright stupidity “on steroids,” as he would say, your response is ‘Yeah, but what about Trump?’ You’re all a disgrace to your nation, your society, your various institutions of higher education, and basic principles of logic. To hell with you.”

This week, making a case for a fake infrastructure repair bill that appears to be just another pork-laden giveaway to favored Democratic constituencies, Biden said, among other things, “We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds, supersonic speeds, be able to figuratively, if you may, if we decide to do it, be able to traverse the world in an hour, travel at 21,000 miles an hour…Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane!”

The speed of 21,000 miles an hour is about Mach 28, or 28 times the speed of sound. The fastest commercial airplane flies at less than Mach 1. Remember the Concorde? A single fatal accident at that plane’s high speed was enough to kill its commercial use. All it would take is one crash of Biden’s miracle plane, where every soul on board was vaporized, and no one would buy another ticket. Think Hindenburg.

As for Joe’s magic train, it’s ridiculous. The Central Japan Railway Company is testing a train that can go a top speed of 374 miles per hour. The “bullet trains” in Japan operate at about 200 miles per hour. France has a train that has hit a top speed of 357 miles per hour. Biden’s train would go across the continental U.S. at an average speed that is 47 percent faster than the top speed of the fastest prototype trains that exist today—if there were no curves. But, of course, there would be As the New Yorker explained eight years ago:

To cope with centrifugal force, train tracks tilt on curves; the problem is that the train can only tilt so much before either it or the passengers inside tip over, so the curve must get larger and more gradual to safely carry a super-fast train. “Tracks rated for fifty miles per hour need almost no banking and can have a curve radius of fifteen hundred feet, while a train traveling at a hundred and twenty miles per hour needs a track with significant banking, and a minimum curve radius of more than a mile and a half.” A train track designed for a train going 550 miles per hour would have to have an absolutely gargantuan curve radius. Our current system and routes of train tracks would be completely unsafe for a train moving at that speed; it would fly off the tracks at the first curve.

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Ethics Quote Of The Week: Prof. Jonathan Turley

“Not only could Chauvin be acquitted or left with a hung jury, but the impact could be the collapse of all four cases. That will be up to the jury. But if there is violence after the verdict, it will be far worse if the public is not aware up front of the serious challenges in proving this case.’

—Prof. Jonathan Turley in a column for The Hill, explaining that a conviction for Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd murder trial in Minneapolis is far from certain despite the news media refusing to inform the public of that fact.

As is too often the case, Turley professorially states a critical fact without appropriate indignation regarding its implications. Not only has the news media, in Turley’s words, “failed to shoulder their own burden to discuss the countervailing evidence in the case, ” it has done so because “there is a palpable fear that even mentioning countervailing defense arguments will trigger claims of racism or insensitivity to police abuse.” What are these, children? Journalists are supposed to be professionals. Yet Turley says—correctly, unfortunately—they they are deliberately misleading the public, and making a violent reaction to the eventual verdict in Chauvin’s trial more likely by feeding a false narrative rather than conveying essential facts.

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News Flash: Derek Chauvin Is Not A Racist, And George Floyd’s Death Had Nothing To Do With Race. Let’s Think About That….

On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin ignited national protests, riots, burnings and vandalism by keeling on counterfeiting suspect George Floyd’s neck until  he died. The reaction to the African-American’s death, all captured by a cell phone video, was almost immediately co-opted and exploited by the black anti-police, anti-white activist group Black Lives Matter, which emphatically added Floyd’s death to others it cites to prove the intrinsic racism of  U.S. law enforcement and the United States of America itself. The incident has transformed BLM into a national force in the midst of a crucial Presidential campaign, with one party endorsing it (despite the organization’s indisputable anti-US and anti-white, not to mention Marxist,  rhetoric, and almost all corporations feeling forced to publicly signal their support in pandering statements. The death of George Floyd even turned professional sports into a  massive race-obsessed propaganda machine for Black Lives Matter and its foundational assertion that the United States is built on racism, with the police enforcing white supremacy.

I think the forgoing is a fair, if perhaps unsympathetic summary.

Through all of this, one critical element has been prominent by its absence. Ethics Alarms flagged it on June 9, in a post titled, “The Question That Must Be Asked In Any Fair And Responsible Analysis Of The George Floyd Tragedy…” That question was, “How do we know George Floyd is dead because he was black?”

I wrote in part,

There is absolutely no evidence  that George Floyd is dead because he was black, and no evidence that former officer Chauvin had his knee on his neck until Floyd died because Floyd was black. This has been presumed, and no politicians or national leaders, and certainly no mainstream media reporters,  have had the integrity or courage to require more than that mandated presumption before accepting the narrative. No evidence of racism among the officers involved has been found, and you know people have been looking.  The proposition that any time a black citizen is abused by the police it is per se racism, that is, presumed racism, is logically and ethically absurd, and people should have the courage to say so. …

Of course, virtually nobody on the left wants to consider the possibility that Floyd is dead because he had a contentious confrontation with a bad cop who was a human ticking time bomb. If Floyd had been white, there would have been no protests or riots, although the injustice and the misconduct would have been exactly the same. Especially convenient for activists, and too hard to resist,  was the symbolic nature of a white cop having his knee on the neck of a black man: the perfect metaphor for white supremacy.

But if [Floyd’s] death is going to be exploited as the rallying point to justify protests, riots, and unhinged policy recommendations like abolishing police departments, if it is going to be the catalyst for compelled virtue-signaling speech from elected officials, celebrities, sports figures and corporate executives, isn’t it reasonable, indeed essential, to be certain that George Floyd’s death actually was what it is being represented as—a racist police killing?

Apparently that crack investigative journalism organization, the New York Times, realized that it was essential to show this, so it put a team of reporters on it—when, it’s hard to determine. However, tucked away in the lower right-hand corner of its front page on the typically slow news day-reporting Sunday Times, dwarfed by a giant feature on the death of Rep. John Lewis, and under the mandatory above-the-fold story about how the Trump Administration is responsible for the “raging” Wuhan virus, was the report on the results of the Times investigation, headlined, “In Minneapolis, A Rigid Officer Many Disliked.”

Guess what the report doesn’t mention. Go ahead, guess.

Race. Racism. We learn that Chauvin was often over-aggressive in his law-enforcement methods. We are told he was unpopular with other officers, most of whom  didn’t want to work with him. We learn he was rigid, and a workaholic. The piece begins with an account about Chauvin pulling his gun on four teenagers who shot a Nerf dart out a car window. All four of the teenagers were white.

The article contains not a single piece of evidence that Derek Chauvin is a racist. The reporters couldn’t find a single individual who recalled Chauvin using a racial epithet, —you know, the evidence that proved that Mark Furmin was a racist and thus O.J. Simpson had to be innocent—or anyone, even from Chauvin’s school days, who could recount an incident in his professional or private life suggesting racism. Chauvin’s wife wasn’t white, she was Asian. The entire article, which took up all of page A-17, runs 2,067 words. Not one of them is “race,” “racist,” or “racism.”

Yet we know, don’t we, that proof of racism is what the Times was looking for. The fact that Derek Chauvin was not a racist (except in the sense that Black Lives Matter tells us, which is that all whites are racists) was the news—rather crucial news, I’d say—to come out of the investigation, but not only did the Times “bury the lede,” it censored it.

I also believe, but cannot prove, that the Times knew there was no evidence that Chuavin was a racist long before it published the results of its investigation on July 19, after nearly two full months of fury over a “racist cop” killing a black man. Racism was the evil we were told had to be expiated by fire, toppled statues, violence and, apparently, revolution. If the metaphorical match that lit the fuse was based on a false assumption, the Times, indeed all of the news media, had an urgent obligation to reveal this as quickly as possible. I believe it did the opposite, intentionally, to avoid publishing anything that might stem the burgeoning insurrection’s momentum.  I assume that the investigation into Chauvin began shortly after the incident, and when the expected evidence that the officer was a virulent racist who killed Floyd because of the color of his skin didn’t materialize, the Times first extended the inquiry, and then held off publishing the results.

Sometimes democracy literally dies in darkness.

I asked “How do we know George Floyd is dead because he was black?” on June 9, and the news media took a month and ten days to supply the information that provides the answer, which they still haven’t had the integrity or courage to publish outright.

The news media hid the fact to allow a false presumption of racism crush America’s throat.

Saturday Morning Ethics, 5/30/2020: Burn, Baby, Burn Nostalgia

1. Bulletin for Gov. Walz: Derek Chauvin has civil rights too, you irresponsible fool. I have just watched Minnesota’s Governor repeatedly refer to George Floyd’s “murder.” An elected public official cannot and must not do that. If he wants to guarantee that a fair trial in the case becomes impossible, this is the way to do it. There has been no trial, and however horrible the video of Floyd’s  death may be, Chauvin and the other officers have the right to the presumption of innocence. Now a St. Paul’s mayor is at the podium calling for Chauvin to be held “accountable.” Well, he’s under arrest and will face trial, and for now, that’s about it.  All of this outrage porn and virtue-signaling now enables the rioters by pretending that there is anything productive to be done but to wait for the justice system to play out. Continue reading