From The “Fact Don’t Matter” File: The Presumptuous And Ignorant Naomi Osaka

Osaka

Or, “How to get from one absurd news story to another…”

The New York Times story began this way: “Last year, the tennis champion was shown with light skin in an instant noodle ad. Now, she’ll be portrayed as a manga character, and illustrators insisted on getting details right.” Yes, this is what passes for news in the paper that refused to cover the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election, except to mock it. They would never mock white-washing accusations about a Japanese tennis star about to become a cartoon character. Now that’s news that’s fit to print!

Why I finished reading such a story, I do not know; I have no life, I guess. So I soon came upon this:

Naomi Osaka, 23, the highest-earning female athlete on the planet, has emerged as one of the most vocal antiracism activists in the sports world. In the July issue of Esquire, she wrote about tackling racism while inhabiting multiple identities. Before matches this year, she wore masks bearing the names of Black victims of police violence.

Ah! So the opinions of this non-American athlete about U.S. racial issues matters—why? Because she is rich? Because she is bi-racial (Osaka is the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian-American father)? Because she knows anything at all about America and its race problems? Or because the half-baked, ill-informed positions she spouts happen to be the “right” ones?

If you picked the last, you get…well, nothing, but you’re right. According to an earlier article (in Forbes), Osaka presumed to protest police brutality and racism by wearing face masks bearing these names: Breonna Taylor, Elijiah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice. You know: black victims of police violence. Except:

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Personal Responsibility? What Personal Responsibility? The Washington Post Explains How Aspiring Supreme Court Justice George Floyd Was Destroyed by Systemic Racism

Screen shot of George Floyd mural

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Sadly, I’m not.

Here’s a silver lining: thanks to the parade of bizarre and illogical demands and assertions during the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck and the concomitant “Great Stupid,” my head appears to be immune from explosions. (Is head immunity anything like herd immunity? A topic for another time…)

It is amazing—I would have once said head exploding—that anyone would attempt to sanctify a long-time criminal and blight on his community like George Floyd, much less get away  with it. Nonetheless, months after Floyd died after a  cruel and incompetent (but not racist) police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck, the news media and Black Lives Matter flacks are successfully selling the tall tale that his life was a tragedy of unfulfilled potential because he had the misfortune to live in the United States of America.

[Quick review: Floyd moved to Minneapolis after being released from Texas prison for aggravated robbery. He went to jail 5 times and as a perusal of his record shows, he can be fairly described as a career criminal. Floyd was a habitual lawbreaker, involved in drug abuse, theft, criminal trespassing, and aggravated robbery, who once broke into a woman’s home and pointed a gun at her stomach while looking for drugs and money. He had probably taken an overdose of fentanyl and methamphetamine at the time of arrest, and it is quite likely that this, and not Derek Chauvin’s knee, is what killed him.]

I’m old enough, more’s the pity, to remember the Sixties fad of arguing that all criminals were victims of  their upbringing and a Hobbesian society for those who were not white and rich, and that it was heartless to punish those who were really society’s victims, not its predators. This was a very old progressive trope, notably championed by Clarence Darrow, who argued that there is no free will, and that criminals are doomed from birth, this making it an abuse of power for society to punish them. This logic was the epitome of bleeding heart liberalism, and helped make the word “liberal” a term of derision. I did not expect it to make a comeback.

Yes, I’m an idiot.

Now, however, in no less a legitimate forum than the Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Griff Witte make the argument that if the U.S wasn’t so racist, Floyd, despite all outward appearances, might have been a great American.

Read the thing, take a while to tape your skull back together, and then resume reading here. Watch out;  this is the third paragraph, and it comes up quick:

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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.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/22/2020: Let’s Stop Moping Around! Get Up! Get Out! Attack The Day! [Now With Leonard Bernstein!]

 

Update: I decided we needed a less pokey version, so now we have Leonard Bernstein’s, and the whole thing. THAT should cheer you up…

Boy, am I sick of everyone telling me how depressed they are.

1. Translation: “I’m an idiot.”  Now Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is saying  that the city will close the so-called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” It turned out to be exactly what anyone with any sense predicted it would be, with three shootings so far and a rape, along with a leader ( war lord?) who had the gall to complain when the Seattle EMTs didn’t immediately respond when shots rang out. The mayor  had said that the anarchist outpost would lead to a “summer of love,” marking her as a Sixties-romanticizing dolt, but now she says she was obviously joking-–yes, the Joke Excuse. She never said it was “in jest” before the completely predictable violence broke out.

I apologize for not highlighting her as an Incompetent Elected Official of the Month, but she was competing with Bill De Blasio.

2. Fearmongering. It should be apparent by now that the news media does not want the country to re-open, does not want the economy to begin recovering before the election, and is pushing its anti-reopening goal through fearmongering, in part by focusing on isolated cases of individuals getting hit by the Wuhan virus particularly hard.

This morning HLN kept repeating a long feature about a thirtyish Broadway star who has been disabled by the virus for 80 days, and another man not in a high-risk group who has been suffering for 100 days. The Times and the Washington Post are full of apocalyptic reports about the number of cases rising. Another news outlet said, “The U.S. reported more than 33,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday – the highest total since May 1 – while the surge of infections in several states is outpacing growth in coronavirus testing.”  ARRRGH! We;re DOOOMED!

One commentator called this “needless” frightening the public. Wrong. It is  needed because it is a part of the ongoing effort to defeat President Trump.

The Centers for Disease Control predicted that cases would increase as the country reopened, not that it has much credibility at this point. Remember? The lock down was never intended to stop the spread of the disease, but to slow it down,  flatten the curve, stock up on supplies, fix the CDC’s testing botch, and find treatments. That was mostly accomplished. The nation cannot continue to let the economy deteriorate: depressions kill people too.

Meanwhile, the death rate is declining even as the number of cases spike, and there’s a reason for that. In all outbreaks, a disease claims the most vulnerable first. This is known as Farr’s Law, named after William Farr,  a British epidemiologist and early statistician  who recognized the importance of death statistics and identifying causation. Not only has the current epidemic claimed many of the most vulnerable in the U.S., thanks in great part to the catastrophic decision of states like New York to send infected seniors to nursing homes, millions of Americans have antibodies.

The combination means that even if there are lots of new cases going forward, the death toll is likely to be far less severe than it has been. Do not hold your breath waiting for the media to explain this.

Just for fun,  check and see how many news organizations have mentioned Farr’s Law. Continue reading

Wednesday Ethics Jolts, 6/17/2020: I Think We Have Our Answer To Question 13….

Look out!

It’s Wednesday, Wednesday got me thinking about the Wednesday Addams, which got me thinking about Charles Addams, which reminded me of that Addams cartoon…

Yes, this is how my mind works, as if you didn’t know…

1. “You know: literate morons.” The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), of all people, decided to give us an example of where the George Floyd Freakout can lead. The president of the NBCC drafted the obligatory institutional pander affirming Black Lives Matter and circulated it to the board for its approval. One contrarian and sane board member, a board president named Carlin Romano, said he disagreed with much of the letter, didn’t want to “distract the great majority of the Board from its mission,” but couldn’t resist explicating his objections, including describing the systemic racism premise as “absolute nonsense.” He did not, he wrote, believe that the publishing business operated with “the full benefits of white supremacy and institutional racism” and that “white gatekeeping had been working to stifle black voices at every level of our industry.” Such claims, he wrote, amounted to “calumnies on multiple generations of white publishers and editors” who had fought to publish authors of color. “I resent the idea that whites in the book publishing and literary world are an oppositional force that needs to be assigned to reeducation camps.”

In her reply,the current president told Romano that she’d always appreciate his perspective. It “shines unlike anyone else’s,” she wrote, adding, “your objections are all valid, of course.”

As a result of her respectful acceptance of a reasoned dissent, more than half of the 24-member board of NBCC  resigned, including, of course, all of its non-white members. The president resigned too. Romano has not. In response to another member’s accusation that his criticism had displayed ” racism and anti-blackness,” he countered, “It did nothing of the sort. I’m not racist and I’m not anti-black. Quite the contrary. I just don’t check my mind at the door when people used to operating in echo chambers make false claims.”

Ethics Hero.

2.  Pandering BLM Groveler of the Year? I’m pretty sure nobody will be able to top NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. After dismissing Colin Kaepernick and his fellow NFL kneelers as a distraction to the game and an annoyance to fans, he is now not only encouraging the players to demonstrate on the field for “racial justice,”—if he thinks such workplace stunts will stop with mere kneeling, he really is a dolt—he is now encouraging NFL teams to sign Kaepernick, who hasn’t played  for three years. He hasn’t been signed because the distractions his political grandstanding carried with him couldn’t begin to be justified by his declining quarterbacking skills, and that’s the case now more than ever. Does Goodell really think capitulating to the mob will keep him and his league safe? Is someone holding his family at gunpoint somewhere, or is he really this ignorant?

3. Wait, why haven’t I read all of this before? On Medium, Gavrillo David argues that there may be enough evidence to insulate Derek Chauvin from a murder conviction. he cites six facts in support of his theory: Continue reading

Ten Inconvenient Truths Of The George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck

1. George Floyd was not an admirable man. That shouldn’t and doesn’t matter, of course. What happened to him at the hands of four police officers shouldn’t happen to a dog. However, cognitive dissonance makes it difficult for emotion and anger-soaked people to accept that their martyrs are imperfect, so we are always forced to endure this process. In fact, the argument against police brutality would be cleaer and more persuasive if it were based on the fact that even the worst criminals should never be abused. Instead, the message conveyed is that what happened to Floyd is especially wrong because he was the salt of the earth. It wasn’t, and he wasn’t.

2. The officer was not trying to kill Floyd. He knew he was being recorded; he had to know that if Floyd died, he would be in terrible trouble.

3. Minnesota has already botched the prosecution. The first inept act was the governor and others widely publicizing the claim that Chauvin “murdered” Floyd. This will make a fair trial difficult, and if he is convicted, will automatically support an appeal. Then the radical, race-obsessed Attorney General, Keith Ellison, made it easier for Chauvin’s defense lawyers by over-charging, and worse, set out a precedent that may make policing impossible.  Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy explains:

The second-degree murder charge is now the main charge against all four officers. Essentially, the theory is that they committed a felony assault when they subdued a suspect who was resisting arrest. During the course of carrying out that “crime,” prosecutors allege, Floyd’s death resulted. 

While the point may be subtle, this is saliently different from the theory of third-degree murder — i.e., depraved-indifference murder. In the latter, prosecutors would concede that it was lawful in principle for the police to subdue Floyd, but argue (correctly) that their manner of doing so was recklessly indifferent to human life, causing his death. By contrast, the new “felony murder” count, spearheaded by Keith Ellison, the radical leftist state attorney general, puts police on notice that they can be charged with a crime — felony assault — for doing their job, which routinely involves physically restraining suspects who resist lawful commands.

Any experienced law-enforcement officer will tell you that it is common for suspects to resist arrest by lying on the ground, claiming to be ill, waving arms to avoid being cuffed, and refusing to be placed in a squad car. Cops, of course, may not use excessive force when that happens. They must, however, be permitted to use sufficiently superior force to detain and transport uncooperative arrestees. In Minnesota, thanks to its election of the new breed of progressive prosecutor who rails against the justice system’s purported institutional racism, police officers who use force in arresting dangerous criminals now run the risk that they will be the ones who face criminal charges.

4. If, due to Ellison’s unethical zeal, the officers are acquitted, there will be more riots, because the vast majority of the public doesn’t understand the justice system, and the vast majority of the protesters don’t care about due process and the presumption of innocence.

5.  The attacks by the Left on police could (and should) lead to the elimination of police unions, which, in turn, could and should lead to the abolishment of public employee unions generally. That’s a conservative agenda item, because public unions have been a mainstay of big city Democratic support. Continue reading

The Question That Must Be Asked In Any Fair And Responsible Analysis Of The George Floyd Tragedy…

…and yet nobody seems to be asking it.

That question is “How do we know George Floyd is dead because he was black?”

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. Yesterday a Trump administration official opined that all things being equal, Floyd would have probably met the same fate if he were white. That’s not an unreasonable opinion, and it shouldn’t be unspeakable, but to the extent the news media covered it al all, it was reported as an oddity, as if he had claimed that Fish People were walking among us.

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. That it may have had nothing to do with white supremacy and everything to do with an angry cop deciding to teach a perp a lesson (as he may have done many times before) can’t even be considered. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Back To The 13th Question: Answer It, Stop Grandstanding, Or Shut Up”

Frequent  commenter of distinction Ryan Harkins doesn’t exactly try to answer the”13th Question” ( “What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?”), but at least he advances the discussion by trying to define the problem, which is a whole lot more than anything we have heard from media pundits and elected officials over the last week, and they have fallen all over themselves trying be seen as allying with the right “side.”

This seems like a propitious place to raise this article from Foreign Affairs that readers Wesley49 has proposed for discussion. “I would love to hear the opinions and insights from this thread’s contributors in trying to answer your 13th Question,” he wrote. I have a lot of problems with the piece, which typifies, I think, the academic/scholarly equivocation around this issue, but I won’t pre-bias the discussion more than that.

Here is Ryan Harkins’ Comment of the Day —which has the added pleasure of some great quotes—on the post, “Back To The 13th Question: Answer It, Stop Grandstanding, Or Shut Up”:

The problem with trying to end racism is that it runs aground the basic human impulse to “other” people who are different. It has been a practice of mankind from the beginning, and even our very best of societies will constantly struggle with the temptation to “other” the people who at the very least aren’t playing along.

“Othering” is to make someone an outcast from the group, and to place blame on them for the groups problems. Theologians have referred to it as scapegoating. If someone looks different, dresses different, acts different, talks different, there will be the temptation to mock that person, ostracize that person, and perhaps even blame that person for everything that is going wrong. Then, if you can destroy that person, then magically all the problems will go away.

“You want to know what’s wrong with this nation? It’s those damned Republicans trying to horde all the wealth.” “You want to know what’s wrong with this nation? It’s those damned Democrats who are trying socialize everything.” “You want to know what’s wrong with this nation? It’s all those hateful religious folk.” “… It’s all those LGBT people destroying family values.” “…It’s all those white supremacists trying to suppress minorities.” “…It’s all those anti-vaxers…” “…It’s those climate change deniers…” “…It’s those power hungry people who treat science like a religion…” Continue reading

Back To The 13th Question: Answer It, Stop Grandstanding, Or Shut Up.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy, explaining why arson can be a GOOD thing…

In this post, I added a 13th question to the Ethics Alarms 12 question checklist for protesters, in light of the current unpleasantness:

What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?

Apparently nobody wants to answer it, and the political and news media grandstanding demanding “systemic reform” has only become more pervasive. Yesterday Joe Biden, decrying hate and divisiveness and then blaming the President for the riots across the nation sparked by a single instance of police brutality in Minneapolis, finally called for a solution to what he called “systemic racism.” What would that be, Joe?

Crickets.

As I wrote in the post, this is a phony virtue-signaling stance without substance or integrity. What? What is it you want?

Joe was a minor offender, though, compared to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (Do I have to give up the Red Sox if I renounce the state of my birth?).

Healey started her speech with “The color of my skin doesn’t allow me to truly understand what it’s like to leave your home and automatically be subject to so many assumptions and biases.” Healey said in her work as AG, she wanted to address the “systemic racism plaguing society.”  She  described racism as a value that is “embedded” in the United States. “Racism has been embedded in our country from the time that Europeans plundered our First Americans and Africans were stolen from their land, shackled, and brought to our shore,” she said.

She asserted that George Floyd’s killing gave America an opportunity to create a more just society! Yeah, that’s the ticket!  “I won’t talk about rebuilding. Instead, I’ll talk about building anew in ways that rid us of the institutionalized racism that’s led to America burning today,” Healey said. “Yes, America is burning. But that’s how forests grow,” she said.

Boy, she’s an idiot. But I digress. Sorry. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: John Harrington, Commissioner Of The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, And Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced today that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested,  four days after the release of a video in which Chauvin was seen kneeling on the neck of African-American George Floyd, as he pleaded with officers to release him. saying he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was apparently correct, as he later died.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters that Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder. “This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer,” Freeman said.

I’m sure the applause was thunderous. Because it took four days for these officials to act on what the video made screamingly obvious from the beginning, millions of dollars of property in the city have been destroyed by rioting. “I am not insensitive to what’s happened in the streets.” Freeman said, “[but] my job is to do it only when we have sufficient evidence.”

He had sufficient evidence to arrest and charge Chauvin the second the video was available. One day to make sure there were no hidden surprises, okay, maybe. Four? Outrageous.

Meanwhile, in this paragon metropolis of progressive values and logic, Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey’s government said that it is giving out masks to rioters. Previously, Frey had warned that allowing 25% capacity in churches would be “a recipe in Minneapolis for a public health disaster” due to the pandemic. Minnesota has prohibited gatherings of ten or more people…except when they are looting, burning and rioting, apparently.

Is this a great state, or what?