See? The government isn’t completely crazy. Not for the first time, the Supreme Court has emphatically sided with the rule of law, confounding the Biden Administration and such Democratic Party stars as Senators Mazi Hirono (D-Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), among others. Along with them, we also had the Democrat attorneys general of Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, California, and 17 other states arguing for one more step on the way to open borders.
Best of all, the slap-down opinion was authored by Obama appointee Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote in Sanchez v. Mayorkas, issued today,
Judges are proving less partisan and ideologically driven than the increasingly totalitarian Left had hoped.
1.In Vitolo v. Guzman, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati ruled last week that the federal government violates the equal protection clause when it considers race or sex in in allocating Wuhan virus relief funds. Following the same track as the earlier case discussed here, the Court agreed that the U.S. Small Business Administration violated the Constitution by giving preference to minority- and women-owned restaurants.
Antonio Vitolo and his wife own a restaurant called Jake’s Bar and Grill. Vitolo is white, his wife is Hispanic, and they each own 50% of the restaurant. Of course, Jake could have gamed the easily manipuated SBA system by just handing his wife the extra 1%. The government requires small businesses to be at least 51% owned by women, veterans or “socially and economically disadvantaged” people to jump to the head of the line, because someone is presumed to be socially disadvantaged if they are a member of a designated racial or ethnic group. A person is considered economically disadvantaged if they are socially disadvantaged, and they face diminished capital and credit opportunities. In such a system, whether the business owner being given preference has actually been disadvantaged doesn’t matter. He or she is presumed to be disadvantaged. This nicely follows the circular logic of Critical Race Theory.
The group preferences are taken into consideration during the first 21 days in which the Small Business Administration awards the pandemic grants to restaurants. After priority applications submitted during that period are processed, the Small Business Administration processes grant requests in the order that they were received. That is, white men come last.
The 6th Circuit majority said Vitolo and his wife are entitled to an injunction forcing the government to grant their application, if approved, before all later-filed applications, and that their color and gender should be irrelevant. The government did not demonstrate a “compelling interest” justifying preferences based on race or sex.
Surely you have heard by now that a few addled Democrats in Congress have begun using the hilarious term “birthing people” to describe mothers. This is in order to pander to the trans population, because the special problems of this tiny minority are worth turning the entire culture inside out and upside down. So far it’s three certifiably silly people on the Hill whose credentials as ethics dunces are unusually strong, even for Congressional Democrats (the links go to signature significance EA posts: Senator Cory “Spartacus” Booker , certifiable Rep. Ayanna Pressley, previously heard arguing that “girls” have a right to attack other girls with knives “uninterupted”, and the spectacularly unqualified Rep. Cori Bush, who was supposedly on Biden’s short list for VP, which is terrifying—yes, even more terrifying than Kamala Harris:
This is fascinating from an ethics perspective, specifically the slippery slope. The Great Stupid that has descended over the land, with special focus on progressives, has led to vocal support for so many ridiculous ideas—defunding the police, paying people more to stay out of work than to have jobs, open boarders, electing Joe Biden, packing the Supreme Court, and more—that the once fairly bold line between “progressive” and “batshit crazy” appears to have been erased. At some point, and maybe “birthing people” is it, even left-tilting Americans will wake up and say “Whoa! These are wackos!”
And indeed they are.
1. Also from the “What an idiot!” files…On baseball and Giants’ Hall of Fame immortal Willie Mays’ 90th birthday last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Twitter account posted a picture of Willie McCovey. Willie Mays is a national icon, probably the greatest African-American baseball player of all-time, and any American, especially any American elected official, who does not know what he looks like is too ignorant of America’s culture and history to serve competently. (I’m only exaggerating a little.) Not only is this an insult to the Say Hey Kid (What does that nickname mean, Nancy? Huh? Come on, you represent San Francisco!), it’s the kind of “they all look the same to me!” mistake that white officials are typically savaged for, as when Senator Rubio mixed up Rep. John Lewis with Rep. Elijah Cummings. At least Cummings and Lewis looked a little bit alike. McCovey, who was also a Hall of Fame slugger and who also played for the Giants,
looked nothing like Willy Mays…
…and to make the distinction easy for baseball ignoramuses, Willie McCovey is DEAD.
Only my recent travails have delayed my letter not only withdrawing from my Georgetown Law Center class reunion committee but announcing that I have no intention of attending any celebration of a degree that has embarrassed me repeatedly for several years, most notably in this revolting episode. But, to be fair, my undergraduate degree has been rendered equally nauseating, and over a much longer period. That Harvard—it has to be #1 in everything.
This Month’s Harvard Magazine continued the apparently irreversible trend. The Harvard Library announced that it is removing the “illegal alien” subject heading from its collection descriptions, citing the hoary progressive talking-point that “actions can be illegal, but people cannot.” This has always been sophistry and rhetorical sleight of hand to make it linguistically difficult to describe what it is that is objectionable about those who illegally cross our borders and remains here, receiving the benefits of this nation without having been granted them. When the elite and educated in a society start bolstering bad ideas and flawed logic by abusing their perceived authority and confusing the ignorant and gullible, propaganda gains overwhelming power.
The “no person is illegal” trick is intellectually dishonest, of course. Illegal aliens are people who are in this country illegally. Ergo, while remaining in this country, their existence here is illegal, and hence they are illegal. One could say with equal validity—that is, none—that no drug can be truly illegal, because objects themselves can’t do anything, legal or not. It’s what is done with the drugs that is illegal–make them, distribute them, sell them, use them. You can’t prosecute an object.
The good news is that I’m back at the keyboard, though at a ridiculous hour. The bad news is that I’m here because I’m out of pain-killers, and my mouth is killing me. [UPDATE: I started this post at 3 am, couldn’t continue, and now it’s after noon. I’m clearly a weenie. I’m pretty sure my father endured worse pain than I am dealing with all through his life and repeatedly after his foot got blown up in the war, and he never complained once…]
Yesterday marks a great moment in ethics, and my plan was to mention it on time. On that date, April 24 in 1863, Francis Lieber, a Prussian immigrant whose three sons served in the Civil War, created what became General Orders No. 100. Reflecting his many writings on the topic, it was a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. The code was subsequently borrowed or adapted by many European nations, including influencing the Geneva Convention. Unique when it was written, Lieber’s code was the product of a committee of four generals and Lieber, who were tasked by Union General Halleck to draft rules of ethical combat. The the 157 articles established regulations and standards for the treatment of prisoners, exchanges, flags of truce, and much more. The document was written almost entirely by Lieber, and there was nothing like it.
Good. Any President since 1916 (that’s Woodrow Wilson through Trump) could have made official the historical reality, but keeping our Turkish allies happy by enabling their long denial was deemed more pragmatic. Of course what the Ottoman Empire did to its Armenians was genocide. An estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million Armenian men, women, children, elderly and ill Armenians were marched to the Syrian desert in 1915 and 1916, with many thousands killed on the way. There they were placed in concentration camps. After another wave of massacres in 1916, only 200,000 of those deported survived. Many of these were forcibly converted to Islam and integrated into Muslim households. Still more massacres and ethnic cleansings of Armenian survivors were carried out by the Turkish nationalist movement after World War I. Naturally, the Armenians’ property was confiscated in the process. The genocide reduced the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire by an estimated 90%
2. And yet, ironically, the same administration refuses to use the word “crisis” to describe the current illegal immigration mess at the Mexican border, a crisis entirely created by Biden’s implicit invitation to aliens to break our laws and eventually benefit from doing so. Thus Politico, part of the Left’s propaganda and disinformation apparatus, sent out a memo to staff telling them not to use the term “crisis,” and to “avoid referring to the present situation as a crisis, although we may quote others using that language while providing context. While the sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for the Biden administration and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, it does not fit the dictionary definition of a crisis. If using the word ‘crisis,’ we need to ask of what and to whom.”
The situation indeed fits the dictionary definition of “crisis.” Politico also doesn’t seem to be troubled at all that it and every other news source referred to a similar but far less massive wave of children showing up at the border when Trump was President as a “crisis.”
I have some major projects and stalled efforts percolating (Yes, Michael Ejercito, including that one!) so I need this post to make sure some interesting items don’t get left on the metaphorical rock…That’s my favorite Charles Addams cartoon above, and the only sad one he ever drew, I think. It was published well before this hit song by the Irish Rovers ( a really big hit in Boston), and I’ve often wondered if the cartoon inspired it. What do you think?
In the NYT workplace advice column “Work Friend,” Roxane Gay was asked by a reader about an office colleague who took up a collection to give condolence gifts to two fellow staffers who had lost their pets. Is this a common practice “in our pet-obsessed society,” she asked, or “is it, as I think, utterly bananas?”
This is, to begin with, an utterly bananas use of an advice columnist, assuming there is a good use. If that’s what she thinks, why does the writer need the confirmation of a stranger? Who is Roxane Gay, other than someone can’t spell “Roxanne”? The writer believes, obviously, in the “appeal to authority” fallacy, and is the kind of person who will tell you that her opinion is right because Charles Blow agrees with it. For the record, Roxane asked what was going on in the writer’s life that had her feeling so callous. In fact, this is an easy ethics call: the passwords are kindness and consideration. It doesn’t matter why a friend or colleague is emotionally devastated, or whether you would be as upset facing the same loss. The point is that your friend has suffered what he or she feels is a great loss, and the kind thing to do is to say, “I’m sorry. I care.”
It’s never occurred to me to send flowers or a card to someone who has lost an beloved animal companion, but thinking about it because of this column, I would have appreciated such a gesture after sweet Patience, our English Mastiff, had to be put down at 7 when her cancer became untreatable, or brilliant and brave Dickens, our first Jack Russell, who once saved our son from a malling by a larger dog, and whose heart and lungs gave out after 14 years, or Rugby, who for 16 years demonstrated how to love every living thing and who would sit on my desk with his head on my arm as I typed out Ethics Alarms posts. I can get choked up thinking about any of them still. It’s not “bananas” to be kind to someone suffering these kind of traumas. It’s called “being nice.” Continue reading →
1. Another day, another police shooting where the black victim entirely brought his fate upon himself, resulting in, of course, another protest. This time the episode was in San Bernardino, California. An officer was dispatched at 11:16 p.m. in response a 911 call about a man jumping on cars in a parking lot. He’s “really drunk and he’s waving around a gun…and he’s just going crazy,” the caller told the police dispatcher. She described him as a black man with a white shirt and black shorts.
As soon as police learned he was black, they might as well have replied, “Sorry. He’s your problem.”
Body camera video shows the officer approaching Matthew Bender, who fits the description by the 911 caller. The police officer pulls out his gun and tells Bender, “Let me see your hands.” Bender raises his hands briefly and then puts them back on his side, walking away from the officer and telling the cop, “Man, I’m going to the store.” The officer holsters his gun away and attempts to apprehend Bender, who tells him, “Don’t touch me!” The police officer wrestles Bender to the ground and tells him, “Stop fighting, dude.” Bender is seen on video reaching for an item in his waistband that appears to be a handgun. As both men get up from the ground, and the officer draws his weapon and fires four shots at Bender, which proved fatal. A loaded, unregistered pistol was found on the suspect, who had a criminal record going back 17 years, , with arrests attempted murder, false imprisonment, domestic violence, theft and possession of narcotics. Shortly after the incident was reported, demonstrators shouting, “Abolish the police!” “Defund the police!” and “Fuck the police!” took to the streets, blocking an intersection and attacking vehicles.
The policy the demonstrators in these episodes want is one where the police are defenseless, arrests are impossible, and black skin ensures immunity from law enforcement. This is neither just, fair, nor rational.
2. Give hate a chance. Hate is in, as you know: the Democrats are depending on it, and little else, to bring them victory next month. A website called BestLife developed a formula for determining the “most hated states,” ranked from least hated to most hated. Who hates a state? I’ve been in 48 of them plus the District, and I like some more than others, but hating a state seems pathological to me. I assume the calculations preceded the George Floyd Freakout, because Washington, Oregon and Minnesota come out far too positively in light of their behavior since June. And why is Oklahoma the fourth most hated state?
1. Let’s start with some good news! In April of last year, I wrote about Massachusetts judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, who was charged with obstruction of justice, along with another court officer, for helping an illegal immigrant (and criminal) elude arrest by the ICE. The story is here. It looks like the judge is going to trial.
U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin has now denied the judge’s lawyers’ motions to dismiss in a July ruling. “After careful consideration, the motions to dismiss are DENIED because the Indictment alleges the elements of the offenses and sufficient supporting factual detail,” he wrote . Joseph’s attorneys are claiming was that she is protected by judicial immunity, though that should only apply to actions a judge engages in under judicial authority and in the course of her duties. Instructing a court employee to help an illegal immigrant evade being taken into custody by ICE agents after his hearing on criminal charges, including drug possession, is not known as “being a judge.” It is known as “obstructing justice.” Even if the judge avoids punishment, her days as a judge are over.
2. What’s this? MORE good news? I have been looking for cracks in the monolithic mainstream media, with defections by individuals in the midst of the journalism’s abandonment of its duties to democracy in favor of news manipulation and partisanship. Less than a month ago, New York Timed editor Bari Weiss called out the oppressive culture of partisanship and conformity at the her paper, earning her Ethics Hero status.
Last month MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary quit the network, arguably the most unethical of all the broadcast news outlets, and yesterday she published a blog post explaining why. “I simply couldn’t stay there anymore.” She wrote:
“My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis….It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would ‘rate,’ The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing. But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done…I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. Therefore, it’s particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions. I’ve even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.”
She claims to want to be part of a solution to this dire situation. We shall see. I reached out to her in an email yesterday, offering my guidance and expertise, gratis of course.
3. On the theory that transparency is good news, it was nice to see Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, supposedly one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, demonstrate how dim-witted she is and unqualified to be President, though at this point even she could probably beat poor Joe Biden in a spelling bee. Over and over, on several Sunday news shows, she repeated her previous explanation for praising Fidel Castro , telling Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” for example, regarding calling the brutal dictator’s death a “great loss to the people of Cuba,” that she “wouldn’t do that again. Talked immediately to my colleagues from Florida and realized that that was something that just shouldn’t have been said.”
Astounding. She wouldn’t say that what she said was wrong, outrageous for a member of Congress and demonstrated inexcusable ignorance, but that she should have kept the opinion to herself. Todd, of course, being one of the worst hacks in captivity, didn’t bother to press her on the point for the benefit of members of his audience who can’t recognize signature significance when it’s right in front of them.
Biden, or whoever his ventriloquist is, is officially trapped in ethics zugzwang. The only reason Bass is even being considered is that Biden has to select a black (George Floyd!) woman (#MeToo!) as his VP, and all of his remaining options are horrible by any objective standard. This will be a flaming lesson in the foolishness of placing physical characteristics over ability, experience and character, a perfect example of why affirmative action doesn’t work and will never work. Bass is a light-weight, but Biden’s two other options are Kamala Harris ( whose ugly Ethics Alarms dossier is here), and <ack! choke! yecch! barf! gag!> the even more horrible Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s ethics-free acolyte. Her dossier is here. She would be the most sinister Vice-President candidate since Aaron Burr.
I have to poll this: Who is Joe’s best choice among this unethical trio?
I’m not going to allow “None of the above,” because I don’t think he has that option, or at least doesn’t have the integrity to insist on choosing a qualified candidate who has the wrong tint or chromosomes.
4. Finally, to end on a downer, the Unethical Non-Trump Tweet of the week. Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only NBA player not to kneel during the National Anthem, and also refused to wear a “Black Lives Matter” warm-up like the rest of his teammates. In Sunday’s game, he tore his ACL, a season-ending and career threatening injury. ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard then ran a poll on Twitter asking, “Is it funny the guy who refused to kneel immediately blew out his knee?”
When the poll was pulled, about 45% of respondents said that it was funny, which tells you all you need to know about NBA fans and Black Lives Matter supporters—the genuine kind, not the grovelers. Le Batard issued a phony apology, Level 10 on the Apology Scale.
“We apologize for this poll question,” he wrote. “I said on the front and back end of the on-air conversation that I didn’t think it was funny. Regardless of the context, we missed the mark. We took the tweet down when we realized our mistake in how we posed the question to the audience.”
Lies and more lies. They took the tweet down when it was clear they were getting slammed for it. If he didn’t think a young athlete getting injured was funny because he dared to oppose the BLM mob, why would he think anyone else would? When is someone getting hurt who has done nothing wrong and who did not do something foolish to cause the injury ever funny?
Still trying to empty my “annoying ethics notes” in-box. Bear with me…
4. It’s called “not caving to peer pressure.” Remember when that was a good thing? In the 75% black NBA—that means black supremacy, right?—any white player who doesn’t grovel before that Black Lives Matter idol, which has its name emblazoned on the NBA courts—is asking to have his home firebombed. Thus the only player with the guts and integrity to stand for the National Anthem—not standing is the position of the Democratic Party, remember—is black. Orlando Magic forward, Jonathan Issac, became the first NBA player to demonstrate proper respect for the symbol of the nation that my father risked his life for, as the NBA resumed its season after a 20-week hiatus. All the other players and coaches from both teams, as well as referees, “took a knee” during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, as the 22-year-old not only stood, but was not wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt.
Here was a typical reaction on social media:
Got that? Not caving to the mob is weak, and Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.
5. And while we’re on the topic of the National Anthem, I refuse to believe a majority of Americans will vote for the side that encourages this insanity. Last month, The USSSA Pride and Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, two independent professional softball teams that feature some of the top players in the world, began a seven-game series in Melbourne, Fla., facing little competition from other live sports. However, after the organization’s general manager tweeted to President Trump during the game that the teams were standing during the national anthem, all the players quit, vowing never to play for the organization again.
6. In case you wondered, the New York Times is still romanticizing and sentimentalizing illegal immigration. So is Netflix. In its new documentary “Immigration Nation”—that gets an immediate ding from me, because it’s about illegal immigration, a crime, not immigration, an honorable, essential process—the tactics used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are shown as cruel and unfeeling. Here’s Times TV critic Mike Hale:
Part of that effect comes from seeing agents push the boundaries of legality — most strikingly, how they routinely enter apartments when “invited” by cowed, uncomprehending immigrants, in a way that’s surprisingly similar to what you’d see in a TV cop drama. (Maybe that’s where they learned it.) Once inside the home of the target, probably an immigrant accused of a crime, they frequently find “collaterals,” additional people who can be rounded up simply because they’re undocumented.
That last clause is a classic. It’s not “simply because they are undocumented,” it is entirely because they are in the country illegally, violating our borders and laws, and if they left on their own, the wouldn’t have to be “rounded up.” Here’s another quote from the review,
But the real impact of the show’s early episodes isn’t the outrage you may feel over the thuggish tactics. It’s the wearying, demoralizing depiction of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy, one that churns through the lives of people it takes little notice of — as if your trip to the D.M.V. meant not just standing in an endless line, but then being shackled and put on a plane to Central America.
The lives of illegal immigrants are not the concern of ICE—they are the responsibility of their own countries. “Self-perpetuating bureaucracy” is meaningless pejorative rhetoric: what perpetuates ICE is the continued breaching of our borders, encouraged and enabled by people like Hale. and, incidentally, the late John Lewis.
The Times interviews several self-involved, self-righteous, passionate and completely ignorant young women who demonstrate that they are motivated entirely by free-flowing emotion without any concern for reality. Of course, the Times reporter feeds their narcissism, never challenging their certitude. If you wonder why so much of the George Floyd Freakout looks like it was organized by children, here is your answer: it is. Continue reading →
1. Mainstream media journalism, 2020. I thank Tim Levier for this classic, from NBC News:
Fake news. First, the Court did NOT rule that Trump cannot end DACA. The opinion by Chief Justice Roberts said explicitly that he can. Second, “Dreamers” were not legal immigrants so they cannot magically become legal immigrants. At best, they will be illegal immigrants who have been given a pass for their violation. The tweet is deceptive, misleading, and incompetent.
2. Cancellations, Resignations and Topplings Update! The current list of entertainment celebrities and politicians who have been documented as wearing blackface for one reason or another is long, and if one falls to the mob, the rest might start feeling awfully nervous.
The list includes Justin Trudeau, Ralph Northam, Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Joy Behar, Sarah Silverman, Ted Danson, Gigi Hadid, Julianne Hough and Billy Crystal. Right now rumors are swirling around the irredeemable Jimmy Kimmel, who has suddenly announced a hiatus, with many speculating that he is holding on to his job by a thread…and if he goes, the innocuous Fallon may be next. Though Stern, Kimmel and Behar are blights on the culture whose professional demise I would cheer, long past blackface dabbling should not be used to punish any of these people now….except perhaps the Virginia Governor. Northam is a special case, because his party is wildly hypocritical to allow him to escape accountability when it is cheering on the mobs. However, again, a law school costume has no relevance to the Governor today.
As for Trudeau–I don’t care.
3. Cancellations, Resignations and Topplings Update, Literary Division. At the Poetry Foundation earlier this month, leadership was forced to resign because its official grovel to Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd mob was deemed not abject enough. The Foundation had issued a brief, four-sentence statement on June 3, expressing “solidarity with the Black community” and declaring faith in “the strength and power of poetry to uplift in times of despair.” This prompted a critical uproar from the progressive poets, with another letter from members calling the statement “worse than the bare minimum” and an insult to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African-American victims of police violence. The foundation’s president and board chairman then quit, because, I suppose, poets are lovers, not fighters.
“As poets, we recognize a piece of writing that meets the urgency of its time with the appropriate fire when we see it — and this is not it,” the letter said. “Given the stakes, which equate to no less than genocide against Black people, the watery vagaries of this statement are, ultimately, a violence.”