Ethics True Or False: “The KKK Has As Much Right To Have A Cookout As Anyone Else”

This is an excellent question to ask your Facebook Borg friends to determine if they support and understand the meaning of freedom of thought, freedom of association, free speech, and the Bill of Rights generally. Most of them will get the question wrong, because they don’t. Some of them will probably call you a racist for explaining what the correct and ethical answer is: TRUE.

It’s not a matter of debate either, unless one believes that the First Amendment is debatable—as, depressingly, a growing number of progressives do.

In Madison, Indiana, a mob of antifa members (with bandanas covering their faces)  and others conspired to prevent the local KKK chapter from holding its annual annual “Ku Klux Kookout” picnic in a public park. They beat the Klan group to the site, then confronted hoodless “Kookers”, who they outnumbered, and intimidated them into retreating after a ten minute confrontation.

“The ‘honorable sacred knights’ of the KKK showed up here at the park and were chased out within minutes because hate has no place here in Madison, Indiana,” Mike Gamms, one of the antifa organizers of the counter-cookout, or whatever you call it, said with misplaced pride. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/16/18: Big Lies, Bad Precedents, And Good Bias (Apparently: I Guess I Just Don’t Understand)

Good Morning!

(You can tell I’m starting to feel better, because the morning warm-up is actually appearing before noon… I had an unavoidable early morning conference call, and I’m hoping to get the post up before I crash.)

1. Regarding the hypothetical Hillary pardon briefly discussed in the previous post…An esteemed commenter corrected me in the comment thread when I stated incorrectly that the object of a Presidential pardon couldn’t refuse the gift: the 1915 SCOTUS case of Burdick v. US says otherwise. The case is one more example of how a bad decision can become settled law. From the New York Times:

The story behind the 1915 case is little known but very relevant today. It involved the city editor of The New York Tribune, George Burdick, who…flatly refused to testify before a federal grand jury about his sources for an article on fraud in the United States Custom House in New York. He said he might incriminate himself in his testimony. The federal prosecutor saw a quick pardon as the answer to this problem, and President Woodrow Wilson agreed.

Wilson gave Burdick “a full and unconditional pardon for all offenses against the United States” he might have committed in connection with the article and for any other matter the grand jury might ask him about. That would seem to have let Burdick off the hook, but he still didn’t want to testify. He refused to accept the pardon, and was locked up for contempt.

The case went to the Supreme Court, which held that Burdick was within his rights and ordered him discharged. In doing so, the court embraced Chief Justice John Marshall’s 1833 definition of a pardon as “a private, though official” act of grace whose validity depended on its acceptance: “It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.”

Marshall’s pronouncements, in United States v. Wilson, were pure dicta — nonbinding observations — but the courts treated them as gospel. In the Burdick case, the court likewise held that “a pardon, to be effective, must be accepted” because it “carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it.” This made Marshall’s view the law of the land.

The problem is that both Marshall’s definition and the court’s 1915 reinforcement of it were bad history and tortured logic. Acceptance of a pardon should not be a confession of guilt, especially if there is documentation of innocence. The “imputation of guilt” would disappear if acceptance of a pardon were not required. If one has no choice but to take a pardon, it would become like a grant of immunity, and thus would be noncommittal.

There is nothing in the Constitution that gives a person the prerogative to turn down a pardon, and strong support in the Constitutional debates for the president’s having an unfettered power to grant one. “The benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist No. 74. Even more to the point, the framers turned down an effort to limit the power to pardons “after conviction” because they wanted to make it useful for law enforcement. That is, of course, exactly what President Wilson tried, and was told he couldn’t do, in the Burdick case.

So Hillary could turn down a Presidential pardon for her crimes related to flouting the law regarding classified material.

2. Run, Kamala, run! One of the awful alternatives the Democrats have as they paint themselves into the requirement of nominating a woman as their candidate in 2020, California Senator Kamala Harris, highlighted her awfulness while questioning Ronald D. Vitiello, the acting director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as he appeared before the Senate Homeland Security Committee as it weighed his nomination to become permanent ICE director. She deliberately compared ICE to the KKK in this exchange:

Vitiello: “The Klan was what we could call today a domestic terrorist group.”

 Harris: “Why? Why would we call them a domestic terrorist group?”

Vitiello: “Because they tried to use fear and force to change the political environment.”

Harris: “And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?”

Vitiello: “It was based on race and ethnicity.”

Harris: “Right. And are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the law and do you see any parallels?”

There are no parallels between the KKK and ICE, and Harris’s assertion that “many” see such parallels is one more example on the growing list of Big Lies being wielded by the Left to spread fear and misinformation. I heard Geraldo Rivera say this morning that Harris was “too smart” to make such a comparison, which he characterized as slander. Obviously she is not too smart to make the comparison, since she made it. She’s too smart to believe that the comparison is fair, but unethical and irresponsible enough to suggest it anyway.

3. Here’s one reason why I don’t have more Ethics Heroes. I’ve already written twice about the deteriorating saga of the kind homeless veteran  and the woman he helped who raised money to let him turn his life around.. It began as a heartwarming Ethics Hero saga, then rotted into a tale of greed, ingratitude, betrayal and exploitation. By August of last year, this was the suddenly depressing story…

Johnny is back living under a bridge, panhandling for change. GoFundMe is investigating whether McClure and her live-in boyfriend absconded with most of the donations, which eventually amounted to about $400,000. Johnny claims that his once grateful benefactor and friend have been spending the money that was supposed to ensure, in Kate’s memorable words, that “his life can get back to being normal….”

Now the story is worse still:

The New Jersey couple who became famous for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a homeless man after he helped with their disabled car — as did the homeless man himself — will all face charges for allegedly providing a false story in order to raise money for themselves, a source familiar with the case told NBC10. Mark D’Amico, Kate McClure and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. will face charges including conspiracy and theft by deception, according to the source. A complaint obtained by NBC10 alleges that the three conspired with one another to make up a false story in order to raise more than $400,000.

Sigh.

4. Now that’s acceptable gender bias discrimination. Somehow. I guess. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said Wednesday that a congresswoman besides Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should be the House Speaker.  “There’s plenty of really competent females that we can replace her with,” Ryan told reporters, before listing people such as Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) as potential candidates, The New York Times reported. I dare anyone to try to explain what one’s sex organs and chromosomes has to do with being a capable Speaker of the House. Bias not only makes you stupid, it makes you ridiculous and hypocritical. As for Marcia Fudge: oh, GOOOOOD choice there, Tim!

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/20/17

Good Morning, everyone!

Good Morning, General!

Good morning, Traveler!

1. Sensing that there is now a new approach to undermining Donald Trump’s presidency with propaganda, today’s New York Times Sunday Review sports a front page almost completely occupied with a giant graphic of the President’s head without a face. In place of a face is a photo of the Charlottesville torchlight demonstration. suggesting that he approved of the demonstration and its primary participants’ white supremacy views. This is a complete lie, of course, and meets the definition of Anti-Trump porn. The rest of the supplement follows the front page’s tone.

2. An impeachment and conviction of President Trump absent the kind of offenses the Constitution specifies would be nothing less than a coup, and an illegal over-turning of an election for partisan gain. Please observe the individuals, professionals, pundits and elected officials advocating this: they are the ones treading close to treason, defined as “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to…overthrow the government.”

3. Of course, the cowardly, chaotic and anarchistic juveniles calling themselves “Anonymous”—you can’t get more chicken that that—are all-in with the phony impeachment drive, and have published what it says are the private cell phone numbers of 22 GOP Congressmen to bully them into supporting the movement. I would give you a link, but the one sent to me has crashed my browser twice: apparently a story about Anonymous even makes my computer throw-up.

4. Then there is this Incompetent Elected Official, Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, who announced this week that he will introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump “based on his defense of the white supremacists who participated in a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.” While we’re at it, let’s call out The Hill for that slanted and misleading description.

First Cohen, who said,

“Instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the President said ‘there were very fine people on both sides.’ There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen.”

Cohen is a simple-minded ignoramus with the historical perspective of a lump of granite, and you can quote me. Sure there were good Nazis. Is he really claiming that every German citizen who didn’t have the courage to risk liquidation by defying Hitler was evil? That every child indoctrinated in Hitler youth groups were beyond redemption? Here’s a good Nazi: Henri Salmide. Here’s another: Albert Goering.

And wait, didn’t Stephen Spielberg direct a movie about another good Nazi, one who is honored in the Holocaust Museum here in D.C.? I’m sure I recall something about that. Huh. I’m sure the name will come to me.

There have been good Klansmen too. Legendary Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was once a member of the Klan. So was Hugo Black, one of the greatest judicial minds ever to enhance the Supreme Court.  Yes, and even Harry Truman, a much-admired Democratic President, found it politically expedient at one point in his career to join the Klan.

Is Cohen ignorant and stupid, or does he just want to make sure Democratic voters who believe their elected representatives are ignorant and stupid? Those attempting to benefit politically by dividing the nation and sowing discord want to represent every issue as black and white, good and evil, with no acknowledgement that there are important nuances to consider. Cohen is an especially nauseating example, arguing that if a President doesn’t accept misleading progressive half-truths and jump through the hoops they set set up, he is a criminal. Nor can Cohen defend his double standard, embraced wholeheartedly by the anti-Trump’s gotcha! brigade, that if you march with the white nationalists against the purging of American history (which should be marched against, as it is ethically despicable) you are innately  bad, but if you march with hooded, violent thugs of the antifa movement in favor of Soviet-style historical editing and in an attempt to silence protected speech, you can still be the salt of the earth.

Nor can anyone.

5. Ah, yes, the Hill. It described the President’s remarks as a “defense of the white supremacists.” In fact, Trump never defended white supremacy. He defended the cause they claimed to be marching for, which was allowing Robert E. Lee’s statue to stand.  I also defend that cause, as well as the right of anyone to march in protest against the current orgy of statute-toppling, that virtuous activity that sometimes must be undertaken in the dead of night. Moreover, the Hill says that one side”participated in a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend,” as if there was not another side that also participated, one that included hooded individuals intending violence…or perhaps the hood were to hide bad cases of acne. This was exactly why it was appropriate for the President to level blame on both the demonstrators and the counter-demonstrators.

As always of late, the news media, like Cohen, wants to keep the public misled and divided.

_______________________

Pointer: Neil Dorr

Ethics Dunce: Mediaite

feldman

Mediaite is a frequent source here. The news and opinion website actively strives for balance by maintaining a stable of ideologically diverse reporters. It also received a big boost in credibility recently by finally dumping the embarrassing Tommie Christopher, whose left-wing bias was so extreme that it bordered on parody.

However, the site grossly abandoned ethics and accountability this time.

Yesterday I cited a Mediaite story about how Twitter dolts thought they saw a KKK sign in the stands during the World Series, a mistake caused by a bad hybrid of race-obsessed derangement and utter ignorance of the National pastime. What I did not know, because Mediaite was engaged in a cover-up, was that reporter Josh Feldman had filed the original post in which HE accused Cleveland fans of promoting the Klan. As you can see above, the original Mediaite story was not about Twitter morons mistaking the cards representing three strikeouts for Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, but a “scoop” by an ignorant and irresponsible reporter who made that mistake.

After Feldman was quickly schooled  on Twitter, Mediaite cleaned up the embarrassing story, removed Feldman’s byline, and turned it into a “Boy are some people stupid!” post. Feldman restricted his apology to Twitter, writing, “Apologies for the fuckup. Need to do more reading up on sportsing things.”

No, need to show some responsibility on reportsing things, Josh. Mediaite’s handling of this botch was unethical, and seriously implicates their trustworthiness. In the revamped post, a note was added saying,

UPDATE- This post has been updated to reflect the fact that it was NOT a KKK sign, it was signifying the number of strikeouts,”

Yes, and it was also updated to remove the name of the guilty reporter. Josh Feldman should been named as the one responsible, he should have apologized to Mediaite readers , not Twitter followers, for false reporting, and Mediaite had an obligation to apologize as well for its poor oversight. Instead, the site chose to cover for its reporter.Ethics Verdict: No transparency, no accountability, and an effort to deceive readers rather than admit to incompetent and careless reporting.

How can anyone trust a website that would do that?

___________________________

Pointer and Facts: Daily Caller

World Series Ethics: No, You Morons, That Wasn’t A “KKK Sign”!

kkk-world-series

The divided, confused, betrayed American public owes a debt of gratitude to the National Pastime this morning, and not for the first time. The stirring World Series win by the Chicago Cubs in Cleveland, and the joyous celebration afterwards, is exactly what this besieged and angry republic needed.

Well, that and a competent and respectable Presidential candidate to vote for, but you can’t have everything.

On social media, however, one was reminded why we have such miserable options to lead the country: ignoramuses. For during the game, multiple social justice warriors, doubtless confused because no players protested the National Anthem during the game, took to Twitter to exclaim that there was a Klu Klux Klan sign at the World Series!

Morons.

Some thoughts: Continue reading

Anti-Trump Sunday Concludes With An Ethics Quote Of The Day: President Ronald Reagan

Portrait Of Ronald Reagan

“Those of us in public life can only resent the use of our names by those who seek political recognition for the repugnant doctrines of hate they espouse. The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood.”

—President Ronald Reagan in 1984, after learning that the KKK had endorsed him.

The contrast between this and the disgraceful, dishonest, weak and waffling response by Donald Trump Sunday when asked about his endorsements from the KKK and David Dukes is stark and illuminating.

__________________

Pointer: Instapundit (Ed Driscoll)

More “Anti-Trump Sunday”… A New Ethics Alarms Feature: “Unethical Donald Trump Quote Of The Day”

Trump can't say if anything's "wrong" with these people because he's never met them....

Trump can’t say if anything’s “wrong” with these people because he’s never met them….

Trump is averaging at least one outrageous, unethical statement a day. Either they show incompetence, or they are irresponsible, or they are uncivil, or they are lies, or they show disrespect for the office he is seeking, U.S. citizens and the nation, or all of these.

It’s rather hard to quote The Donald, since he rambles, free associates, and generally talks like someone who is tripping. In this case, one must look at the entire exchange holistically.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump this morning if he would disavow the endorsement of white supremacist and former KKK leader David Duke,or that of “other white supremacists.”

Trump claimed that he has been living in a cave (Everyone has heard of Duke): “I don’t know anything about David Duke. I don’t know anything about what you are even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I mean, did he endorse me or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke, I know nothing about white supremacists. And so, you are asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”

Tapper obviously didn’t believe that Trump knows nothing about white supremacists, nor do I.  He asked again: “Would you just say, unequivocally, you condemn them and you don’t want their support?” Continue reading