They—We—Executed Orlando Hall. Good.

lethal drug

One area in which the likely arrival of the Biden administration will surely signal furious back-tracking efforts will be the perpetual moral and ethical controversy over capital punishment. The execution of Orlando Hall was the eighth since the Trump administration revived capital punishment for federal crimes and the first of three scheduled during the presidential transition, if there is one.

The progressive way of the moment is to minimize or eliminate any punishment whatsoever for crimes. President-sort-of-elect Biden, in an exuberant moment, said during the campaign that there shouldn’t be prison time for any non-violent crimes. (Any non-violent crimes, Joe?) In the throes of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, the bonkers concept has been promoted by the Black Lives Matter constituency that the justice system is so racist that punishing any black citizen for any crime is perpetuating “systemic racism.” Here’s Ellie Mystal, The Nation’s “justice correspondent,” writing way back in 2016:

“Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw “murder” at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”

Mystal isn’t alone, and since the death of Floyd with a white police officer’s knee on his neck, his logic, if you can call it that, has become infectious. Race is a factor that may signal bias by jurors: major political leaders, pundits are and academics are arguing directly that all whites are prejudiced against blacks, and Mystal’s ilk are calling on black jurors to acquit even guilty black defendants as cultural “tit for tat.” (Ellie’s a lawyer and still reached this conclusion, and still is employed as an authority. But don’t get me started on Ellie.)

It is time to reconsider and perhaps revise the absolute principle the Supreme Court articulated in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the landmark decision ruling that a prosecutor’s use of a peremptory challenge in a criminal case, dismissing a juror without stating reason for doing so, may not be used to exclude jurors based solely on their race. After all, if all whites are secretly or subconsciously hostile to blacks, they can’t be trusted to judge the guilt of a black defendant, and if blacks are being urged to fight systemic racism and “mass incarceration” by acquitting guilty black criminals, they can’t be trusted either.

Maybe what we need is all Asian-American juries.

But I digress…slightly. Here was the ABA Journal’s headline regarding the execution of black death row inmate Orlando Hall: “Federal inmate tried by all-white jury is executed after Supreme Court lifts execution stay.” Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, the so-called liberal minority on the Court, dissented from the Supreme Court order allowing the execution to proceed without explaining their dissent. They don’t have to. Biden has said he will work to end the use of capital punishment by the federal government, reversing President Trump’s support for it: the Left considers the death penalty to be an 8th Amendment breach, “cruel and unusual” punishment.

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Failed Late Thursday Ethics Review, 11/19/2020 Turned Early Friday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/20/2020: Let’s Play “Stupid or Not Stupid”!

Unrelated to any kind of stupid: Yesterday was the anniversary of the demise of my old friend, Glenn White, in 2013. I never got to attend a funeral or service for Glenn; his family didn’t see fit to let me know he had died, despite our association of thirty years. This is what I always will remember about Glenn: He knew what it meant to be a friend. We knew each other through theater, though he was a Fairfax City, Virginia politician. Glenn used to say, “If you need me, Jack, you just have to ask. I’ll be there.” And he always was. When he was in his late 70s, I needed someone to play an old man in one of my theater company’s shows. Glenn used to call himself The American Century Theater’s resident geezer, but he had moved to the Virginia countryside, and it was more than a three hour commute, round trip, to rehearsals and performances. My plight was barely out of my mouth when he said, “Sure, you can count on me.”

How many people do you get to meet in your life who are like that?

1. I really hate this...I spent precious time, as I was trying to get a post in before the clock struck 12 last night, writing about this story, published yesterday and passed along credulously by a U.S.news aggregator, only to find that the events described happened in 2019. I have encountered this before: some website is light on material, so it uses an old story for click-bait without stating the time frame until the very end.

2. Today’s inexcusable, biased, partisan and unethical headline from the New York Times front page: “Trump Targeting Michigan In Ploy To Subvert Election.” Clearly, the Times isn’t even trying any more. The use of “ploy” and “subvert” is not only editorializing, it’s irresponsible editorializing. There were certainly a lot of strange things going on in the Michigan voting and vote-counting;the state should be targeted. (There are strange things going on in Michigan generally.) If the Michigan vote was corrupted, discovering how and how much doesn’t “subvert” anything. If it turns out that Michigan actually was won by Trump—admittedly a remote possibility—then that discovery prevents the election from being subverted.

The Times’ job is to explain what the Trump campaign’s challenges to the election are in factual terms, not to speculate on diabolical motives, to trigger violence and subvert democracy.

3. What does this display remind you of?

Belgian phallus

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Afternoon Ethics Wind-down, 11/17/2020: Greenwald, Kelly, Typical Irresponsible College Professor, And “Name Withheld”

windingUp

1 Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias… Glenn Greenwald, the gadfly journalist who was cut off at the metaphorical knees for not supporting the media black-out of the Biden family influence peddling story in the waning days of the campaign (Hey! It worked, so it must be ethical!), is apparently just warming up in his campaign to expose the mainstream media’s hypocrisy and bias. Here’s a recent thread on Twitter.

Of course, it’s just a matter of time before Twitter suspends his account…

2. I LOVE this guy! He’s the perfect example of so much that’s wrong with academia, Black Lives Matters, and the entire race-baiting phenomenon! (But why is he allowed to teach anyone?) Bucknell University will be featuring a scholarly debate over the new film “What Killed Michael Brown?,” with participants considering “whether the idea of systemic racism today is a truth about what needs to be addressed in shaping a just America, or a ‘poetic truth’ that as a strategy exacerbates social division in America.” (Strange…it is beyond question that what killed Michael Brown was his fatal and perhaps drug-aided decision to resist arrest, try to grab an officer’s weapon, ignore a lawful order to stop, and to direct his entire bulk in a charge at a police officer. It will be a short webinar.) Roosevelt University journalism Professor John Fountain, one of the participants, asserts that “questioning the existence and impact of systemic racism in the United States is itself offensive and racist.”

3. Whew! I almost lost this one. From an October 6 column by “The Ethicist.” “Name Withheld” writes: Continue reading

A False Narrative Exposed, Part 2: The Times’ Editors Beclown Themselves

Clowns

[This is Part 2 of the Ethics Alarms essay that begins here.]

The first section of “A False Narrative Exposed” concluded,

The extent of the Democrats’ false smearing of Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the blatant fearmongering regarding the consequences of her confirmation are put in sharp perspective when one goes back and re-reads the New York Times editorial of the week before headlines, “The Republican Party’s Supreme Court.”  Indeed, the Times editorial shows us much more: the utter dishonesty of the mainstream media and its willingness to mislead rather than inform the public; it’s deliberate employment of false history to advance its partisan ends, and perhaps  most damming of all, the weak powers of reasoning and analysis the alleges cream of the journalistic crop applies to its craft. Then there are the repeated reminders that the Times is so deeply in bed with the Democrats that it can count its moles.

Let’s look at that editorial…

“What happened in the Senate chamber on Monday evening was, on its face, the playing out of a normal, well-established process of the American constitutional order: the confirmation of a president’s nominee to the Supreme Court. But Senate Republicans, who represent a minority of the American people, are straining the legitimacy of the court by installing a deeply conservative jurist, Amy Coney Barrett, to a lifetime seat just days before an election that polls suggest could deal their party a major defeat.”

Right—those phony polls meant to suppress the GOP vote showing that the Democrats were going to increase their dominance of the House and win control of the Senate. The scandalously misleading and mistaken polls were also part of the novel Democratic argument, endorsed by the Times, that the Senate should reject a legal and historically routine SCOTUS nomination because of clearly biased polls…a corrupting phenomenon the Founders never heard of.

“As with President Trump’s two earlier nominees to the court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the details of Judge Barrett’s jurisprudence were less important than the fact that she had been anointed by the conservative activists at the Federalist Society. Along with hundreds of new lower-court judges installed in vacancies that Republicans refused to fill when Barack Obama was president, these three Supreme Court choices were part of the project to turn the courts from a counter-majoritarian shield that protects the rights of minorities to an anti-democratic sword to wield against popular progressive legislation like the Affordable Care Act.”

The only valid question for the Senate to consider was whether Barrett was qualified. Even the deeply progressive-biased American Bar Association  agreed that she was. I don’t know what the Times is trying to say: the Federalist Society wouldn’t have approved of an unqualified justice. “Anointed’ is just cheap Times rhetoric meaning “conservatives tended to agree with her jurisprudence,” just as progressives approved of the late Justice Ginsberg. Both had to excel during tough questioning in their confirmation hearings. Neither was “anointed.” The editorial board is pandering to its readership’s hysterical biases against conservatives….

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/12/2020: The “I’m Sorry I Ignored Veteran’s Day But I Was Distracted By The Enemies Of The People” Edition

The reason for the choice of song will reveal itself at the end of the post…

1. No 2020 Election Train Wreck update this morning, because there are only a few items to report. One stinker from yesterday: the New York Times had an across-the-front page, “This is important!” headline that read, “ELECTION OFFICIALS NATIONWIDE FIND NO FRAUD.”

How did the Times’ ethics fall so far, so fast? That headline is pure propaganda, deceitful on its face. Do the editors think even the most partisan of their readers are that gullible?

2. Then there’s the Washington Post. I almost hate to post this after trying to talk commenter of the day Steve Witherspoon off the ledge in the previous Ethics Alarms entry. USPS whistleblower Richard Hopkins has demanded Tuesday that the false Washington Post story claiming he ‘recanted’ his sword statement regarding directions he was given by his Erie, PA postmaster to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day. He did not recant. In a video, the veteran says,

“My name is Richard Hopkins, I’m a postal employee who came out and whistleblew on the Erie, Pennsylvania postal service, postal office. I am right at this very moment looking at an article written by the Washington Post—it says that I fabricated the allegations of ballot tampering. I’m here to say that I did not recant my statements, that didn’t happen, that is not what happened. You will find out tomorrow, and I would like that the Washington Post recant their wonderful little article that they decided to throw out there, out at random.”

He has been placed on non-pay status by the Erie Post Office, which seems like a violation of whistle-blower laws to me, but I haven’t checked. GoFundMe, based on the Post story, erased the effort to provide him and his family financial support while he is being punished by the USPS.

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Good Morning! Here’s Today’s 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update…

Head Boom

I hate mixing Ethics Alarms metaphors, but the developments in the 2020 Presidential Election Ethics Train Wreck made my head explode—what we call a “KABOOM!” in these parts—more than once.

1. To put first things first, I had to make a major revision in yesterday’s update. After a couple of readers reported that the number of ballots in Michigan showing only votes for President was almost a third fewer than J.D. Rucker had reported, I changed the post accordingly and added,

The numbers J.D. Rucker used in the sources for this post can no longer be verified. Now HIS alleged source is showing numbers that don’t support his argument. I can’t imagine that Rucker, who has some credibility and writes for various conservative publications, would make up statistics wholesale for a post about statistics. I can imagine the statistics being altered after he called attention to their suspicious nature, since there is such a concerted effort to discredit any claims that the voting totals may not be accurate, but there is no evidence of that. This is the whole problem. There are no reliable sources.

2. KABOOM! #1. A team of Google monitors captured evidence that between Monday, October 26, 2020, and Thursday, October 29, 2020, Google sent “be sure to vote” reminders to liberal users but did not do the same with conservative users. On Thursday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai demanding an explanation.

Do we need an explanation? Google has shown itself to be virtually principle-free and so biased that it’s a good thing it dumped its motto “Don’t Be Evil,” because the company risked being consumed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Robert Epstein, a psychologist,  started an election monitoring project employing a politically-diverse group of 733 field agents in Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. “Through their computers, we were able to preserve more than 400,000 ephemeral experiences that tech companies use to shift opinions and votes and that normally are lost forever,” Epstein explained in a letter to Senator Johnson.

“One of our most disturbing findings so far is that between Monday, October 26th (the day our system became fully operational) and Thursday, October 29th, only our liberal field agents received vote reminders on Google’s home page. Conservatives did not receive even a single vote reminder,” Epstein reported. “This kind of targeting, if present nationwide, could shift millions of votes, in part because Google’s home page is seen 500 million times a day in the U.S.”

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Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 11/9/2020: A Bad Date, Pseudo Blackface, Harvard Being Harvard, And Short-Lived Integrity At The New York Post

  1. I was just checking this date in history. Wow. As if Kristallnacht wasn’t bad enough all by itself, the date November 9 seems to have been cursed. Other events on this date include:
  • Lincoln appointing the incompetent General Burnside as commander of the Union Army in 1862. Burnside made George McClellan look like military genius by comparison. He was responsible for the slaughter at Fredericksburg, where he ordered charge after futile charge up a kill into Confederate artillery. He was responsible for the blood mess resulting from a battle for a useless bridge during Antietam (anyone could easily walk across the river at that point), and was the idiot responsible for the crater fiasco at Petersburg, where a great plan was transformed into a disaster because Burnside replaced trained clack troops with untrained white troops, who promptly charged into the hole made by the Union’s underground explosion.
  • The Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge by the state of Massachusetts regarding the constitutionality of the undeclared  Vietnam War by a 6-3 vote.
  • A Sunday school teacher and Boy Scout troop leader Westfield,, New Jersey father John Emil List slaughtered his entire family,  his mother Alma, his wife Helen (in the side of the head), and two three children He then left the murder weapon alongside their carefully laid-out corpses. This was premeditated:  List had  cancel newspaper, milk, and mail delivery to his home in the days leading up to the murder, and called the children’s schools to say that the family was going to visit a sick relative out of town. By the time the bodies were, List had vanished, and he stayed missing for 18 years.

2. Well you know…Harvard. Harvard College undergraduate Joshua Conde, and editor of the school paper and a Government major (like me!)  argued in the Harvard Crimson that the school must fire professors who hold “unacceptable views” and “controversial beliefs.”

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Tonight’s 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update!

steam train wreck

You see, no matter how much grandstanding and posturing and gloating performed by the Axis of Unethical Conduct (AUC), including its recent recruit, the social media platforms, and its Deranged zombie followers, your friends and mine, there is no avoiding these facts:

  • Joe Biden is not President-elect until the Electoral College elects him. The AOC itself proclaimed that sufficiently in 2016 when it was trying to steal that election.
  • The news media’s “calls” have no official role in deciding what states land in what column, and it has completely abused its position and influence this time.
  • There will be investigations, recounts and lawsuits, as well as appeals. These will happen. All of the premature chest-beating and the rest won’t stop them, and that’s wonderful. Democrats had a legal force ready to do the same thing in any states were as close as the five or six states the Trump team is looking at.
  • People can assume what will happen, but they do not know. The 2000 Florida challenge and recount should have taught that lesson. I’m sure it did, in fact.

Now here are some opinions that I am confident are accurate, but that do not quite reach the level of “facts”:

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Early Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/8/2020: The 2020 Presidential Election Ethics Train Wreck Accelerates…

Train-Wreck air

The news media, Democrats and Trump-Haters—are there any Biden supporters, I wonder?—are behaving like—no other word will do— assholes to a degree that even I could not have imagined. They are doing so in such a flagrant matter that one has to ask if they all really are assholes, if they are this way permanently now, and if we can ever trust any of them again. Gloating, threatening, insulting and lying is not the way to heal the damage done to the nation (by them, primarily) over the last four years.

Do not send Ethics Alarms comments about how “this is no surprise.” Just cut that out. Writing that mitigates the offense. It is a surprise. It may have been predictable, but one has to be surprised at such despicable conduct by such a huge component of the population, or one just has to give up.

It’s unethical to give up.

1. I just blocked my first Twitter account, and it was that of the self-banned, former puckish Ethics Alarms commenter Jeff Field, known here as Fattymoon. Jeff was an enthusiastic member of Occupy Wall Street, meaning he was essentially an anarchist and thoroughly deluded, but he was treated well here. Then he went off to Medium to attack me and the blog by name. That’s fine. What’s not fine is the string of tweets he has sent out lately threatening me for daring to point out the same kinds of issues I’m covering in this post. That is signature significance for both an asshole and a totalitarian (anarchists are often totalitarians, as long as they see themselves in charge, and all totalitarians are assholes).

I really thought better of Jeff. I have never blocked anyone on Twitter; I object to it on principle, but I’m willing to be insulted—I know how to defend myself—but threats on social media are intolerable.

2. The news media cannot ethically refer to Joe Biden as “the President-elect.” He isn’t. That’s a fact. They didn’t call George W. Bush “President Elect” when Al Gore and Florida Democrats were searching high and low for any way to flip Florida into the Gore column in 2000, and at this point, the 2020 election is no more decided than that one was. It is a remarkable—and obviously unethical—exercise for the news media to declare Biden the winner and then use its own fake news to proclaim him President-elect. There are sufficient states with their vote totals in question, with recounts looming and lawsuits mounting, to wait. Waiting costs nothing; premature declarations and celebrations make the nation look ridiculous, because at this juncture, it is ridiculous.

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Saturday Ethics Review, 11/7/2020: And The Beat Goes On (Item #7 Added)

1. It’s not only the obvious hypocrisy and double standard, it’s the fact that they are so shameless about it. Of course, the average low-information voter (or the average partisan hack who likes applying double standards) cheered on Al Gore and the Democrats when they challenged the 2000 election using a shifting set of theories—remember the “butterfly ballot” that sparked the first legal challenge from Al’s lawyers? Then it was the hanging chads. The 2020 election isn’t over and the race isn’t won until every re-count is completed and there is a credible and trustworthy result. The results so far in multiple states are spiderweb thin, and even relatively small instances of voter fraud could change the winner.

As I have already written here more than once since Tuesday, President Trump has an obligation to oversee responsible investigations into questions regarding irregularities in the vote counting and mail-in voting. He is, after all, President for two more months at least. But the Axis of Unethical Conduct is, as it has from the beginning of his term, claiming that what is virtuous and justified when their favorite politicians do it is sinister when Republicans do the same. I have a complete library of asshole tweets to the effect that the latest Democratic coup attempt should be granted instant legitimacy before all of the issues are satisfactorily resolved. Here are two samples,

Tapper twt

Winslow tweet

If you have problems with my characterization of “coup” just now, sorry, I’m not retracting it. The election was not held on even ground, between the news media’s open bias and the use of the pandemic to justify early and inherently corruptible mail-in voting. It is certainly possible that Joe Biden would have won in a fair election, but we will never know that. The price of the party’s “ends justify the means” strategy is that this election can never be regarded as decisive or fair, and expect the Right to act accordingly.

The fact that a news organization or a decision desk has declared Biden the winner doesn’t mean that he is the winner, and if there are valid legal issues and voting questions to be settled, we should settle them now, because we know they won’t be addressed once the Democrats have the Presidency. I also endorse the point made in this tweet…

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