Trevor Noah Provides A Perfect Example Of How Comedians Make The Public Stupid And Irresponsible…But Woke!

Noah

Personally, I blame Jon Stewart. The former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” was quick, clever and smug enough to convince a lot of younger, lazy Americans that they could become civically literate by watching a comedy show, thus being entertained while learning about current events and how to have the “right’ opinions about them. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Noah, Jimmy Kimmel (yecchh), Bill Maher (gag) and all of the other left-leaning clowns and jokers have a right to their opinions and to spout them at will, but nobody should think that any of them possess such remarkable insight that they should be influential opinion-makers. Indeed, their opinions are approximately as authoritative as a gas station attendant or the average taxi driver.

Throughout American history, there have been the occasional wise wags whose satirical takes on current events prompted thought as well as mirth—Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Mort Sahl, and a few others. Never before, however, have there been so many pretenders to that class who not only are taken seriously by the young, but who also take themselves seriously, far more seriously than their intellects, training and experience justifies. During the Trump administration, this trend became actively destructive, but many crtics even expressed concern during Stewart’s reign, as surveys showed that a frightening number of people used “The Daily Show” as their primary news source. This makes approximately as much sense as using SNL’s “Weekend Update” for that purpose.

Or CNN.

Kidding!

(Sort of.)

Trevor Noah, Stewart’s cuter but equally smug successor on Comedy Central, provided us with a neon-bright example of how damaging these fake authorities can be. The topic was the mass killings at two Atlanta-area massage parlors that left eight people dead earlier this week. Six of the eight women were Asian-Americans, but the motive behind the shootings is murky. Police arrested a suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long yesterday. Long reportedly told investigators that he had a sexual addiction and saw the businesses as a temptation he needed to eliminate. (This makes slightly more sense than “Son of Sam” saying he was instructed by a dog, but you know: mass murderers.) Never mind what he says, the race-baiters that make up much of the Democratic Party decided that this was another opportunity that couldn’t be missed.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a member of “The Squad,” tweeted yesterday,

“8 lives were violently stolen. We stand in solidarity & deep compassion w/ our AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] family in Georgia & across the country. Racism, misogyny, & white supremacy are a threat to all of our communities, and we must call out the targeted, violent attacks on our AAPI neighbors.”

Other “of color” elected Democrats followed the script. Showing that, so far at least, there are some depths to which they will not stoop, both Speaker Pelosi and President Biden declined to call the attacks a “hate crime,” saying that the motive is unclear. It is, but the fact that the killer himself says he was trying to kill sex workers creates the rebuttable presumption that race was not motive.

Trevor Noah, however, launched a hilarious riff on the tragedy. I jest: there was nothing funny about it, but who is better qualified to analyze the social roots of a U.S. incident than a South African high school grad who has engaged in nothing except comedy since he was 18 and who has shown no interest in becoming an American citizen?

Here is Noah’s rant:

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George Washington’s Birthday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/22/21: Happy Birthday, George! We’re Sorry Your Country Has Become Populated With So Many Ignorant, Ungrateful Fools…

portrait_of_george_washington

If there is any American whose birthday should be a national holiday, it is George Washington, born this day in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. If I have to tell you the reasons he was “the essential man” in American history, well, I guess you’re the product of our current public school system, a recent college graduate, a Democrat, a Black Lives Matter enthusiast, or something. There is no rational excuse for every American, yes, even African-Americans, to not be grateful for this day. Martin Luther King is now the only individual to have a national holiday dedicated to his honor, while Washington’s memory was dumped into a hodge-podge of lesser figures including Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and now, Donald Trump. King is worthy of his day, but to honor King over Washington is as good an example of “putting the cart before the horse” as one could find. Shame on us. True, George is not lacking honors, with the capital city named for him, a towering monument, cities and towns in many states, Mt. Rushmore, and his image on both the most-used bill and coin. Nonetheless he earned all of it, and this date should be a holiday.

On The Ethics Alarms home page, you will see to your right a link to the list of ethical habits some historians believe made Washington the remarkably trustworthy and ethical man he was, ultimately leading his fellow Founders to choose him, and not one the many more brilliant, learned and accomplished among them, to take on the crucial challenge of creating the American Presidency. Directed to do so by his father, young Washington copied out by hand and committed to memory a list called “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”  It was  based on a document compiled by French Jesuits in 1595; neither the authors nor the English translator and adapter are known today. The elder Washington was following the teachings of Aristotle—another Dead White Man whom most Americans alive today couldn’t tell you Jack S-word about— who held that principles and values began as being externally imposed by authority (morals) and eventually became internalized as character. As I wrote when I first posted them here,

The theory certainly worked with George Washington. Those ethics alarms installed by his father stayed in working order throughout his life. It was said that Washington was known to quote the rules when appropriate, and never forgot them. They did not teach him to be a gifted leader he became, but they helped to make him a trustworthy one.

Would that readers would access that list more often. And politicians. And lawyers. And educators…

1. How ignorant and ungrateful? THIS ignorant and ungrateful

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Valentine’s Day Ethics Warm-Up: “Ya Gotta Love Ethics!”

valentines-day-hearts-9

I’m going to see if I can get through this entire post without mentioning yesterday’s acquittal of Donald Trump. There’s a whole other post around the corner for that. Let’s see.

I was sorely tempted to post the simple word “Good!” to my Facebook feed, but resisted the temptation. All it would have accomplished was to trigger some genuinely, or at least formerly, nice and reasonable people….who have nonetheless been smug, abusive, irrational, nasty, obsessed, hateful and harmful to the culture and society since November 2016. And as much as the Duke in “McClintock!” is an inspiration…

…I won’t. At least, not right now.

1, And the audacious hypocrisy continues! To a ridiculous and childish extent, too. Here’s Dr. Jill Biden’s kindergarten-style, “do as we say not as we do,” signaling-virtue-while-not-actually-engaging-in-it White House lawn display.

Biden diaplay

How nauseating.

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Ethics Overview, 1/6/2021: Don’t Believe Women If They Are Married To Democrats, Helen Keller Is A Myth, Christmas Trees Are Yummy, And More!

Calvin And Hobbes Ethics

1. About the Georgia special elections:

  • I’d love to know why people who live in big cities run by incompetent Democratic mayors still happily vote for Democrats. Atlanta and its suburbs are driving the likely victory of both Democratic candidates, yet the mayor of Atlanta, like her counterparts in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and so many other Democratic strongholds is objectively terrible. Amazing. There is no accountability at all.
  • That said, none of the candidates for either party last night have much to recommend them except their party affiliations. I wouldn’t vote for Purdue, unless he were running against as bad a candidate as Ossoff, and maybe not even then. (From the December post on that race: “If the Republicans lose the Senate because enough voters are disgusted by this and refuse to trust a Senator who used his position to benefit financially, it is the party’s own fault. Republicans should police such conduct, and could. They apparently care more about their own riches than the fate of the nation.”)
  • Raphael Warnock’s win should kill any credibility #MeToo has for Democrats and progressives for good. He’s been accused of spousal abuse by his ex-wife, in a direct statement by her that would have prompted screams of indignation had he been a Republican. After Joe Biden’s win and now Warnock, Al Franken must feel like the biggest dupe on Earth. And he should.
  • Would the GOP have at least won one of the two Senate seats in Georgia had not the President been unable to restrain his inner asshole for a few weeks in the interests of his party and the nation? I think so.

2. Madness! Madness! I keep reading in multiple sources about how there is growing support for a national 15 dollar-an-hour minimum wage, as President-Elect Biden proclaims his support for the measure. With the disastrous shutdowns across the country killing small businesses and the restaurant industry in particular, this is the worst possible time to mandate an increase in restaurants’ expenses, but I’m sure it will happen anyway though it is irresponsible and incompetent.

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Oh, Why Not? Let’s Start Off 2021 With “Mostly Peaceful Protests” Over The Police Shooting Of A Black Man In Minnesota! Will BLM And The News Media Use It As More Evidence Of Systemic Racism?

Idd

They’ll sure try!

Here is how the New York Times described the death of Dolal Idd:

“A Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a man during a traffic stop on Wednesday evening, the first killing by a member of the department since George Floyd’s death in May, a police spokesman said.”

Let’s see: subsequent accounts show that it was not, in fact, a “traffic stop”: police had been looking for Idd as part of a firearms investigation. The account was also misleading in that it didn’t mention that Idd fired on police officers first. And, as I guess I will have to keep writing since the news media will not (although I guarantee jurors in the George Floyd trial will hear it many times), it is far from clear that the sainted Floyd was in fact killed by a police officer.

Other than that, the Times reports is pretty accurate for modern journalism; only three major misrepresentations in a single sentence of 35 words.

Since any shooting of a black man by U.S. police is presumed to be based on racism, a mob of demonstrators appeared at the scene, blocking traffic for several blocks and starting a bonfire in the middle of the street. Authorities urged them not to riot or commit arson, and they did not, apparently because the temperature of ten degrees was too cold for them. Certainly the facts of the shooting couldn’t have had anything to do with it: most of the other police-involved deaths over the summer justified riots no more than this one did, but riots we got.

Multiple police vehicles had converged on Idd’s car. He tried to elude the police, and when he realized he couldn’t, started shooting at the officers. They shot back; of course, as I’m sure we will hear from Joe Biden or someone, they should have tried to “wing” him. Sadly, he was killed at the scene.

Such a loss. The Star Tribune reports,

In 2019, Idd was convicted of illegally possessing and firing a gun in Hennepin County. The charges say, in July 2018, Idd fired a gun in the basement shower of his parents’ home around 1 a.m. with two children sleeping nearby.

Idd’s mother told Eden Prairie police that her son was not permitted in the house because “he scares the children.” Police arrested him later in Bloomington with a 9mm handgun that had been reported stolen in North Dakota, according to charges.

We haven’t heard from Idd’s parents and friends since the shooting, but then Ben Crump hasn’t been hired yet to represent them. I’m sure we will soon be told that Idd was a wonderful human being who wouldn’t hurt a fly, and who was in the process of turning his life around until those racist police snuffed out his beautiful life. Just look at his picture (above)! Now who could believe someone with such a sweet face was trying to kill cops? Here’s another one that is being used by the media and a GoFundMe page:

Idd2

Anyone can see he was harmless! There has already been a vigil, as CAIR sensed an opportunity. Idd was a Muslim, and as we all know, Islam is a non-violent religion.

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And The Latest Honoree In The Ethics Alarms “Presumed Racism Hall of Fame” is . . .

White judges

Among the bulwarks of the George Floyd Freakout and its accompanying “anti-racism” hustle is that all whites are racists, non-whites cannot succeed, prosper or find justice in the United States, and that anti-black racism should be presumed in any situation where that presumption might advance the cause of a black citizen.

Here is a blazing example, out of Fairfax County, Virginia, virtually in my back yard. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge David Bernhard issued an opinion his week that the portraits of past judges from the Fairfax County Circuit Court might create the impression that the court itself biased. Bernhard won’t allow any portraits to be on display for any trial he presides over going forward.

“The Court is concerned the portraits may serve as unintended but implicit symbols that suggest the courtroom may be a place historically administered by whites for whites, and that thus others are of a lesser standing in the dispensing of justice,” Bernhard wrote. “The Defendant’s constitutional right to a fair jury trial stands paramount over the countervailing interest of paying homage to the tradition of adorning courtrooms with portraits that honor past jurists.” The judge’s opinion observes that the U.S. is experiencing “heightened attention to the past inequities visited upon persons of color,” so the fact that 45 of the 47 past judges whose portraits hang in the Fairfax County courthouse were white is now an implicit threat to black defendants.

His grovel came in response to a request to remove the portraits in a motion from the layer for Terrance Shipp Jr., who is scheduled to stand trial on charges of eluding police, assault on a law enforcement officer and other counts.

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Scary Tales Of The Great Stupid: San Diego Schools Decide That To Fight Racism, Character And Education Have To Go

Triple facePalm

Oh, yes, this will work out well.

Seldom have social upheavals combined with irresponsible propaganda resulted in more devastating mass amnesia by institutions regarding well-settled reality than “The Great Stupid,” now playing in your community and mine. Joining advocacy for such self-evident disasters as open borders, eliminating police, self-declared childhood gender flips and re-segregation is the decision to eliminate basic standards in education because educators can’t seem to explain stubborn racial gaps. Make everyone equally ignorant, unethical and undisciplined! Brilliant!

I’m not exaggerating; I wish I were. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the second largest school district in California with over 106,000 students, announced that it is overhauling how students will be evaluated because “teachers fail minority students more than White students.” Since the possibility that the reasons for this persistent problem may rest within minority culture and society pathologies rather than failures of the educational system is unpalatable to the Left and politically incorrect, the proscribed solution is to overhaul the way students are graded as part of what school board members call  “a larger effort to combat racism.”

“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” says SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.” Thus the school board voted unanimously last week —unanimously; think about that— to make sweeping changes. There will be no yearly grade averages. “Things like” turning work in on time and classroom behavior will not affect academic grades, but will only count toward a so-called “citizenship grade.” On the docket for reconsideration in an upcoming meeting: de-emphasizing discipline and penalties for cheating.

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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.

Confirmation Bias And A Societal “Big Lie,” Brought To You By Harvard And The New Yorker

She looks so smart and sure of herself! Surely we can trust what SHE writes…

The anti-police propaganda spreading the lie that most police are racist and brutal and therefore a greater threat to society than a benefit has become like the nine-headed Hydra of Greek mythology: nearly impossible to kill. Prime among the villains in this development are the news media, which has enthusiastically spread misinformation while refusing to do its job of clarifying facts rather than distorting them, and researchers and academics, who have become so cowed by the abusive hyper-ideological environment in which they work that they won’t even stand behind their own studies. As discussed here, after a peer-reviewed study showing  that the race of the officer or the civilian could not predict  fatal police shootings was used by defenders of police and critics of Black Lives Matte, the researchers were pressured into retracting their paper because it was being, they said, misused.

I know I’m sounding uncharacteristically frustrated this weekend, but I really don’t know how society fights deliberate disinformation in support of a destructive narrative when both the journalism sector and the academic establishment are in on the fix.

Here is a representative example from The New Yorker. The current edition includes a 5,000 word essay by Jill Lepore, who should be trustworthy: she is  a professor of American history at Harvard as well as frequent writer at The New Yorker and for other presumably legitimate publications.  Her topic is the history of policing in the United States, linking the early role of police in suppressing slave rebellions to police killings of blacks today. At one point she writes,

One study suggests that two-thirds of Americans between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four who were treated in emergency rooms suffered from injuries inflicted by police and security guards, about as many people as the number of pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.

Wait…what? Continue reading

Facts Don’t Matter: Academic Research Undergoes The Ultimate Integrity Meltdown

Heather MacDonald, whose Congressional testimony Ethics Alarms noted here, writes in the Wall Street Journal,

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is a peer-reviewed journal that claims to publish “only the highest quality scientific research.” Now, the authors of a 2019 PNAS article are disowning their research simply because I cited it.

Psychologists Joseph Cesario of Michigan State and David Johnson of the University of Maryland analyzed 917 fatal police shootings of civilians from 2015 to test whether the race of the officer or the civilian predicted fatal police shootings. Neither did. Once “race specific rates of violent crime” are taken into account, the authors found, there are no disparities among those fatally shot by the police. These findings accord with decades of research showing that civilian behavior is the greatest influence on police behavior.

In September 2019, I cited the article’s finding in congressional testimony. I also referred to it in a City Journal article, in which I noted that two Princeton political scientists, Dean Knox and Jonathan Mummolo, had challenged the study design. Messrs. Cesario and Johnson stood by their findings. Even under the study design proposed by Messrs. Knox and Mummolo, they wrote, there is again “no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by the police.”

My June 3 Journal op-ed quoted the PNAS article’s conclusion verbatim. It set off a firestorm at Michigan State. The university’s Graduate Employees Union pressured the MSU press office to apologize for the “harm it caused” by mentioning my article in a newsletter. The union targeted physicist Steve Hsu, who had approved funding for Mr. Cesario’s research. MSU sacked Mr. Hsu from his administrative position. PNAS editorialized that Messrs. Cesario and Johnson had “poorly framed” their article—the one that got through the journal’s three levels of editorial and peer review.

Mr. Cesario told this page that Mr. Hsu’s dismissal could narrow the “kinds of topics people can talk about, or what kinds of conclusions people can come to.” Now he and Mr. Johnson have themselves jeopardized the possibility of politically neutral scholarship. On Monday they retracted their paper. They say they stand behind its conclusion and statistical approach but complain about its “misuse,” specifically mentioning my op-eds.

The authors don’t say how I misused their work.

In a move redolent of Soviet-style retroactive censorship, Michigan State University deleted its press release promoting the study, which had said in part, Continue reading