The Name Game

It’s “racist” to get someone’s name wrong now?  What will the grievance bullies think of next?

The latest irritating aspect of life that has been appropriated to serve as a “microaggression” and proof of the U.S.’s “systemic racism” is people mispronouncing names. The complaint has gotten a boost from mispronunciations of Kamala Harris’s name, although I’ve never heard one. (I just call her “that phony” or “the jerk” and largely avoid the problem.) This is a continuation of the current trick: if something bad happens to a “POC,” like, say, getting shot while resisting arrest, it’s racism; if the exact same thing happens to a white person, that’s just bad luck, or the dude deserved it, or “Who cares?”

Admittedly, I am especially unsympathetic to the name game. My parents both were terrible at pronouncing names; it was a running joke between my sister and  me. It wasn’t just people’s names either. There was an ice cream store on Cape Cod called “Emack and Bolio,” and we used to ask Mom about it just to hear her say “E-MACK-a-Bowlee.” Because my mother was Greek, all ethnic names magically became Greek names to her. A Boston Red Sox infielder named Gutierrez became “Gouttarras.” My father mispronounced names like he mispronounced many words, and it didn’t matter how many times he was corrected. He thought, for example, that the words “fiasco” and “fiesta” were the same word, “fiesca.”

But in the New York Times weekly column “Work Friend,” this phenomenon was used for race-baiting, aided by the new narcicsism in which everyone’s name is some kind of badge of honor. “Call me what you want, just don’t call me late for dinner!” Dad would say when the misnaming issue came up. Of course, that Jack Marshall, like this one, went through life being called “John” and seeing his name spelled with only one “L.” He didn’t take it personally. He knew that what matters in life is what you do, not what you are called while doing it. Continue reading

Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/5/2020: Welcome To The No Nervous Breakdown Zone!

Apropos to this morning’s post: I just read a thread on Facebook entirely populated by people I knew, some of whom have befriended me. They are mostly lawyers, and after reading what was written, I could only comment that their conversation was deranged. I didn’t feel like arguing with people who could really write that if the Democrats didn’t win in November, Americans would lose their civil rights (when it is the ideological compatriots of these individuals who are stripping away the rights of free speech and association, championing race-based policies, and condemning the President for insisting that universities observe due process when a student is accused of sexual misconduct. How can they write that? What happened to them? Then there was the section of the thread in which they discussed that the President was certain to refuse to leave office if he is defeated, and my personal favorite, the assertion that those defending Kyle Rittenhouse are racists.

These are lawyers. They were taught about the requirement that every individual has a right to a fair trial, which means that he or she must not be pronounced guilty in the court of public opinion before all the facts are known, and proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They should know, as I do, D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (b), which says, “A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.” Moreover, it is very likely that Rittenhouse, if he is ever tried, will be found not guilty. Did these deranged lawyer watch the video? I hope not, or they have really lost it. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, and appears to be in the process of being railroaded by a racially biased justice system in Wisconsin, driven by the media and uninformed public opinion. I’ve seen the video. I’ve also been a prosecutor. I would not charge him, just as would not charge the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. I’ve also been a defense attorney, and  I would take on Rittenhouse’s defense confident that I had a winning case.

I also was struck by the snide comment about those who object to “Black Lives Matter” signs being obvious racists. I flagged that group as being a racist hate group when it first raised its ugly, divisive head, and damn right I object to seeing signs extolling a group responsible for riots, arson, and terrorizing diners in D.C. by demanding that they raise their fists.

Finally, these formerly rational professionals—who were once even as you or I! —-had the gall to talk about how Republicans and conservatives were promoting violence and a civil war. Yes, the end of the spectrum that includes the antifa, the rioters, and a party that has worked for four years to undermine our democratic processes, is really accusing others of seeking division and violence. This warrants FOUR standard Ethics alarms clips: This one,

…this one, of course,

…I have to use this one, though these people one were not morons…

And finally,

Get well quick, friends. Please. Continue reading

Among All The Smoking Guns Showing The Mainstream Media’s Willingness to Lie Outright To Impugn President Trump, This Might Be The Smokingest

Here’s a sequence from yesterday’s news conference:

Watch it, please. Here’s a summary of what transpires:

Step 1.:  A reporter asks the President about his thoughts on the theory floated by a Constitutional law professor in Newsweek that Kamala Harris shouldn’t be considered a ‘natural born citizen” and thus technically isn’t eligible to be Vice-President or President.

Step 2: The President offers no opinion on it whatsoever, and makes it clear he didn’t read the article (who reads Newsweek?). He says 1) he heard about it 2) it is his understanding that the author is a genuine authority 3) he doesn’t know what the guy actually argued (Trump asks the reporter if the problem is that Harris “wasn’t born” in the U.S.)

Step 3.The reporter quickly summarizes the professor’s point.

Step 4. The President says, first, that he has no idea if the professor’s claims are right, and  concludes by saying he “doesn’t know about it” that he “just heard about it” and will “take  a look.”

And Step 5?

CNN headlines, “Trump promotes another birther lie, this time about Kamala Harris”

Reporter wrote,

” President Donald Trump spent years pushing lies about the birthplace and presidential eligibility of President Barack Obama, the first Black president. On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president. Trump’s incendiary nonsense about Harris was part of a Thursday self-described “news conference” he largely used to campaign against his Democratic election opponents…”

Three reporters wrote this completely false story, and CNN published it!

Let’s count the lies: Continue reading

Is Senator Harris Technically A Natural Born Citizen? At This Point, What Difference Does It Make? [Corrected and Updated]

(That’s the late, great Professor Irwin Corey, a famous walking, double-talking comedy spoof of professors. His theories are approximately as valuable as the topic of this post.)

Chapman University constitutional law professor John Eastman has a controversial essay in  Newsweek analyzing whether Sen. Kamala Harris is eligible to become Vice president (or <cough> President) since her parents may not have been U.S. citizens when she was born.

Eastman’s theory is that the Twelfth Amendment’s language saying “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States” combined with Article II of the Constitution’s requirement that  “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President” raises legitimate questions about Harris’ eligibility.

Harris’s father and mother were born outside of the United States and neither was a naturalized citizen at the time of Harris’s birth in Oakland, California. (I did not know that! Did you know that Pat Venditte was the first Major League pitcher who regularly throws both right-handed and left-handed? ) If, Eastman, claims, Harris’s parents were not lawful permanent residents at the time of her birth, then she isn’t a natural born citizen.  Along with a minority among constitutional scholars, Eastman believes the 14th Amendment doesn’t say that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens. It says that ‘[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ are citizens. Just because one is born in the United States, these contrarians argue,  doesn’t mean that individual has ‘subjected’ himself ‘to the jurisdiction’ of the United States. Under this theory,  the children of tourists, diplomats, and illegal aliens are not “natural born” citizens.

What an interesting theory! And, like so many things academics and scholars put into print to gain fame, notoriety, and publishing deals, it is one that is completely pointless at this time in history. Eastman’s theory has not been adopted by the United States or used to determine citizenship, so the current interpretation that if you are born here, you’re a “natural born” citizen, is the law by tradition and practice. Nevertheless, conservative media is having a ball with this foolishness. “Kamala Harris was an Anchor Baby” says a headline I saw today. So WHAT??? There is so much wrong with Kamala Harris, and she is such an awful candidate for so many other reasons, why is anyone focusing on a dead letter technicality?

There is nothing wrong with a scholar claiming that we’ve been doing it wrong all this time, but there is a lot wrong with making that argument in the middle of a Presidential campaign. I get it: the presence of Harris on the Democratic ticket makes an arcane legal theory suddenly newsworthy,  Chapman, however, is chasing personal fame at the cost of promoting needless distrust and uncertainty into a national election, as if we didn’t have too much of both already. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2020, Part 2: It’s “Know Your American History Day”!, The Usual Ethics Mess

The theme from “Rocky” topped the charts on July 2, 1977. Remember that Apollo Creed won the fight, so maybe “Rocky” won’t be banned as racist.

1. Stop making me defend Alyssa Milano! Not that I don’t enjoy watching the obnoxiously woke being hoisted by their own petards, but the has-been actress turned Twitter scold is being accused of appearing in blackface because of this:

Alyssa is irate, tweeting at the “gotcha!” critics, “Hey, assholes! The picture is me parodying Jersey Shore and Snookie’s (cq) tan. Snookie’s tan (she is a sweetheart by the way) is worthy of parodying as is Trump’s ‘tan.'”

“Snookie,” in case you have a life and never watched “Jersey Shore,” is Italian, not black.

Milano’s defense is solid, except that her woke allies seem to regard dark make-up as blackface when it suits their needs. Wasn’t the dark make-up that prompted the Washington Post to get a D.C. woman fired for her 2018 Halloween Party costume satirizing Megyn Kelly? What are the rules here?

2. What will it take for CNN to finally admit that Chris Cuomo is an idiot and an embarrassment to the network, his profession, and homo sapiens, and fire him? In the latest episode of “I Love Fredo,” the CNN anchor accused St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey, who used his guns to confront a mob of George Floyd protesters who had broken through an iron gate to access his private property, the “face of white resistance”  to the Black Lives Matter movement. McCloskey responded,

First of all, that’s a completely ridiculous statement. I am not the face of anything opposing the Black Lives Matters movement. I was a person scared for my life, who was protecting my wife, my home, my hearth, my livelihood. I was a victim of a mob that came through the gate. I didn’t care what color they were. I didn’t care what their motivation was. I was frightened. I was assaulted and I was in imminent fear that they would run me over, kill me, burn my house.

Why wouldn’t he think that, based on what we have seen in the last couple of week?

Then Cuomo argued—he’s also a lawyer you know—that  the McCloskeys committed wrongdoing by “pointing a loaded weapon at a group of people who were walking past. They did not go up your steps. They didn’t go to your house. They didn’t touch you, they didn’t try to enter your home or do anything to your kids, but you say you were assaulted.” But it was a mob. A mob advancing on one’s home is inherently a threat.

Prof. Turley has an extensive analysis of that issue here. In one of his equivocating moods, Turley concludes, to the extent I can decypher his overly careful discussion,  that a conviction on the facts of the case would be a long-shot at best. Continue reading

How Bad Is The Madness? This Bad… [Corrected!]

Trust me, that’s appropriate for this post. So is this:

What’s the connection? Well, as part of the effort to declare virtually all Western  culture racist to justify tearing it down, Black Lives Matter activist Fiona Onasanya, a former member of the UK parliament, argues that Rice Krispies are racist because the three elves who are the spokeselves for the Kelloggues cereal are all white. Moreover, she argues, “Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same compòsition (except for the fact CP’s are brown and chocolate flavoured)… so I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?”

And you thought banning “Eskimo Pie” was loony.

Her first contention is mind-meltingly stupid, but also ominous. I have no doubt that the extreme and essentially racist logic of the George Floyd Freakout will eventually reach this point if it hasn’t already. Any group, even as small as three (or two?) that doesn’t include a black member, or at least, in this case, an “elf of color,” is prescriptively based on discrimination and thus racist.  We are seeing evidence of this trend taking root in such weird developments as “Jake from State Farm” suddenly changing color. Soon the Three Stooges will have to be colorized to show a black Stooge, and it will have to be Moe, since he’s in charge. It can’t be Larry, who’s submissive, or Curly, who’s an idiot. No, it has to be Moe, and the sight of him abusing the white Stooges will suddenly make the old comedy shorts popular again.

I’m kidding, but just barely. Continue reading

An Update On The Professor Jacobson Controversy At Cornell

Last week Professor William Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School who writes a well-respected conservative blog, announced that there was a movement afoot among some faculty and students to get him fired. (Ethics Alarms discussed it here.) Here are Jacobson’s posts since then regarding the ongoing effort to have him dismissed for being critical of Black Lives Matter:

In a related development, the similarly politically incorrect (but so far anonymous) Berkeley history professor I criticized here is now being condemned by the university.

On this development, Professor Turley writes in part, Continue reading

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again! Ethics Observations On The Tubman Twenty Delay

A little more than a year ago, Ethics Alarms discussed a controversy over alleged “foot-dragging” by the Trump administration regarding the institution of the planned Harriet Tubman twenty dollar bill:

The latest outrage committed by the Trump Administration is dragging its collective feet and not completing the Obama Administration’s pandering to women and African-Americans—heck, maybe epilepsy sufferers too—by replacing President Andrew Jackson’s likeness with that of Harriet Tubman, the famed Underground Railroad conductor.  Jack Lew, Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury, announced the decision to put Tubman on the twenty in April 2016, too late to get the change done. …President Trump didn’t regard this deliberate swipe at the Seventh President, a transformative and important one whether you like it or not, and  the equivalent of  progressive statue-toppling —I didn’t see the connection at the time, because the Great Airbrushing hadn’t started yet, but that’s exactly what it is—as one of his top priorities, or, frankly, a priority at all. This is an outrage, according to a Washington Post editorial, “Mnuchin’s excuse for delaying the Harriet Tubman $20 bill is insulting.” A representative excerpt:

“No one can blame [Lew] for a failure to imagine that any future administration would be so petty and narrow-minded as to go out of its way to thumb its nose at women, minorities and history.”

Of course, removing Jackson is as much nose-thumbing as delaying Tubman’s honor,  and Trump’s resistance to following the usual Democratic racial and gender spoils script is no more political than the Post making this another “Orange Man Bad” manufactured controversy.

I have no problem with putting a female, an African-American, or someone who isn’t a Founder or a President on our currency. I also have no problem with honoring Andrew Jackson, who did as much to define the office as anyone. I also have no problem with President Trump refusing to exert himself to complete a purely political pander to the Democratic base pander by Obama, when Democrats have withheld from him the most basic courtesies and accommodations that any President should be able to expect from the opposing party.

Now it’s a year later, Harriet still isn’t on the twenty, and her honor looks further off than ever. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that a new $20 bill would not be released until 2030 and that a future secretary would have to make the decision about whether Andrew Jackson would be replaced at all. In a news briefing, the Treasury Secretary explained that redesigning the currency required developing complicated anti-counterfeiting technology and a new printing process, and all of that takes many years.

“This is something that is in the distant future,” he said. Mnuchin also said that the currency timelines were set by career officials in an extensive interagency process, with the $10 bill next on the schedule to be redesigned and released in 2026. A Treasury Department spokesperson told reporters that the 2030 timeline was set before 2015 by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal Reserve Board and the Secret Service. The decision was  to redesign the $10 and the $50 first because the $20 is the most used bill, thanks to ATM machines. Because it is the most used and is the favorite bill of counterfeiters—remember that it was a fake twenty that George Floyd was allegedly trying to pass before his fatal encounter with the police—the twenty dollar bill requires robust security features and sufficient time to make those security changes.

Observations: Continue reading

“The Horror. The Horror.” How U.S. Journalism Descended To These Unethical Depths Is A Mystery, But It’s There.

I made the mistake of perusing collections of the mainstream media’s fueling of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, and now I have to write about them. Actually, just quoting them is enough, because they speak for themselves.

1. Just to stoke the truly unhinged, CNN featured Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (Ret.), who apparently escaped from the cutting room floor of “Dr. Strangelove.” His enlightenment: President Trump might drop nuclear weapons on U.S. cities to stop the riots, saying, “Our troops need to stand steady. The Congress and the Senate need to understand, this man has control of over 3,000 nuclear weapons…”  The only responsible response to such a statement would be, “What? How did you get loose? You’re a lunatic! Get off the line!”

But this was CNN, and Anderson Cooper was in charge, so CNN just allowed this nonsense to be broadcast without objection or contradiction.

2. Guess what network featured this rant!

“I would like to tell people, man, if you gonna point a finger at the looters, the protesters, rioters, whatever you wanna call them, before you point finger at them, point every single other finger you got back at America. This is what happens when a country promises liberty and justice for all, but only gives you liberty and justice for white folks. This is what happens when one of the wealthiest countries in the world doesn’t understand the plight of the poor and the have-nots. You got 40 million people out of work, unemployment the highest it’s been since the depression era, people cooped up in the house the last few months waitin’ on stimulus checks. Yet during this whole process we continue to watch the rich get richer in this country.

“And not to mention, ain’t no good gonna come to America until they do right by black folks. Period. You can’t continue to brutalize and kill descendants of God’s children that built this country. Understand what that does to us? You know, mentally and emotionally? All this country needed was a reason. America has given black people 400-plus years of reasons to go crazy. I’m actually shocked that we didn’t snap a long time ago. 

“This country continues to deny us equality, justice and just plain decency. You know … what you have in this country right now is a perfect storm of people who are ready to burn this society of white supremacy to the ground and America earned every bit of this. …”

Give up? ESPN!

Radio host Lenard Larry McKelvey, aka “Charlamagne tha God,” of whom I was blissfully unaware until Joe Biden went on his program to announce that blacks could magically change their race by deciding not to vote for him,  was a featured guest on the “First Take,” program. That’s where ESPN stuffs its Leftists and race-baiters so they’ll do minimal damage during actual sports reporting. To be fair, there is no sports reporting, so I guess these Disney corporation outbursts of anti-white racism are, if not excusable, predictable.

3. CNN’s infantile Don Lemon continues to spew self-contradictory, hysterical gibberish, this time suggesting that by announcing that he will not tolerate rioters terrorizing our communities,  the President is declaring “war on America.”There’s really nothing further negative I can say about this epic blot on our culture, other than to  quote him: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Rep. Maxine Waters

“My first thought was not again, not one more killing. And I’m reflecting on all of the killings of young black men in particular, but of course, black women too, at the hands of the police and at the hands of, you know, these white supremacists….I think that the officer who had his knee on his neck enjoyed doing what he was doing. I believe sometime some of these officers leave home thinking, ‘I’m going to get me one today.’ And I think this is his one that he got today…And I’m thinking about the way that the president conducts himself. In a way, he’s dog-whistling, and I think that they’re feeling that they can get away with this kind of treatment. And I’m just so sorry about the loss of another life.”

—-Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal), in full race-baiting, hate-mongering, Big Lie peddling, mind-reading mode as she sought  to draw damning generalities from the death of African-American George Floyd

I wonder: Has there been a more destructive, vicious, irresponsible and divisive political figure on the American scene over the last 50 years than Maxine Waters?  George Wallace was pretty much through by 1970. Who else? Has there been any such figure, whose rhetoric was even close to this reprehensible, that the news media and Democratic Party were so reluctant to call out for what he or she was? Continue reading