Comment Of The Day: “Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!”

Another Steve-O Comment of the Day is on the way, but this one is particularly relevant considering what is unfolding in Minnesota, and not just there. Here, for example, is the state of affairs in Austin, Texas:

After the Austin police budget cut on top of the repeal of the public camping ban, Austin crime and disorder has gotten measurably worse. Austin police are also leaving in droves:

After the Austin city council voted unanimously to defund its police department by about one-third of its budget, in August 2020, many predicted that once the cuts kicked in a flood of officers would leave the force as soon as they could. The new district attorney’s policy of re-investigating police officers for closed cases is also expected to cause officers to resign or retire.

The city council’s cuts officially kicked in and have been in place for a few months.

PJ Media reports exclusively that APD is now suffering a huge surge of officer departures putting it on pace to shatter 2020’s record.

In January 2021, sources tell PJ Media 20 officers retired from APD and eight resigned, for a total of 28 departures.

In February 2021, five officers resigned and six retired, according to multiple sources, for a total of 11 departures.

In March 2021, 24 more officers left APD, with 20 officers retiring. Additionally, three officers resigned and one was terminated.

To put this into perspective, 2019 was the last non-pandemic year and the year before the city council cut APD’s budget. APD averages about 50 retirements or separations in a calendar year, and replaces them with cadets who have graduated from the police academy or officers who join APD from another force.

APD saw 46 officers retire with another 22 resigning in 2019, according to local TV news station KVUE.

2020’s numbers were exacerbated by the George Floyd riots; 78 officers departed or retired from APD from the beginning of those riots to the end of 2020, for a total of 89 separations, according to KVUE.

Official 2021 numbers provided to PJ Media by the Austin Police Retirement System (APRS) break down as follows:

  • Prior to 2020, retirements averaged 50-52 per year over the last 5-6 years
  • Record number of retirements in FY 2020: 97
  • First-quarter 2021 retirements: 45

Add to those 45 retirements the 18 resignations or terminations, for a total of 63 separations in just the first quarter of 2021. If the current pace continues, APD could lose approximately 252 officers — about five times the average number of separations for a year. This will impact public safety across the board, and according to the APRS, can impact retirees’ benefits as well. APRS raised the alarm about the impact the city council’s cuts could have in September of 2020.

March 2021’s retirements hit all over the department, including tactical intelligence, gang crimes, narcotics enforcement, investigations, and the bomb squad, according to a full list provided to PJ Media. Traffic enforcement — both warnings and citations — has declined by more than 60% in the first two months of 2021, a source tells PJ Media.

At the same time, the city council’s cuts have forced the cancellation of police cadet classes. The department is losing experienced officers in droves and is unable to replace them with new officers.

Fewer officers means fewer officers to cover 911 calls, to the point that some 911 calls now result in “NUA”s: No Officer Available…

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, where it increasingly appears that the prosecution and the judge are willing to discard due process and basic fairness to make certain Derek Chauvin is convicted of murdering George Floyd, Kim Potter, the police officer who shot Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after appearing to mistake her gun for her Taser was arrested yesterday and charged with manslaughter. The Wrights’ family lawyer, Ben Crump, coincidentally the same lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, declared,

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform.”

Nice! Crump is accusing Porter of racism and murder, before any investigation and without any evidence that race played any part in the shooting. The fact that the victim resisted arrest, however, was a significant part of the tragedy. The convention Crump and various elected officials and legislators are trying to create would create strict criminal liability for law enforcement officials when black suspects are involved. Why wouldn’t this eventually lead to police officers being passive when confronted with black law breakers? Why would any officer take any measures to stop a fleeing African-American suspect,or foil efforts to resist arrest?

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

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Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

I know this is the second appearance today of James Donald’s anguished coda at the end of “The Bridge Over The River Kwai,” but he arrives when it is appropriate.

Maryland’s Democrat-controlled legislature moved yesterday to pass a “police reform package “that includes the repeal of the state’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), overriding Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto to do it.

The state’s police Bill of Rights covered due process for officers accused of misconduct. You can read it here. I have. I would call it a not especially radical or permissive document, and its provisions simple codify basic due process rights. I view this move by the legislature as primarily symbolic, a virtue-signaling gesture of support for the individuals who break laws and against those who enforce them.

Yes, this is sure to work out well.

The action of the Maryland House of Delegates is more of the George Floyd freakout, still marching to the dishonest tune of Black Lives Matter, as the news media provides ample fertilizer. Here’s Politico, for example: “The move, a win for police reform advocates, comes amid a national reckoning with policing after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last year.”

Morons. First, Floyd did not die “at the hands” of a police officer by any measure. Second, whether the police officer caused his death is a matter being determined in a court of law, a right even police officers have. Third, it is foolish, irresponsible, incompetent emotion-driven policy-making to allow any single event, especially one in a different state, to drive substantive policy changes of any kind.

In his veto statement, Governor Hogan wrote,

“These bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions and instead further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state.”

Why would anyone in his or her right mind want to serve as a police officer in Maryland? I guess the state wants police officers who are not in their right minds. Oh, yes, this is really going to work out well.

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Well THAT’S Cleared Up! Now We Know (As If There Was Reason For Doubt) That The CDC Is A Political Organization, Not A Scientific One, And Thus Not To Be Trusted

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director of the Centers For Disease Control, released a statement last week that declared “racism” a public health threat.

Go ahead and read the statement if you like; that sentence above is all you need to know from an ethics perspective. If “racism”—it’s in quotes because the definition no longer has any coherent meaning, since it has been distorted to mean anything a social justice warrior or an unhappy individual who regards himself/herself/whateverself as a minority needs the word to mean at a given time or in a particular dispute, or, of course, a dictatorial-minded government—is a health issue, almost anything is. Maybe everything.

Walensky’s motives could be just about anything too. Maybe she really believes this and that it’s a legitimate topic for the agency under its mission. If she does believe that, she’s not very bright. The CDC Mission Statement makes it crystal clear that the agency’s purpose in to fight disease, stating at the outset:

Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

Because that’s what the Mission states at the beginning, the mission cannot suddenly expand elsewhere. (You would think the agency’s name would have precluded doing so as well.) I write mission statements as an occupation (among other things); groups pay me to help them compose theirs. You can’t have an ethical, valid Mission Statement that begins like that, and then goes on to say that the organization is also concerned with cheating at Parcheesi and overcooking good steaks. “Race” is not a disease, and how people treat race is based on emotion, which is not subject to hard science. Continue reading

Song Ethics: Isn’t “Whitewashing” Just Covering A Song For A Different Audience?

I usually don’t expect “Great Stupid”-style race-baiting from The History Channel, but today for some reason it alerted me that on this date in 1955 “Black music got whiter” with the release of Georgia Gibbs’ “Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower)” “setting off a dubious trend known as ‘whitewashing.'” This recording was a cleaned up version of Etta James risque song you can hear above. “Roll with me, Henry,” as the lyrics of that song went, essentially meant “Fuck me, Henry,” and they weren’t going to play that on mainstream AM radio stations in 1955. So producers bowdlerized the lyrics for pop singer Gibbs, who was, ugh!, white, and she had a hit:

Apparently there’s supposed to be something sinister about this, as if Gibbs was “stealing’ record sales from Etta James. Nonsense. Artists aiming at different audiences with covers of songs taking a different turn is called “commerce.”

Here’s a 1936 song by Rodgers and Hart that was favored by old fogies at the time..

…but only after the lyrics were changed…

Old Blue Eyes, before he was old, covered it later by jazzing it up…

But “Blue Moon” only became a mega-smash when it a lot of 50’s era gibberish was added and it came out like this:

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Don’t Be Lulled Into Apathy Because It Involves A Silly Daytime Talk Show Watched By Idiots And A Reality Star Of Negligible Importance: CBS Pulled A TV Show Because Someone Dared To Criticize A Black Woman. It’s Time To Draw A Line In The Sand…

Osbourn

This makes two frightening ethics stories involving the media in a row, the worst back-to-back Ethics Alarms concerns that I’ve seen in ten years here. The seriousness of the previous story is easy to grasp: multiple news organizations deliberately misled the public to suggest misconduct by President Trump that never happened, and “coincidentally” they did so with perfect timing to affect the crucial special Senate elections in Georgia. This second horror is trickier, because it involves what to normal people is trivia layered on trivia. However, it may be the more terrible of the two.

Try to follow this without getting disgusted and turning on “Three’s Company” re-runs, or you can jump to the bottom of this nauseating account for the reason why the episode is important despite all evidence to the contrary…

1. It began with the Oprah interview of the narcissistic and manipulative Duchess of Sussex and her dominated husband last week, during which Meghan absurdly played poor little rich girl and poor princess while accusing conveniently un-named members of the Royal family of being racists. Even the fact that the couple sold the interview to O didn’t dissuade the celebrity-addled Princess Di cult from swallowing every whooper served up by the former actress like it was a culinary masterpiece. Tellingly, the interview went over like a lead balloon, as my father used to say, in Great Britain, where Meghan Markle and Harry are even less popular members of the royal family than Jeffrey Epstein pal Prince Andrew.

2. Then, on a British morning talk show the next day, celebrity muckraker Piers Morgan announced that he didn’t believe the couple’s tale of abuse, and thought it was outrageous for two entitled (literally) individuals of unearned wealth and power to present themselves as victims, and particularly offensive for Markle to be posing as a victim of “systemic racism.” For this he was accused of being biased—he’s white after all—and Morgan, who bottom-feeder though he is does not grovel or back down, quit his co-host job on the spot, walking off the set.

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“Nipplegate” Revisited

nipplegate

Today is the anniversary of Nipplegate, which, you probably recall, is when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake executed their juvenile plot to get cheap publicity by flashing her breast during the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII half-time show (back when I watched the Super Bowl in my ignorance of just how vile the NFL was) and began lying about it. By the time the dust cleared, the Federal Communications Commission had received 540,000 complaints about the incident. Viacom, CBS’ parent company, received the maximum fine the FCC could issue for such offenses, and paid $3.5 million to settle indecency complaints about the broadcast.

Ethics Alarms has featured two reflections on that incident. One was a rebuttal, an easy one, of pop culture pundit Emmanuel Hapsis’s ridiculous analysis, declaring the episode as exemplifying America’s “patriarchy,” “racism” and “sexism.” I wrote then, tongue piercing my cheek, that “obviously no white singers flashing ten-year-olds in TV land would be criticized, and no male singer who decided to let Mr. Wiggly make a guest appearance would be similarly pilloried.” I received a wave of really nasty comments on that one, highlighted by someone named Troy whom I honored, sort of, with a Comment of the Day in 2018. I’ll revisit it with pleasure now, since it’s short, funny and stupid. He wrote,

Madonna’s white ass has been showing her boobs, coochie and anything else that is of a sexual nature all through the late 80’s up until today…and though she got criticized for her antics, even pissing off the Catholic Church with her attention seeking ways, as soon as a black woman gets’ exposed by a this privileged white boy, then the whole white world screams OMG, OMG, hang her, nail her to the cross…blame her, blame her…this whole fiasco is reminiscent of how whites back in slavery times would lynch blacks for solely being black and then again in modern times how white people can cuss a police officer out, spit in their face, fight them and get taken to prison to cool off with only a slap on the wrist…but a black person get’s pulled over and by a white officer for having expired license plates or a busted tail light and they never make it to jail, they are taken straight to the morgue, because like what White Boy Privileged Justin did to Janet, it becomes a black issue and she was the only one who got blamed, black balled and even her apology was not enough for the privileged whites, she had to PAY and pay dearly. So for all those white privileged reading this article, and saying she does not deserve an apology, I GET IT, you all want her HANGED…It’s what you all believe to be punishment to the full extent for this black woman, who has NEVER, EVER been in any trouble, caused any drama and had been low-key, and private all of her life until that one millisecond to be torn to shreds by the white privileged…well for those of us who are WOKE, we see What Madonna has made a career of doing, Janet should get the death penalty. So white privileged of you all.

“Madonna’s white ass has been showing her boobs” might be my favorite phrase to appear on this site in ten years.

It’s also disturbing to realize that Troy could probably be elected to Congress today with that level of analysis. But I digress.

The unexpected reappearance of The Ethics Scoreboard online now gives me the opportunity to re-post the commentary there about “Nipplegate” written shortly after it all occurred. So, in commemoration of that ethics train wreck, and also because I wouldn’t change anything I wrote then, here is an encore, slightly edited, of “The Breast,” from February 11, 2004.

***

The Breast

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Saturday Ethics Alerts, 1/16/21: “Nevermore!” If Only…

Raven Addams

The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” was ratified by the requisite number of states on this date in, 1919. It was a great, botched, ethics experiment. Alcohol was too far embedded in the culture for too long and in too many ways, and the laws prohibiting alcohol were badly drafted and engendered public resentment and contempt. Still, as the Ken Burns documentary on the topic made clear, the damage being caused by alcohol abuse before Prohibition was permanently slowed down and reversed by the ban, though the ban itself was doomed from the start.

1. Quote of the Day: I just finished watching “We Bought A Zoo” again, and it reminded me of the quote, alluded to in the film, by the real life English man who did buy a zoo, and whose story was transferred to America in the film staring Matt Damon. Benjamin Mee said in his book (with the same title as the film) about the adventure, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

He’s absolutely right, and this principle has enriched my own life too many times to count.

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Ethics Hero: Sportswriter Jason Whitlock

Often where we find an Ethics Hero, there is an Ethics Dunce that helped to reveal him. That’s certainly the situation here. In this case, the Ethics Dunce is Shannon Sharpe, the NFL Hall of Fame tight end turned sports commentator, like Whitlock, an African-American.

According to reports, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy set out to inspire his team with a locker-room stunt stolen from the old prop comic “Gallagher” (whose charms, I admit, always eluded me). McCarthy produced a sledgehammer at a team meeting and smashed numerous watermelons, each with a point. NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero described the scene after the Cowboys won the game (See? It worked!):

“Mike McCarthy gets up and says, ‘Guys, I want to apologize. I don’t think I did a good enough job emphasizing our objectives for the week’ — one of which was to hammer the ball out of [Minnesota running back] Dalvin Cook’s hands. At that point McCarthy pulls out a sledgehammer, not a prop, a full sledgehammer you could knock a wall down with, and someone rolls in a bunch of watermelons.Each one has a different objective written on it McCarthy reads the objective — BAM! — smashes the watermelon. He goes down the row doing this. The players are roaring, McCarthy’s pants are soaked. He finally gets to the watermelon with Dalvin Cook’s picture on it, DeMarcus Lawrence jumps up and goes, ‘I’ve got to get that one.”[McCarthy] hands the sledgehammer to Lawrence, and he smashes that watermelon.”

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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