Sunday Ethics Reflections, 8/5/2018: Abdication, Arrogance, Airbrushing

1. If you want to seed a civil war, this is how you do it…Why is this incredible story just an item on the daily ethics potpourri? For one thing, I don’t see why much commentary is necessary, or should be. I don’t typically  write about robberies or murders, or other outright unethical acts that all but the worst sociopaths can recognize in a trice as unethical.  I feel the same way about this, from the Wall Street Journal:

A mob surrounded ICE’s office in Southwest Portland June 19. They barricaded the exits and blocked the driveway. They sent “guards” to patrol the doors, trapping workers inside. At night they laid on the street, stopping traffic at a critical junction near a hospital. Police stayed away. “At this time I am denying your request for additional resources,” the Portland Police Bureau’s deputy chief, Robert Day, wrote to federal officers pleading for help. Hours later, the remaining ICE workers were finally evacuated by a small federal police team. The facility shut down for more than a week. Signs called ICE employees “Nazis” and “white supremacists.” Others accused them of running a “concentration camp,” and demanded open borders and prosecution of ICE agents. Along a wall, vandals wrote the names of ICE staff, encouraging others to publish their private information online.

Federal workers were defenseless. An ICE officer, who asked that his name not be published, told me one of his colleagues was trailed in a car and confronted when he went to pick up his daughter from summer camp. Later people showed up at his house. Another had his name and photo plastered on flyers outside his home accusing him of being part of the “Gestapo.”

Where were the police? Ordered away by Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler, who doubles as police commissioner. “I do not want the @PortlandPolice to be engaged or sucked into a conflict, particularly from a federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track,” he tweeted. “If [ICE is] looking for a bailout from this mayor, they are looking in the wrong place.”

The phrase, “particularly from a federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track” mandates impeachment on its face. It is not the mayor’s proper role to decide who deserves the protection of the city against lawbreakers. “There is no place for personal, political bias when it comes to providing public safety services to our communities,” Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner said in a statement on Facebook. “In that respect, our Mayor, who is also our Police Commissioner, has failed miserably.”


  • How many readers of Ethics Alarms saw broadcast news accounts of this incident and the Portland mayor’s conduct? It is the tendency to set out to bury and hide the worst examples of progressive and resistance excess that is the smokiest of smoking guns showing the degree to which journalists are actively attempting to indoctrinate and mislead rather than inform.
  • Do the citizens of Portland really condone this?

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“To Rialto Unified School District School Administrators: Don’t Be Moronic!” Sorry, But If You have To Write That Memo, It’s Already Too Late…

Assignment: Pro or Con: "Sarah Palin is the spawn of Satan." Cite authorities...

Assignment: Pro or Con: “Sarah Palin is the spawn of Satan.” Cite authorities…

Here’s a  helpful hint for middle school teachers: if you are going to ask your students to write essays arguing that the the Holocaust never happened, the fact that your Interim School Superintendent is named “Mohammad Z. Islam” may raise some eyebrows with the JDL. Honestly, when I read this story and saw that name, I was sure it was a hoax that had been picked up by the news media.

Nope. The name is real, but more disturbing, the eighth grade writing assignment in California’s Rialto Unified School District required students to write advocacy essay, based on authority and research, mind you, on “whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.” Future topics for pro and con debate: Continue reading

Ethics Hero Emeritus: Miep Gies, 1909-2010

Miep Gies, the last surviving participant in the inspiring story of Anne Frank, died last week, a month short of her 101st birthday.

One of the most important objectives of thinking about ethics, and challenging ourselves to find the most ethical courses in the dilemmas and conflicts we read and hear about every day, is to be ready if and when a time comes when lives depend on our ability to determine the right thing to do, and to have the courage do it. I have no idea how much or how often Miep Gies thought about ethics. But when her time came, she was ready. Continue reading