Category Archives: Ethics

Bob & Carol Dawson’s Parrot Paradise

Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, Human Accomplishment, Morality

An uplifting couple of hours were spent today, Sunday, at the “Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary,” a magical parrot oasis, built and operated by the best of Western Washington, Bob and Carol Dawson. (Make that the best of the best.) Not since Sean and I visited Christy Hensrude’s Zazu’s House Parrot Sanctuary have we been so inspired. (We endorse both rescues unequivocally.)

In preparation for the first of many such future volunteer visits, we made toys galore from non-toxic wood Sean had cut in the garage. (Reluctantly, Oscar-Wood donated some of his colorful stash of beads.) Mounds of fresh, organic greens, assorted vegetables and fruits were washed (very thoroughly) and tossed with organic seed (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp and flax) as well as nuts, smashed in-shell with a meat pounder, so that the smaller birds could enjoy Brazil, pecan and walnut.

The food we served in Bob’s high-quality dishes, which required hardly any scrubbing. Yes, down to the smallest detail, these people are driven by devotion. So too were the toys hung. But most inspiring was taking in the totality of Bob and Carol’s creation, all 22 acres of it. Situated in beautiful rural western Washington and ranked #16 of 290 charities in the region; “Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary” is a glorious, well-kept and smartly run haven—a home to hundreds upon hundreds of free-flying flocks of happy, thriving parrots.

“Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary” is truly a labor of love.


With Bob Dawson in front of the small-bird enclosure:


The same enormous enclosure snapped from the outside:

This man is the real deal:

From The Parrot Archive:

“Oscar-Wood, Non-Stop Naughty”
“‘Dead Birds Flying’: Help Steve Boyes Help The Cape Parrot”
Precious Oscar-Wood Pacifies Himself

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Going: Attorney General Of Black America

Ethics, Justice, Law, Race, Racism

He’s going, and not a moment too soon. Attorney General Eric Holder is on the way out of the Injustice Department. Granted, Holder’s departure will make little difference. A replacement with the same twisted, tribal proclivities will almost certainly be ensconced.

Here are some of the highlights of Holder’s career of corruption and cupidity:

* Called America “a nation of cowards,” for not discussing race constantly and in an even more obsequious tone than already mandated. By his Holiness’ estimation, Americans are not having the kind of “conversation” about race he had ordered them to have. What Holder wanted was not a give-and-take, but a take, take, take ? a one-way talking-to, where brothers like him read the errant American people their rights.

* “Assertions of broad executive authority to conduct military strikes on terror targets, to use lethal drones against U.S. citizens overseas suspected of terrorism and to gather Americans’ communications records.” In all, supported and justified an “extraordinary assertion of executive power.”

* Extracted record-setting penalties from big banks.

* Went on a crusade about so-called “racial disparities in criminal sentencing and voting.”

* “… wrote a legal justification for killing American citizens overseas if it is determined they pose a threat to U.S. lives and can’t be apprehended through traditional means.” (WSJ)

* Oversaw the National Security Agency’s ever-expanding surveillance programs.

* Ran guns to Mexican drug cartels. Enabled the murders of many Mexicans and at least one American. A gang going by the acronym ATF—the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—watched over and gave cover to Mexican gangsters and their local gun-runners, who later used this ATF immunity to gun down innocent Americans and Mexicans.

* Issued subpoenas for journalists’ phone records.

* Used his office to push for certain criminal justice policies. Has boasted about using “the bully pulpit that I have as attorney general to make people and public officials aware of the nature of this problem and also the consequences that flow from not fixing, not dealing with this problem.”

Most notably, “Holder [was] what we call a ‘sin eater’ inside the Beltway — high-ranking associates who shield presidents from responsibility for their actions,” wrote Professor Jonathan Turley.

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UPDATED: LPAC, Just Another Political PAC (Rand’s Grubby ‘Gold Rush’)

Ethics, libertarianism, Politics, Republicans, Ron Paul

If you don’t already know—I certainly didn’t—LPAC is short for Liberty Political Action Conference. It features a lineup of libertarian politicians, operatives and assorted establishmentarians. LPAC is sponsored by the governmentalized likes of Charles Koch, Reason, RandPac, Campaign for Liberty, etc.

To the extent that libertarianism becomes more mainstream; the “lucky” few to make it into the political inner sanctum always make sure to bar contrarians and competitors from their positions of influence.

Very rarely will outsiders be invited to join. At most, a daring game of musical chairs may take place, and equilibrium in opinion sought and maintained. Rehashed over-and-over again are the old, agreed-upon, safe topics: “having fun,” “Millennials,” freedom to eat, freedom to speak, civil liberties, telling the good presidents from the bad, why statism is bad.

And lots of product is flogged. You may also get to schmooze with the Pauls.

Some revolution.

UPDATE (9/23): Rand’s ‘Gold Rush. As if to confirm the grubby reality of politics, Rand Paul announces the opening of an office in Silicon Valley:

… While techies are considered a liberal bunch, some tech executives are joining the Republican cause. Paul counts Peter Thiel, the billionaire cofounder of PayPal, among his friends. And the tech sector donated more than $1.4 million to Paul’s father Ron during his unsuccessful presidential bids in 2008 and 2012.
Sure, the optics may look bad to some—a Kentucky senator opening an office seems like an almost extravagant show of political ambition. But opening a Silicon Valley office also offers Paul a distinct advantage: It makes him look young, hip, and serious about working with job creators. In that way, Paul is hardly the only conservative force trying to forge relationships in Silicon Valley. …


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UPDATED: Standing Armies Are Worse Than Useless (Israeli Major Gen. To US: Pot. Kettle. Black)

Ethics, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Just War, Middle East, Military

First up today, a think-tanker with the surname of Haas told CNN’s Don Lemon that Hamas kills Israelis and exploits Palestinians. No doubt. However, if given the option—something the dead are not afforded—would I rather be exploited by Hamas or killed by an Israeli bomb? I think you know the answer. (I was unable to locate the interview online.)

Next, this time on Fox News, a gentleman by the name of Adam Ereli, former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, informed anchor Shepard Smith—and I paraphrase—that too much emphasis is being placed on Palestinian civilian casualties. Really? Are their lives forfeit for the sins of others?

This does not look good for Israel. My sense of this Gaza offensive is that a standing army such as Israel’s is unequipped to deal with guerrilla warfare. Standing armies are fat, lazy, imprecise and careless.

Not much has changed since I wrote, in 2012 (“Standing Armies Commandeered by Cowards”), the following about Israel’s previous futile confrontation with Hamas:

… The fight was started by Hamas. Hamas hides among unwitting civilians, who have no way of controlling its activities. This fact does not give Israel the right to kill innocent non-combatants, not even unintentionally.

Besides, murder is not “unintentional” when you know it is inevitable.

To make matters worse, Gazans are helpless—they are without siren systems to warn them of an impending attack, or bomb shelters in which to hide.

After its 2006 Lebanon fiasco, I proposed that Israel deploy the best of its special-operations units. Israeli commandos such as the “Sayeret Matkal” are trained in surgical strikes, including modern urban counterterrorism operations. “Sayeret” soldiers can trace and neutralize the source of an attack against Israeli civilians sans “collateral damage.”

Yes, what’s the matter with Israel’s Special Operations capabilities? Where are Israel’s precision Pac Men? Did the Israel Defense Forces rain bombs, willy-nilly, on the civilians at the Entebbe Airport—in Uganda, on July 4, 1976—where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held 100 hijacked Jews and Israelis hostage?

Not on your life.

Led by Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyau’s late great brother, 100 members of the “Sayeret” traversed 2,500 miles to rescue their brethren. They killed only those who needed killing.

It used to be that leaders like “Yoni” Netanyahu charged with their men into battle. Not anymore. Nowadays, celebrity, champagne-swilling generals give the order to chubby men in armored machines, who then bomb the anthills from above and afar. …


UPDATE: Israeli Major Gen. To US: Pot. Kettle. Black. Retired Major General Amos Yadlin responded to the moralizing of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer brilliantly:

BLITZER: Should Israel, the IDF, be doing more to prevent civilian casualties?

YADLIN: The IDF are doing more than the Americans have done in Fallujah and more than the Americans have done in Germany in the second world war. We are the moralist army in the world. We have a code of conduct that we are allowed to attack only terrorists.

This too is true, but how much does it mean, and is it enough?

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UPDATE II: Navy SEAL’s Bad Karma Continues (LIBERTARIAN LAW of Libel)

Ethics, Free Speech, Justice, libertarianism, Military

Deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle lived by the sword and died by the sword (BAB 02.03.13). “Or, in hippie speak: Kyle had bad karma”; he was “shot point-blank” by “another soldier who was recovering from post traumatic stress syndrome.”

In a book detailing his life as Uncle Sam’s assassin, Kyle libeled another Navy man, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. It proved the wrong move. “Kyle’s estate,” reports The Daily Caller, “which is run by his widow Taya,” will be liable for “$500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for unjust enrichment.”

UPDATE I (7/30): Soldiers Against Due Process. Fox News, predictably, reports “Outrage After Jesse Ventura Wins Lawsuit Against Chris Kyle”:

Ben Smith, Kyle’s roommate during SEAL training, still disputes that his friend lied about the confrontation, which occurred at a memorial service for a SEAL who had been killed when he jumped on a grenade.
Smith said he’s having trouble “grasping” how the American judicial system could come up with a verdict like this, recalling that Kyle had told him about the confrontation with Ventura.
“He was running his mouth and saying some really vile stuff, saying we should lose more men, more heroes, more guys out there who were fighting the fight. Is that not almost treasonous? Like you’re anti-American, saying we should lose? [Chris] said ‘you say that again, I’m going to pop you in the — I’m going to get ya.’ And he did and he came over and did it,” said Smith. … Later on the show, the hosts expressed their own thoughts on the shocking ruling, questioning how Ventura could go after the widow of an American hero.


UPDATE II: LIBERTARIAN LAW of Libel. There is the controversy over libel in libertarian circles. Most of us think that speech ought to be unfettered and that a person has no right in his reputation. I suppose I ought to have mentioned the libertarian law of libel, which I like a lot and support. Instead, I got carried away with my feelings about this much-worshiped killer.

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When An Exceptionally ‘Good Country’ Downs A Plane

America, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Ethics, Iran, Reason, Russia

To extrapolate from Dinesh D’Souza’s illogic (explained nicely by Jack Kerwick), when an exceptionally ‘Good Country,’ as the US surely is, downs a plane, that country deserves mitigation, for it is good. In other words, the properties of the crime, which are the same whoever commits it, somehow change, depending on the identity of the perpetrator.

Thus, because he belongs to a good collective, D’Souza, presumably, would diminish the culpability of the “U.S. Navy captain” who shot “Iran Air Flight 655″ out of the sky, on July 3, 1988.

“A quarter-century later,” writes Fred Kaplan of Slate, “the Vincennes is almost completely forgotten, but it still ranks as the world’s seventh deadliest air disaster (Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is the sixth) and one of the Pentagon’s most inexcusable disgraces.”

Kaplan compares the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to “The time the United States blew up a passenger plane—and tried to cover it up.”

… In several ways, the two calamities are similar. The Malaysian Boeing 777 wandered into a messy civil war in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border; the Iranian Airbus A300 wandered into a naval skirmish—one of many clashes in the ongoing “Tanker War” (another forgotten conflict)—in the Strait of Hormuz. The likely pro-Russia rebel thought that he was shooting at a Ukrainian military-transport plane; the U.S. Navy captain, Will Rogers III, mistook the Airbus for an F-14 fighter jet. The Russian SA-11 surface-to-air missile that downed the Malaysian plane killed 298 passengers, including 80 children; the American SM-2 surface-to-air missile that downed the Iranian plane killed 290 passengers, including 66 children. After last week’s incident, Russian officials told various lies to cover up their culpability and blamed the Ukrainian government; after the 1988 incident, American officials told various lies and blamed the Iranian pilot. Not until eight years later did the U.S. government compensate the victims’ families, and even then expressed “deep regret,” not an apology. …

Read “America’s Flight 17.”

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