Category Archives: Health and Medicine

Ethics Alarms Mail Bag: The Cologne Allergy

Perfume allergyEvery now and then readers think I’m Ann Landers. Today I got a “Dear Ethics Alarms: What’s right?” e-mail from a friend, and I thought I’d answer it on the blog because it raises a classic ethics conundrum.

The inquirer belongs to a social group that meets weekly. It is a weekly joy, I am told; the writer has been attending for years. Everyone convenes, on the given day, right after work. Attendance varies, and membership is informal, though individuals have been told, on rare occasions, to come no more.

Of late an infrequent attendee, but a member of long standing, has begun to attend meetings with some regularity. My friend says this is not the happiest of developments, because the two do not get along. It is a breach of long-standing, I am told and is not going to be healed. “She is an asshole,” is how the letter delicately puts it.

Last week, shortly before the end of the 90 minute gathering, the recent interloper stood up and declared that she had developed a serious allergy to colognes, perfumes, aftershave, and all chemical scents. Looking right at my friend, she declared that this allergy made exposure to any sort of commercial scent unbearable, and she asked that in the future no members should wear perfume of any kind.

“I have worn a favorite brand of cologne every day for over thirty years,” the from my acquaintance letter says. “I always get complimented on it; the scent is subtle and nobody would notice it unless they were right next to me. The asshole and I have been separated by the length of the room since she started coming. Personally, I think she made the demand just to make me miserable. She knows, from our previous relationship [NOTE: I think it was more than just a friendship], that I wear the cologne.”

The question: Is she ethically obligated to stop wearing cologne on the day of the meeting (she goes right from work) to accommodate this member’s special problem?

Add to this the broader ethics question that comes up often: Does a group member with special sensitivity have the ethical upper hand allowing such a member to demand that all other members avoid conduct that only bothers that member? Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Health and Medicine, Rights, Romance and Relationships, Workplace

The Gruber Corruption Files: Another University Decides A Cover-Up Is “The Right Thing To Do,” While The News Media Spins For Obama

Who cares?

Who cares?

After the Jonathan Gruber video that included the Obamacare insider crowing about passing a misleading health care bill thanks “the stupidity of the American voter” in an October 2013 panel appearance at The University of Pennsylvania, the institution, good, compliant, loyal to Obama and apparently complicit in the Administration’s philosophy of deception, hid the damning comments by taking the video offline. The university reposted it after being compared to the Soviet Union and condemned for censoring knowledge rather than spreading it.

On Monday, the University of Rhode Island also attempted to assist the progressive cover-up of its contempt for the public and democracy, removing its video of  2012 discussion where Gruber explains how the law was passed to “exploit” the American voters’ “lack of economic understanding.” So far, URI has offered no explanation regarding why the video was pulled, and it doesn’t have to.

The video was pulled because the overwhelmingly left-leaning academic establishment in the U.S., like the similarly slanted journalistic establishment, have taken sides, choosing to assist and abet the desperate, anti-democratic efforts by Democrats to lie, hide and spin their way out of the fair and clear implications of Gruber’s inconvenient truths. This is frightening, and every citizen regardless of political preference should understand that the effort must be foiled if our system of government is to regain lost trust and integrity. Universities and journalists are supposed to be truth-seekers, and in this matter are behaving like political operatives. Note that only Fox and the National Review, so far, have reported Rhode Island’s efforts to bury Gruber’s statements, and that is just a continuation of a disconcerting theme throughout this fiasco.

From an excellent Examiner summary of how the mainstream media is spinning the story: Continue reading

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How Media And Academic Bias Make Us Stupid: The “Personal Freedom Study”

freedom

“STUDY: American personal freedom now ranks below 20 other nations…” reads a link in this morning’s Drudge Report.

That is NOT what the study shows….not even close.

The link goes to an Examiner story headlined “Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France.” That’s a little better, but it’s also misleading. Both headlines are attempts to spin a study that tells nobody anything about how much freedom there is in the U.S., under President Obama or otherwise. The study, meanwhile, is easily spun because it was badly conceived, is itself of dubious value, and was also probably the result of a researchers grinding their own axes.

It is early, and I am pretty sure that the cable news sharks and the internet pundits will be latching on to this garbage study in droves, with the result being mass confusion in the public. That’s right: the world of scholarship and research, and the world of journalism, will conspire to make the public less informed than it already is, setting it up for the handiwork of future Jonathan Grubers and the parties that employ them.

You see, the study doesn’t even purport to measure “freedom” in any objective way across different nations. Continue reading

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Two Deceitful Non-Denial Denials And An Unethically Tardy Whistleblower

Francis

TV shows like “Lie to Me” and “The Mentalist” as well as all the profiling shows like “Criminal Minds” have done a public service by schooling viewers in the tell-tale signs of non-denial denials. Nonetheless, people continue to use them, apparently because they work. Bill Cosby’s lawyers just launched a lulu, responding to the inexplicably re-booted accusations that Cosby was a serial sexual predator in the 70’s. You can’t get more non-denial than this, from lawyer John P. Schmitt on Cosby’s website:

“Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true..Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

There is no denial of the alleged rapes to be found here. Yes, the accusations are “decades old”: So what?  So are questions about whether Lizzie Borden was guilty.  The fact that the allegation are decades old means Cosby can’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations, but they don’t change anything about the seriousness of the accusations against the erstwhile “America’s Dad.”

Discredited? How have they been discredited? Cosby paid a settlement in one of the cases: that generally makes the allegations look credible (See: Paula Jones/Bill Clinton; Michael Jackson). Sure: “The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true,” and it also doesn’t make them false. That Cosby doesn’t intend to “dignify” the matter with further comment is strategy and posturing. It is significant that the lawyer did not say “He didn’t do it.”

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[UPDATE: Ah HA! Today that statement was taken down, with this taking its place, a joint statement from Dolores Troiani, counsel to Andrea Constand, and Schmitt:

‘The statement released by Mr. Cosby’s attorney over the weekend was not intended to refer in any way to Andrea Constand. As previously reported, differences between Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand were resolved to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago. Neither Mr. Cosby nor Ms. Constand intends to comment further on the matter.”

Translation: “Oops. That settlement with the first of Cosby’s accusers was predicated on neither party impugning or accusing the other once the money was paid, and that “discredited” comment risked getting Bill in even more hot water. Never mind!”]

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Lawyers aren’t permitted to lie, though. Then again, they aren’t supposed to mislead the public with deceitful non-denials, either.

Then we have CNBC’s response to ex-CNBC reporter Melissa Francis, who followed Jonathan Gruber’s admissions of rigged math to get the Affordable Care Act past “stupid voters” with a relevant anecdote of her own. Francis, now a Fox Business anchor,  claims that the network “silenced” her when she questioned the merits and specifically the misleading numbers for the Affordable Care Act when it was being rammed through the legislative process. She told Fox News that she was called on the carpet by CNBC brass and told to stop, on the grounds that such criticism was “disrespectful to the President.”

A CNBC representative responded: Continue reading

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Observations On The Gruber Tapes: Tipping Points, Integrity Checks, Totalitarian Tactics and Very Loud Ethics Alarms

domino

A lot of people in the Obama administration, the media, and even some of your friends would like to characterize the many videos of Jonathan Gruber revealing, as Geraldo Rivera called it, himself an apologist for the administration, “the ugly side of the political process” as no big deal. It is a big deal. I recognized it as a big deal from the first of the videos, as every objective and honest American should. The tapes are as significant and important as the Nixon White House tapes, which revealed  a conspiracy at the highest levels of the government to cover up a criminal attempt to rig the political process and corrupt democracy. Those tapes prompted reforms and political upheaval. So should Gruber’s inconvenient truths, if we believe that our form of government is worth saving. This should be a tipping point. We cannot tolerate this, nor long survive it.

We all should make sure that the many ideologues, activists, hacks and villains who want to ignore the significance of the Gruber tapes fail, and while doing so, metaphorically mark their chests with a giant, red “C” for “corrupter,” if not a “T” for “traitor.” I have heard all the excuses. lies, spin and rationalizations now. If you care about the American system, and want to be part of the solution to this ethics rot in our government and leadership rather than siding with those who want to continue it, then just think a bit. If you banish your biases, you’ll come to the right conclusion, which is this: what Gruber has revealed is serious, dangerous, and wrong.

Some specific ethics observations and conclusions:

1. Apparently the entire Democratic party, the progressive movement and many of the elites in journalism and academia have embraced the undemocratic principle, a key tenet of the theories of Lenin, Islam, Mao, Joseph Alinsky, Goebbels, Joe McCarthy and Big Brother, to mix historical and fictional villains, that deceiving the public and the use of lies are  virtuous and necessary means of governing, because the public does not know what is in its own best interest. This is totalitarianism. There is no disguising it. It is sinister and intolerable. It should not be sugar-coated, and the public needs to be told, in unambiguous terms, why this is more than political expediency. It is a rejection of the premises and ideals that the nation was founded upon. We must reject it, and reject those who excuse it, rationalize it and employ it, in either political party.

The party that has been caught red handed, however, with no plausible escape, is the party of the Affordable Care Act.

2. Every bob and weave, lie and double-lie in response to Gruber’s videos, have failed. The fact that the lies were attempted, however, underscores how serious the corruption is. I immediately went to Media Matters when the story broke. The one-sided advocacy group that pretends that progressives can do no wrong and that there is a conservative media conspiracy, if you can read that without passing out from laughing, has been in rare form in its frenzied efforts to pretend that Gruber’s exposés are meaningless. It headlines its empty defense “The Fraudulent Media Campaign To Scandalize Obamacare’s Passage,” though the mainstream (that is, liberal) media, to its permanent shame, tried to ignore the story longer than I would have thought possible. Then MM tries to bolster White House spokesman Josh Earnest’s risible claims that the Affordable Care Act was passed with unusual transparency. Yes, I’d say lying outright about what the bill would do is unusual transparency, though that’s not what they mean.

This is, as I already pointed out, a Jumbo-–a desperate lie that is obviously a lie to anyone with their eyes open. No law that complex is transparent; no bill that isn’t permitted debate in its final form is transparent; no text that is so long and convoluted that it can’t be read (or printed out from the internet without owning a paper store) is transparent. If it was transparent, we wouldn’t be heading to the Supreme Court over what the proponents of the law term a “typo.” If it was transparent, then what was always intended to be a tax would not have been furiously defended as not being a tax. If it was transparent, the President would not have told the public over 30 times that the law’s passage would not cause anyone to lose a healthcare plan they liked.  The passage of Obamacare was not transparent. Anyone who claims otherwise is one of the liars, earning that big, red “C.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media

Prediction: Stories Like This Will Be Compared To “Reefer Madness”

ReeferMadness_04

Because elite potheads love their weed, nobody has the guts to stand in their way, and consequences be damned.

The CNN story describes a new study that suggests that smoking a lot of pot, especially if you are young, makes you dumber.

It’s not conclusive, of course. Research seldom is. It also doesn’t matter, since a combination of relentless pro-stoner advocacy, resulting contempt for the law and the fact that a disproportionate number of minorities and poor are getting caught with the drug and going to jail—making the prohibition itself racist in today’s “race trumps everything” political culture—has assured that marijuana will join tobacco, alcohol and legalized gambling as socially destructive—but lucrative! Profits! Taxes! Yum Yum!—forces in our society. Lives will be ruined, shattered and lost, real costs in money and productivity will be huge, and little positive will be gained in exchange.

It just seems so obvious that we should know how harmful these kinds of things are before we legalize them, and not start looking into it after the horse is gone, the genie is out and Pandora’s Box is open and lying on the floor.

It just seems dumb to…Hey! Wait a minute…

________________

Pointer: Fark

Facts: CNN

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Ethics Alarms Salutes Ron Fournier, A Real Journalist And An Honest Man

RON-FOURNIER

National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier is a former Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press. He tends to get slammed from all sides of the political spectrum, because he is a liberal journalist with integrity and an open mind, capable of objectivity and willing to criticize those who would like to regard him, like the rest of the mainstream media, as a reliable bulwark against accountability.

Fournier’s recent column examining the serial Jonathan Gruber admissions regarding the mindset behind the effort to ram the Affordable Care Act down America’s throat without even warning us to hold our noses is a spark of hope for those of us who despair of U.S. journalists ever showing the character to practice journalism. Titled, appropriately, “A Foundation of Lies,” his column bolsters several ethics assessments made on Ethics Alarms. I was especially heartened to read this sentiment regarding media spin, a topic most recently discussed on the blog here:

“…a Washington Post story headlined, “Who Is Jonathon Gruber?”was an important and workmanlike report on the Obamacare adviser who bragged about the political advantages of deceiving voters, whom Gruber called stupid. ‘Those comments have struck a nerve on the right,” wrote Jose A. DelReal (emphasis added), “with some of the law’s critics pointing to Gruber’s comments as evidence that the administration intentionally deceived the American public on the costs of the programs.’

My first reaction was, ‘No! No! Not just on the right!’ I strongly support bipartisan efforts to expand the availability of health coverage to the working poor, and bending the cost curve that threatens federal budgets for years to come. While I think President Obama and congressional Democrats helped contribute to the 2009 standoff over what became the Affordable Care Act, I’ve openly rooted for Obamacare’s success. I’ve denounced the knee-jerk opposition from the GOP, a party that once embraced key elements of Obamacare. My ideology is amorphous; I am not “on the right.”All of that, and yet: Gruber’s remarks struck a nerve with me.”

Continue reading

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