Unethical Quote (And Tweet) Of The Month: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA.)

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“It’s outrageous the administration is saying anyone who might have committed a crime qualifies for deportations.”

—-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), on Twitter, in response to the recent Trump Administration immigration order.

I know it’s Twitter,  but Senator Harris had 41 unused characters left, so we have to assume that she means this. And if she means this, she is unqualified to be an elected official representing the American public. In fact, she’s a fool.

It is not and cannot be “outrageous” to say that any illegal immigrant, criminal or not, qualifies for deportation. To maintain otherwise is to say that the United States cannot enforce its immigration laws, and not only that, it is “outrageous” to enforce the laws. Is that the position of the Democratic Party? Clarification is essential here. Is it? If so, by what set of values and principles do Democrats make this argument? Does the “it’s outrageous to enforce the law” principle apply to other laws? Presumably it does, or the party has no integrity or legitimate governing philosophy at all.

Why is enforcing the immigration laws against—The Horror!–only the portion of the law-breakers who have no right to be here who have additionally become involved with the violation of other criminal laws so “outrageous”? Does the Senator have some rationale for that contention, or is she just grandstanding? That is, lying.

Or does she accept the reasoning of Jorge Ramos, the openly partisan, pro-illegal immigration Univision anchor, who said at a the network’s annual entertainment awards show (Aside: Why would anyone watch an awards show today, as they have devolved into political rant sessions from one narrow perspective, largely by smugly ignorant hyperpartisans who deserve a nationwide platform no than the average ranting activist holding a placard?), as he erased any distinction between legal and illegal immigration, Continue reading

Fast Food Ethics: Subway’s Chicken TASTES Like Chicken—Isn’t That Enough?

OK, what's in this Teriyaki Sweet Onion Chicken sandwich? (Hint: It's a trick question...)

OK, what’s in this  Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich? (Hint: It’s a trick question…)

DNA researcher Matt Harnden at Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory, working out of  Peterborough, Ontario, analyzed six popular chicken sandwiches served at various fast food chains. Unadulterated chicken should have 100% chicken DNA, or close to it. Seasoning, marinating or processing meat  bring that number down some , so fast food  wouldn’t be expected to have a perfect score.

The chicken in the following sandwiches were tested: McDonald’s Country Chicken – Grilled,Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich, A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe,Tim Hortons Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap, Subway Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich, and Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, which is made with chicken strips.

The lab tested two samples of five of the chicken meat fillings, and one sample of the Subway strips. From each of those samples, the researchers isolated three smaller samples and tested each of those. The scores were then averaged for each sandwich. The results? Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: The Catlettsburg (KY) Police Department

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This story does not fill one with trust and respect for the judgment of our warriors in blue.

The Catlettsburg, Kentucky, Police Department placed large decals on its police vehicles that show the comic book character “The Punisher’sskull logo emblazoned with the “Blue Lives Matter” slogan. Behold:

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The city council and mayor approved the design and decals, which were funded by local taxpayers.

Morons.

The Punisher is a Marvel Comics anti-hero who is a murderous vigilante.  He summarily executes bad guys. From Wikipedia (which apparently they don’t get in Kentucky)…

The Punisher (Frank Castle) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character… is a vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime.

Exactly the image that police departments want to convey to the public!

The Punisher’s  logo has become a symbol of “Blue Lives Matter,” featured on merchandise and Facebook posts supporting police officers against the “forces of evil,”  as in those who view the police as enemies of minorities and justice.  “American Sniper,” the 2015  film based on Navy SEAL  Chris Kyle’s life, popularized the Punisher comics, which Kyle admired. Catlettsburg Police Chief Cameron Logan thought it was just  a “warrior logo,” and didn’t know it was associated with the vicious and lawless comic book character, even though the comic itself was featured in the film. He knows now, though.

“We’re getting so many calls, and they’re saying that the Punisher logo [means] we’re out to kill people, and that’s not the meaning behind that,” Logan says. “That didn’t cross my mind.”

Wait…mind?

The logo is a death’s head! What do you think a death’s head means?

Now that his police have removed the car decals, the Chief say he regrets using the image, calling it an oversight, and  promises that in the future he’d do “a little more research” …before emblazoning death symbols associated with lawless killing on his vehicles.

That’s nice.

 

Comment Of The Day: “Would You Pay $15 An Hour To This Employee?”

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The latest example of “How Not To Be Approved As An Ethics Alarms Commenter” comes from the pseudonymous “Joe Mama,” who wrote in response to the July 29, 2015 post about Sylva Stoet, an indignant ex-Penny’s employee (above) who took umbrage on Twitter at being asked to go home and change when she showed up dressed as shown to work in the “Career Department.”

“Note to the writer. Is it possible for you to write a blog without your opinion. That is how people would prefer it. You old sack of shit. You would think knee shorts are inappropriate. I agree with the ex employee. If that was in the career section, it should be changed.”

Notes:

1.  I wondered if it was necessary to specify in the commenting guidelines that calling the proprietor “You old sack of shit” in the commenting audition was not a recommended strategy.  That question has been answered.

2. No, it’s not possible for an essay on a blog about ethics not to contain my opinion. That’s the purpose of the blog. The better question is whether it is possible for alleged news reports by reporters on supposedly objective news sources to be free of the writer’s opinion. My opinion is, based on the current evidence, is that it’s possible, but increasingly unlikely.

3. Those “people” Joe alludes to who would prefer that a blog not contain opinion are also known as “people who don’t know what a blog is.” His suggestion is like recommending that I hold a dog show for people who think they are cats.

4. Of course knee shorts would be inappropriate; shorts are inappropriate for  most workplaces, especially in retail, unless the items on sale are shorts.

5. But it doesn’t matter what I think is inappropriate, but rather what then-17-year-old Sylva Stoel ‘s employer thought was appropriate, since Penny’s had as much authority to decide that short-shorts weren’t appropriate attire as I have deciding “You old sack of shit” is inappropriate comment discourse, especially from someone defending inappropriate workplace attire. Sylva’s response to that completely responsible exercise of the supervisor-subordinate relationship was a middle finger.

6. If Joe agrees with the ex-employee, I fervently wish him Sylva’s likely career path until she figures out that he’s an idiot.

7. Anyone who can decipher Joe’s last sentence, let me know. “If that was in the career section, it should be changed.” What’s “that”? What’s “it”? Is he saying that she should change her garb, since it was in the career section? That can’t be it: that’s the opinion he didn’t want to read.  Is he saying that since she showed up dressed like that, the name of the section should be changed, like to “The Inappropriate Workplace Dress Section”? Or is he saying that when an employee shows up dressed inappropriately for one section of the store,  she should be moved to another section to accommodate her fashion choices?

Joe’s not getting another comment published on Ethics Alarms on a prayer, and my opinion is that he should look elsewhere for an opinion-free blog…. the Moon, perhaps.

Comment Of The Day: “The Unethical, Depressing, Bar Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway”

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This Comment of the Day by Isaac—not his first—again raises the issue that Ethics Alarms periodically faces in querulous e-mails from subscribers who announce their withdrawal by accusing the site of covering politics rather than ethics. As the facilitator/proprietor here, I struggle with this every day. Ethics Alarms, as the title suggests, conerns applied ethics, not Plato’s Cave. The mission is to assist the culture’s ongoing and never ending search for beneficial, rational and effective standards of right and wrong. This is best accomplished by monitoring and analyzing all corners of the culture and society, including its institutions. Government is both a reflection of the culture’s values and an enforcer of them; politics is the means by which a government’s values, priorities and methods are determined. It is literally impossible to examine the march of ethics without politics and political ethics, as well as the institutions that influence them, notably the news media, taking a central role. 

Here is Isaac’s Comment of the Day on the post “The Unethical, Depressing, Bar Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway”:

I stand by my theory that the Left is suffering from such serious cognitive dissonance right now that they are almost literally mass-hallucinating. They believe that Trump is lighting the Constitution on fire and dancing on it. If he isn’t, they will create their own reality in which he is.

Look at how angry they get whenever a media outlet portrays Trump as a human being. “They’re NORMALIZING his EVIL!” “Don’t they know he’s Hitler?”

The Left is acting like a Doomsday cult typically does, in the months after the predicted Doomsday fails to arrive. In those situations most cult members have invested so heavily in the cult-leader’s scam, that they’d rather go on following than just admit that they were taken for fools. And so the cult goes on, even as its predictions keep failing.

These people bet everything on Trump being an unelectable devil. Just watch that clip of Ann Coulter from 2 years ago on the Bill Maher show being laughed at by everyone, to her face, for declaring Trump the most likely to win. What do you do when you were so horribly, horribly wrong, and you spent months mocking, cursing, and shunning everyone who turned out to be right? You either humble yourself and be decent, or you double down. Human nature is to double down. In this case, that means the Left NEEDS Trump to be Hitler. They need to believe that his election was a “white-lash” even after the numbers come in to prove it wasn’t. They now need to believe not only that Trump is Hitler, but that millions of American voters are willing, aspiring Nazis who made the biggest mistake in all of history. If Trump isn’t Hitler, they will MAKE him Hitler. They are doing it for their own psychic well-being. Continue reading

Breaking Ethics Thoughts: The White House Bars The NYT And Others From Its Press Briefing

accessdeniedWASHINGTON (CBS SF/AP) — The Trump administration ramped up its war against the press Friday, blocking several major outlets from a scheduled White House press briefing.The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were among the news organizations excluded from the meeting, reportedly an untelevised gathering with the press instead of the usual on-camera briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

I am not aware of the specific reasons for the action, but:

1.  I read the New York Times daily. It is routinely making every effort to present the actions of the Trump Administration in a negative light, often engaging in outright deceit to do it. It is behaving, as it has for years, as a Democratic Party organ.

2. CNN simply teems with anti-Trump hostility, in the tone of panel discussions, in the framing of the news, in the sneers and body language of its talking heads. This is not ethical journalism.

3. Politico is left-biased, but I haven’t followed it closely. The LA Times has conditions for use that I can’t meet. I’m not sure how biased they have been.

4. There is nothing per se unethical about a Presidential administration deciding that a news source it considers untrustworthy, unreliable and allied with groups that want to literally bring it down should be treated accordingly. Competent, unbiased, fair and ethical journalism is not an excessive requirement.

5. The response to Trump’s very clear warning to the news media last week was, “You can’t stop us, and we will be as hateful as we please.” This is his response to that. Hubris has its consequences. After MSNBC’s “Morning Joe’s” co-host Mika Brzezinski ‘s comment this week, some attitude adjustment seems to be mandatory. She said of the President,

“He is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”

No, Mika, actually leaders always  lead, which always means trying to persuade the public.  That is their job. You job is to keep the public informed without telling them what to think, since as this statement proves, you don’t think all that well. At all.

6.  I am surprised that the Washington Post wasn’t shut out as well, especially after a slime job like this story.

7. Would I recommend this action by Trump? No. But it is a defensible response to a real threat to his ability to govern, and an informed democracy. It may not be a responsible or prudent response.

8. The best response would be for journalists to start doing their real job, and report the news fairly and competently without aligning themselves with political agendas.

____________________________

Pointer: Zoltar Speaks!

Ethics Hero Emeritus Desmond Doss, And “Hacksaw Ridge,”

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Desmond Doss, who died on March 23, 2006 at the age of 87,  was the very first hero to be enshrined in the Ethics Alarms Hall of Heroes. I wrote about him before there was an Ethics Alarms, shortly after he died.  I had never heard of Doss before, and I remember being angry that I had never heard of him. Everyone should know about him. There literally are no Americans who were any more heroic, and whose ethical conduct was any more astounding, than Desmond Doss.

If the values of this nation, and especially Hollywood, were healthy and correctly aligned, he would be a household name, and the film about his World War II heroism would have been made long ago. Finally “Hacksaw Ridge” was produced in 2016, and has been nominated for an Academy Award, although it will never win.

When I first read about Doss, I couldn’t get my mind around what he had done to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the only conscientious objector ever to achieve that honor during combat. During the battle of Okinawa, we were told that he survived heavy enemy fire as he struggled to carry seventy-five wounded soldiers to the sheer cliff at Hacksaw Ridge, personally picking up each one and lowering them over the edge the cliff 400 feet to safety.   How is that possible? Now that I’ve seen the film, it still seems impossible.

Desmond Doss proved that principled opposition to violence against his fellow human beings need  not be based on fear, self-interest or self-preservation. It is often impossible to tell whether those who oppose armed combat really object to the spilling of all human blood in battle, or only their own. With Desmond Doss, there was never any doubt. He didn’t like the term “conscientious objector,” preferring the term “conscientious cooperator.” He enlisted in the army following Pearl Harbor, believing that the war against the Axis had to be fought and wanted to be part of the war effort despite believing, as a devout a Seventh Day Adventist, that it was a sin to kill, with no exceptions. Thus he refused to carry a rifle (or shoot one, even in training) but yet insisted that he be involved in combat as a battlefield medic. He achieved conscientious objector status  but would hot accept a deferment. Assigned to the 307th Infantry Division as a company medic, Doss was hazed, abused and  ridiculed  for his dedication to non-violence, and as the Mel Gibson-directed film shows, many of his tormentors eventually owed their lives to his astonishing heroism. All of his compatriots were amazed by his evident fearlessness under fire and remarkable dedication to duty, never hesitating to go after a wounded soldier no matter what the personal risk. As a combat medic on Guam and at Leyte in the Philippines, Doss had already been awarded the Bronze Star  before the three-day battle at Hacksaw Ridge.

Many of the soldiers in Doss’s 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division were driven off the ridge by a furious Japanese counter-attack, and  wounded G.I.s were stranded atop it. Doss remained with the wounded, and, according to his Medal of Honor citation refused to seek cover, carrying them, one by one, to the edge of the ridge in the face of enemy fire, some of them from behind enemy lines. He lowered each man on a rope-supported litter he improvised on the spot, using double bowline knots he had learned as a youngster and tying the makeshift litter to a tree stump to serve as an anchor. Every wounded man was lowered to a safe spot 35 feet below the ridge top by the 145 pound medic. Finally, Doss came down the ridge himself, incredibly, unharmed. Continue reading

The Unethical, Depressing, Bar Complaint Against Kellyanne Conway

kellyanneThis post is one I do not want to write, and the fact that I have to write it is profoundly depressing. It requires me to criticize, indeed blow the whistle on,  professional colleagues in the fields of law and ethics, some of whom I know and admired very much, as well as fellow members of the District of Columbia Bar. Some of these colleagues are also members, like I am, in a distinguished association dedicated to the field of legal ethics. A superb book on the topic by one of the professors involved  sits in a prominent place in my office bookshelf.  I can see it right now.

Yesterday evening, I learned that a group of fifteen law professors and lawyers have filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, claiming that she violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys by giving false statements to the media. The fifteen signed the complaint, which was filed with the D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel. When I read the names, signed on a statement printed upon the official stationery of Abbe Smith, a distinguished full time professor at my alma mater, (and where I worked in the administration for four years), Georgetown University Law Center, my heart sank. While I did not need to read the whole complaint to know it was contrived and intellectually dishonest nonsense, I did, and it fulfilled my worst fears. The anti-President Trump hysteria that has caused so many previously fair and rational citizens on the Left to behave atrociously and to betray their previously held values has officially infected lawyers in the legal ethics field. They are now riding the rails on the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck.

To be absolutely clear and unambiguous: the complaint is a political attack, and a cheap shot at the President of the United States through his staff. There is no merit to any of its contentions.

The professors claim that they were “compelled” to file the complaint because D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3 (a) requires that

“A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.”

They are either addled by partisan political animus or lying, because there is no way, no way, these fifteen professors could know that, or even validly conclude it, based on what they have written in the complaint. To call their accusations against Conway a stretch is to be too kind. They are forced, exaggerated, trivial and manufactured. From what I have read in past commentary and opinions of several of them regarding other matters of lawyer misconduct, I have serious doubts about whether they believe them. I know that’s a serious charge, but I see no other explanation, other than temporary insanity.

To begin with, Kellyanne Conway is not working in a legal position in Trump’s White House. She is Counselor to the President, not White House Counsel. The President and Conway may choose, for his protection, to treat her non-legal policy advisor position as a legal representation, but the fact remains that she is not providing legal advice and services, only policy-related ones. Now, lawyers can violate D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4, Misconduct, while not engaged in the practice of law, but unless the conduct involved is criminal or displays “moral turpitude” sufficient to call into question the lawyer’s fitness to practice the likelihood of the conduct being regarded as sanctionable by the Bar is vanishingly slim.

From everything I can determines, Conway, though she is a member of the New Jersey Bar and an inactive (she needs to pay back dues and take my mandatory D.C. Bar ethics course before she can practice) member of the District Bar, has not practiced law in more than 20 years. She has been a pollster, an activist, a flack and TV personality as well as candidate  Trump’s campaign manager, but none of her professional profiles refer to her as a lawyer. The complaint alleges that Conway “engage(d) in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in breach of D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 (c), and did so while not engaged in the practice of law.  In order to bring down the wrath of the Bar, such conduct must be extremely serious, criminal or bordering on it. Rule 8.3 “limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that a self–regulating profession must vigorously endeavor to prevent.” What kind of non-law-related “offenses” must “a self–regulating profession…vigorously endeavor to prevent”?  It is well established that questionable statements that an individual with a law license utters in the course of political activity and advocacy is not such conduct. Continue reading

Update And Addendum To “The New York Times’ Unethical Headline (And Fake News)”

ice-raids

Following up on a theme:

Today’s center, above the fold, headline on the New York Times front page:

Migrants Hide, Fearing Capture On “Any Corner”

Emotional message sent: Poor, innocent immigrants whose only crime is being born in another country are trembling in fear as they are subjected to a police state style round-up evoking Nazi Germany, in a demonstration of nationalistic, xenophobic hate!  And that is exactly the message the headline is intended to send.  There is no mention of “illegal” in the headline, despite the fact that if legal migrants are in fear of “capture,” it is only because they have been reading the recent misleading headlines in the New York Times. The statement that migrants are hiding and fearing capture is deceptive and untrue. It begins…

No going to church, no going to the store. No doctor’s appointments for some, no school for others. No driving, period — not when a broken taillight could deliver the driver to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It is happening in the Central Valley of California, where undocumented immigrants pick the fields for survival wages but are keeping their children home from school; on Staten Island, where fewer day laborers haunt street corners in search of work; in West Phoenix’s Isaac School District, where 13 Latino students have dropped out in the past two weeks; and in the horse country of northern New Jersey, where one of the many undocumented grooms who muck out the stables is thinking of moving back to Honduras….

The word “illegally” makes its first appearance in paragraph three, 121 words into the article. The news story—again, this is the front page, and it is presented as news— is written to be read against a background of mournful violins. Poor, poor beset upon, persecuted migrants! The Times’ assignment of villains follows…

“For Mr. Trump’s supporters and longtime advocates of stricter immigration enforcement, they are a welcome move toward restoring law and order to a system that they say offered no deterrent to entering the country illegally. Undocumented immigrants, in their view, have filled jobs that belong to Americans, drained public resources and skipped the line for visas on which others waited for years.”

Wait…what does the Times mean  by”they say  offered no deterrent to entering the country illegally”? Continue reading

In Which Your Host Decides To Defenestrate A Trending Facebook Screed…

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Yesterday, I spied on Facebook an obnoxious bit of anti-conservative hostility that I hoped was an aberration. It wasn’t. I resolved to post an emphatic rebuke the next time one of my friends posted it, and the opportunity arrived quickly. Here is the original screed:

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE CONSERVATIVE

Joe gets up at 6AM and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast of bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside, and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor. Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays, and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It’s noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression and AGAIN under Republican Rule in The 2000’s Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives to his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security (an Earned Income Credit btw NOT an entitlement!) and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have!”

COPY and PASTE if you wish to share.

This was, of course, followed by the usual chorus of seals barking and clapping, which many likes and loves.

Now, I could have, had I chosen to waste an incredible amount of time de-bunking a load of lazy, unresearched garbage  that anyone not already so biased and smugly satisfied with  their inadequate education in history and logic would immediately recognize as such, written a definitive and thorough flaming of this monstrosity. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and the rantings of some pimply OccupyDemocrats hack just isn’t worth it. Thus I spent about ten minutes on refreshing myself regarding some details of what I already knew, and another eight or so composing this, which I have now used to reply to three Facebook Friends. I have also posted it on my own page.

I now post it here for Ethics Alarms readers who may encounter “Joe.” As I said, I could do much, much better, and be much, much more emphatic, but this particular gnat requires only a slap or two…

…not a bazooka. But feel free to adapt  and enhance what follows yourself yourself, and post it as needed: Continue reading