1. I’ve always had ethical problems with parole hearings, and thanks to a link sent by Ethics Scout Fred, I really have ethics problems with parole hearings. This story, from New Hampshire public radio, portrays an unprofessional and chaotic process in which parole boards, made up of officials without training or guidelines, insult, bully and deride prisoners to get the answers they want. A sample:
“While they may review cases beforehand, the parole board has only about 15 minutes to speak with people convicted of charges including sex offenses, drug crimes, and domestic violence before deciding if they can live safely outside prison walls. Members receive no training and appointment requires no prerequisite experience. Most of the time, inmates who meet minimum requirements are granted parole.”
2. Crime naturally makes me think of Chicago, where, it is reported, the wise city managers, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) are installing a system that requires public high school students to show that they have plans for the future before obtaining their diploma. In order to graduate, students will have to demonstrate that they’ve secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military The Washington Post reports. Emanuel’s plan, approved by the Board of Education in late May, makes Chicago’s the first big-city system to make post-graduation plans a requirement.
“We are going to help kids have a plan, because they’re going to need it to succeed,” Emanuel told the Post. “You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done.”
Oh, why don’t we just enlist the kids in the Social Justice Youth Corps, give them uniforms and some good progressive indoctrination, and be done with it? This is such an egregious abuse of power and autonomy, as well as parental authority, that the fact that it got a single vote indicates that the culture’s values are coming apart. I’m going to list five things that are unethical about this plan, and invite readers to some up with the doubtlessly large number of others that I missed because its early and the shock of this story fried half of mu brain:
It’s dishonest grandstanding. How are they going to enforce the “plan”? Will Chicago’s Plan Police keep tabs on graduates? Will students who don’t follow the plan be captured and thrown back into high school?
- It is unfair, coercive. unconscionably narrow. What if a student’s plan is to continue her education by taking a year off and touring the world? What if the student plans on training for the Olympics, or a bodybuilding championship?
What if she wants to go to New York City and audition for shows?
- The measure demonstrates myopic disregard for the original, the eccentric, the creative, the bold, the dreamer, the non-conformist and the individualist
But then individualists make poor sheep, right?
- It is totalitarian. It is none of the government’s business what a student chooses to do after graduation, or when that student decides to it. Here was my plan, fully backed by my parents: spend as much time figuring out what I want to do with my life as it took.
I’m still figuring.
- It is arrogant. It is disrespectful. It is presumptuous. It is an invasion of parental authority. It is probably unconstitutional. It is wrong.
3. GOP NJ Governor Chris Christie’s stunning explanation for his tone-deaf sunbathing at a beach he closed to the public was this: “I think my poll numbers show that I don’t care about political optics,” Christie said at a press conference. “What I care about is doing what’s right and wrong.”
Yes, and it is horrible wrong for elected officials to indulge themselves, flaunt their special privileges, and poke their thumbs in the eyes of the public because they may be technically right, but ethically offensive. It wasn’t right to vacation on a closed beach that was part of a massive inconvenience to the public brought about by their government’s dysfunction. It was legal, that’s all. It is never right for a leader to increase distrust and resentment of the government just because he can.
The translation of the governor’s attempt to turn arrogance and failure into a badge of honor is “I’m an asshole!”
Yes, Governor, we knew that.
4. CNN apparently devoted time and resources to tracking down the anonymous Reddit user who made the silly pro wrestling GIF showing the President beating on a wrestler with a CNN head, thus requiring all journalists to get bodyguards, or something, and proving that Trump had to be impeached under the little-used “stupid gloating” provision. CNN’s reaction has been embarrassing and revealing; CNN Brian Stelter even suggested that the tweet should be removed by Twitter and the President should be banned from the platform. Then CNN either threatened or otherwise alarmed the vile video-maker sufficiently to induce him to grovel an apology, after CNN’s sleuths determined that he has also made posts that were racially offensive, which is, of course, just as unforgivable as mocking CNN.
CNN apparently sees nothing wrong with its conduct, or this section at end of its story:
On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, “HanA**holeSolo” posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.
“First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened,” he wrote. “I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did.”
The user further apologized for calls for violence against the press in his statement on Reddit.rong.
“The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation,” he wrote. “I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.”
After posting his apology, “HanA**holeSolo” called CNN’s KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, “HanA**holeSolo” sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
I see a lot wrong with it: it’s chillingly unethical and threatening. Why should someone who creates a satirical video anonymously be hounded by the target of the satire? This is an abuse of the power of the press. What was newsworthy about the video—sort of—is that the President used it. Threatening to expose the poor creator of the video to the fury of the anti-Trump hysterics—they shoot people, I hear—is an attack on free speech by the CNN, because CNN didn’t like the speech.
You want “enemy of the people”? This is how enemies of the people behave.
How else should we read the passage I bolded other than “Don’t you dare criticize CNN again, or we’ll dox you, and you’ll have to go into hiding”?
Even the reliably liberal crowd at Vox was disgusted.
Day by day, minute by minute, CNN has revealed itself as biased, incompetent, corrupt, foolish, untrustworthy and unethical.