Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 12/8/18: Last Weekend Before I Have To Decorate The %^&$! Christmas Tree Edition

Good morning!

1. How can this be? Based on the same documents, the President crowed that Mueller had nothin,’ and the mainstream Trump-hating media crowed that the walls were closing in. It’s a confirmation bias orgy! Charges aren’t evidence, and attempted contacts with a foreign power isn’t “collusion,” and we’ve already talked about the theory that paying off a floozy not to kiss and tell, which is 100% legal at all other times, is a stretch to call and election law violation when the rake is running for President. No such case has ever been brought; it’s dubious whether one would prevail; even if it did, this is a fining offense at most. [ For the record, this is the “resistance’s” Impeachment Plan K, in my view, one of the lamest.]

Both sides are jumping the gun. In the media’s case, it’s more fake new, future news and hype.

2. Stare decisis vs. the prohibition on double jeopardy. In Gamble v. US, just argued before the Supreme Court, the question is whether the federal government can try a citizen for the same crime a state court acquitted him of committing. I’ve always hated the rule that it can (the cops in the Rodney King case were jailed that way), because it seems clear to me that the Constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy (that’s the Fifth Amendment) was intended to prevent such trials. Still,  previous Supreme Court decisions have upheld the convictions.  In the current case, it appears from oral argument that a majority of the current justices agree with me, but are hesitant to so rule because of the doctrine of stare decisis,  which means respecting long-standing SCOTUS precedent.

A ruling to apply double jeopardy would be a ruling against stare decisis, meaning that Roe v. Wade might have less protection than many—including me–have thought. Stay tunes, and watch Justice Kavanaugh’s vote particularly.

3.  Is wanting to/needing to/ actually taking steps to changing one’s sex a mental disorder? There have been a lot of articles about this lately, especially in light of evidence that peer groups, the news media, LGBT advocacy and parents are making many young children want to change their sex before they even know what sex or gender is. The question is itself deceptive, because it pretends that “mental disorder” is anything but a label that can be used or removed with a change of attitude or political agendas. Vox writes,

Major medical organizations, like the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, say being transgender is not a mental disorder. The APA explained this in explicit terms when it stopped using the term “gender identity disorder” in favor of “gender dysphoria”: “Part of removing stigma is about choosing the right words. Replacing ‘disorder’ with ‘dysphoria’ in the diagnostic label is not only more appropriate and consistent with familiar clinical sexology terminology, it also removes the connotation that the patient is ‘disordered.’”

Well, “removing a stigma” is hardly a valid criteria for deciding whether something is a malady or not. What being transgender “is” can’t be changed by what we call it. Recently narcissism was removed from the mental disorder list—that doesn’t change the fact that narcissists see the world and themselves in a way that most people do not, and that this perspective causes them and the people around them a lot of trouble during their lives. The process worked in reverse with alcoholism, where being officially labelled a disease removed a stigma.

I once directed the comedy/drama “Nuts,” which opines that “insanity” is just a view of reality not shared by the majority. It was on this basis that the Soviet Union sent dissidents to mental hospitals. I don’t care what various associations or professionals call these minority positions: we know that they are using bias and political agendas to devise the label. This is one area where a phrase I despise, “It is what it is,” may be appropriate.

4. It really is looking like Facebook is irredeemably unethical . Now what? These two recent articles—Facebook Emails Show Its Real Mission: Making Money and Crushing Competition,” and “Facebook CEO Backed Sharing Customer Data Despite Second Thoughts: Documents”—provide smoking gun proof of a company that can’t and shouldn’t be trusted by users, competitors or the government. The first article contains perhaps the most damning revelations, such as

  • The company engineered ways to collect Android users’ data without alerting them.
  • Mark Zuckerberg personally approved cutting off a competitor’s data access.
  • Facebook used a privacy app to collect usage data about its competitors.

At this point, it doesn’t matter what Facebook says it’s going to do, or what reforms it promises. We know it lies, and we know we can’t trust our data on the platform. The only question, and it’s an ethical one, is whether we are willing to be complicit in Facebook’s  corrupt, divisive, and societal damaging activities.

5. I sure hope the professor was joking. I fear he was not. Eric Sprankle, an associate psychology professor at Minnesota State University Mankato, tweeted that the Virgin Mary did not consent to being impregnated by God , and even if she did [ Luke 1 26:38 tells us the angel revealed God’s plan for Mary and she agreed] “the power difference” between God and Mary “negates” her ability to give meaningful consent.

Yes, Mary had a #MeToo case against God.

Just wait until Trump tries to appoint him tp the Supreme Court.

6. Speaking of mockeries of Christianity… Two nuns at  St. James Catholic School in Torrence, California are accused of stealing $500,000 in school funds for their own vacations and gambling sprees in Vegas. Bank records show Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang  had been embezzling from the school for at least 10 years, the Press-Telegram reports. Sister Mary Margaret, who retired as the school’s principal earlier this year, handled all tuition checks and fees, so it was easy for her to deposite some checks  into a private account only she and Sister Lana knew about.  Kreuper and Chang  told parents that  the school was operating on a tight budget.

Here’s my favorite part of the story:  the archdiocese and the church are not pursuing criminal charges after the nuns expressed remorse.

I’m surprised the Church didn’t quietly send them to other Catholic schools so they could continue embezzling there.

7. Telling us all we need to know about the readers of TIME magazine, its relevance to today’s society, millennials, polls, and values of much of the American public. Here are the results of TIME’s online poll to name the most influential person or persons in America, what used to be called TIME’S “Man of the Year.” As Samuel Jackson says in “Jurassic Park,” “Hold on to your butts…”:

BTS  9%

Planet Earth  9%

Thai Cave Divers  7%

Moon Jae-in  4%

Mohammed bin Salman 4%

Undocumented Children 4%

Michelle Obama 4%

Jair Bolsonaro 4%

Christine Blasey Ford 4%

Robert Mueller 3%

Colin Kaepernick 3%

Simone Biles 3%

Serena Williams 3%

Meghan Markle 2%

Justin Trudeau 2%

Pope Francis 2%

Stacey Abrams 2%

Donald Trump 2%

Lady Gaga 2%

Ariana Grande 2%

Donald Glover 2%

Aly Raisman 2%

Angela Merkel 2%

Beyoncé 2%

Elon Musk 2%

Maxine Waters 2%

Kamala Harris 2%

Emmanuel Macron 1%

Taylor Swift 1%

LeBron James %1

Kim Jong-un 1%

Ryan Coogler 1%

Carmen Yulín Cruz 1%

Nancy Pelosi 1%

Sandra Oh 1%

Jeff Bezos 1%

Stormy Daniels 1%

Vladimir Putin 1%

No googling now, or checking the link: Who or what THE HELL is BTS?

41 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 12/8/18: Last Weekend Before I Have To Decorate The %^&$! Christmas Tree Edition

  1. BTS is a Korean pop band.

    To my 13 year old daughter, they are far and away the most influential people on earth. There isn’t even a close second.

  2. It’s sad that I know this, but I just saw something recently about Grammy’s or something. BTS is a boy band. I’m not sure if they’re Korean (KPOP) or Japanese (JPOP) though but I’m leaning toward Korean.

    Great to know who’s the biggest influence in this generation. And that they tied with a documentary series about Earth.

  3. #4 I think that clear evidence that our society is irretrievably broken with reality.

    Michelle Obama @ 4%
    Christine Blasey Ford @ 4%


    Based on the results of that poll, how about this for a Democratic Party ticket in 2018; Michelle Obama & Christine Blasey Ford.

      • I would refer you to a film, Vox Lux, which has been reviewed — oddly — as a social satire, (in which a wildly successful pop singer, victim of a school shooting in her teens, makes her clinical depression and other abiding personal problems role models for the masses), but it is … how can I put this? … not worth the price of a free ticket.

  4. 7: Looking over that list, shows how few people of substance there are on that list. I would expect a few newsworthy like Ford, like it or not, along with known permanent celebs like Ms Obama. But there seems to few who have accomplished anything, even fewer who I like, and fewer still who are morally admirable and I would want/want my kids to be like.

    This also says interesting things about the people who selected these is the most influential. A oy and from another country that a majority of the market probablenever heard of, topped the list. The pope alone often ranked above 5%, often higher, but not now. Earlier years, the top ten names had a much larger percent individually, and collectively as much as half the vote. The cultural unity is gone. Those polled had no direction and no inspiration, and that may be an expression of why totalitarian trends are not being rejected. They don’t know what to think or believe. People have forsaken religion as guidance because of its flaws, but now they lack the fortitude to embrace secular humanism instead of voting their tribes. This poll is a symptom of a larger malaise. As a guide or culture analyst, Time is irrelevant based on this.

  5. 1) Of course both sides are jumping the gun, in my years watching politic I have never been more disappointed, in both parties. First of all the political divide has become wider then the Grand Canyon. If I hear the phrase Fake News once more I am going to go ballistic. The original unsubstantiated stories that started the fake news usage, did a lot of damage to people that were just going about their lives. The fact that both sides decided it liked the sound bite, has it being overused and of course misused. The fact that both the liberal and conservative media are editorializing instead of reporting adds to the problem. Opinions should be stated as opinions not facts, so the ignorant do not substitute them for facts. But when the news media is framing the news through an editorial lens it just muddies the waters, and the swamp is muddy enough. Our elected officials also need to remember for the most part none of the won my the pervebial landslide, and as such they should work for all their constituents not just the ones of the same party, it is past the time to bring back civility to civics! We have protests and rallies because people are pissed off on both sides and those of us in the middle the swing voters are disgusted with both sides. I can’t stand Leaders on either side, they are not example of our best the fact that that is what the two parties sent us is a diapontment. Now despite the editorial approach to reporting, no reporter should ever be banned from White House unless the are a physical threat to the president. It is part of their job to adversarial. To get answers! That said they need to be balanced in reporting if they can not they are no longer reporting. The investigation should also be performed without bias, but that seems to be a problem too. It should not be! I have friends on both side of the spectrum that are not giving any courtesy to the other side! Even our second and third presidents worked out their differences, and became friends again, we need to treat each other respectfully.
    2) The Supreme court has made mistake in the past, Not invoking double jeopardy in all levels is just one of them. Yes I know criminals have gone unpunished due to double jeopardy, but beyond a reasonable doubt means just that, and if the prosecution has not made their case tight enough it is on them the jury can only decide on info they have. I hope this gets fixed.
    3) Tuff question, and the fact that Transexuals have had a historic presence leads me to feel the condition has always been with us, our scientific info is still Sketchy Makes this a hot issue. What’s funny to me, and by that a mean not at all funny, is at the same time they are. Changing the language to dispel prejudice on one group, they change Asperger’s syndrome to social communication disorder. It implies there is something wrong with me! I am sorry their is not, I am different not wrong. Same as my trans friends who science is still trying to understand. Unfortunately society is also behind in understanding, I actually like the idea of unisex bathrooms with the stalls for privacy, as if you do not know who is going to walk in, then it would curb inappropriate behavior! Keeps our young men safer from pedifiles. Having worked with young men who had been abused I think it could help make things safer. But I know it is not the perfect solution. As some of you know because of my humanist and religious beliefs I am in opposition to capital punishment. But child molesters and murders of children test my resolve on this matter.
    4) Duh, I only share what I would publicly anyway, and I am not a big fan of secrets as they cause problems. My Facebook friends are people I got to know offline I do not accept friend requests from strangers, or the person that is using my cousin’s identity since she died two years ago! My cousin keeps messaging me it is disturbing. Particularly since her part of the family disowned me for being gay. Another cousin had informed me of her death before messages started coming.
    5) Well he was transitioning from old to New Testament version, a hold over moment perhaps! I believe she must have consented, the fact that Joseph dealt with it well speaks volumes of his character!
    6) Basic tenant of the church is to forgive if the sinner is remorseful, confesses, they are to be forgiven. In this case it seems the confession came after the sin was already discovered, due to our religious beliefs they must be offered redemption. I know it is at odds with the secular world, and cause the church a lot of problems, exspecially with people that take advantage of this tenant of our faith. The catholic belief is no one is beyond redemption! It is something I hold dear about the church that mistreats me as a gay man. I have faith it will eventually be corrected! Without that faith I would have never made it though this year! And j.b. Would not have been the show it was.
    7)BTS is a South Korean boy band, I was shocked they were on list. I guess more then my old high school makes their students read time because middle school girls are their fan base, though they have a Grammy nomination.

    • Just because they should be forgiven does not mean that they shouldn’t face punishment. I would bet that if I stole $100,000 from the Catholic Church, was caught, then expressed remorse, the church would at least want the money back.

      • Yes but the church gives out its own penance! It is not perfect. Particularly since some of its violators really do not actually repent! We auctauly had a case of this type in one of our parishes in northern Virginia in the nineties my own parish priest embessled and one of the ushers Did, separate incidences a few months apart, both had been going on for years. Church accountant. Noticed that Sunday donations were $2000 more on week that usher was out of town. He was scumming from the collection. It was a large parish. The priest misused funds. Neither case resulted in courts involment. Though the priest was reassigned to a much smaller poorer parish. The usher and his family left The parish.

    • 3) Rip: So Asperger’s syndrome is now a “social communication disorder” in the DSM? My, my. Sounds more like a professional communication problem within the disordered ranks of the American Psychiatric Association. *sigh* Time to tweak their beards again: they hate it when you do that.

  6. #7 – I have no idea why most of those people are on the list, or even who many of them are. For me, out of that list, the choice would be obvious: the international team of divers who rescued those boys in the cave in Thailand. They exhibited a “world’s best” level of skill, risked their own lives, under tremendous pressure and public scrutiny, and they delivered the goods, saving many lives. It’s insulting to even think of comparing them to pop bands or grandstanding politicians.

  7. I have long hated the idea that someone can be acquitted in one court and then charged in another for what is basically the same crime. I guess the current constitution only prohibits triple jeopardy. Didn’t this get its start back in the 60s with the civil rights cases, where murderers were going free in state courts? One of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but naturally spiraled out of control.

    So do you sue God in state courts or federal? Is there a statute of limitations for God, or would that be eternal liability?

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