Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/2018: The All-Segue Edition

Good Morning!

(Though any day that begins with the legal gossip scandal-sheet website Above the Law sending me a “media inquiry” as they dig for dirt is not a good day.)

1. In brief. Well I have now received the appellant’s brief in a certain lingering law suit regarding Ethics Alarms. What fun. Anyone who wants to read it is welcome; those who have dealt with pro se submissions will immediately recognize the syndrome, lawyers may be amused, and non-lawyers may be edified. I expect to knock out the reply brief today, which won’t have to be more than a few pages. It’s not like I have better things to do or anything…

2. Speaking of cases that should have been thrown out of court…Reason reports:

In June, an Oakland County sheriff’s deputy pulled Dejuante Franklin over in front of a gas station for a traffic violation. While handing Franklin his ticket, NWA’s “Fuck tha Police” began to play in the background. As it turns out, James Webb, who did not know Franklin, witnessed the stop. He decided on his own accord to turn the song up louder before walking into the gas station store. When he exited, the officer slapped him with a ticket for misdemeanor noise violation, citing that Webb played the song at an “extremely high volume.”

It took 9 minutes of deliberation for a jury to bring in a verdict of  not guilty. This was an obvious attempted end-around the First Amendment by the officer, and the judge shouldn’t have let it get to a jury at all.

3. And speaking of abusing First Amendment rights…as well as “A Nation of Assholes,” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe’s” co-host and wife-to-be (don’t get me started on THAT) Mika Brzezinski,  called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “butt-boy” during yesterday’s show.  Why not? After all, CBS lets its on-air personalities call the President a “cock-holster.” Mika wouldn’t have had her filters down, of course, if the culture around MSNBC wasn’t rife with such hate, but she realized mid-show that this wasn’t exactly professional or civil news reporting, and babbled an apology. Too late!

An ethical, professional news station would suspend her, but this is MSNBC, and there are no ethical, professional news stations.

4. Meanwhile, speaking of media bias and unprofessional reporting...A New York Times “fact check” on the contentious meeting among Trump, Pence, Pelosi and Schumer had this amusing note:

“Mr. Trump has long charged that Democrats want open borders, slinging accusations at a higher clip in the waning days of the midterm elections campaign in November. Democrats do not want open borders, evidenced in part by border security legislation that Democrats have supported. What Democrats do not want is Mr. Trump’s costly border wall.”

Oh, that’s a fact, is it? No, Democrats, at least a great many of them, DO want open borders, evidenced in part by their wilful refusal to distinguish between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants, their insistence on signalling through their support for “Dreamers” that bringing children across the border illegally is a virtuous act, their position that illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. as longs as they don’t break any more laws, their constant demonization of necessary border enforcement efforts, and their proposals to abolish ICE.

5.  And speaking of stories you must have seen this coming, especially since I predicted it in May... The Boy Scouts are about to declare bankruptcy–you know, like Sears and Toys R Us. A May Ethics Alarms post called “Farewell to the Boy Scouts” asserted that it’s capitulation to political correctness by opening its ranks to girls would be the end of the institution, which, I explained saved my father’s life and molded his exemplary character. But as they say, “Get woke, go broke.”

The abandonment of its core mission of teaching boys to be virtuous men was strike three. The legally unavoidable decision to allow openly gay men to be scoutmasters was guranteed to hurt membership and did, and then the Scouts were shown to have buried episodes of child abuse and molestation, like the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, the new progressive Big Lie has been that men are a blight on civilization, so “manly virtues” is now regarded as an oxymoron.

I’ll be giving an ethics presentation to my favorite Boy Scout Troop in the spring. As I explained in that May post, I owe BSA. I have also been so impressed with the members of the troop, who are smart, civil, gutsy…oh, why not..trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

6. While speaking of going woke and broke...(and stupid)…This would be a KABOOM but I have a theme going. Sports Illustrated recruited Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to present the magazine’s Inspiration of the Year Award to former  gymnast Rachael Denhollander, who was among those who exposed the serial sexual predator Larry Nasser, causing some deserving dominoes to fall as well. Not only was this an unfair, absurd  and slanderous innuendo toward Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh, suggesting that he is a serial predator, but it also injects partisan politics into what is supposed to be a sports show. Ford, meanwhile, eliminated any lingering doubts that she is a publicity-seeking hack by saying,

“I am in awe of you, and I will always be inspired by you. In stepping forward, you took a huge risk, and you galvanized future generations to come forward even when the odds are seemingly stacked against you. The lasting lesson is what we all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others.”

Others have noted that the little girl voice she used in her Senate testimony was nowhere in evidence.

Writes Becket Adams in the Washington Examiner,

Ford was not chosen for having any sort of meaningful affiliation with the award recipient…Ford was not chosen for any professional or personal achievements. Ford was chosen because she claimed she was sexually abused by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a claim that she came nowhere close to proving. Sexual assault is obviously a serious matter. But by trotting Ford out as some sort of celebrity abuse victim, the magazine has devalued its Inspiration of the Year trophy and the reason for its awarding far below what the subject matter deserves. Ford may as well have introduced herself in the video by saying, “Hi, I’m Christine Blasey Ford. You may remember me from the time I told Congress I was raped.” That may seem silly, but it’s 100 percent why Ford was chosen…


 I wish I still subscribed to SI, so I could cancel my subscription.

25 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/2018: The All-Segue Edition

  1. Here is the NWA ”‘tune’.

    A better angle would have been to have written a ticket based on obscenity. That children could have been exposed to it.

    Though it was, as it seems, constitutionally improper to write the ticket, because it was punishment (harassment, sort of) for a message the officer did not like, still there was a definite justice in it.

    This music is disgusting, the message is appalling, and it should — I know not how — be resisted and eliminated. I mean my society at large.

    This rap music has infected all of Latin America and leads directly to a posture of rebellion and rudeness. Completely disgusting. The result is evil, though one has to accept it because of Constitutional protections.

          • Can that be extended to people who need to get their mufflers fixed and people who don’t use headphones on public transport? (I’m joking, of course. Kind of.)

      • Ted Lieu, is that you?

        My position is unlike his insofar as I can see no sound way to prohibit the speech that I find objectionable, for all those necessary reasons that free speech is protected.

        But I am led to ponder how it is that such ugly language forms, and such destructive music forms, manage to come onto the scene. I would not deny that I would like it better if they did not exist, but I do have any clear sense about how to eliminate them.

        The obscenity angle there for seems like a fair one. If it is not illegal to blast obscene music above a certain volume I would be surprised.

        I would still maintain, and I think successfully argue, that what the police did accorded with a sound principle. The principle would necessarily be not insulting an officer of the law. There were such laws at times and they have their merit. I recognize that it would be difficult to defend that principle, as against that of vulgarity and open violence (indeed in the song there is calls for killing, but I did not listen to it all through).

        But the only way to really *eliminate* that sort of pollution is to create a far cleaner and more descent society. You cannot legislate or enact decency, decency has to be cultivated in the home, the school, the place of worship (etc.). Therefor, a will to eliminate it (and different manners of decadence and destructiveness) must confront a will to allow such things and also the toleration of them. But all that is difficult.

        Rap music and those poses and attitudes is vile, of that I am certain. If I cannot trust my own judgment, if I cannot believe in it, it means that I do not think that proper or fair (or good) judgment exists. But I think that it does. And it must be found. Therefor, all the onus of the responsibility for what I see, how I organize what I see, and how I adjudicate such questions, falls onto me. I cannot avoid the responsibility to have to think about it, and to have to decide.

        Greg commented: “The cop tried that, but his argument was undercut by the fact that the incident was recorded on video and the cop himself was caught saying, “fuck,” repeatedly to the driver of the car that he had pulled over.”

        This doesn’t seem right: Are there or are there not regulations about obscenity in public? If such a law exists it should not technically matter if the officer also violated it. Though of course he should not have. Also, the issue would (I think) hinge on the decibel level of the obscenity. The fellow who came onto the scene and chose to make a point by playing the same song very loud might have been properly and legally cited if the ‘music’ echoes all over the place. The officer’s words likely didn’t.

        Well, that was easy. Nothing harder today? 🙂

        • Sorry, but almost any obscenity standard creates exceptions for things with cultural and artistic value. So, you can show naked paintings to school kids to teach them about art, but not naked selfies.

          It would be very hard to argue that “Fuck tha Police” doesn’t have cultural and artistic value, being one of the foundational songs in one of the most popular artistic genres in the world today, whether you like it or not. Aliza Tyler doesn’t get to be the authority decides that Michelangelo’s David is art but NWA is obscene because the music is disgusting.

          • It would be very hard to argue that “Fuck tha Police” doesn’t have cultural and artistic value, being one of the foundational songs in one of the most popular artistic genres in the world today, whether you like it or not. Alizia Tyler doesn’t get to be the authority decides that Michelangelo’s David is art but NWA is obscene because the music is disgusting.

            I see your point, naturally, and it is not hard to grasp. But the topic hinges into larger issues, and I am interested in the larger issues. I am interested in noticing, understanding, and also reversing decadent cultural, spiritual, philosophical, artistic and social trends. And I can network with others who think like me to advocate for what we want. I can say, with at least a good degree of fairness, that such movements are afoot. Both in America and in Europe. This does represent a decided turn against decadent liberal values. What the process will be is hard to say. But look to Europe for some indicators.

            I also think I would have to counter your assertion about ‘cultural and artistic value’ because I sense that it borders into potential sophistry. You could just as easily say that a looped video of a man defecating (part of some conceptual art exhibit let us say) has ‘artistic value’. You would find many who’d agree. But you would not, not in my opinion, be really right. Legally, yes. In some sense, yes. But not truly so.

            What concerns me, personally, are larger things. The larger picture in contradistinction to the smaller one. I do not have any problem, and I suffer no guilt, in largely or generally condemning rap music. Yet I too could refer to some rap artists who have messages that I have appreciated.

            But in the kind of society that I envision, in the culture that I would like to live in, and the environment that I would want my children to have (when I have them), I most certainly have a right to have opinions about that. And I have the right to advocate for the value-world that I want to live in. And the moral and ethical responsibility to make it happen.

    • A better angle would have been to have written a ticket based on obscenity. That children could have been exposed to it.

      The cop tried that, but his argument was undercut by the fact that the incident was recorded on video and the cop himself was caught saying, “fuck,” repeatedly to the driver of the car that he had pulled over.

  2. Re #1: That brief was rejected as not complying with proper form, as in “not completely bats,” or at least that’s my guess: no reason was given. I’m sure one version will eventually make it through….

  3. 1) hopefully this will be the end of it?
    2) while I do not condone the rudeness of the song, it is good to see an end run around the first amendment did not work!
    3) no class but it is what it is
    4) Jack not all democrats are at the extreme end. And I think the damned wall is fiscally irresponsibile. And wall is a barrier that would still need to be monitored cause with out constant monitoring you can go over or tunnel Under as as already happened in areas with walls. It’s like locks it will only keep the honest and virtuos out. As a kid I use to leave my key home all the time. My parents use to get so upset cause I learned to pick and slip locks. But I only did it to my own home.
    5) I had enjoyed my first two bsa troops but the final one had a scoutmaster that I found untrustworthy, I quit. The organization needed to adjust, but they also have never been as good at fund raising as the Girl Scouts. And I saw this being a military kid I was involved with many troops from) they Cub Scout till the last troop. Some troops were extremely well organized and raised funds well, others did not. I knew about naught troop masters as word spread among boys quite quickly. Openly gay men were definitely an improvement over the damn pedofiles. The last troop their were rumored ways to earn your merit badges, I was disgusted by the notion and I was the gay kid. Who earned his the right way. They were a small percentage. It is a shame that the organization as a whole is in trouble.
    6) it is a shameful as their choice of presenter takes the focus off the recipient.

    • #4 – It hardly matters that not all democrats are so extreme, since it seems to be the extreme ones controlling the message. i personally think there’s a strong argument that deporting illegal immigrants with established US jobs and families harms more Americans than it helps, and in more direct and concrete ways. I believe there’s an economic argument to be made to make it simpler and easier to admit temporary foreign workers. I think there’s a moral argument to be made for admitting more, rather than fewer, people from impoverished and/or crime-ridden places.

      But those aren’t the argument being made by Democrats and their allies in the media. We’re being told we may not– not “should not”- deport illegal immigrants with jobs and families. We may not repel those who attempt to cross our border illegally. We may not refuse entry to any who travel to our border in search of a better life. Or at least, any time we do so we are clearly in the wrong, evil even.

      • Enforce the laws about hiring them, and watch the jobs dry up! The Elites want a permanent underclass and have ever since they lost their slaves.

        When a couple of CEOs spend jail time for their company hiring illegals, the wall will be irrelevant.


        Build the Wall!

  4. Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent.

    I write this only secondarily to point out the omission.
    I write this primarily to agree wholeheartedly that my experience in the BSA was a positive one that has helped me throughout the rest of my life, and I am sad–but not surprised–to see it go.


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