Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/18/2018: One Week To Christmas Edition (Including Nothing About Christmas, Almost)

Good Morning.

A beautiful, naked Frasier Fir is standing in my living room like an unpaid debt.

1. Speaking of Christmas...The first installment on the Ethics Alarms ethics guide to “Miracle on 34th Street” went up late yesterday, and was immediately blocked on Facebook for violating community standards. Nice. It appears my Facebook “friends” took revenge for my chiding their juvenile and unending “Orange Man Bad” posts.

2. Speaking of being ticked offProfessor Turley:

In a surprising admission, the author if the controversial dossier used to secure the secret surveillance on Trump officials admitted that it was paid for by Clinton campaign as a type of insurance to challenge the election.  At the same time, the reporter who helped break the story, Michael Isikoff now says that many of the specific allegations remain unproven and are likely false. 

The Washington Times reported that Steele stated in a declaration in a defamation case that the law firm Perkins Coie wanted to be able to challenge the results of the election based on the dossier.  In an answer to interrogatories, Mr. Steele wrote: “Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election. Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”

In his typical fashion when he is in mealy-mouth mood, Turley says this is “concerning,” since this document was used to get judicial leave to spy on the Trump campaign. The news is only surprising if you had your fingers in your ears and were shouting “Nanananana” for the past year. This issue, you will recall, is what led a previously well-regarded commenter from the Left here to noisily withdraw as a participant because I was, he said, obviously in the throes of irrational Right Wing conspiracy mania because I posted this.

Certain exiles, if they have any integrity at all, owe me a large, effusive, groveling apology—and I still might not accept it.

Concludes the Professor: “The Steele admission only magnifies the concerns over the purpose and the use of this dossier, but has received little media attention.”

Gee, I wonder why THAT is!

3. “And now for something completely stupid” Department. I guess former “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro’s  career isn’t going so well. He is suing the makers of the video game Fortnite for allegedly stealing his “Carlton dance.” You know, this…

It was a big deal at the time because Ribeiro’s character was a geek, and ignorant viewers didn’t know that the actor was professional dancer who had starred in “The Tap-Dance Kid” on Broadway as a child. The fact that a video character does similar moves…

…is no basis for a lawsuit. Choreography copyrighting is a murky intellectual property area, and suing because of an animated figure’s moves is pathetic, as well as an abuse of the civil justice system. The has-been star is angling for a nuisance suit settlement. He should try “GoFundMe” instead.

4.  Wait, What? Children’s speech pathologist Bahia Amawi is suing Texas and the school district that fired her because she refused to sign a contract than prevented her from participated in any boycotts of Israel or its products. “Texas’s ban on contracting with any boycotter of Israel constitutes viewpoint discrimination that chills constitutionally-protected political advocacy in support of Palestine,”  her lawsuit says. Ya think? The Pflugerville Independent School District included new language in their contracts this year requiring that employees “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and will refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israeli or in an Israel-controlled territory.” (Pointer: Becky)

A. That provision is per se unconstitutional, and

B. There’s really a place in Texas called “Pflugerville”?

5. When “Think of the children!” is justified. On June 7, 2017, Amanda Hawkins, then 19, drove her one- and two-year-old daughters, both unconscious, to the hospital. Hawkins claimed they’d collapsed after smelling flowers at a nearby lake. Sure.

In truth,  the girls were dying because their mother intentionally left them in her car overnight while she partied with friends, trapping them in the car for 15 to 18 hours as temperatures reached 90 degrees. When someone heard the girls crying in the car and asked Hawkins to bring them inside. “She said: ‘No, it’s fine. They’ll cry themselves to sleep.” She’s been sentenced to 40 years in prison, and it’s too lenient by far. I would not oppose the death penalty for this kind of egregious child abuse. I suspect that executing Hawkins might save some lives.

6. This is also a horrible woman, but it’s a fake horrible woman. Parody intersectional radical “Titania McGrath,” whom I wrote about here, has claimed more victims. A recent rant by the talented satirist has now been cited by several conservative sources as real. “The is not a parody,” writes one. Sorry, that’s exactly what it is. Again, the Ethics Alarms position is that web hoaxes are unethical, but this is brilliant satire:

My name is Titania McGrath. I am a radical intersectionalist poet committed to feminism, social justice, and armed peaceful protest. In April of this year, I decided to become more industrious on social media. I was inspired by other activists who had made use of their online platforms in order to spread their message and explain to people why they are wrong about everything.

This week the powers-that-be at Twitter hit my account with a “permanent suspension” (a semantic contradiction, but then I suppose bigots aren’t known for their grammatical prowess). This was the latest in a series of suspensions, all of which were imposed because I had been too woke. The final straw appeared to be a tweet in which I informed my followers that I would be attending a pro-Brexit march so that I could punch a few UKIP supporters in the name of tolerance.

Don’t get me wrong. I have always supported censorship. Major social media platforms have a responsibility to ensure that we are expressing the correct sort of free speech. Twitter’s decision to suspend Alex Jones, host of American website InfoWars, set the right kind of precedent. I fully supported this action because Jones is known for disseminating fake news and wild conspiracy theories. But the fact that I was also banned makes me think that Twitter were being secretly controlled by InfoWars from the very start….Do not pity me. As a woman in a heteronormative patriarchal world I am accustomed to males like Jack Dorsey attempting to keep me silent. In my absence from Twitter, I took the opportunity to spend some time at a resort in Val d’Isère, where I could relax and contemplate my oppression. I even managed to write a book which I have entitled Woke: A Guide to Social Justice. I did want to call it My Struggle, but that title was already taken apparently.

The book is real, and also a gag. What does it say about a movement that something this wacked-out is close enough to the real thing that people can’t tell it’s a joke?


17 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/18/2018: One Week To Christmas Edition (Including Nothing About Christmas, Almost)

  1. What community standards did your piece on “Miracle” violate. I don’t get it. I guess I’m in violation too because I both support your article and the First Amendment.

    • The community standards are that if you don’t join in the Facebook “resistance” echo chamber hunt for “likes” by gratuitously insulting and denigrating the President of the United States, you have to be punished. It’s as simple as that.

      • Maybe FB has also resorted to “Manifest Observable Behavior” like Patreon in the case of Sargon of Akkad. He was de-platformed from Patreon because he said the N-word 10 months earlier on another users channel during a conversation or interview ( not sure of the entire context ). There was no clear violation of TOS by Sargon. These platforms have too much power now to do as they please. They can ban or de-platform just about anyone they want seemingly without consequence. Although I’ve only watched a few of his videos, Sargon is actually moderately left and speaks out against PC. It appears we have a mob of Progressives that police online content (to find something to be outraged about) and then submit complaints to the Tech platforms – then the Platform providers cave to the mob (but in reality it seems they agree with the Progressive cant). Patreon and it’s content creators are losing large sums of money due to this Sargon episode. Some creators moved to Subscribestar – soon after, Paypal asked (or told) Subscribestar not to use their service for payment method. So, these “platforms” all stick together to stifle any attempt to create alternative platforms for content creators.

  2. 4b) Named after Henry Pfluger, a settler that came in 1849 as part of the mini-wave from Germany that resulted from the turmoil of the pan-European 1848 political upheavals. His family settled the area, though it didn’t become a community until after the Civil War.

  3. 4) Unconsitiutional, obviously, and also what does that have to do with anything? Like, it’s not even an issue that you could argue affects interaction with children.

    And on top of that, how do you even prove someone is boycotting Israel? It’s like a conversation my mom and I had the other day, where she mentioned she doesn’t shop at Target. I jokingly asked if she was boycotting them, and she answered “Yeah, sure. I’m boycotting them because I don’t like shopping there.”

    By the same standards, I guess I’m inadvertantly boycotting Israel…

    This is the silliest grandstanding I’ve seen in a while.

  4. 3). According to the video, Ribeiro is not the only one that is or considering suing the game over their dance. The game is also charging $5.00 per dance downloaded. Riberio was supposedly in the middle of copyrighting his dance. Too late for the game to not be able to use it though I’m sure.

    4). She is suing the school district and the Texas attorney general. From what I could find in other articles about it, this is a state law in Texas. Not only Texas but 25 other states including California and New York. It was also introduced in Congress as a bill in 2017 (S.720) and then a revised version
    (H.R. 1697). Though in these times everyone will want to blame Trump and his relationship with Israel, Obama actually signed an anti-BDS law in 2015 then in 2016 signed at $38 billion military aid pact.

    I think politics of any kind should stay out of schools and said teacher has voiced her support of Palestine in the linked article from Jack. While it is a matter of free speech, we’ve all seen how teachers in schools have been since the 2016 election and pushing their own views on their classes. I am not suggesting or assuming she would do so with the autistic or other children she teaches. It is just my opinion that personal politics should be left out of schools.

    BDS is a Palestine run group that wants to stop companies from doing business with Israel. They are working to boycott companies like Caterpillar, Coca-cola, Ben & Jerry’s, Hewlett Packard and more due to them selling to or having affiliations with Israel. Which I don’t agree with either. Doesn’t that infringe on some kind of rights as well?

    Then you get into sticky areas like this in the states that have the anti-BDS laws.

  5. 6: “What does it say about a movement that something this wacked-out is close enough to the real thing that people can’t tell it’s a joke?”

    The concept you’re looking for is Poe’s Law, or:

    “Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied views.” (from Wikipedia)

  6. 1. Facebook is progressivism run amuck (I like using that phrase… reminds me of a movie). This is what all socialists want: control of your thoughts and words.

    2. Note that a lot of this was uncovered by Sean Hannity quite some time ago. Man is pretty well connected, whatever else you think about him.

    Steele admitted that even HE would not authenticate the contents of that dossier, when pressed in a British court. It was all made up using Russian sources, paid for by Hillary and the DNC, and used to spy on an American political campaign by the sitting POTUS.

    Remind me who is being investigated for Russian influence in that election again?

    3. How does one copyright a dance? Is that even a thing? Oh well, I guess the Fortnight folks had to model their dance on something.

    4a. Anti-BDS laws are common and supported by Obama himself. Allowing this sort of boycott to occur by people in service to our government is unreasonable, as it opens the door to other such actions. Public servants have other similar restrictions (supporting election campaigns using taxpayer funds, etc.) so I don’t see this as different.

    I am open to being educated.

    4b. There are many unusual towns in Texas: we have almost 10,000 of them.,alpha,a.cfm

    Kermit, Loco, Cut and Shoot, White Settlement (really), Jot ‘Em Down, Ding Dong, Notrees (guess where?), Blessing, Gun Barrel City (it isn’t), Dime Box (which is divided into old Dime Box and New Dime Box), Sunrise, Sunset, Ben Wheeler (“The Feral Hog Capital of Texas”), Nameless, North Zulch (there never was a ‘South Zulch’), Zipperlandville, Nimrod, Bacon, Rainbow, Noodle, Oatmeal, Salty, Energy, Earth, Tool, Sweet Home, Venus, Happy, Coffee City, China AND China Grove (from the Doobies song), Ben Franklin, Paradise (it ain’t), Nemo, Tarzan, Bigfoot, Okra, Pep, Klondike, Cleveland, Paris, Boston, Detroit, Pasadena, Comfort… You get the idea.

    Before you laugh, remember that the culture that created such… interesting… town names also created the hottest economy of any state in our union.

    5. Shooting is too good for this one. She had TWO kids at 19? ‘There’s yer problem right there.’

    6. I have seen screeds that read like this. Those folks were not joking.

    7. There is not #7 (that made the cut)

    • Waxahatchie? IO used to live in Round Rock and worked in Austin. Passed the exit twice a day, 5 days a week. Went to Tinsletown regularly.

    • #4: Tennessee also has a “Nameless” in Jackson County. The story goes that shortly after the Civil War a local official had initially sought to name the post office “Morgan” for their county district attorney general, George Morgan, but the Post Office rejected that name, possibly because the name “Morgan” was still associated in many people’s minds with the Confederacy (Confederate General John Hunt Morgan). After the requested name was rejected, the official wrote to postal authorities that if his choice of names could not be approved, he preferred for the post office to be nameless. The Nameless post office was established in 1866.

  7. 1. So, your FB page is still there, but you can’t post anything? FB sanctions are mostly done by algorithms. Multiple reports from multiple IP addresses is necessary. So it looks like some of your ‘friends’ have been continually mashing on the Report button. The options for reporting are limited, but all kind of extreme (the post is offensive, advocates violence, is hate speech) so I wonder what grounds they used….hate speech? I wonder if you can still do a blanket message through the Messenger function (‘send to Friends list’). You might consider sending them something on the First Amendment.

    They’re jerks, whoever they are…I’m sorry this happened to you.

  8. 1. Their loss
    2. “Nanananana” is Alice’s answer.
    3. Got caught up in the headline at the end of the video headed “Trump’s weird lie about raking” Looked into it. Sorry, thou Seekers After Lies, this one not only makes sense, but it could easily have been a literal translation. Of course, it didn’t help that SNL had a dumber error in their skit about it. Yes, Seth Meyers, there is such a thing as a forest “floor,” in fact: the earth of the forest is correctly called “the floor” (where the decomposition of all the organic matter takes place) All the debris of dead wood and dried vegetable matter is also a fire hazard and a bad one, since the heat and even flames can run under the surface making “old growth” forest fires the hardest to fight. I don’t know whether it’s a Finnish “thing” or not, but raking it makes sense …. especially if the words “dead leaves” were said. I gotta give the man points on this one, whether Finland can figure it out or not.
    4. Pflugerville is Tel Aviv’s sister city. Makes sense, right. (I made that up. But what other reason could there be? … No, don’t tell me.)
    5. [no comment]
    6. Nero Wolfe will protect her from any libel suit or Left-handed backhanders. He’s done it before: “The Doorbell Rang” Almost. It was a standoff with J. Edgar.

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