Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/8/2019: “Well, No More Oreos For Me!” Edition

An ethical new week dawns!

1. Snopes again. Incredibly, there are still people—like Facebook!—who insist that Snopes is a trustworthy, objective factchecking source. Ethics Alarms had its fill of the site’s partisan spinning many moons ago, but just for giggles, here is another example of the site’s shameless bias.

Last week Snopes pretended to do a “fact check” on whether the Betsy Ross American flag—the thirteen star version that Nike recently rules was too racist to be on a sneaker— was used under President Barack Obama at his inauguration. The strange thing is that no fact check was necessary, since the photographic record is undeniable. As is often the case, however, Snopes’ purpose wasn’t to clarify facts, but to bolster a progressive narrative. Bethania Palma, the most unsubtle of the site’s propagandists, argues that while Obama’s version of the flag wasn’t racist, any use of the flag in 2019 would be racist, because the existence of Donald Trump makes it so.

During the Trump era, what were once relics of the United States’ fraught history with violent racism have been taken up as causes for some far-right extremists. As white supremacists began rallying around Confederate monuments slated for removal, some tried to attach the Betsy Ross flag to their cause as a symbol…The Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit organization that tracks hate groups, doesn’t include the flag in its database of confirmed hate symbols. But many have viewed the flag as symbolizing a time in U.S. history when slavery was legal. “Historically, these symbols have been used by white supremacists, both to hearken back to a time when black people were enslaved, while also painting themselves as the inheritors of the ‘true’ American tradition,” Keegan Hankes, a researcher for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Rolling Stone.

In other words, now that Trump is President, any symbol or artifact that was used by the United States before the abolishment of slavery is to be regarded as carrying  racist symbolism. That’s a fact! Snopes says so.

2. I won’t link to this because it doesn’t deserve traffic, but the Times just inflicted on its readers a sloppy and incompetent “Guide” to the 80’s cultural references in the third season of the Netflix show “Stranger Things. The popular horror series by “The Duffer Brothers” has always been filled with visual and verbal homages, as well as plot turns, attributable by the culturally aware to  famous 80’s works by better artists–Stephen King, Spielberg, John Carpenter, and more. Sometimes the references are amusing, often they are gratuitous and annoying. The Times piece, including a bold face “Spoilers!” warning, purported to catalogue all such references in the new season.

It doesn’t. It doesn’t come close. It doesn’t come close because the writer is obviously unfamiliar with the works the show references, and didn’t bother to do his research despite representing that he had. What he mainly misses are the lines in the dialogue that are lifted directly out of 80’s movies. For example, at one point, a major character in “Stranger Things 3” says, “I can do anything; I’m the chief of police.”  That’s a direct quote from “Jaws,” as anyone who has seen the film 76 times knows.

If a major newspaper is going to say it has a “Complete Guide” to 80’s pop culture references in a show, then it is obligated to make the effort to ensure that it is, in fact, complete.

3. Speaking of outrageous virtue-signaling and inappropriate politicking, not to mention speech-policing, by companies that have nothing to do with politics:


4.  I might kick this police officer out of Starbucks. In Detroit, a police officer in an unmarked SUV ran a stop sign, resulting in his vehicle being T-boned struck by another vehicle. Video shows a Michigan State Police officer in a silver SUV blowing through the intersection. Carlos Martinez was driving the car that collided with the side of the SUV, knocking it off the road.

So the cop arrested Martinez.

The video shows the officer exiting the SUV, ordering Martinez onto the ground, and cuffing him. “All he kept saying was ‘you hit a cop, you hit a cop, you hit a cop,’ and at no moment say ‘how are you, are you okay,'” said Maria Martinez, Carlos’s mother. “No, they just handcuffed him like a criminal.”

Both drivers and a passenger in the officer’s SUV, had minor injuries. So far, the Michigan State Police have refused to comment.


5. There is a lot of this kind of fundraising fraud going on with non-profits, all the time. The only question is which ones get caught. From the Center for Public Integrity”:

[I used a screenshot here because the site is one of several recently that uses a format that forbids highlighting an copying. I cannot see what benefit that is supposed to confer on readers, and I view the practice as obnoxious at best.]

6. I’m curious:

26 thoughts on “Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/8/2019: “Well, No More Oreos For Me!” Edition

  1. 1) The American Flag has not been “appropriated” by far-right groups. The American Flag has been abandoned by left-wing groups. That leaves conservatives as the remaining group that still believes in America and proudly displays the symbols of America. Since a tiny minority of fringe nutters ALSO display the symbols of America, the Left, after it’s wholesale retreat from American values and symbols, finds it convenient to engage in the logical fallacy of attaching the values of the fringe nutters to a different group of people – Conservatives in order to cudgel the Conservatives as unrepentant racists.

    This is all contrived and planned.

  2. The title of topic #1 should be “Snopes and the SPLC again.”
    There is some serious spin on behalf of Snopes, but the Southern Poverty Law Center deserves some credit for their involvement.

  3. This was a toss up but I went with the cop.
    I suppose Oreos would want to temper the use of their brand as a negative when it is used by bigots to discribe the offspring of an interacial couple.

    The cop issue makes me angry rather than annoyed.
    Snopes is very annoying because they are dealing in personal opinion and not facts.
    The people making Oreos can do as they want. If the added sales more than offset the lost sales then management is doing the right thing for shareholders no matter how offensive it is to some.
    The veterans charity is last because it is likely to be prosecuted and justice will be had.

    The real question is will the Michigan State Trooper be prosecuted? If he is not ,given the evidence described, then that will make me angrier.

    • It was a close one for me, Chris, but scamming people over the phone at the expense of veterans is hard to pass up.

  4. The veteran scam. Maybe the major will be prosecuted, but there will be no rebate of the funds he took from people who thought they were doing something good. And the prosecution will have a bursting radius and do damage to all organizations trying to raise money to help deserving vets because it will cause a “they are all crooks” reply from too many people.

    The cop entry will sort itself out. Yes, the cop deserves robust punishment, but Mr. Martinez will probably come out OK when the dust settles. The phone at his house is probably ringing off the hook (a bit of authentic Americana jargon there to confuse many under 40 here) with lawyers, criminal and civil, ready to resolve the matter to the financial betterment of all, save the cop and his employer.

    The Oreos will probably end up in the bargain basket just short of their stated “sell by” date so that my wife can buy a bunch… like Halloween candy the week before Thanksgiving.

    I’d speak to the others but the hobby-horse barn needs mucking.

    • Sadly, I know what “off the hook” actually means. Our ring was a long and two shorts. Calling somebody else was controlled by the hand-crank. Betcha very few folks know what we’re talking about.

      • We did have one of those boxes to play with as kids: turn the crank and the bells would jingle. Then we discovered the power of the magneto inside that made it happen. It took a while, but the fun in shocking everyone you could get to touch the wires we added wore off.

        I recall our upgrade to “private” line from party. At the time my dad still moonlighted as a telegrapher, ending the play-by-play back to the visiting teams home for recreation. Now there is a communication jump.

  5. Damn. You took the words right off my keyboard. I, too, am annoyed by What in the name of Mike does a frickin’ cookie have to do with gender role identification?! It is a frickin’ cookie and, up until about 45 minutes ago, one of my favorites.

    The more infuriating is the cop. His action constitutes abuse of power. How dare he?


  6. 1. There were 36 stars in the flag when the 13th amendment was ratified in 1865, so surely any U.S. flag up to that point must be derided as a symbol of hate; this would include the flags flown by Union troops during the American Civil War. I guess the U.S. flags should be subject to even more woke hatred than the various Confederate flags which, after all, only represented the seceding southern states from 1861 – 1865 whereas the U.S. flags cover all states 1776 – 1865. Good grief!
    2.It would be interesting to see a truly all-inclusive guide to the 80s references in the series. I’m sure I missed many.
    3.I dumped Oreos as soon as the “new” Hydrox cookies became available. They have returned to the original recipe which has a less-sweet filling and a crispier cookie. The Hydrox was the “road trip” cookie of my youth until they changed their recipe to be like their imitator, Oreo.
    4. The Michigan State cop should be fired and criminally charged. The MSP used have a sterling reputation. I’m curious to see how they handle this incident.
    5. Another example of why I do most all of my charitable giving locally.

  7. After some waffling (with butter and syrup on), I had to settle for the Oreo because I am still chafing from having almost been forced – it was a highly pressurized attempt by many people – to wear “my” pronouns on a badge that would be identifying “me” to hundreds of strangers. The pressures have since been relaxed but remain, I notice, on various left-leaning organizations’ personalized emails.

    The idea is offensive on several counts. It was begun as yet another coercive effort of progressives to tell everyone what to say, do and think. In this case, it referred directly to the behavior one must exhibit when confronting (introducing oneself to) someone who might or might NOT be transsexual; in other words, your blatant labels would call for the other to respond by stating theirchosen pronouns-of-the-moment so that you would neither offend or embarrass him, her or you. As far as I could see, it hindered communication to the point of annihilation since it indicated that either you were an idiot or they were a freak, and the only subject of conversation should be how the growth of his tits or her new penis was coming along. And, of course, as typical leftist ego-enhancing virtue signaling.

    The entrance of “oreo” (lower case) onto the sociopolitical stage makes it way worse, exacerbating the fact that the word continues to be nearly as unwelcome as “nigger” to any black person so addressed. In fact, “oreo” implies the greater insult these days. The cookie has always had that stigma but it had pretty much faded. This ad campaign puts the insult front and center once again. Stupid Nabisco. The Golden Double-Stuff is better, anyway.

    • Correction: “transgender,” not “transsexual” – Stop kicking me. It just happened I was thinking of Tim Curry’s Sweet Transvestite in Rocky Horror. Sometimes it all gets so confusing . . . .

  8. I voted for (against?) the cop. Many of the others were terrible things but only the police incident featured abuse of power and a singular victim who could be named.


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