ARRGH!! Half-way through the day, and not out of my pajamas yet!
1. Here’s the kind of comment that won’t get an aspiring new commenter approved…From Erik Guettler: “It’s sad that you think you actually know anything about ethical behavior by criticizing Bill Maher, while Donald Trump’s the most unethical, openly racist and corrupt president Americans have ever had.”
The comment fails on many levels. To begin with, it’s stupid (there is a stupidity justification among the Ethics Alarms banning tenets.) Criticizing Maher for his frequent absence of functioning ethics alarms cannot make me think I know anything about ethical behavior. The opposite is true: it is because I am an ethicist that I criticize Maher, though it hardly requires an expert to recognize his unethical conduct.A relatively well-raised 17-year-old could do it.
Second, the comment breaches basic ethical analysis principles, not to mention common sense: President Trump’s conduct is irrelevant to how unethical Maher is, as is my criticism, or not, of the President. Third, his list of Trump failings is—oooh! Let me finally use this!—NPC junk. Neither he nor anyone can find me any “openly racist” conduct or statements on the President’s part, for this is one of the Big Lies (#4, to be exact.) I have gone through this dance with many Trump Deranged Facebook friends. Challenged to back up the “openly racist” lie, they babble about how he challenged Obama’s birth certificate, and go downhill from there. The statement that he is the “most unethical” President, personally or professionally, is proof of historical ignorance and bias. Unethical he is, but whether Trump’s lack of ethics is more or less substantive than that of Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton is a matter of legitimate disagreement. The “corrupt” accusation is also non-substantive, unproven, and based on supposition and bias rather than evidence.
But never mind all that: the claim that Ethics Alarms has somehow ignored Donald Trump’s ethics deficits is so easily disproved that the insulting comment is an example of reckless disregard for the truth.
Bite me, Erik.
And don’t come back.
2. While we’re on the topic of Mr. Maher’s ethics…Here is the professional asshole in his most recent HBO episode:
I know this is a controversial thing to say now in today’s America but being fat is a bad thing. We shouldn’t taunt people about it. And overeating shouldn’t be singled out as the only vice. It isn’t. We all have something. But there’s no smoking-acceptance or drunk-acceptance. When did it become taboo in this country to talk about getting healthy? Weight Watchers had to literally take the words Weight and Watchers — I’m not kidding — out of their name. It’s now WW. Because merely the idea of watching your weight is now bullying. What’s next? Banning scales? …
In August, 53 Americans died from mass shootings. Terrible right? Do you know how many died from obesity? Forty thousand. Fat shaming doesn’t need to end it needs to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good. We shamed people out of smoking and into wearing seat belts. We shamed them out of littering and most of them out of racism. Shame is the first step in reform…
Being fat isn’t a birth defect. Nobody comes out of the womb needing to buy two seats on the airplane. Here it is in a nutshell from the New York Times: Poor Diet is the Leading Cause of Mortality in the United States. Everyone knows that obesity is linked to terrible conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and virginity.
As usual, Maher is playing to the idiots in the audience. There is no “taboo” in this culture about advocating being healthy. Weight Watchers didn’t have to change its name to WW, any more than Kentucky Fried Chicken “had” to become TFC and Dairy Queen “had” to become DQ. Forty thousand Americans did not die from obesity; that’s a gross misrepresentation. They may have died from conditions that have been linked to obesity, or exacerbated by obesity, but they were not killed by obesity.
Maher begins by saying that people shouldn’t be taunted because they are obese, and later says, in the same statement, that they should be shamed. Then there’s the evidence that he lives in a bubble: who says there’s no “smoking acceptance”? I guess Bill never hangs out with anyone who has to really work with their hands for a living. In blue collar America, smoking is accepted. There is also “drunk acceptance,” because alcoholism is a disease, and shaming alcoholics makes their problem worse.
Maher is making the fatuous and ignorant assumption that all overweight people choose to be fat. Sometimes obesity is a “birth defect.” Often it is the result of inferior nutrition and shopping options: America’s fattest citizens are also its poorest. In a free society—Maher is supposedly a libertarian–people should have the option of making their own priorities. At this stage of my life, I prefer to write about ethics than to take an hour a day going to the gym. Go ahead, shame me for that, Bill, you jerk.
Shaming people for their weight also can kill them, as any eating disorder specialist will explain. My father battled his weight his entire life; he was a chubby kid, a chubby teen, a chubby Boy Scout, a chubby life guard, a chubby GI, and chubby war hero, His extra pounds didn’t get in his way when he dived into a pond under fire and dragged two soldiers out of submerged Jeep, saving their lives.
Obesity is unhealthy, and those who are obese are usually more aware of this than anyone. It is not, however, bad, and being obese doesn’t make them bad. Wanting to shame them, however, does tell us a lot about Bill Maher, most of which we knew already.
3. Good. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has filed a lawsuit against San Francisco over the resolution denouncing the organization as a “domestic terrorist organization.” You can read the complaint here.
UPDATE: “Among all likely voters, 23% favor declaring the National Rifle Association to be a terrorist organization in their home community, while 18% think it should be against the law to belong to pro-gun rights groups like the NRA,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday.
Be very afraid. This is almost 25% of the public, and it has the grasp of our Bill of Rights of the average Welsh Corgi. Maybe the below average Welsh Corgi. Do NOT tell me how wonderful our public schools are and how dedicated teachers are. If a quarter of our students are graduating that uninformed, then the school system is an expensive fraud.
4. Somehow, I don’t think Barack Obama would have raised a son like the real Trayvon Martin…Among the events facilitated by Barack Obama as he tore down decades of progress in U.S. race relations was his unconscionable interference in the Trayvon Martin case, including his statement that Martin could have been his son.
Documentary-maker Joel Gilbert will preview his new film, “The Trayvon Hoax,” in the 500-seat Ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In preparing the film, Gilbert researched the culture of urban black Miami. He visited all the relevant Miami-area high schools, the neighborhoods where Martin and his friends hung out, the streets of Miami’s Little Haiti, and the community where Martin died. He reviewed thousands of text messages, tweets, Facebook and Instagram postings sent and received by Martin and his friends. Far from being the innocent child depicted to the public by his parents and by the news media, (which persisted in using a photograph that made the 6 foot Martin look about 10) the Trayvon Martin Gilbert discovered was deeply involved in a culture of street fighting, guns, drugs, burglary, and sex. The narrative pushed by activists, the news media, Obama and, unethically and disgracefully, by prosecutors was completely imaginary and at odds with the facts.
Yet Martin is still referred to a a martyr to racism in America, by Black Lives Matters, Democratic presidential candidates, and others.