Open Forum: The “Everything is Seemingly Spinning Out Of Control!” Edition

Our last open forum was March 4, which was also my last live seminar before everything was cancelled. This seems like a good time for another one, especially since I have some consulting clients who are clamoring for ethics opinions, and I am on hod to report a fraudulent transaction while my bank plays intentionally loud, horrible music to make me hang up as I wait on hold.

I also will be cheered by the usual thoughtful, substantive posts the Open Forums here typically generate. I peruse other free-for-alls on various blogs, and almost without exception the result resembles graffiti, with memes, bad jokes, two-sentence snark, or worse. The commentariate here has always aimed much higher, and for that I am very grateful.

And let me say, we at Ethics Alarms in this difficult time are dedicated to doing everythingt we can to keep you safe. We’re all in this together, and together we will..

No, I just can’t go through it. I have never experienced such an avalanche of repetitive and calculated virtue signaling as the cookie cutter “heartwarming” TV ads.  Anyone who thinks this crap wasn’t dreamed up by the marketing and PR departments has just been defrosted from a cryogenic state after missing the last 50 years.

Now get commenting, please…ethically, of course.

49 thoughts on “Open Forum: The “Everything is Seemingly Spinning Out Of Control!” Edition

  1. An ethics question I’d like to pose resulting from our current circumstance is as follows:
    1. People violating restrictions and social distancing are being punished (in what measure I do not know).
    2. Prisoners guilty of actual crimes either have been released or were being considered for release due to our common circumstances (how many were actually released I do not know).
    3. Closing the borders and halting any immigration is considered irrational and potentially racially or certainly illegitimately motivated.

    To be a citizen and violating non-codified restrictions is punishable, but to be a prisoner (in some cases) or someone here illegally those folks should be allowed to go free in society (though potentially governed by the same non-codified restrictions).

    How is our society healthier, better or safer considering the above? What are the law abiding to think?

      • On the 3rd point the morons are the idiots like Jonathan Karl (ABC) who find it necessary to stop movement between Georgia and South Carolina but then bitch when the national borders are closed to all immigration. How is that racist if no non- currently legal resident is allowed in. The only discrimination taking place is those with a currently legal residence and those who do not. Ironically, it will be disproportionately people of color who are now being given an exemption as guest workers. We don’t get many Europeans coming here to fill IT jobs or pick crops. Perhaps I should sue.

    • We are making sure people know they are subjects. The government will do what it wants, when it wants, to whom it wants and there is nothing you can do about it. The government is not here for your benefit, you will do as you are told because. We will release criminals, forbid you to purchase firearms, ammunition, or anything else we deem ‘nonessential’. If you dare venture outside your home without permission, you will be swarmed by a 1/2 dozen police officers because you are endangering the public by being in a park all alone. Social distancing is for you, not for those anointed by government employment. We will allow a full parking lot at grocery stores, and make sure they are more full than normal by restricting hours, but we will forbid you to park in a church parking lot..,because.

      We have a virus with a 0.1-0.4% death rate, the same as the flu before the vaccine. Because of this, we can take all your rights away and the press is here to back us up. You will never get them back because we are making sure they say on the news every day that we can never go back to normal. We will inflate the death numbers so we can call anyone who protests a ‘monster’ and argue for their ‘quarantine’.

    • I’ve noticed how the same people who think that others “violating restrictions and social distancing” rules should be summarily executed, are the same people who think that “Closing the borders and halting any immigration” is “irrational and potentially racially or certainly illegitimately motivated”. These are the kinds of things that make me want to root for the virus.

  2. I got this email from a friend who used to work for the state. He routinely sends me economic development info because he knows that is my interest.

    “The Small Business Administration has approved fewer than 500 Economic Injury Disaster Loans in Maryland for a total of $105.3 million. Data from the SBA on Tuesday showed the agency approved 462 of its relief loans in Maryland as of April 19. That’s fewer than 1% of the estimated 594,124 small businesses in Maryland. Small businesses in Maryland started applying on March 20 for emergency relief loans up to $2 million. (Baltimore Business Journal)”

    Here is my reply:

    Name redacted:
    To determine the efficacy of the SBA processes of EIDL it would be necessary to know how many applied, how many competing applications from other states exist, and how many of our estimated 594,124 businesses have no employees or are deemed essential businesses. Virtually every insurance agency is a small business but has no real hardship at this time. The same is true for most convenience stores, grocers, gas stations, etc. Firms without employees are not eligible for the paycheck protection program but can apply for a different programs such as EIDL discussed. This is part of the CARE act which has several programs. It is quite possible that many of those LLCs on the books at SDAT are sole proprietorships that includes accountants, doctors (LLP), consultants and the like who cannot prove economic injury.

    Ramping up a program to bail out so many different types of organizations in less than a month is a daunting if not nearly impossible task and is impossible if people expect a zero failure rate. Even the FDA does not have a zero failure rate on drug safety.

    The BBJ writer probably has zero understanding of how lending works, how this program works and the actual structural makeup of Maryland’s small businesses. Citing stats that fail to differentiate the eligible from the ineligible or to suggest that every business applied when in fact the writer has no such knowledge is how journalists confuse the public. What if only 500 firms sought financing that changes the denominator which could then be shown that the SBA in less than a month approved funding for 92.4% of all applicants. If only 462 businesses that applied could demonstrate actual economic injury out of the 500 that applied the headline would need to read SBA approves funding for 100% of all eligible applicants.

    I no longer trust the press or politicians to deliver the whole truth. Damn shame. I never follow people that only tell me what they want me to know.

    Chris

    Anyway, we really need to teach people to question authority.

    • what exactly are you disputing in that paragraph he sent you? It’s all straight reporting of figures.Do you think the numbers are wrong? Is there more to the email/story your friend sent you that you’re not sharing?

      • Joey I ended with. “I no longer trust the press or politicians to deliver the whole truth.” It very well may be true that only 462 businesses got funding. The context of the article was that 99% of the businesses were suffering because Trump’s SBA can process loans fast enough.

        I pointed out exactly what information was missing to do a proper analysis of the efficacy of the SBA. I will dispute the idea that the “estimated 594,124 small businesses are even eligible or had even applied.

        Finally, I never said I disputed any of the figures. My point was that this article lacks significant information to make it relevant. When the writer creates the sentence “That’s fewer than 1% of the estimated 594,124 small businesses in Maryland,” what is he trying to communicate? Is it that this is great, fewer than 1% of Maryland’s small businesses suffered economic injury? Or, is it more likely that that statement is suggestive of a failure by the federal government to deliver services to Maryland’s small business community. I understood it to be the latter.

        I can report straight figures but that does not mean that the conclusions drawn can be accurate. If I report that the Census of Maryland’s prison population is 60 African American and 40% other can it be concluded that 60% of the crime is committed by African Americans. The answer is an emphatic NO.

    • Anyway, we really need to teach people to question authority.

      When you say this I want to know where do you begin and where do you stop?

      Some of the posters adjacent to you show no capacity or interest in questioning authority. Yet you do and you recommend it.

      Have you been reading he-shall-not-be-named during the pandemic?!? (Hint: He grew a Quarantine Beard before they become popular).

      • I have long believed it necessary to question authority when those who claim the mantle of authority ask me or require me to give something up. I question my doctors about why they want me to get a given test. I question teachers who routinely use blanket punishments. I question politicians when they tell me they are doing it for my own good or the good of the group.

        I am an evidence based citizen. Don’t ask me to trust you. Show me why I should with real information and not emotion.

        Where do you begin and where do you stop you ask. You begin when anything threatens your liberty. You end when you get an answer that is satisfactory to you.

    • “Anyway, we really need to teach people to question authority.”

      Why do you think so many people who currently possess “authority” are opposed to homeschooling?

      There is a big full-court press on the way to demonize and denigrate homeschooling. That recent Harvard article was just the beginning. Lots of people have been forced into the realization that teaching their own kids isn’t particularly difficult, and that they enjoy doing it. The establishment fears that a lot of them won’t put their kids back in the public schools after this is over, having seen the benefits of having personal control over their children’s education. Kids who haven’t been sufficiently indoctrinated by the school system tend to grow up to be adults who are difficult to control…

      • Jeff writes:

        Why do you think so many people who currently possess “authority” are opposed to homeschooling?

        There is a big full-court press on the way to demonize and denigrate homeschooling. That recent Harvard article was just the beginning. Lots of people have been forced into the realization that teaching their own kids isn’t particularly difficult, and that they enjoy doing it. The establishment fears that a lot of them won’t put their kids back in the public schools after this is over, having seen the benefits of having personal control over their children’s education. Kids who haven’t been sufficiently indoctrinated by the school system tend to grow up to be adults who are difficult to control…

        Indoctrinated did you say?

        I am trying to wrap my head around some of the things that, from my perspective, are just now being said. My impression of the blog and the majority of the commentators attracted to it, is that it was an ‘American patriot’s blog’ given Jack’s basic orientation. For this reason, when I notice someone using the term ‘establishment’, I want to know who or what that establishment is. What is meant by that? I recognize ‘educational establishment’, but then I am aware that in the 1920s more or less there was a tremendous advocacy for the development of a national educational policy. So that individual states, or even individual communities, would not be left to them selves in devising the type of education all American children should have. And in addition to the basics of education (reading, math, science, et cetera) there was specific advocacy to teach ‘Americanism’: the patriotic values of Americanism; the history of the country determined by the views of Americanism (and as I often say ‘the tenets of the American civil religion).

        It is on the basis of this universal education that the will of the American people could be channeled productively, and necessarily according to the patriotic view, to agree to go off the fight in (what were once) very unpopular wars, not the least being WW2. Yet in each war and conflict from that time on, including all of the machinations of the Cold War, a receptive, alike-thinking, patriotic and to a large degree malleable population was needed, and definitely not one that *questioned authority*. To question authority in this sense had been, and still is, disrespected action. I have done a fair amount of reading about the Gulf War (America’s first TeeVee War beginning in 1992. See Kellner The Persian Gulf TV War which outlines, in cold detail, an unprecedented propaganda campaign of a magnitude beyond anything that had been attempted or that was even possible prior).

        But hold on! Kellner is writing from a critical perspective that was in no sense shared by the political Right, nor by so-called Conservatives. The opposition to the war, and to the astounding propaganda (I use this term without even slight exaggeration) employed to gain the assent of the populace’, was nearly entirely an affair of the political Left. And the political Left *questioned authority* and the structures of power that put the war in motion: that invented it so to speak, that concocted it: that designed it as a even for public consumption like a long-running advertisement for soap products!

        The political Right — the ‘Republican establishment’ — had been the party of Big Business and also of Big War (the so-called military-industrial complex, a term that could not be used by those apologists for invasion and occupation). And those who *supported* these geo-political adventures did not and it seems never *question authority*. They serve the purposes of authority (and power) by giving their free consent.

        Those who homeschool are those who like Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge fame began to see their country — the USA — as an ‘occupied state’. That is, as a state whose major power factions (business, corporate, military, educational) they saw as compromized. If I began to state what they thought about that, and who they accused, I would move into a *forbidden territory* of thought which is hardly allows in Right-leaning or in Conservative circles. Yet you are recommendations *questioning authority*?

        There has been, for years and years, a sort of *underground* movement in the US in which average people, more properly rural people and *working people*, have expressed in myriad ways the degree to which their country has been *overtaken* or compromised by interests they do not see as their own. They talk among themselves, they share information about what they perceive, and this is obviously *questioning authority* and questioning the Establishment, and yet you could not convince me, nor could you assert, that such critical thinking and critical activism, if only in the realm of ideas, is in any sense *allowed* or encouraged.

        But now and because you have suddenly been locked up in your house and you notice — for the first time? — the intrusion of dictatorial power into your life, now you are up in arms about the wild tyranny developing?!? Now you recommend *questioning authority*! Now you define the Establishment as something to be outsmarted, skirted, avoided, and you now desire to protect your kids from it?

        But what is ‘it’? What are you talking about? What do you mean when you say *Establishment*?

        And once you have educated these children to be free of these coercive controls on their minds and capacity to think freely and independently (what else could you be talking about?) what are those kids to then do? How shall they interact in their world vis-à-vis this ‘establishment’ that you have identified? What will they advocate for? What are the limits of their advocacy.

        If you get the sense that I notice extreme, obvious and outrageous HYPOCRISY and that I associate this hypocrisy with the (so-called) Conservative Establishment, please do not become offended. Unless I am very mistaken, and if ethics in any real sense is decided to be a virtue and something to strive for in all areas, then what I do here and what I question is a totally valid endeavor within a valid territory.

  3. Here is an article about Fred Guttenberg.

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/guttenberg-gun-stores-illegally-selling-firearms-spreading-coronavirus

    Guttenberg: Gun Stores Illegally Selling Firearms, Spreading Coronavirus
    BY DAN ZIMMERMAN

    Fred Guttenberg lost a daughter in the Parkland shooting. Since then, he’s been an outspoken gun control advocate. Yesterday, during an online Biden campaign rally, Guttenberg betrayed the hysterical desperation that’s been sweeping through the gun control industry as a result of hundreds of thousands of first-timers buying guns since the COVID-19 emergency started.

    Guttenberg went on to say that gun stores are contributing to the pandemic and selling to people who are not legally allowed to buy or own firearms, though he did not offer evidence of either claim.

    “You have crowds showing up around these gun stores not only spreading coronavirus, but they’re buying weapons, or they’re buying ammunition,” he said. “And many of them are prohibited purchasers of weapons, or they already have the weapon, and now they’re running out and buying the ammunition to use it.”

    Gun stores and all federally licensed dealers are required to run federal background checks on all gun sales they conduct. Those checks are designed to ensure that licensed dealers do not sell firearms to people prohibited from having them under federal and state law. Despite Guttenberg’s claim, there has been no evidence that gun stores—which have remained open in most states—are a significant source of new infections. Many that have remained open adopted social distancing and sanitation practices similar to other “essential” businesses. Everytown, where Guttenberg is a member of its Survivors Network, did not respond to request for comment.

  4. “The context of the article was that 99% of the businesses were suffering because Trump’s SBA can process loans fast enough.”

    How’s that? It’s one thing to say an article is lacking helpful information (I’d agree, additional figures would have helped). But you’re inventing context where there is none based on assumptions about intent – based on what exactly? The article made nothing close to a judgement about the efficacy of the SBA, nor claimed that was its intent in presenting the information.

    • Joey. Can you say imply? Do readers draw inferences. Please reread my third paragraph.

      “When the writer creates the sentence “That’s fewer than 1% of the estimated 594,124 small businesses in Maryland,” what is he trying to communicate? Is it that this is great, fewer than 1% of Maryland’s small businesses suffered economic injury? Or, is it more likely that that statement is suggestive of a failure by the federal government to deliver services to Maryland’s small business community. I understood it to be the latter.

      You are simply arguing that the inference I drew (and I would bet many others as well would draw) is invalid because the writer did not explicitly state his meaning. Sorry, communication is bi-lateral, not unidirectional. For any message to be communicated the receiver must be able to reasonably able to decipher the sender’s meaning. Can you tell me which of the above the writer was intending to communicate and if not what was the purpose of including the sentence that began “That’s fewer than 1%.”?

      • I am arguing that inferring a particular meaning from an article so completely benign makes you sound more than a little unreasonable. Before reading the article did you have any sense of how many small businesses there are in Maryland? Think the average reader does? I have no idea how many there are in my state, and I follow the local economy pretty closely. So to put a number in context of the total, without any additional statements of judgement is perfectly reasonable. Why is it “more likely that that statement is suggestive of a failure by the federal government to deliver services to Maryland’s small business community”? I have no idea what the writer was or was not trying to communicate when he wrote that sentence – so the reasonable thing to do would be to not make assumptions based on my own biases. If the author intended to pass judgement, he could have gone ahead and done it.

        The author also said “Small businesses in Maryland started applying on March 20 for emergency relief loans up to $2 million”. Surely he’s implying that the incompetence of the Trump administration is the only reason is took until March 20th to begin the application process when businesses were already suffering? Surely he’s implying that $2 million is not nearly enough to keep some small businesses afloat, and that only a president so out of touch with main street would agree to such limits? Or…maybe…he just wrote quick 100 word article and added the figures he had available at the time it went to print.

        I know that Trump wants an army of similarly victim-minded snowflakes to whine about any media coverage that doesn’t praise him, but c’mon, have some common sense and be a little selective if you’re going to go on a lamestream media tirade.

        • Actually Joey I do know the approximate number and relative structure of the Maryland economy. I also know how that estimated number is arrived at. For twenty years I ran Maryland’s only financially self sustaining business incubator. I spent considerable time learning everything I could about Maryland’s small business community. Moreover, it appears you did not read or understand my comments or you purposely left out highly relevant statements I made and only focused on a prefatory clause. I was making the point that people send all types of information out that are devoid of information and it is important to question what information might be needed to draw an accurate understanding of the writer’s intent. The audience of the BBJ is not your average reader. They know the relative size of the small business community as most have the region as their primary marketing area. The Baltimore Business Journal targets business leaders and mangers in the Baltimore metropolitan region. Its sister publication the Washington Business Journal focuses on the business community in DC region. The articles are far more in depth from a business perspective than the Baltimore Sunpapers whose target audience is anyone with a buck to spend on a newspaper.

          You said,

          “I know that Trump wants an army of similarly victim-minded snowflakes to whine about any media coverage that doesn’t praise him, but c’mon, have some common sense and be a little selective if you’re going to go on a lamestream media tirade.”

          You criticized me for inferring something not explicitly stated so where do you come off with the above paragraph. That statement alone suggests that you know my mindset however it is more indicative of yours.

          It is obvious to me that your mind is closed.

          • My inference about your mindset is supported by ample evidence in your recent comments, as well as past comments. Looking for and finding evidence that supports an assumption is how legitimate inference is made. Which is why in my first response I asked if I was missing some sort of additional context or evidence you had to support your conclusion.

            Your response about your own experience in your local economy and the readership of the source doesn’t answer my question and I don’t see how’s it really relevant – I still find it hard to believe that a given reader would know the total number of small businesses in the state, if that’s what you were implying.

            So again: how are you arriving at the conclusion that the aforementioned sentence was some sort of veiled dig at the administration? If that was the intent, why wasn’t it made explicitly? I’ve read your comments several times and can’t find any “highly relevant statements”, let alone several.

            When I asked what your beef with the article was you said this: “The context of the article was that 99% of the businesses were suffering because Trump’s SBA can process loans fast enough.” That’s the premise for everything you’ve said, and seemingly why you felt the need to post the defensive reply you sent your friend on this board – because the media is going after Trump again.

            You also said this, later: “I was making the point that people send all types of information out that are devoid of information and it is important to question what information might be needed to draw an accurate understanding of the writer’s intent.”

            If that’s all you had said in the beginning I wouldn’t have questioned you because I would have mostly agreed, except that my goal is to first understand the accuracy of the information and what conclusions should and should not be made from it, not the writer’s intent. But you had already drawn a conclusion about the writer’s intent – so it seems like you are now trying to get out of a corner you painted yourself into by saying that you were only making an appeal to the need for contextual data.

            • My past comments are irrelevant to the issue at hand. I was opining on this article and how these little stories circulate and become the prevailing truth about a larger issue. The entire crux of my original comment was that critical thinkers draw inferences from the language used or not used. Had the writer said less than 1% of Maryland’s eligible businesses had applied for aid that would have been news worthy. It is information that can be acted upon by the reader. It is not newsworthy (in this publication) to inform the business community how many small businesses are registered in the state unless there is a breakdown of the numbers of enterprises in any given RMA code. How many small businesses there are might be pertinent in a 7th grade report on small business in Maryland but not here.

              Had the writer used my sentence the onus would be on the small business to get cracking and apply. Instead the writer places the SBA as the subject of the sentence suggesting that the onus was on the SBA for such few loans. That is why I drew the inference. Furthermore, I should point out that SBA can only approve what is sent to them from lending institutions. The SBA is a guarantor not a lender. Again, that piece of information is woefully absent from this little story. Such an omission will cause readers who lack an understanding of how the SBA works to blame the SBA for acts, or lack thereof, beyond its control. There is tremendous misunderstanding in the general public about how the SBA works with small business and writers for the BBJ must be held to a higher standard.

              In this case, the writer began with saying the SBA processed fewer than 500 loan application. Would you draw a different meaning if it had been written this way “The SBA has processed nearly 500 applications for assistance to Maryland small business?” I would. A word or two difference changes the connotation without changing the denotation. The two sentences may give a perfectly factual statements but I suggest that any reader would come away with a more positive perspective if the latter was used. The sentence that follows conveys the relative proportions of loans to Maryland small business. That statement reinforces the implication that small businesses are not getting the aid they deserve. It is the juxtaposition of the first statement with the second statement that moves an average reader to draw the same inference I came to.

              In my opinion, the writer either composed the piece with an express intent to create the impression that the SBA is falling down on the job or he is a poor writer that needs to find employment where high level communication skills are unnecessary.

              If my multiple decades of experience in Baltimore’s business community is irrelevant to my ability to draw an inference about a publication and an issue to which I am quite familiar then you must really have a problem with the climate experts that draw all sorts of inference from data modelling.

              • “The two sentences may give a perfectly factual statements but I suggest that any reader would come away with a more positive perspective if the latter was used”

                So, as I expected, you’re angry that the author didn’t give it a positive spin. Thus his ambiguity must, positively, be malicious. Oh wait, now you’re hedging and saying it might just be poorly written. Trying to keep up, and a word salad about sentence structure and how the placement of particular words isn’t helping your cause – and in fact makes your argument seem that much more unreasonable. I mean that was a world record contending stretch.

                A brief perusal of the website certainly doesn’t suggest the this business publication or the author spill a lot of ink trying to attack Trump, if any. This is the kind of thing that’s helpful when trying to assess intent, not parsing word order. That and, ya know, actual declarations and judgments made in said article. You still haven’t spun any theories as to why this apparently rogue reporter decided to sneakily structure his sentences in a very particular way in order to imply that the SBA had in some way failed here, rather than just saying it. Deep State plant? They better get better editors over there.

                And no, I don’t think your business experience is relevant here because you don’t seem to be accessing any business acumen while trying to justify your position. That’s where your past comments are indeed relevant – it shows someone like me that your biases can and have in this case trump your common sense and intellect.

                • You fail to comprehend my statements because your mind is made up that I am attacking the media. I am not angry at anything. I can write that statement to be absolutely objective without creating a perception of bias. The entire media bias narrative results from either bad writing or mal-intent. It does not matter what the reason the fact is that many believe it exists and perhaps with very good reason. I am not now, nor do I recall ever using pejorative terms like Lamestream Media. I only discuss actual reportage and how it is understood.

                  I love your selective quoting.

                  Compare what you quoted to the actual quote.

                  You quoting me: “The two sentences may give a perfectly factual statements but I suggest that any reader would come away with a more positive perspective if the latter was used”

                  You went on: So, as I expected, you’re angry that the author didn’t give it a positive spin. Thus his ambiguity must, positively, be malicious.

                  Did you purposely omit the prefatory and following statements to make your point. It is dishonest.

                  Full text and context:

                  ME: “In this case, the writer began with saying the SBA processed fewer than 500 loan application. Would you draw a different meaning if it had been written this way “The SBA has processed nearly 500 applications for assistance to Maryland small business?” I would. A word or two difference changes the connotation without changing the denotation. The two sentences may give a perfectly factual statements but I suggest that any reader would come away with a more positive perspective if the latter was used. The sentence that follows conveys the relative proportions of loans to Maryland small business. That statement reinforces the implication that small businesses are not getting the aid they deserve. It is the juxtaposition of the first statement with the second statement that moves an average reader to draw the same inference.”

                  Nowhere did I claim that it SHOULD be given a positive spin.

                  Here is an objective rewrite of the original statement that does not cause a reader to draw any positive or negative conclusions about the administration of the program.

                  According to the SBA data, since March 20, 462 Maryland small businesses have been approved for $105.3 million in economic injury funding under the Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Maryland has an estimated 594,000 small business that may be eligible for emergency relief loans up to $2 million.

                  Just to keep people from having to go back and forth. The original BBJ piece is here:

                  “The Small Business Administration has approved fewer than 500 Economic Injury Disaster Loans in Maryland for a total of $105.3 million. Data from the SBA on Tuesday showed the agency approved 462 of its relief loans in Maryland as of April 19. That’s fewer than 1% of the estimated 594,124 small businesses in Maryland. Small businesses in Maryland started applying on March 20 for emergency relief loans up to $2 million. (Baltimore Business Journal)”

                  Words like fewer than, more than are used strategically to create the total narrative. You tell me which of the two pushes a reader to any particular understanding that may or may not be actually true.

                  That is my last word on this subject. I’ll let others draw their own conclusion.

                  • Oh I fully comprehend your statements, but they in no way are supporting your original conclusion. You’re now leaning heard into the argument that it could have been better written and backing off the original claim that it was written to specifically attack the SBA. I understand why, but I wonder if you do. You still haven’t answered this:

                    “You still haven’t spun any theories as to why this apparently rogue reporter decided to sneakily structure his sentences in a very particular way in order to imply that the SBA had in some way failed here, rather than just saying it.”

                    The irony here is that people like you and others on this board complain about media bias and demand that the media just sticks to the facts. In this case, when the author of a bland article in a bland publication provides bland statistics without judgment, you baselessly infer it as an attack on the SBA because the stats cited have some ambiguity as to whether they are good, bad or indifferent. Since the article is not explicitly supportive, it must be implicitly malicious.

                    Trump Derangement Syndrome comes in many forms.

                    • “you baselessly infer it as an attack on the SBA because the stats cited have some ambiguity as to whether they are good, bad or indifferent.”
                      No, no ambiguity whatsoever. Chris did a good job of pointing out the bubtle devices used to sway the opinions of the uninitiated,like, for example, “the SBA processed fewer than..”
                      Anyone with a SHRED of integrity could see this.

              • Chris, you’ve got a heckler. You made your point abundantly clear & well, and using cool, clear-headed logic & reason. That’s driving this guy nuts, because his tactics are failing to get the angry response that his heckling is designed to elicit. If anyone is betraying an angry mindset, it’s him.

                • There’s a pattern on this board of people taking really silly positions and then squirming when they are challenged on them. And then, when they can’t adequately defend their position, they complain about getting bullied or heckled. Even better, when I use their own words in order to question them or make a point, they accuse me of “selective quoting” (isn’t all quoting selective?), as though their entire response isn’t a few mouse wheel rolls away. If you don’t feel like you need to defend your position to the likes of me – great,don’t do it. But I’m not going to stop pointing out bad takes when I see them, especially ones as bad as this. Nobody likes their positions being questioned, but questioning your position thoroughly is necessary to avoid coming to poorly reasoned conclusions. So again, let me take you down the path of questions you should have answered before arriving at the conclusion that “The context of the article was that 99% of the businesses were suffering because Trump’s SBA can process loans fast enough,” since you agree with it.

                  – Did the article say what is being inferred?

                  – Did the article use emotional words like “suffering” or “painful” in order to evoke an emotional response from the reader? If his goal was to imply suffering, why not?

                  – Did the article make any mention of the speed in which the loans were being approved? If the goal was to imply slow processing of loans, why not?

                  – Does the author have a history of directly attacking the administration in his articles?

                  – Does the publication have a history of attacking the administration in its articles?

                  – Is the publication’s purpose to prop up a particular political party, or otherwise take stances on political positions?

                  – If there is no good evidence to support that the publication is politically aligned or consistently biased, why would the editors allow a political jab in their publication? Are the editors in on it?

                  – If the author wants to attack the administration, and the business journal wants to attack the administration – if they are aligned in this goal, why not just attack the administration without the subterfuge? If you have a publication and an agenda to push, you push it!

                  – If the author works at the publication knowing that it’s not politically focused, why would he have the audacity to make a political statement in his article? Wouldn’t he fear for his job? Why wouldn’t he choose to work for a different publication in which he could freely and explicitly express his opinion that the SBA program was failing?

                  – Were the numbers that would have provided helpful context available at the time the story was written?

                  – Have I considered a variant of Hanlon’s Razor in this case – that’s it’s more likely that the author is simply not a good journalist or maybe didn’t put a lot of time & effort into a <100 word story rather than having malicious intent?

                  – Is it possible that my own bias against media could be making me infer meaning where there is none?

                  – If I have to craft an elaborate explanation claiming that the word "fewer" is a obviously charged word, and that the author wants to attack the administration indirectly enough as to not be explicit for fear of, I don't know – getting fired? getting called out by the Ethics Alarms blog?, but directly enough as to sway hearts and minds, and chooses to do from his politically influential platform at a state business journal, to a readership mostly likely predisposed to be more supportive of the president than the average Joe, in an article completely devoid of emotional or judgmental language…..if I need to believe all of these things in order to support my conclusion, maybe I'm the one with an agenda?

                  If you want to point out media bias – great, go for it. It's a bit repetitive & worn out, but have a field day. There's no lack of people in media with strong positions on the this president & his administration, so you have your pick of the litter. But when you start seeing boogeymen in every little piece of information you consume you start to look foolish, and you do discredit to the larger argument.

                    • Yay! I’m eagerly awaiting your analysis; something you have demonstrated an incredible gift for, time and time again, in the 10 years or so that I’ve been a reader.

                  • “If you want to point out media bias – great, go for it. It’s a bit repetitive & worn out…”

                    Oh dear. Repetitive and worn out because it’s been made so ridiculously obvious, that nobody even needs to be reminded of it, right? Anything else reveals a kind of bias on your part that no amount of logic and reason could ever hope to penetrate, so in the interest of saving time and seeing if answering your points is even worth doing, kindly clarify.

                    • I get the sense that you’re trying to change the subject.

                      I’m eagerly awaiting your analysis – you can be brave and take stab at it instead of imploring Jack to come to your rescue.

        • Horseshit, and you know it. The inference was clear as a bell, but the writer is ducking behind a very-thin veneer of plausible deniability,(as are you, though you make the reason for it dead-obvious, even before you got to your childish last paragraph.

          • And no, when you publish stats like that while leaving out a whole lot of pertinent information that would provide context, you don’t need to come right out and cop to Trump Derangement syndrome. More and more lately, it’s seen for the lunacy it is, and using the intellectual laziness and dishonesty of the Trump-deranged now requires a more nuanced approach. It’s like gaslighting, or the old “quit hitting yourself” while you smack someone with their own hand. Most people are hip to it, so I’m not sure who you think you’re going to convince of anything.

          • I welcome you to provide evidence to support your conclusion that the article was meant to attack the SBA. And claiming that the author strategically used and omitted certain words and structured his sentence in a very particular way in order to subliminally plant messages of failure rather than just writing what he thinks is almost tin foil hat level conspiracy thinking, so you’ll have to do better than that. I mean, do you guys even know if the additional numbers you wanted him to include are available from the SBA?

  5. Just a recent observation…
    Over about the last six months or so the two major online marketplaces, eBay and Amazon, have purged nearly all legal AR-type rifle accessories listings and de-platformed the sellers.  We’re not talking complete firearms here, or even the serialized bits considered the official “firearm” by the government, but things as innocuous as plastic trigger guards, buttstocks and handguards.  Previously, competition had kept a large and varied selection of such items available at reasonable prices. 

     Seeing as how the AR-style platform is arguably the single most popular type in America, this is not a marketing move.  Also highlighting the lack of reason governing this action is the fact that similar items for more “traditional” styled firearms are still  listed.  Stocks for the Ruger Mini-14, a rifle indistinguishable from an AR in practical function, are still listed. 

    Bizarrely, most of the items (and some additional ones) formerly seen on those sites are now available on Chinese-run Aliexpress (probably from some of the same vendors), although it can take creative search efforts to uncover some of them, and many are listed as “airsoft” accessories.  Certain things, such as ammunition magazines and rifle barrels, are not…I’m guessing constrained by one or the other governments’ manufacturing or import/export regulations.

    Welcome to just another insidious facet of the totalitarian left’s hunger to control your daily options.

  6. Ethics hero.

    Democratic Georgia rep who endorsed Trump resigns after backlash

    Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones said that “despite his resignation he would not be leaving the Democratic Party because ‘somebody’s got to be in there to hold them accountable — hold them accountable to how they are treating black people [and] root out the bigotry.’ ”

    “I’ve seen more Democrats attack me for my decision to endorse @realdonaldtrump than ask me why,” he said. “They’ve used and abused folks in my community for far too long, taking our votes for granted. Black Americans are waking up. An uprising is near.”

    The Democratic Party NEEDS more prominent members of their party to be ethics heroes, like Rep. Vernon Jones, and take very public ethical stands against the blatant bigotry within the Democratic Party.

    • Why do they need more people to stand up? Put it another way, why should people be rooting for the Democratic Party? Wouldn’t it be better for them to vote with their feet and let them know that people won’t stand for that anymore. By remaining in the Party, he is validating the actions he claims to despise. He isn’t going to change anything, the fact that he had to resign proves it. He will, however, continue to give them his vote and prop them up and nothing will change.

      In short, he complained about the evils of the party, the party punished him for complaining, he took the punishment, and pledged his loyalty to the party. What was the lesson here? Dissent will be punished, nothing will change, and the Democratic Party will still own you?

      • Michael R. wrote, “By remaining in the Party, he is validating the actions he claims to despise.”

        No he’s not. He’s publicly condemning their blatant bigotry while he still supports their policies.

        Your argument is similar to what the Democrats have been saying about Republicans in relation to Trump, if they support Trump’s policies then they are condoning what they call his racism, misogyny, etc.

        With all due respect, those kind of arguments are nonsense.

  7. I’m going to quote the Snohomish Sheriff’s response to the WA stay-at-home order and the governor’s completely ambiguous we are thinking about planning of reopening press conference. Original here: https://www.facebook.com/adamfortneyforsheriff/posts/2754200934627471
    —-
    Snohomish County Residents and Business Owners,
    I just watched the Governor’s speech to Washingtonian’s regarding our approach to getting Washington back in business and I am left to wonder if he even has a plan? To be quite honest I wasn’t even sure what he was trying to say half of the time. He has no plan. He has no details. This simply is not good enough in times when we have taken such drastic measures as the suspension of constitutional rights. I wrote most of this about two weeks ago but I decided to wait out of respect for the Governor and my own misguided hope that each day he did a press conference he would say something with some specificity on getting Washington back to work. After what I witnessed tonight I can no longer stay silent as I’m not even sure he knows what he is doing or knows what struggles Washingtonian’s face right now.
    I want to start by saying this virus is very real and sadly, it has taken 97 lives in Snohomish County. This is a very serious issue and the appropriate precautions need to be taken to protect our most vulnerable populations. However, our communities have already shown and continue to show they understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families and neighbors safe and healthy.
    I am worried about the economy and I am worried about Washingtonian’s that need to make a living for their family. As more data floods in week by week and day by day about this pandemic I think it is clear that the “models” have not been entirely accurate. While that is okay, we cannot continue down the same path we have been on if the government reaction does not fit the data or even worse, the same government reaction makes our situation worse.
    As elected leaders I think we should be questioning the Governor when it makes sense to do so. Are pot shops really essential or did he allow them to stay in business because of the government taxes received from them? That seems like a reasonable question. If pot shops are essential, then why aren’t gun shops essential? Our Governor has told us that private building/construction must stop as it is not essential, but government construction is okay to continue. So let me get this right, according to the Governor if you are employed or contracted by the government to build government things you can still make a living for your family in spite of any health risk. If you are a construction worker in the private sector you cannot make a living and support your family because the health risk is too high. This contradiction is not okay and in my opinion is bordering on unethical.
    As I arrive to work at the courthouse, I see landscapers show up each day to install new landscape and maintain our flowerbeds. How has Governor Inslee deemed this essential work? However, a father who owns a construction company and works alone while outdoors is not allowed to run his business to make a living to provide for his wife and children? How has Governor Inslee deemed thousands of Boeing employees who work inside a factory building airplanes essential? But building residential homes is not essential? If a factory with 20,000+ employees each day can implement safe practices to conduct normal business operations, I am entirely confident that our small business owners and independent contractors are more than capable of doing the same.
    If this Coronavirus is so lethal and we have shut down our roaring economy to save lives, then it should be all or nothing. The government should not be picking winners or losers when it comes to being able to make an income for your family. If the virus is so lethal it shouldn’t matter whether you are building a school for the government, building a new housing development, restaurant owner, or you happen to be an independent contractor. To the contrary, if the virus is proving to not be as lethal as we thought, maybe it’s time for a balanced and reasonable approach to safely get our economy moving again and allowing small businesses to once again provide an income for their families and save their businesses. This is what I hoped for from the Governor tonight but he is not prepared or ready to make these decisions. If we are going to allow government contractors and pot shops to continue to make a living for their families, then it is time to open up this freedom for other small business owners who are comfortable operating in the current climate. This is the great thing about freedom. If you are worried about getting sick you have the freedom to choose to stay home. If you need to make a living for your family and are comfortable doing so, you should have the freedom to do so.
    As I have previously stated, I have not carried out any enforcement for the current a stay-at-home order. As this order has continued on for well over a month now and a majority of our residents cannot return to work to provide for their families, I have received a lot of outreach from concerned members of our community asking if Governor Inslee’s order is a violation of our constitutional rights.
    As your Snohomish County Sheriff, yes I believe that preventing business owners to operate their businesses and provide for their families intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am greatly concerned for our small business owners and single-income families who have lost their primary source of income needed for survival.
    As your elected Sheriff I will always put your constitutional rights above politics or popular opinion. We have the right to peaceably assemble. We have the right to keep and bear arms. We have the right to attend church service of any denomination. The impacts of COVID 19 no longer warrant the suspension of our constitutional rights.
    Along with other elected Sheriffs around our state, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights. I strongly encourage each of you to reach out and contact your councilmembers, local leaders and state representatives to demand we allow businesses to begin reopening and allow our residents, all of them, to return to work if they choose to do so.
    The great thing about Snohomish County government is we have all worked very well together during this crisis. I’m not saying we agree all of the time, I’m saying we have the talent and ability to get this done for Snohomish County! This is not a time to blindly follow, this is a time to lead the way.
    Sheriff Adam Fortney

  8. Ethics dunce and morally bankrupt?

    New York state instructs paramedics not to revive cardiac patients amid coronavirus crisis

    “New York state issued a blanket do-not-resuscitate directive last week instructing first-responders not to try to revive patients without a pulse amid increased call volumes and lack of resources during the coronavirus public health crisis, according to a report.”

    Yup, a state government is ordering first-responders to violate long standing proven life-saving procedures to make sure that people die.

    What do you think?

    • Forget it, Jake. It’s New York.

      Seriously, Steve. It’s the source, the fountainhead, of all things Madison, Wesconsin.

    • The link shows that the order was initiated not by the political government but by some medical bureaucrats. It was NY’s Department of Health Commissioner that rescinded the directive as it did not reflect NY’s standards.

      I am no fan of the NY political power structure but let’s be fair.

      I think the relevant part was this:

      “This guidance, proposed by physician leaders of the EMS Regional Medical Control Systems and the State Advisory Council – in accordance with American Heart Association guidance and based on standards recommended by the American College of Emergency Physicians and adopted in multiple other states – was issued April 17, 2020 at the recommendation of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and reflected ‎nationally recognized minimum standards,” the state health department’s spokeswoman, Jill Montag, said.
      “However, they don’t reflect New York’s standards and for that reason DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has ordered them to be rescinded,” she continued.

      Complete reference article: Fox news

      New York state {RESCINDED} a blanket do-not-resuscitate order on Wednesday, that instructed first-responders not to revive patients without a pulse, in an effort to preserve resources during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

      The order initially was deemed “necessary during the COVID-19 response to protect the health and safety of EMS providers by limiting their exposure, conserve resources, and ensure optimal use of equipment to save the greatest number of lives,” according to a memo issued last week by the state Department of Health.

      “This guidance, proposed by physician leaders of the EMS Regional Medical Control Systems and the State Advisory Council – in accordance with American Heart Association guidance and based on standards recommended by the American College of Emergency Physicians and adopted in multiple other states – was issued April 17, 2020 at the recommendation of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and reflected ‎nationally recognized minimum standards,” the state health department’s spokeswoman, Jill Montag, said. “However, they don’t reflect New York’s standards and for that reason DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has ordered them to be rescinded,” she continued.

      I ask: Why is it necessary to let one type of patient succumb to a non-Covid-19 malady to ensure that an infected person receives care. Why would 80 year old nursing home patient with co-morbidity factors take precedence over a 50 year old patient with a sudden myocardial infarction? Do these physician leaders have an answer to that? With recommendations like that why should we trust them. It appears Dr. Howard Zucker has a better handle on things than his advisors.

      • I appreciate your really good evaluation of the entire thing; however, regardless of who initiated the policy or the fact that the policy was rescinded in NY isn’t the policy itself worthy of the labels ethics dunce and morally bankrupt?

  9. So, here is a wonderful example of the public officials behaving badly. You read Jack’s posts about the Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order and the threat of an extension because people violated it? Well, Lina Hidalgo, the 29 year old Harris County Judge had a press conference today. She did. It’s true. At her conference, she decreed that all persons residing in, or entering, the county must wear face masks beginning on Monday, April 27, 2020, and must do so for 30 days. Sounds good, right? No problems, right? She’s trying to slow the curve or thin the herd or something. Everyone applauded. “Yes,” they said, “Lina is on her game!!” Well, the good little comandante didn’t tell everyone the details of her order. If she had, they wouldn’t have applauded. Nope.

    AFTER her press conference, she released the details which include the following:

    Punishment for breaking rules = Fine up to $1,000 or up to 180 days in jail. Enforcement up to Harris County law enforcement agencies.

    Essential businesses must provide face coverings/training to workers whose jobs require them to come into contact w/colleagues or the public.

    Permitted garments: homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief.

    Not recommended: N-95 respirators/medical masks because first responders need them.

    Exceptions: when exercising, eating or drinking, alone and in a separate space, at home with roommates or family, or when doing so risks security, mental, or physical health

    Takes effect Monday, April 27, and lasts 30 days.

    “We have to use every tool in the tool box,” Hidalgo said.

    “If we get cocky, we get sloppy, then we’re right back to where we started and all of the sacrifices people have made will have been in vein,” Hidalgo said. “We’ve made too much progress to backtrack now.”
    I’m not joking.

    Here is Channel 11 KHOU’s news report:

    https://www.khou.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/harris-county-expected-to-require-residents-to-wear-face-covering-when-in-public-source-says/285-ca6ff292-1a98-4bd3-a848-201c0a2cd7cc

    Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued a milquetoast response: “Her abuse of the use of executive orders is the ultimate government overreach. These kind of confused government policies fuel public anger – and rightfully so[.]”

    Oh, and Joe Grimaldi, President of the Houston Police Officers’ Union blasted her, in a blistering twitter post. He called her “the so-called leader of Harris County.” Yikes. Check it out:

    It seems Lina and Gretchen are in a race to the bottom.

    jvb

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