A reader reports that he can’t pull up Ethics Alarms on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Is anyone else having this problem?
Wasn’t it nice when we naively assumed that such things were just technical glitches and not part of Big Tech’s increasingly intrusive alliance with the totalitarian-minded forces of the extreme Left?
1. Embrace the narrative. “Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies with COVID-19” is just one of many headlines announcing that the 41-year-old Representative-elect died from the Wuhan virus. So far, every headline I’ve seen is some version of this. Letlow died of a heart attack, in fact, during some un-named procedure related to his treatment for the virus. People die of unexpected heart attacks with some frequency during hospital procedures for other problems, and the cause of death is usually listed as “heart attack.” Maybe the virus caused his death and maybe it didn’t, but the headlines stating this as fact is more pandemic fearmongering, and. yes, fake news.
2. Good. You will recall that Twitter censored The New York Post’s account of the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop being found because it claimed that the business memos, photos of a Hunter using illegal drugs, and other disturbing photos came from a “hacker,” when Twitter’s real objective was, it seems fair to conclude, to keep as many people as possible from learning about matters that might cause them not to vote for Hunter’s father. Now the computer repair company’s owner is suing Twitter for $500,000,000.00 for libel, defamation, and ruining his business, claiming that the social media giant disparaged him.
3. One more reason to distrust the election results: President Donald Trump topped former President Barack Obama for the title of most admired man in America in Gallup’s 2020 survey. Trump had tied with Obama in 2019 while Obama beat him in 2017 and 2018. President Joe Biden came in third. Obama had been #1 since 2008.
Don’t you find this strange?
Meanwhile, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris came in second to former first lady Michelle Obama for most admired woman. If there is any reason to admire Kamala Harris, I can’t imagine what it is. Being elected Vice-President isn’t an accomplishment; it is called “coming along for the ride.”
4. And now, some of the rest of the story of the potty-mouthed cheerleader…Last year I wrote about this case, in which a high school cheerleader was dumped from her squad and suspended after posting on SnapChat, “Fuck school, fuck softball, fuck cheer, fuck everything” with a photo of herself giving the middle finger to the world. Her parents sued the school district for the suspension the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the action violated the teen’s First Amendment rights by trying to regulate her speech while off-campus. In a follow-up post this July, I wrote, “I’ve been laying out the Ethics Alarms position on schools trying to police students’ speech away from school since 2011. In a January essay that year called Facebook Wars: Parental Abdication, School Abuse of Power, concerning two students in two different schools suspended for what the school administrators called cyber-bullying. I wrote in part
When did schools suddenly acquire disciplinary control over what students do when they aren’t at school? There is no question that the websites involved were inappropriate, disrespectful, cruel and hurtful, just as the rumors and insults included in high school graffiti were, in those glorious days before the internet. Students so abused need to complain to parents, and parents need to talk to the parents of the offending students, and if they can’t or won’t address the problem, then the courts or law enforcement may need to become involved.
But the schools? By what theory is it their responsibility to police the personal lives of their students? Unless I am missing something, the theory is that the media and parents unjustly and lazily blame school administrators for not “seeing the signs” of cyber-bullying and other off-campus school grounds misconduct, and the schools, being terrified of conflict and liability by nature, capitulate by abusing their power.
A school has no more justification for suspending a student based on what he or she posts on a Facebook page than it has to punish a student for an insult he shouts at a fellow student in his back yard.
There is one more development that has to occur. At its first private conference after the holiday break, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear the case, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., No. 20-255. The Third Circuit’s ruling contrasts with decisions in several other courts. The school district argues that administrators around the nation needed a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court regarding whether schools can discipline students for what they say away from school. “The question presented recurs constantly and has become even more urgent as Covid-19 has forced schools to operate online,” a brief for the school district said. “Only this court can resolve this threshold First Amendment question bedeviling the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools.”
Fine. I hope the Court takes the case, and squashes this incursion on free speech for all time. If school administrators were sufficiently conversant in the Bill of Rights and not so dedicated to extending their power into their student’s homes and private communications, such a ruling would not be necessary.