It’s A Shame That Twitter Is Such A Deliberate Enabler Of Single Party Rule, A Hypocritical Speech Censor And An Enemy Of Democracy, Because There Is A Lot You Can Still Learn There….


1. For example, you can learn that CNN is just as untrustworthy as Twitter is….

CNN tweet3

Only occasionally I wish I had the complete absence of a life necessary to hang around Twitter and make trenchant, witty and withering responses to something like that tweet, which show either an epic lack of self-awareness by the tweeter, or a deep, deep belief that its consumers are complete idiots. I vote for the latter.

Here are some of the responses:

  • “It’s a show where they just run the @CNN logo for the hour”
  • “It’ll be a useless conversation if you fail to examine the role of @CNN in fueling and sustaining the division for ratings and profits”
  • “Any final shred of CNN sense of self-awareness was apparently surgically removed years ago.”
  • “Your fucking network, that’s what!”
  • “Here’s a good place to start: CNN covered up the mass killing of thousands of NY seniors because it has an anchor who is brother to sociopath.”

2. You can learn that many conservatives don’t comprehend the concept of “ethics”…

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Snowy Day Ethics Flurries, 1/31/2021

1. Nice. Earlier this week, as noted on Ethics Alarms, the New York Attorney General released a report suggesting that the number Wuhan virus nursing home deaths could be more than 50 percent higher than originally claimed by Governor Cuomo’s administration.

In response to the report, Cuomo said, in part, “”Who cares? They died!”

Meanwhile, the mainstream media seems intent on minimizing the whole scandal. Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean accused NBC anchor Lester Holt of censoring her friend to shield Cuomo. Dean’s friend, appearing on Holt’s show, claimed that she was directed by him not to say “Governor Cuomo failed us” regarding the death of her own family member in a nursing home, but rather “New York failed us.”

“The mainstream is STILL protecting this guy. Disgusting,” she tweeted. “New York State did not fail us. The governor, his administration and his health department FAILED US. You are a disgrace to all families.”

2. From the Ethics Alarms “I don’t understand this at ALL” files: There have been many stories in the media about a persistent problem involving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the federal program that covers gig workers, part-time hires, seasonal workers and others who do not qualify for traditional unemployment benefits. The program, established by Congress in March as part of the CARES Act, has provided over $70 billion in relief. It also has erroneously send some citizen too much money, since, you know, mass government programs are inherently wasteful, inept, and inefficient.

To be accurate, “some” is an understatement. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were overpaid, and now states are asking for the money to be returned. The amounts can be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. The recipients of these “Oops! Our bad! Now pay up or else!” letters are told that their benefits will be reduced to compensate for the government’s error, and that the state may put a lien on their home or attache future wages.after future wages or withhold tax refunds. In most cases the money has been spent, and in many cases, the recipients are still in fiscal distress.

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Update: The SECOND Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck


When we last looked in on the destructive, divisive, unconstitutional and unethical fiasco known here as the Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck II, Senator Rand Paul had delivered an excoriating speech about the unconstitutional nature of it all, every Democratic Senator had voted to continue with a trial that is, as Paul stated, unconstitutional on its face, Democrats openly discussed passing a Bill of Attainder (which is what any action barring a single private citizen, Donald Trump, from running for office would be), the Chief Justice refused to sully his name by any involvement with such an embarrassment, and President Biden, while vowing out of one side of his mouth to be a unifying presence, lifted nary a finger to stop his party from engaging in a trial that was based on hate, vengeance, and the craven need to satisfy the worst of its supporters. Meanwhile, the mainstream news media refuses to inform the American public why the whole thing is bad partisan political theater and little else.

Now we have the following fun developments:

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A Harmonica, Mickey Mantle’s Practical Joke, And Moral Luck

Linz harmonica

Phil Linz died last month, and I meant to write about it but did not. He was a baseball player that only baseball fans remembered, and fewer as time went on, yet he was deemed worthy of a long obituary in the New York Times, among other publications. There is a reason, and the reason ultimately reduces to a favorite topic here, moral luck. That, of course, isn’t mentioned in any of the obituaries.

I saw Phil Linz play many times. His New York Yankees team was the perennial pennant winner that dominated the American League from 1961 to 1964; Linz joined the team in 1962. By current day standards he was a terrible hitter, but he could play many positions well, and those Yankee teams were hardly short of offense. Still, utility infielders with light bats are usually fungible and forgettable. Baseball lists the most similar players to Linz as Robert Andino, Augie Ojeda, Manny Alexander, Clyde Beck and Rusty Peters.

Unlike any of those nonentities, however, Linz had a moment of fame. On the afternoon of Aug. 20, 1964, the Yankees were riding the team bus to O’Hare after losing four straight games to the White Sox. Yankee manager Yogi Berra, seated in the front, was in a foul mood: the team was looking like it might finish in second place, something just not tolerated by Yankee management. Linz had recently bought a harmonica, and was practicing in the back of the bus by playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” over and over. Yogi couldn’t stand it, and shouted from his seat to Linz, “Shove that harmonica up!” Between the harmonica and the other noise, Linz didn’t know what his manager had said, so he asked the teammate sitting by him, Mickey Mantle, what Yogi had shouted. The Mick, who was a practical joke aficionado, told him that Berra wanted him to play louder. So Linz did.

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Celebrities, Teachers And Pacs, Oh My! Partisan Hatemongers And What To Do About Them

Wow. Joe Biden eking out a White House win with the outrageous help of a biased news media and the intervention of a pandemic has certainly inspired progressives who wish isolation, violence and punishment on those who dare to disagree with them to out themselves with wild abandon! Three particularly ugly examples, and what to do about them:

I. The Teacher

At Drake University, Associate English Professor Beth Younger has continued that stream of hateful tweets that included one on October 26, 2020 that said, “I was just pondering how much hatred I feel towards all the republican assholes. They need to suffer.” This month, she has added tweets saying “men are trash,” insulting Senator Josh Hawley with “fuck of you piece of shit,” calling Mike Pompeo a “fucking moron and a traitor,” and one referring to Melania Trump as a “terrible human.”

Marty Martin, the President of Drake, sent an email to faculty, staff and students last week, reading,

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/30/2021: Oh, The Usual…Race-Baiting, The Pandemic, Betrayals, Journalism

SCOTUS Morning

Late reflections on this morning’s first post:

  • The story of how the only official to be referred for criminal prosecution as a result of the illegal Justice Department machinations to cripple the Trump administration was reported on page A20 of the New York Times front page this morning. Thirty stories were considered more important for Times readers to know about, including the discovery of  200-year-old fort built by indigenous Alaskans.
  • From the Times report: “The Justice Department has said it no longer believes the full range of evidence available to it by the final two extensions met legal standards to invade Mr. Page’s privacy.” This is deceptive: the purpose of the FISA warrant was to surveil the Trump campaign. meaning that the surveillance was illegal. Page was a means to an end, and the end being sought was redolent of the Nixon dirty tricks that spawned Watergate. The Times is burying the significance of what Clinesmith did. Similarly, the headline “Ex-F.B.I. Lawyer Who Altered Email in Russia Case Is Sentenced to Probation” is deliberately deceptive. The objective of the “collusion” claims were to sink the Trump Presidency, not to punish Russia.
  • A single day’s riot that breached the Capitol and had no tangible effects of the government at all is being routinely labelled an “insurrection,” while a two year effort to cripple a Presidential administration using false evidence and involving the Justice Department, the FBI and news media  is reported as an inconsequential legal matter.

1. Finding systemic racism where it wasn’t. Cicely Tyson died at the age of 96. Like Charlton Heston, the African-American actress became an icon by playing iconic roles. She had by any standards an acting career an actress should be proud of, and most performers would envy: she appeared in 29 films; at least 68 television series, mini-series and single episodes; and 15 productions on and off Broadway.  She  was honored with an Oscar, three Emmys, many Emmy nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Tony, and accomplished it all while being a non-beautiful woman in a profession that values beauty above all, mostly limiting her to character and historical roles.

Yet Times critic Wesley Morris, an African-American who  has a narrative to advance, writes in an appreciation, “Let’s face it: the great parts were always headed to someone whiter anyway… Consider the parts she could have played if the movies were fairer.” This is approximately equivalent to saying, “Imagine the parts Mickey Rooney could have played if the movies were fairer.” Tyson was unique and talented, and the movies were sufficiently fair for her to play major roles in major projects throughout a long career. There are undoubtedly African American actresses who consider it unfair that when a black female character was being cast in a hsitorical film, Tyson was ha the right of first refusal.

Might she have been cast in “The Jagged Edge” in place of Glenn Close? Sure—so could Faye Dunaway. Or Ellen Burstyn. The difference is that those actresses can’t use racism as the reason they weren’t cast.

In addition to her stellar career and reputation, Tyson died with an estate worth at least 10 million dollars. Hollywood has been racially biased for decades, but Cicely Tyson shouldn’t be cited as a victim. Like so many of the individuals she played, she rose above racism by strength of character and ability. Continue reading

Once Again, Unethical Sentencing Using “He’s Suffered Enough”: That’s Not The Message That Needed To Be Sent


In August, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty in federal court to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the of the irregularities surrounding law enforcement actions regarding allegations of”collusion” between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, a manufactured charge used to delegitimize and undermine the Trump Presidency. Clinesmith’s guilty plea was to “one count of making a false statement within both the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the U.S. government, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”

Clinesmith admitted that in June 2017, he had sent a deliberately altered email to an FBI agent falsely indicating that Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was “not a source” for the Central Intelligence Agency. The email was used by the FBI to apply for a third extension of a FISA warrant justifying surveillance on Page. Paige had, in fact, been a source for the CIA. Clinesmith’s defense was that he had mistakenly thought the altered assertion in the email was correct, and he only altered it to save himself the trouble of getting a another email from the CIA.

If this doesn’t remind you of Dan Rather’s rationalization for using a forged document to accuse President George Bush of going AWOL while he was in the National Guard, it should. But Rather was just a journalist, albeit a one who carried the public trust. What he did was unethical, but what Clinesmith did was unethical and illegal. He knowingly manufactured evidence offered by the U.S. government to violate the Fourth Amendment Rights of a citizen, knowing that the warrant being sought would be used to spy on the Presidential campaign of the party opposing that of the sitting President, Barack Obama. The Trump Presidency was permanently sabotaged from its very start as a result of Clinesmith’s actions along with others in the Justice Department and FBI. Although the Mueller report found no evidence that any American anywhere, not just in the Trump campaign, coordinated with Russians to affect the 2016 election, the lie that Clinesmith facilitated constituted a deliberate effort by law enforcement officials to subvert a Presidential campaign and a President.

Yeasterday, Clinesmith was sentenced. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, delivered the proverbial “slap on the wrist.” He sentenced him to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service. He will serve no jail time.

My son, 18 at the time of his offense, was given five years probation and spent six months in jail for a traffic violation, just to provide some basis for comparison.

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Yet PETA’s Campaign To Limit Speech Is No More Unethical Than Other Attacks On Freedom Of Expression, Just More Self-Evidently Stupid…


It doesn’t matter what words, phrases or expressions politically-motivated censors try to eliminate from the language, be it gender pronouns, “retard,” fuck,” “nigger” (or “niggardly”), “bitch,” “Karen,” or “master; ” “a chink in the armor,” “sexual preferences,” “Illegal aliens,” or “anchor babies.” The intent is to limit the ideas that can be expressed, and, eventually, thought. The principle is pure Orwellian linguistic: what the brain can’t express, it can’t imagine. The technique is unethical; worse, it’s a weapon against democracy and freedom of thought.

PETA, the U.S. organization that most egregiously misuses the word “ethical” in its name (with CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is a close second) would like to erase the boundaries between human beings and animals in law and culture. Thus it must have seemed like a natural progression to them to come up with “speciesism,” a form of alleged bigotry in which humans view themselves as superior to animals, just because they are. Hence the new directives above. PETA wants dictionaries to excise from the language derogatory metaphors involving certain animals. “Animal-related slurs used to debase humans reinforce inaccurate and harmful characterizations of animals,” PETA says.

“Oh, shut up and get a life, you silly people,” Ethics Alarms says. Animal metaphors and comparisons contribute to the richness of language and literature, and unlike negative characterizations of human individuals and groups, nobody’s feeling are hurt, because, see, one of the reasons humans are superior is that they can read and understand complex language.

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The All-Consuming Mad Hate For President Trump Is Now Signature Significance

Signature significance on Ethics Alarms means a single aspect of an individual’s conduct that all by itself is proof positive of an untrustworthy character because an ethical individual will not behave that way ever, not even once. Trump hatred and the unquenchable desire to punish him for his very existence (and daring to be elected President, thus foiling Hillary Clinton’s dreams) was mostly the result of people living in an echo chamber and trusting a corrupt media: decent ethical people fell victim to Trump Derangement. But the determination to persecute him now cannot be excused. It is the mark of someone who has allowed, as Richard Nixon observed on the way into the helicopter, hate to destroy him. Such people are untrustworthy, and they show us the ugliness of irrational anger and bitterness.

Too many such people have power and influence right now.

A friend sent me this article in the Washington Post, my home-town paper whose unethical bias became so extreme that I switched to the New York Times, which is a bit like choosing a heart attack over brain cancer. It is quite amazing: in it, the art and architecture critic for the paper insists that Donald Trump should be blocked by law from having a Presidential library. Why? Oh, the critic says, Trump incited an “insurrection”! Besides, “even a privately funded and operated Trump presidential library, which would be devoted to whitewashing his record and rewriting history, is a terrible and even dangerous idea…. given Trump’s alleged misuse of charitable funds, including self-dealing, waste and other illegal activities, at his now dissolved New York-based foundation….” And “any intention to start another public entity can only be considered a crime scene waiting to happen.” Plus, “…the danger of Trump using a presidential library to burnish his image is far more serious, with the ex-president and his surrogates still promoting the idea that his electoral loss was somehow fraudulent. That creates an ongoing uncertainty in American public life, which Trump and even more unscrupulous actors will use to further division, inflame tension, exacerbate racism and delegitimize the American democratic system.”

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Is It Ethical For Responsible Americans To Remain On Facebook?


There was some sort of good news but also seriously ominous news regarding Facebook’s increasingly brazen efforts to distort public debate and to use its power to restrict free speech. Unfortunately, the good news wasn’t nearly good enough, and the rest might just be the proverbial straw that breaks the metaphorical camel’s back, at least for me.

On the slightly positive side was that the giant social media platform has reversed several instances of content removal after review by the company’s “independent” (I am not convinced how independent it is) oversight body. Facebook’s new 20-member Oversight Board released its first verdicts yesterday, and overturned four of five censorship decisions. Facebook is now allowed seven days to restore the banned content.

But why does it take seven days? It doesn’t really: this is a stall. With time sensitive material, the license just compounds the harm.

Now the board will decide whether to keep former President Trump’s page banned permanently. That should tell us whether the review system is legitimate or a sham with a purely political agenda, for there can be no justification for blocking the words, views and opinions of any prominent national leader, particularly a President, and particularly particularly one who is routinely savaged with twisted accusations every day by the news media and every second by other Facebook users. The Oversight Board will issue a decision in the next 90 days as the ban continues. It’s a another transparent stall. This isn’t a hard call, and if it is for anyone, then that is signature significance for disqualifying bias.

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