Ethics Filips, 4/30/21: Incompetence Amuck [Expanded]

1. CVS, our oasis of responsible health care...This really happened to me. At my local CVS this morning, waiting in line for the pharmacy, everything broke down when the trainee clerk couldn’t locate the prescription of the woman in front of me, who said she had received a call telling her to pick it up. The clerk and the supervisor insisted that they had no such prescription, and the supervisor even printed out a sheet showing her last five pick-ups. “Uh, that one on the top—the one with a red circle around it? That’s what I’m here to pick up,” she said, with less venom than I would have used. This completely confused the staffers, who caucused, and asked her to verify various dates. “Why don’t just look in the bin labeled “O” (her surname initial) and see if it’s there?” the woman suggested. They did, and sure enough, there were her pills. I started giggling, and she looked at me and said, soto voce, “Isn’t this scary?”

Then it was my turn. While waiting out this drama, I had noticed three printed signs reading that “The Coronavirus Vaccine is not currently available at any CVS locations. Check for updates.” I asked to speak to the pharmacist, and told her that the signs were wrong: my sister and other people I know had been vaccinated at CVSs, and months ago. “Yes, but this CVS doesn’t have the vaccines,” she said. “But that’s not what the signs on your area say,” I pointed out. “They say that NO CVS locations have the vaccine. That is demonstrably untrue, and I would expect CVS staff to know that.”

“Oh,” she shrugged. “Well, it’s easy to change the signs…”

2. Yesterday I saw…

  • An 8 year-old boy, running in a field, completely alone, wearing a mask.
  • A man leaving his home maskless, then putting a mask on as he got into his car.
  • A teacher (we live next to an elementary school) outside with her class. She wore a mask, and so did half of the children.
  • A woman walking her dog on a windy day in Virginia. She had a mask. (The dog did not. Dogs are smart…)

Nobody has a clue what the proper and responsible conduct regarding the Wuhan virus is, and no wonder. The health community and alleged experts have been feckless, dishonest, uncertain, and wrong too many times to count, with peak disgrace reached when a mob of health professionals signed a statement last summer declaring that protesting the death of George Floyd should constitute exemption from the pandemic protocols. I don’t know how anyone will be able to declare “Trust science!” with a straight face after this debacle, which has given a boost to everything from anti-vaxx conspiracy theories to principled skepticism over climate change doomsayers. It is obvious that “science” is as polluted by politics and ideology as anything else—or at least it should be obvious.

3. Gee, the Washington Post stopped counting Joe Biden’s lies just in time! Biden’s speech began with the claim that the Capitol Riot was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” This is exactly the kind of statement the Post and other lie-counters would condemn when President Trump made one—hyperbole, an opinion, probably not a lie because the speaker believed it, and stupid on its face. Let me know if any “factcheckers” take it on.

Fortunately, Siraj Hashmi was sufficiently offended to point out, on substack, what a ridiculous over-statement this was, citing several examples of real attacks on democracy that consisted of more than a few hundred idiots armed with sticks trashing the Capitol after the Mayor of D.C. told the Capitol police to “stand down” He notes in part,

As the FBI was formed in the early 20th century, Americans whose ideologies were at odds with the government’s interests were often targeted by the agency’s longest-serving director, J. Edgar Hoover. In the eyes of the FBI Director, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a suspected communist given his ties to Stanley Levison, whose suspected pro-communist activities were monitored by the FBI in the 1950s. Although Dr. King has been viewed as one of the most consequential leaders in American history due to his role in the civil rights movement, at the time, Hoover and many in the FBI viewed him as a threat to our democracy, ushering in communism under the guise of “civil rights.” The FBI infamously blackmailed Dr. King by sending him a letter advocating he commit suicide.

The Red Scare was so severe in the United States that the government actively sought to chip away at Americans’ First Amendment rights to prevent the spread of such ideas. And through the Lavender Scare in the early 1950s, thousands of people were forced out of government service for simply for being suspected of being homosexual.

When the United States entered the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act of 1917 into law, which then gave way to the Sedition Act of 1918. These two laws worked in conjunction to strip away the First Amendment rights of every American and demand undying fealty towards the U.S. government. Expressing even the slightest bit of criticism of the U.S. or associating with groups like the Communist Party could result in, at the very least, a government wiretap, and, at worst, a hefty prison sentence and possible execution. In the same token that President Franklin Roosevelt interned approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II in fear that they might side with the Japanese Empire, the Espionage and Sedition Acts under President Wilson explicitly targeted German-born American residents during World War I, with over 2,000 arrested and sent to internment camps….

The story of the Russian Bounty program on U.S. troops in Afghanistan that broke publicly in the summer of 2020 made a significant impact in tipping the scales during the 2020 presidential election. The CIA produced the initial intelligence assessment in 2019, which later broke publicly in the summer of 2020, further cementing the perception that Trump was in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin––a claim that was exacerbated when then-President Trump dismissed the allegations outright, calling it “fake news.” However, in April 2021, Trump would be vindicated as the U.S. government revealed that the Intelligence Community had “low to moderate confidence” in the intelligence assessment. In other words, there was little evidence to prove that it was real.

On top of these government abuses that took place on a wide scale impacting every American, there was a long-drawn-out period since the Civil War that impacted millions of Americans that has had consequences that last to this day: Jim Crow.

Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, the implementation of Jim Crow laws in Southern former slave states not only segregated black people from the white population, but also barred them from fully participating in society as equal members. Through policies like poll taxes, literacy tests, and increased residency requirements, black people had their right to vote stripped away, essentially removing them from the political process, keeping them further ostracized from society. It was authoritarianism in the most sinister manner, targeting a racial group that was perceived to be subhuman to their white counterpart, all in the name of protecting democracy…Since the Civil War, four U.S. presidents were assassinated (Lincoln in 1865, Garfield in 1881, McKinley in 1901, and Kennedy in 1963) and two presidents were injured in assassination attempts (Roosevelt in 1912 and Reagan in 1981). These were six attacks on the duly elected leaders of the people of the United States. Not only does changing the leadership alter the trajectory for a nation, but due to its status, it has lasting effects for the rest of the world.

He doesn’t even mention the 2016 post-election ethics train wreck, in which the “resistance,” Democrats, and the mainstream news media set out to undermine and obstruct the Presidency of Donald Trump, beginning with an effort to hijack the Electoral College and culminating in two contrived impeachments, as the news media manipulated the information available to the American public in an effort to tilt the 2020 election.

Biden’s statement was ignorant, absurd to anyone with a knowledge of American history, and wildly exaggerated, but was it a lie? It’s very possible that Joe believes it, especially now, as his IQ points drop as sand through an hourglass. Joe was never very bright, and, as the song says, he “don’t know much about history.” Yet the claim that the January 6 embarrassment was an “insurrection” is undeniably a progressive Big Lie, custom-designed for the gullible and biased, and we should count on hearing it for a long, long time.

Once again, Facts Don’t Matter.

4. And now for something completely different…Andrea Creel, young woman, entrepreneur and actress who I have known and admired for many years, has written a children’s book, and I want to give her a plug (Ethics? Well, I’d sure would have appreciated it if my friends’ blogs had given my book a plug!). You can read about the book here. The topic is yoga for children, and that would be one of the astounding number of topics I know nothing about…but I know Andrea. Trust her.

Here’s the cover:

24 thoughts on “Ethics Filips, 4/30/21: Incompetence Amuck [Expanded]

  1. Today I went to visit one of the members of my church that is in a nursing home. To get in there, I have to first sanitize my hands. Next, I must have my temperature taken, give a statement regarding my current health, sign three forms, then put on a brand new face mask and goggles/face shield. It is really annoying. I can’t see very well through the goggles once my breath starts to fog them up, and I normally am there for 30-60 minutes. But I’ve been doing this for a few months now, so I tolerate it. After all, I’m not doing this for me.

    But today bugged me more than most. I almost got into the hall without putting my goggles on. It was a mistake, but the woman who caught me, was not wearing any goggles herself. I have stared at her, wondering if I should just challenge her on it or if she thought there was any irony into her not having to wear one, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Ok, fine, whatever… I’ll wear the goggles, after all it was my mistake. Then I pass the activity hall. All the residents in there having mask, but none of them are wearing them. Some have them around there ears, while most are either holding them, have them in in their hands, or hanging below chin. A nurse is sitting in a corner reading a newspaper. I can’t tell if she has a mask or not, but she is definitely not wearing the face shield.

    Finally, I get to the person I am trying to see. We talk for a while. She tells me she finally got a shower (another thing I’m pretty angry about too) and while I’m telling her about the week I’m having, another nurse comes in to bring her lunch. Again no goggles and her mask is under her chin. She walks up to her bed, puts the food on the tray, and slides the tray in front of her getting as close as a foot apart. At this point, I think the whole thing is just ridiculous. So I decide I’m going to say something to the manager on the way out. I get to the office and there are three people standing in the middle of the room, talking in laughing. No mask, no goggles, but hey, at least they made sure that guy that walked in did everything. Frustrated to the point I know I couldn’t have a rational conversation about it, I just walk out. After I left the nursing home I went into the gas station, put my mask on, and notice most of the people there weren’t wearing mask. I felt rather silly.

    I don’t really care, if we wear the mask or not. I have never viewed it as my responsibility to take care of the health and welfare of others. If you want to wear the mask, fine. If you want me to wear the mask while I’m in your house, fine. If you want to wear the mask in my house, fine…. just have some consistency. I have no faith and trust in someone who not only doesn’t consistently follows the rules, but breaks them when it is convenient to do so.

    As for me, I think I need to push myself more to do what is right. While I’m sure this was not the case with the nursing home, we need to stand up against the garbage constantly being pushed on us or else people are going to keep pushing us down enough until we stop pushing back.

    • It’s obvious that certain nursing homes are using COVID-19 as a way of dodging outside scrutiny. If they can’t block visits entirely, they can still make them onerous enough to dissuade people from visiting. If they can hold their prisoners patients incommunicado, there will be no one to raise the alarm about lapses in care, and if they die, I bet it wouldn’t be hard to pass it off as complications of the pandemic.

      My wife’s aunt had to go to one after surgery, and was given a room without a working phone (in violation of state law). Staff missed meals, missed insulin injections, and forgot at least one dialysis appointment. If she hadn’t had a large family fighting doggedly for access to her, I doubt she would have survived.

    • I’d love to know what the rationale for the goggles *and* face shield is. I can’t fathom any legitimate reason for this, other than, as DaveL says, it’s to make visiting as unpleasant as possible so people won’t do it. Presumably, the point of all these precautions is to protect the residents of the nursing home from people bringing COVID-19 into the facility. Nobody is exhaling a cloud of virus from their eyes.

    • To be the devil’s advocate, the staff and residents are likely 100% vaccinated. In a closed system, there is little risk of introducing the virus. With universal vaccination, it would require a breakthrough infection to occure to a staff member outside the facility, and be a strong enough infection to be passed and cause a breakthrough infection in a resident. Mathematically, this scenario is unlikely, and strict adherence to unnecessary protocol would be a sham.

      Spending energy on sham protocols puts everyone in danger by distracting people. Distracted staff focussing on compliance rather than safety makes lapses judgement more likely to expose a staff member outside of work and bring the virus into the facility.

      Visitors break the closed system. An infected unvaccinated visitor is more likely to have a strong enough infection to pass to one or more residents. Screening visitors for vaccination is not reliable or practical. Hence, stronger protocols, including screening for systems and requiring PPE are necessary for visitors.

      Face shield and goggles though is admittedly absurd; goggles would seem to be a holdover from fearing the virus might be transmitted out of the facility by a resident breathing on visitor. Part of the blame must be placed on public authorities giving crappy advise and requirements to protect there own asses, after the throughly botch the initial response a la Gov. Cuomo. Nursing home have there hands tied by inconsistent regulations, and very likey inconsistent enforcement by public health authorities. And if not public authorities, then by upper management who don’t want to be scapegoated by future failures by public health authorities. This you get the absurd situation where visitors jump through hoops and curse at the staff for appearing hypocritical. In reality, 100

      • I am really doubting the efficacy of these vaccines. I am hearing from nurses that double-digit percentages of their COVID patients have been vaccinated and should have immunity in a state with 25% vaccination.

        Of course, we can’t know for sure because we aren’t keeping this data. Just like we can’t know how many people died from COVID because they didn’t collect the numbers in a meaningful format, I like the fact that they can’t track vaccine side-effects well because the government is ‘in-between’ computer systems to track side-effects currently.

  2. Strange times, for sure.

    In a local paper, there was an article about this law being proposed to target domestic terrorism (gosh, who knew the federal legislative branch hasn’t addressed terrorism until today!), and the comment section quickly devolved into fighting about capital protestors vs street rioters. One highly rated comment patiently explained that it didn’t matter what the capital group believed about unfair elections or stolen votes, because that was obviously false and so they’re traitors. Needless to say, my assertion that you could apply that same logic to the summer protests (i. e. structural racism isn’t real, so efforts to change our society or government is also traitorous) didn’t go over too well.

    We are increasingly living in two alternate realities, with both sides believing they have a monopoly on truth and the other side being not just wrong, but believing in fiction.

    It seems to me it’s getting worse and worse, and I don’t see what can reverse this course.

  3. For a few UPS deliveries, I used CVS as our drop off/pickup point. No longer. The CVS is dark and grungy and tire-ed looking, it is understaffed and the staff they have are nice young people but just not very competent. No mas.

    Did you know CVS is the surviving corporate entity that was, when I was a kid, The Thom McAn shoe store company! They probably should have stuck with shoes. I’m guessing their shopping center space must have become more useful and valuable over time.

      • I picked up a prescription at CVS, and was going to buy some chapstick as well. The chapstick cost twice as much as a Walmart. I almost threw it back out of principle….

        I then realized if I bought now, I wouldn’t have to go to Walmart (a fate worse than CVS). It was then, I realized CVS’s ultimate business strategy: suck it up an buy now.

  4. It wasn’t the first thing in Joe Biden’s speech, but that is actually where I personally shut off his speech. After the use of
    “existential crisis” regarding Jan 6th.
    When he called it the worst in the history of the US, since the civil war, Pearl Harbor came to mind. The OKC bombing came to mind too. I find it interesting there are crickets on his proposal to require 4 more years of public school. (Two pre-school and two community college)

    • I pointed out the fact that Biden measures education by how many years you spent in school. Most people agreed with him. Then, I asked the same people if they thought someone who spent 4 years to get their B.A. was better or worse educated than someone who spent 6.5 years to get the same degree.

  5. “Biden’s speech began with the claim that the Capitol Riot was the ‘worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.’ ”

    Well, it’s all those “white supremacists,” of course!

  6. “It’s very possible that Joe believes it, especially now, as his IQ points drop as sand through an hourglass.”

    It’s also quite possible that Joe doesn’t have any idea what year it is, so the speechwriters told him it was a reference to 9/11…

  7. “Biden’s speech began with the claim that the Capitol Riot was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

    Not in the least. The worst attack on our democracy since the civil war has been non-violent. The worst attack on democracy was orchestrated by the current party in power along with their allies in the social media ownership, progressive pseudo- journalists and the Neo-Cons to foment unrest and acrimony so as to use it as a cudgel against its political opposition.

    The Neo-Cons in the military industrial complex and other Federal employees sympathetic to the old ways of power and comfort were eager to send the duly elected small government president packing on day one. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives tried twice to remove him or break him based on misinformation, lies and half-truths. They offered up unsupported claims to their media allies that the president was a foreign agent acting on behalf of Russia. The big lie took hold and in the course of having to defend himself the president too often took the bait which was then used to vilify him further.

    The biggest threat to our democracy occurs when one group will say and do anything to wrest power from another. The claims that we live in an unfair white dominated society is designed to create political unrest. The unsupported but trendy opinions relating to Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project are becoming a cancer in academia. Being labeled a racist for challenging such opinions does not advance social justice it propagates animus. The propaganda regarding disproportionate negative impacts on various subgroups always fails to provide countervailing facts which leads the body politic to be woefully misinformed on various subjects and leads them to come to conclusions that are simply factually wrong and typically always support the positions of the misinformation specialists.

    The power seekers think they hide in the shadows but they are hardly transparent in their actions. Joe Biden is one of them. He will say anything to anyone if he thinks that is what they want to hear. He will lie outright knowing full well that he has no intention of being unifying or bipartisan. When our big government leaning intelligence communities claim that white supremacy is the biggest domestic threat I would suggest that they are talking about themselves and not the Proud Boys or the Boogaloo Brigade or whatever it is called. I would bet the intelligence community has cost us more blood and treasure than any of the so called white supremacy groups so that they remain in the most powerful positions on the planet.

    • Some knowledgeable federal law enforcement officials will admit, at least in private, that identified groups like the Proud Boys, etc., just like the “militia” groups and other “extremist” organizations that the Left is always yammering about, are almost always infiltrated by feds’ informants and sometimes actual undercover officers almost as soon as their names become known. If they can infiltrate the Mafia, they can certainly plant someone in Bubba Bob’s Militia. Anything these groups “plan” (most often there is much more talk than action) is usually passed on to the feds as soon as it is talked about. The agencies will let “the plot thicken” until they are sure they have evidence to sustain a successful prosecution. Many of these informants are criminals who have gotten their tit in a wringer with some federal agency, and are given a path to leniency by informing on others. I suspect that it is not uncommon for these informants, whether unbidden or otherwise, to entrap others into committing crimes or talking about committing crimes (“Conspiracy!”) to further enlarge the informant pool. The upshot is, the really serious -some would say dangerous- people know the score and usually don’t join groups, announce their political views or associate with anyone who is not above suspicion. They will keep quiet until they decide they need to act, and they choose the method, the time and place that action takes place. The feds know this also, so any hyperbole about how nefarious and dangerous these known groups are is just a distraction or purposeful misdirection. Ethics, schmethics: they do what they want.

        • Not very. Most good gang investigators I have known have been successful at cultivating informants among lower-level gang members, family, associates and hangers-on, but the local nature and cultural identity of most urban street gangs makes actual infiltration by officers or outside informants very difficult. Snitching often carries the death penalty, and some gangs have even gone so far as to establish web sites like “Who’s a Snitch?” to spread the word about those suspected of informing for law enforcement. Actually, law enforcement has been dealing with infiltration of their ranks by gang members. This was a big issue about a decade ago, with relaxed hiring standards and inability of many agencies to review serious juvenile delinquency records of their applicants. (Or their own failure to conduct thorough background investigations.) This applies not only to sworn officers but to clerical and support staff who might have ties to gang activity.

  8. We have been using CVS for prescriptions for too many years: primarily because the “old” staff were like friends and we had faith in them. Now, if staff cannot find an envelope with a name on it, what assurance do we have that the prescription was in fact filled accurately? How do we really know what’s in those little bottles, except to look on Google to make sure they at least LOOK right. We have options other than Walmart, than God, and need to get moving on this and about 50 other priorities.

  9. I have worked pharmacy as a technician for 5 years. I have some insight. Though not specifically with CVS. I have heard nothing but horror stories about working for CVS. That said, I can safely say finding a bag that isn’t in the system isn’t easy. They were probably confounded that she got a call for a prescription that wasn’t in the system. So someone accidentally fulfilled all the system requirements to give her the prescription without actually giving her the script.

    It sometimes happens and it makes life for staff extremely difficult. I can safely say you can assume the prescription in your bottle is absolutely correct. If you feel uncomfortable about it, it is legally required for the pharmacy to put a pill description on the bottle. Meaning it will have the shape and markings on the label to what’s inside the bottle. And if CVS is anything like the pharmacy I worked at, which is legally and likely true, a pharmacist has to verify the medication in the bottle is absolutely correct. Mistakes in pharmacy are hard to manage but little ones like this do happen.

    It’s a highly stressful position to be in and pharmacy companies like to run as short staffed as possible. My best suggestion is to actually use companies in which you trust the staff. Meaning you need to know and discuss things with the staff. Become their friend and get to know them. They are real people.

    • I won’t use CVS after they gave my MIL a bottle labelled 250 hydrocodone pills that only contained 50. The bottle was completely full with 50, there was no way it would have 250. We complained to CVS, but they threatened to call the police and accuse us of trying to get narcotics. We found there was no one we could complain to. The state would only take complaints of pharmacy malfeasance from physicians.

      The worst pharmacy error I ever had was picking up a prescription for my wife. I looked at it and recognized it as a breast-cancer drug. When I got home I asked her if she had anything she needed to tell me and she said ‘no’. Turns out, it was supposed to be a blood pressure drug. When I called the pharmacy about it, they denied that could happen and hung up on me.

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