1. This shoe we knew was dropping soon...U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted a temporary restraining order this week against the controversial Texas law that prohibits conducting abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. It’s a really, really bad opinion, full of wokisms, and unprofessional appeals to emotion, and it is now blocked by a temporary stay by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Pittman had written that “this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.” His own opinion is pretty offensive on its own, avoiding the use of the term “women” and including nary a hint that another right, maybe even a superior one, might be at issue here.
The Texas law is likely to be found unconstitutional, maybe in more ways than one, but the TRO followed by a higher court stay has become a routine sequence. Another predictable shoe: a misleading and intellectually dishonest reaction from pro-abortion activists. The Center for Reproductive Rights’ president and CEO Nancy Northup, for example, said in a statement,
“It’s unconscionable that the Fifth Circuit stayed such a well-reasoned decision that allowed constitutionally protected services to return in Texas. Patients are being thrown back into a state of chaos and fear, and this cruel law is falling hardest on those who already face discriminatory obstacles in health care, especially Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, undocumented immigrants, young people, those struggling to make ends meet, and those in rural areas. The courts have an obligation to block laws that violate fundamental rights.”
Well reasoned? I bet she didn’t read past the order itself. Of course, current abortion laws fall hardest on the most helpless and innocent of victims, the unborn, but never mind: Nancy doesn’t acknowledge their humanity. She also feels it necessary to play every victim card in the deck (other than the dead baby card, of course), as if it matters in constitutional terms whose rights are being violated, and as if violations of Left-anointed groups’ rights are more important than violations of others. All citizens have the same rights, and the Constitution guarantees equal rights under the law.
2. When ethics alarms don’t ring…and historical literacy is dead: In Germany, yellow badges (okay, they are technically buttons, but still…) signify that the wearer has been vaccinated. Colorful!
3. The tit-for-tat shoe drops! Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe is widely derided in the mainstream media (and on Ethics Alarms) as an unethical liar who preys on the admirable human tendency to trust people to be who they say they are. Of course, what most of O’Keefe’s critics really hate about him is that he uses deception to uncover hypocrisy and vile motives at the highest reaches of Progressiveland, like in ACORN, PBS, Planned Parenthood, and elsewhere. Lauren Windsor, though, is different, a liberal activist who poses as a Republican at party gatherings and tries to coax prominent conservatives into revealing things that she later will publicize to embarrass them. She says her stings are justified by Republican efforts to spread disinformation about the election and to weaken the nation’s democratic underpinnings. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” she insisted in an interview, saying that assuming a false identity can produce a truer record of a politician’s views. “Acting like you’re one of them — you’re going to elicit different answers than if you have a recorder in somebody’s face and they know you’re a journalist.”
In other words, the ends justify the means, “they have it coming,” “tit for tat,” and another rationalization for unethical conduct, #28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”
She is exactly the same as O’Keefe, exactly as unethical, exactly as inexcusable, and like him, erodes societal trust.
4. Want to know why we have an out-of-control National Debt? Why we shouldn’t trust the government to spend trillions of dollars? Here’s one reason…Hannibal Ware, the Small Business Administration’s inspector general, wrote in a report released last week that an emergency relief program run by the Small Business Administration in the early days of the pandemic had such poor fraud protections that it mistakenly gave out nearly $4.5 billion to self-employed people who applied based on wildly implausible claims, like, say, having a million employees. The $20 billion program, dubbed the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance, offered small businesses immediate grants of up to $10,000 as a response to hardship in the wake of the shutdown. The SBA created no system to catch applications with “flawed or illogical information.” Wow! Why didn’t we think of that? Ware states that the agency could have spotted obviously bogus applications by taking easy and obvious measures to prevent fraud.
5. Here’s news! A social media platform is promoting unethical behavior, and it isn’t Twitter or Facebook! Of course, this would be impossible if parents and schools bothered to inculcate basic ethical values in our kids, but hey, I’m just a delusional Boomer ethicist.
On Sept. 1, a TikTok user shared a video revealing a box of disposable masks in his backpack. He added a hashtag, “absolutely devious lick,’ and it got 239,000 views. The same week, another TikTok video was posted showing swiped hand sanitizer, with the same hashtag. This time, there were 7.2 million views. within two weeks, TikTok had hosted close to 94,200 similar videos under #deviouslicks, or #diabolicallicks. The hashtag also encouraged more serious vandalism, with students taking ceiling tiles, hand-railings, toilets and bathroom stalls.
The “experts” are making excuses for the thieves. Amanda Brennan, the senior director of trends for the digital marketing agency XX Artists, blames the pandemic. “It makes sense to see kids stealing things because it feels like a power play,” Brennan said. “You feel powerful over these systems that you may not have felt as if you had a lot of control over.” Brendan Gahan, a partner and chief social officer for the digital agency Mekanism, theorizes that #deviouslicks are akin to senior pranks before the internet age and previous internet fads — like “gallon smashing” (people recording themselves destroying milk cartons in grocery stores). “It’s all teen rebellion, but it’s just on a different medium,” he says. “There’s something innately attractive about conflict, and it being rebellious. TikTok allows people to share, and display, that behavior, on a scale that’s not really been available before.”
Oh. On the other hand, if teens have had even rudimentary ethics alarms installed, and they should be, they would never consider doing such things…not even once, not on a dare. Never.