Pedant Ethics And Name Autonomy

I have a dog in this hunt, in a way. I began my school career being lectured by the Catholic teachers of Arlington, Massachusetts that I was mistaken about my name being “Jack.” No, I was told, that’s just what your parents call you, dear. Your name is JOHN. There is no such name as “Jack.” Being ornery pretty much out of the womb, I refused to answer to “John” in class leading to several contentious meetings between my father (who was also named “Jack,” not “John”) and successive grade teachers. He always brought my birth certificate and a stern lecture about not making unwarranted presumptions that were none of their damn business, and I had to endure several weeks of dirty looks until my natural charm won over my teachers’ disdain.

As in the case of my teachers, the idiot who wrote Ms. Rea was both presumptuous and wrong. She had written,

Why thank you! Now shut the hell up! Continue reading

Ethics Dispatch from The Sick Ward, Memorial Day Edition

Hi.

I won’t say I’m back, because I thought I was over the hump two days ago, and that proved to be a rash miscalculation. But on this, one of many days during the year when I am prompted to remember my father, Major Jack A. Marshall, Sr., I need to make a special effort to ring in, as he would have.  As I have mentioned before, Dad never let illness or injury keep him sidelined for long. It was a matter of honor for him.

1.  Front Page Ethics: When I was preparing to write yesterday’s warm-up, this was going to be the first item…

The Times has tried to come up with every way possible to hype the Wuhan virus outbreak, and, simultaneously, the economic consequences of battling it, to cause as much alarm, fear and panic as possible. I’ve mentioned a few of the stunts, like spiking red graphs that extend beyond the margins of the paper. Those who have  died from the virus have received special treatment, with profiles and photos in the paper, because dying of this cause obviously makes a citizen more important than someone who is killed in a robbery or who died of a ruptured spleen.  This was more of the same: a small-print listing of 1,000 deaths supposedly from the virus. It was an act of pure sensationalism, teeing up cheap attacks on President Trump, another exmaple of how far into hackery the Times and the rest of the news media has fallen

An amusing note: nobody is expected to actually read a page like that, so who knows who accurate it is, but wouldn’t you think that the editors would have made sure that at least the names entered at the beginning of the list were actual pandemic victims? The New York Post reports

[O]ne of the first names on the paper’s earlier editions of the front page, Jordan Driver Haynes, 27, didn’t actually die from the virus. He was murdered, according to local reports. Haynes’ body was found in a vehicle left in a wooded area off a highway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the local NBC affiliate reported.

Details, details. After all, the point of the stunt wasn’t to report accurate news, but to hype the death tole. The Times could have done the same thing with the number of deaths from the old fashioned flu (60,000, heart disease (about a half-million)lung cancer (135,000) or drug overdoses (67, 000). If 2020 holds to the trends of the last decades, there will be about 620,000 abortions performed. Of course, the dead in these cases don’t have names, but if they did, how would the Times publishing a thousand of them on its front page be regarded?

Isn’t this kind of gross over-emphasis a form of fake news?

Like so many of the propaganda we have been witnessing lately, this is aimed at the gullible and the easily misled, and for everyone else—perhaps a minority, we shall see, just further removes the new media from its position of influence. Continue reading

Emergency Open Forum!

 

I just can’t mount the energy or mental acuity to post anything coherent right now, but if I don’t at least open the lines, I may go nuts. I actually just had a WordPress nightmare…I’m serious.

If anyone wants to use this as an opportunity to play “Ask The Ethics Man!,” that might be fun. I think I could respond to direct questions and inquiries I often feature a song called “The Ethics Man” in my musical legal ethics seminars. Sung wittily and well, as always, by my partner Mike Messer, it’s a singalong. There are several versions; I keep updating it. I’m pretty sure you know the Billy Joel classic song it parodies:

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/22/2020: Well, It’s Morning To ME!

Got out of bed at 2:30 pm.

And going back as soon as I get this post up.

1. For God’s sake Amy, the narrative! Read your talking points!  The sudden front-runner to be Joe Biden’s VP had an opportunity to display some character, but whiffed. During an April 7 interview with CNN’s Michael Smerconish on SiriusXM, Senator Klobuchar was questioned about the controversy surrounding hydroxychloroquine. Klobuchar Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) admitted her husband went from  COVID-related pneumonia that had him  coughing up blood to “one day, he just got better,” after he was treated with hydroxychloroquine. Did the Senator come to the Presidents’ defense thisweek when he was being accused of everything from stupidity to recklessness for taking an FDA approved drug? Of course not.

Too bad. That would make her a real asset to a Biden ticket: a shred of integrity.

2.  Attacking the messenger… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s response to allegations that he had sought to have an Inspector General fired for investigating Pompeo’s various abuses of his position was to  attack Sen. Bob Menendez.

Pompeo said  that the allegations had been “leaked” to the media by staff members of Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I don’t get my ethics guidance from a man who was criminally prosecuted, a man for whom his Senate colleagues, bipartisan, basically said that he was taking bribes. That’s not someone I look to for ethics guidance,” Pompeo said.

Wow, Talk about a lame deflection. Pompeo should address the allegations against him rather than relying on ad hominem attacks on his critics.

3. From the junk science, hindsight bias files: The New York Times published the results of a study, and reported, “Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, Data Show…Even small differences in timing would have prevented the worst exponential growth, which by April had subsumed New York City, New Orleans and other major cities, researchers found.”

[Oops. Couldn’t make it through. Back to bed. I’ll be up after the jump…] Continue reading

Susan Rice Again, Part 2

Continuing with the observations regarding this remarkable document…

4. I was once involved in an anti-trust lawsuit triggered when all of the competitors of the company I was working for gathered together and conspired on ways to sink my employer’s business. Before the minutes of the meeting, the group’s lawyers prepared a statement that that the group absolutely intended to obey all anti-trust laws, and the meeting would embody the ideals represented in those laws. Then they went ahead and, based on a recording of the meeting, planned ways to conspire against our business in direct violation of the laws they claimed to hold in such high esteem.

It was really comical; these idiots though that by having everyone sign a statement that they weren’t doing what they obviously were doing, this would provide some plausible deniability.

5. We now know that Rice’s bizarre memo was written upon the advice of the White House Counsel’s Office. Rice says she waited 15 days because it was her first opportunity to do so, since she had been so darned busy. It would be a more likely srory if Rice had any credibility at all, which she does not.

6. Let’s let Andrew McCarthy try to explain what’s going on here. The anti-Trump news sources will never give him a forum, so he’s related to Fox News, but McCarthy was spot-on in predicting the course of the Mueller investigation, as is as knowledgeable on the machinations of the Deep State as anyone. He explained in part,

How amusing to find President Obama’s national-security advisor, Susan Rice, suddenly calling for public release of the Flynn–Kislyak conversation intercepted by the Obama administration in late December 2016. I called for its release nearly three-and-a-half years ago. Dr. Rice, in a familiar pattern for her, has spent the ensuing years saying things that were obviously untrue only to reverse herself once the paper trail starts to dribble out.

….Rice has gone from claiming to have had no knowledge of Obama administration monitoring of Flynn and other Trump associates, to claiming no knowledge of any unmaskings of Trump associates, to admitting she was complicit in the unmaskings, to — now — a call for the recorded conversation between retired general Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to be released because it would purportedly show that the Obama administration had good reason to be concerned about Flynn (y’know, the guy she said she had no idea they were investigating).

Naturally, we have now learned that Rice was deeply involved in the Obama administration’s Trump–Russia investigation, including its sub-investigation of Flynn, a top Trump campaign surrogate who was slated to replace Rice as national-security advisor when President Trump took office.

Regarding the memo, McCarthy writes, Continue reading

OK, “Jane Doe” Was A Lying, Venal, Fick. It Doesn’t Make Abortion Any More Or Less Ethical

In the final 20 minutes of the documentary “AKA Jane Roe,” “Roe,” whose real name was Norma McCorvey, reveals that when she converted to an anti-abortion, born-again ex-gay Christian with the help of leaders of the evangelical Christian right, she was scamming them, us, everybody. Before that stunning reversal, she had been at the center the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, in which the U.S. Supreme court declared that the right to have an abortion was protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“This is my deathbed confession,” she says in the film, sitting in a chair, on oxygen, in her nursing home room , quite evidently pleased with herself. She is asked , “Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?” “Of course,” she replies. “I was the Big Fish.”

“Do you think you would say that you used them?” “Well,” says McCorvey, “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” She even gives an example of her scripted anti-abortion lines. “I’m a good actress,” she points out. “Of course, I’m not acting now.”

Of course.

McCorvey isn’t the first litigant in ground-breaking jurisprudence to change her mind. William J. Murray, the atheist son of activist Madeline Murray O’Hair, who used his complaint about being forced to pray in school to launch the litigation that eventually  got all school prayer in public schools banned as unconstitutional, later became an ardent Christian. This always leads opponents of the decision to respond with “See? SEE?” Continue reading

Morning Ethics Check-Up, 5/21/2020: My Mind’s On Viruses For Some Reason…

Feeling better.

Thanks for all the concern and good wishes.

1. How can we be told that we need to trust “scientists” regarding the Wuhan Virus when they have so far proven uncertain, inconsistent, and, much of the time, wrong? Chatting with my sister about my own symptoms, which I told her did not include key pandemic features but did include others not on the list, she informed me that the list of symptoms had been recently expanded by the CDC. I checked: she’s right. As of April 30, the symptoms of COVID-19 can include fatigue, dry coughs, non-dry coughs, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache,loss of taste or smell,  nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as “other symptoms.”

Got it. Everything is a potential symptom, including no symptoms at all. Gee, CDC, thanks for all the timely information.

In further news, the  CDC now says coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ via contaminated surfaces.

Our policy-makers have been making decisions in the dark from the beginning. The entire episode should go down in history as a massive failure of the public health establishment. Continue reading