The Unethical Fake Country Of “The United States of Kailasa”

I don’t know about you, but I sure wonder why the United States continues to prop up the United Nations, which, among its many other recent failures, did nothing to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States is still by far the largest donor to the U.N., contributing more than $12 billion in 2021, almost one-fifth of the generally anti-American organization’s budget. President Trump, you may recall, tried to cut funding, but that’s because he was a bigot and a xenophobe in Putin’s pocket.

No, that’s not a digression: the United Nations is so incompetent that it allowed a fake nation to attend two of its meetings recently. Above is Vijayapriya Nithyananda, who said she was representing Kailasa as its “permanent ambassador” to the UN at one of those meetings. There is no “Kailasa,” though it has a website. Does that make it a “virtual nation”? I don’t know and don’t care. The site claims that Kailasa includes “two billion practicing Hindus” among its population, and that it has a flag, a constitution, a central bank, and passports.

Come to think of it, Kailasa would probably be a better U.N. member than Iran, among others.

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Ethics Conundrum: Is Teaching That Communism Is Evil History or Indoctrination?

All of the turmoil over public school indoctrination of students regarding such matters as climate change, systemic racism and LGBTQ normalization naturally raises the question of whether there are legitimate topics for indoctrination in the United States. Should students be taught, for example, that democracy is good? That the Bill of Rights are crucial to the united States’ culture? That capitalism works/

What about teaching students that Communism, at least in its execution, is a dangerous and deadly ideology? Is that a fact?

I was prompted to consider this issue after reading NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd’s characteristically inarticulate objections to Gov. DeSantis signing a bill last May designating November 10 to be set aside for teaching Florida students at all grade levels “about the evils of communist regimes throughout history.”

“I don’t know if DeSantis is going to be talking to swing voters, here’s like one of the things he said in Vegas yesterday; take a listen to this,” Todd like said prior to playing like a clip of the Republican touting his program. “You know, …it’s sort of like, look, being a Floridian, I sort of know what he’s trying to play there and all of that. I went to Florida public schools we were taught this: It was called history. It just seems like a weird politicizing—you know he’s going out of his way to politicize something.”

Isn’t it amazing that NBC has employed an individual presiding over an iconic news show who speaks that way on live TV?

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And The Award For “Most Ethical Decision Made For The Worst Possible Reason” Goes To…The Oscars!

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has intruded via satellite at the Cannes and Venice film festivals, the Berlin Film Festival last month, the Grammy Awards, the Golden Globes, and even the New York Stock Exchange’s Opening Bell. Yet the most overtly and tastelessly political of all the awards shows, the Academy Awards about to be broadcast on ABC this coming Sunday (sadly, I have sock drawer duties) rejected Zelenskyy’s overtures to appear for the second straight year.

Good. It is an award show about movies, and it is inappropriate and an abuse of trust to use the audience’s interest in films to lobby them for any political interests; Heaven knows Hollywood and its artists do too much of that as it is. I’m sure Sean Penn is disappointed; at the Golden Globes in January, the part-time actor/full-time activist Sean Penn introduced Zelenskyy, who again made a plea for public and financial support for his war against Russia.

Next they’ll be showing him on the Jumbotron during the seventh inning stretch at Fenway Park. To hell with that. I hope Ukraine beats Putin flat and that the Russians finally send him to Elba, but I don’t need to find the Ukrainian president’s hand in my pocket at every turn, and the Biden administration is tossing money away like its confetti as it is.

So the Oscars have done the ethical thing two years running, which might be a record. However, Ethics Alarms can only provide the acclaim of one hand clapping at best. The principle here is that ethical conduct is ethical conduct no matter how mixed, venal, stupid or the product of unethical reasoning the impetus for that conduct is. Still, when ethical conduct comes about in warped ways through the ethically-obtuse calculations of the ethically-handicapped, praise has to be restrained.

I’m presuming that the Oscars have rejected Zelenskyy this year for the same reason it did last year…do you know what that was?

Variety reports that its sources say that the show’s producers felt that Ukraine is too white, and that Hollywood has ignored many wars over the years that affected “people of color.”

“The Great Stupid” Across The Pond: We Helped Save Roald Dahl’s Children’s Books From The Censors; Now They’re Coming For OO7

…who might soon be called “008” to soothe readers offended by the number seven. Seven deadly sins, seven dwarves, that creepy Morgan Freeman movie with Gwinneth Paltrow’s head in a box…it’s a touchy number, you have to admit.

I’d like to think in some tiny way Ethics Alarms helped spread the news of the despicable bowdlerizing of Dahl’s classics that resulted in his publisher backing down and adopting the New Coke solution to a fiasco: the anti-authors’ rights business announced over the weekend that it will henceforth offer “Dahl Classic” along with the vandalized “New Dahl.” Yeah, let’s see which sells more copies. There was hardly time to pop the champagne, however: we then learned that Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels are being re-written for “modern readers“to omit alleged “racist language” and “racial references.” The censored novels will be published in April to mark the 70 years since “Casino Royale,” the first in the series, was published.

There’s nothing quite like honoring an author by defacing his most famous works. At least they’re leaving “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” alone. I think.

The indefensible conduct comes after Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, which owns the rights to Fleming’s work, commissioned a review by “sensitivity readers.” The British really don’t get that freedom of speech and expression thingy, do they? Neither does the rest of the world beyond our shores and porous borders. Now watch: U.S. progressives will argue that once again, the United States is out of step with its betters by not censoring literature and movies with the same wild abandon that it pulls down statues.

The disclaimer accompanying Fleming’s reissued novels, echoing Dahl’s publisher Puffin, will read: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace. A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”

If Ian Fleming “might be considered offensive” to the political correctness police, imagine what’s going to happen to Mark Twain.

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Gee, Who Would Have Predicted That Legalizing Pot Would Put Children At Risk?

Sorry, I have no sympathy, zero, zilch, nada, for any parents and grandparents of the rebellious toking generation who are horrified at the effect widespread pot legalization is having on the young. Any idiot could have and should have predicted it. For example, I predicted it when I was 18, and being prodded, mocked, urged and wheedled (perhaps that should be “weedled”) into taking “just one puff” almost every day in college. (It was also against the law, which stodgy old me took too seriously, I was lectured, by a lot of students who went to law school.)

Here is how the New York Times’ “Kids Buying Weed From Bodegas Wasn’t in the ‘Legal Weed’ Plan” begins…

Not long ago, a mother in Westchester learned from her teenage son that he and his friends had gone to a nearby bodega and bought weed. She understood — they were kids, stifled and robbed by the pandemic of so many opportunities for indulging the secretive rituals of adolescence…

But it was deeply troubling to her that a store was selling weed to kids — New York State’s decriminalization statute makes it illegal to sell to anyone under 21 — so she embarked on an investigation. Predictably, when she confronted the bodega owners, they denied that they were distributing to anyone underage, so her next stop was a visit to the local police precinct, where she did not encounter the sense of urgency she had hoped for.

The cops greeted her with a kind of smug indifference, she said, an affect of I told you so, suggesting that liberals were now faced with the downstream impact of values that law enforcement had always disdained. Mothers in earthy, expensive footwear from the River Towns to Park Slope had supported the legalization of marijuana on the grounds that it needlessly funneled so many young Black and brown men into the criminal justice system. But now it was ubiquitous, and in the worst case scenarios possibly laced with fentanyl, and all too easy for their children to access. The bodega, in this instance, was a short distance from the local high school.

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Ethics Dunce: President Biden

I suppose the theory is that if you can’t do anything else right, grandstand. From a political perspective, that’s not a stupid theory for a US President (which is why you don’t see Sidney Wang from the Ethics Alarms clip archive), but it is a desperate one, and it only is responsible leadership if there is no substantive risk of something really bad happening to the country you are leading as a result. Biden’s been grandstanding a great deal of late, such as shooting down harmless balloons like crazy to make up for the fact that he let the Chinese spy balloon travel across the U.S.  For perspective, reasonable estimate is that it cost about $2 million to shoot down the Lake Huron balloon that may have cost as little as $12, but to be fair, the Biden Administration is operating under the assumption that money doesn’t matter, so this doesn’t qualify as “harm” in their eyes.

The much ballyhooed “surprise” trip to Ukraine for photo ops, however, had an undeniable potential downside: the President could have been killed. As he “stepped out into the streets of Kyiv”  the New York Times reported, “an air-raid siren sounded, a dramatic moment that underscored the investment the United States has made in Ukraine’s independence.” Thanks, Times flaks, good pro-Biden spin and propaganda there! You’re doing your job, or at least what fake journalists today consider their job. Nevertheless, let me return to reality:  the “dramatic moment” underscored how stupid and reckless Biden’s visit was. Continue reading

Presidents Day Ethics Warm-Up: Sick Of Presidents Edition

Usually Ethics Alarms has a special Presidents Day feature, but not this year. I hope the mood passes, but right now I am thoroughly sick of the office. Three passions have driven the course of my life, beliefs, interest, pursuits, education, relationships and careers: baseball, Gilbert and Sullivan, and the Presidents of the United States. At this moment, I am disgusted with two of the three.

The accolades being heaped on Jimmy Carter as he has announced that he will wait to die with his family near rather than seek more medical care further sours my mood, because it cripples me with cognitive dissonance. All Presidents deserve the nation’s gratitude and respect, and Carter has led a life devoted to public service. Yet he was a terrible President, and did as much damage to the nation in his four years as any modern POTUS—at least until Joe Biden arrived.

1. “Red Joan” Not helping my mood was watching “Red Joan,” the 2019 British film celebrating the foolish Melita Stedman Norwood, a British civil servant who became a KGB spy in the post-war years. She was convinced that she was doing a good and ethical thing to send nuclear secrets to Stalin’s government so the USSR could develop its own atom bomb. The movie is fictionalized enough that Norwood, played by Judy Dench, is given a different name (Joan Stanley), but the beliefs she espouses are accurate representations of Norwood’s various explanations and rationalizations.

She thought Communism was the hope of the future; she thought the Russians “deserved” to have the nuclear advances developed by the U.S. and Great Britain shared with them; she thought the US using the atom bomb to end World War II was mass murder; and she believed that giving the Soviets the ability to wield nuclear power would prevent World War III—and continued to justify her treachery with the last excuse after she was exposed and caught in her 80s, taking credit for “saving millions of lives.”

My head exploded when the British nuclear scientist who was her lover erupted over learning that she had sent his work to the Soviets, telling her it was madness to give such secrets to a “ruthless dictator” like Stalin. “But we didn’t know that then!” Joan protests.

That’s what ethicists call “contrived ignorance.” Continue reading

Britain’s Unethical And Deliberate Micro-Viewpoint Indoctrination In The Schools: It Can Happen Here, And Probably Already Does

I have been blissfully ignorant of the existence of Andrew Tate (above) until very recently; my life was better before. He is considered a social media influencer, aka “someone with power in the culture without any genuine reason to have it.” Tate was a professional kickboxer who appeared on the British reality show “Big Brother”—which is just as moronic as the American version— and was the source of controversy when his social media posts got him kicked off the show. He began offering paid courses and memberships through his website promoting an “ultra-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle,” as well as sexism and misogyny. Last year, Tate and his brother were arrested in Romania on suspicions of human trafficking. He’s also been charged with rape.

In summary, this creep makes Kim Kardashian seem like Eleanor Roosevelt. But he’s got a buff bod and drives cool cars, so British boys and teens are suckers for his act. In response, British schools, the New York Times tells us, are now spending class time condemning Tate rather than teaching their students math, reading and critical thinking.

“I am sad that I have taken up important curriculum time to talk about Andrew Tate,” Chloe Stanton, an English teacher in East London tells the Times. “But women have to fight enough in society without this type of attitude to deal with.” The Times writes, “Believing that schools are a microcosm of society — and a preview of its future — educators said it was crucial to target Mr. Tate’s influence early. Since last fall, principals have sent letters to parents warning of his reach, and Britain’s education secretary has said that influencers like Mr. Tate could reverse the progress made in countering sexism.”

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“Good Censorship”: Regarding Ethics Villain Puffin Books And Its Defender, Seth Abramson

Yes, that’s a dead and rotting puffin above. It should be the new logo for Puffin Books, a division of Penguin. According to Wikipedia, “it has been among the largest publishers of children’s books in the UK and much of the English-speaking world” since the 1960s. According to the Penguin website, Puffin Books is “prestigious.”

According to Ethics Alarms, the children’s book publisher has no regard for authors’ rights, integrity, fairness, literature or language, all rather crucial to its trade, wouldn’t you say? What’s happened at Puffin? Well, what’s happened to Disney, elementary schools and toy makers? ( Clue: Mattel has a gender-fluid line of Barbies).

Puffin has decided that the demands of wokism, political correctness and child indoctrination justify rewriting the works of iconic British author Roald Dahl. Since Dahl’s death, Puffin has made hundreds of changes to his childen’s classics, removing words and passages that The Wonderfully Woke might consider offensive or harmful, even to the extent of adding passages that Dahl never wrote.

What?? I’m assuming that Puffin owns the rights to the books somehow and can do this legally. You want to know why authors like Samuel Beckett made sure his estate had iron-clad control over his works? THIS is why. Please note: it doesn’t matter one whit that Puffin can allow some anonymous censor to rewrite “Charlie and the Choaolate Factory,” it is throbbingly unethical for it to do so.

In the original edition of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” Grandma Josephine speaks of a “crazy Indian prince.” The 2022 edition describes the character as a “ridiculously rich Indian prince.” Augustus Gloop, one of the horrible children in the novel, is no longer described as “enormously fat” as Dahl wrote; he is now   described as “enormous”(whatever that means). Puffin apparently has a fetish about “fat.” Aunt Sponge, in the 2022 edition of “James and the Giant Peach,” is now “quite large” instead of “enormously fat,” leaving the possibility that she could be the size of  The Rock or even a T-Rex. Other passages where Aunt Sponge is described as “fat” have been excised.

Meanwhile, “two ghastly hags” has been changed to “two ghastly aunts.” “Queer” is apparently no longer acceptable to describe a house—just in case its a gay house, I suppose—and was replaced with  “strange.” In “The Witches,”  edits by Puffin made character descriptors gender-neutral, so “chambermaid” became “cleaner.” Though Dahl wrote that a character said, “You must be mad, woman!,” the line is now, “You must be out of your mind!” The line describing a, “Great flock of ladies” was changed to a “Great group of ladies.”

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Call Me Strict, But I Think A Director Smearing Feces On A Ballet Critic’s Face For A Negative Review Warrants A Bit More Than A Suspension

This kind of conduct by an employee doesn’t require an investigation. Nobody needs to know why he did it. A responsible employer whose employee engages in this crime against any individual—yes. even a critic—has to fire him for cause, immediately and without hesitation.

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the Hannover state opera house’s ballet director Marco Goecke—that’s him above, looking like the son of the sinister Nazi whose head melts in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”— confronted its dance critic, Wiebke Huester, during the intermission of a premiere. Goecke, was furious over a nasty review she wrote of a production he staged at The Hague, and accused her of being responsible for people canceling their season tickets. Then he took dog excrement out of a paper bag he had brought for the occasion and smeared the woman’s face with the guck as she screamed. Huester has filed a criminal complaint.

On its website, the opera house said Huester’s “personal integrity” was violated “in an unspeakable way.” I wonder who came up with those weasel words. It added that the opera house had officially apologized to her. After all, the post said, Goecke’s “impulsive reaction” violated the ground rules of the theater and that “he caused massive damage to the Hannover State Opera and State Ballet.”


So, it said, he is being suspended and banned from the opera house until further notice,though the lunatic will be given an opportunity to apologize “comprehensively” and explain himself to theater management “before further steps are announced.” Continue reading