Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 5/7/2021: On Quitting, Cancelling, Lying And Deflecting

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1. The dignity and integrity to quit. The big news in baseball yesterday was that the California Angels finally released Albert Pujols. Pujols is in the last year of a terrible 24 million dollar a year+ contract he signed as a free agent. For the last several years, he had negative value, meaning that the Angels would have been better if they just stuck a utility infielder in his slot in the line-up. When Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals, he was already a lock of the Hall of Fame, much like Mike Trout today (also on the Angels) who could quit at 30 and still be regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. In 2019, I wrote about another washed up batter holding on to collect his exorbitant salary when he was no longer capable of earning it, the Orioles’ erstwhile slugger Chris Davis. I wrote in part,

[He] should call a press conference and do what some baseball players better than he have done when they realized they could no longer play at the level they were paid to. Quit. Retire. Say that he has too much respect for the game, his team mates, Baltimore, the Orioles, its fans, and himself to keep on with the embarrassing futility of trying to play major league baseball when he no longer has the skill to do so while receiving millions to fail. Then he should walk away, an Ethics Hero, and a model of integrity.

But Davis didn’t, of course. Davis earned $23,000,000 that year, and last year. He will earn the same amount this season and the next, to add to the 165 million he’s banked already. His OPS (On Base % plus Slugging %) the past three years: .539, .601, and .331. The average OPS in the Major Leagues is about .750. Nothing yet this year: he’s been injured. The Orioles hope he stays that way.

What Pujols is owed if he stays active is virtually monopoly money to him: he already has a third of a billion dollars from his baseball salaries alone, and many millions more from endorsements—and that’s just assuming he keeps his money in a sock. Reportedly Albert is greatly admired as a man of character, but if he was truly that, he would have the character to quit. Now.

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Here’s a fun link: conservative pundit David Harsanyi traces (some) of the egregious media bias since Biden took office.

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

crooked councilman

This guy is quite a piece of… work.

Chaim Deutsch, a New York City councilman representing Brooklyn pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion last week. He didn’t pay $82,000 in taxes and deducted fraudulent business expenses related to his real estate management company. For that, the Democrat could face up to a year in prison. He doesn’t have to resign though, due to a technicality.

Under the public officers law, Council members face automatic expulsion if they plead guilty to a felony or a crime related to their elected office. But Deutsch, in his plea deal, only pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and it involved his personal finances. He doesn’t have to resign, and apparently he won’t.

Deutsch’s lawyer says his client’s guilty plea won’t interfere with his ability to carry out his Council duties. “He intends to fulfill the will of the voters and complete the term for which he was elected,” the mouthpiece says. I’m pretty sure the will of the voters has substantially changed, now that they know they voted for a crook. And a felon—which is what Deutsch is no matter what he pleaded to—can’t possibly ” carry out his Council duties.” Among those duties is maintaining the public’s trust. He is also likely to have his influence on the Council reduced to the vanishing point, as it plans on punishing Brooklyn’s finest if he refuses to resign. That’s certainly not in the interests of his constituents.

“New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch admitted today that he defrauded the I.R.S. in connection with his real estate business,” Audrey Strauss, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “As an elected official and community leader, Deutsch had a particular responsibility to follow the law. Instead, over a multiyear period, Deutsch concealed his true business income to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.”

But Deutsch is determined to follow one law, at least: the one allowing him to stay in office until his term expires. He’s a stickler for that one.

April Fools Ethics Warm-Up, 4/1/2021: I Am Not Fooled Nor Fooling

april-fools-day-banner

I have come to detest April Fool’s Day, and cultural developments have shown me that, as William Saroyan liked to say, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong.” Early in the history of Ethics Alarms, more than ten years ago, I dared to criticize—indeed, called unethical—a blogging criminal defense lawyer who falsely announced that he had taken on a new prestigious job (as I recall: it’s not worth checking what his exact lie was), and it was then reported as fact by the New York Times’ crack reporters. The announcement was an April Fool’s joke, you see, so my assertion that lawyers shouldn’t deliberately misrepresent facts, even on blogs, even in jest, even unrelated to cases and even on April First was set upon by the lawyer’s angry defense lawyer allies, who pummeled me here from all sides. I had, in fact, over-stated my complaint (Can you imagine ME doing THAT?), and I duly apologized to the lawyer. But his pals remained insulting and vicious, and I wasn’t wrong in the principle I was asserting. Professionals shouldn’t lie, ever. Even on April Fool’s Day.

1. Hart concedes. The rest of the story: Iowa Democrat Rita Hart announced late yesterday that she is withdrawing her demand that her loss in Iowa’s 2nd congressional district be overturned, so the House Committee on Administration will no longer be seeking a justification to do so. I wrote about the Democratic Party’s attempt to de-certify an election result after it proclaimed Republican efforts to decertify the Presidential election as “an insurrection” here. Apparently internal polls were showing that there are still some levels of perceived hypocrisy that the Democratic faithful won’t cheer on. That’s encouraging…

2. The concept at play here is “deceit.” I guess after having three straight Republican Presidents who couldn’t speak clearly, it shouldn’t be a shock that the GOP has allowed Democrats to get away with flagrantly dishonest language games. Still, the transformation of the term “voting restrictions” into something sinister is quite an accomplishment for the Blue team, as well as cynical and dishonest. Unless a nation is going to allow anyone alive on the planet to cast votes in its elections, “voting restrictions” are natural, logical and necessary. It’s the “restrictions” part that the pro-voting manipulation side has weaponized. “Restrictions” are baaaad. But the right, informative and descriptive word is voting qualifications. You have to be alive and living in the district where you vote: this is why voter rolls have to be purged of dead people and those who have moved away. You have to be a citizen, and who you say you are, which is why voting IDs are necessary. You have to register before elections, because otherwise vote harvesters will just pay large groups of poor, confused, bored or drunk passive citizens to the polls to vote as they have been instructed. You should have to vote in person, because all mail-in ballots, including early voting and absentee voting, create verification problems, and increase the chances of fraud.

I have neither the time nor functioning brain cells to delve into this issue competently here and now, but I would not find the imposition of other voting qualifications odious or unethical, including requirements of the minimal civic literacy we would expect of, say, a 12-year-old.

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Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21….

People, even lawyers, just do not interact much in remote seminars. It makes a three-hour session far more tiring, even though I’m sitting down, rather than stalking through the space. Thus I am blotto now, after a legal ethics session earlier today.

1. And THIS is the best paper in the U.S…Two headlines on the New York Times front page this morning my high school paper faculty advisor would have rejected…and he would have been right:

  • “Gaetz Said To Face Inquiry Over Sex With Underage Girl” The fact someone says it is not news. Is he “facing an inquiry” or isn’t he? “Three people briefed on the matter” isn’t a source: we’ve seen how accurate the Times anonymous sources are, especially when the subject is a Republican, a conservative, and a Trump supporter. Why the front page for a rumor? Slow news day? Hey, I’ve got an idea: How about an article about how Joe Biden called Georgia “sick” based on a complete misrepresentation?
  • “Taliban Believes The War’s Over And They Won.” This is psychic news again, my favorite fake news form. How does the Times know what the Taliban “thinks”? Who cares what it “thinks”?

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Ethics Villain: GoFundMe…As The Shackles Tighten

Scott Mineo founded “Parents Against Critical Theory” to fight the suddenly surging anti-white and racist “Critical Race Theory” inclusion in the curriculum of Loudon County (Va.) public schools. Then members of an Orwellian-named Facebook group, “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County,” launched a campaign against his and other parent groups seeking not to have their children subjected to racial demagoguery. The aspiring community totalitarians compiled lists of parents opposing the indoctrination effort, their spouses and their employers, and rallied their members to try to shut down the non-submissive websites. Mineo’s page raised nearly $4,000 by March 22 until a former Loudoun County School Board Equity Committee member, Charlotte McConnell, urged current committee members and the school board to report the page as objectionable.

Three days later, GoFundMe informed Mineo that his fundraising appeal was taken down because it constituted “prohibited conduct.”

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Tit For Tat Ethics: The Anti-Biden-Pro-Trump Flags

Anti-Biden flags

Two stories about vulgar flags hanging on houses were so similar, I thought they were a single episode. In fact, they occurred in different states. It didn’t help that in both stories, the politically correct, silly and near-useless news media refused to actually reveal the facts because they might be “offensive.”

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a flag with “graphic language” directed at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hangs in front of a home down the street from Mallard Creek Elementary School. Teachers and neighbors are upset at “the profane language and blatant disrespect for the President and Vice-President,” and complained that this was was “a terrible example” to set for kids. The house is on a street on the route for all the buses to get to the school.

What exactly is “the graphic language”? We’re supposed to guess: that’s today’s woke journalism, as in “lousy journalism.” Some comments from neighbors are also revealing. A neighbor told the local Fox affiliate, “If she’s concerned about that, then she needs to be getting on these rap songs and everything else.”

Yeah, that’s a classic deflection, in the style of a nice round, ten rationalizations, like 2.Whataboutism, or “They’re Just as Bad,”8, The Trivial Trap (“No harm no foul!”), 8A. The Dead Horse-Beater’s Dodge, or “This can’t make things any worse,” 16., The Consistency Obsession, 22, “There are worse things,” 26, “The Favorite Child” Excuse,” 33. The Management Shrug: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!,” 44. “It’s Not The First Time, ” 50A. Narcissist Ethics , or “I don’t care,” and #58. The Golden Rule Mutation, or “I’m all right with it!” The response doesn’t address the issue at hand, it just shrugs it away.

Too bad they don’t teach basic ethics in the U.S.

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Ethics Heroes: “Critical Race Theory” Victims William And Gabrielle Clark

Clarke

Gee, we seem to be having a lot of race-bullying and race-based indoctrination stories here of late. Well, don’t blame me. Blame those perpetrating it for the advancement of their political and cultural power, and the cowards and weenies who are making it easy.

Today we have an episode from Democracy Prep, a public charter school in Las Vegas, Nevada. William Clarke attends the school. He lives with his mother, Gabrielle (above), who is biracial. She works at a local fast food restaurant. All Democracy Prep seniors are required to take what is clearly a Critical Race Theory and intersectionality-based class called Sociology of Change. In that “re-education” class, William and all the other students, were told to openly declare their race, gender, religious, and sexual identities. The next step was to attach negative labels to those identities, after which students were instructed to “undo and unlearn” their “beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that stem from oppression.”  

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The Teacher, The Toilet, And Signature Significance

In Little Rock, Arkansas, Ashley Murry’s 5-year-old son told her that after a toilet clogged following his use of it, his teacher ordered him stick his hand in the toilet and remove his feces and the dirty tissue. Murry’s son is a kindergartener at Crystal Hill Elementary School. The mother reacted to his report by filing a complaint with the school, pulling him out of the class, and posting the story on social media.

The Pulaski County Special School District began “an investigation” while the teacher was put on administrative leave. The teacher attempted to patch things up by calling Murry and saying that she knew she was wrong. She also explained to the principal that she was only trying to teach the child not to use too much toilet paper so that the school toilets wouldn’t get stopped up.

See? Her intentions were good! Nonetheless, the child’s mother says the teacher needs to be fired, because “you don’t treat kids like this.”

Observations:

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Deyate Hagood’s Zoom High School Economics Class

“What that nigga want God? Word up, look out for the cops…Word up, two for fives over here baby. Word up, two for fives them niggas got garbage down the way, word up.”

—-Lyrics in “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” performed by Wu-Tang Clan ,in one of two rap videos that formed the basis of an economics class taught by Deyate Hagood, a social studies teacher at A-TECH High School.

For the uneducated, “Two for fives” is a 90s’ term for crack cocaine sales, meaning “two vials for five dollars.”

When a Queens mom working at home heard this and another equally vulgar rap video taking up the bulk of her son’s Zoom economics class on “money, power and respect,” she snapped. The woman, whose name is being withheld because she fears retribution against her or her son, grabbed her son’s laptop and shouted at Deyate Hagood, the social studies teacher at A-TECH High School in Williamsburg, saying…

“You honestly ought to be motherfucking embarrassed. Disgusting! You have rap videos using N-words, talking about whores and bitches and selling drugs. I’m working from home, and this is what I’m hearing my kid in his senior year learning in class?”

Indeed it was. “I’ve had to watch my high-school senior spend an entire year at home in isolation while receiving a very limited education,” said the Queens mother, an executive assistant with a younger son in middle school. She told the New York Post that her 12th-grader did not have a book or syllabus for the economics class. Her son reported that Hagood usually showed videos. In the second rap video played that day in Hagood’s class, a prostitute in black lingerie “sings,”  “First you get the money. Then you get the muthafuckin’, power. After you get the fuckin’ power muthafuckas will respect you.”

Nice!

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Comment Of The Day: “Today’s Dispatch From ‘The Great Stupid’: The Chivalry Assignment “

Come for the ethics, stay for the chivalry lesson!

Steve-O-From NJ ( as I strongly suspected he would) responded to the infuriating tale of the high school teacher who ordered her students to act out her infantile and politically-warped view of “chivalry” with a brief lesson on what Medieval chivalry was really about. Obviously an Ethics Alarms post can’t cover this entire, rich topic, but students reading here would come away with a lot more genuine historical perspective than the young victims of a feminist teacher’s ignorance at Texas’s Shallowater High School. This Comment of the Day is admittedly tangential to the ethics issue, which is that our public school teachers frequently don’t know what they are blathering about, and are too often more concerned with woke indoctrination than they are in education.

It also points up a dilemma. Teachers should be capable of conveying the essentials of “the three ‘Rs,'” and perhaps age-appropriate science and geography. But history? Most teachers were educated in a school system that neglected or distorted history, and their own knowledge and analytical abilities in this subject are, to be kind, inadequate. Thus they pass along their own biases, misunderstandings and flawed knowledge to the next generation. I would conclude that teachers should be required to stick to the approved history textbooks and their lesson plans, except that most of those have been polluted by ideological agendas too.

Well, that’s a topic for another day. Right now, the topic is Chivalry.

Here is Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Today’s Dispatch From ‘The Great Stupid’: The Chivalry Assignment“:

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