Another CVS Adventure: Observations On A Revealing Juneteenth Encounter

The  CVS on Quaker Lane in Alexandria, scene of many ethics adventures…

I am still at war with CVS, which has so far ducked all of my efforts to seek an appropriate response for our local branch’s unethical treatment of a 30-year regular customer (me) last year. I still haven’t gotten around to moving all of my drug prescriptions to Walgreen’s, Harris Teeter or Safeway, however, so yesterday I was once again involved in a long, complicated mess regarding the filling of one of my more crucial pharmaceutical needs. (My CVS doesn’t do well with its pharmacy service either, especially since it used the Wuhan freakout to justify cutting staff down below a minimum level.)

Luckily, I was dealing with my favorite member of the current staff, a smart, young African-American assistant pharmacist with superb interpersonal skills. In the course of our discussion, I mentioned that most of the stores were closed (this is Northern Virginia) since the state was one of those making the Monday after Juneteenth’s arrival on a Sunday a holiday.

She had no idea what I was talking about.

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month AND Unethical Tweet Of The Week: Mass. State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa (D-1st Hampshire District)

  • Do we really have more elected officials at the local, state and national levels who are spectacularly ignorant of basic civics and the U.S. Constitution, or does it just seem that way?
  • How typical is this idiot/totalitarian of Democrats generally?
  • How can anyone trust, never mind vote for, someone who thinks she won’t be pilloried for stating that government power should not be constrained by laws?
  • Incompetent elected officials like this are far, far more dangerous than Joy Behar, who thinks the Supreme Court passes bills. All Joy does is talk on TV. Sabadosa is in a position where her ignorance and fondness for government dictatorship can do real damage.

Will The Audacious “It Isn’t What it is” Propaganda Assault By The American Left Succeed?, Part 2

Taking off from Part 1 (which took off from this), let’s review some (only some) of the anti-democratic conduct of the Democrats, their Congress and their President.

  • We saw President Biden withdraw troops from Afghanistan without consultation with Congress and in opposition to the military, abandoning thousand of U.S. citizens in the process.

  • We have seen the individual liberty-defying mask and vaccine mandates in Democratic states and cities.
  • We have witnesses attempts at the state and national level to discriminate against one racial group in such benefits as Small Business assistance and pandemic remedies.
  • We have watched the Senate Majority leader directly threaten the Supreme Court if it fails to support Democratic Party policies and positions.
  • We have seen the escalating air-brushing of history, to eliminate references to individuals and ideas that the party in power opposes.
  • We have seen Democrats and their allied professions and institution attempt to discriminate against religious groups, using the pandemic to ban their activities while favoring gatherings of similar size when they supported leftist activism.
  • We have seen concerted efforts to disarm law-abiding citizens, including removing the right to bear arms from those judged mentally or emotionally ill, both historical tactics of totalitarian governments.
  • We have seen the effort to corrupt the criminal justice system and the Rule of Law by demonizing and presuming the guilt of police officers, conservative protesters and others (like Kyle Rittenhouse) based on  skin color and political preferences.
  • We have seen an endorsement of mob rule, with “defund the police” being advocated across the country, radical progressive prosecutors refusing to prosecute crimes “of need,” and police being turned into targets by more than six years of demonizing by the Left.
  • We have seen an unprecedented attack on the Constitution and various amendments, with the goal of undoing protections wisely placed in the documents by the Founders. Among the targets: the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the amendment process (so the dead-letter Equal Rights. Amendment can pass after the deadline for adoption has passed), the Electoral College, the composition of the Senate, and more.
  • We witnessed the Democratic party embracing a Marxist, anti-American, anti-White, violent and corrupt organization, Black Lives Matter.
  • We are watching that same party continue to support a program of anti-American, pro-Left indoctrination in the public schools.
  • We are seeing the deliberate promotion of class divisions and hostility, while the Democratic Party pursues radical ideological goals such as the devaluing of citizenship, the elimination of meritocracy and the pursuit of excellence,  and
  • Perhaps most glaring of all, we witnessed, for the first time in our history, not just one but two contrived impeachments based not on the kinds of “high crimes” prescribed by the Constitution, but on the simple fact that one party had a House majority  that it abused to attempt to remove an elected President it despised, plus
  • …so, so much more that represents a gross weakening of democracy and its values by the conduct and rhetoric of Democrats. The four year effort to cripple Donald Trump’s Presidency by withholding the basic, crucial, core aura of respect and deference to the office that every other President was bequeathed by his predecessors is, in my view, the worst of these, which is why Ethics Alarms has laboriously tracked it with the tag “2016 Ethics Post-Election Train Wreck.”

This has all occurred in plain sight, so for Democrats and progressives to pick this moment in history to declare Republicans as an existential threat to democracy is Jumbo-level audacity. Is this gaslighting the result of desperation, idiocy, delusion, or “It’s so crazy, it just might work”? Continue reading

“How Do You Respond When An Anti-Vaxxer Dies Of Covid?” I’ll Answer That…

I thought this op-ed, by a Jesuit priest, would have something profound to say about the ethics of schadenfreude. I was disappointed. His grand conclusion:

At this point I could run through a list of philosophers, theologians and wise voices from religions and traditions around the world to prove my point. Instead I will reclaim a word that has been largely lost from our discourse: mean. Crowing over someone’s suffering or demise is as far from a moral act as one can imagine. It’s cruel. Indulged in regularly, schadenfreude ends up warping the soul. It robs us of empathy for those with whom we disagree. It lessens our compassion. To use some language from both the Old and New Testaments, it “hardens” our hearts. No matter how much I disagree with anti-vaxxers, I know that schadenfreude over their deaths is a dead end.

Wow, stop the presses. A Jesuit recognizes the value of the Golden Rule. This is news that’s “fit to print?” Well, the obvious (I hope) conclusion turned out to be device to attack Wuhan vaccine skeptics and opponents on the way to reaching it. “After months of trying to convince anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-social distancers that lifesaving measures are both for their own good and for that of others, frustration might get the better of people,” Father James Martin writes, finding an excuse for one side of the aisle while condemning without sympathy, for example, Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham, “a commentator who often expresses her belief in “Christian values,” gloating over the news that Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had tested positive despite being vaccinated and boosted.

I expect more fairness and less deceit from the clergy, Lord knows why:

  • Opposing government mandated vaccinations does not make one an “anti-vaxxer.” That’s a slur on par with calling those who doubt the certitude of over-simplified climate change taking points “deniers.” Many oppose the mandated vaccines as an unconstitutional and unethical violation of personal liberty, and are not taking the shots to stand up for basic rights, not because they necessarily don’t believe in “the science.”
  • Calling masks, particularly the masks most people wear, “live-saving” is propaganda and misinformation. The CDC’s “experts” have, in sequence, said “mask aren’t necessary,” wear masks; no need to wear masks if you’re vaccinated; better wear masks, and if you don’t like what the advice is now, as they say about weather in New England, wait a bit. I know men of the cloth are suckers for faith, but if Jesus had been wrong as often as the health experts, we might be making offerings to Jupiter and Neptune today.
  • Don’t get me started on “social distancing.” I’m surprised the good Father didn’t also say we were killing people by touching our faces. Remember that edict?

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“Democracy Dies In Darkness” And Civic Literacy Dies By Trusting The Washington Post

A few days ago, we were treated to a Post science reporter trying to resuscitate Aristotles’ theory of gravity. Also a few days ago, a Post political reporter “informed” the renowned paper’s erudite and elite readership of the development above.

It’s hard to be more wrong than that news item. First, the Constitution is not “supposed” to include any Amendment that wasn’t ratified within the legal deadline. Thus the archivist isn’t “refusing” to add an unratified Amendment. It can’t be added. It’s not an Amendment!

But wait! There’s more, and it took a conservative law professor to point out the error:

February 2, 2022

Letters Editor

The Washington Post

Re:Amber Phillips, ‘The never-ending fight over whether to include the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution,’ The Washington Post (Jan. 31, 2022, 2:22 PM EST), <>.

Dear Letters Editor, 

Ms Phillips wrote that: “Two-thirds of the states have ratified the ERA, which meets the constitutional requirements for adding to the Constitution.” This is not correct. Article V of the United States Constitution, which governs the constitutional amendment process, requires ratification by the legislatures of ¾ of the states. In certain circumstances ratification is possible by the conventions of ¾ of the states, but those circumstances are not applicable to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

In any event, as long as the United States has 50 states, ratification requires action by ¾ or 38 states, and not 2/3 or 34 states.



Seth Barrett Tillman 

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Ethics Observations On An Article That Ruined My Day

It’s difficult for me to formulate complicated arguments when I’m drugged to the gills and sick, so I am, reluctantly, delaying a couple of pieces on the metaphorical runway to catch up on what other people are writing. Big mistake. I just finished a substack post by Paul Musgrave, a political scientist and writer whose newsletter is called “Systematic Hatreds.” It takes its title from a line in “The Education of Henry Adams,” one of my father’s favorite books: “Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” Musgrave, whom I never heard of before, is writing about how he teaches what he calls “the post-legacy media generation.”

It is clear early on in his depressing piece that that almost no one in that generation has heard of Henry Adams, or John Quincy Adams, Abigail Adams, and probably not John Adams either. There’s an excellent chance few have even heard of Morticia Addams, Charles Addams, or know that Eric Adams is the latest mayor of New York City. In fact, it’s quite fair to conclude that none of these soon-to-be-crucial citizens know much of anything at all, because they do not read—literally, do not—and get whatever information the do get from similarly handicapped peers on social media. Musgrave is in the trenches, and he writes,

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/21: An Old Treaty, A Bad Dad, Clothes For Seductive Kids, Chris Wallace Trades The Pot For The Kettle, And New York Being New York

I feel like Dean established the standard for this holiday standard, written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne (“Gypsy,” “Funny Girl”) in July 1945. World War II inspired so many Christmas and holiday songs, notably “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

1. Meeting the terms of a still valid 19th Century treaty seems like an ethical imperative, no? Kim Teehee was selected as the Cherokee people’s first nonvoting U.S. House delegate two years ago; now all that is needed is for the U.S. to make good on a deal it struck with the Cherokee Nation in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, signed by President Andrew Jackson and ratified by the Senate, promising the tribe a non-voting House delegate. There are apparently some details to work out, among them how to respond when other tribes quite reasonably insist that they also deserve this limited representation in Congress, similar to the what D.C. has. One would think that 180 years is enough time for the complexities to be resolved, especially since the Cherokee Nation’s price for the promise of a non-voting House member was The Trail of Tears, when the tribe was forced to move out of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to what is now Oklahoma, with more than 4,000 Cherokees dying along the way. There are an estimated 400,000 Cherokees today.

Why has it taken so long for this to become an issue? Well, as for the U.S., it conveniently “forgot” until historians re-discovered the terms of the treaty 50 years ago. The Cherokees hadn’t pressed the U.S. on meeting its treaty obligations because, as the principle chief of Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin Jr. explains, they had other priorities. “Asserting every detail of that treaty was not on their minds,” he says. “It was surviving.”

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In Which I Fail My Duty To Fight Civility Rot…


Ah, another day, another ethics challenge at the 7-11! If it isn’t CVS, it’s another local establishment. As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say,

For the third straight night, some jerk had parked his car in the church parking lot overlooking our cul-de-sac, sitting with his headlights on so they came right in our living room window and driving my wife to distraction. And also for the third straight night, I put my lovey but pit-bully dog Spuds on his leash to confront the driver, and asked him why the hell he was sitting in his car shining lights in my window. They always say the same thing: “I’m sorry, I had no idea!” Why don’t they have any idea? See those houses literally right in front of you? See where the light beams go?

What’s the matter with these people?

Immediately thereafter, I ran an errand for my already annoyed wife that required me to go to our local 7-11. The clerk, whom I don’t think I’ve ever seen before but he was wearing a %&4#@! mask so I can’t be certain, handled my transaction while having a conversation on his cell phone, never looking at me. This has never happened to me before. In fact, more than once I have admonished customers ahead of me in line in various stores for not having the common courtesy and respect to get off their cell phones or bluetooths and treat clerks like human beings rather than robots. I’ve done it at that 7-11, in fact.

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Comment Of The Day: “…Andrew Sullivan Finally Sees Clearly That The News Media Is Completely Corrupt And Untrustworthy”

idiot meme

This latest opus by Steve-O-in NJ probably qualifies as a rant; I picture him furiously scribbling on paper in a trance, as in “automatic writing” when a medium is channeling Jean Dixon from the beyond. But it’s very good and thoughtful rant. I hope I edited it properly. Oh…I should mention that the tweets above echoing the meme Steve mentions at the start surprised me. I really didn’t think those celebrities could possibly be that stupid.

This is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Well What Do You Know! Andrew Sullivan Finally Sees Clearly That The News Media Is Completely Corrupt And Untrustworthy.”


I saw a meme yesterday that kind of says everything about where the mainstream media and the left (but I repeat myself) are coming from now. It had no picture, it simply said “I want to live in a country where Colin Kaepernick is regarded as a hero and Kyle Rittenhouse is regarded as a terrorist.” I bit my tongue and didn’t say what I was thinking: that ostentatious disloyalty doesn’t make you even close to a hero and let’s let a jury decide what Rittenhouse is, because 1. I wasn’t changing the poster’s mind; and 2. The problem was bigger than those specific examples. Anyone who writes or reposts something like that is in effect saying “I want everyone to think like me and agree with me.” The left and the media have been thinking like that since probably the Clinton days. There’s a reason CNN was then called “the Clinton News Network.”

I have to ask, though, why is Andrew Sullivan just getting this now? Oh, that’s right, the right was opposed to a sudden and seismic cultural shift involving one of the basic building blocks of society, and nothing else mattered, it was all about the belief that heterosexual and homosexual couples were exactly the same and should be treated exactly the same. Single-issue voting is short-sighted, single-issue partisanship is just stupid. Like any other bias, it makes the objective inobjective, the wise foolish, the smart stupid, and the truthful liars.

Dutch missionary Andrew van der Bilj, aka “Brother Andrew” and “God’s Smuggler” used to pray “God, you have made blind eyes see, please make seeing eyes blind,” when he crossed the borders into Communist countries, carrying Bibles and other religious literature that would be considered contraband. Bias seems to do a far better job than God ever did blinding people to a lot more than a few Bibles being brought into an atheistic country.

I wrote three years ago,

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No, Parental And Conservative Complaints About Teaching Critical Race Theory In The Schools Are Not “Dog Whistles”And Based In Racism [Corrected]

Here is a supercut of the spin the left-biased media and its commentators were putting on the Republican victory in Virginia, where Loudoun County was Graund Zero for parent-school board battles over the teaching of “critical race theory, or CRT:

CRT is a generalization, allowing progressives who desperately want to have our rising generations indoctrinated into the useful (well, to them) construct that the United States was founded on racism, that its institutions and laws are poisoned by racist beliefs and intentions, that whites are all complicit in a perpetual effort to obstruct the progress and rights of black citizens, and that blacks have been and are perpetual victims requiring permanent and ongoing remedial benefits, standards and advantages. This is being dishonestly called ‘teaching history,” when it is not. It is, instead, teaching a narrow, activist-centered interpretation of history that is no more “factual” than Marxist theory, libertarianism, or Islam. It is also, by its very nature, not anti-racism, but anti-white and anti-American.

Like so many other public debates over culture and policy, the progressive trick that worked so well during the Obama administration has been re-loaded, aimed and fired at criticism of the CRT push. All criticism of black politicians and leaders was (and still is) declared “racist.” It worked, too. Criticism of Barack Obama and others was muted, as potential critics shrank from being stigmatized. Opposing policies that were proposed by black activists or existing policies, like affirmative action, on rational and legitimate grounds also risked being called racist. Oppose the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue? That’s racist. Point out that Black Lives Matter is an anti-white, anti-police, Marxist con? You believe black lives don’t matter! Racist!

This has been so effective that it was only natural that the same strategy would be employed to make parents wary of opposing public school lessons that were designed to make all children detest their own nation, while encouraging black children to abandon the concept of personal accountability for the acceptance of group grievance and permanent government stewardship. Whites are expected to regard themselves as unjust beneficiaries of a racist society, requiring them to be permanently penitent and submissive. Teaching “white privilege” is based in critical race theory, though it is not technically part of the theory. So is arguing for the elimination of certain laws, like shoplifting, refusing to incarcerate “non-violent” criminals, “defunding the police,” “reparations,” airbrushing away the nation’s honors to its Founders, and so much more.

On his excelled newsletter on substack, Ethics Alarms commenter Humble Talent does a superb job explaining the rhetorical and conceptual slight of hand underway, as he writes in part,

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