Give Beto Credit For Integrity, At Least. That’s Something.

I wrote about Beto O’Rourke’s grandstanding pledge at the CNN “town hall” that President O’Rourke would punish  religious institutions that opposed  gay marriage  by ending lose their tax-exempt status.“ “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone … that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us, and so as President, we are going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans,” Beto preened. Naturally, CNN’s left-wing, Bill of Rights averse audience cheered.

The devil is in the details, however. I assume Beto knows—or someone told him— that absent a leftist dictatorship, Americans cannot be punished for what they believe. Thus the rock star Presidential candidate had to face reality on the Sunday talk shows over the weekend when he explained what he meant by “denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.” See, he didn’t mean “denies” literally.

Whew!

“To be clear, you are free to believe anything that you want to in this country. To associate with whom you please, to practice your faith as you best see fit,” O’Rourke told MSNBC. “But you are not allowed to discriminate against people in this country, to violate their civil rights or their human rights. To be specific, the way that you practice your religion or your faith within that mosque or that temple or synagogue or church, that is your business, and not the government’s business. But when you are providing services in the public sphere, say, higher education, or health care, or adoption services, and you discriminate or deny equal treatment under the law based on someone’s skin color or ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation, then we have a problem.” Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/12/2019…” Item #2, Dan Hudson’s Paternity Leave

“Wait, What??? YOU’RE SKIPPING THE GAME THAT WILL DECIDE THE PENNANT???”

In a post sparked by the the current National League Championship Series (boy, I hope I don’t have to add that the sport is baseball) I had written in part,

“The ethical thing would have been [for Washington Nationals relief pitcher Daniel Hudson, the team’s closer] to pass on the opportunity to take the game off. The Nationals major weakness is a terrible bullpen, and Hudson is one of the few reliable  relief pitchers on the team. As it happened, the Nats won a close game, but that’s just moral luck. They might have lost because of his absence. That loss might have cost the team its chance to go to the World Series. Millions of dollars would be lost to the franchise that pays Hudson seven figures to improve its fortunes. The careers, lives and family fortunes of his team mates would be affected; the jobs and income of hundreds of merchants and others who rely on the success or failure of the team would have been put at risk. How could anyone argue that the emotional support Hudson would lend his wife during childbirth outweighs all of that, or constitutes a superior ethical obligation?”

Who? Why reader Tim Hayes, that’s who, who not only argued thusly, but did so at a Comment of the Day level, and then responded to my subsequent challenges with equally excellent responses. This gave him the Ethics Alarms equivalent of a three home-run game, and I’m going honor him with the whole sequence.

Here is Ethics Alarms slugger Tim Hayes‘s three-dinger Comment of the Day, on Item #2 in “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/12/2019…” :

Counter-argument on the Hudson situation – For the Nationals to have placed themselves in a position where a single player taking advantage of a promised benefit at his job (the paternity leave) created a realistic chance of them losing the game (due to their lack of hiring sufficient healthy talent into their bullpen) is inherently unethical as an organization, because it creates a situation where all the groups you mentioned can be placed in dire straits by what happens to a single performer. Attaching the consequences for the team’s unethical staffing decision to Hudson’s personal behavior is unfair; The team did not choose to get him to negotiate away the benefit he invoked (which, for the appropriate compensation, they presumably could have), and was therefore at least aware of the possibility that something outside their control could sideline Hudson. That it was his wife giving birth, and not Hudson being hit by a self-driving car, which resulted in their not having access to him, was merely a result of luck (pregnancy and births being both notoriously difficult to plan, and the Nationals presence in the playoffs being, from the admittedly little I understand of baseball, something which was unexpected to say the least). Continue reading

Observations On The Viral ‘Trump Slaughtering His Enemies’ Video

The video above was, according to the the New York Times, shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week. There is no evidence, none, that the Trump campaign, the President, or the White House had anything to do with it. The group holding the event is called American Priority. The organizer of the event denounced the video and said his organization was looking into how it came to be shown at the event.

Observations:

1. Why is this newsworthy? Does the New York Times cover every violent, ugly or outrageous meme that denigrates the President? It’s newsworthy, I assume, because the Times and the rest of the mainstream media view anything that places President Trump in a bad light, even a simulated President Trump,  and represents his foes as victims as worth publicizing.

2. No, it’s not the equivalent of Kathy Griffin extolling a violent execution of the President of the United States by holding a model of his severed head. If Trump or the Republican Party produced the video, then there would be a basis for comparison.

3. I thought the video was funny, just as I find the absurd violence in “Planet Terror,” “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn,” and the “Return of the Living Dead” movies funny. If it genuinely upsets you, I’m worried about you.

4. The headlines about the video either show how stupid editors think we are, or how stupid they are. “Doctored Video…,” “Fake Video…,” “Fictitious Video”…Seriously? We need to be told that video is fake? Continue reading

Laws Aren’t Enough: Compassion, Prudence, Proportion And The Golden Rule Must Also Be In The Equation

Here is a cautionary tale out of Great Britain,  whose ethics comprehension appears to have gone into a tailspin.

In Manchester, England about a year ago, Jamie Griffiths , then a 19-year-old male student, reached out and  touched a 17-year-old female classmate’s arm while they were both walking along a city street during the day. Jamie explained to police, which the young woman contacted because of the incident, that he had just wanted to get her attention, introduce himself, and maybe “make a friend.”

Instead, the woman claims, the spontaneous encounter quickly spiraled out of control. As she told the court, according to The Manchester Evening News,

“I was just set on getting home and [reviewing] for my mock exams, but as I was coming over the bridge I saw him facing a hedge and I thought it was really weird. He wasn’t doing anything. He was just facing the hedge, staring at it. As I walked towards him, I was watching him and he suddenly swung round so he was facing me. I remember it happening fast. As soon as he moved, I moved, and I said: ‘stop’ and he touched me on my arm. I sort of jolted out of the way and I went into the road to avoid him and he very quickly walked away…I forgot about it for a while because I had my exams. I just thought it was weird behavior.” She went to the police and reported the episode. Then there was a second. This time, the 17-year-old was was walking to school when Griffiths walked in front of her and touched her side, staying in contact, she said, for about three seconds. “He smirked at me, he didn’t stop, he just touched me and walked off and I broke down crying in the street—it was quite traumatic.”

She and her mother filed a crime report. The student was traumatized by the encounters, she says. “Every time I started working I would cry because I would think of it. I felt very unsafe, even in my own home.”

A magistrate convicted Jamie Griffiths of two charges of sexual assault, accepting the young woman’s assessment that there was “no doubt” that had she not moved away from him that first time he touched her arm, he would have gone on to touch her breast. “The complainant’s evidence was very clear, logical and without embellishment,” the magistrate told the defendant. “We can think of no motivation for you to touch the victim other than sexual. Had she not taken evasive action the assault was likely to have been even more serious.” Continue reading

Ethics Villains Of The Impeachment Coup, Part One

I admit it: just as I sensed that it was important for Ethics Alarms to lend ethical clarity to the potentially (and possibly already) disastrous effort by the Democratic Party to abuse its power and Constitutional processes to remove (that is, overthrow) the President of the United States, I was overcome with a crippling combination of unrelated professional responsibilities and crippling weariness. I’m sick of writing about this topic; I’m even sick of thinking about it. I’m definitely sick of arguing about it on social media. The tag “2016 post-election Ethics Train Wreck” has been appended to more posts than any other, with no end in sight.

I floated the idea of creating a spin-off website that would endeavor to provide one-stop shopping for members of the public who wanted to counter media spin and information suppression on the topic. I do think this is an important project, and I have received a few generous offers to help. I’m still trying to figure out if I have the time to do it right; if I don’t, then it would be unethical to do it at all.

The fact that some polls show that the relentless pro-impeachment propaganda has led to a majority of Americans believing the President should be impeached is troubling, though 1) polls, and 2) on this topic even more than others, all the number shows is how many ignorant Americans are willing to opine at the moment on topics they know nothing about. “Survey Finds More People Would Support Impeachment If They Knew What Crime Trump Was Supposed To Have Committed” snarked the Babylon Bee.

Exactly.

I have several longish essays that I need to write, notably one titled “The Ethics Context of the Trump Impeachment Push.” It should have been written last week, and I’ll be lucky if I can get it complete next week.  I know how important the Democratic Party/ “resistance” /mainstream media coup attempt is. As I have been writing here since January 2017, it is the most important ethics story of modern U.S. political history.

I’ve got to keep the analysis moving, even if it’s too slow.

Here, for reference purposes and future discussions, is a list of the Villains of the Impeachment Coup. Continue reading

End Of Week Ethics Alarms, 10/11/2019: The Liberty Under Attack Edition

Wait…

I’m looking forward to the weekend  even though I’ll be working throughout.

I’m obviously an idiot.

1. My Ethics Alarms doesn’t even “ping!” on this one.  KTVU, the Bay Area’s Fox affiliate, summarized the St. Louis Cardinals’ devastating win over the Braves in Game 5 of the National League Division Series with a chyron reading, “Braves Scalped.” The Horror! Exclaimed the always sensitive Yahoo! Sports, “That’s straight out of the yikes factory. Particularly given the conversation that’s surrounded the Braves recently. A Cardinals pitcher of Native American descent objected to the Braves’ infamous tomahawk chop and the team responded Wednesday by toning down its use of the chop. There’s not any good time to roll out a “scalped” headline, but this was a particularly bad one.” The headline to the story says the headline is “racist.”

OK, why? I want one good reason. If a team is going to call itself something other than “The Baseball Players,” which would be strikingly unoriginal, you have to admit, then metaphors and colorful language relating to that teams’ nickname are automatically appropriate. “Orioles’/Cardinals’/Bluejays’ Wings Clipped!”…”Red Sox/Whie Sox unravel!”…”Tigers/Cubs/ Declawed!”…”Nats Swatted!”…”Giants Dwarfed!”…  “Pirates Walk The Plank!”…”Diamondbacks Rattled!”…”Mariners Sink!” But “Braves (or Indians) Scalped!” is an outrage? The team lost 13-1! The Braves were down 10-0 after the first half-inning; it was an epic slaughter. I could u8nderstand the discomfort if Native Americans never scalped their adversaries, but they did. This isn’t some kind of historical slander. Let’s see…here’s some of a rather scholarly article on the subject of scalping…

…the languages of the eastern Indians contained many words to describe the scalp, the act of scalping, and the victim of scalping. A Catholic priest among the Hurons in 1623 learned that an onontsira was a war trophy consisting of “the skin of the head with its hair.” The five languages of the Iroquois were especially rich in words to describe the act …To the Mohawks and Oneidas, the scalp was onnonra ; the act of taking it, kannonrackwan . Their western brothers at Onondaga spoke of hononksera , a variation of the Huron word. And although they were recorded after initial contact with the Europeans, the vocabularies of the other Iroquois nations and of the Delaware, Algonquin, Malecite, Micmac, and Montagnais all contained words for scalp, scalping, and the scalped that are closely related to the native words for hair, head, skull, and skin. That these words were obviously not borrowed from European languages lends further support to the notion that they were native to America and deeply rooted in Indian life….paintings and drawings reinforce that image. The single most important picture in this regard is Theodore de Bry’s engraving of Le Moyne’s drawing of “How Outina’s Men Treated the Enemy Dead.” Based on Le Moyne’s observations in 1564-65, the 1591 engraving was the first pictorial representation of Indian scalping, one faithful to Le Moyne’s verbal description and to subsequent accounts from other regions of eastern America. The details—sharp reeds to extract the scalp, drying the green skin over a fire, displaying the trophies on long poles, and later celebrating the victory with established rituals by the sorcerer—lend authenticity to De Bry’s rendering and support to the argument for the Indian invention of scalping….[I]n the end, the American stereotype of scalping must stand as historical fact, whether we are comfortable with it or not.”

In summary, the word was obviously not meant literally to refer to a baseball game. Nor was the use of it was in no way libelous to real Native Americans. Yahoo’s pearl-clutching, and that of social media political correctness cops, is more offensive by far than the Fox chryon.

2.  As if you didn’t have to jump through too many hoops to fly already…In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act, which made the addition of a star to state IDs  and drivers licenses necessary to have access to nuclear power plants and federal facilities. Then some genius decided that access to airplanes should be added to the list. Continue reading

The Return Of The Finger Gun

 

If finger guns are made illegal, only those with fingers will have guns. No, wait..if fingers that can be be made into guns are illegal, only criminals will have fingers. No, that can’t be right…

I cannot resist posting this right after the previous post.

The last time Ethics Alarms discussed punishing children for making finger guns was in 2013. A six-year-old boy in Maryland’s ultra-progressive Montgomery County was suspended from school for making a finger and thumb gun gesture.

This came at the height of post-Sandy Hook anti-gun hysteria, though that was no excuse. I concluded the post,

This is, in order of importance,

  1. Child abuse. This young boy is being treated like a wrongdoer because the adults around him are acting like babies. Will they suspend him for making really scary faces next? Biting his pizza slice into threatening shapes?
  2. Proof of incompetence on the part of the school administrators. Why incompetence? They are stupid, that’s why. Only certifiably stupid people would think it is fair, sensible or reasonable to punish a first-grader for making a gesture kids have been making on playgrounds for hundreds of years, without a single casualty.
  3. Why many people lose respect for anti-gun zealots early in life. They forfeit all respect by acting like ninnies.

The dismaying aspect of this is ridiculous episode is that it has happened before in other schools, and clearly the message wasn’t sent clearly enough to the previous offenders–that is, the fools who victimized innocent children for miming, drawing or otherwise suggesting guns—that this kind of conduct is a career-ender. It should be; it has to be. Such irrational fearfulness, bad judgment, panic, disregard for the sensibilities of the young, lack of proportion and brain dysfunction forfeits all right to trust, and such fools must not be allowed to have power over young bodies and minds.

Nevertheless, it has happened again. Continue reading