Ethics Quiz (And Poll): The Cop And The KKK Application

Either our nation is committed to the principles of freedom of thought, speech, expression and association,  or it is not.

With that preface, here is the kind of gray area, bizarre fact pattern controversy that puts ethical analysis to the test.

In the Muskegon County (Michigan) town of Holton, African-American  Rob Mathias, accompanied by his wife and children, was walking through the home of Charles Anderson, a local police officer, with the intent of possibly purchasing it.  Then he saw a framed Klu Klux Klan application hanging on a wall, as well as several Confederate flags. He and his family immediately left the property.

Later he posted a photograph of the KKK application on Facebook, (above) explaining later that he felt it was something the public had a right to know about, especially if the officer had a history of questionable interactions with African Americans.  Mathias wrote that Anderson “was one of the most racist people” in the community and “hiding behind his uniform.” The post was also personal and threatening, concluding with “I know who you are and will be looking for resources to expose your prejudice.”

The Facebook post triggered an internal investigation of Anderson, and he was placed on administrative leave. “We do take this sort of issue, seriously, and we are working hard to understand if/how this may impact his ability to safely and fairly police our community,” Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson reporters. Muskegon County NAACP President Eric Hood piled on, saying, “We want a thorough investigation to be sure that when he goes out there and puts on that uniform and performs his duties as an officer that he’s being fair and impartial.”

“I’m still disgusted by it. I’m hurt,” said Mathias “You can’t serve your community and be a racist. You can’t. There are people of all different colors, of all different nationalities … out there that you have to serve and protect. You can’t just protect one group of people.”

 Rachel Anderson, the officer’s wife, told reporters that her husband is not and never was a KKK member. She said he was a collector, and called the uproar a misunderstanding.

Mathias’ wife said in rebuttal,

“I like antiques, but I collect things that I represent. You can go in my basement, we have Detroit Lions, Red Wings, Michigan stuff, everything we associate ourselves with.So why would you collect something you don’t associate with yourself?” 

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Has this situation been handled fairly, responsibly and ethically? Continue reading

“Unethical” Is Too Mild To Describe Elizabeth Warren, And “Gullible” Is Too Nice To Describe Her Supporters

Above is what Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who presumes to tell us that she is qualified to be President of the United States,  tweeted to her followers last week. This deliberate and disgraceful lie could be presented on Ethics Alarms as evidence that Warren is an Ethics Dunce. It would easily qualify as an Unethical Quote of the Week (Month…Year…). It is fully qualified as an Unethical Tweet of the Week, in a category that is becoming increasingly contested. None of these, however, quite capture the miserable, cynical, disgusting nature of Warren’s statement. Continue reading

The Complete El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto, With Ethics Commentary, PART I

The “manifesto” follows; some of my my observations precede it, the bulk of them, after, in Part II.

1. The fact that the news media went to such lengths to avoid making the manifesto easily accessible to the public is as alarming as the manifesto itself. This is elite and powerful institutions accountable to no one deliberately manipulating information for their own agenda and political motives. It doesn’t matter if they,”mean well,” and are emulating New Zealand’s measure, unconstitutional and thus unacceptable here, to censor the Christ Chruch shooter’s manifesto as a means of not spreading hate, or hare speech, or bad thoughts, or “giving the shooter what he wants.” It’s wrong, it’s un-American, it’s an abuse of power, and like so much else wafting over from the Left, reeks of totalitarianism. I know I mentioned this before, but, frankly, I’m angry: How dare the Washington Post wrap its reporting in “Democracy Dies in Darkness” and then turn off the lights when it suits their purposes?

2. The link turned up on the Drudge Report, which I suppose is why Powerline thought it could say that it was easily found online. Drudge is a muckraking, untrustworthy link-farm mostly followed by conservatives: I don’t consider it any more of a news site than Fark.com. Upon reflection, yes, I should have thought of it, but I shouldn’t have had to. Every published report that purported to interpret or analyze the El Paso manifesto had an ethiacl obligation to link to it or publish the whole thing.

Google was complicit in making it difficult to find. I googled “text of El Paso shooter manifesto,” “pdf of shooter manifesto,” and every conceivable combination, searched and scanned the results, and still found nothing. That would not happen if Google were not deliberately helping to hide it—if you want to use the term “conspiring,” be my guest.

Jerry Goedken (thanks, Jerry) revealed that the magic Google term is “drudgereport link to el paso manifesto.” Ah! So you have to know where it is to search for it! Seems logical.

Are we scared yet?

3. No, I’m not using the crazy’s name. That IS easily accessible, and his name is irrelevant. What matters is that what he wrote, which is essential for anyone who wants to try to understand what happened in El Paso, and why, and not to be at the mercy of contrived propaganda from the Left, the “resistance” and the news media,  must be available. The rationalizations for burying it are disingenuous and absurd, particularly the idiocy that it might inspire others or inflame hatred. There are equally inflammatory screeds and posts on social media every day. There are blog posts and columns in major newspapers and websites that are more inflammatory; there are screaming talking heads on CNN and MSNBC and Fox every day who are as hateful and incendiary.

4. Why is this rant being hidden? I think it is so the President of the United States can be falsely implicated in a slaughter for partisan political gain—that is, to foment hate, but the good kind–you know, against our elected leader. Those, like Beto O’Rourke, who are shouting to the skies that the shooter was virtually doing Trump’s bidding would not dare to make such a claim if they thought their audience read the manifesto.

5. Here’s the bottom line: There is no way a reasonable, objective, fair analyst could conclude that the El Paso shooter was in any way motivated by the President, his rhetoric, or his policy positions. Any pundit or journalist that claims otherwise is biased to the point of delusion, or lying. As I will explicate later, the rhetoric of Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and other hard Left progressives are arguably more directly consistent with the shooter’s beliefs than anything Donald Trump has ever advocated. I assume that the shooter’s own direct rejection of the thesis being throttled into the public by the mews media will be denied as some kind of loyal attempt to protect his white nationalist hero, or similar garbage. It’s classic conspiracy thinking: when the manifesto can be twisted to support a grand narrative, the writer is lucid and convincing; when it contradicts the narrative, well, what do you expect? He’s nuts, and why would you trust a murderer?

He writes below:

In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto…My ideology has not changed for several years. My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest  predate Trump and his campaign for President. I [am] putting this here because some people will blame the  President or certain presidential candidates for the attack. This is not the case. I know that the media  will probably call me a white supremacist anyway and blame Trump’s rhetoric. The media is infamous for fake news. Their reaction to this attack will likely just confirm that.

The last two sentences are 100% accurate, and the sanest thing in his statement.

Here is the manifesto, which I formatted to allow for easier reading, another task journalists were obligated to do: Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/9/2019: “I See Unethical People!” Edition

S-s-s-s-stretch those ethics muscles!

(although, to be fair, the items today don’t require much stretching…)

1. Rosie Ruiz, unethical icon, has died. Rosie Ruiz got her 15 minutes of fame—well, infamy—by briefly fooling officials and the media into believing she had won the 1980 Boston Marathon. “She jumped out of the crowd, not knowing that the first woman hadn’t gone by yet,” a source who Ruiz had confessed to told The Boston Globe. “Believe me, she was as shocked as anyone when she came in first.” She wasn’t even a skilled cheater.

Nonetheless, Ruiz maintained publicly that she had been robbed of a genuine victory, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. She even displayed her first place medal whenever possible.

Ruiz is an excellent example of how signature significance works. It would be nice to report that she went on from this one, impulsive, foolish scam and became a beloved and tireless worker for the common good. Uh, no. Cheating in a major athletic competition isn’t something anyone does who has functioning ethics alarms. Ruiz was charged in 1982 with grand larceny and forgery, accused of stealing cash and checks from the real estate firm where she had been a bookkeeper. This got her a week in jail and five years’ probation. In 1983,  she was arrested on charges of attempting to sell cocaine to undercover agents at a hotel in Miami and spent three weeks in jail. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/5/2019: Preparing For Yet Another Anti-Gun Freak-Out Edition

Good Morning!

 Notes on the impending gun control summer re-runs..

  • There is literally no significance to the fact that there were two mass shootings within 48 hours of each other last week. None. It is pure moral luck, nothing more. If the shootings had occurred weeks apart, or months, the same factors would have been at play, and the same number of people would be dead or injured.

A responsible news media would explain this, as the public looks at these things emotionally rather than rationally. Instead, the news media is doing the opposite.

  • President Trump has decided that it is politically expedient to “do something,” so he tweeted this morning that he favored “strong background checks” in order that “those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, [not] die in vain.” This will annoy Second Amendment champions, and it is certainly a nice example of the “Barn Door Fallacy.” Background checks, however strong, wouldn’t have stopped these shootings in all likelihood, or the vast majority of mass shootings.

It is also possible that the President is being smarter than it seems, since he mentioned some kind of more gun regulations for actual immigration reform compromise. Of course that kind of trade-off makes sense. I suggested that exact deal when Obama was President, but he preferred to whine about how he couldn’t work with Congress rather than compromise. Trump will compromise, in part because he’s a pragmatist, in part because he has no ideals.

The Democrats won’t, though. Continue reading

Bill Maher Ethics And Resistance Big Lie #5

HBO’s Bill Maher has exercised a downward force on national ethics since he started taking himself seriously as a pundit. We haven’t check in on Bill for a while. The non-news is that he’s as reflexively smug and vile as ever, and that his pose as a comedian is still used as cover to permit his often sociopathic political views to escape the condemnation they warrant. Let’s see…

  • In his latest show, Maher had this exchange with Democratic columnist Josh Barro:

Maher: “I’ve been hoping for a recession – people hate me for it – but it would get rid of Trump.”

Barro: “Recessions are really bad. People lose their jobs and homes and we shouldn’t wish for it.”

Maher: “I know. It’s worth it.”

Unless you think this was a hilarious exchange, you must recognize it as the position of a hateful, Machiavellian fanatic. He detests the President so much that he wants there to be a disaster harming the U.S., families, businesses and the economy  so  he can rid the nation of the President. This is no different from wishing for a plague, race riots, a terrorist attack or a war.

  • Closing his show, Maher made this pitch:

“Fatigue is the best thing we’ve got going for us. The majority of Americans aren’t tired of winning, they’re tired of looking at his fat fuckiing face! It’s hard to beat an incumbent in a good economy. Every incumbent since FDR has won if they avoided a recession leading up to an election year and consumer confidence is sky high. … The voters that Democrats need to win, moderates who have Trump fatigue, will vote against a good economy, I think, just to get back to normalcy, but they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism….”All the Democrats have to do to win is to come off less crazy than Trump — and, of course, they’re blowing it! Coming across as unserious people who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in ‘America sucks.’ It’s the fatigue, stupid! Let’s make it hard for Trump to play on voters’ fears and let the fatigue win the election for us. We’ll get to the revolution, but remember, put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child.”

Continue reading

Terrifying Tales Of The Double Standard: Lena Dunham’s Unwanted Kiss

I suggest listening to this as background as you gaze at the picture…

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances in a workplace setting. Sexual assault is an uninvited or consented to touching of a sexual nature.

Outspoken feminist/writer/actress Lena Dunham decided to spontaneously kiss walk over toher “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” costar Brad Pitt and kiss him, at the Quentin Tarantino film’s London premiere.  I’m enjoying the media accounts—more on this below— that say she “appeared” to kiss him: what else could she be trying to do? Whisper in his mouth? Eat his lips?)

The photographic evidence makes it clear that the advance was unwelcome, indeed evoking  an exchange in “Singing in the Rain”: Continue reading