Observations And Questions About The Weirdest Political Photo Ever…

Carters and Bidens

Once again I have to say, “I don’t understand this AT ALL.”

The photo didn’t come from the Babylon Bee, it came from the Carter Center, which was not hacked. The place really did send out this ridiculous photo that makes Joe Biden look like Andre the Giant, Rosalynn Carter look like Lily Tomlin playing “Edith Ann” on “Laugh-in,” Dr. Biden look like she’s remaking “Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman” and the former President look like Dorf.

1. What idiot at the Carter Center didn’t pick up on the fact that the photo made the Center’s scions look like dolls? How hard is that? Is this fool still employed? Does he or she secretly hate the Carters? “We’re pleased to share this wonderful photo from the @POTUS and @FLOTUS visit to see the Carters in Plains, Ga.!” the Center’s tweet said. “Wonderful”? It’s an incompetent photo.

2. What allged photographer took that monstrosity? Who approved and released it? Who are these incompetent employees?

3. No masks? No masks inside within inches of two high risk seniors in their Nineties?

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Verdict: Facebook’s “Oversight Board” Is An Unethical Farce

kangaroos jury

From the Boston Globe this morning: “The social network’s quasi-independent Oversight Board voted to uphold [Donald Trump’s] ban from the platform after his account was suspended four months ago for inciting violence that led to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.”

That tells you all you need to know about the fairness of any such decision involving any organization with “media” in its description. Let’s see:

  • What—THE HELL—is a “quasi-independent” board? Is it independent, or isn’t it? Oh, it’s “kind of” independent, is it? Right. It’s not independent then, and no decision by any body that allows itself to be used in corporate deceit like that can be trusted. Gautam Hans, a technology law and free speech expert and professor at Vanderbilt University, commented that “If any other company decided, well, we’re just going to outsource our decision-making to some quasi-independent body, that would be thought of as ridiculous.”

Yes, that’s because it is ridiculous, for Facebook or “any other company.”

  • President Trump was banned for “inciting violence” when any objective analysis of his words and what happened shows that he did nothing of the kind.
  • The gratuitous use of “deadly” is more of the news media’s attempt to bias public perceptions of the event to Trump’s detriment.

The CYA board—I think that’s a fair description—then said, contradicting itself, “It was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” although the board is allowing the penalty to stand. It gave Facebook (of which, remember, it is quasi-independent! Don’t forget that! ) six more months to reexamine the “arbitrary penalty” it imposed on January 7, and then decide on another penalty that reflects the “gravity of the violation and the prospect of future harm.”

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Ethics Quiz: The Basecamp Political Discussion Ban

Last week, software company Basecamp’s CEO Jason Fried anounced in a blog post that employees would no longer be allowed to openly share their “societal and political discussions” at work. “Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant,” Fried wrote. “You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target.” Coinbase, a cryptocurrency company, issued a similar edict last year, but the internal reaction to Fried’s announcement was a rebellion. Basecamp employs around 60 people, and about a third of the them have accepted buyouts to leave in an apparent protest against the new policy.

There are few legal limits on employers regulating political speech in the workplace. First Amendment rights do not apply to private sector employers. Any speech ban has to clearly state that the policy will not apply to discussions relating to terms and conditions of employment protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. An employer must also consistently enforce the policy lest selective enforcement suggest discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or other protected classifications.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Week is…

Is such a ban ethical?

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“It’s A New Week!” Ethics Warm-Up, 5/3/2021: Good Day Edition

Bad, BAD week last week, and not just for me. It was a bad week in ethics, and because of my own shortcomings, I wasn’t able to properly provide a path through it. This week will be better, starting today. At least if I have anything to say about it…

1. From “the rest of the story” files: Remember when Jonathan Papelbon attacked Bryce Harper in the Washington Nationals dugout? It was 2015, and pretty much marked the end of relief ace Paplebon’s career. Harper went on to become a mega-million dollar free agent after the 2018 season, when he signed with the Phillies for a ridiculous 30 million dollars a year long-term contract. Papelbon finally resurfaced in Boston this season as an amusingly unrestrained analyst for NESN, which broadcasts the the Red Sox games. And I recently discovered how almost right he was to accost Harper, if admittedly a bit too enthusiastically. The prompt for Pap to go grab Harper by the neck was the latter loafing down the line as he barely ran out a ground ball. Harper’s periodic lack of hustle had been a source of annoyance for years (to be fair, he was “only” being paid 2.5 million bucks to play hard in 2015), but I just saw the stats for his last year in Washington. Having been a plus-defensive player in previous years, Harper stopped hustling entirely in 2018, both in the field and on the bases. Though he had once saved over 20 runs in a season in the field alone, in his free agent year Harper cost his team over 20 runs that year, making sure he stayed healthy for the big payday to come (to be fair, he was “only” being paid 21.6 million bucks to play hard in 2018). As soon as he had a guaranteed contract with Philadelphia, Harper started playing hard again, dashing around the bases and diving in the outfield.

Both Papelbon and Harper were jerks during their careers, but nobody could accuse “Pap” of not doing his best to win for the fans, his team, its city and his team mates every single time he stepped onto a baseball field.

2. Not Harvard this time: it’s back to Georgetown! Both of my schools’ diplomas are turned to the wall of my office in a symbolic protest against their continuing unethical policies and conduct—-I’m not sure what more I can do to signal my contempt and embarrassment. Now it’s Georgetown’s turn again—I worked for the University for five years after I graduated from the Law Center—to make me wish I had graduated from a school with some integrity. Though it has been notably un-covered by the mainstream news media, Georgetown Professor Michele Swers read the words of a Ku Klux Klan leader in her “U.S. Political Systems” class for the college, but because she “did not censor” the word “nigger,” a large contingent of her students sent a smoking gun letter letter to Swers and the college’s diversity office, demanding that she apologize profusely, review all future presentation and lecture material for potential bias;  and demonstrate her “understanding of the history of the N-word and why it is inappropriate for a non-Black person to say it in any context, including an educational context.” [Pointer: Steve Witherspoon]

So far, I can find no record of a response from the university or the professor, but writing of the incident, Prof. Turley says in part,

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Ethics Filips, 4/30/21: Incompetence Amuck [Expanded]

1. CVS, our oasis of responsible health care...This really happened to me. At my local CVS this morning, waiting in line for the pharmacy, everything broke down when the trainee clerk couldn’t locate the prescription of the woman in front of me, who said she had received a call telling her to pick it up. The clerk and the supervisor insisted that they had no such prescription, and the supervisor even printed out a sheet showing her last five pick-ups. “Uh, that one on the top—the one with a red circle around it? That’s what I’m here to pick up,” she said, with less venom than I would have used. This completely confused the staffers, who caucused, and asked her to verify various dates. “Why don’t just look in the bin labeled “O” (her surname initial) and see if it’s there?” the woman suggested. They did, and sure enough, there were her pills. I started giggling, and she looked at me and said, soto voce, “Isn’t this scary?”

Then it was my turn. While waiting out this drama, I had noticed three printed signs reading that “The Coronavirus Vaccine is not currently available at any CVS locations. Check cvs.com for updates.” I asked to speak to the pharmacist, and told her that the signs were wrong: my sister and other people I know had been vaccinated at CVSs, and months ago. “Yes, but this CVS doesn’t have the vaccines,” she said. “But that’s not what the signs on your area say,” I pointed out. “They say that NO CVS locations have the vaccine. That is demonstrably untrue, and I would expect CVS staff to know that.”

“Oh,” she shrugged. “Well, it’s easy to change the signs…”

2. Yesterday I saw…

  • An 8 year-old boy, running in a field, completely alone, wearing a mask.
  • A man leaving his home maskless, then putting a mask on as he got into his car.
  • A teacher (we live next to an elementary school) outside with her class. She wore a mask, and so did half of the children.
  • A woman walking her dog on a windy day in Virginia. She had a mask. (The dog did not. Dogs are smart…)

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Regarding “Uncle Tim”: Everybody’s Wrong.

Scott response

South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott delivered a rarity, an opposing party “replay” to a Presidential address that was eloquent, powerful, and relevant. However, Scott also fell into the ethics abyss by demanding that Twitter take down tweets that included the hashtag “Uncle Tim.” Scott called the trend “upsetting” and “so disappointing” this morning, saying that it shows the left “are literally attacking the color of my skin.”

Well yes, they are. That shouldn’t be surprise, since they have also been attacking the color of MY skin.

The conservatives, as the mainstream media likes to say when Republican point out hypocrisy, “pounced”:

Tim tweet 1

Tim tweet 2

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So Do You Oppose The Death Penalty, Or Don’t You?

Absolutism is a bitch, as people used to say about Emanuel Kant behind his back. Absolute means absolute, and by taking an absolute position, you have waived the right to retreat, as rational ethical beings must sometimes, to the shelter of the Ethics Incompleteness Principle. Thus I confess to being thrilled at the dilemma President Biden has found himself in as the Supreme Court considers whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving partner of the Chechnyan terrorist bother act that bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, deserves the death penalty.

Oh, gee, let me thin–YES! Of course he should die. The position here on capitol punishment is that having the ultimate punishment as the penalty for ultimate evil is crucial in order to maintain society’s reverence for human life and the rule of law. I don’t care if we only haul out “Old Sparky” for true monsters, like the Cheshire home invaders, Jeffrey Dauhmer, and James Earl Ray. Heck, I don’t care if you decide to only execute Tsarnaev and monsters like him, meaning those who, like him and his big bro, plant deadly shrapnel bombs where they know a happy crowd and families will be gathering for an annual event, where they killed three people, injured 260, many of them badly, including seventeen people who lost limbs. The brothers also killed a law enforcement officer as they attempted to escape.

Opponents of the death penalty are a funny bunch, and by funny I mean “they love grandstanding until they learn the details.” In the aftermath of the D.C. Snipers case, pollsters found that a significant percentage of those who said that they were unalterably opposed to capital punishment also said “buuuut I wouldn’t fight making an exception with those snipers.”

Then you are not opposed to capital punishment. It’s that simple.

In March, SCOTUS heard arguments in an appeal of the ruling last year by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, That court upheld Tsarnaev’s convictions on 27 counts agaianst him, including First Degree Murder, but ruled that his death sentence should be overturned because the trial judge had not questioned jurors closely enough about their exposure to pretrial publicity and had excluded evidence concerning Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his older brother and accomplice.

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Undercovers Ethics, 4/27/21

Well, here I am trying to write a post in bed. This never works our well, but it’s this or nothing. I have clients waiting, my dog is mad at me for not walking him on a gorgeous day, and I wish I could just soldier through it all. I can’t, though, and feel like an utter failure. I’ve in pain in more than one location, a lower back strain being the latest addition, I’m in the midst of an allergy attack, and all the drugs have made me nauseous and dizzy. But ethics waits for no one, and it certainly isn’t going to wait for the likes of me.

1. This is what “systemic racism” propaganda produces…an op-ed by a civil engineering student from the University of California, Los Angeles, written for the the College Fix documents some of his discussion with the woke-infected on campus. He says he recently took part in an online debate about “systemic racism” during which some UCLA students complained that automatic soap dispensers are racist. One student said the dispensers “don’t see her hands” because of her dark skin. Another student claimed that the dispensers force “black and brown” people to show their palms, “the only light areas of the skin,” before the liquid soap comes out.

Both students are delusional, but this is how the current “racist America all the time everywhere” makes gullible and insecure blacks paranoid and miserable.

2. Blame Mitch McConnell for the “court packing” rationalizations. Last week, a Georgetown law student—poor bastard— confronted Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) when he accused Democrats of making a “power grab.””You didn’t see Republicans, when we had control of the Senate, try to rig the game. You didn’t see us try to pack the court,” he said. The law student protested, “How is court packing any different than what the Republicans did in 2016 and 2020?”

“We filled vacancies, that’s not packing the court,” Cruz insisted, as the law student insisted there was no difference between what Republicans refusing to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia, did and what Democrats are now trying to do by expanding the court. “They’re doing something that’s allowed under the Constitution,” the student countered. “It’s not an obstruction to the rule of law if it’s in the law.”

Ugh. Mitch McConnell’s unethical—not illegal—gambit to bury the Garland nomination under a contrived election year rule may have worked, but Republicans will be suffering for it for generations—and they deserve to. No, what the GOP did wasn’t “court packing,” which has had a specific, well-understood meaning since FDR tried it. But the laws student is already adept at the progressive craft of redefining words and concepts to meet whatever goal they are seeking to justify at the moment.

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Ethics Quiz: Race-Based Vaccines

It’s hard to believe that officials in Hamilton, Ontario, one of Canada largest cities, didn’t hear the faint clanging of ethics alarms when they came up with this policy.

The CBC reported that public health officials pressured the agency to “prioritize racialized, disabled and low-income residents.” I think “racialized” is a cool euphemism, don’t you? How does one get “racialized”?

75% of Hamilton’s population is white, but non-white communities have accounted for nearly half of all pandemic cases in the city.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is Hamilton’s policy ethical?

I’m amazed no city has tried this in the U.S.

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.