Category Archives: The Internet

More Ethics Observations On The Chicago “Fuck White People” Torture Video

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1. Is the mainstream media reporting on this incident a tipping point in which the public finally sees and recoils from the dishonesty and the manipulation it is routinely subjected to?  Coming on the heels of the election, the biased reporting on the Chicago attack as well the take of many pundits and on-air personalities have been especially shameless. It has pulled other themes and events along with it, such as Meryl Streep’s grandstanding at the Golden Globe Awards. I hope it’s a tipping point. It is for me, I think.

2. Rod Dreher has a superb essay about the media’s spin on this story and its implications—spin or outright lies—and his analysis is excellent. I recommend reading it, and also the comments, which are erudite and probing as well. As an aside: what a pity it is the ideologies in this country have become so hostile that no liberal or progressive would ever venture onto a site called “American Conservative,” and even citing a post from such a site automatically opens someone like me to the accusation of pushing a partisan agenda. As I have written and will continue to (The recent Ethic Alarms posts covering the attack and the news media’s distortion of it are here and here), the fact that even now, after its coverage of the campaign was scandalously biased and many organizations have emitted loud mea culpas, this refusal to report facts and continued partisan team play is proof that what once was annoying is now an existential crisis. Democracy will not work if facts have no meaning, and the truth is parceled out according to a political agenda. What follows is totalitarianism. Unless liberals and progressives see the threat and join in demands for reform, the likely future is bleak.

3. From Dreher:

“Earlier today in New Orleans, I had been having lunch with some friends, both liberals and conservatives. The issue of how so many Americans now don’t have much interest in truth (as distinct from believing what they want to believe) came up. Of course there was the matter of Trump’s dishonesty, but also the matter of the media’s ethics. I said that I read and subscribe to the Times mostly for the same reason Soviets used to read Pravda back in the day: to know what the Official Story the ruling class wishes to tell itself is. That’s not to say that the Times doesn’t feature excellent reporting and good writing; it does. But I don’t trust it to tell me the truth. I trust it to reveal to me the narrative that the greater part of the ruling class (minus the Republican elites) tells itself. That’s a useful thing to know, as long as you know that you’re only getting a take.”

4.  A lot came together for me after learning from Dreher that both  the Times and  Salon  attempted to bypass the anti-white, anti-Trump aspect of the attack and represent it as an anti-handicapped hate crime. Dreher cites Steve Sailer, who wrote,

So, you have your marching orders, right? The video of blacks abusing a white kid has nothing to do with virulent prejudice against whites or Trump, it has to do with Society’s prejudice against the intellectually disabled minority.

Do you understand your mission?

As you know, it is a priori impossible for Victim-Americans to abuse American-Americans. So, the victim must have been a Victim-American.

5.  Is it possible that this was what actress Meryl Streep was doing when she picked an old but horrible example of Trump at his worst during the campaign,  his mockery of a handicapped reporter, to launch her Golden Globes attack on the election results, average Americans, football, immigration laws and the MMA?  Continue reading

31 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Facebook, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race, U.S. Society

An Ethics Conundrum: What Is The Responsible, Objective Way To Treat Donald Trump’s Most Foolish Tweets?

twitter4Opinions may differ, but today’s tweet-junk was especially idiotic.

The President-Elect felt he just had to gloat about the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger, his successor on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” failed to attract the same number of viewers when Trump was the star.

The ex-Governor of California’s debut as host on NBC was watched by 4.9million viewers compared to Trump’s 6.5million viewers who tuned in to the season premiere in 2015….and if you care about the ratings of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” I don’t think you and I would have much to talk about.

Trump tweeted, in his best junior high school mode,

“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT…So much for being a movie star – and that was season 1 compared to season 14….Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported [Ohio Governor John] Kasich & [Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton.”

This—of course it did—sparked a brief tweet war between the former Austrian bodybuilding star turned action movie star turned honorary Kennedy turned politician turned shriveled, disgraced, washed-up ex-Kennedy, washed-up action star on-line game app huckster reality show host and the real estate, hotel and casino mogul turned political troll turned reality star turned, HOLY COW! President of the United States:

“I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings,” the actor tweeted, adding a video from an earlier tweet in which he quoted Abraham Lincoln.

Every time Trump does something this petty, needless, and undignified, he scares people to death, as in their minds they transfer this level of judgment to critical decisions he may face as President and feel like their lives are in the hands of Bluto from Delta House. Nobody, and I mean nobody, deserving of an adult’s respect wants to know the next President’s views about “The Apprentice.” Such a tweet is a 100% loss, and no upside for Trump. The more publicity it gets, the worse off he is, meaning the worse off the Presidency  is, meaning the worse off the nation is….and yet the substance of the tweet couldn’t be more trivial if he had tweeted a recipe for fried grasshoppers. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Leadership, Social Media

Revised Ethics Alarms Comments Policies

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Ethics Alarms has now been active for seven full years, and there have been more than 160,000 comments on the 7000+ posts here. It is time—past time, really— to revise the Comment Policies based on what I have learned, and based on what the blog has become and what I want it to accomplish.

This site exists to encourage an ongoing, rigorous and engaging inquiry about ethics, from the perspective of events large and small, in the United States and the world. Ethics evolves as societal standards and norms evolve. We accomplish that evolution, usually in enlightened directions, through advocacy, disagreement and debate, using logic, values, principles, systems and facts. The comment section has evolved as moderated colloquy among intelligent, articulate and open-minded readers, and me, as the author/ ethicist/host and moderator. I have learned a great deal from the site’s readers, and hope to continue to do so.

Ethics Alarms offers the following 20 guidelines and rules to advance this mission:

1. Before you comment for the first time, check the terms and concepts page if you can. It will avoid misunderstandings

2. I prefer full names attached to comments.. If you want to use a screen name, I have to know who you are. You can e-mail me your name at jamproethics@verizon.net, and it will not be divulged. You must enter an e-mail address, and it must be real. If you use a fake e-mail address, your comment will be deleted. No comment signed “anonymous” will be posted. Ever. (Well, hardly ever) If you use a URL as your screen name, I will treat the comment as spam no matter how trenchant your observations are.

3. I have to approve every first time commenter, and as with bar associations and Harvard College, the standards used to screen applicants are tougher than the standards applied once you pass. If your initial foray here is gratuitously disrespectful, nasty, snotty, disparaging,  obnoxious, or just plain stupid, your comment won’t make it out of  moderation. Similarly, non-substantive comments expressing approval or disapproval without more are worthless, and I’ll reject them.  Initiating your relationship on Ethics Alarms with snark, sarcasm, nastiness or ridicule is a bad strategy–as I noted above, you have to earn the privilege of talking to me like that. You may not get a second chance.

4. Regular commenters have special privileges. They can engage in tough rhetoric bordering on insult, as well as brief comments that would not pass muster with a first-timer. But always remember that you are a guest here. Guests are obligated to prove their trustworthiness and good will before they are extended special privileges, and even those privileges have their limits.

5. Political rants are not welcome.  In addition, efforts to muddle genuine objective ethical analysis by pressing ideological talking points and bombarding me with links are not appreciated, and won’t be tolerated for long, if at all..

6. Keep comments as civil as possible. Ethics Alarms does, at its discretion, permit vulgarity and profanity for style and emphasis. I will show limited tolerance for rude and abusive comments and commenters, depending on the combatants. At my sole discretion, I may extend special dispensation for regular, substantive commenters here who have accumulated good will and trust, even when they cross lines that I would not permit to be crossed by a less-credentialed visitor [See below]. While a verdict of “you are an idiot,” may occasionally be justified, I may ding comments that include gross personal attacks, subject to the exceptions noted above, unless it has an extremely impressive substantive argument accompanying it. In the heat of debate, Ethics Alarms will tolerate the  occasional insult  If commenters become overly nasty and personal in their exchanges with each other or habitually so, I will intervene.

7. Ethics Alarms discourages text jargon and abbreviations. “LOL”,  in particular, is guaranteed to annoy me. Also disfavored are popular slang words designed to denigrate a belief, an individual or political groups, like “Repugs,” or juvenile name-calling like “The New York Slimes” or “The Washington Compost.”

8. I’m very likely to respond to your comments. Don’t try hit-and-run tactics here, and don’t think you can get away with an unsupported, badly-reasoned or purely emotional argument and not get called on it. On the other hand, if I don’t respond, don’t take it personally.

9. Re Links: Relevant links are appreciated. Irrelevant links will cause a comment to be deleted as spam.( Remember that if you include more than one link, your comment gets automatically stalled in moderation.)Links to your related blog posts must be supported by a substantive comment on the topic as well: this isn’t your bulletin board. Similarly, the URL of your blog is not going to make it into the comment, and if you persist in trying to slip it through, I will start marking the comments as spam. I am happy to plug, including a link to  your blog, if you write me first and explain why it is relevant and useful to Ethics Alarms readers, and I concur. Your comment, however, is not a vehicle for spreading your blog information around the web…not here, anyway.

10. Typos: I regret that WordPress has yet to install a good editing function for comments. Please proof yours. I will endeavor to fix obvious typos, and if you e-mail me a request to delete or otherwise repair a mis-typed section of a legitimate comment, I will try to reply. I will respect style choices like eccentric punctuation, capitalization, syntax or spelling, but comments that are careless and difficult to read or understand risk being rejected.

11. Me: I reserve the right to sharply express my annoyance with comments that I regard as careless, poorly argued, based on partisan hackery, stupid, unethical  or ignorant. I am prone to be testy at comments that fall into any of the following categories:

1) Those that say I should be writing about “more important things.” I do. But I don’t have to write every post about the earth-shattering, and trivial incidents can still teach important lessons.

2) Comments that include “lighten up,” “calm down,” “get a life,” or anything similar. Please don’t presume to gauge my emotional state or dictate it.

3) Comments that accuse me of ignoring topics or not making arguments when in fact other posts on the site covered those topics and did make those arguments. I don’t require that you read everything, but do not make allegations when a simple key word search on the site would disprove them.

4) Putting words in my mouth, or ascribing  opinions to me that I have not stated. I hate that.

5) Being snotty about typos. I make mistakes, and appreciate being told about them. Nicely.

6) Mockery without substance.

7) Racist, misogynist and otherwise bigoted rants.

12. On occasion my annoyance may cause my reply to seem excessively severe. In such cases, please point this out, and I may well apologize. I may not, too. If a comment is especially ignorant or dumb, I have been known to bluntly describe it as such. I will continue to do so. This is part of my effort to elevate the discussion through negative reinforcement. This is not a site where you can just dash off a barely considered shot and get away with it. Continue reading

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Filed under The Internet

The President Elect’s Happy New Year Tweet, With Musical Reflections From Ethics Alarms

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It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

The reactions to Donald Trump’s tweet above were so predictable.  Trump-haters are continuing their meltdown, because he used that scary word “enemies,” and imagining political foes being hung by piano wire and shot against a wall…maybe even THE wall. Trump’s fans are cheering, “That’s our guy!” Predictable or not, here is the official Ethics Alarms reaction to what may be Trump’s first tweet destined for the Yale Book of Quotations:

1. Get used to this. He’s not going to stop. I recommend re-reading this post from last year, on the Julie Principle. In fact, heeeeere’s Julie!

2. Oh, let’s get this out of the way: it’s a juvenile, undignified, un-Presidential message, and a deliberately provocative thing to do. It also  made me laugh out loud, I have to admit. Really, if you’re going to let this sort of thing drive you crazy, you’re not going to make it through four years. You’re not even going to make it through one. Reserve a padded room. I’m serious. Think about this song, because this is where you’re headed…

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, Love, Popular Culture, Social Media, Unethical Tweet

Déjà Vu Ethics Dunce: Steve Martin (Coward, Too)

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Comedian Steve Martin posted the heartfelt tweet above after the announcement of the death of “Star Wars” star Carrie Fisher yesterday. Some internet Political Correctness Furies were lying in wait, however, eager to find someone to bully for thoughtcrime, and pounced. In addition to the shaming tweets Martin’s reflection generated—Objectification! Objectification!—a New York Magazine writer named Claire Lansbaum scolded Martin on its affiliated website, The Cut. Martin, compliant progressive weenie that he is, deleted the tweet.

He’s pathetic. Martin is a skilled and literate writer and should stand up for the words he uses. “Creature” includes human beings among its accepted and traditional definitions. There was nothing inappropriate or in any way condescending about his use of the word, accept to those looking to be offended and to bend a victim to their will. Nor was an honest memory about how Fisher made Martin feel as “a young man” anything but truth—though we know that fanatics believe that truth they don’t like should be hidden and distorted. When young Martin saw Fisher, she was dressed like this…

leia-slave

…which was an appearance designed to make young men see her as a “beautiful creature,” to use one of the more restrained descriptions. Landsbaum writes about how Fisher fought against her image as a sex symbol. Well, of Carrie’s many admirable and provocative public positions, that was the least credible. The reason Fisher was an icon, the reason anybody cared about what she thought, and the only reason her death is being publicized like she was Katherine Hepburn, was in part because she excited young men as Princess Leia. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Quotes, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society

Unethical Website Of The Month: AWD News

My best guess: "AWD" stands for "Assholes Wanting Destruction."

My best guess: “AWD” stands for “Assholes Wanting Destruction.”

You might think that AWD News gets this coveted Ethics Alarms Honor by having one of its hoax news stories prompted a threat of nuclear retaliation against Israel by Pakistan’s Defense Minister.

You would be wrong. That embarrassing response from a Pakistan official with a penchant for saber rattling is just moral luck. The story that “The former Israeli Defence Minister has threatened to “destroy” Pakistan-after Pakistan said on Thursday it will send Sunni fighters to Syria” was a hoax, and since no other news source was reporting it, the fact that Pakistan’s defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, allowed his confirmation bias to take over his brain, and leaped to the assumption that it was accurate just shows that Pakistan has an irresponsible fool in a key government position.

Imagine that. Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Science & Technology, The Internet, Unethical Websites

From The “When Ethics Alarms Are Devoured By Hysteria And Partisan Hate” Files: Jezebel Readers React To The JetBlue Harassment Of Ivanka Trump

love-hateHere are some comments reacting to the JetBlue incident from Jezebel, the feminist website. These are not the outliers. These are typical. I’ve checked some of the other progressive sites.  At Talking Points Memo, the consensus seems to be that it’s “fake news.” So far, the vast majority of the coverage is from conservative sites. Most of the left partisan sites don’t report embarrassing conduct by their compatriots if they can avoid it….or perhaps they just don’t want to inspire comments like these.

Jezebel’s blogger set the tone by invoking the “Tit for Tat” and “They had it coming” rationalizations with this coda to the post:

Given Donald Trump’s unabashed love of heckling people in front of a crowd—he singled out NBC reporter Katy Tur so many times she had to get Secret Service protection—I’m just surprised the administration didn’t give Lasner’s husband a cabinet seat right then and there.

From the comments…

I know i’m supposed to feel bad for Ivanka, but I can’t. Fuck her. Fuck her husband. They are going to make billions off the american taxpayer and have no shame or remorse or anything resembling human emotions. I might feel the slightest bit of pity for the kids, except then I remember they’re all fucking rich and will get whatever their bratty asses demand for their entire lives. So i guess i’ll save my concern for the millions of men and women of various races, creeds and sexual orientations whose lives will begin to become progressively worse on January 20th.

***

She knew exactly what she was doing and what the potential outcomes were from flying commercial. Part of me thinks Bannon set this up so this exact incident would occur and everyone would feel sorry for lil Vanky.

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FUCK THAT NOISE.

If I saw a Trumpsatzgruppen member on a flight, I would be in jail right now, b/c I would not shut the fuck up about it the entire flight.

***

Seriously. Let’s not forget:

— At last count, 838 products in Ivanka Trump’s line, and not a single one made in the US.

— She’s already used her father’s position to further her business by selling dresses and jewelry, and she’s sat in on meetings with leaders of countries in which her business stands to benefit.

— It took more than a year for employees at her company to convince her to establish a maternity policy; she told one employee that when she had her baby, she was only out of the office for a week (she neglected to mention her in-home nanny when explaining this).

— For several months now she’s posted a job on her site for a Freelance Graphic Designer, a full-time job, Monday through Friday, 9-6. But as freelance, this person will not receive any benefits, including healthcare and maternity leave; and the contract is month to month, allowing Ivanka Trump’s company to cut that person loose at any time with zero notice. That’s some fine job creation right there.

In short, fuck Ivanka Trump. She’s a hypocrite just like her father, and while I would try to find a way of doing it without getting kicked off a plane, I’d have no problem telling her so.

***

Yeah the French should have just said “This cake is really good, don’t upset the Queen.” Or the people of Boston should have just drank the tea and asked politely to not be taxed. Fuck the trumps, they should be called out at every opportunity.

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Going high hasn’t worked for us since what – 2000? i am sick of it. i am sick of us having to be the reasonable, rational ones. fuck all of that. they go low and they win. they go low and they obstruct a president for an entire 8 years. it is time to go low.

***

Fuck her and her three small children.

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, The Internet, U.S. Society