From The Signature Significance Files: “The Divine Miss M” Demonstrates When An Apology Is Too Late And Meaningless

Another thing everyone should thank Joe Manchin for is the way his decision not to capitulate to pressure on the irresponsible “Build Back Better” bill has caused so many prominent Americans to unmask themselves as the jerks, liars and frauds thet are.

Take Paul Krugman...please! The ultra-biased and partisan Times pundit is supposedly a Nobel Prize-winning economist, yet his attack on Manchin’s “betrayal“—yes, a Democrat voting his conscience rather than meekly submitting to orders is a betrayal—is an embarrassing concoction of appeals to emotion, appeals to authority, and “everybody does it.” A high school paper columnist could have written the screed. “And studies show that policies to mitigate climate change will also yield major health benefits from cleaner air over the next decade,” Krugman writes. Yes, and other studies say they might, and still other studies doubt they can.

This economist also calls the multi-trillion dollar bill “Biden’s moderate spending plan,” though the CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit of at least $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, and that’s with increased taxes. He should be ashamed of himself for abusing his own perceived authority and his readers’ trust with such garbage, but we know my now that he’s shameless.

But my favorite self-indicting jerk is Bette Midler.

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Ethics Alarms Factcheck: Facebook Admitted Factchecks Aren’t Factchecks

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Verdict: TRUE!

“Factchecks” became ubiquitous in the media with a vengeance after Donald Trump was elected, though they had been around for a while. This is how Trump ended up with a database of the 30,000 “lies” he had told: a majority of those were defined as such by partisan “factcheck” sites like Snopes, Politifact and The Washington Post’s service headed by poor Glenn Kessler. The exercise was always dishonest and deceptive to the core. I am proud to say that long before Trump was President, during the Bush II administration, I was at a conference that featured the head of FactCheck.org, the best of the factcheckers, but still, as the saying goes, the best of a bad lot, and after her speech I questioned her about a recent verdict by her service that was obviously pure opinion and tainted with progressive bias. She became immediately defensive, and then lapsed into huminahumina double talk. I nailed her, and she knew it.

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Saturday Night Fevered Ethics, 12/4/2021: It Begins With A Hairless Cat…[Updated]

1. Where “Ick” and unethical become indistinguishable...Airlines have enough problems without having to deal with…this. A message was sent through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) alerting a Delta crew in Atlanta that a passenger in seat 13A was “breastfeeding a cat and will not put cat back in its carrier when [flight attendant] requested.” And she was. Every time the passenger was asked to cease and desist, she attached the cat, which was of the hairless variety, not that it’s relevant, to her nipple again. A flight attendant on board during the incident, wrote on social media,

“This woman had one of those, like, hairless cats swaddled up in a blanket so it looked like a baby,” she said. “Her shirt was up and she was trying to get the cat to latch and she wouldn’t put the cat back in the carrier. And the cat was screaming for its life.”

2. A you have probably heard by now, CNN canned Chris Cuomo. This is a classic example of doing the right thing for the wrong reason: Cuomo should have been fired because he’s a terrible, unethical, none-too-bright journalist. The fact that he also mishandled a conflict of interest, abused his sources and used his position with CNN to assist his brother as The Luv Guv tried to avoid accountability for sexual misconduct all flowed from CC’s incompetence and ethical dunderheadedness. A serious scandal of some kind involving “Fredo” was inevitable.

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Ethics Hero: Twitter

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Ethics Alarms has honored some unlikely people as Ethics Heroes—Bill Clinton, Bill Maher, and Terry McAuliffe, for example. Twitter nabbing the distinction may be a record for cognitive dissonance, though. It is an unethical company, with a platform that does more damage than good. And yet…

Twitter announced that it was expanding its private information policy to forbid posting the ” media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted.

Good.

Not that this policy is remotely possible to enforce; it isn’t. “When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it,” Twitter explains. “This policy is not applicable to media featuring public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

Yes, the policy goes well beyond any legal restrictions: that’s what makes it ethical rather than compliant. What is ethically admirable about the rule is that it calls attention to an ethical violation so common that few think it is a violation at all. When I allow a friend to take a photo of me, that is consent for that friend to make and have a copy of my likeness. It is not consent for my likeness to be circulated to the world on social media, included in facial recognition databases, be manipulated digitally to embarrass or humiliate me, or any other purpose. No law will help me claim that I did not consent to circulation of my likeness, which is why Naked Teachers have a problem. The law assumes that such use can and should be anticipated when I let myself be photographed. That, however, is a legal fiction. I have seen, online, photos of me when I wasn’t aware that I was in the picture. I hate photos of me.

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So: Facebook Decided That Kyle Rittenhouse Was Guilty, And Enabled False Media Narratives. Now What?

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Facebook announced shortly after Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested after the Kenosha shootings, “We’ve designated the shooting in Kenosha a mass murder and are removing posts in support of the shooter.” At this point, there had been no investigation, no assessment of the evidence, and, obviously, no trial. Nonetheless, Facebook, which purports to be a protector of free speech and expression (but is not), decided to cut off debate as well as access to mitigating facts in the incident, and leave the field to one side only. Guess which? Here’s a hint: it’s the side that almost all of social media and Big Tech uses its power and influence to support. (See: 2020 Presidential election)

Want to begin with Facebook’s declaration that two deaths under still undetermined circumstances is a “mass murder”? Ironically, a jury that had far more information before it ultimately determined that this wasn’t a murder at all. Never mind: Facebook removed pro-Kyle Rittenhouse posts, including posts from legal scholars attempting to explain why the teen could well have a valid self-defense claim. Then the platform manipulated its search engine so you couldn’t find any non-negative references to Rittenhouse that slipped through.

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To Be Fair, Sometimes Twitter Justifies Its Existence: The Hilarious Maria Shriver Takedown

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Maria Shriver, once a Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist for NBC News and now an occasional guest host, took to Twitter to post, “I’m trying to take a beat to digest the Rittenhouse verdict. My son just asked me how it’s possible that he didn’t get charged for anything. How is that possible? I don’t have an answer for him. The idea that someone could be out with a semi-automatic weapon, kill people, and walk is stunning. I look forward to hearing from the jury. This is a moment for them to explain how they came to their decision.”

Shriver’s brain fart is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s fatal debate fantasy on 1980 when he claimed that had been discussing nuclear policy with his daughter Amy. If anything, Shriver’s tale is more unlikely: her sons are 24 and 28. Aren’t these products of the best private schools better educated than to be mystified by the basics of criminal law? And how could Shriver think that Rittenhouse wasn’t charged with any crimes?

Knowing a hanging curve right over the plate when he sees one, Ted Cruz, as they like to say of Republicans, “pounced.” He tweetstormed,

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This Republican Maryland Mayor Just Doesn’t Get The Whole “Community Role Model” Thing

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Cambridge, Maryland Mayor Andrew Bradshaw, the youngest mayor the city ever elected, now faces 50 counts of distributing revenge porn. State prosecutors announced yesterday that Bradshaw used Reddit to distribute intimate photos of a woman with whom he had previously been romantically involved. Prosecutors allege that he used photos of the victim’s face and “intimate parts” on a Reddit created to facilitate degradation and humiliation, and subreddits devoted to sexual “raceplay.” Bradshaw posted racial slurs there.

Maryland’s Revenge Porn Statute, Maryland Criminal Law Article § 3-809, prohibits “the non-consensual distribution of a private visual representation of another which exposes their intimate body parts or displays them engaged in sexual activity, with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the person depicted.”

The woman, called “Victim I” in the charging document (here), did not consent to the use of her photos. She contacted law enforcement in May about the unauthorized posts, and a police investigation led to yesterday’s charges. Bradshaw faces a maximum penalty of two years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine for each count if convicted.

Observations:

  • This isn’t going to do much for the Maryland GOP’s efforts to make inroads against the Democratic monopoly in the state.
  • How do people this stupid get elected? I just don’t understand it.
  • When they do get elected, can’t they control themselves sufficiently not to do something like this?
  • I suspect Bradshaw’s political career may be stalled for a while.

Unethical Tweet Of The Month, And Company Most Deserving A Boycott: Ben & Jerry’s

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I personally decided that Ben &Jerry’s outrageously expensive ice cream for the Woke and Wonderful would never cross through Marshall doors when it created a flavor honoring partisan hate-monger Stephen Colbert. The company’s cynical political pandering has only gotten worse since. Perhaps the most nauseating aspect of the company’s pose is that it’s obviously a marketing plan to appeal to ice-cream loving progressives. The real Ben and Jerry sold off the brand years ago, like any good socialists, accepting millions to allow a multi-national corporation to pretend it’s the founder as it spouts simple-minded leftist talking points. This tweet, however, charged into Ethics Alarms Popeye territory…

See?

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Good “Misinformation” vs. Bad “Misinformation”

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I was hit between the eyes by another example of this hypocrisy this morning, when I read the “Letters to the Editor” section of the Times. A reader named Roger Hirschberg—yes, own it Roger, you shameless propagandist—authored a letter that the Times headlined “Facebook Misinformation.” In the first paragraph, Roger decries Facebook policies that “enable and protect misinformation.” In the very next sentence, he condemns Facebook management for allowing such misinformation “in pursuit of profits,” and cites Facebook’s entries related to “the January 6 insurrection.”

Isn’t that amusing? Roger puffs himself up like a bullfrog in indignation over a communications company pandering to the mob while cashing in, and then gives the Times a chance to do the same, allowing his false characterization of the Capitol riot as an “insurrection,” because that’s the current Big Lie being weaponized by the Left.

Now, I wouldn’t want the Times to censor Roger’s deliberate misinformation—the FBI, if one considers it trustworthy, has definitively debunked that description, as did Merrick Garland in last weeks hearings—because we benefit from revelations with signature significance: if you call the riot an “insurrection,” you’re a lie-spreading jerk or a lazy fool who believes whatever your favorite party tells you. I would expect an ethical publication that respects its readers to acknowledge Roger’s hypocrisy if it chooses to publish his letter, however. If it doesn’t, then the Times is deliberately advancing misinformation….but then it’s the good kind. You know: the kind that can be used to smear Donald Trump and Republicans. Thanks, Roger!

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