Thursday Ethics Theorizing, 5/19/2022: Book Banning, Another George Floyd Victim, And A Lucky 911 Botch

I don’t put many Ethics Alarms posts on my Facebook page. The bubble there is so overwhelmingly lazy-leftist and Trump-Deranged that the responses just make me sad and depressed about the state of public discourse and my social circle. I posted about Kamala Harris’s “working together” attack, and predictably two (lawyer!) friends immediately defaulted to “but Trump!” The response that really annoyed me, however, was to my link to the tattooed baby story. Two relatives (one is 94, so she gets a pass…kind of) complained that “with all the problems and threats” (you know, like the threat that a spectacularly incompetent performance by the entire Democratic Party might cause voters to look elsewhere for leadership, which, of course, will doom democracy…but I’m just guessing) the nation is facing, why care about a woman using her baby as a self-promoting human canvas? My answer is simple: unethical conduct matters whether it is big or small, and it’s my job to do what I can to explore both. The site is called Ethics Alarms, and alarms are dulled and muffled when so-called “trivial” ethics abuses are shrugged off. (See: the Rationalization List) In addition, almost none of the over 300 friends (I’m slowly paring it down: more than a hundred gone since January) on my list ever bother to read the blog, which would help save their imperiled brain and values if they did. I cover seven to ten issues every day, more than 50 topics a week. There have been over 14,000 posts on Ethics Alarms in about eleven years; I assume that readers would be bored or worn out if we only explored the big stuff, and even if they wouldn’t be, I would.

1. Remember, the political right is untrustworthy too... After Virginia Beach schools voted two books  from their libraries’ shelves following a school board member’s complaints, Virginia Beach attorney and State Delegate Tim Anderson is representing a client suing Barnes & Noble for making the book accessible to minors, because it is “obscene.” This is just one more sign that if Republicans get the power they crave their most extreme party members will work day and night to make them just as seem just repulsive and fanatic as the Democrats are behaving now. Book banning is as much as an assault on free speech as the current progressive mania, censorship. Book stores are already endangered species: making them responsible for what minors buy there like a 7-11 selling beer will finish them off. Parents should be thrilled that their kids are reading at all. The law suit is a goner, but it will waste a lot of time and money while making the public dumber just by its presence. [Pointer: valkygrrl]

2. Thanks, HBO, but I got my fill of George Carlin while he was alive…George Carlin’s American Dream” will premiere on HBO this weekend, and my sock-drawer is calling. Carlin is a resurgent hero again among the Woke, which is appropriate. His leftist political comedy was often just as shallow and pandering as what we (when I say “we” I mean “not me”) hear from virtually all comics today who have full membership in the Progressive Propaganda Club. He called golf “racist.” I just heard a spectacularly unfunny environmentalist rant in which he claimed that he rooted for natural disasters because humans deserved them. Continue reading

Friday The 13th Ethics Nightcap, 5/13/2020: Kristol’s Integrity, Reiner’s Idiocy, Virginia Schools’ Incompetence

The first of several ethically dubious U.S wars began on this date in 1846, when President Polk asked for and received a declaration of war against Mexico. The U.S. wanted Mexico-owed territory: it’s pretty much as simple as that. In November of 1845, Polk sent  diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to seek boundary adjustments in return for the U.S. government’s settlement of the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico, and also to buy California and New Mexico. When Mexico refused, the U.S. provoked a military response from the country when U.S. forces marched into the disputed territory at the Texas border, then used that as a pretense to fight. After two years of fighting, Mexico agreed to sell California and New Mexico after all, as well as to recognize the Rio Grande as the border with Texas.

1. Andrew Sullivan on Bill Kristol’s integrity deficit. George Will and Bill Kristol, once the King of Neocons and the proprietor of the conservative magazine “The Weekly Standard” are the two most prominent examples of Chablis Republicans who couldn’t bear an unmannerly low-class boor like Donald Trump bearing the conservative banner, so they abandoned all of the principles they spent their career advocating out of spite. Yes, I think that’s fair. In his substack newsletter, Andrew Sullivan correctly exposes the unethical stench of Kristol’s late-in-life conversion to wokeness, which he correctly diagnoses, along with Kristol’s character, thusly..

“[I]f you change your mind on an issue, at some point, explain why. What principles or ideas have you now abandoned? Which have you now embraced? What new facts have you learned? It’s a basic form of intellectual hygiene.

Which brings me to Bill Kristol…Now hugely popular among MSNBC Democrats, alert to racism and sexism and homophobia, Kristol has, these last few years, performed a spectacular ideological self-reinvention that makes J.D. Vance look like a man of unflinching consistency. And he has never even attempted to explain why…

Kristol is also now down with the “LGBTQIA+s”. He recently retweeted a critique of the Parental Rights bills across the country: “the pernicious intent of bills such as these: to stigmatize and shame gay and transgender people under the guise of protecting children from inappropriate conversations about sex.” Another Kristol retweet objected to the “grooming” meme: “Grooming is not acknowledging the existence of gay & transgender people to children.” Another retweet lamented that a Republican lost in Virginia because he favored marriage equality: “His sin was treating gays as humans worthy of equal respect and dignity… He wasn’t willing to be cruel to the Americans that Republican voters hate.”

Admirable in many ways. But again, is this the same Bill Kristol whose magazine, The Weekly Standard, was among the most fervent opponents of gay equality in America? In 1996, he published a piece arguing for a “reaffirmation by states of a sodomy law” if gay marriage advocates didn’t cut it out. The magazine sent out a letter on behalf of an anti-gay advertiser that raised the specter of “Radical Homosexuals infiltrating the United States Congress” with a plan to “indoctrinate a whole generation of American children with pro-homosexual propaganda.” …As I’ve said, it’s no sin, and even a virtue, to change your mind. But to have been so passionately on the extreme edge of one side of an issue he regarded as one of core morality, and then flip to the other side entirely — with absolutely no account of why — is not a mark of any halfway serious writer. To go from believing that gays need to be cured to Kristol’s current posture as defender of homos from Republican “hate” is amoral, unserious bullshit — both then and now…

The fake surety; the glibness; the ignorance; the opportunism…I guess there’s a kind of beauty to that. Once you get past the sickening, amoral, irresponsible unseriousness of it all.

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Facebook Is Factchecking Memes Now…But Only Those Progressives Don’t Like

Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., shared a pro-life meme on Facebook that claims that readers’ grandmothers carried part of them inside their wombs. Facebook chose to impugn the post by claiming it “lacked context.” Well of course it did. It’s a meme. The topic is complex, and the meme only summarizes one interpretation of the facts. It seems clear that Facebook applied a different standard for this expression of a point of view that could be judged an anti-abortion opinion than it had for literally millions of left-of-center memes it users have posted. For example, Facebook had no problem with this idiotic meme posted by a friend of mine who should know better:

Talk about “missing context”! Nor did Facebook have any issued with this meme during the Kavanaugh hearings:

Context? How about outright lies? Nah, there’s no Facebook anti-conservative bias… Continue reading

Tales of The Great Stupid: The FAA And The Crash Video

One of the really, really bad ideas that has taken toxic root in Woke World, which includes the Biden administration, is that penalties and punishments are mean, and that the consequences of deliberate wrongdoing should be minimal even when the miscreant isn’t “of color.”

This will not, as they say, turn out well.

Last November, Trevor Jacob, a former Olympic snowboarder turned Youtube entrepreneur, crashed his small propeller airplane into the mountains of California’s Los Padres National Forest after the propeller stopped spinning. The exact moment when his plane’s propeller seized was caught on camera, as was his jump out of the airplane with a parachute. He used a selfie stick to film his descent. Three weeks later, Jacob posted a YouTube video titled “I Crashed My Plane.” It got over 2 million views. The video features Jacob narrating his brave trek out of the forest and his eventual rescue. “I’m just so happy to be alive!” Jacob exclaims at one point.

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This, Apparently, Is Ethical “Misinformation”…

The New York Time Book Review this week includes a review by novelist Mitchell S. Jackson of Elizabeth Alexander’s book “The Trayvon Generation.” I haven’t read the book itself, but it’s goals and orientation are clear from the review by Jackson. Jackson is, like Alexander, a Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory endorsing activist. If I were editing a book review supplement, I would think it mandatory to assign a reviewer to Alexander’s work who wasn’t so obviously predisposed to agree with her views and praise them, but that’s just not how the Times rolls these days. But this isn’t the point of my post.

This is: in the middle of his review, Alexander wrote—and the Times printed—

Never forget — on Feb. 26, 2012, a hella overzealous volunteer neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman stalked and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Never forget — on July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted Zimmerman, an egregious verdict that fomented the Black Lives Matter movement into being.

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Ethics Breezes And Gales, 4/14/2022: The End Of A Conspiracy And The Beginning Of Conspiracy Theories [Corrected]

April 14 will always be the date that I associate above all else with Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, which occurred 157 years ago.  Lincoln and the audience at Ford’s Theater laughed uproariously, as John Wilkes Booth knew they would, at the line “Why you sockdologizing old man-trap!” in the play the Lincolns and their guests were watching, “Our American Cousin.” Booth fired a single-shot derringer into the back of Lincoln’s skull, dreew a dagger and stabbed Major Rathbone, also in Lincoln’s box along with Mrs. Lincoln and Rathbone’s fiancee, in the arm, and dramatically leaped down onto the stage, shouting Virginia’s motto,“Sic semper tyrannis! (Thus ever to tyrants!) The South is avenged!”  Booth caught his spur on a draped flag on the way down and broke his leg, but limped across the stage and out to waiting horse through a back stage exit. Lincoln never regained consciousness.

Not only was it the first and still most spectacular of the four Presidential assassinations [Notice of Correction: I originally wrote “five,” not because I can’t count, which is what usually happens, but because I was counting Reagan, because he was actually shot. Moron. Thanks to Steve-O-in NJ for alerting me, or I’d have to ban myself from the blog for passing on “misinformation”], Booth’s act and subsequent events, oddities and coincidences launched perhaps the first widespread political conspiracy theory. I wrote in 2010,

[A]s a teenager, I became fascinated by the Lincoln assassination conspiracy. A best-seller at the time was “Web of Conspiracy,” an over-heated brief for the theory that Lincoln’s War Secretary, Edwin Stanton, and others in the military were in league with John Wilkes Booth. The author, a mystery writer named Theodore Roscoe, was constantly suggesting sinister motives by asking questions like “The sealed records of the official assassination investigation were destroyed in a mysterious fire. Was the War Department afraid of what the documents would prove? Would they have implicated Stanton? We will never know.”  This tactic is on view regularly today, used generously by the purveyors of modern conspiracies…

Then again, sometimes conspiracy theories, even unlikely ones, turn out to be true. There was sure a lot of smoke around Lincoln’s assassination (after all, there really was a conspiracy, as Booth had at least five co-conspirators working on his plot for months), and it didn’t help when Robert Lincoln, Abe’s son, was caught burning his papers and told the man who interrupted him (allegedly) that he was doing so because the contained proof that a member of his father’s own cabinet was involved in his assassination. Yet none of the components of the Lincoln conspiracy narrative have held up to scrutiny, except as tantalizing suspicions.

1. First, the rest of a story...Two weeks ago Ethics Alarms covered the story of Kychelle Del Rosario, a fourth-year medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who appeared to admit in a tweet that she deliberately caused pain and discomfort to a patient because he had mocked her  “preferred pronoun” pin. After her tweet was seen, circulated and attacked on social media, she deleted it in an attempted cover-up. Wake Forest suspended her pending an investigation, which is now complete. It’s conclusion: Del Rosario was grandstanding, implying that she stuck the patient a second time when she had turned the job over to a supervisor. “Our documentation verifies that after the student physician was unsuccessful in obtaining the blood draw, the student appropriately deferred a second attempt to one of our certified professionals. The student did not attempt to draw blood again,” the university stated. 

But had she deliberately missed the vein the first time to punish the “transphobic” patient? Wake Forest believed her statements that she had not, saying, “Our review revealed that the description of the patient encounter on social media does not reflect what actually occurred. We also determined that all of our procedures were followed while caring for this patient.” For her part, Del Rosarion, who expects to be reinstated, said,

“For the event mentioned in the tweet, I was performing a blood draw on a patient and during our conversation they had shown dismay at my pronoun pin,” she said. “I calmly shared my thoughts about pronouns and did not escalate the situation further. When I was doing the blood draw, I missed the first time due to my inexperience as a student, and per our policy, my supervisor performed the successful blood draw the second time….[I] never intended to harm the patient.”

She also wrote an apology to the school for her inflammatory tweet, admitting   to “poorly representing” the school and the healthcare system. [Source: Campus Reform] Continue reading

“Rob Reiner, Are You That Smart?’

Yes, Rob Reiner, son of the late, great Carl and director of some of my favorite movies (“The Princess Bride,” “Stand By Me”…) as well as a serviceable character actor when he’s got good material, and one of the most combative and seemingly immune from reality of all Hollywood progressives, tweeted that today.

I was, earlier today as I watched the chaos at the border start exploding again,  saw the latest price of coffee at the CVS, and reflected on Joe Biden’s sage recommendation to deal with the gas prices that he is at least partly responsible for (get a $60,000 electric car) going to again express my amazement on Ethics Alarms regarding the people on my Facebook feed, in polls, and a few other locales where Facts Don’t Matter, who still adamantly claim that President Biden is doing a wonderful job. At what? What is it they are so pleased with? The crime? The inflation? The worsening societal divisions? The government’s embrace of sexualizing and racializing education below the age of 12? His government using agents in the private sector to chill free speech and the freedom of association?  The looming nuclear war? The mask mandates? The casual racial and sexual discrimination? The exploding national debt? Something else? Which?

And then I saw “The Meathead’s” tweet, as well as the 52.7 “loves” it attracted, and all I could think of was poor Dana..

This is April 1. The tweet would be a deft April Fool’s joke, except that the tweeter is  Reiner, who never says a cross word about any Democrat (except Senators Manshin and Sinema, whom he views as traitors), especially Joe Biden. Do those “loves” come from people who think he’s being satirical, and thus slyly critical? Do they come from people who actually agree that Biden is having a successful—SUCCESSFUL??—Presidency? (You know…Morons.)

All I could hear was Wilford Brimley’s voice echoing through my brain, in his iconic scene from “Absence of Malice”: “Mr. Gallagher, are you that smart?” Except in this case, it’s “Mr. Reiner.” Is he so smart that he sent off this tweet knowing that could plausibly claim it was an April Fools joke if someone made the easy case that the tweet was idiotic, and made many of the people who read it even dumber than they are, yet at the same time he could pander to the hopelessly biased knee-jerk partisans in Hollywood and elsewhere who will cheer anything Biden does, thus maintaining Carl’s son’s woke credentials?

Could he possibly be that smart?

I don’t think so. I think he’s a deluded, Trump-deranged, fool.

From The Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: Social Media Integrity In A Nutshell

From the Facebook community standards: “We remove content that glorifies violence or celebrates the suffering or humiliation of others…”

Required addition: “…except when its violence we approve of or that sufficient number of our users will cheer.”

As I noted in the previous post: the Big Tech leaders are untrustworthy people. The fact that they wield so much power and influence over American beliefs and attitudes is terrifying.

Well THAT Unethical Tweet Aged Particularly Poorly…

Biden’s tweet would have been unconscionable even if it hadn’t quickly turned out that Smollett was a hate-crime faker, a liar, and racial division-mongering fool. Like his former boss Obama, Biden didn’t have the sense to keep his uninformed and biased opinions from interfering with the judicial system, and not to try to exploit alleged crimes, uncertain crimes and uninvestigated events, accounts and rumors to exacerbate suspicion, fear and hate.

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Is This The Most Unethical Job In The World That Isn’t Illegal?

Carolina Lekker, a Playboy model, says that she charges women up to $2,000 to approach their boyfriends on social media to test how faithful they really are.

She approaches unsuspecting men whose spouses or lovers suspect of being potentially unfaithful using Instagram and other social media platforms. After  enticing exchanges, she invites them to meet with her, and if they do, they are busted. Lekker then keeps the money and exposes their perfidy to their partner. If they resist their charms and prove their faithfulness, she returns the fee to the client.

Nice. (Incidentally, this is similar to the plot of Netflix’s “Clickbait,” on which I still have not managed to arrange the promised Zoom colloquy.) Continue reading