Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman and former candidate for New York governor now running for Congress as a Republican, re-posted to Facebook a ridiculous conspiracy theory by a fellow idiot claiming that the mass shootings at the supermarket in Buffalo and the school in Uvalde were “false flag” operations. There are screenshots of the since-deleted post, which you can read at your peril.
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
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
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.
“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.
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.
Little introduction is needed for this typically well-reasoned and clearly expressed Comment of the Day on the post, “The Facebook “Whistleblower” Thinks That The U.S. Needs More Censorship” by Extradimensional Cephalopod, except “Here you go…”
“So… it seems the Progressives have decided that Facebook needs to do something, and they’re basing everything on that. They’re not looking at all their options.
“The problem as they have described it is, “kids on social media are exposed to information which harms their mental well-being,” but they are only looking at options that involve putting rules and responsibilities on the social media companies.
“What’s wrong with this picture? Well, it ignores the responsibilities of the parent, the child, and the people who put harmful content on the internet in the first place. It ignores the question of how we can fill social media with edifying content instead (because that content is out there–there’s people on Instagram trying to help with body image problems), and the question of how the parent and child can work together to find that content (or just build a life outside of social media) while rejecting harmful content.
“The fundamental liability involved here is stagnation: known motivational limits. People build habits and addictions to things on the internet, because the internet is a source of instant gratification. This phenomenon is a manifestation of decadence: underregulated stagnation.
I try to keep my true rants to a minimum, as they are unseemly for one in my role. I also try, not quite so successfully, to tamp down my occasional impulse to write, “I told you so!” It really helps me a lot when a web pundit like Lincoln Brown, a former talk show host and conservative columnist, writes pretty much exactly what I am feeling.
Brown’s essay titled “Dear Leftists, I Hope You Can’t Live With Yourselves” is what I have been dreaming of posting on Facebook for my 200 or so left-biased Facebook friends, some of them real friends I once thought better of as well as a few relatives, who would write mouth-foaming screeds about President Trump’s emails but who have maintained absolute Facebook silence on the Afghanistan disaster other than to post a meek and deflecting, “I think it was time to get out of Afghanistan, right everybody?” Brown’s whole post is the Ethics Quote of the Month, but here are some highlights:
“That was four days ago, five days ago!”
President Joe Biden, employing Rationalization #52. The Underwood Maneuver, or “That’s in the past,” to brush off an interviewer’s reference to desperate Afghans falling from U.S. transport plans in their desperate efforts to escape a Taliban onslaught.
President Biden, who has been avoiding questioning from the news media over his self-made national and international crisis in Afghanistan, took the weird but telling step of sitting for an interview on the matter with a single journalist—sort of–that has yet to be broadcast. Not surprisingly, the journalist chosen was career Democratic Party operative George Stephanopoulos, who hosts ABC’s talking heads Sunday news show as well as “Good Morning America!” where he is more like a performer. As Ethics Alarms regularly pointed out until I got sick of it, George has no business interviewing political figures like Hillary Clinton, since he has a flaming conflict of interest, nor can he be trusted to cover any political story involving partisan divides. Virtually all TV journalists are Democrats, but Stephanopoulos was a professional Democrat, and has proven repeatedly that he lacks the integrity and courage to overcome that bias.
With this post. a follow-up to this one regarding the hypocritical and ominous Presidential attack on vaccine-related “disinformation” on Facebook, Ethics Alarms ends the suspension of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who writes the generally excellent “Res Ipsa Loguitur” blog and who has distinguished himself during the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck for refusing to follow the unethical lead of his biased and Trump-Deranged colleagues in law and academia, and having the courage to point out many of their worst betrayals of the public trust. I suspended the professor at the beginning of June for carelessly advancing a favorite Democratic party Big Lie on his blog, that a media recount after the 2000 election showed George W. Bush had actually lost the popular vote in Florida, and thus Al Gore was the rightful winner of the Presidency. I wrote, “Ethics Alarms is giving him a month’s suspension, or until he fixes his error and apologizes.” Well, he sort of fixed the error but never apologized, so I made the suspension six weeks. I’m happy to be able to reference his blog again, and as a happy coincidence, one of his recent posts nicely supported what I had just written.
Turley pointed to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitting that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on the Whan virus vaccine and related matters. She had said that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies. He wrote in part,
“Obviously, anyone can object to postings. There is a greater danger when the government has a systemic process for aggressively flagging material to be censored. The real problem however is with the censorship system itself. We have seen how there needs to be little coordination between political figures and the media to maintain controlled narratives in public debates and discussions.”
By “little” the sometimes obsessively cautious professor means “none.” He continues,