Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/2018: PolitiFact Lies About The Lie Of The Year, And What’s This Taboo Stuff Bing is Blathering On About?

Good morning.

1. So you think baseball ethics controversies end with the season? Not at Ethics Alarms!

  • Did you know that baseball has its own Colin Kaepernick, sort of? Free-agent catcher Bruce Maxwell can’t find a team, though he was once considered the front-runner to be the Oakland A’s starting catcher.  In 2017 Maxwell,  who is white, became the first and only major leaguer to kneel during the National Anthem. The buzz coming out of baseball’s winter meetings was that taking a knee was enough to make him persona non-grata among baseball owners.

Of course, the fact that Maxwellwas arrested on a gun charge in 2017 and later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and also played poorly last season in the minor leagues doesn’t help. “This is not a Colin Kaepernick situation, said an anonymous source at the meetings. “This is if Colin Kaepernick had knelt for the anthem and also been arrested for a gun crime.”

Except that things like gun crimes are not that big a deal in the NFL…

  • In a debate with baseball commentator Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa inadvertently gave a lesson in why conflicts of interests are a problem while simultaneously showing that he has no idea what a conflict is. Russo correctly protested that Harold Baines, recently a shock election to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a 16 member committee that included  close associates of Baines, was unqualified, and noted that several members of the committee, includiing Baines’ long-time manager LaRussa, had a conflict of interest. LaRussa’s rebuttal: “Do you think the people who know him better than the average expert, fan or even other baseball executives, have actually been teammates with him … when they speak with more knowledge about the type of player he was, I think that speaks more to his credit, not less.”

No, Tony. Those who knew and admired him are biased, and Baines should have been elected or not elected by a panel that knew him no better or less than it knew the other candidates. That Baines’ pals have inside knowledge that he, let’s say,  likes puppies, always held the door open for the manager’s mother, once bailed a team mate out of jail and often played despite a sore toe has nothing to do with his qualifications for the Hall. And LaRussa has a law degree! Maybe this explains his ultimate career choice. Continue reading

78 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, The Internet

Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum Ethics, Climate Change Thread”

This is the second Comment of the Day that surfaced during this week’s open forum. It was sparked by this comment, changing the subject at hand from the wisdom of training women in the military to that old stand-by, climate change. Slickwilly wrote,

… Global Warming (excuse me: “Man Made Climate Change”) is a hoax, designed to transfer wealth to the Global Elites.

I have proof: the UN has admitted this openly. Given that our press is Elitist themselves, of course this gets little coverage.

https://www.investors.com/climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism/

Progressive Elites like socialism because they think they will be the rich upper class that always develops, while the masses starve. (Need I point to EVERY place it has been fully implemented?)

Is it ethical to lie about science to further a political agenda?

The climate change fearmongering has ticked up a notch recently, and the rhetoric of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is essentially arguing that climate change perils demand extensive government control of technology and the economy—that is, socialism, and less freedom— and the U.N., which is increasingly candid about its position that only world government, or at least a significant surrender of national interests and autonomy, can save the planet. These are really political positions rather than ecological ones,  and are germane to slickwilly’s assertion.

That does not mean that climate change is a hoax. It does mean, in my view, that the climate change doomsayers and the scientists who have foolishly allied with them, have permanently, yes permanently, destroyed their credibility and their relevance to policy. The recent government climate change assessment followed the trend.

Also crippling itself as a resource and asset is the news media, which have been in full-throated support of unproven environmental doomsday scenarios for decades, and have been unwilling or incapable of rendering unbiased and apolitical analysis. Instead, they strategically feature deliberately scary pieces like this, aimed at the gullible and scientifically dim:

…If we proceed to use up all the fossil fuels on Earth, it could warm by as much as 17 degrees Fahrenheit by 2300.

As the ocean warms, its oxygen levels will continue to drop. If ancient history is any guide, the consequences for life — especially marine life in the cooler parts of the ocean — will be disastrous.

“Left unchecked, climate warming is putting our future on the same scale as some of the worst events in geological history,” Dr. Deutsch said.

If…could…if…”on the same scale.” ARGHHH! That’s good enough for me! Who’s going to be the wise and benevolent dictator to save us?

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the climate change thread on the post, Open Forum Ethics

I think “science” benefits greatly from public ignorance of what science is. We have this notion in our minds of lab coated brainiacs running through deliberative experiments to either falsify or strengthen a “guess” (hypothesis) about some process. That’s only one *method* of science.

A lot of science, however, Climate Change Science among them, really consists of gathering VERY incomplete data, running a series of statistical models (all dubious…you know, lies, damn lies and statistics) and methods of “purifying” the data. In the end, those sciences are essentially advanced forms of what the ancient philosophers did: look around the world and try to draw inferences and conclusions from a bewildering amount of information in order for us to make sense of our world.

Knowing this, Climate Science is closer to religion and philosophy than it is to lab-coated men and women running rigorous and repetitive cycles of intentional experiments. At which point, we can only analyze the conclusions of such “scientists” in terms of their own worldview. Continue reading

47 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Comment of the Day, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

You know when I mentioned that Ted Lieu was NOT the most “foolish, dumb, frightening” member of Congress? Steve King was one of the people I was thinking of.

In case you haven’t heard the widespread mockery, King asked Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai  at this week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing about alleged bias and abuse of power by the tech behemoth,

“I have a 7-year old granddaughter who picked up her phone during the election, and she’s playing a little game, the kind of game a kid would play. And up on there pops a picture of her grandfather. And I’m not going to say into the record what kind of language was used around that picture of her grandfather, but I’d ask you: How does that show up on a 7-year old’s iPhone, who’s playing a kid’s game?”

Pichai responded,  “Congressman, the iPhone is made by a different company.”

Kindly leaving out the obligatory, “You moron.” Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Science & Technology

Enlighten, Impress And Depress Your Friends! Explain Why The President’s Alleged Election Law Violation Was Not One, Much Less A Justification For Impeachment

When Trump lawyer/crony/fixer/slimeball Michael Cohen was first arrested, multiple lawyers, legal experts and commentators who principles and integrity had not been melted by “the resistance” pointed out that paying hush money to a an old sexual partner threatening disclosure couldn’t possibly be an election law violation. Oh, details, schmetails: the point is to get Trump; what does the law have to do with it? After all, Representative Al Green, who has entered an impeachment resolution twice already, now says his next try will be based on “bigotry.” Hey, most Democrats in the new House would probably vote for impeachment based on “covfefe.

Sure enough, when Cohen, trying to save his own neck, was bullied into pleading guilty to a non-crime, the media and social media hills were alive with the sounds of impeachment. The celebrants, however, are just wrong. Cohen’s plea shows a cowardly, disgraceful unethical lawyer; it shows that his lawyer, Lanny Davis, may be more interested in getting Trump than representing Cohen; it shows that the prosecutors in the case are unethical, and that the judge should not have accepted a plea to something that was not and cannot be a crime. It does not show that the President violated the federal election laws.

Attorney Bradley Smith, a former head of the FEC, explains why clearly, concisely, and decisively, here.

Of course, all the logic, facts and law in the world won’t put a dent in Stage 4 Trump hate. (To be fair, the news media and pundits aren’t helping them any by refusing to cover the issues and law straight.) But at least you will have given them a chance. It is Christmas time, after all.

19 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/2018: The All-Segue Edition

Good Morning!

(Though any day that begins with the legal gossip scandal-sheet website Above the Law sending me a “media inquiry” as they dig for dirt is not a good day.)

1. In brief. Well I have now received the appellant’s brief in a certain lingering law suit regarding Ethics Alarms. What fun. Anyone who wants to read it is welcome; those who have dealt with pro se submissions will immediately recognize the syndrome, lawyers may be amused, and non-lawyers may be edified. I expect to knock out the reply brief today, which won’t have to be more than a few pages. It’s not like I have better things to do or anything…

2. Speaking of cases that should have been thrown out of court…Reason reports:

In June, an Oakland County sheriff’s deputy pulled Dejuante Franklin over in front of a gas station for a traffic violation. While handing Franklin his ticket, NWA’s “Fuck tha Police” began to play in the background. As it turns out, James Webb, who did not know Franklin, witnessed the stop. He decided on his own accord to turn the song up louder before walking into the gas station store. When he exited, the officer slapped him with a ticket for misdemeanor noise violation, citing that Webb played the song at an “extremely high volume.”

It took 9 minutes of deliberation for a jury to bring in a verdict of  not guilty. This was an obvious attempted end-around the First Amendment by the officer, and the judge shouldn’t have let it get to a jury at all.

3. And speaking of abusing First Amendment rights…as well as “A Nation of Assholes,” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe’s” co-host and wife-to-be (don’t get me started on THAT) Mika Brzezinski,  called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “butt-boy” during yesterday’s show.  Why not? After all, CBS lets its on-air personalities call the President a “cock-holster.” Mika wouldn’t have had her filters down, of course, if the culture around MSNBC wasn’t rife with such hate, but she realized mid-show that this wasn’t exactly professional or civil news reporting, and babbled an apology. Too late!

An ethical, professional news station would suspend her, but this is MSNBC, and there are no ethical, professional news stations.

4. Meanwhile, speaking of media bias and unprofessional reporting...A New York Times “fact check” on the contentious meeting among Trump, Pence, Pelosi and Schumer had this amusing note:

“Mr. Trump has long charged that Democrats want open borders, slinging accusations at a higher clip in the waning days of the midterm elections campaign in November. Democrats do not want open borders, evidenced in part by border security legislation that Democrats have supported. What Democrats do not want is Mr. Trump’s costly border wall.”

Oh, that’s a fact, is it? No, Democrats, at least a great many of them, DO want open borders, evidenced in part by their wilful refusal to distinguish between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants, their insistence on signalling through their support for “Dreamers” that bringing children across the border illegally is a virtuous act, their position that illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. as longs as they don’t break any more laws, their constant demonization of necessary border enforcement efforts, and their proposals to abolish ICE. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Ted Lieu

I guess there are more foolish, dumb, frightening members of Congress than this guy. Think about that.

Lieu, the very model of a modern California Democrat, told CNN host Brianna Keilar, among other things,

“I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that’s simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it’s better the government does not regulate the content of speech.”

And then, he tweeted,

“Would I like to regulate Fox News? Yes, but I can’t because the First Amendment stops me. And that’s ultimately a good thing in the long run.”

You see, people qualified to the leaders of a democracy don’t want to operate like totalitarians. I don’t trust people who want to summarily execute or imprison political opponents without due process or a trial, but who add “But I can’t because of the Constitution, and I guess that OK.” Or, say things like “I wish I could keep slaves/ outlaw religions/ confiscate guns/ nationalize businesses/ take away private property and give it to whoever I want but there’s that dang Constitution.” Such people are wannabe totalitarians, don’t really like our rights, and would crush them in a second if they saw a chance.

That’s Ted Lieu. That’s a lot of Democrats and progressives. Lieu is just of the few dumb enough to admit it.

 

16 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Rights

Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum,” Training Thread

Well, that was humbling. Given the opportunity with this week’s open forum experiment to fly solo, the Ethics Alarms commentariat exceeded all reasonable expectations, producing multiple excellent topic threads and over a hundred comments (and counting) by 22 participants. It also generated several Comment of the Day quality posts, and I may end up posting all of them.

First up is this one, by Michael R, prompted by Steve’s jump-ball:

Now, a few years after women have been allowed to join the infantry, and hundreds have tried, only 30 percent pass compared to over 90 percent of males, but there are still only 24 women total in the Marine Corps Infantry.

Is it ethical to continue such an expensive and inefficient program?

Here is Michael R’s Comment of the Day on the training thread on the post, Open Forum Ethics:

Education is expensive. Should we accept people to training when we know that 70% of them will not be able to complete the training? We could be training people with a much better chance for success instead. A better question would be why don’t we have better screening for the female applicants? That would reduce the number in training, but increase the percentage that succeed

Better examples are probably the FAA’s air traffic control program and the military’s pilot programs. The FAA is facing a shortage of air traffic controllers. The new FAA biographical pre-screening for air traffic controllers is geared to select a ‘diverse’ force. They give more points for being unemployed than graduating from an FAA certified controller training program or having aviation experience in the military. The test gives more points for failing science than being good at science. People who do well on the Air Traffic Skills Assessment Test have no preference over people who haven’t taken it. This results in most graduates of the CTI (FAA collegiate training initiative) programs don’t ‘pass’ the new biographical screening. People who have CTI degrees pass the air traffic control training at a high rate. Those who haven’t, don’t. So, each class of air traffic control trainees now graduates fewer students. This new program has resulted in FEWER air traffic controllers being produced and the CTI programs are drying up because being prepared and educated hurts your chances of being selected. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, U.S. Society, War and the Military