What Is The Appropriate Response To These Companies?

Target puppy

With crime rates soaring in many cities and “smash and garb” raids disrupting large retailers, companies like Home Depot, Nordstom’s and Target are calling on communities to increase policing. By “like,” I mean companies that previously hailed Black Lives Matter and other anti-policing organizations,, festooned their stores, ads and websites with endorsements of BLM as it vilified law enforcement and called for “defunding” the police, and gave large grants to it and other “social justice” movements seeking to reduce police protection of communities across the nation.

It was all part of “The Big Pander” sub-division of The Great Stupid, itself fueled by the George Floyd Freakout, because it makes perfect sense to decide that a single brutal police incident proves that all police are racist menaces. The fake history “1619 Project” and offshoots of Critical Race Theory also were bolstered by these corporations’ cynical virtue-signaling, at a time when catering to criminals is seen as a virtue.

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Comment Of The Day: “Is It Too Late To Call It “The Wuhan Virus” Or Better Yet, ‘The China Virus’?”

China Lied

Too strong?

Extradimensional Cephalopod, as is his (it’s?) wont, chose to approach the question of what to call the pandemic virus (I am unalterably devoted to calling it what it is, as a deadly pathogen that developed in China and allowed to infect the world BY China “the Wuhan virus” in order to ensure that accountability, blame, and, if possible, liability attaches now and forever) by seeking an ethical process that has applications in other contexts. Below is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Is It Too Late To Call It “The Wuhan Virus” Or Better Yet, “The China Virus”?

Recent news has reinforced the unavoidable conclusion that China is a corrupting influence on the world and it culture. Disney, which like so many, indeed most—all?—major corporations has no ethical principles it is willing to lose profits from hewing to if at all possible, censored an episode of “The Simpsons” that satirized the nation and its government. Disney eliminated the episode from the package it sold to Chinese media. Let’s be clear: this means that Disney is assisting China in government censorship of creative expression arising in Disney’s own nation, and also assisting China’s totalitarians in controlling the minds of its population. I regard the “Covid” cover word being used to avoid connecting this regime with the disaster its habits created to be a similar form of complicity.

Now here’s “the Squid”: I’ll be back ever so briefly when he’s finished:

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Is It Too Late To Call It “The Wuhan Virus” Or Better Yet, “The China Virus”?

Coronavirus_H

I believe this issue should be settled in the context of the immortal words of Chinese dissident Paladin Cheng, who said, “Don’t trust China. China is asshole.”

There is no longer any serious dispute over where the pandemic came from, or why it spread so far and did so much damage before the world was able to respond in a timely fashion. Either the virus arose from the unsanitary, disease breeding Wuhan wet markets, or escaped from a Wuhan lab. Then China, we also now know, covered up the rampaging contagion, allowing it to travel via plane and other means to all corners of the globe.

Conclusion: China is accountable. China is liable. China is asshole.

Of course, we knew the latter even before the pandemic, but China is also profitable, which is why everyone from the NBA to Hollywood to Disney to Hunter Biden still want to avoid making certain that the public knows just how bad—evil, even—the Chinese government and culture is. I presume that after multiple mutations and other distractions, in five years or less most of the public won’t know or remember where the virus that we allowed to wreck the economy, society and culture came from. Where is “Covid,” anyway?

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Since Ethics Alarms Appears To Be The Only Source Trying To Publicize This Problem, Here, For The Third Time, Is “The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profit” [Corrected]

I re-posted the early Ethics Alarms entry from 2010, titled “The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profit,” in 2016. As I explained then, the original post “raised an important and shamefully under-reported topic, one that despite my exhortations then has yet to be adequately examined in the media.” In 2016, when I googled various combinations of “mouthwash,””Listerine,”‘alcoholism,” and “alcoholic,” the first result was my post. “Most people who are not afflicted with the disease of alcoholism have no idea that mouthwash is a popular stand-in for liquor, or that is used to deceive family members who think an addict is no longer using or intoxicated,” I wrote. On that occasion I was prompted to re-post the essay after I had been shocked to hear a physician friend who treated alcoholics plead complete ignorance of the links between mouthwash and alcoholism. Today, it was the reaction of my own physician, who is usually up-to-date on all medical research, and he had treated alcoholism sufferers at the VA. He had never heard anything about the problem.

Google would seem to indicate that there is some publicity about the issue. (Interestingly, while in 2016 Ethics Alarms came up first in any search for the topic, today it doesn’t appear in the first five pages. Why would that be, I wonder? Well, this is another issue.)

This section of my 2016 intro is still valid:

“Despite my frustration that what I regard as a true exposé that should have sparked an equivalent article in a more widely read forum has remained relatively unknown, I am encouraged by the effect it has had. Most Ethics Alarms posts have their greatest traffic around the time they are posted, but since 2010, the page views of this article have increased steadily…More importantly, it has drawn comments like this one:

‘Am looking after my twin sister who is a chronic alcoholic. She has been three days sober and then she just walked in and I couldn’t work out what the hell happened. She was in a stupor , but there was no alcohol and I am dispensing the Valium for detox period and she smelt like mint!! Found three bottles of it !!! This is my last big push to help her and she pleaded innocent and no idea it had alcohol in it! Hasn’t had a shower for two days but keeps her mouth fresh and sweet !! Thanks for the information. Much appreciated XXX’

“Most of all, I am revolted that what I increasingly have come to believe is an intentional, profit-motivated deception by manufacturers continues, despite their knowledge that their product is killing alcoholics and destroying families. I know proof would be difficult, but there have been successful class action lawsuits with millions in punitive damage settlements for less despicable conduct. Somewhere, there must be an employee or executive who acknowledges that the makers of mouthwash with alcohol know their product is being swallowed rather than swished, and are happy to profit from it….People are killing themselves right under our noses, and we are being thrown of by the minty smell of their breath.”

Here again is “The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profi,” lightly edited and updated. Maybe the third time’s the charm.

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Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/23/2021: Farewell Everly Brothers And Other Problems

Don Everly has died, and that’s the end of the Everly Brothers (Phil died years ago), one of the most influential and perhaps the most harmonious singing group of all time. The unique sympathetic vibrations that only sibling singers seem to be able to achieve is a marvelous metaphor for the ethical benefits of teamwork and trust.

This date also marks the demise of another famous duo: despite worldwide demonstrations in support of their alleged innocence, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for murder in Massachusetts in 1921 .On April 15, 1920, a paymaster for a shoe company in South Braintree was shot and killed along with his guard. The murderers, who escaped with more than $15,000, were described by witnesses as two “swarthy Italian men.” Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and charged with the crime. The men carried guns and lied to the police, but neither had a previous criminal record, and they definitely didn’t get a fair trial by modern standards. Prejudice against Italian-Americans was strong, and suspicion of anarchists was stronger. The pair was convicted on July 14, 1921, and sent to the electric chair on August 23.

A TV dramatization of their case, written by Reginald Rose (who authored “Twelve Angry Men”) made a huge impression on me as a child, and sparked the first stirrings of my interest in the law. In 1961, a test of Sacco’s gun using modern forensic techniques proved that it was his gun that killed the guard; he, at least, was guilty, but there was little evidence to implicate Vanzetti in the killing. To make this ethics train wreck complete, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis ignored the evidence of Sacco’s guilt and issued a proclamation exonerating both Sacco and Vanzetti and proclaiming that no stigma should be associated with their names.

Typical of Dukakis.

1. Accountability? What accountability? “Sources”—and I stipulate that un-named “sources” are untrustworthy—tell various news outlets that “President Biden isn’t inclined to fire any senior national security officials over the chaos in Kabul unless the situation drastically deteriorates or there’s significant loss of American life.” That sounds as likely as it is depressing. The reluctance of American Presidents to fire subordinates for gross incompetence has become the norm rather than the exception, and the trend ensures that our government, whoever is the President and whatever party is power, will continue to decline in competence and trustworthiness. Consider President Bush’s refusal to fire any of those responsible for the botched intelligence regarding Iraq’s WMDs, and later Abu Ghraib, or my personal favorite, Barack Obama’s refusal to acknowledge the gross incompetence of Kathleen Sebelius, his Secretary of Health, after her inexcusable reliance on a flawed website to launch the Affordable Care Act.

Dumber still is the qualification “unless the situation drastically deteriorates or there’s significant loss of American life.” Morons. Morons! Whether the situation gets worse or not is pure moral luck; it doesn’t change the utter incompetence of the Afghanistan abandonment. Imagine a babysitter who gives a toddler knives to play with, and a parent whose reaction is, “Well, the kid wasn’t hurt, so there’s no reason to fire her.” That is literally what the reasoning at the White House is…if “sources” are accurate.

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No, No, NO, Biden Must NOT “Go”: Biden Must Stay, And All Responsible For Putting Him In The White House Must Be Made Accountable

Joe confused

Over at the Spectator, conservative pundit Dominic Green writes in a piece titled Biden Must Go,

“If Trump had confused his Vice President with a ‘general’ or fumbled with his cue cards because he couldn’t match a scripted question to a scripted answer, as Biden did at his press conference on Thursday; or shown the bizarre callousness and failure of short-term memory in his ‘That was four days ago, five days ago!’ outburst; or spontaneously abandoned the policy of strategic ambiguity on Taiwan in an interview with ABC, as Biden did with George Stephanopoulos on Thursday, the psychiatrists would be lining up outside the cable stations to explain why the 25th Amendment needed to be deployed now. It’s that simple. The buck really does stop with the President. The world has always seen Biden’s incapacity, and now the American people can see it too. He carries direct responsibility for a disaster so undeniable that even a partisan media can no longer deny it. He can neither speak truthfully nor accurately. Not so much the emperor with no clothes, as Lear’s fool on the heath, naked and shivering as the kingdom comes to the ‘great confusion’.”

Oh no you don’t! “The resistance,” progressives, Democrats and the news media can’t be let off that easy. It is essential to restoring the nation’s principles and the integrity of the political process that Joe Biden remain in office to do all the damage and inflict all the embarrassment on the nation he will undoubtedly can and will. It will be painful for him to be sure: good. He was irresponsible and unethical to allow himself to be used by his party when he knew—and I’m sure he knows—that he had become a shadow of his already mediocre self. It will be even more painful for his party and its supporters, which will not be able to blame anyone but themselves for the disaster at the border, the stuttering response to the latest virus strains, the exploding national debt, the creeping inflation and the disgraceful embrace of racial discrimination. And, of course, it will be painful for the public, and again I say, good. They were dupes, fools and incompetent citizens. They deserve to suffer. There are consequences to being lazy, gullible, biased and stupid. They are about to learn them. Hard.The Democrats and media tried to brainwash America with the dangerous idea that when we elect a President that enough people don’t like and the news media decides to destroy, there are constitutional ways to ignore elections and get rid of him. There are not. Impeachment, contrary to the undemocratic plots endorsed by Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and the rest, requires actual “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not mean tweets, contrived violations of dead letter provisions and conduct routinely engaged in by other Presidents that are suddenly repurposed into “crimes” to avoid the trouble of defeating an incumbent at the polls.

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July 3: Pickett’s Charge, Custer’s First Stand, Ethics And Leadership

Picketts-Charge--330-to-345-pm-landscape

[I started to write a new post and while doing my research discovered that I would basically be repeating what I posted last year. Thus I am re-posting that July 3 Gettysburg essay as well as the one I attached to it, but with several substantive additions.]

July 3  was the final day of the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, reaching its bloody climax in General Robert E. Lee’s desperate  gamble on a massed assault on the Union center. In history it has come to be known as Pickett’s Charge, after the leader of the Division that was slaughtered during it.

At about 2:00 pm this day in 1863, near the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg,  Lee launched his audacious stratagem to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in the pivotal battle of the American Civil War.  The Napoleonic assault on the entrenched Union position on Cemetery Ridge, with a “copse of trees” at its center, was the only such attack in the entire war, a march into artillery and rifle fire across an open field and over fences. When my father, the old soldier, saw the battlefield  for the first time in his eighties, he became visibly upset because, he said, he could visualize the killing field. He was astounded that Lee would order such a reckless assault.

The battle lasted less than an hour. Union forces suffered 1,500 casualties,, while at least 1,123 Confederates were killed on the battlefield, 4,019 were wounded, and nearly 4000 Rebel soldiers were captured. Pickett’s Charge would go down in history as one of the worst military blunders of all time.

At Ethics Alarms, it stands for several ethics-related  concepts. One is moral luck: although Pickett’s Charge has long been regarded by historians and scholars as a disastrous mistake by Lee, and in retrospect seems like a rash decision, it could have succeeded if the vicissitudes of chance had broken the Confederacy’s way.  Then the maneuver would be cited today as another example of Lee’s brilliance, in whatever remained of the United States of America, if indeed it did remain. This is the essence of moral luck; unpredictable factors completely beyond the control of an individual or other agency determine whether a decision or action are wise or foolish, ethical or unethical.

Pickett’s Charge has been discussed on Ethics Alarms as a vivid example, perhaps the best, of how successful leaders and others become so used to discounting the opinions and criticism of others that they lose the ability to accept the possibility that they can be wrong. This delusion is related to #14 on the Rationalizations list,  Self-validating Virtue. We see the trap in many professions and contexts, and its victims have been among some of America’s greatest. Those who succeed by being bold and seeing possibilities lesser peers cannot perceive often lose respect and regard for anyone’s authority or opinion but their own.

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Ellen DeGeneris Meets The Cognitive Dissonance Scale

Ellen DeGeneres’s brand and reputation have always been built on the illusion that she was nice. She was called the “Be Kind” Lady. Then, last July, BuzzFeed reported that several of her popular daytime talk show’s former and current staff members said they had been subjected to “racism, fear and intimidation” on the set. Other staff members said producers had sexually harassed them. Warner Bros. investigated the complaints and concluded that there were major problems. Three of the show’s producers were fired. When DeGeneres returned from the show’s summer hiatus to open its 18th season, she began with a vague and deeply unsatisfying apology. “I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,” she said in part. “I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

Well wait a minute: whose name is on the title card? Who believes that Ellen DeGeneres had no idea what was going on in the management of the Ellen DeGeneres show? How is that even possible? And if it is possible, it’s still unforgivable. She is accountable.

There were also increasingly frequent accounts suggesting that Ellen herself wasn’t so nice. (I am reminded of my late night conversation with the late Broadway choreographer Thommie Walsh, who said, “You have to remember, Jack, that virtually all star performers are horrible people.”) Among the disturbing allegations was the claim that staff on DeGeneres’ show were instructed not to talk to her. She supposedly tried to get a waitress fired who chipped one of Ellen’s nail. There were leaks that she expressed contempt for her audience behind the scenes.

Sometimes the public surprises me: after all, it voted for Joe Biden to be President, and Joe has a completely phony nice-guy image that has been exposed again and again as a cynical facade. Yet in Ellen’s case, her hypocrisy was rejected. “Ellen,” the ratings companies report, has lost more than a million viewers since September, averaging 1.5 million viewers over the last six months, down from 2.6 million in the same period last year.

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The Ethics Alarms Rationalizations List Welcomes The Know-It-All’s Dodge, Or “I Knew This Would Happen”

Obama

The Know-It-All’s Dodge has been hanging around waiting for me to add it to the Rationalizations List for a long time. I should have added it when President Barack Obama exploded my head with this exchange, in 2015, regarding his pathetic and disastrous handling of the Syrian civil war.

In an interview with CBS’s Steve Kroft, who had earlier in Obama’s administration stated outright that his questions to the President would not be confrontational ones, there was this:

KROFT: You have been talking a lot about the moderate opposition in Syria. It seems very hard to identify. And you talked about the frustrations of trying to find some and train them. You had a half-a-billion dollars from congress to train and equip 5,000, and at the end, according to the commander of CENTCOM, you got 50 people, most of whom are, are dead or deserted. He said you’ve got four or five left.

OBAMA: Steve, this is why I’ve been skeptical from the get-go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria.

KABOOM!

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Ethics Corrupter: The Boston Red Sox

red_sox disgraced

Sometimes, a mere “ethics dunce” designation isn’t enough.

The decision, announced yesterday, by the Boston Red Sox to rehire disgraced manager Alex Cora to a two-year contract that will again put him at the helm of the team is disgusting and indefensible, unethical to the core. For me, it constitutes 2020’s second major ethics offense by an organization and a sport that has been important on many levels throughout my life, substantially challenging my loyalty and affection.

I was going to call the post “Ethics Strike Two On the Boston Red Sox,” but that formula would require me to give the team a third chance to disgrace itself before I called it “out” of my life, and I don’t know if I can do that. Nonetheless, I’m going to attempt to keep the emotional component of this most recent ethics breach on the metaphorical bench in this post as I try to be objective.

I won’t promise that I will succeed.

Cora was fired by the Red Sox in January after he was found to be the architect of the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scheme, one of the worst scandals in Major League Baseball history, trailing only the 1918 Black Sox scandal and the illegal player steroid era in its degree of damage to the sport. Commissioner Rob Manfred later suspended Cora through the end of the 2020 postseason. The revelation that Cora, a bench coach for then Astros manager A. J. Hinch,  had been at the center of an organized cheating scheme that helped bring the Houston Astros a World Championship also cast a shadow over the following year’s World Championship achieved by the Boston Red Sox, which had hired Cora as its manager. Did the cheating mastermind from Houston bring his unethical ways to his first managing job? Why wouldn’t he?

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