Ethics Quote Of The Month: AP Libel Victim Vito Gesualdi

Vito-Netflix-walkout

“The media sucks!

—-Comedian and videographer Vito Gesuald, after discovering that the Associated Press lied about his conduct while circulating his image to news outlets around the country.

A detailed account of this illustrative event is here, but the basic facts are these. During the walk-out of Netflix employees who want the streaming service to censor comedians who dare to make jokes about the anointed untouchables in our culture, currently transexuals (among others),  a counter-protester named Vito Gesualdi staged a mild counter-protest with a sign that read “Jokes are funny.” He makes videos and has a humorous podcast, and was on the scene to support  Dave Chappelle’s First Amendment right to make jokes even if some people find them offensive. Vito was photographed by an Associated Press photographer named Damian Dovarganes, with the result you see above.  But the AP captioned the photo, “Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi screams profanities as he engages with peaceful protesters begging him to leave…”

Vito was horrified and understandably so. “Screams profanities?” he tweeted. “Dude, I just yelled ‘I love Dave Chappelle’! The media sucks!”  A bit later, Vito discovered with a Google search  that the falsely captioned photo was turning up everywhere.

“Oh great, it’s a stock Associated Press photo caption so that lie is on dozens of news sites now. Any lawyers in the house? This is BS,” he wrote adding with another tweet, “Worth noting that my co-host Dick Masterson is currently at the hospital getting a CT scan after having his head bounced against a concrete planter by these ‘peaceful protestors.'”
Continue reading

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/1/2021: Soccer, Evasion, A Drunk Driver And A Rewind

That clip has nothing to do with ethics, but it makes me laugh every time I see it, and then makes me angry because John Belushi threw his life away.

1. Not that I need more reasons to avoid watching soccer, but the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Council formally voted to repeal a policy that required players to stand for the National Anthem. That’s right: athletes representing the United States of America are now permitted to show disrespect for the nation they are representing while appearing in foreign countries, in which such useless grandstanding as taking a knee during the Anthem are meaningless and confusing to non-American audiences. At the Zoom meeting in which the vote was taken, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone embraced Rationalization #64 (“It isn’t what it is”) by caliming that the policy repeal wasn’t in any way intended to disrespect the flag or the military. “This is about the athletes’ and our staff’s right to peacefully protest racial inequalities and police brutality,” she said. “So I urge our membership to please support our staff and our athletes on this policy.”

She’s an ignorant fool, or she’s lying. The team has no “right” to protest on the playing field, before or during games, while representing the United States. This is just more cowardly woke capitulation. Anyone who says they are protesting racial inequalities and police brutality should be asked to specify 1) exactly what inequality they are protesting, 2) what instance of police brutality, and 3) how their grandstanding accomplishes anything that substantively addresses the issues.

2. Regarding Donald Trump’s speech at CPAC…I don’t want to have to write all this stuff all over again. If Trump tries to make another run for the Republican nomination, or, worse, launch a third party bid, he will be causing incalculable damage to the nation purely to satisfy his own ego. Go back to the posts here when he announced his short-lived candidacy in 2012. This is one reason I am hoping he takes the route of running for a House seat to exact his revenge. He’ll do less damage there, and Andrew Johnson will have some company in the history books for returning to Congress after being impeached.

Continue reading

High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

As you may (and should) know, the classic Western “High Noon” was and is regarded by some conservatives as anti-American. I think it is, as excellent as it is. The ending, where the heroic law man (played by Gary Cooper in an Academy Award-winning performance) throws his star in the dirt in disgust (imitated by “Dirty Harry” for very different reasons in that conservative film years later), is widely seen as a rejection of American society as hypocritical. (The fact that the screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was a Communist doesn’t help.)

My favorite scene in the movie, where Cooper begs the church congregation to help, plays like a “Twilight Zone” episode, with the whole town rationalizing furiously to avoid helping the desperate law man minutes away from having to face, alone, vengeful thugs determined to kill him. (The whole scene is not on YouTube; I searched.) “Rio Bravo,” one of the best John Wayne Westerns and a personal favorite, was devised by director Howard Hawks as a direct rebuke of the selfish and craven America “High Noon” posits. In the Duke’s movie, the lawman, Wayne, constantly rejects the offers of help he receives, though he knows hired killers are massing to free his prisoner. Yet people go out of their way, at great personal risk, to help him anyway, time after time. “High Noon” is a better movie (maybe), but “Rio Bravo” is a fairer depiction of American values and history.

1. This is why I tell lawyers and government employees that it’s unethical to use Google for professional communication and client matters. Mac programmer Jeff Johnson has discovered that if you set Google Chrome to eliminate all website cookies and site data when you close the browser, the data remains un-erased for YouTube and Google itself.

What a coinkydink!

“Perhaps this is just a Google Chrome bug, not intentional behavior, but the question is why it only affects Google sites, not non-Google sites,” Johnson says. “I’ve tested using the latest Google Chrome version 86.0.4240.75 for macOS, but this behavior was also happening in the previous version of Chrome. I don’t know when it started.”

Bottom line: Don’t trust Google. Like I’ve been saying….

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/12/2020: I Admit It—I’m Fighting Hard To Avoid Getting Angry, Because I’m Not Ethical When I’m Angry

As we face these challenging times, we at Ethics Alarms salute the heroes, the indomitable, the resolute and the vibrant, who endure with good will and good cheer for the well-being of the community. We are Americans, and we are in this together, and

IF I HAVE to listen to insincere, calculated, virtue-signaling crap like this many more times, something is going to ‘pop!’ in my head and I’ll be  grabbing the nearest long, sharp implement and leaving the confines of these walls to begin the historic Alexandria Massacre.

Go ahead! Test me!

The rule in our house is that any channel that runs a commercial that begins with “In these..” or that shows someone wearing a facemask or looking at a webcam will be switched to another channel, never to be revisited during that day. If everyone follows this simple rule, and makes their policy known, maybe we’ll be able to halt this torture.

1.  What’s going on here? Is the idea now to proclaim how biased the news media is and the double standards it uses and mock those of us who care by showing there’s not a thing we can do with it? Is that it? Governor Cuomo actually said at a press conference yesterday  that the pandemic virus came from Europe in January and “no one knew” about it. “With all the sophistication, with all the public health organizations, with that whole alphabet soup of agencies, nobody knew the virus was coming from Europe,” the governor said, on the same day he finally retracted his deadly order requiring nursing homes to take in infected, elderly residents. Then he called the virus “The European Virus.” He really did. No, seriously. I’m not making this up.

The mainstream news media just ignored this idiocy yesterday, though President Trump calling the virus the Chinese virus, which except for the obscure papers Cuomo was apparently citing, is consistent with what most researchers have concluded about its origin, was attacked as racist because, you know, Big Lie #4.  Cuomo’s atrocious decision to expose nursing homes has also been barely covered in the left-leaning media.

2. If you are wondering why Ethics Alarms hasn’t covered in any detail the apparent emerging evidence that President Obama was intimately involved in the scheme to frame Michael Flynn, it is because there is literally no news source I can trust. Conservative sources are stating outright that Obama is squarely in “What did the President know and when did he know it” territory, with declassified documents indicating that Obama was aware of the bogus investigation and efforts to railroad Michael Flynn. The mainstream media appears to be doing what it did during Obama’s entire 8 years, which is refusing to probe suspicious activities and events, and maintaining the illusion that our first black President must be seen to be  as pure as the driven snow, because he was the first black President.  Unless a non-right wing source or reporter plays the role of the Watergate era Washington Post and “Woodstein” to get the truth out, we will be kept in the dark…and you know what the Post says happens in darkness. Continue reading

“Thank God It’s Friday!” Ethics Amen, 2/28/2020: Will Women Give Up Sports? Does Joe Biden Know What “Arrest” Means? Do Kids Really Think Sitting In The Car Is Fun?, And Other Important Questions…

Amen to THAT…

1. Conservatism and nostalgia gone nuts...In the category of posts I don’t understand at all, right-ward blogger/pundit Megan Fox put up something called “8 Fun (and Possibly Dangerous) Activities Enjoyed by Past Generations That Today’s Kids Will Never Experience.” She said in her introduction of the paean to the good ol’ days, “Children are more coddled and protected than ever in 2019. For kids, it’s oppressive. I know mine listen to my stories of summers full of freedom and independence, running around the neighborhood all day until dark, with wide-eyed envy. These days, kids are hardly free to do anything we could back in generations past.”

But look what she chose…

  • “Play all day with no adult supervision, roaming neighborhoods and friends’ houses until dark”

We let out son do this, and I would do it today. There’s nothing stopping you. I’d strongly suggest waiting until the child is at least 10, though.

  • Ride in cars without seatbelts.

I don’t see how anyone can be nostalgic about something that got kids killed, abd what was so much fun about riding without seat belts anyway?

  • “The joy of phone calls” 

Okay, texting is more popular. But I see kids on the phone all the time (A school is almost next to our house.). If a kid really thinks phoning is a “joy,’ nothing is stopping her.

  • ” Lawn darts, rusty slides, dangerous park equipment”

Says Fox,

“At our neighborhood park, the slide was so high that it would make your stomach drop half way up the ladder…..  Nobody’s mommy came with them to the park. It was a sanctuary…Parks have been sanitized and de-riskified with padded ground and plastic, twisty slides that are so slow it seems pointless to even use them….Everything is super safe, and yet everyone’s mother is hovering. It makes no sense.”

There’s also a park just like the one she described within view of our house, yes, with moms (actually nannies) all around. The kids there seem to be having a lot of fun anyway.  All I remember from our local playground was coming home injured, sometimes badly. The only time I was ever beat up as a child was at that playground, because there were no adults around. What fun!

  • Hanging out at the mall in packs of 11- to 15-year-olds

Good riddance.

  • Buying cigarettes for a family member

What? Why is this  on the list?

  • Sitting in the car for up to an hour while Mom grocery shops

This is also a “What?” My parents never did that to us, and I don’t know why any responsible parent would. “Oh yes, we all did this,” says Fox.  “Back when I was a kid it was completely normal to have a parking lot full of kids in cars waiting for parents. No one thought this was a crime or weird at all. And we loved it!” She must be from Mars.

  • Babysitting

Babysitting was (and still is) a way to make money. Anyone who thought it was “fun” was weird.

Posts like this are among the reasons why conservatives have a bad reputation. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/8/2019, As Tumbleweeds Roll Through The Deserted Streets Of Ethics Alarms…

Is anybody out there?

1. What’s going on here? The AP deleted a tweet on September 5 tweet attributing the murders of Israeli athletes  to undefined “guerrillas.” Someone complained: it then tweeted, “The AP has deleted a tweet about the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics because it was unclear about who was responsible for the killings and referred to the attackers as guerrillas. A new tweet will be sent shortly.” Finally, this was the tweet decided upon:

“On Sept. 5, 1972, the Palestinian group Black September attacked the Israeli Olympic delegation at the Munich Games, killing 11 Israelis and a police officer. German forces killed five of the gunmen.”

2. Wait: ARE there really “AI ethicists,” or just unethical ethicists grabbing a new niche by claiming that they are any more qualified for this topic than anyone else?

From the Defense Systems website:

After a rash of tech employee protests, the Defense Department wants to hire an artificial intelligence ethicist. “We are going to bring on someone who has a deep background in ethics,” tag-teaming with DOD lawyers to make sure AI can be “baked in,” Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who leads the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, told reporters during an Aug. 30 media briefing.

The AI ethical advisor would sit under the JAIC, the Pentagon’s strategic nexus for AI projects and plans, to help shape the organization’s approach to incorporating AI capabilities in the future. The announcement follows protests by Google and Microsoft employees concerned about how the technology would be used — particularly in lethal systems — and questioning whether major tech companies should do business with DOD.

I’m hoping that the Defense Department isn’t doing this, as the article implies, because some pacifist, anti-national defense techies at Microsoft complained. [Pointer: Tom Fuller]

3. Campus totalitarians gonna totalitary!  University of Michigan students and alumni aare demanding that the University to sever ties with real estate developer Stephen M. Ross , who is the largest donor in the University’s history. This would presumably include removing his name from  Ross School of Business, which he substantially funded. (His name is on other buildings as well) Did Ross rape women willy-nilly? Has he been shown to be racist? No, he held  a re-election fundraiser for the President of the United States. Continue reading

Two-Day Ethics Catch-Up/Warm-Up, 6/28/19 and 6/29/19: Racists, Bigamy, And Jimmy Carter

Good evening and good morning…

I tried so hard to get to the office and the keyboard last night to complete the Warm-Up, but video shooting, exhaustion and sick dog complications made it impossible. I don’t know if slow and steady win anything, but they do make progress…

1. Racist comments poll results: I’m surprised. The overwhelming majority—about 92%— is anti-racist comment censorship. Let’s read the one in question, and tell me if it makes you rethink your vote. How much stuff like this do you want to read?

but ethics..?…in general, doesn’t the word, ‘ethics’ pertain to – things that are helpful or things that are helps or a thing or things that help and/or are helpful ? You can call me a racist, if you like but I don’t hate niggers because of the color of their skin – isn’t that what a racist is ? oh no, no, no, no, no, contraire mon frere…l hate niggers like I hate stepping in shit, as I’m apt to slip and fall and hurt myself. I would have to strongly disagree about your terming of chimpmania and other similar sites as being, ‘unethical’ – chimpmania – specifically, helped me to make my decision, in regards to staying as far and wide and clear and away from niggers, as I possibly can. Whether you can comprehend or not : I’ve seen enough – visually, first-hand to know better than to have anything to do with them. I don’t hate niggers because they’re black, l hate niggers because they’re niggers – my daddy didn’t teach me to hate niggers – niggers taught me to hate niggers. And let me clue you in on the simplest of FACTS about niggers…they come in all shapes and sizes and colors and disguises.

I live in a city that’s 89% White and 4% black and the rest ? – whatever the hell else. Now, which do you think the ethnic group or racial group is that supplies the greatest number of niggers in this city – blacks ? nope… …you figure it out and yes I AM a WhytAy !

  • What do you learn from this?
  • Is it fruitful or worth the time to rebut it?
  • Does a comment like this contribute anything to public discourse or comprehension of relevant issues?
  • Do you want someone capable of writing this to be participating in other discussions?

2. Ethics Dunce: Jimmy Carter. Yes, the former President decided to choose now to announce that Presient Trump would not have been elected without Russian interference. “There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election, and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated, would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016,” Jimmy said. Jimmy is and has always been something of an arrogant jerk. “Although not yet questioned” is a euphemism for ” there is no evidence of this whatsoever, but I believe it anyway.” It is exactly as valid a statement as the President’s statement that illegal immigrant votes cost him the popular vote, which is to say that it has no validity at all. Yet look at all my Facebook friends and yours, citing the failed President as proof that Big Lie #2, “Trump is not a legitimate President” isn’t a lie after all.

This is not just appeal to authority, a logical fallacy, but appeal to a proven-unreliable authority, a stupid logical fallacy. Jimmy’s various fact-free pronouncements since his ejection from the white House by Ronald Reagan have been marked by their fealty to confirmation bias. My favorite was his conclusion that he has been the most accomplished ex-President in U.S. history. William Howard Taft (who went on to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), John Quincy Adams (who had brilliant career in the House of Representatives after he lost to Jackson), and Herbert Hoover, whose humanitarian accomplishments post-Presidency dwarfed Carter’s, would beg to differ. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: The American Bar Association

Res Ipsa Loquitur: The American Bar Association  Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice will bestow the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award on former Obama U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on August 4. It has been obvious for a long time, but if anyone needed any further evidence that the ABA is now a full-fledged partisan left-wing organization masquerading as an objective professional association, this is it. Holder wasn’t just a bad AG, he was a political one in what is supposed to be a non-political office. He was also racialist, and obviously so, regularly coordinating with Al Sharpton and his followers, and constructing a Civil Rights division that adopted the position that only whites could engage in civil rights violations.

Holder should have disqualified himself from any professional awards, not to mention his high office in the Obama Administration, when he gave the green light to President  Clinton’s  infamous pardon of Democratic donor Marc Rich (aka. Clinton’s quid pro quo for his ex-wife’s  fat donation to his Presidential library). In fact, it was a defining moment, and having defined himself as a partisan lackey, Holder was exactly what President Obama wanted at Justice. Holder intervened in the Trayvon Martin case to signal it as a race-related crime in the absence of any evidence, and did likewise in the Michael Brown shooting, lighting the fuse of racial distrust and community anger at police. Then he called the United States a “nation of cowards” regarding race relations. The real coward was Holder, who used his race—he was the first black Attorney General—to shield himself from the accountability and criticism his mishandling of his office deserved.

Holder was held in contempt of Congress—and allowed the captive news media to call the action “racist”—after he withheld documents and key witnesses from oversight committees looking at several scandals in which his Justice Department was complicit. Notable among them was the “Fast and Furious” fiasco in which the government allowed Mexican drug gangs to get high-powered weapons, one of which ended up killing an American. Holder actively misled Congress in testimony under oath.ore than once.  He sought significant reductions in privacy and due process protections for citizens—civil rights? Hello, ABA?— and personally announced and supported Obama’s “kill list” policy, in which the President asserted the right to kill any U.S. citizen on his sole authority without a charge or due process.  Holder let his  department apply the controversial Espionage Act of 1917 to bring twice the number of such prosecutions under the Act that had occurred under all previous Attorneys General.  He led the Obama Administration in a campaign against government whistle-blowers. Holder championed warrantless surveillance (Civil rights? Hello?). Most damning of all given the title of his upcoming award, Holder was personally involved in targeting journalists for surveillance and  was the leader of an Obama administration attack on the news media that was condemned by many public interest and media groups. Holder’s Justice Department seized phone records for reporters and editors  at three Associated Press offices as well as its office in the House of Representatives. Under oath, Holder later claimed to know nothing about any of it.

Writes Prof. Jonathan Turley, who has written many searing articles documenting Holder’s disgraceful tenure at Justice,

“Holder’s “contributions” cost civil liberties dearly in this country. If the ABA is to give him this award, it could at least spare civil libertarians and journalists the reference to civil liberties.”

_______________

Note: You can read the various Ethics Alarms documentation of Holder unethical words and conduct here.

This one is probably my favorite, from 2014.

Sun Day Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/20/2018: Bright Above, Dark Below…

What IS that thing???

Good Morning!

There is this big, white-yellow, ball-thing in the sky overhead..not sure what it is.

The sky is also this weird bluish color.

Very strange…

1. The news media actually calls this creep a moral authority...which itself is significant. On his late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel said, “President Trump said he is with the people of Santa Fe in this tragic hour and will be with them forever—except for when it comes time to do something. Then he will not be with them.”

Trump’s post shooting statement was standard issue President-after-tragedy stuff, neither unusual nor objectionable to anyone not seeking to manufacture offense.  “We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack,” Trump said. “To the students, families, teachers, and personnel at Santa Fe High: We’re with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever. My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others. Everyone must work together, at every level of government, to keep our children safe.”

Kimmel :“They care more about the support of the NRA than they do about children.”

Kimmel’s statement is signature significance for an ignorant, unscrupulous asshole, and one who either has never read the Constitution, or doesn’t care what it says. There is absolutely nothing that the President of The United States, (or “they”) could or can do to prevent school shootings like the one in Santa Fe.

2. Who wants to join me in a sit-in at Starbucks? It will have to be a lily-white sit-in to make the point. Starbucks’ desperate, pandering, virtue-signaling, deranged new policy that allows anyone to sit in its stores or use its restrooms, even if they don’t buy anything, immediately guarantees the Tragedy of the Commons, which the silly, social justice warrior-run company apparently felt was a preferable disaster than to be accused of racism for enforcing a reasonable and necessary rule when blacks were the violators. If all the tables and space are taken up by non-customers, loiterers and free-riders, Starbucks can’t do any business, but it is literally saying, “We don’t care!” Why? Well, even if they ordered white freeloaders to leave, every time the freeloader was black, Hispanic, gay or in a wheelchair, a YouTube video would appear, go viral, and Starbucks would be tarred as corporate bigots. The police could try this same strategy: announce that officers will not fire on any individual resisting arrest or threatening an officer’s life. I’m sure that will work out well too.

3.  Yes, this was the quality of the people running the country during the Obama years. Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan argued on Twitter that parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws. He really did. Let’s have a contest: List how many ways this suggestion is unethical. I’ll get you started: it is irredeemably stupid, and thus an abuse of influence, making the naive and easily gulled believe that because this man ran the Education Department, he is a respectable authority whose bone-headed utterances can be trusted and taken seriously. (I see at least five more.) Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/9/17: The AP Invents A New Misleading Phrase, Deaf Signer Ethics, No Innocent Until Proven Guilty In The NFL, And More…

GOOD MORNING!

1 This is the monthly brief warm-up, as I have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at an obscenely early hour and teach the peculiarities of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct to about 300 lawyers newly admitted to the bar. And those rules are peculiar, notably Rule 5.4, which allows District lawyers to form multidisciplinary firms, with accountants, economists, professional marketers and other non-legal professionals as partners. Such firms mirror entities in Europe that take international business away from U.S. firms, but are regarded as unethical in every other U.S. jurisdiction, and condemned by the American Bar Association.

2. Yesterday I watched Florida Governor Rick Scott give his pre-hurricane warnings, or tried to, since standing next to him was a signer for the deaf, gesticulating and making more elaborate faces than the late Robin Williams in the throes of a fit. I have mentioned this in the context of theatrical performances: as a small minority, the deaf should not be enabled by political correctness to undermine the best interests of the majority. What Scott was saying was important, and could have been adequately communicated to the deaf citizens present by the signer standing off camera. TV viewers could and should have been able to watch a text crawl following Scott’s speech, or closed captioning. Public speaking involves verbal and visual communications, and having a vivid distraction like a professional signer—many of whom feel it is their duty to add broad facial expressions to their translations—is unfair to both the speaker and his or her audience. This is one more example of a sympathetic minority bullying the majority to establish its power. Continue reading