Monday Ethics Left-Overs, 11/25/2019: Dog Dissonance, Chick-Fil-A’s Surrender, Yang, And Yar

Happy Holidays!

1 Trivial Ethics. In an old episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” the nautical termword “yar” came up. This was a Jeff Goldblum episode, and he remarked, in the odd, ironic, strangely reflective manner that is Jeff’s trademark, “Yar! Katherine Hepburn used that word in “The Philadelphia Story,” right? Yar? Who did she say that too?” His partner replied, with great certitude, “Jimmy Stewart.”

WRONG. Tracy Lord (Katherine) has two “yar” discussions, one with her fiance, played by John Howard, and another with ex-husband Cary Grant, who built boats. These scriptwriters are in show business, dammit. “The Philadelphia Story” is a classic. Nobody working on the TV show knew the right answer? Nobody bothered to check? This is how America’s collective minds get clogged with ignorance.

2. Now I can begin my personal boycott of Chick-Fil-A. Last week Chick-fil-A announced that next year it is officially cutting ties with the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), the charitable organizations that have sparked protests and boycotts against the chicken restaurant chain because they, and the chain’s CEO, Dan Kathy, are known to oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

According to the chain, in 2018, its foundation donated $115,000 to the Salvation Army and $1.65 million to FCA. This is a big blow to both organizations.

“We made multiyear commitments to both organizations, and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018. Moving forward you will see that the Chick-fil-A Foundation will support the three specific initiatives of homelessness, hunger and education,” a representative said.

Translation: They capitulated to viewpoint bullying, and now others will feel empowered to use totalitarian methods to extort other organizations and businesses.

This issue was deftly covered in a major thread in last week’s Open Forum: Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Refresher, 3/24/2019 [PART II]: Bill of Rights? What Bill Of Rights? [CORRECTED]

Now it’s “Good afternoon!”

Sunday’s depressing ethics potpourri continues…

3. Psst! San Antonio! This is unconstitutional! The San Antonio City Council rejected  Chick-fil-A ‘s application for a site at its airport this week because the company’s foundation has contributed to organizations that oppose same-sex marriage

Councilman Robert Treviño told the news media that the council made the decision based on “inclusivity.”

“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior. Everyone has a place here and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.”

Have these fools and censors even read the Bill of Rights? A government can’t penalize a business because it doesn’t like the opinions of its owner or management. This is viewpoint discrimination, and a screamingly obvious First Amendment violation. As Chick-fil-A accurately pointed out in its response, no one has ever been refused service or treated differently in one of the company’s restaurants because of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s their LGBTQ “behavior,” not their entirely legal and protected choice of charities and non profits.

Once again from the Democratic Party and the Left we whiff the rotten stench of nascent totalitarianism. Believe as we do, or be punished. This is the same company several Democratic mayors said were not welcome in their cities. Once again, this unconstitutional and undemocratic act by San Antonio’s Democrats is assured of a reversal by the Supreme Court, and if Justice Ginsberg still has most of her marbles and Sotomayor isn’t chasing rainbows and unicorns, it ought to be a 9-0 vote.

Local government actions like this ought to concern followers of both parties equally. The First Amendment should not be a partisan issue. Continue reading

Flipping Off The President, And Proud Of It (With A Poll!)

Remember Julie Briskman? She flipped off the President’s motorcade in  November, and was so proud of that eloquent statement that she posted a photo of her gesture on Facebook. He company, A government contractor, promptly fired her. I wrote at the time,

Flipping a middle figure to the President’s motorcade is protected speech. Flipping said finger to the President when one works for a company dependent on government contracts and plastering photos of one doing this on social media is not what I would call wise, and Julie Briskman should have reasonably expected her employers to admonish her to keep the company’s public image in mind the next time she was tempted to bite the hand that feeds it. Akima LLC, however, a Virginia-based company, fired her.

They have every right to do this, but it was a gross and cruel over-reaction. Worse, the company wasn’t even honest about its rationale,telling her that company policy forbade an employee having  anything ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ on your social media. Sure. “The finger” is undeniably rude. Obscene it’s not.

But Julie doesn’t read Ethics Alarms (obviously!), and sued for wrongful termination. Last week, Virginia judge Penney Azcarate judge dismissed Briskman’s wrongful termination claim. Her lawyers had claimed that Briskman’s employers violated public policy by forcing her resignation.

As I said, I don’t think the company was particularly fair to Briskman, who is young and like most of the resistance, lacks judgment and proportion. I doubt that anyone would take it out on her employers that they employed a rude and immature jerk as a marketing analyst. It need not have fired her. Still, Virginia is an employment at will state where you can be fired for having an obnoxious laugh. As Ethics Alarms has held here frequently regarding professors who post racist rants on social media and episodes like that of Adam Smith, the so-called Chick-Fil-A Video Vigilante who verbally abused a Chick-Fil-A employee and posted the video of him doing so, companies have every right to regard an employee whose public behavior embarrasses their employers as a liability, and to treat them as such. It isn’t kind, and it isn’t compassionate, but as I wrote about Smith,

“I can’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to be represented by a man whose judgment was this wretched and who is best known for bullying an innocent minimum wage employee because he didn’t like her boss’s take on gay marriage. Actions have consequences, and while the cumulative effects of the foolish and damning video have been excessive, no individual component of it is. Someone should be kind, obey the Golden Rule and give Smith a shot at redemption, but no one individual is ethically obligated to do so. Smith’s sad fate, which extends to his family, is still his own doing, and he alone is accountable.”

Continue reading

The Unethical Web-Shaming Destruction Of Holly Jones

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“I will never go back to this location for New Year’s Eve!!!” young Holly Jones ranted on an Indianapolis bar and restaurant’s Facebook page. “After the way we were treated when we spent $700+ and having our meal ruined by watching a dead person being wheeled out from an overdose my night has been ruined!” The angry post accused the evening’s restaurant manager of rudeness, the party’s waitress of profanity and the establishment itself of inattention.

After a sharp on-line rebuttal by the restaurant, the Web Furies were unleashed. Jones’ post became the latest web-shaming catalyst and an invitation to join a cyber-mob where fun could be had by all turning an ordinary jerk into a national villain. Lots of people signed up. The mob tracked down Jones and bombarded her own Facebook page with hate—she took the page down—then moved on to the salon where she worked as a hairdresser, threatening a boycott unless it fired Jones.

So it did.

These exercises in vicious web shaming can be ranked along an ethics spectrum. At the most unethical end is the destruction of Justine Sacco, who had her legitimate marketing career destroyed by social media’s  hysterical over-reaction to a self-deprecating, politically incorrect tweet. Now she works promoting a fantasy sports gambling website, a sleazy enterprise that entices chumps into losing serious cash with a business model derived from internet poker—she not only had her life derailed, she was corrupted too.

At the other end is Adam Smith, the one-time executive who wrecked his own career, with the help of another cyber-mob, by proudly posting a video of himself abusing an innocent Chic-fil-A  employee because Smith didn’t like her boss’s objections to gay marriage.  Somewhere between the two is Lindsay Stone, who lost her job by posting a photo showing her pretending–she later said— to scream at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while flipping the bird at the “Silence and Respect” sign.

The distance between Smith and Jones is the difference between words and conduct. Smith’s video showed him abusing a young woman, and his posting of the video indicated that he saw nothing wrong with it. Jones, in contrast, did nothing, other than prove herself to be, at least at the moment she posted her rant, an utter jerk. Everyone along the spectrum, however, including Jones, were excessively and unjustly harmed by the web-shaming  campaign against them. Last I checked, Smith was unemployed and destitute three years after his episode of atrocious judgment.

In the current case, the cyber-mob forcing Holly’s employer to fire her is ethically worse, by far, than anything she can reasonably be accused of doing by posting her criticism of the restaurant. Continue reading

Nine Ethics Takeaways From The Reaction To Donald Trump’s Anti-Illegal Immigrant Comments

Donald Trump thinks her life mattered more than cheap labor and Hispanic votes.

Donald Trump thinks her life should have  mattered more than cheap labor and Hispanic votes. Clearly, he must be punished…

1. Nobody can offer a reasonable justification for the U.S.’s tolerance of illegal immigration.

If anyone could, this would have been an excellent time to offer it. Nobody did this because there is no reasonable justification, just naked greed (big business), political expediency (politicians),  rationalizations (illegal immigration advocates) and sentimentality (everyone else).

2. Donald Trump, as awful as he is, has his uses.

Disgracefully, neither Presidential candidate spoke in any honest detail about the illegal immigration problem in 2012, talking safely and generally about “the need for immigration reform” instead, which is exactly as useful as advocating deficit reform, drug policy reforms and tax reforms, which is to say useless—but sufficient to keep lazy voters nodding like bobbleheads. The fact is that illegal immigration is an existential problem for the country as it can be for any nation, and responsible leaders and aspiring leaders have an obligation to deal with it seriously, openly and directly. They don’t. Thus it is left to buffoons and irresponsible leaders like Donald Trump to drop the stink-bombs they do. Truth from any source is still better than endless lies and obfuscation.

3. The mainstream news media is as biased, incompetent and dishonest on this issue as any other, and arguably more so.

Literally all the mainstream coverage of the organized backlash to Trump’s comments has been based on various critics’ expressions of horror and ridicule at Trump’s words. Virtually none has covered the factual basis for his statement, which is considerable. Most Americans know Trump is a jerk. Do they know that opposition to illegal immigration has nothing to do with racism or opposition to immigration itself? Do they know the corrupt and cynical motivations that placed the United States in this dilemma? No, the news media is only interested in identifying bad guys (Trump, and anyone who doesn’t regard illegal border crossers as heroes) and good guys (those compassionate, rule of law-rejecting pols and advocates who want U.S. immigration restrictions to be a dead letter).  The news media is really one of the bad guys. At this point, for example, the only major news outlet that careful and accurately distinguishes between illegal immigration and immigration is Fox News. For the rest, the conflation of the two is part of a grand strategy of misdirection.

4. The GOP Presidential candidates are cowards, with exception of Senator Ted Cruz.

Only Cruz has had the integrity to praise Trump for raising the issue, and still properly express reservations about his method of doing it. The rest have all expressed politically correct tut-tutting at Trump’s generally accurate statement that the U.S.’s failure to protect its southern border is a disgrace, that Mexico is benefiting by allowing its poorest, most desperate and criminal population to become our problem, and that many of the illegal immigrants bring crime with them. [Read the comments on Mediate regarding Cruz’s statements on Trump. They almost entirely consist of ad hominem insults (whatever he may be, Ted Cruz is no idiot), birther slurs (a man born to an American citizen visiting in Canada is a “natural born” U.S. citizen, you dolts), and statements based on the assumption that letting illegals just waltz across our borders is good policy, which, of course, it is anything but.]

5. The feckless Republicans pols are ducking because they are desperately afraid of alienating Hispanic-American voters, so they jettison their integrity, honesty, and duty as leaders and Americans.

Principled Republicans should trust Hispanic-Americans to have the same responsible concerns for the best interests of their nation as any other informed citizens, and appeal to them as the law-abiding patriots they are to oppose a disastrous open border policy that rewards illegal conduct.

6. Democrats and progressives increasingly rely on using various forms of coercion to stifle debate rather than to engage it.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he is reviewing Trumps contract’s with the city to see if he can punish Trump for daring to suggest that we have an illegal Mexican immigrant problem. He said:

“We are reviewing Trump contracts with the City. Donald Trump’s remarks were disgusting and offensive, and this hateful language has no place in our city. Trump’s comments do not represent the values of inclusion and openness that define us as New Yorkers. Our Mexican brothers and sister make up an essential part of this city’s vibrant and diverse community, and we will continue to celebrate and support New Yorkers of every background.”

Boy, the left really, really hates free speech, doesn’t it?  Government official are forbidden from declaring what kind of  speech does or does not have a “place” in any jurisdiction in the United States, but the Democrats keep trying to asert otherwise, on the theory that if they say it often enough, citizens will acccept it. Even though Trump was speaking as a public citizen and a candidate for office, De Blasio thinks it is appropriate for the city government to take punitive action against him for his opinion. This is the Chick-fil-A’ fiasco all over again, and also resembles the Senate Democrats’ strong-arm attack on the Washington Redskins.

It is beginning to look like a vote for Democrats is a vote against the principles of freedom of thought, discourse, dissent and speech. I would assume this would trouble—liberals. Or have they already been corrupted beyond repair?

7. Trump is quite correct to point to that the recent random killing of 31-year-old Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported five times, as a perfect example of what he was talking about.

ICE has explained it turned Lopez-Sanchez over to San Francisco authorities on March 26 for an outstanding drug warrant, and requested an immigration detainer. But Nancy Pelosi’s constituents, mindless supporters of illegal immigration and pro-drugs as well, believe that violates Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, so they allowed one of Mexico’s best to stay around long enough to kill an innocent white women.

Thank God for that, since only black lives matter. A black victim might have caused the city’s leftists to have a cognitive dissonance meltdown.

The news media is soft-peddling the story as much as it can—CNN calls the alleged killer “undocumented,” as if he misplaced his papers somewhere, another now accepted journalistic deceit—because the narrative is that all illegal immigrants are heroic parents trying to gain a better future for their offspring.  It should be used by Republicans as an effective Willy Horton-style attack on any Democratic Presidential candidate advocating continued border control abdication. The message: Your “immigration reforms” policy killed this woman. Go ahead: deny it.

8. The double standard being employed by the left and a news media in their response to the Charleston church shooting by Dylan Roof and Steinle’s murder is stunning.

Roof used a gun and liked Confederate flags, though there is no evidence that either different gun laws or the absence of the flag would have stopped his rampage. Never mind: the President used the tragedy to rev up the anti-Second Amendment zealots, and an anti-Confederate flag mania has somehow extended to desecrations of statues of Christopher Columbus. Kate Steinle is dead as a direct and undeniable result of the nation’s negligent enforcement of immigration laws championed by the same people who want to tear down statutes of Robert E. Lee, but to suggest that more stringent enforcement is necessary is “racist.”

9. Trump is an idiot.

If he is going to raise important issues as a “straight-talker.’ he is obligated not to play directly into the pro-illegal immigration mob’s strategy of attacking the messenger rather than rebutting the message. He has an obligation to be clear, and not so inflammatory that real content of his message is lost. He just can’t do it.

Ethics Quiz: What’s Fair Punishment For The Chick-Fil-A Video Vigilante?

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I previously wrote about Adam M. Smith, the ex-CFO of  a Tucson medical supplies manufacturer who filmed himself dressing down a Chick-fil-A drive-in employee and placed the video on YouTube. I said in part…

“He’s a vile bully and a jerk, who thinks it appropriate to embarrass and abuse an innocent employee of a restaurant because he happens not to agree with the politics and moral positions of the company’s owner…The video served to alert millions to beware of this rude, rabid and self-righteous champion of gay rights, who equates faith-based advocacy for the current law of the United States of America with “hate.”

I was more accurate than I knew. Now we learn that since that August, 2012 fiasco which cost him his job, Mr. Smith has fallen on hard times. His self-posted indictment of his own character has poisoned his reputation and career. When he found a new job, he was later fired for not alerting his employers about the incident. When he has raised the video to potential employers, they have declined to hire him. Where he was once earning a six-figure salary, had $1 million in stock options, and lived in a stylish home, he now lives in an RV with his wife and four children, and is existing on public assistance.

It all sounds like the plot of an Adam Sandler movie.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz today is…

Is Adam M. Smith the victim of excessive social media punishment for one ill-considered act?

Continue reading

Comment of The Day: The Same-Sex Marriage Wars

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The Inquiring Mind left a plaintive and provocative comment on an earlier post regarding the gay marriage controversy, now once again above the fold, and it was apparently swallowed by my spam file. I haven’t see much of an uptick in Ethics Alarms comments lately (and tgt is on semi-hiatus), but the spam has gotten out of control: apparently this post was deleted, even though I try to check the spam comments (about 500 a day now) to make sure legitimate ones don’t get thrown out with the bath water. I apologize to IM, and am posting the recovered comment partially in compensation, and also because he expresses a sentiment that I have heard and read from others.

I’ll be back at the end; in the meantime, here is Inquiring Mind’s Comment of the Day regarding the tactics of gay marriage advocates:

“Jack, since the aftermath of Prop 8, I have always wondered – is the thuggery/coercion and thought control a “bug” associated with the push for gay marriage, or is it a “feature” that comes with the enactment of gay marriage?

“I just want to review the conduct of gay-marriage supporters: Continue reading