Gee, Who Would Have Predicted That Legalizing Pot Would Put Children At Risk?

Sorry, I have no sympathy, zero, zilch, nada, for any parents and grandparents of the rebellious toking generation who are horrified at the effect widespread pot legalization is having on the young. Any idiot could have and should have predicted it. For example, I predicted it when I was 18, and being prodded, mocked, urged and wheedled (perhaps that should be “weedled”) into taking “just one puff” almost every day in college. (It was also against the law, which stodgy old me took too seriously, I was lectured, by a lot of students who went to law school.)

Here is how the New York Times’ “Kids Buying Weed From Bodegas Wasn’t in the ‘Legal Weed’ Plan” begins…

Not long ago, a mother in Westchester learned from her teenage son that he and his friends had gone to a nearby bodega and bought weed. She understood — they were kids, stifled and robbed by the pandemic of so many opportunities for indulging the secretive rituals of adolescence…

But it was deeply troubling to her that a store was selling weed to kids — New York State’s decriminalization statute makes it illegal to sell to anyone under 21 — so she embarked on an investigation. Predictably, when she confronted the bodega owners, they denied that they were distributing to anyone underage, so her next stop was a visit to the local police precinct, where she did not encounter the sense of urgency she had hoped for.

The cops greeted her with a kind of smug indifference, she said, an affect of I told you so, suggesting that liberals were now faced with the downstream impact of values that law enforcement had always disdained. Mothers in earthy, expensive footwear from the River Towns to Park Slope had supported the legalization of marijuana on the grounds that it needlessly funneled so many young Black and brown men into the criminal justice system. But now it was ubiquitous, and in the worst case scenarios possibly laced with fentanyl, and all too easy for their children to access. The bodega, in this instance, was a short distance from the local high school.

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Ethics Quiz: The Turn-Coat Olympians

Maybe that headline is a bit slanted for an ethics quiz. Anyway…

The story in many media sources was about the mean Chinese social media mob attacking Beverly Zhu, a 19-year-old figure skater who was born and raised in the United States but competes for China under the name Zhu Yi. In the same Times story, I learned about another U.S born and raised Olympian, Eileen Gu, a freeskier who also chose to represent in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and won the gold in the women’s freestyle skiing big air event. (As I think I’ve hinted here, Olympic Games held to promote a brutal Communist regime which uses its wealth to corrupt American institutions and was responsible for infecting the world are well down my priority list, below eating slugs and watch Alec Baldwin movies.

However, once I was made aware of the two athletes, my reaction was “What the hell?” If it had any principles, our boot-licking government would have boycotted the ’22 Olympics for real, and not substituted a symbolic and toothless “diplomatic boycott.” If our athletes cared about opposing little things like genocide and slave labor, some of them would have stayed home, or at least defied Nancy Pelosi’s warning not to make Big Chinese Brother mad by, for example, telling the truth.

But Zhu and Gu are in a whole other category. They deliberately joined the Chinese team to defeat the United States of America, where they have been raised and have benefited from all of the freedom and quality of life advantages China does not provide to its citizens. Never mind criticizing the regime, these women are actively assisting it.

My verdict? That is unethical, disloyal, and despicable.

Change my mind, if you can.

Your Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Do you agree that the two athlete’s decision to compete for China and against the U.S. is unethical?

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/5/2022: Part I, A Special “I Sure Hope You’re Not Watching The Olympics” Edition

In 1936, human rights activists unsuccessfully argued for the U.S. to boycott the Berlin Summer Olympics to protest the Nazis’ ongoing persecution of German Jews. However, foreshadowing the “Holocaust? What Holocaust?” stance that preceded the U.S. entry into World War II, FDR gave Adolf the propaganda bonanza he sought, and no, Jesse Owens couldn’t spoil it. Now the Biden Administration is similarly engaged in contrived ignorance regarding China, which is making Hitler’s Olympic Games look like Oktoberfest. All right, there’s a “diplomatic boycott,” but that’s meaningless since spectators are mostly banned anyway. This tweet is apt:

The main reason we are there, as many have pointed out, is to accommodate the giant broadcasting companies and corporate sponsors who view the Games as a money-making opportunity. It’s a dilemma: my refusal to watch a second of the Games prevents me from knowing who to boycott. But then no ethicist, or anyone who cares about ethics, should watch the Olympics wherever they are being held. We know they are corrupt; they no longer celebrate “amateurism,” and U.S. athletes continue to use them to insult their own country, which paid to let them compete.

Nancy Pelosi got the Games off to a rousingly unethical start—wait—can one behave unethically regarding Olympics in China? Isn’t this a case where Bizarro World ethics apply, which hold that in a Bizarro World culture, normal ethics often don’t work, and may be futile? It’s unethical to be ethical in a place like China! That seems to be the Speaker’s position.  the Pelosi said, “‘’”

“I would say to our athletes, ‘You are there to compete.’ Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government, because they are ruthless. I know there is a temptation on the part of some to speak out while they are there. I respect that, but I also worry about what the Chinese government might do.”

If they are so ruthless, why is the United States participating in their Olympic Games? The U.S. Olympic Committee always muzzles, or tries, our athletes, but Pelosi is a high government official telling Americans to shut up because it may make a totalitarian government angry. If I were competing, Pelosi’s statement alone would be enough to make me speak up. We shall see if any of our athletes have the courage to speak up for real human rights abuses when they know the nation they are criticizing, unlike their own, might take serious action against them.

My guess: no.

In response, Joy Behar, the reigning moron on “The View,” stepped up in the absence of Whoopi and reached new idiotic heights, defending Pelosi with this:

“She’s being maternal I think. You know Nancy is momala. You know she’s always like ‘I think about the children. It’s for the children.’ She cares about the kids. That’s her.”

The New York Times clearly has its marching orders.  Right around the time the opening ceremonies were starting in Beijing, the Times published an article highlighting the upside of China’s totalitarian response to the pandemic—yes, it was even tougher than in Michigan. The strict lockdowns and other acts of state coercion  have been a major success, the article told readers. (Not like the wimpy, mildly Constitution abusing measures those conservatives are whining about!) China’s strategy, it says, shows what a society can do when it makes the prevention of “Covid” its “No. 1 priority.”

Really? And how would the Times know that? The Times knows dictatorship is successful with viruses because China says it has one of the lowest pandemic death rates in the entire world, though the story notes that the Chinese data “can be suspect.” Ya think??? Never mind: China has “almost certainly” done better than the democracies, even if the official numbers are “artificially low.” No kidding: China has reported 3 deaths per million from COVID, compared with almost 2,700 in the United States. Do you believe that? Does anyone? The Times doesn’t believe it, and still is publishing this bootlicking junk. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Golden State Warriors Owner Chamath Palihapitiya

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay. You bring it up because you care and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

—–Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya, in an interview.

This statement, classic signature significance, neatly explains why the National Basketball Association remains metaphorically in bed with the brutal regime in China, why the Biden Administration refuses to hold the country responsible for its role as an international outlaw (and inflicting its virus on our population,economy and the world), and if you change just one word, why the United States allowed Hitler’s Final Solution to proceed as far as it did.

Give credit where it is due: at least Palihapitiya is being honest. As for his fellow owners, we can see that they feel exactly the same way through their conduct, but prefer not to say so out loud. It might cut down on the profits from souvenir NBA jerseys. Continue reading

Mid-Day Ethics Break, 12/29/21: Alexa Goes Rogue

I think I’m going to feature “Jingle Bells” here every day until New Years. Here’s a version by that infamous slavery fan, Nat King Cole:

December 29 is one of the bad ethics dates: the U.S. Cavalry massacred 146 Sioux men, women and children at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota on this date in 1890. Seven Hundred and twenty years earlier, four knights murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket as he knelt in prayer in Canterbury Cathedral in England. According to legend, King Henry II of England never directly ordered the assassination, but expressed his desire to see someone ‘”rid” him of the “troublesome priest” to no one in particular, in an infamous outburst that was interpreted by the knights as an expression of royal will. In ethics, that episode is often used to demonstrate how leaders do not have to expressly order misconduct by subordinates to be responsible for it.

1. I promise: my last “I told you so” of the year. I’m sorry, but I occasionally have to yield to the urge to myself on the back for Ethics Alarms being ahead of the pack, as it often is. “West Side Story” is officially a bomb, despite progressive film reviewers calling it brilliant and the Oscars lining up to give it awards. What a surprise—Hispanic audiences didn’t want to watch self-conscious woke pandering in self-consciously sensitive new screenplay by Tony Kushner, English-speaking audiences didn’t want to sit through long, un-subtitled Spanish language dialogue Spielberg put in because, he said, he wanted to treat the two languages as “equal”—which they are not, in this country, and nobody needed to see a new version of a musical that wasn’t especially popular even back when normal people liked musicals. The New Yorker has an excellent review that covers most of the problem. Two years ago, I wrote,

There is going to be a new film version of “West Side Story,” apparently to have one that doesn’t involve casting Russian-Americans (Natalie Wood) and Greek-Americans (George Chakiris) as Puerto Ricans. Of course, it’s OK for a white character to undergo a gender and nationality change because shut-up. This is, I believe, a doomed project, much as the remakes of “Ben-Hur” and “The Ten Commandments” were doomed. Remaking a film that won ten Oscars is a fool’s errand. So is making any movie musical in an era when the genre is seen as silly and nerdy by a large proportion of the movie-going audience, especially one that requires watching ballet-dancing street gangs without giggling. Steven Spielberg, who accepted this challenge, must have lost his mind. Ah, but apparently wokeness, not art or profit, is the main goal.

Not for the first time, people could have saved a lot of money and embarrassment if they just read Ethics Alarms….

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Ethics Resuscitation,12/23/21: Lift, Spirits, LIFT!

Boy, has today ever been a rotten prelude to Christmas! There’s nothing like feeling like Bob Cratchit and Scrooge at the same time….Hit it, Judy!

Yeah, easy for YOU to say…

1. Admittedly, it’s hard to be unusually unethical on a phony show like “Paranormal Experiences,” but I was fascinated to see how actual news footage of a dog rescue would be tied into the show’s theme. A dog was viewed by a crowd at New York’s East River as it desperately dog-paddled for land, then panicked and began swimming in circles. A police officer dived into the freezing (and filthy) water and grabbed the dog by the collar, getting bitten in the face and hand in the process, to tow the canine to safety as the crowd cheered him on. How was this “paranormal”?

As one onlooker explained it, the officer was a water rescue specialist, and the crowd had gathered for a ceremony honoring him. It couldn’t be a mere coincidence that a drowning dog just happened to turn up during that ceremony for that officer, could it? No, something supernatural was afoot! Such a coincidence can’t happen by itself!

Yes, it can, and does, every day, many, many times, you moron. A TV episode like this makes the public stupid and superstitious, which makes them easy to manipulate and con. Given enough time and random events, anything that can happen will happen, and the proclivity to see portents and miracles in standard chaos-driven events undermines life competence.

Where do you think the term “lucky dog” came from?

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EARLY Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 12/6/2021: Christmas, The Great Stupid, Virtue-Signaling And A Fake Olympics Boycott

Contrary to all predictions, we got our 8 ft, real, live Christmas tree, and it didn’t cost any more than last year. The hero was 40-year neighbor Ted West, who grabbed what we needed at his annual church Christmas tree sale which sold out in less than two days.

It was between Bing and Johnny Mathis for the Christmas season musical kick-off. It had to be Bing.

1. When taste alarms don’t work…Here’s a mall Christmas display.

Crappy Tree

How do these kind of things slip by?

2. Speaking of slipping by… The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that a jury room in Giles County named after the United Daughters of the Confederacy and decorated with a Confederate flag as well as a portrait of Jefferson Davis mandated the reversal of a jury conviction of a black defendant for aggravated assault. The defendant objected on the grounds that the jury could not hold fair deliberations in such a room. Though the the trial court disagreed, but the appellate court threw out the verdict, concluding that …[b]ecause the defendant established that the jury was exposed to extraneous information or improper outside influence and because the State failed to sufficiently rebut the presumption of prejudice, the defendant is entitled to a new trial.”

I guess they have really suggestible juries in Tennessee. I cannot imagine my deliberation on a a jury or on anything being influenced by the name of the room I was in or what was hanging on the walls. Prof. Volokh notes,

Juries have deliberated in this room for more than four decades. Presumably, every black defendant convicted in that courtroom can now object and secure a new trial. The Court did not address this issue. And other courts in the state, and probably throughout the south, may have similar deliberation rooms, or even courtrooms. If these opinions catch on, countless convictions will be vacated.

The Ethics Alarms verdicts are that a) it is ridiculous that the jury room wasn’t purged of Lost Cause propaganda decades ago, and b) the court’s ruling is irresponsible virtue-signaling. Continue reading

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”?


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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