Friday Ethics Fire Sale, 7/22/2022: We Didn’t Start The Fire!

Tip: Showtime’s “Billions” is streaming. It’s an excellent ethics series, with a plot-driven clash between legal ethics, business ethics, marital ethics and workplace ethics.

And Paul Giamatti (“John Adams”) remains the best actor related to a (late, much missed) Commissioner of Baseball ever.

1. AOC set up her reflex defenders to look foolish (not that they don’t deserve to) First, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) denied that her arrest outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday was “performative art,” and claimed, risibly, that she was not pretending to be handcuffed for the cameras. However, about 30 minutes before the arrests of pro-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court including 17 Democratic House members, a staffer for AOC’s fellow “Squad “member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) let a metaphorical cat out of the bag. Jeremy Slevin tweeted, adding that the stunt would be live-streamed,:

“Members of Congress, including @IlhanMN will be participating in a civil disobedience at the Supreme Court, potentially including arrests, shortly. 1 PM ET/12 PM CT,”

After her indignant denials, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram, “This was an activist-led civil disobedience, where activists & organizers from [the far-left Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund ] + others asked members of Congress to submit themselves for arrest in front of the Supreme Court.”

In other words, it was indeed “performative art.” Moreover, it is unethical for members of Congress to allow themselves to be recruited as advocacy props for other organizations. That’s not their job. It is particularly not their job because the Supreme Court is not constructed to conform its legal determinations to public protests or the desires of elected officials…nor should it or can it,

On a technical note ( which Ann Althouse, being the way she is, focused upon mightily), civil disobedience is when a protester violates the law they are protesting, and accepts the penalties for doing so. AOC and the rest were not arrested for performing illegal abortions, but for blocking traffic.

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Unethical Quote Of The Day: Dr. Deborah Birx

Gag me with a spoon

“I will have to say, this experience has been a bit overwhelming.It has been very difficult on my family.I think what was done in the past week to my family — you know, they didn’t choose this for me. They’ve tried to be supportive, but to drag my family into this..”

Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump administration’s Wuhan virus response coordinator, in the course of announcing her retirement, apparently out of pique for being justly hammered in the media and social media for violating her own guidelines over the holidays.

As the “Saved by the Bell” girls were indicating above, gag me with a spoon. It took everything in my power not to headline this post “Dr. Birx is an asshole.” I’m still sorely tempted.

She is the one who directly and arrogantly did exactly what she cautioned “the little people” not to do, as I wrote about here (item #4). How dare the woman play the victim, and especially how dare she play the “leave my family out of it!” card when it was she who involved her family by joining them in doing exactly what she said everyone else’s family—well, everyone but elected officials— couldn’t do. To make her family whining worse, it was her own family member that blew the whistle on her!

Birx went on to say,

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Christmas Week Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2020: Clogging, Lying And Spinning

fireplace Xmas

Has anyone come up with a convincing theory about why there are more outside home decorations and Christmas lights than we have seen in a long while, if ever? Another trend, at least in my neighborhood: a welcome return to multi-colored lights after the (cold, boring) white lights appeared to take over years ago.

1. I finally figured out what’s been bothering me about that GEICO “clogging” ad. It’s racist. (In addition to being, you know, stupid.) I guess GEICO thinks that as long as it sticks an inter-racial couple in their ads, nobody will notice (Though according to Madison Avenue, almost every couple in America is inter-racial.)

Here’s the ad, if somehow you’ve missed it:

Ah, those weird white people and their weird activities! Now imagine if the noisy family upstairs was an African-American clan practicing their break-dancing. Or doing authentic African tribal dances.

2. Boy, those college administrators are quick. CNN was reporting this morning that a handful of colleges are finally reducing tuition. “A Princeton spokesperson said that the Covid conditions have “diminished the college experience.” Really? Not being on or near a campus, being isolated from classmates, not participating in clubs, social activities and late night “bull sessions,” not to mention only seeing one’s professors through a screen, isn’t as valuable as actually attending college?

I’m only speaking for myself, but I would have regarded my own college experience as little better than a correspondence course under today’s conditions. All colleges were ethically obligated to cut tuition substantially. They got away with not doing so because they are selling degrees, not education or personal growth.

3. With all the legitimate questions being raised about Hunter Biden, his apparent influence peddling abroad, and what his father’s role was, the Biden team allows him to be interviewed by…Stephen Colbert. Are even the most impenetrable Biden supporters not troubled by this? If not, do they even have ethics alarms any more? Even with a journalistic establishment filled with shameless pro-Democrat hacks, the toughest interview the President Elect was allowed to brave was by a comedian?

And not just any comedian, but a comedian who dedicated himself to anti-Trump, anti-Republican propganda for four years. Thus here is the type of question Joe had to answer—one that was phrased with the assumption that the Hunter Biden laptop matter was just another conservative conspiracy theory:

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: Dr. Deborah Birx

“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important. This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands.”

—Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s pandemic response coordinator, at today’s briefing, after explaining the deaths were expected to “spike” in certain hot spots.


It would be difficult to compose more incompetent and irresponsible statement. Continue reading