Tag Archives: Facebook

Ethics Hero (And Author Of Perhaps The Best Facebook Post Ever): Palm Beach Florida African-American Police Officer Jay Stalien

Jay Stalien

When I read published quotes from police officer Jay Stalien’s Facebook page post, now deservedly in the process of going viral, my immediate reaction was that it was a hoax, a measured and well-researched explanation of the racial unrest surrounding police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement written by a professional pundit  and placed in the metaphorical mouth of a black police officer to give it added power and credibility. It was, in short, too good to be true.

It is true, however, as well as good. To be presented at this time is an act of courage and civic responsibility by Stalien, and his effort redeems the existence of Facebook and social media, not to mention the internet, as few posts have. In the past, someone like Stalien would have to submit a column to a newspaper editor, and agree to cuts and edits that reduced its effectiveness, if his important observations were to have any impact beyond his living room or workplace. Now he can publish himself. The First Amendment has seldom been better served.

The post is very long, but you should read it all, here.  I will only point out some highlights.

He begins, in part…

The following may be a shock to some coming from an African American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as Humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up. Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop. I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood. My own black people killing others over nothing….I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was 2 African Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me. I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man. I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something. I remember the countless times I stood 2 inches from a young black man, around my age, laying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs. I remember them bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day. I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved ones taking their last breath. I never took it personally, I knew they were hurting. I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on, were bloody from the blood of another black victim…of black on black crime. I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:

Suspect- Black/ Male, Victim-Black /Male.

Then Officer Stalien, in the same powerful style, proceeds to answer typical complaints from the black community by presenting  “FACTS” that too many African-Americans, elected officials, journalists and partisans refuse to believe, accept, or comprehend: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Facebook, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Race, U.S. Society

The New! Improved! Bipartisan! Gun Bill Is ALSO Unconstitutional…And The Statements Of The Senators About It Are Nauseating

Collins et al

The New York Times, which apparently only respects that part of the Constitution that protects biased and dishonest newspapers, cheers a newly  proposed anti-gun measure as one that “puts new muscle and momentum behind what would be one of the few restrictions placed on gun ownership in the past 20 years.”

It also takes away the rights of citizens without due process of law.

The compromise bill, proposed by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and backed by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), was cooked up a day after the Senate, in the words of the Times, “refused to advance any of four measures intended to make it harder for suspected terrorists to buy guns.”

No, that’s U.S. citizens who have not been convicted of any crime, not “suspected terrorists.” It is not a crime to be suspected of anything. The government cannot take away your rights because it suspects something, or fears you might do something in the future.

Is that really such a difficult concept from elected officials and journalists? Why is that?

“Surely the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise, a plea for bipartisan action…Essentially, we believe if you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun,” Collins said in a news conference.

I call on my fellow citizens in Maine to remove this incompetent woman from her high office, for she is unfit to serve: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Rights

Ethics Hero: Mother Jones Pundit Kevin Drum

Impalings-of-Vlad-the-Impaler

It is sad and yet somehow comforting to watch the members of the crypto-totalitarian left writhe like Vlad the Impaler’s staked victims (above) as they try to deny, accuse, spin and otherwise humiliate themselves arguing against the factual assertion that the  anti-gun “no-fly list” = no gun rights ploy is blatantly unconstitutional, a breach of due process, and “pre-crime” legislation. It is sad, because it shows how far liberal ideology has fallen from its traditional aspirations, and how hypocritical it has become, embracing the “by any means necessary” approach to political power rather than actually respecting the civil rights it claims to worship. It is comforting, because it is signature significance. I thought much of the progressive movement  had become this corrupt and intellectually dishonest; now I know I wasn’t being unfair. This single episode proves it.

There is an ethical response to be adopted by someone previously cheering on the foolish Senator Murphy, or the smugly ignorant Ashleigh Banfield, once they are forced to think a bit about what these secret list tactics really mean in Constitutional terms. They don’t have to attack the messenger, often me, or make non sequitur statements about the Second Amendment is about muskets and militias. That ethical response is, “Oh. You know, I was so upset, I never thought about it that way, but you’re right. Wow. Thank-you.”

Most of them just can’t do it. It may be a lack of character, it may be a case of emotion killing brain cells, it may just be that an individual isn’t very bright, or that he just doesn’t want to be educated. That is, however, the ethical response.

If my floundering, foundering progressive friends want some inspiration to get them over the hump, I may have it for them, ironically from, of all places, Mother Jones, whose due process -mocking headline I recently dissected. That far left publications’ most prominent journalist is Kevin Drum, a progressive to his core. He is, however, also well-informed, intelligent, and true to his principles, and thus, while reporting on the various anti-gun measures being proposed as part of the cynical Democratic “DO SOMETHING!” initiative regarding guns, Kevin Drum wrote, Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Rights

Unethical Headline Of A Week Of Unethical Headlines: Mother Jones

Senate vote

Almost Every GOP Senator Just Voted to Keep Letting Terror Suspects Buy Guns

You know, I just had an astounding and depressing exchange with a knee-jerk Democrat friend, who reacted to my Facebook post pointing out that CNN’s fake legal expert Ashleigh Banfield—who hosts a show called “Legal Views” and not only isn’t a lawyer, but can barely spell “Constitution”—displayed her rank ignorance once again by expressing amazement that anyone could possibly object to a law banning those placed without due process on a secret list, based on mere suspicion, from buying a gun. It’s called the Fifth Amendment, Ashleigh, you smug incompetent fool–read it. My friend’s response to this utterly factual post was the non sequitur that SCOTUS refused to review a lower court decision upholding a Connecticut law banning semi-automatic rifles. “The Supreme Court disagrees with you,” he wrote.

Huh?

You see, the left is deranged and incoherent on this issue. Totally bats, with principles draining out their ears. Because I object to breaching the core Constitutional principle of due process for any purpose–like every American should; it’s not a partisan issue—he “reasoned” that I must therefore believe that there is a right to own semi-automatic weapons. In fact, I have no position on that and didn’t mention it anywhere in the post. But, you see, good little gun-hating zealots like him believe that if you understand that Guns BAD, you must naturally approve of gutting the rule of law and the Constitution to restrict the sale of guns.  If you won’t happily gut the Fifth Amendment, you must be a gun nut.

The ends justify the means for these people. Constitutional principles only apply to good progressives and their favorite rights. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Facebook, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of The Week: My Friend Mark On Facebook, Politics, Community, And Fathers Day

wisdom

In my recent essay about my Facebook friends’ reactions and over-reactions to the Orlando shooting, I referred to one particular Facebook post and my critical response to it. As I suspected, knowing that poster and his character like I do, my friend Mark commented on the essay, and followed up with this statement on Facebook. I asked if he would grant me permission to quote him, and he did.

This is an extraordinarily ethical and thoughtful man, and this is how an ethical human being thinks when emotion and non-ethical considerations become the strongest.

This is what an ethics alarm ringing sounds like.

Having suffered a near-toxic overload of Facebook this week, I’m going to give the points to Facebook and withdraw from the game for a few days. I love being here and interacting with my friends, family, and especially with those who don’t necessarily share my beliefs. Argument can be fun and challenging.

But.

We need to start being more careful with each other, especially in times of sorrow like this last week. What we forget (and what I have learned recently in myself) is that these shootings traumatize the whole country in one way or another – whether a fear of a loss of rights and liberty on one side, or increasing fear for bodily safety in our every day lives on the other. Orlando becomes DC becomes Kansas becomes California becomes . . . When American citizens die, we are – or should be – all in this together. The poisonous dialog I’ve witnessed and, sadly, participated in or instigated this week shows that I, at least, had forgotten that.

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Quotes, Facebook, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Facebook’s Sad, Ignorant, Compassionate, Irresponsible Post-Orlando Freakout

antigun cartoon

If I had the time and wanted to anger about two-thirds of my friends, I could go around Facebook and explain to them why their latest posted anti-gun meme, or latest simple-minded anti-gun cartoon, or furious rant against the NRA, Republicans and “gun nuts,” show them to be ignorant, hysterical, and irresponsible citizens. Maybe I’ll spend a day doing this and see what happens.

The culprits are everywhere, from all backgrounds. These aren’t just my actor friends, who tend to memorize lines with their brains and think with their hearts. It’s many of the lawyers I know too….also journalists, writers, policy-makers—all kinds. As they quote with approval partisan and ignorant anti-gun pundits, actors or elected officials, they also erupt with emotion, counting on a welter of “likes,” “loves” and crying faces from the friends, who uncritically cheer the sentiment without challenging the execrable law and logic. The process repeats over and over, like a rinse cycle, until the original posters are not only convinced that they are right, but that anyone who disagrees is an evil promoter of violence not worthy of human association. I have read, more than once, “If you disagree, keep your opinion to yourself, or I’ll unfriend you.”

I confess, I’ve resisted my natural instinct to take up those dares, because these people are in pain, and, frankly, temporarily deranged. Many of them are gay, an identify personally with the victims. I sympathize with that. They also have a right to their anti-gun opinions, but they are polluting an important debate and making any resolution impossible by being willfully ignorant, and rebelling in it. The lawyers are especially disgracing themselves. Again—it is irresponsible, and it is bad citizenship.

If I were going to be a Facebook vigilante and point out the serious flaws in the various anti-gun rants, my Facebook friends would find more notes like this one, which I left in response to a good friend’s rant against the head of the Gun Owners of America  blaming the Orlando shooting on “Gun Free Zones.”  My friend wrote…

“I’m willing to entertain just about any argument for gun rights, but this one is SHIT. I will not be convinced that on Sunday evening, even a few, trained, people violating the Gun Free Zone in a dimly lit club, with HUNDREDS of panicked, perhaps inebriated, people running in every direction for their lives, could get a “good shot” to take out the man responsible for this atrocity. I believe the result is called more deaths by “friendly fire.”

I responded in part…

The argument is that murderous shooters will be less likely to come to kill when there is a chance that someone will be armed. This is not “shit”…This is the oldest pro-gun/anti-gun divide of all: the criminals and terrorists aren’t the ones who will follow the gun regulations; law abiding citizens are. That should be obvious. I don’t believe for a moment that one can blame the massacre on ” Gun Free Zones.”…but the argument that a shooting occurred because an area wasn’t a Gun Free Zone is even more silly. Is a terrorist going to say, “Ooops! Can’t slaughter gays in that club—it’s a Gun Free Zone!” Of course not. Might a terrorist choose not to attack a venue where he knows that one or more people might be armed, rather than one where he knows the law-abiding victims will be defenseless? Maybe.

Your point of bias, and it’s a common one, is that the presence of a gun makes one unsafe. The presence of a maniac makes one unsafe. If you happen to have a gun, maybe you’re a bit safer. Agree or not, that isn’t “fucking insane.” What I do think is fucking insane is people allowing emotion to eat their brains all over Facebook. It doesn’t help.

It just doesn’t help.  This friend is rational and thoughtful, and I expect him to take my critique in the spirit in which it was offered.  I can’t always count on a reasonable response, however, such as from the friends have posted this meme:

Anti-Gun meme 1

Machine guns and automatic weapons are illegal. The meme goes along with the laments of those who believe that the Orlando shooter used an “assault rifle” or a military weapon in the shooting. When you point out that it was not an “assault weapon,” they just shrug the distinction off as an irrelevant detail, and this is a tell. All guns are indistinguishable to many of my friends. Guns are bad, that’s all. This undercuts the lie—and I am now convinced that it is a lie—that they don’t want to ban guns and repeal the Second Amendment.

Ken White wrote perceptively, as he usually does, on why this approach is both dishonest and counter-productive:

I support the argument that the United States should enact a total ban on civilians owning firearms.

Oh, I don’t support the ban. I support the argument.

I support the argument because it’s honest and specific. It doesn’t hide the ball, it doesn’t refuse to define terms, it doesn’t tell rely on telling people they are paranoid or stupid in their concerns about the scope of the ban. The argument proposes a particular solution and will require the advocate to defend it openly…There’s a very good reason to care about what you mean when you argue that “assault weapons” should be banned: the term is infinitely flexible. If you think it inherently means something specific, you haven’t bothered to inform yourself about the issue. “Assault weapon” means whatever the definers decide it should mean. Banning “assault weapons” is the gun version of banning “hate speech” or “disruptive protest” or “dangerous persons” or “interfering with a police officer” — it’s a blank check. And I don’t like handing out blank checks to the government to ban things and jail people…

A lot of my Facebook friends do, however. Here’s a link approvingly posted by a lawyer friend, saying in part.. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Facebook, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Quotes, Rights, U.S. Society

Facebook Manipulation, Ben Rhodes And Hillary’s Tech Minion’s Missing Emails: Seeking A Path To Objective Analysis (PART 2 of 2)

suspicion

In Part I I examined the considerations involved in assessing whether the Ben Rhodes affair, which I also discussed here, is factual and justifies dire conclusions about our government.

Part Two will attempt to objectively assess the two other news stories that seem to compel progressives, in full confirmation bias mode, to deny, ignore, or trivialize, and conservatives, also driven by bias, to take as proof that conspiracies are afoot. Those stories both come down to suspicion and trust:

  • The claims from former Facebook employees that they were directed to suppress news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s “trending” news section, while pushing stories with positive implications for progressive readers.
  • The State Department’s revelation that it can’t locate Bryan Pagliano’s emails from the time he served as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior information technology staffer during her tenure there.

First, the Facebook charges. From the Gizmodo “scoop”:

“Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.

In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”

And, like a typical newsroom, Facebook’s bias is heavily weighted to the left. The Senate has announced that it is investigating news manipulation at Facebook, though I can’t see on what theory.

Facebook unequivocally denied the charges, saying in part,

“Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to systematically discriminate against sources of any ideological origin and we’ve designed our tools to make that technically not feasible. At the same time, our reviewers’ actions are logged and reviewed, and violating our guidelines is a fireable offense.”

Leaving aside confirmation bias and eschewing the six reactions to such stories I listed in Part I (I don’t believe it, AHA! I knew it!, So what?, ARGHHHH! We’re doomed!, Good, So how did the Mets do today?), we’re left with a “he said/they said” controversy that is either a stalemate, with the default judgment having to go to the side that actually has the guts to reveal its name, or a case of “Who do you trust?”

Does this seem like something Facebook would do? Well, let’s see, Facebook already admitted that it had performed unwilling experiments on random users to see if it could manipulate their moods. Facebook was credibly accused of restricting users from access to 30,322 emails and email attachments sent and received by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Last month, a report found evidence of  Facebook censorship on pro-Trump and negative Hillary news, and a Facebook employee’s question about whether Facebook should actively take measures to impede Donald Trump was discussed here.  Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a big Democratic donor. Facebook’s fellow social media giant Twitter has been censoring some high-profile conservative users lately.

Gee, are there any reasons not to trust these people? Continue reading

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