“1,825 Words You Can Never Say On Facebook”

This is ominous: it’s the second time this month that I’ve had good reason to quote George. Did the Democrats already take over?

In 1972, the late George Carlin debuted his famous routine called “ “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” The words were: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits, all of which you can hear on television today. (Who says life doesn’t keep getting better? ) But George would be fine: I have it on good authority that in Stand-Up Heaven, where Henny Youngman has St. Peter’s job, George is knocking celestial audiences dead (metaphorically, of course,) with his new monologue, “1,825 Words You Can Never Say On Facebook.”

It’s hilarious, if a little long.

The Foundation For Individual Rights In Education has released a report based on its investigation of how public universities—that’s the government, remember—engage in surreptitious censorship of student expression.  Censorship of student expression is illegal, but The FIRE exists because so many universities find that concept too complex to grasp.

Implicated in the results: Facebook, which provides  the tools for censorship, including its automated content filters. These allow state institutions to automatically “hide” users’ comments if they contain words included on Facebook’s undisclosed list of offensive words, or a government entity’s customized list of prohibited words. The filters allow  public universities to quietly remove critical Facebook posts, restricting open campus and public discourse.

The  FIRE surveyed over 200 public universities and colleges across 47 states and the District of Columbia. It found that fully half of the surveyed institutions  use Facebook’s “strong” profanity filter, while nearly a third use the “medium” filter. That means  about 77% of surveyed institutions use an undiclosed  blacklist of prohibited words. Nearly a third of the universities surveyed (59, or 30.3%) created a custom blacklist, collectively censoring 1,825  words and phrases in order to, among other unconstitutional objectives, “block animal rights activists’ criticism of food vendors,” suppress “debate over the fate of  a campus Confederate monument,” and stifle debate over controversial faculty, politicians, and sports teams.

Public universities can and do manipulate Facebook comments to distort the  public discourse. Wright State University, FIRE tells us, deleted comments supporting a faculty strike from its Facebook page,  confining debate over the action to a rigged community forum that appeared supportive of the university’s administration while being critical of striking faculty.

Yup, that’s how fascism works!

 Facebook doesn’t alert a user when their post has been removed, or tell the public that comments have been censored, so this system is perfect for mind and opinion molding. FIRE says,

These automated methods of censorship are not only contrary to a commitment to freedom of expression, but also provide government actors with tools that—in light of recent federal court rulings concerning President Trump’s Twitter feed—violate the government actors’ legal obligations under the First Amendment.

Below are the words that Facebook helps universities control speech and thought by censoring. Some will be relieved to know that “retard” is on it. Then again, so is “poor”…

Harassment At Starbucks: If This Were An Isolated Episode, It Wouldn’t Be Worth An Ethics Post—But It’s Not. Now What?

At a Palo Alto Starbucks this week, a man wearing a red Make America Great Again cap, minding his own business, was confronted by a furious Rebecca Parker Mankey,  an appointed member of Palo Alto’s North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan Working Group and co-chairs the Bayshore Progressive Democrats.

She began shouting that he was a”hater of brown people” and “Nazi scum,” and exhorted the other  Starbucks customers and employees to join her in shaming him, . Mankey later said she was “heartbroken” that other “white people”—like her target— didn’t join her assault.   “I called him more names and told him to call the police. Then I yelled and asked someone else at Starbucks to call the police. He wouldn’t call the police, so I called him a wimp. He got his stuff together to leave. I followed him to the register while he complained about me. Then chased him out of Starbucks yelling at him to get the fuck out of my town and never come back,” she wrote. One he was in the parking lot, she threatening  to post pictures of him on social media—which she did—along with her version of the incident. She asked the public for help finding him so she could make sure he was harassed, saying, “I want him to have nowhere to hide.” Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“Our future is: Female. Intersectional. Powered by our belief in one another. And we’re just getting started.”

Senator Kirsten Gillbrand, via tweet this week, calling out to her anti-male bigot supporters everywhere.

It is almost fun watching people twist themselves, language, common sense and decency to justify Gillibrand, Congress’s premier misandrist. As a U.S. Senator, she is pledged and ethically obligated to be working for the entire nation, not a single race, creed, ethnic group or, obviously, gender. The two “our”s and single we is not meant to represent all Americans, by common English construction. She is talking about women, and excluding men. In particular, by adding “intersectionality,” she is excluding white men above all.

It isn’t surprising to see Gillibrand proclaiming the increasingly popular anti-male bigotry that more and more public figures, all Democrats–coincidentally–are openly promoting. After all, she is the same sexist bigot who championed the destructive vendetta by “Mattress Girl” against a male Columbia student, even after he was exonerated. She is the same person who ran Al Franken out of the Senate. She is the same prejudiced hypocrite who declared that she believed Bret Kavanaugh’s accuser simply because he was a man and she was a woman. “I believe her,” Gillibrand said fatuously. “Her story is credible.” That’s a non-sequitur. The fact that a story is “credible” does not mean it should be believed without evidence. Credible means that a story is believable, but untrue stories are frequently believable. Kavanaugh’s defense was also credible, except to bigots, like Senator Hirono, who said she didn’t believe him because he is a conservative, and Gillibrand, who elevates women in status and trustworthiness over men.
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Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 1/18/2018: Enemies Of The People

Today’s Comment of the Day teaches a couple of lessons:

1 Contrary to common belief, and Ethics Alarms Comment of the Day does not have to be long, though many are. Indeed, I was tempted to make Willem Reese’s one sentence comment to the Kangaroo People abortion ethics thought experiment a Comment of the Day. He asked, shaming us all,

“The deciding case would likely be Roo v.Wade, then?”

2.  Late comments on older posts are still worth reading.

Here is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day on the post, Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 1/18/2018: Enemies Of The People:

Over the past couple of decades, approximately, I have become increasingly uneasy, depressed, anxious, angry, isolate and finally maddened by what has gone into the methodical and insanely deliberate betrayal of ideals and freedoms, the destruction of respected, useful institutions, the disregard for all the high, bright values in “my” society, my culture. But even when the detrimental changes began to affect me directly — my person, my quality of life, my safety and security (such as it was: I’ve never needed much) — I clung to the mantra this too shall pass. But, as my historian friend kept reminding me, the 500+ year old Roman Republic went belly up within the same amount of time, and never found its feet again. Still, I wasn’t scared out of my wits until I read the word “COUNTERSPEECH.”

Counter. Speech. Against speech. Not just anti-First Amendment, something to STOP PEOPLE FROM SPEAKING. Not just “free” speech; simply not using any words that mean anything. The language of technology, the language that becomes more abbreviated with all its faster-than-life(sic) changes, a spoken version of texting and twitting, a dumbing of vocabulary, a numbing of nuance. . A muffling of all meaningful voices. The left will pull the blanket over its head first, and willingly, and not even understand what is happening until it wakes up in the middle of the night with its headphones glued to its brains, silently screaming.

Much as I hate to bring up the name of der Furher because it has become such a cliche, he has the most appropriate description of what “Counterspeech” can become. It is akin to what Hitler first announced at the Wannsee Conference in 1942 as The Final Solution.

Wait—There Is Really Some Question About Whether It Is Ethical To Punch Someone In The Face For Holding Political Views You Disagree With?

Apparently so.

Richard Spencer, an outspoken  “alt-right” activist and white nationalist who has cheered on the rise of Donald Trump,  was punched in the face Friday, during an ABC interview, by a hooded Inauguration Day protester in Washington, D.C. The attack was caught on video, and promptly went viral on social media. There were many online discussions about whether the violence was justified, with Spencer being widely categorized as a Nazi. The majority view appeared to endorse the sucker punch.

Episodes like this make me simultaneously feel that what I do is important, since the level of ethical  literacy in the general U.S. population seems to be at a rudimentary level at best, and make me want to quit and become a paleontologist. Of course it’s wrong to attack someone physically because of his words and opinions. It doesn’t matter what they are. That is so unethical it makes my teeth hurt, and defending it is proof that you need to go live in cave.

I’d love to see a poll on the topic, but I’m afraid the results would send me into serious depression. I’m also afraid the poll would show that Democrats and progressives  favor face-punching Nazis with alarming self-righteousness, making ever more tenuous my respect for any Democrat, in the midst of the party’s embarrassing conduct since the election, who doesn’t wear a flour sack over his or her head in public and constantly mutter, “I’m sorry! I’m so, so sorry…”

I know that there are people in this country like those who used to appear on The Jerry Springer Show, whose only response to conflict is to start swinging. I assumed, however, that nobody who could name the President during the Civil War, spell “cheese” and knows where babies come from thinks that it is acceptable to walk up to someone on the sidewalk and cold cock him because his opinions are offensive. Silly me. I also assumed that there was no accepted list of punch-worthy positions, but I guess there is.

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The Ethics Of Threatening To Leave The Country…And Leaving It

leaving

Leaving the U.S. just because of the result of an election is an anti-American move for a citizen, a per se demonstration of poor character, ignorance, and a lack of understanding of history and how the government works. Primarily, it is an insult to everyone  in the country, the nation itself, and a rejection of the social compact.

We live in a republic where everyone agrees to participate in the process of government, and that means accepting the benefits, privileges, rights and the responsibilities flowing from that citizenship. Certainly anyone here has a right to try to live where they want to live. However, the nation is no different before an election than immediately after it.  If one doesn’t like living in American, I think you’re nuts, and obviously you don’t crave my association very much, but okay, bon voyage! The attitude of the post-election refugees, however, is “Democracy is only a good thing when I get my way.” Nope, that is not the deal.

If you are willing to accept what you think are the benefits of winning, then you are obligated to accept the results if you lose, and keep working to make your nation and society better as you and your like-minded citizens see it. Leaving after the votes are counted flunks the Kantian test: what would happen if everyone acted like that? It would make democracies unworkable, and ultimately extinct.

The ethical time to leave is before the election. Stupid, but ethical.

Speaking of stupidity, the current freakouts by people—including some of my close friends and relatives—demonstrate the ravages of civic ignorance. They are embarrassing. No, the election doesn’t mean “the end of legal abortions.” No, it doesn’t mean “the suspension of civil rights.” No it doesn’t mean that “Muslims will be put in camps,” or that there will be “mass deportations.” These kinds of wild apocalyptic claims are irresponsible, but mostly show a lack of comprehension of the law, the Presidency, the legislative process and the courts. Now, Donald Trump, who is similarly ignorant of our government and our legal system, may want to do some of these things, just as he may want to make the national language Swedish. But he can’t. If you think he can, your focus should be on improving the educational system, because it failed you mightily. As Barack Obama discovered to his chagrin, legislation is hard, takes skill and perseverance, and requires process,  moderation, compromise and broad consensus.

So the citizens who actually leave aren’t committed to democracy, have little pride in the culture and history of the United States, and when they don’t get what they want,  they pick up their marbles and quit. Good riddance. The nation is stronger and healthier without them. As for their less wealthy but more stout-hearted soulmates, those currently engaged in protesting the results of the election, the equivalent of a public hissy fit, they may have some societal value, eventually.

Maybe they’ll grow up.

And maybe not. “Not our President”Not our President”??? You see, children, that’s the bargain. He is your President, because that’s the deal you make with a democracy: you agree to accept the results of the election, whether you voted for the winner or not. Wait, wait, I’m so confused! Wasn’t one of the reasons you and your Party and your candidate’s media mouthpeices were saying that Trump was a Nazi was that he suggested that he might not “accept the results of the election”? Bill Maher, Professional Asshole, apologized to Bush, McCain and Romney last week for calling them fascists, because it was unfair—rump, he said, Trump is the real fascist!

I think I recognize who are acting like fascists, and the behavior fits the tactics of the party and the candidate they supported.

Yet I digress. For this post is not about those wan and selfish souls who do export themselves, but the rich and famous who threaten—promise, actually— to leave if their candidate doesn’t win. What’s going on with them? Continue reading

Observations On The Fox GOP Candidates Debate in Detroit

GOP-DEBATE_

The transcript is here.

1. I’m in Atlanta, teaching ethics to lawyers, and watching some shows I seldom get to see. I believe I have discovered why so many citizens are ill-informed, have warped priorities, are entranced by a vulgar reality TV star, and appear not to comprehend that electing a President isn’t something that should be used as the means to express free-floating frustration. This morning I made the excuse of tuning into “Good Morning America!,” the top rated morning show,and watched in disbelief as the happy, giggly crew “covered” the debate by briefly highlighting Donald’s defense of his penis and the silly exchange about yoga Romney’s thorough dismantling of Trump didn’t make the cut, but the big news, according to ABC, was that a GMA cast member was announced as new “Dancing With The Stars” contestant. We were treated to a 10 minute segment including her mother, her DWTS partner, and a montage of the career of a typical TV weather girl.  The news that Hillary Clinton’s tech guy who set up her server and who had used the 5th Amendment to avoid answering the FBI’s questions was granted immunity yesterday by the Justice Department wasn’t anywhere to be found. Hey, the gang on GMA don’t seem to think who gets to run for President matters, why should anyone else? Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), what isn’t reported has as much effect on distorting Americans’ views, beliefs and civic conduct as much as what is.

But isn’t it exciting that Ginger is going to get to wear those skimpy dance outfits, and so soon after having her baby?

2. Back to Donald’s penis: I was tempted to re-post this in it’s entirety. I correctly forecasted that a President Trump would transform the culture and leave us with a “nation of assholes,” but I did nor foresee that he would be able to substantially accomplish his mission by just running.  In a Presidential debate, a candidate discusses his penis size and the audience hoots delightedly like Bill Maher’s crowd when he says “fuck you.” A civilized U.S. worthy of international respect would regard a candidate who stooped to such crudeness and idiocy as having eliminated himself from consideration.

3. Marco Rubio showed that Trump’s reliance on rationalizations is communicable. Asked why he spent last week name calling and suggesting that Trump wet his pants, after once vowing that he wouldn’t stoop to personal attacks,  Rubio answered that the media gives “an incredible amount of coverage” to Trump’s attacks—Oh. so it’s OK because it works. How big is your penis, Marco?– and Trump “deserves” to be attacked the same way. Great: the ends justify the means, and “he had it coming.” Later, Rubio objects to Trump calling him a “little Marco” instead of giving a substantive answer to a plocy question. Yes, ad hominen attacks are the hallmark of weak thinkers, bullies and fools. Explain to us again why you started using them, Senator?

4. Nonetheless, Trump’s constant use of “little Marco” should be the last strawfor any parent who doesn’t want to raise a bully or have a child tormented by one. Trump is validating bullying behavior, at a high level. Here, I’ll link to “A Nation of Assholes” again. Insufferable conservative bloggers and pundits who know how bad Trump is but who are actively rooting for him to destroy the Republican party as retribution—Why don’t they just root for a dirty bomb to take out the Capitol?— write about how the “elites” just don’t understand:

“To the establishment, this breakdown looks like chaos. It looks like savagery. It looks like a man with a flamethrowing guitar playing death metal going a hundred miles an hour down Fury Road. But to the American people, it looks like democracy.”

Well, that’s because the “elites'” contempt for people who applaud bullies, torture and penis-boasting is absolutely justified, and if the American people think electing someone like Trump is democracy, then it proves that they understand neither democracy nor their obligations as citizens. There is nothing noble, or admirable, or justifiable about someone supporting Donald Trump. Writes another right-wing apologist for Trump supporters (the pompous conservative gang are all saying the same thing—they are interchangeable):

“The messenger doubtless is deeply flawed. Trump is no Washington, that’s for sure. Donald Trump would not have been my first choice as a GOP nominee. He wouldn’t have been my 100th choice. But if the counter-revolutionaries decide they want Trump as the nominee, I will not oppose them. And I will hope that the counter-revolution has now become too big for one deeply and profoundly flawed man to derail.”

What an irresponsible statement. And by the way, if Trump would be your 10,000th choice, your respect for ethical values and responsible leadership is woefully insufficient. The Left ridicules Trump, and the Right roots for him to wreck the country. The Left is correct, and the Right is disgracing itself while showing the deep, deep cynicism and ugliness within.

4. Trump was, of course, asked if the tape of his off-the-record discussion with the New York Times, in which he supposedly expressed a willingness to be flexible on his immigration stance, should be released, and he says he won’t authorize it. This is identical to Hillary Clinton refusing to release her  Goldman Sachs  speeches. If the tape wouldn’t contradict what he has said in public, there is no reason not to release it.  Trump’s angry zombie supporters will excuse this just as Hillary’s corrupt zombie supporters will ignore the fact that she says what any given audience wants to hear.

When I hear the complaint that politicians have contempt for ordinary Americans, I am tempted to say, “And they have earned every bit of it.” Continue reading

More On Our Unethical Justice Department’s Attack on Reason: Now A Publication Having Its Rights Infringed Can’t Tell The Public That The Government Is Infringing Them

obama shhhh

The detestable abuse of power represented by the U.S. Government seeking to prosecute blog commenters for obviously hyperbolic criticism of the government was noted in this post, not that it aroused half as as much interest or comment as, say, Caitlyn Jenner’s come-hither glance on the cover of Vanity Fair. Nor did much of the blogosphere take notice, and if any national news media took heed, I missed it. For how can the Obama Administration chilling free speech and harassing a libertarian blog that frequently condemns its contempt for basic rights compete with the secret guest list of the Obama’s 500 closest friends invited to dance a night away to the music of Stevie and Prince?

Now Ken White, the libertarian lawyer/blogger/free speech warrior who honors Popehat with his wisdom has uncovered a further outrage: he believes, and has good reason to believe, that the government has slapped a gag order on Reason, thus stopping the website from alerting the public and the world regarding our government’s unethical and probably illegal conduct. Continue reading

Our Unethical Justice Department’s Attack on Reason

Reason

While we’re on the topic of progressive/Democratic fascism, did you hear the one about the Justice Department?

I continue to wonder when cognitive dissonance will kick in and genuine humanist liberals who have been willing to support this President and his arrogant, bumbling administration through one botch and fiasco after another finally realize that trampling on basic rights in defiance of the Constitution isn’t OK, even when done in the name of an African-American President. Time is running out, and so far, except from some notable exceptions, all I see is shrugs and smiles. “Well, they are terrorists.” “Well, they are racist cops.” “Well, it’s teabaggers.” “Well, it’s just a Faux News reporter” “Well, it’s for a good cause.” “Well, the ends justify the means.”

Will this latest example of the fascist inclinations of the hard left be a tipping point? I doubt it. The expected shrug will be “Well, they’re just asshole blog commenters.”

Let me just say this to my many progressive friends: You’re disgracing yourself, and betraying all the good values you think you stand for.

Obama’s Department of Justice has issued grand jury subpoena to force Reason.com to release the identity of commenters who made what the Justice Department claims are threats on the life of a Federal judge. Reason is a libertarian, and as far as I can tell, non-partisan, publication as well as an excellent one, but as you might expect from any source that cares about individual rights, it is very critical of the Obama administration. Not that this had anything to do with it being targeted by the Justice Department—why are you so cynical?

The topic in which these comments occurred is of no interest to me here; you can read about it in the links. The main point to ponder is that this is a frightening abuse of power, government bullying, blatant incompetence and an effort to chill free speech, especially since the Supreme Court last week ruled that a “true threat,” and thus outside the protection of the First Amendment, couldn’t possibly be like the comments in question.  Which of these comments, criticizing a federal judge’s decision against a drug dealer (a lot of Reason’s commenters love their illegal drugs) would you say is a “true threat”? Continue reading

Now THESE Are “Feminazis”…Melissa Harris Perry and Kamila Shamsie

feminazi

Rush Limbaugh assured himself of a permanent place in the Feminist Hall Of Villains when he coined the term feminazis to describe militant women’s rights advocates two decades ago. Limbaugh’s use of the term was excessively broad and unfair to be sure—to Rush, all feminists are feminazis— but it has become newly appropriate and useful as the Left increasingly advocates fascist tactics when it sees no quick route to its objectives using such repugnant means–to them—as the free market, open debate, merit-based advancement, and individual autonomy.

Is tarring these arrogant ideologues who favor enforced “equality” over basic Constitutional rights such a pejorative label uncivil, unfair or hateful? Why no, in fact. Sadly, tragically, frighteningly, it is entirely accurate. Here are two examples:

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry

Bemoaning the fact that male professional sports pay their athletes more than female sports(because they are more popular, because more men follow sports and because male athletes are, on average, bigger, faster, stronger and better) Harris-Perry made this statement on her far-left even for MSNBC show on the network:

During the break I was trying to think up a solution to the problem of building audience (for women athletes), so my solution is in 2016 we go completely dark on all media coverage of men’s sports, just for one year. We have the only televised sports, the only print sports, it’s only women’s sports, and we’ll just see whether or not women could get a fan base if in fact they were the people who were constantly on our televisions and in our newspapers.

That’s a reasonable “solution” to this TV personality, scholar, teacher, author, pundit, feminist, fascist. Cripple lawful businesses. Restrict communications. Limit commerce, advertising, marketing, merchandising. Restrict the public’s entertainment choices, and male athletes’ earning capacity. After all, it’s all about the vagina, right? If women can’t compete against men, then just eliminate the men, their rights, and their advantages by edict. The First Amendment, the right of contract, equal protection, due process, enjoyment of life—why should they stand in the way of the progressive, feminist agenda?

This is how fascists solve problems.

Melissa Harris-Perry is a feminazi.

PS: In the comments, esteemed reader Charles Green chides me for not taking Harris-Perry suggestion as a joke. First of all, the woman is humorless. Second, the fact that she knew her suggestion could never happen isn’t the same as a joke. That would be a solution to her, because she is squarely in the ends justify the means camp, like all extremists. I am sure readers could concoct “jokes” similar in spirit about “solutions” (facsists love “solutions,” you will recall) to other “problems” involving ethnic, racial or gender designations that Harris-Perry, for one, would condemn in the harshest terms. I know Rush could…

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