Spring Clean-Up! Some Ethics Stories That Need Disposal Before The Weekend…

  • I have some major projects and stalled efforts percolating (Yes, Michael Ejercito, including that one!) so I need this post to make sure some interesting items don’t get left on the metaphorical rock…That’s my favorite Charles Addams cartoon above, and the only sad one he ever drew, I think. It was published well before this hit song by the Irish Rovers ( a really big hit in Boston), and I’ve often wondered if the cartoon inspired it. What do you think?
  • In the NYT workplace advice column “Work Friend,” Roxane Gay was asked by a reader about an office colleague who took up a collection to give condolence gifts to two fellow staffers who had lost their pets. Is this a common practice “in our pet-obsessed society,” she asked, or “is it, as I think, utterly bananas?”

This is, to begin with, an utterly bananas use of an advice columnist, assuming there is a good use. If that’s what she thinks, why does the writer need the confirmation of a stranger? Who is Roxane Gay, other than someone can’t spell “Roxanne”? The writer believes, obviously, in the “appeal to authority” fallacy, and is the kind of person who will tell you that her opinion is right because Charles Blow agrees with it. For the record, Roxane asked what was going on in the writer’s life that had her feeling so callous. In fact, this is an easy ethics call: the passwords are kindness and consideration. It doesn’t matter why a friend or colleague is emotionally devastated, or whether you would be as upset facing the same loss. The point is that your friend has suffered what he or she feels is a great loss, and the kind thing to do is to say, “I’m sorry. I care.”

It’s never occurred to me to send flowers or a card to someone who has lost an beloved animal companion, but thinking about it because of this column, I would have appreciated such a gesture after sweet Patience, our English Mastiff, had to be put down at 7 when her cancer became untreatable, or brilliant and brave Dickens, our first Jack Russell, who once saved our son from a malling by a larger dog, and whose heart and lungs gave out after 14 years, or Rugby, who for 16 years demonstrated how to love every living thing and who would sit on my desk with his head on my arm as I typed out Ethics Alarms posts. I can get choked up thinking about any of them still. It’s not “bananas” to be kind to someone suffering these kind of traumas. It’s called “being nice.” Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Bits and Pieces, 10/24/2020: Sushi And Coyotes

1. Another day, another police shooting where the black victim entirely brought his fate upon himself, resulting in, of course, another protest. This time the episode was in San Bernardino, California. An officer was dispatched at 11:16 p.m. in response a 911 call about a man jumping on cars in a parking lot. He’s “really drunk and he’s waving around a gun…and he’s just going crazy,” the caller told the police dispatcher. She described him as a black man with a white shirt and black shorts.

As soon as police learned he was black, they might as well have replied, “Sorry. He’s your problem.”

Body camera video shows the officer approaching Matthew Bender, who fits the description by the 911 caller. The police officer pulls out his gun and tells Bender, “Let me see your hands.” Bender  raises his hands briefly and then puts them back on his side, walking away from the officer and telling the cop, “Man, I’m going to the store.” The officer holsters his gun away and attempts to apprehend Bender, who tells him, “Don’t touch me!” The police officer wrestles Bender to the ground and tells him, “Stop fighting, dude.” Bender is seen on video reaching for an item in his waistband that appears to be a handgun.  As both men get up from the ground, and the officer draws his weapon and fires four shots at Bender, which proved fatal. A loaded, unregistered pistol was found on the suspect, who had a criminal record going back 17 years, , with arrests attempted murder, false imprisonment, domestic violence, theft and possession of narcotics. Shortly after the incident was reported, demonstrators shouting, “Abolish the police!” “Defund the police!” and “Fuck the police!” took to the streets, blocking  an intersection and attacking vehicles.

The policy the demonstrators in these episodes want is one where the police are defenseless, arrests are impossible, and black skin ensures immunity from law enforcement. This is neither just, fair, nor rational.

2. Give hate a chance. Hate is in, as you know: the Democrats are depending on it, and little else, to bring them victory next month. A website called BestLife developed a formula for determining the “most hated states,”  ranked from least hated to most hated. Who hates a state? I’ve been in 48 of them plus the District, and I like some more than others, but hating a state seems pathological to me. I assume the calculations preceded the George Floyd Freakout, because Washington, Oregon and Minnesota come out far too positively in light of their behavior since June. And why is Oklahoma the fourth most hated state?

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/4/2020: Three Out Of Four Positive Items!

Good morning to you!

1. Let’s start with some good news! In April of last year, I wrote about Massachusetts judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, who  was charged with obstruction of justice, along with another court officer, for helping an illegal immigrant (and criminal) elude arrest by the ICE. The story is here. It looks like the judge is going to trial.

U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin has now denied the judge’s lawyers’ motions to dismiss in a July ruling. “After careful consideration, the motions to dismiss are DENIED because the Indictment alleges the elements of the offenses and sufficient supporting factual detail,” he  wrote . Joseph’s attorneys are claiming was that she is protected by judicial immunity, though that should only apply to actions a judge engages in under judicial authority and in the course of her duties. Instructing a court employee to help an illegal immigrant evade being taken into custody by ICE agents  after his hearing on criminal charges, including drug possession, is not known as “being a judge.” It is known as “obstructing  justice.” Even if the judge avoids punishment, her days as a judge are over.

Good.

2. What’s this? MORE good news? I have been looking for cracks in the monolithic mainstream media, with defections by individuals in the midst of the journalism’s abandonment of its duties to democracy in favor of news manipulation and partisanship. Less than a month ago, New York Timed editor Bari Weiss called out the oppressive culture of partisanship and conformity at the her paper, earning her Ethics Hero status.

Last month MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary quit the network, arguably the most unethical of all the broadcast news outlets, and yesterday she published a blog post explaining why. “I simply couldn’t stay there anymore.” She wrote:

“My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis….It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would ‘rate,’ The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing. But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done…I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. Therefore, it’s particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions. I’ve even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.”

She claims to want to be part of a solution to this dire situation. We shall see. I reached out to her in an email yesterday, offering my guidance and expertise, gratis of course.

3. On the theory that transparency is good news, it was nice to see Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, supposedly one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, demonstrate how dim-witted she is and unqualified to be President, though at this point even she could probably beat poor Joe Biden in a spelling bee. Over and over, on several Sunday news shows, she repeated her previous explanation for praising Fidel Castro , telling Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” for example, regarding calling the brutal dictator’s death a “great loss to the people of Cuba,” that she “wouldn’t do that again. Talked immediately to my colleagues from Florida and realized that that was something that just shouldn’t have been said.”

Astounding. She wouldn’t say that what she said was wrong, outrageous for a member of Congress and demonstrated inexcusable ignorance, but that she should have kept the opinion to herself.  Todd, of course, being one of the worst hacks in captivity, didn’t bother to press her on the point for the benefit of members of his audience who can’t recognize signature significance when it’s right in front of them.

Biden, or whoever his ventriloquist is, is officially trapped in ethics zugzwang. The only reason Bass is even being considered is that Biden has to select a black (George Floyd!) woman (#MeToo!) as his VP, and all of his remaining options are horrible by any objective standard. This will be a flaming lesson in the foolishness of placing physical characteristics over ability, experience and character, a perfect example of  why affirmative action doesn’t work and will never work. Bass is a light-weight, but Biden’s two other options are Kamala Harris ( whose ugly Ethics Alarms dossier is here), and <ack! choke! yecch! barf! gag!> the even more horrible Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s ethics-free acolyte. Her dossier is here. She would be the most sinister Vice-President candidate since Aaron Burr.

I have to poll this: Who is Joe’s best choice among this unethical trio?

I’m not going to allow “None of the above,” because I don’t think he has that option, or at least doesn’t have the integrity to insist on choosing a qualified candidate who has the wrong tint or chromosomes.

4. Finally, to end on a downer, the Unethical  Non-Trump Tweet of the week.  Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only NBA player not to kneel during the National Anthem, and also refused to wear a “Black Lives Matter” warm-up like  the rest of his teammates. In Sunday’s game, he tore his ACL, a season-ending and career threatening injury. ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard then ran a poll on Twitter asking, “Is it funny the guy who refused to kneel immediately blew out his knee?” 

When the poll was pulled, about 45% of respondents said that it was funny, which tells you all you need to know about NBA fans and Black Lives Matter supporters—the genuine kind, not the grovelers. Le Batard issued a phony apology, Level 10 on the Apology Scale.

“We apologize for this poll question,”  he wrote. “I said on the front and back end of the on-air conversation that I didn’t think it was funny. Regardless of the context, we missed the mark. We took the tweet down when we realized our mistake in how we posed the question to the audience.”

Lies and more lies. They took the tweet down when it was clear they were getting slammed for it. If he didn’t think a young athlete getting injured was funny because he dared to oppose the BLM mob, why would he think anyone else would? When is someone getting hurt who has done nothing wrong and who did not do something foolish to cause the injury ever funny?

Let’s Get The Week Off To A Positive Start With Encouraging Ethics Stories! Like…Oh. Never Mind…(Part 2)

Part I is here.

Still trying to empty my “annoying ethics notes” in-box. Bear with me…

4. It’s called “not caving to peer pressure.” Remember when that was a good thing? In the 75% black NBA—that means black supremacy, right?—any white player who doesn’t grovel before that Black Lives Matter idol, which has its name emblazoned on the NBA courts—is asking to have his home firebombed. Thus the only player with the guts and integrity to stand for the National Anthem—not standing is the position of the Democratic Party, remember—is black. Orlando Magic forward, Jonathan Issac,  became the first NBA player to demonstrate proper respect for the symbol of the nation that my father risked his life for, as the NBA resumed its season after a 20-week hiatus. All the other players and coaches from both teams, as well as referees, “took a knee” during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, as the 22-year-old not only stood, but was not wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt.

Here was a typical reaction on social media:

Got that? Not caving to the mob is weak, and Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

5. And while we’re on the topic of the National Anthem, I refuse to believe a majority of Americans will vote for the side that encourages this insanity. Last month, The USSSA Pride and Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, two independent professional softball teams that feature some of the top players in the world, began a seven-game series in Melbourne, Fla., facing little competition from other live sports. However, after the organization’s  general manager tweeted  to President Trump during the game that the teams were standing during the national anthem, all the players quit, vowing never to play for the organization again.

6. In case you wondered, the New York Times is still romanticizing and sentimentalizing illegal immigration.  So is Netflix. In its new documentary “Immigration Nation”—that gets an immediate ding from me, because it’s about illegal immigration, a crime, not immigration, an honorable, essential process—

Part of that effect comes from seeing agents push the boundaries of legality — most strikingly, how they routinely enter apartments when “invited” by cowed, uncomprehending immigrants, in a way that’s surprisingly similar to what you’d see in a TV cop drama. (Maybe that’s where they learned it.) Once inside the home of the target, probably an immigrant accused of a crime, they frequently find “collaterals,” additional people who can be rounded up simply because they’re undocumented.

That last clause is a classic. It’s not “simply because they are undocumented,” it is entirely because they are in the country illegally, violating our borders and laws, and if they left on their own, the wouldn’t have to be “rounded up.” Here’s another quote from the review,

But the real impact of the show’s early episodes isn’t the outrage you may feel over the thuggish tactics. It’s the wearying, demoralizing depiction of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy, one that churns through the lives of people it takes little notice of — as if your trip to the D.M.V. meant not just standing in an endless line, but then being shackled and put on a plane to Central America.

The lives of illegal immigrants are not the concern of ICE—they are the responsibility of their own countries. “Self-perpetuating bureaucracy” is meaningless pejorative rhetoric: what perpetuates  ICE is the continued breaching of our borders, encouraged and enabled by people like Hale. and, incidentally, the late John Lewis.

7. Here’s a revealing article that will blow your mindThese Girls Are Leading Black Lives Matter Protests.

The Times interviews several self-involved, self-righteous, passionate and completely ignorant young women who demonstrate that they are motivated entirely by free-flowing emotion without any concern for reality. Of course, the Times reporter feeds their narcissism, never challenging their certitude. If you wonder why so much of the George Floyd Freakout looks like it was organized by children, here is your answer: it is. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Freakout, 6/20/2020: Fake News, Resignations, Topplings And Cancellations…But Also Hope

I know just how you feel, Homer.

1. Mainstream media journalism, 2020. I thank Tim Levier for this classic, from NBC News:

Fake news. First, the Court did NOT rule that Trump cannot end DACA. The opinion by Chief Justice Roberts said explicitly that he can. Second, “Dreamers”  were not legal immigrants so they cannot magically become legal immigrants. At best, they will be illegal immigrants who have been given a pass for their violation.  The tweet is deceptive, misleading, and incompetent.

2. Cancellations, Resignations and Topplings Update! The current list of entertainment celebrities and politicians who have been documented as wearing blackface for one reason or another is long, and if one falls to the mob, the rest might start feeling awfully nervous.

The list includes Justin Trudeau, Ralph Northam, Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Joy Behar, Sarah Silverman, Ted Danson, Gigi Hadid, Julianne Hough and Billy Crystal.  Right now rumors are swirling around the irredeemable Jimmy Kimmel, who has suddenly announced a hiatus, with many speculating that he is holding on to his job by a thread…and if he goes, the innocuous Fallon may be next. Though Stern, Kimmel and Behar are blights on the culture whose professional demise I would cheer, long past blackface dabbling should not be used to punish any of these people now….except perhaps the Virginia Governor.  Northam is a special case, because his party is wildly hypocritical to allow him to escape accountability when it is cheering on the mobs. However, again, a law school costume has no relevance to the Governor today.

As for Trudeau–I don’t care.

3. Cancellations, Resignations and Topplings Update, Literary Division. At the Poetry Foundation earlier this month,  leadership was forced to resign because its official grovel to Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd mob was deemed not abject enough. The Foundation had issued a brief, four-sentence statement on June 3, expressing “solidarity with the Black community” and declaring faith in “the strength and power of poetry to uplift in times of despair.” This prompted a critical uproar from the progressive poets, with another letter from members calling the statement “worse than the bare minimum” and an insult to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African-American victims of police violence. The foundation’s president and board chairman then quit, because, I suppose, poets are lovers, not fighters.

“As poets, we recognize a piece of writing that meets the urgency of its time with the appropriate fire when we see it — and this is not it,” the letter said. “Given the stakes, which equate to no less than genocide against Black people, the watery vagaries of this statement are, ultimately, a violence.”

Genocide! Talk about poetic license. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 4/25/2020: The Quiet Before The Storm

Something’s coming.

(I’d have the West Side Story song up, but for some reason WordPress hasn’t been letting me embed videos lately.) Do you feel it? I sure do…

1. Our incompetent leaders, Part 645, 991. The proper anti-virus conduct as modeled by Nancy Pelosi on TV last week: take off your mask, wipe your nose with your hand,

…and touch the podium. Members of both parties demonstrated similar Wuhan virus safety awareness:

2.  Meme Wars…

[Pointer: Steve Witherspoon (not Other Bill, as I erroneously stated originally. Sorry, Steve)]

…and this (from the Babylon Bee):

3. You know, I really don’t care what someone like this thinks about illegal immigration. In a review of a pro-illegal immigration book by illegal immigrant (OK, she’s a “Dreamer”)

Quick diversion: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that “Dreamers”—people brought to the U.S. illegally as children—cannot access emergency funding set aside for college students who are enduring disruptions in their education because of the pandemic, because grants may only be given to students who are eligible for federal aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act,  meaning U.S. citizens. Naturally, she is being attacked as cruel and racist.

It is the correct, responsible, legal and ethical decision.

So she is laboring under emotional difficulties, a law-breaker herself, and a liar. That’s some expert you got there. She’s also not very bright, based on this statement from her book: Continue reading

Giving Shutdown Aid To Illegal Aliens Is Unethical, And There Are No Valid Arguments That It isn’t

Pop quiz: List the ways the above is dishonest and deceitful.

There are some progressive agenda items that are either dishonest or so dumb they defy belief. Open borders is in that category; ignoring immigration laws by letting anyone who slips through our porous security to stay here as long as they don’t kill or rape someone is there too; so is giving these individuals drivers licenses, and rewarding their children for the parents’ lawbreaking. All the arguments for these intellectually indefensible positions are either extreme rationalizations, based on emotion over reality+ or cynical deceptions used to disguise the real objectives.

Yet however unethical the arguments for letting illegal immigrants enter our country and stay here, the position that we should give them financial aid during the pandemic crisis and resulting economic shut-down is worse.

Of course California likes the idea; there are few terrible policy idea that the Golden State doesn’t like.

Last week Governor Gavin Newsom announced he is working on a plan with the state legislature to provide economic relief for illegal immigrants in California. “Californians care deeply about undocumented residents in this state,” Newsom said.

Ooooh, they care! Let’s see if they care when the money going to people who have no justification for being here comes out of citizens’ pockets. Is “undocumented” the deceptive euphemism of choice in California? Interesting. “Migrant” is sneakier, and of course there is the media’s favorite Orwellian “immigrants” to mean “illegal immigrants.”

Yes, it’s true: I am no longer interested in being nice or diplomatic about this destructive idea and the liars, knaves and fools who support it. Continue reading

Once Again, “The Good Illegal Immigrant.” Once Again, I Am Not Sympathetic

Nor should I be.

Nor should you.

Once again, the New York Times has published another of its entries into what I call “The Good Illegal Immigrant” files. The “good illegal immigrant” is a contradiction in terms, as much as “the good embezzler” or “the good bigamist.” This ongoing propaganda by the Times as the journalistic vanguard of the open borders mission of the American Left is in its fourth year. These features are stuffed with emotionally manipulative tales and quotes about the travails of residents of the United States who broke the law by coming here, and who continue to stay here, reaping the benefits that are supposed to be reserved to citizens while being nauseatingly self-righteous about it. The Times surpasses itself this time, with “Telling the Truth Wasn’t An Option” by Julissa Arce, illegally in this country from the age of eleven, whose dilemma was finally resolved when she married an American citizen.

It’s convenient that the title itself embodies a rationalization, indeed a couple whoppers from the Ethics Alarms list: #25, The Coercion Myth: “I have no choice!” and #31. The Troublesome Luxury: “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now.” Telling the truth is always an option if one has the courage and integrity to be accountable. The headline applies to anyone who is engaged in an ongoing crime, or guilty of a past one, except that in this case, the individual feels uniquely entitled to not only avoid the just consequences of  her own actions, but to seek sympathy for her discomfort in doing so. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ick Or Ethics? The Nauseating Social Media Meme”

Not for the first time, a commenter has done a more thorough job fisking a problematical statement that I have. Actually, I didn’t even try to dissect the memed screed below…

…I  asked whether it was truly unethical, or just signature significance for an arrogant political correctness junkie.  Ryan Harkins took on the greater challenge, and as usual, did a superb job.

Here is Ryan’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ick Or Ethics? The Nauseating Social Media Meme…

Today I am wearing a shirt that reads:

Inconceivable. Adj.
1. Not capable of being imagined or grasped.
2. Not what you think it means.

The problem with memes like the above is that it is disingenuous. What do you mean by love? Do you mean philia? Eros? Caritas? Squishy feel-goodness, for which I don’t know a Latin equivalent? In general, especially given what I’ve observed of the people who post such memes, I don’t think “love” means what they think it means. I certainly don’t think they see love as selflessly willing the good of the other, but maybe that’s because I’m cynical and see this meme as not willing the good of someone else, but trying to proclaim one’s own virtue.

What is meant by inclusion? Is there nothing someone could ever do to warrant exclusion? Or is there a little asterisk pointing one to the fine print, where we don’t include the scum of the earth, like religious white men, sex offenders, and Trump supporters?

I don’t have much to say about empathy or compassion. Equality always begs the question: “Equal how?” Because again, people keep using that word, and I do not think it means what they think it means. Equal before the law? Equal in dignity? Equal in socioeconomic status? Equal in success? Or how about created equally, and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, including (but not limited to) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

I have no problem with dignity, but what about diversity and community? There is unavoidable tension in the community when there is diversity. We might not like that fact, but it is there. As soon as you have two people of different opinions in the room, there is tension, and by and large what we’ve seen is that people are less and less tolerant of tension. I wouldn’t say they are less tolerant of differences of opinion, as long as those opinions keep to themselves and don’t bother other people. It is the tension that people are finding unbearable. Maybe it is because we are no longer equipped to have our opinions or viewpoints challenged. But I also have a hard time believing anyone believes in community, when so many are nose down I electronics (as I am as I write this) and all my friends belong to the same echo chamber as myself. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/8/2010: Daylight Savings Time Edition”

When Still Spartan is in a substantive commenting mood here attention must be paid, since you never know she will grace us with her perspective again. This Comment of the Day was really a comment on a comment, in this case mine.

I wrote, admittedly hyperbolically, “I will note that the Sanders-Warren-Klobuchar call for free child care for all is meant to ensure that as many kids as possible are raised by non-parents and illegal aliens. And no, I do not think that is a good thing.” While acknowledging that the statement was designed to explode heads, I won’t retract it, as breaking up the close family unit and having children raised beyond the influence of parents is a long-standing tool of leftward conversion, and we have a movement afoot to allow illegal aliens work and frolic here without interference, and the same ideological source places workplace competition with men above parenting as a priority for all women.

However, Still Spartan’s retort was, as usual, well-reasoned and properly sharp. Here is her Comment of the Day on the post, “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/8/2010: Daylight Savings Time Edition.”

I, incidentally, am half-Spartan. Still.

Comments like this is why I don’t participate fully in this blog anymore. It first assumes that both parents want to work. Even with “free childcare,” the reality is that most households need both parents working to meet bills — let alone trying to save for retirement and their kids’ college. I personally would have loved it if I could have taken a few years off. If we had, we wouldn’t even have been able to make the mortgage payment. Second, it assumes that there is something wrong with both parents working. I am a really good mom, I mean … really good. Yes, that is is conceited to say, but damn if I don’t have healthy, smart, capable, talented, loving, and well-rounded kids. And, as much as I love my mom, I am superior to her in all areas, even though she was a “stay at home” parent. I also can give my children far more than my parents ever could. If my kids are passionate about something (right now it is music and (ugh) ice skating), I get to say, “Yes, we can do that!” I was never able to do any activities or go to camps growing up. And I got to graduate with a ton of debt (which is now paid off thank goodness) because my mom stayed at home? Continue reading