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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And This Is What The Great Stupid Looks Like…[Corrected]

Deadspin, a dunder-headed, race-baiting, progressive foolishness blight on the web in its best days, posted that classic of Yoo’s Rationalization (“It isn’t what it is”) as its thoughtful response to the Buffalo mass shooting.

The photo was from the days following the George Floyd Freakout, as The Great Stupid began to spread over the land. Then, the NBA, like the other professional sports leagues, was falling all over itself to align with the half-baked political sensibilities of their black stars, in the NBA’s case, “their stars” period. Thus plastering the deceptively benign motto of the Marxist, racist, often violent scam movement on their game venues was the expedient thing to do, even if it wasn’t brave, helpful or ethical. Deadspin’s author of this brain-dead but woke tweet—is that redundant?—apparently thinks that there’s something sinister in the fact that millionaire athletes under contract as athlete/entertainers aren’t refusing to perform their jobs based on the predominant skin shade of the spectators who pay their salaries.

Of course, black fans were also entertained by the players. it is also important to note that the vast, vast, vast majority of professional athletes look like fools and children whenever they venture outside their extremely narrow range of knowledge and expertise. Using their barely literate, emotion- and peer pressure-driven analysis of current events as influence all but guarantees a grasp of complex issues and events as societally useful as those of Bette Midler, Joy Behar and Robert De Niro—you know: idiots.

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The New York Times Refusing To Inform Its Readers What Meyers Leonard Was Suspended For Saying Is Far More Unethical Than Leonard Saying It [Corrected]

This is beyond crazy. I’ll play the “Bridge Over The River Kwai” clip…

…but it’s not sufficient. How crazy is this story? This crazy: Ethics Alarms is informing you of a critical fact in a news story that The New York Times and almost every other mainstream media news source will not. Here it is:

The anti-Semitic slur that Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been fined and suspended for saying, apparently putting his NBA career in jeopardy, is “kike.” K-I-K-E.

I had to hunt through many reports to find a source that would reveal the taboo word so horrible and vile that to even print it so readers could know WHAT THE HOLY HELL THE CONTROVERSY WAS ABOUT was, apparently, unthinkable. I finally found the word in “The Scotsman,” which, as the name might suggest to you, is a Scottish publication. The closest I found in a U.S. source was an invitation to play “Wheel of Fortune” or “Hangman.” (Can you still play “Hangman”? It requires drawing a noose, and if you draw a noose, you must be a racist.) The exclamation that has made Meyers a pariah, according to the Miami Herald, was “F—ing cowards, don’t f—ing snipe me you f—ing k–e b–ch.” Sorry, not good enough, not sufficient, not competent, not responsible, and not ethical. If the story is worth publishing, then the word at the core of the story must be published too.

The Times wouldn’t even use code. “Meyers Leonard Fined $50,000 and Suspended for Using an Anti-Semitic Slur” reads the headline. [Wait. What slur? ] It continues [the bracketed comments are mine],

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Ethics Quote Of The Week: Paul Mirengoff

“Conservative America is disgusted with the NBA, and therefore is tuning it out. We’re disgusted ….with the embrace of the radical BLM movement by the league and its players….My problem was what was allowed, indeed encouraged, during the games. I will not watch any sports event during which the preaching of politics or ideology occurs. I guess I’m not alone.”

—Conservative lawyer and blogger Paul Mirengoff on the Powerline blog, discussing the huge fall-off in TV ratings for the current NBA play-offs.

Mirengoff is wrong to attribute this reaction only to conservatives, however. I have spoken with many sports fans who would not fit that description who are equally disgusted with the professional sports leagues. All of the leagues made a foolish assumption that by embracing the views of many progressive activists, they would at least hold on to the allegiance of  fans who agreed with those positions. ESPN and many sportswriters have made the same mistake., and it’s a stupid one. If I go out to dinner and the service staff bombard me with their political views during the evening, it doesn’t matter if I agree with what they say: I didn’t come to the restaurant to listen to political diatribes.

If you’re wondering about the ellipses, I left out a reference to the NBA’s addiction to China’s money, leading the league to ignore the despicable human rights record and political oppression in that country. That is a conservative complaint, and a valid one, but I doubt it affects NBA play-off ratings one tick.

I haven’t finished my letter to the Boston Red Sox, but I write it as I completely ignore the baseball play-offs as I will through the World Series. I want to make sure the team realizes that if its ugly promotion of Black Lives Matter could alienate me, it is in big trouble in the community. The players need to understand that as well, but it was up to management to tell employees to do what they were paid for, and not use their celebrity to make incompetent and divisive political statements. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…” AND “Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…,” Item #2, Mayor Wheeler’s Letter

Steve-O-In NJ has struck again with another of his long form comments, easily snagging another Comment of the Day. It is also a first here: the comment covers two Ethics Alarms posts. To be technical about it, the second was posted after Steve’s comment went up, but it includes a long section that directly applies to the late post…which I wrote before I read what follows. This Comment of the Day is, as a classic TV commercial for Certs used to chant for almost 40 years, “Two! Two! Two comments in one!”

Confused? Don’t be, just read and enjoy Steve-O-In NJ‘s Comment of the Day on the posts,  “I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…” and “Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…,” Item #2, Mayor Wheeler’s Letter.

This is the year we were stripped of a lot of the things that we liked and that were important to us, and expected to like it. The message rings loud and clear that if you aren’t woke, there is no place for you in this brave new world. The thing is, like Obamacare, it was predicated upon and sold to us with lies, half-truths, and omissions, which a lot of our fellow Americans have bought, hook line and sinker. Obamacare was as much about power as it was about putting healthcare on the national stage and giving people greater access. The Democrats and the left knew it, and that’s why they used procedural chicanery, promises to the now-dead Senator Spector that they had no intention of keeping from the get-go, and lies and half-truths to the general public to get it passed – without even saying what was in it. It was a power grab, plain and simple.

The left tried for a cultural power grab three years ago, with the assault on Confederate monuments, which they tried to parlay into attacks on other areas of history. Unfortunately for them, it kind of petered out before it could really go anywhere, NYC made it clear it wasn’t going to stand for attacks on public art, and the next thing you knew, we were in the holiday season and no one was thinking about fighting over statues and what they stood for anymore. The first of the year passed, and the mayor of NYC said he was moving one statue and that was it. There was still a dislike of police, but they still met with grudging respect…mostly. The days of assassinating police or declaring them enemies were over. I think I should really say that they were over for that period of time. The plans for a cultural and political power grab never really went away. They just went on standby, waiting for the right time for them to be revived. Even though there were other police shootings and errors, it just never seemed to be the right time. Besides, the economy was doing well, and most people were too busy making money to bother. Then came the pandemic, which put a huge amount of people out of work, so they’d be available for protesting/rioting. All they needed was the spark to set this off. George Floyd was it. This was it, the spark to light the flame of white hatred and make a revolutionary break with the past. It stopped being about Floyd in two days. Meantime, though, the liberal DA and other authorities, who might have had a chance to tamp this down by saying hey, we don’t have all the facts, said nothing instead. Inwardly these mayors and governors were dancing with glee at the chance to proclaim a new cultural revolution and destroy conservative America forever. The same mayors and governors who ticketed Hasidic Jews for burying their dead and moms for walking in parks told the police to use a light touch or stand down completely from protests that quickly became riots. They wanted to be helpless, anything to make the president look either incompetent (if he did nothing) or heavy-handed (if he did). Meantime this movement either forced local leadership into embarrassing humiliation like foot-washing, pulled them into their own orbit, or overwhelmed them. Continue reading

I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…[Corrected]

When The Great Stupid starts affecting my enjoyment of baseball, it’s personal.

I’m not watching another baseball game this “season,” and whether I ever do again is up for grabs. Someone in Major League Baseball’s marketing department should take notice, because when the game loses people like me—that is, lifetime, sophisticated, passionate fans, it’s in trouble.  For almost 15 years, I never missed a single Boston Red Sox game.  I’ve watched games in 13 different parks and stadiums; I shared a season ticket to the Baltimore Orioles for several years. I managed hundreds of Strat-O-Matic table top baseball games; along with two friends, I created and marketed a Red Sox trivia game in 1986. In 1978, I risked my job at Georgetown by walking out of a mandated staff meeting because the Red Sox-Yankee single game play-off was about to start, and  I wasn’t about to miss it.

I just gave a Smithsonian Associates program on baseball. Most of all, much of my personal philosophy was built on baseball observations and experiences. Fenway Park is the single place on earth where I am entirely happy, and I choke up every time Robert Redford gives his “God, I love baseball” speech in “The Natural.”

This week, however, baseball players refused to play their games in solidarity with an obnoxious NBA protest. I take it as a personal insult, and the fact that MLB took no action against the players as signature significance. These people are not merely unethical fools, but unethical fools who are smug and arrogant about it.

I will not waste my valuable time and fragile emotions rooting for such people. I have more self-respect than that.

This week’s madness..CUE!!!!

…began with the NBA’s players spontaneously deciding to boycott their games. Again, the supine league decided to let them do it, making vague virtue-signalling noises about how they support the players’ activism in pursuit of “social justice.” Well, let me refine that: it really began when the evil NFL, which happily makes billions encouraging players to destroy their brains, decided at the outset of the George Floyd Freakout to not only allow widespread Kaepernicking, but to encourage it. Next we had pro baseball and basketball  trying to top each other in betraying their obligations to fans of their teams and sport by endorsing not just political messages embraced by players and exhibited in the stadiums, but offensive or infuriatingly meaningless ones. Continue reading

Lazy Saturday Ethics Diversions, 8/22/2020: Hypocrisy Again

1. “Wait…what did he call you? “  Does nobody understand how ridiculous this is? In a recent re-viewing of a “Law and Order” episode from the ’90s, I watched the excellent Courtney B. Vance (later outstanding as Johnny Cochran in the O.J. mini-series) play a Wall Street trader whose defense for killing a white manager in his firm was that systemic racism had driven him to it. When he testified in his trial, he  explained that his victim had called him a. That’s right,  “a.” the word following “a” was censored, even though the word was central to the plot. It is lmost 30 years after that episode first aired, and we are subjected to more censorship than less.

Either air the whole episode, or don’t air it at all, if the word “nigger” is just too horrifying.

The jury found Vance’s character guilty. Good. How can you kill someone just for calling you “a”?

2. And since we’re talking about racial slurs….During an NBA contest, LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell called  opposing player Luka Dončić a “pussy ass white boy.” 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would call that a racial epithet. Any white player in the NBA—there must be five or six—that called Harell an “a” would be suspended or worse. If that’s the new standard—that blacks can make racist slurs against whites while anyone uttering a racial slur against a black man is going to be fired, shunned and ostracized—we sanctioned targets of bigotry and harassment have a right to know.

This is apparently what Black Lives Matter calls “equity.”

I also have to add this obligatory note: most of the media accounts of what Harrell said required me to be a Wheel of Fortune ace. He called the white player a “p**** a** white boy” ? Can I buy a vowel? One source said the phrase was b***ch a** white boy. Does b***ch mean p****? I don’t think so. If the story is news because of what the black player called the what player, then you have to write what he said.

People ask me why I frequently note that most journalists aren’t very bright.  This is one of the reasons. Continue reading

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

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/13/2020: “Hail To The Thingamajiggies!” Edition [Corrected]

How.

1. When late is worse than never. Reports say that the Washington Redskins will officially announce that they are changing their name, to what nobody knows, not even them. The team’s obnoxious owner, Dan Snyder, who has run the once cultishly popular and successful NFL franchise into the ground during his incompetent stewardship, had memorably said that he would never change the controversial team name, unquestionably the most politically incorrect in all of sports. That pledge did not anticipate his league going nuts and supine before the George Floyd Freakout, to the point that there may be mandatory kneeling by the time the 2020 season opens.

The attack on the Redskins name was always about power, as has been the decades-long assault on all team nicknames with ethnic references. Survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Native Americans don’t care; the idea is to bring corporate interests to heel, and then aim at the next, more substantive objective. The competent way for a team to handle this problem is to quietly retire a problematic name like “Redskins” (or a anachronistically provocative logo like the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo) when the heat is off, making it clear that the change is volitional and not compelled. Then the social justice mob members can’t puff out their little pigeon chests with pride and think “I did this! What’s the next target?”

I don’t care what the D.C. team’s name is. I do care about dishonest and illogical arguments, which is what have been mounted against this name for as long as I can remember. That’s why the Redskins and related matters have so often been a topic here.

I did laugh yesterday when I read a comment predicting that Snyder would announce that the new name would be “the Washington Murderous Savages”… Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Fox Sports 1’s Marcellus Wiley

Well, here’s one ex-NFL player who doesn’t have brain damage.

Marcellus Wiley is a sports commentator for Fox Sports. On his show “Speak for Yourself,” Wiley made the rational and ethical argument against pandering to Black Lives Matter. Like me, and unlike virtually every virtue-signaling corporation and groveling politician, Wiley, a Columbia grad, actually read the group’s mission statement.

What a concept! All of your friends and Facebook followers, all of the Democrats and artists, all of the academics and university administrators, all of those who are publicly pledging fealty to an organization they know little about because its name is a catchy slogan (though a subversive one, like “It’s okay to be white”) ought to be held accountable when the fog clears. I want to hear Joe Biden explain how he supports the goals of Black Lives Matter as the group states them. “Oh, not that,” he’ll say. “Oh, of course not that one either.” If you support an organization, you support its mission, all of it. You are accountable for what the organization does if the power you help it acquire is used to accomplish what the group said it intended to accomplish. Continue reading