Ethics Dunce (And Preening Jerk): Actor Alan Cumming

Yecchh.

Alan Cumming, whose ticket to stardom was punched by acquiring his initial acclaim reprising a role that was originated by a superior performer (Joel Grey, the first “MC” of “Cabaret”) gladly accepted an OBE, the British award bestowed on the Scottish performer in 2009 by the late Queen Elizabeth II as part of her annual birthday honors list. Cumming was allegedly honored for his work as an actor as well as his campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights: the Crown was trying to pander to the LGBTQ crowd at the time. There is no way Cummings’ acting career warranted the honor itself. It was the equivalent of the Academy of Motion Picture Science giving a Lifetime Achievement Award to Demi Lovato.

Cumming happily accepted the honor and the prestige and publicity that go with it. Now, 11-years later, whatever momentum the Order bestowed on him has waned, as has Cumming’s career. ( His short-lived CBS series “Instinct,” where he played, badly, an academic who assists the NYPD solve crimes, was unwatchable.) And thus it is that he decided he could once again get headlines and stir social media controversy by marking his 58th birthday by announcing on Instagram,

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Pre-Independence Day Ethics Warm-Up, July 3, 2022: What Might Have Been [Broken Link Fixed]

Typically, Ethics Alarms has highlighted July 3 with reflections on the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, for which the 3rd was the dramatic last and decisive day. I know it must be hard to believe, but I do get tired of writing the same things over and over again, an occupational hazard of being an ethicist during a mass ethics breakdown in our democracy and among the increasingly corrupt people we have put in power to protect it. I still can’t ignore Pickett’s futile charge and Custer’s charge as well, so I direct you to last year’s post on both events and their ethics implications.

However, this year I am introducing the July 3 warm-up with another crucial anniversary, one that may have had even more impact on the history of the United States, its prospects and its values than Gettysburg. July 2, 1776 is when the Continental Congress finally agreed to take the leap and forge a new nation (John Adams thought the 2nd would be the day we celebrated) and July 4, 1776 was the date the document was signed. But in-between those more noted dates the Continental Congress began debating and editing Jefferson’s draft Declaration, eventually making 86 edits that cut the length by about a fourth. 

Because the Declaration of Independence is the mission statement of America, framing and sometimes compelling what followed, especially the Constitution, the editing decisions of July 3, 1776 affected our laws and culture in many ways that are unimaginable after more than 200 years. You can read the original here. It is this deleted paragraph, however, that most inspires reflections on what might have been (and what might not):

“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

Now on to the present day’s ethics concerns...

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Protest Ethics: From The Self-Immolation School Of Outrage, But Even Dumber

I can’t assign this to The Great Stupid files, but it’s still astoundingly stupid.

Ren Gladu, owner of Ren’s Mobile Gas Station in the college town of Amherst, Massachusetts (Hampshire College, Amherst and UMass are nearby), announced that he will stop selling gas to protest high gas prices.

“I don’t want to be part of it anymore,” Ren Gladu, owner of Ren’s Mobile, told the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “This is the biggest ripoff that ever has happened to people in my lifetime.”

Gradu decided he would not charge customers any higher than $4.75 earlier this month, and when ExxonMobil increased the price per gallon by 20 cents for two consecutive days, Gradu put up signs that read “Out of Gas.”

“Dealing with Mobil, they don’t think through their pricing policies anymore,” Gradu stated. “I’ve served their product, but I refuse to do it anymore, because they’re only getting richer.”

Mobil hasn’t thought through its pricing policies? Won’t one of those well-educated college students drop by and explain supply and demand to this poor guy? They might also try to explain that he needs to stop listening to people like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez as they try to spin their party out of its self-inflicted inflation disaster.

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Ottawa Trucker Protest Ethics

Is this an Ethics Train Wreck, defined as a situation where everyone involved in in the wrong? If it isn’t, to paraphrase Tommy Lee Jones’s burned-out sheriff in “No Country for Old Men,” it will do until a real one shows up.

We begin with the impetus for the protest. Truckers, alone in their cabs, pose no danger to anyone whether they are vaccinated or not, masked or not. Social distancing is enough when you’re alone inside a moving truck. The pandemic restrictions are increasingly obnoxious and irrational—unethical in short, “following the science” of experts who have been wrong (or lying) so often it would be funny if it hasn’t been so disastrous. Ethics Alarms is on record as holding that most protests are pointless and unethical, but not all. There is ample justification for truckers to protest what is, for them, oppressive government edicts.

BUT…this protest is violating the law, as well as inconveniencing and harming citizens who are not at fault for the policies the truckers are protesting. The truckers have paralyzed traffic, disrupted business and unsettled residential neighborhoods, as truckers parked their vehicles in intersections and across busy thoroughfares. “Someone is going to get killed or seriously injured because of the irresponsible behavior of some of these people,” Jim Watson, Ottawa’s mayor, said as he declared the situation a state of emergency. I don’t see how anyone can dispute that conclusion, and sympathy with the truckers’ position shouldn’t translate into acceptance of their mode of protest, Continue reading

This Weekend In Pro-Abortion Ethics

SCOTUS protest

Let’s examine this by categories….

Warped Concepts of How the System Works: Yet another Women’s March, like all of them, misleadingly labeled to avoid the ugly transparency that “March to be Able to Kill the Unborn at Will” would broadcast, ended up at the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday. Thousands traveled to Washington, D.C. to demand abortion rights, as if the Supreme Court decides complex issues according to who shouts the loudest, is most passionate, or has the coolest signs. Demonstrators surrounded the court,shouting “My body, my choice” and cheering loudly to the beat of drums.

Morons. These assaults on the Curt have driven me mad for decades, as what they demonstrate is that difficult matters of law, precedent and policy can be decided by slogans and the incoherent bellows from a mob. It’s an insult to the Court, the Constitution, and the system. If you have a valid argument, file an amicus brief. These demonstrations, and it doesn’t matter what their goal is our which side of the ideological spectrum they come from, waste time, energy, passion and taxpayer funds. Is the idea intimidation? Good luck with that. Persuasion? Sure, a bunch of screaming and weeping activists are going to persuade anyone but TV talking heads. Narcissistic grandstanding?

There you go.

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Was Today’s Women’s March In D.C. The Dumbest Protest Yet?

ProtestMarch

To be fair, it’s impossible to say. Almost all protests and demonstrations, even the ones that do not deteriorate into “mostly peaceful” riots, are silly, juvenile tantrums that cost money, waste time, inconvenience saner citizens and accomplish less than nothing. You can review the Ethics Alarms Protest Check-List: today’s mass scream by hysterical progressive women protesting the vote that hasn’t been cast in a case that doesn’t exist which would undo a SCOTUS decision that is  unlikely to be undone flunks on almost all points. Marcher Cherie Craft, a D.C. community organizer, told the Washington Post, “People think, you know, is this really making a difference?” Will it cause Judge Barrett not to be confirmed? Will it change the result of that so far imaginary abortion case that threatens Roe v. Wade? Will it make those who find abortion to be an ethical and moral abomination suddenly support abortion on demand?  No, no, and no. Might it cause some extra Wuhan virus cases that marchers will carry back to their states? Well, look at that photo above. I guess that’s something.

The hypocrisy of such an event while the mainstream media is attacking the President for so-called “super-spreader” events is palpable, and one of many reasons that there will be no effective shutdowns going forward. The pandemic hysterics, fascists and Democratic mayors—but I repeat myself– have no credibility. D.C. Muriel Bowser is being sued for banning outside church services, and yet allows this sardine-fest to go forward with her blessings.

Go ahead, rationalize that. Anyone. I dare you.

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The Breonna Taylor Non-Indictments [Updated]

We’ll see just how much Facts Don’t Matter in the Breonna Taylor fiasco aftermath. I heard shameless race-huckster Ben Crump speaking on TV, and when he started blathering on about 1619, I changed the channel to a re-run of “The Andy Griffith Show.” As a friend says, memorably but grossly, “There is some shit I won’t eat.” The sentiment is apt here.

The Kentucky grand jury did not indict current and former police officers for the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, though her name has been prominently linked to that of George Floyd and others during the promotion of protests and rioting in the George Floyd Freakout. As with Floyd, there was no evidence of racism in the death of Taylor, other than the fact that the three cops involved are white and she was black. That’s enough for the presumption or racism to stick, as we have learned in other cases, thus “justifying” Crump’s pronouncements.

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was sleeping in her apartment on March 13 when police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove  and Brett Hankison, operating with a no-knock warrant that was mistakenly processed, burst in. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thinking that the apartment was being invaded, shot at them, and they returned fire. Taylor was accidentally killed by a bullet from Cosgrove’s gun in the crossfire, and five other bullets struck her as well.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron held a  press conference after the grand jury’s decision was announced, explaining that because Walker fired first, Cosgrove and Mattingly were “justified in their use of force after having been fired upon.” The result was pre-ordained from the beginning unless prosecutors violated all ethical standards and pushed the jurors to indict the officers for Taylor’s death anyway as a sop to Black Lives Matters and an attempt to stem the violence likely to follow if the officers weren’t sacrificed to the mob.

I, legal experts, and anyone paying attention  doubted that the grand jury would or could return murder indictments on this set of facts. The 12 jurors did return three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree against Officer Hankison for shooting his gun into the apartment next to Taylor’s, but that is unlikely to calm the fury of those who want to riot on general principles, if you can call “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!” a principle. Continue reading

Shocked—-Shocked!—That There Would Be Violent Protests Over An Unambiguously Justified Police Shooting

Okay, I confess. I’m not shocked.

I’m not even surprised.

It has been obvious for years that a critical mass of protesters/demonstrators/rioters who have repeatedly  inflicted their outrage on communities across the country are not doing so because of any reasonable and responsible desire to obtain police reform or address legitimate racial injustice issues. Responsible protests are based on facts, and the majority of the Black Lives Matter-triggered protests, inevitably endorsed by the Democratic Party, have neither waited for the facts to be determined nor cared what they were once they were determined. The objective is to create division, intensify racial hate, intimidate the community to promote concessions and capitulation, to gain power for extreme left and other activist groups, and to do harm.

Last month,rumors that Chicago police had killed an unarmed 15-year-old boy was all that was necessary to cause the mobs to hit the streets, although, according to ABC News, police had justifiably shot an armed adult male who allegedly opened fire on them. But Facts Don’t Matter: 13 police officers injured and neighborhood were trashed.  Also in August, false reports that law enforcement had killed an unarmed man resulted more rioting and looting. Just 90 minutes after the incident, they released a video and statement showing that an armed murder suspect committed suicide when police approached him. Never mind! Any death of a “person of color” with police in the midst of trying to do their dangerous and difficult jobs is provocation enough for violence, slogans, and chaos.

It was considerate of the unusual suspects—Look! Another Casablanca reference! —to eliminate all doubt by rioting over the shooting of madman who rushed a polite officer with a huge knife:

Would you have shot that guy? Oh, why didn’t the brutal police officer wing him? Hey, he didn’t even have a gun! That’s not fair!

That incident was sufficient provocation to sent 100 “peaceful protesters” into the streets of Lancaster, Pennsylvania last night. They vandalized the police station, broke windows, threw bricks, damaged private businesses and looted. They damaged a post office, because post offices are always shooting people of color. “Death to cops” was spray-painted on one building, See? The victim was only attempting to carry out the will of the woke. He was a martyr!

The objective of these protests/demonstrations/riots is to make it impossible for police to function, to intimidate them so that they allow dangerous people to break laws and evade arrest with impunity, and to surrender society to chaos.

The man who charged the officer with a knife was alreday facing trial for stabbing four people in 2019; he wasn’t kidding. Naturally, his family, including his sister who called the police, told the news media that he was a pussycat. This was all the fault of “the system.” “He had an episode. He was just incoherent and acting out,”  she said. “I called to find out what the procedure was to get him some help.”

You know, acting out!

By trying to stab people! Continue reading

“Facts Don’t Matter”: The Anti-Police Movement Has No Credibility

Instant protest!

Today’s smoking gun—literally!—evidence:

In Detroit, a 19-year old man named Hakim Littleton, was shot and killed by police. Immediately, the activist group Detroit Will Breathe called for followers to immediately report to the scene of the shooting to protest.

And indeed they did. No facts, no explanation necessary; the police are hunting black kids again. The group presumed racism, police guilt and unjustified violence. Continue reading