Evening Ethics Nostrum, 9/30/2019: The “Already Sick Of Impeachment Narratives” Edition [Updated And CORRECTED]

Ugh.

That’s all. Just “Ugh.” That’s all I’m saying about the latest attempted coup today

1. What’s going on here? This time, I have no clue.  Last week,  the U.S. website for  Captain Morgan rum was found to be  asking visitors to check a box confirming that they were “non-Muslim.” The question was quickly removed, but a different question lingers: Why? Why does Captain Morgan care what religion, if any, a consumer follows?

It is not illegal for Muslims (or anyone)  to drink alcohol in the United States, so this appeared to have been related to Sharia law, which does forbid alcohol consumption. . The company swears that “far from being a case of discrimination or an attempt to appease religious zealots, it turns out a technical error was behind the puzzling message.”

That’s obviously a lie: what kind of  technical glitch suddenly starts grilling website visitors on whether or not they are Muslim? Someone deliberately added the box.  There is speculation that the Diageo company, which owns the Captain Morgan brand, was reacting to a  threat from Islamic extremists that violent consequences would befall them if they dared to continue to make alcohol available to Muslims.

That seems far-fetched too, but it’s more likely than a “technical error.”

CORRECTION and UPDATE: There was a lie here, all right, and it was the P.J. Media author Robert Spencer who was the villain. In his article he misrepresented the Metro’s summary of what the Captain Morgan spokesperson said caused the box to appear as the statement itself. This advanced the article’s conspiracy narrative about companies being threatened into enforcing Sharia law, but it was also false. What the company really said was,

Over the weekend, a misconfiguration on our age-gating files for our US Captain Morgan website meant that people were shown our United Arab Emirates age gate window in error. ‘In the United Arab Emirates it is commonplace for alcohol brands to request verification of this kind, in addition to age-gating, in line with UAE alcohol licensing requirements. We corrected this as quickly as possible.’

That made sense, and the mystery is solved. Metro didn’t help by burying that statement after a string of tweets, and I compounded the confusion by not reading the Metro article far enough. A botch all around.

 

2. Well, it was good to get it off his chest, I guess… Last week Tamarac City commissioner Mike Gelin felt he had to mar an awards ceremony, interrupting it and verbally attacking Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Gallardo as he was being honored as an Officer of the Month.  NBC Miami reported that after Gallardo and others were honored, Gelin  grabbed the microphone and called out to the officer, “It’s good to see you again. You probably don’t remember me. But you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago. You lied on the police report. I believe you are a rogue police officer, you’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here!”

Nice.

Gelin was referring to a 2015 incident where he was arrested  resisting and obstructing  police while they responded to an alleged battery incident. He was not a city commissioner at the time of the arrest and charges were eventually dropped.

The city’s mayor said, in response to Gellin’s outburst, Continue reading

Ten Ethics Observations On Ben Carson’s Statement That A Muslim Should Not Be President

ben-carsonSunday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that a Muslim should not be President of the United States, saying that Carson “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

After that ignited the proverbial “media firestorm,” Carson went further, telling The Hill in a subsequent interview:

“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country. Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”

He qualified his objections by saying that he would have no problem with a Muslim candidate who  “publicly rejected all the tenets of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that.”

Observations:

1) Since the likelihood of a Muslim being elected President before human beings proceed to the next stage of evolution, be it brains the size of watermelons or tentacles in place of legs, this issue really isn’t about having a Muslim President. The controversy is over whether Dr. Carson is espousing bigotry, or just talking common sense, and this in turn is about the bizarre dedication of progressives and Democrats to the false proposition that Islam has nothing to do with domestic and foreign terrorism, ISIS, and world unrest. Thus such a statement is immediately condemned as fear-mongering and bigotry, and the news media and Democrats (but I repeat myself), as well as others, are behaving as if Carson said that redheads can’t be President. In general, Carson’s undiplomatic and clumsy comment—again, he has no business running for President, as he is an incompetent candidate who  has no relevant experience whatsoever—provides an easy route for Democrats and their media allies to paint Republicans as bigots. That’s what the episode is really about.

2) I will say, with absolute confidence, that no one should advocate that we put an unqualified, opinionated, politically naive, neurosurgeon in charge of this nation.  (Dr. Carson also has dead eyes. So does Scott Walker. I don’t trust leaders with dead eyes.)

3) Carson has a legitimate point buried in his statement. The strict tenets of Islam are inconsistent with American ideals and principles, among them the separation of religion and state, individual autonomy, treatment of women and acceptance of those of other faiths. Treating his comments as if they are the rantings of a mad man, as CNN’s New Day was doing this morning, is not proportional, responsible, fair or helpful. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had come under fire from  conservative bloggers for appointing Sohail Mohammed, an American attorney who also happens to be a Muslim, to a seat on the Passaic County Superior Court.

Mohammed was confirmed by the state legislature and sworn into office last week. The Newark Star-Ledger noted in an editorial that Mohammed came to the US— legally— as a teenager in 1980, and became a lawyer for all the right reasons. It was, for him, a calling. He built a reputation as a zealous, honest and dedicated lawyer.  Yesterday, Gov. Christie defended his choice, especially against criticism for representing Muslims detained under suspicion of terrorist links in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. His most quoted passage:

“It’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies. It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background. I’m happy that he’s willing to serve after all this baloney.”

In sharp contrast to many in the Republican Party and on the political right, Christie is courageously displaying his full-throated support of religious freedom, opposition to bigotry, the right to zealous representation, and respect for professionals who do their jobs well, whatever their names or ethnic origin.

He is an easy call as an Ethics Hero.