Valentine’s Day Ethics Warm-Up: “Ya Gotta Love Ethics!”

valentines-day-hearts-9

I’m going to see if I can get through this entire post without mentioning yesterday’s acquittal of Donald Trump. There’s a whole other post around the corner for that. Let’s see.

I was sorely tempted to post the simple word “Good!” to my Facebook feed, but resisted the temptation. All it would have accomplished was to trigger some genuinely, or at least formerly, nice and reasonable people….who have nonetheless been smug, abusive, irrational, nasty, obsessed, hateful and harmful to the culture and society since November 2016. And as much as the Duke in “McClintock!” is an inspiration…

…I won’t. At least, not right now.

1, And the audacious hypocrisy continues! To a ridiculous and childish extent, too. Here’s Dr. Jill Biden’s kindergarten-style, “do as we say not as we do,” signaling-virtue-while-not-actually-engaging-in-it White House lawn display.

Biden diaplay

How nauseating.

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From The “Fact Don’t Matter” File: The Presumptuous And Ignorant Naomi Osaka

Osaka

Or, “How to get from one absurd news story to another…”

The New York Times story began this way: “Last year, the tennis champion was shown with light skin in an instant noodle ad. Now, she’ll be portrayed as a manga character, and illustrators insisted on getting details right.” Yes, this is what passes for news in the paper that refused to cover the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election, except to mock it. They would never mock white-washing accusations about a Japanese tennis star about to become a cartoon character. Now that’s news that’s fit to print!

Why I finished reading such a story, I do not know; I have no life, I guess. So I soon came upon this:

Naomi Osaka, 23, the highest-earning female athlete on the planet, has emerged as one of the most vocal antiracism activists in the sports world. In the July issue of Esquire, she wrote about tackling racism while inhabiting multiple identities. Before matches this year, she wore masks bearing the names of Black victims of police violence.

Ah! So the opinions of this non-American athlete about U.S. racial issues matters—why? Because she is rich? Because she is bi-racial (Osaka is the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian-American father)? Because she knows anything at all about America and its race problems? Or because the half-baked, ill-informed positions she spouts happen to be the “right” ones?

If you picked the last, you get…well, nothing, but you’re right. According to an earlier article (in Forbes), Osaka presumed to protest police brutality and racism by wearing face masks bearing these names: Breonna Taylor, Elijiah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice. You know: black victims of police violence. Except:

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Labor Day Ethics Leftovers, 9/4/18: Big Lies, Big Jerks, Big Mistakes [UPDATED]

 

Good morning!

1. So, so predictable. Yesterday was fun: I assumed that the post about the undeniable pettiness, incivility and hypocrisy at Senator McCain’s funeral service in D.C. would prompt multiple exclamations of “But…but…Trump deserves it!”, “He’s worse!” and “What about what Trump does?” I was not disappointed. Each one of these desperate efforts to avoid facing the issue discussed and admit reality is signature significance for having crippling flaws in one’s ethics analysis abilities, gaping holes in one’s basic understanding of right and wrong, and a victim of stupidity-inducing bias. Nothing in the post excused or referenced the President’s own conduct in any way.

2. Baseball ethics. No, it is not unethical for pitchers to carry crib sheets. During the top of the eighth inning in Saturday night’s Phillies game against the Cubs in Philadelphia, third base umpire Joe West noticed the Phillies  pitcher looking at a card he had pulled from his pocket, and confiscated it. The card contained scouting reports on how to pitch a Cubs batter. The advanced analytics baseball teams now use to devise how to position fielders and pitch to batters are too detailed for the typical player to commit to memory. Lots of them carry little cheat sheets, sometimes in their hats. Although lots of old school players and tradition-loving fans hate the development, it’s here, and there are no rules against it.

Never mind: Joe West, who is one of the more arrogant and autocratic umpires, felt that the piece of paper constituted a “foreign substance” under the rules, and thus surmised that it was prohibited by the provision designed to stop pitchers from making the ball do tricks by surreptitiously applying K-Y Jelly or slippery elm. Yup, ol’ Joe thought the pitcher, Austin Davis, was  going to use the card to doctor the baseball. Good thinking, Joe! MLB quickly set him straight the next day, announcing that West, as he often is, for he is an awful umpire,  was mistaken.

The fact that West couldn’t figure that out himself, and that he is the longest tenured MLB ump, tells you why we will have robo-umps calling strikes within five years or less.

3. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Today’s nauseating example of mainstream media’s refusal to report and comment on the news objectively comes from the New York Times—Surprise!—which writes sympathetically about the Democratic Party’s dilemma as it tried to derail the Supreme Court nomination of Bret Kavanaugh. There’s no filibuster any more! Multiple Democrats tell the Times how unfair this is. Guess whose name is completely absent from the article? Why, former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who resorted to the so-called nuclear option to pass Barack Obama’s judicial nominations over Republican opposition. “They are making a mockery of the process, and that is because the No. 1 goal …. is to stack the bench with ideologues, because they know they cannot achieve their goals through the elected branches,” said the Republican leadership at the…no, wait, that quote is from Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the current Democratic leader. He doesn’t mention that his predecessor is the reason the system is “broken.” At least the Times, in one brief sentence , acknowledge that “Democrats” eliminated the filibuster for federal judges below SCOTUS level. They do not make it clear that this shattered a long-standing Senate tradition, and that it made the GOP follow-up of killing the device for Supreme Court nominations both politically feasible and inevitable.

The Times also does not remind readers that its editorial board applauded Reid’s move at the time. Continue reading

Unethical Political Cartoon Of The Month: Barry Deutsch

 

To be fair, the Justice wasn’t much of a cartoonist…

In today’s warm-up, I briefly discussed the acquittal earlier this moth of NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs in the shooting an unarmed black motorist.  It was a weird case. Isaacs was off duty, and prompted a driver to apparent road rage by cutting him off in traffic. The motorist, according to Isaacs, walked up to his car and  struck him, and fearing that his assailant was armed, the officer drew his pistol and fired.

I don’t know if it was a coincidence or by design, but on the day of the acquittal progressive cartoonist Barry Deutsch, who once did battle (and well) at Ethics Alarms, posted this cartoon at his blog:

In the same post, he also called the late Justice Rehnquist a racist, which he was not, and made the demonstrably false statement that most police shootings involve blacks, but never mind that.

You have to really detest police and the principle of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to regard such a cartoon as fair or enlightening. (Ethics Alarms is on record as declaring political cartoons an inherently unethical form of punditry.) No cop has been acquitted of shooting an unarmed  9-year-old kid in self-defense, and the cartoon is factually wrong that such a claim by a police officer would get him acquitted. Moreover, the case Barry is apparently referring to, Graham v. Connor, does not involve a shooting, and Rehnquist’s opinion for the majority doesn’t say what the cartoon says it does. In addition, the opinion in the case primarily relied upon by the majority in Graham, Tennessee v. Garner,  wasn’t written by the Rehnquist, but by Justice Byron White. It also specifically involved police shooting at fleeing suspects.

Thus the cartoonist a) doesn’t know what he’s talking about b) misleads his readers ( the blog is an echo chamber if there ever was one), and c) smears Justice Rehnquist. Continue reading

14 Ethics Musings On The Death Of Francisco Serna

keith-scott

Scott and Serna.

From The Washington Post:

Slightly after midnight on Monday, police in Bakersfield, Calif., received a call concerning a man thought to be brandishing a weapon in a residential neighborhood.

Shortly after police arrived, 73-year-old Francisco Serna — who family members said was suffering from the early stages of dementia — walked out of his home and into his driveway. When Serna, who was unarmed, did not comply with officers’ orders to remove his hands from his jacket pocket, one officer fired seven shots at him, killing him.

During a canvass of the premises that lasted at least until the following afternoon, police did not find a firearm on or near Serna. Instead, they found a crucifix.

Questions and Observations:

1. The shooting occurred two days ago, on December 12. There have been no organized protests, or community groups, family lawyers or anyone else suggesting that the shooting was murder, or an example of police animus toward the community. Why not?

2. The circumstances of the shooting were notably similar to the police involved shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, except that in the case of Scott, the officer believed the victim had a gun, and he did have a gun. Nonetheless, that shooting triggered two days of rioting. Why?

3. In the Scott shooting, both officer and victim were black. In the recent shooting in Bakersfield, officer and victim were white. Why did one shooting become a racial incident and the other not, when the conduct of the police officers were essentially identical, and the provocation for the shootings  were similar as well?

4. One difference in the two episodes is that in Charlotte, a false narrative was launched by a family member to make the shooting appear to be a case of excessive force with a police cover-up. Is it just felicitous that this did not occur in Bakersfield, or was the Charlotte episode different in some way that caused events to resemble the aftermath in the Ferguson and Freddie Gray police-involved deaths?

5. If Francisco Serna had been black and all other facts the same, is there any reason to believe that the aftermath, including recriminations, accusations and attacks on police, the justice system and the nation’s culture, would have been any different than they have been every time an unarmed black man, or a black man who was reported as being unarmed, has been shot by police? If there is not, what does that tell us? Continue reading

No, Don’t Fire Jesse Williams; Just Mark Him As The Ignorant, Racist Hate Merchant He Is

He may be a racist asshole, but he doesn't play one on TV...

He may be a racist asshole, but he doesn’t play one on TV…

African-American actor Jesse Williams attracted national attention at the BET Awards last month as he accepted the  BET Humanitarian Award. Williams launched into the racist black activist version of Authentic Frontier Gibberish, sending out sufficiently loud anti-white dog-whistles that he received a standing ovation from the throng. In response, a petition was placed on Change.org demanding that he be fired from his role on the inexplicably long running ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy”:

“Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards. If this was a white person making the same speech about an African American, they would have been fired and globally chastised, as they should be, but there has been no consequences to Williams’ actions. There’s been no companies making a stand against his racist remarks and no swift action condemning his negative attitude. Why was Burke’s character fired from Grey’s Anatomy after his inappropriate homophobic slur, but nothing for Jesse Williams? Why the one-way street? Why the support for a hater? Why the hypocrisy? #AllLivesMatter All humans bleed the same color. #EqualConsequences4RacistBehavior”

The reference to “Burke’s character” ( Helpful Tip: When you are making a pitch in a petition, take the time to check your facts so people know what the heck you are talking about) was a reference to African-American actor Isaiah Washington, who was fired from his role as Dr. Preston Burke on  “Grey’s Anatomy”  in 2007 for using homophobic slurs in public, including The Golden Globes telecast, and on the show’s set.

Petitioning to have someone fired for their political opinions is an ethically-dubious enterprise at best, but the allegation of a double standard is apt, because it is a double-standard. The culture nourished by Barack Obama and his political-correctness obsessed regime accepts anti-white rants as legitimate and honorable, but holds the expressing of anti-gay sentiment as grounds for shunning and destruction. Writes professional gossip columnist, celebrity worshiper  and silly person Perez Hilton:

“True, Isaiah Washington did ultimately get fired for saying hateful homophobic slurs — but comparing that to Williams’ uplifting speech about equality (that had everything to do with why he was on stage accepting his humanitarian award in the first place) doesn’t make much sense at all.”

Let’s clean that up a bit, shall we? Hilton, who is not only gay but incredibly gay, thinks that homophobic slurs are disgusting and therefore should forfeit the right to make a living, but anti-white diatribes are “uplifting,” so the comparison doesn’t make sense to him.

Here is what Williams said at the BET Awards; let’s see if you find it uplifting. I’ll interject the comments I might have shouted out during the speech had I been there and was willing to be pummeled to death, including notes, probably unnecessary, where Williams descends into Authentic Frontier Gibberish (AFG), social justice warrior dialect class: Continue reading

Obviously, Democratic Base Demonstrators Are Planning To Disrupt July’s Republican National Convention In Cleveland. Here Are Seven Ethical Mandates To Prevent It…

1. Integrity, Citizenship and Responsibility: President Obama should begin speaking, now, about the integrity of the democratic process, the duty of all Americans to respect the opinions of others, and the civic obligation to allow elections to be peaceful and fair. he should also stop sowing partisan animus, and seeking to divide the nation for the Democratic Party ‘s advantage.

2. Responsibility and Competence: The Republican Party should tell Donald Trump that he has disgraced the party’s values, that he will no longer be considered as a candidate, and that he can do his worst. (Just for fun, it should challenge Democrats to be equally responsible and disqualify Hillary Clinton for conspiring to foil the Freedom of Information Act, which is pretty obviously what the private server was all about.)

3.  Responsibility: The GOP should move the convention out of Cleveland. It may already be too late, but it needs to do this, and should have done so the second the Tamir Rice shooting occurred. Holding a national convention in that city is inviting violence. My recommendation: move it to Honolulu, so demonstrators will have to spend a fortune to get there, while placing it in Obama’s home state, bring the division he has sought and nourished into his back yard. Continue reading

Dead Ethics Alarms And Dead Brains In Cleveland

In other words, be just like Cleveland, Ohio.

In other words, be just like Cleveland, Ohio.

When I read that Cleveland was trying to bill the family $500 for the fatally wounded  Tamir Rice to be carried by an ambulance after an incompetent police officer shot the 12-year-old boy as he played with a toy gun in a city park, I began a mental countdown. How long would it be before a public outcry forced the Cleveland municipal government to cover the bill and apologize? It took about a day.

It doesn’t matter how one regards Rice’s death: a racist murder by a cop, excused by the justice system ( black activists, anti-polce race-hucksters  and too many journalists and pundits), blatant incompetence on the part of many adults and institutions, leading to the negligent, tragic death of an innocent child (Ethics Alarms), or something in between. The incident was a massive humiliation for Cleveland, its leadership and the police, justifying all of the anger and raw emotion in its aftermath. Tamir and his family were undeniably victims, and the city was the entity that harmed them. If there is a single individual on the city payroll who is incapable of immediately recognizing the grotesque insult of billing the family for removing the body of the dead child killed by city police, then the city itself is untrustworthy and dysfunctional. As it happens, many city employees must have been aware of the disgusting bill, and every one of them should have been smart enough to know that this was one expense the city had to eat or else. Now we know how and why Tamir died. Incompetent people are running the city, and incompetent people are dangerous.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson apologized at a news conference yesterday, and said that the city would pay whatever wasn’t covered by Medicaid. “It was mistake in terms of us not flagging it, but it was not a mistake in terms of the legal process,” Jackson said. This logic echoes the rationalizations for the conduct of “The Worst Aunt Ever,” who sued her 12-year-old nephew to get insurance covered damages. Continue reading

Ethics Exercise: What’s Ethically Wrong With Sybrina Fulton’s Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton?

Author above...

Author above…

Sybrina Fulton is Trayvon Martin’s mother. Here is the entire article, published on CNN’s website:

Today, throughout many communities of color, our young people go about their lives feeling as if they are a target in their country. It’s become a sad fact of life that senseless gun violence can strike with little or no warning, either from neighborhoods that have become flooded with firearms, or police who are too quick to resort to deadly force.

Gun violence is an epidemic that kills 33,000 men, women, boys and girls every year. On top of those needless deaths, law enforcement agencies in America kill more people in a month than many other countries’ police forces kill in years. When those precious lives are taken, it forever tears apart the lives of thousands more — the friends and families who loved them, and who always will.

Losing a child is any parent’s worst fear. As a mother who has had to live that horrible nightmare in a very public spotlight, I hope that by speaking out, it will help focus some of that light onto a path that can help our nation find its way out of this darkness.

Last week, President Barack Obama took some important steps that included strengthening the background check system for purchasing guns without diminishing our Second Amendment rights. I was glad to see these actions put in place, and was moved by the tears of not just our President but of a father who clearly understands my anguish.

But next year we will have a new president. And everything Obama has done — even common-sense reforms that a majority of gun owners agree with — will be overturned if that president is a Republican. In fact, the Republican candidates have vowed to roll back all of these sensible measures. And many of them have shown open contempt for the simple notion that Black Lives Matter.

With so many of our children’s lives on the line or taken, we simply can’t afford to elect a Republican who refuses even to acknowledge the problem of senseless gun violence. The rising generation of our young people need a president who will stand up to inaction from Republicans and indifference from the National Rifle Association.

I believe that person is Hillary Clinton.

I know Clinton is tough enough to wage this fight. I’ve seen her do it for years. As first lady, she advocated for the Brady Bill and convened meetings on school violence. As a senator, she voted to extend the assault weapons ban and against an immunity law that protects irresponsible gun makers and dealers from liability.

In spending some time with her in person, I also found a mother and a grandmother who truly heard me, and understood the depth of my loss.

She knew all the statistics. But like so many, I’ve long since grown numb to the numbers. So instead, we talked about Trayvon and other families who have lost a loved one to gun violence. We talked about all of the wishes and hopes we had for their lives. And knowing we can never get them back, we discussed how to prevent more moms from losing their sons to gun violence.

Clinton will uphold President Obama’s recent executive actions, and then she’ll go even further. Her plan focuses on reforms that would help keep more guns out of the hands of criminals. It would finally close the gun show loophole, and the outrageous provision that allowed someone with an arrest record to buy the gun used to shoot and kill nine parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

I agree with the President: We should only support leaders that fight for common-sense gun reforms. Clinton passes that test.

Just as importantly, Clinton also wants to address the larger, systemic problems. She has a plan to begin to heal the distrust and divide that too often exists between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

She has called for key reforms — from better training for officers to eliminating racial profiling and investing in body cameras for every police department. She sees what I see: a criminal justice system that is not always just. A system that has contributed to creating a reality where just selling cigarettes, playing loud music, looking at a cop the wrong way or walking home from the store are now activities that can get you killed.

If you look at the numbers, America is missing 1.5 million men of color — lost to a system of violence and mass incarceration that seems to have long since forgotten them, but we haven’t.

Not only am I missing my son, but too many other moms like me are missing their sons — Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Laquan McDonald, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice. As their mothers, we must do more than just cry. And all of us must do more than speak out, protest and march.

We must vote!

Ethics fouls: Continue reading

Columnist Malpractice On The Tamir Rice Tragedy

This is not how police saw Tamir Rice before he was shot, but never mind: the points is to horrify the public, not to accurately explain what happened.

This is not how police saw Tamir Rice before he was shot, but never mind: the objective is to inflame public opinion, not to accurately convey what happened and why.

Washington Post reporter Lonnae O’Neal found herself compelled by the Tamir Rice grand jury decision to write the kind of irresponsible column for the paper that can be written but shouldn’t be written—not by a professional journalist, not when public passions are inflamed, not when complex and entangled issues need analysis, careful words, perspective and wisdom. It is an emotional scream of pain and frustration, unleavened by objectivity, fairness or restraint. Such columns do much damage, and no good. Such columns are destructive. I hope writing it relieved her pain, but that’s not justification enough.

I was alerted to the kind of column it would be  by its first sentences:

A 12-year-old black boy walks into a Cleveland park, plays with a toy gun and, within seconds of arriving, a police officer shoots him dead. His partner tackles the boy’s 14-year-old sister as she rushes to his side, handcuffs the girl and shoves her into a squad car, helpless, as her brother lay dying.

If we want to accurately describe the event that ended  Tamir Rice’s life so prematurely from the perspective of people who loved him, and of people mourning the senseless death of a child, those who read about the boy’s death and want to cry to the skies, “Why? How can this happen?,” then that is a defensible beginning….maybe.  That is not her intent, however. The intent of her column is to indict “the system” for not indicting the officer who shot Tamir Rice. With that intent, the description is a lie, a manipulative appeal to pure emotion that willfully and negligently makes the system, which is not and must not be based on emotion, incomprehensible.  Continue reading