Ah. Let us count the ways the Speaker’s tweet is unethical:
1. It is false, meaning true disinformation, not only about the power of the incompetent and untrustworthy Centers for Disease Control, but also regarding the law.
2. How is the tweet still up? Why isn’t Pelosi’s account suspended? She has not only delivered false information about the moratorium, but about limitations on government power. Twitter has been banning tweets from no-name dufusses that make erroneous assertions (or just opinions that Twitter would rather see not made), but complete misrepresentation of the system spread by a high-ranking leader is as serious as it gets. (The answer, I suspect, is that “disinformation” coming from a powerful Democrat is hunky-dory with our Big Tech Masters.)
3. Is Pelosi lying, or does she just not follow the legal news? Either way is unethical for someone in her position. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on two weeks ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked authority for the national moratorium it imposed last year on most residential evictions as part of the effort to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. They did this knowing the Supreme Court would back them up, because in a narrow 5-4 ruling upholding the moratorium temporarily on June 29, Justice Kavanaugh, the swing vote in the decision, wrote,
I have now read many articles, almost all of them from pundits who for five years heaped the most abusive rhetoric on the previous President of the United States that any POTUS has had to endure, that Donald Trump should join President Biden, or Barack Obama, or even George W. Bush for a national, joint appeal to the vaccinated to do the right thing for their nation, swallow their fears, and get their shots. Writes one Trump-detesting letter writer to the Times this morning (well, the odds are high that anyone who writes to the Times is Trump-detesting”) who imagines an Obama-Trump Kumbaya PSA spot where a smiling Trump sits next to Barack and says, “We hardly agree on anything , but we do agree on one thing: You should get the Covid vaccine now!” “It just takes two grown men to do it!” the saddened patriot concludes.
Sure, in a vacuum, this fantasy seems reasonable. In reality, it can never happen, and I find myself gravitating to an unethical position that says that if Democrats like Biden and Obama, or Bush, really want Trump to join with them on anything but especially this, they should have to pay a large, painful and probably unpalatable price.
IIPTDXTTNMIAFB is Ethics Alarmseese for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden.” I could probably feature such stories every day, but that would be as boring as these episodes are infuriating. They all come under the sub-heading of “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias,” which I could justifiably update to “Nah, the mainstream news media didn’t steal the Presidency for Joe Biden.”
This one was so egregious that the AP even did a “factcheck”, but muted its description so absurdly that it is a perfect IIPTDXTTNMIAFB.
You see, President Biden said, in a CNN town meeting during which he periodically babbled incoherently, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die…You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”
That is a lie. It’s a lie because it is demonstrably false, and like so much else involving the pandemic, it is deliberate misinformation to manipulate the public. The Democrats, after all, fervently believe that the ends justify the means in all things. Apparently the truth, which the Biden Administration knows and thus its head is responsible for knowing, just isn’t good enough to move the herd along as its masters desire, so the strategy is to lie.
The first ethics take-away from President Biden’s attack on Facebook for “vaccine disinformation” is that the Left’s totalitarian tendencies and embrace of censorship become more obvious and less hidden every day.
The second ethics take-away is that Joe Biden, of all people, has a lot of gall complaining about social media disinformation when he is in the White House in large part because of it.
The third is that the entire Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck has been dominated by outright propaganda and intentional manipulation of public opinion by the news media, federal agencies, medical organizations and “experts,” and Democrats are particularly ethically estopped from complaining about the same process that they have been employing for more than five years to their advantage.
As he boarded Marine One for a weekend at the ol’ Presidential hide-out at Camp David in Maryland, President Biden was asked what his message was to social media platforms regarding vaccine disinformation.
“They’re killing people,” he said. “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that — and they’re killing people.”
The new contender is a New York Yankees baseball player. A really big one.
I find this unbelievable, but apparently it is true. Tonight’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees was postponed after three Yankee players, Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Kyle Higashiokatested positive for the Wuhan virus in the Yankee clubhouse. Judge was on the American League All-Star team that played (and won) two days ago, and wasn’t vaccinated. Now they are testing all of the All-Star team players who came into contact with him, and that means that every team in the league was potentially placed in peril. Indeed, the whole season could be in peril.
I don’t understand how MLB allowed a non-vaccinated player to play in the game, or be in the dugout. I don’t understand how anyone in Judge’s position could be so foolish and irresponsible as not to be vaccinated at this point. And Judge is supposed to be one of the nicest, most admirable professional athletes in captivity.
Except that he is apparently an asshole.
Well, as many a Fenway Park crowd has said over the decades, as uncivil as it may be, “Yankees suck.”
Alexander Hamilton died on this date in 1804, in a bizarre episode in U.S. history with profound ethical and political implications. There Aaron Burr fatally shot dead the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury and essential political thinker in an illegal duel at Weehawken, New Jersey. It was, of course, unethical to break the law, especially for these two men, who qualified as national leaders. Hamilton’s son had died defending his father’s honor in 1801 at the exact same spot (What was Alexander thinking?)
According to Hamilton’s “second,” Hamilton deliberately fired his weapon into the air rather than at Burr, a gentlemanly gesture and also a profoundly stupid one, if Hamilton believed half the things he had said and written about Burr’s character for years. This was why they were dueling, after all. Burr’s second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed, and the more I’ve thought abut this, the more I’ve come to believe that this is the more likely scenario. Hamilton was anything but naive, reckless or stupid. Yes, he was a crack shot, but anyone can miss. Even if the gesture of “throwing away his shot” as “Hamilton” puts it, would have impressed some adversaries and been seen as a display of mercy and an offer of reconciliation, it made no sense at all with this adversary. Moreover, Hamilton considered Burr a threat to the nation—he was right about that—why wouldn’t he shoot him? Whatever really happened, Burr, who had the second shot, killed Hamilton with a ball that went through his stomach into his spine. Hamilton died the next day.
This ended Burr’s political career: Would killing Burr have ended Hamilton’s? Probably, but Burr was the one who had issued the challenge. Maybe Hamilton would have been excused by the public. Maybe he would have ultimately become President; all the Founders of his magnitude except Ben Franklin did. For good or ill, Alexander Hamilton would have been a strong and probably transformative leader. But if he hadn’t died at Weehawken, it’s unlikely that we would have “Hamilton” the musical….
1. Baseball, hotdogs, and a bystander hero. Dr. Willie Ross, the father of Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, saved the life of a choking fan midway through yesterday 10-4 Giants win over Washington at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Ross saw that a female spectator was choking, and when Ross came over to her seat to check on her, she couldn’t talk. Ross helped dislodge two pieces of a hot dog by using the Heimlich maneuver, then reached into her throat to take out the third and final piece. The woman, who is a nurse, could breath and speak at last. Ross received a standing ovation from nearby fans.
I have gotten to date: a phone call, numerous post cards, and a text message, along with emails from my insurance company and… of course, FB announcements. If people are unaware of vaccines, their purpose, safety, etc… a knock on the door likely will not matter. Actually, it makes me want to dig in my heels to NOT do this.
I feel like there’s medical discrimination at play. Never have I ever been convinced to “do the right thing” with lotteries, scholarships for kids, phone calls asking me to schedule an appointment, a postcard, and now door to door. Umm, Fuck you. No.
I was considering it. Now “they” can leave me alone or see me in a courtroom. Translation: You would be better off shutting your stupid mouths and letting me work through the information, IN MY OWN TIME. If I die, I die. It’s my choice. You’re vaccinated so what do you care what I do? Or are they saying they don’t work as claimed? Pick one people, you can’t have both.
Side note: our history is full of amazing and epic scientific breakthroughs of things that turned out not to be safe, that we thought were, and and ended up killing thousands or more. Tell you what, Biden: Go back to the lab (you have a cancer cure so this should be simple!), create an airborne vaccine—I’m sure nothing could possibly go wrong—and you’d get your wish to have everyone vaccinated for the greater good.
President Biden has announced that there will be a door-to-door campaign designed to inform people in less-vaccinated sections of the country to encourage getting the shots and to address concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Many Republican, conservatives and civil libertarians fell the plan is an abuse of power. “How about don’t knock on my door. You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted. “The government now wants to go door-to-door to convince you to get an ‘optional’ vaccine,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, (R-Colo)., snarked. Some reactions were a bit more hysterical, such as this from GOP Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene:
“Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people. People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”
But you know…Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Is a representative of the Federal Government coming to your home to try to get you to do something you have chosen not to do or may not want to do an abuse of power? It might be. I have ruled it unethical for uniformed police officers to come to homes seeking contributions to police charities, and indeed this practice has largely been stopped because it was viewed as inherently coercive. A government representative coming to your home to urge you to do anything, from paying taxes to brushing your teeth, may be stressful and feel like the heavy hand of Big Brothers. Moreover, such a visit strongly suggests “We are watching you!”
My guess is that the national public health goal of having as many Americans vaccinated as possible would be seen by most courts as a sufficient justification for this minimal incursion on public privacy, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more court rule that the government has no business coming to you home to metaphorically twist your arm.
The Ethics Alarms verdict is that door-to-door visits are ethically defensible if…
Each home targeted for such a visits gets advance notice of at least 72 hours, and an opportunity to opt out.
The government representative begins every visit by handing out a document and reciting it’s contents, which should be something like a Miranda Warning:
Hello, my name is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, and I am representing the Federal Government in a national effort to encourage the public to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan virus. You have no obligation to listen to me, invite me into your home, take or read the materials I have for you or to get vaccinated. If you prefer, I will leave immediately. However, I would be grateful if you would allow me to explain why it is important for you and members of your family to get vaccinated, and to answer any questions you might have. If you decline this visit, there will be no penalties or consequences, nor will your decision be noted on any government records.
Update: Upon thinking some more about this, I would want to see this added:
“Furthermore. no benefits or advantages will accrue to any of your neighbors who do not decline to speak with me, allow me into their homes, or accept my materials.”
Absent such warning, any visit by a government employee (or volunteer) is potentially coercive and an abuse of government power.
One of my college graduating class’s big reunions is next year. Harvard always does an amazing job of throwing a party (having a bank account larger than the treasuries of some countries let you do that , I have many friends and room mates I yearn to see again, and I haven’t been back home to Boston in 17 years. But I’ll be damned if I’ll honor Harvard with my presence. It has been an ethics disgrace consistently for several years, and I am ashamed of my association with the institution, as well as my family’s association (my father and sister graduated from the college, and my mother worked there for over 20 years, culminating in her becoming an assistant dean.)
I could really enlighten NPR’s listeners about the difference between law and ethics in this case, if I hadn’t been blackballed for daring to explain how accusations of sexual harassment against public figures like Donald Trump were not necessarily fair even if they were sincere. Oh, well—NPR can bite me.
With that introduction, be it known that in the case of Barkhordar et al v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard University won a dismissal today of a lawsuit by students over its decision not to partially refund tuition when it evicted students from dorms and moved classes online early in the Wuhan virus pandemic. Continue reading →