Is It Ethical To Scare Your Cat With A Cucumber?

Of course not!

What’s the matter with these people?

I had been blissfully unaware that someone discovered that cats are freaked out by cucumbers. This spawned a large number of “hilarious” online videos of pet felines finishing a meal and turning around to see the dreaded green things behind them, resulting  in spectacular leaps in panic. We often hear the cackling of the cat’s owners, who probably are Jimmy Kimmel fans.

I bet they would also enjoy their beloved animal companion’s reaction if they set off a cherry bomb near Fluffy.

What assholes. The Golden Rule is not usually applicable to lower species, but humans don’t enjoy being terrified, and neither do cats. This is animal abuse.

Ethics Leftovers, 11/25/22: Macy’s, Police Brutality, Giving Thanks For Genghis Khan, And More

I have now seen three gags online using that introduction above. All of them were really mean; one made me laugh out loud, and I was sorely tempted to use it. However to do so would be neither ethical nor in the spirit of the season, so I’ll just encourage readers to use their imaginations.

I was especially tempted after hearing President Biden and the First Lady call into the NBC broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—I wasn’t watching at the time, but someone sent me the video yesterday. First, it was an intrusion into what is supposed to be a completely non-political holiday event  for the President to try to exploit it. If Biden had even attempted to be the unifying leader he claimed to be while campaigning in 2020, I’d give it a pass, but at this point anything he does or says has to be taken as purely partisan, not to mention calculated and managed by his “handlers,” as in puppeteers. The phone call also went as you might expect: there were about 20 seconds of dead air time, which is an eternity on TV, as the Bidens could be faintly heard speaking incomprehensibly while NBC weather reporter Dylan Dreyer, smiling like a zany, went through a classic “Can you hear me? I can’t hear you…” routine. Finally, after Joe told  Dreyer that she was doing a “good job” and giving  credit to her for the good weather—she’s the weather girl, see; I think that bit was old by 1964—the First Couple replied  to Dreyer’s invitation to say something of substance to the audience,

Mrs. Biden: “We just want to say we’re so grateful for the people, for this opportunity, for the health that we have now in America, and Joe, what do you want to say?”

Joe: “I want to say thanks to the firefighters and police officers, first responders. They never take a break.”

Mrs. Biden:  “And God bless our troops for sure.”

Joe:  “And by the way, we’re going to be talking to some of our troops later in the day, both here and abroad. I hope everybody remembers. We remember them every single day. God bless our troops for real.”

1. More Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ethics.…On the one parade broadcast I did watch for a while, the commentators used the buzz-word “diversity” three times in less than fifteen minutes, explaining at one point that a marching band was wonderful because it was “diverse.” Bands are good when they look and sound good; it shouldn’t matter what colors it is or whether there is a nonbinary flute player. Then I remembered that Macy’s had just dropped the Salvation Army and will no longer allow its Santas and bell-ringers to solicit seasonal charity contributions, because the conservative religious organization isn’t sufficiently all-in with Macy’s political and social pandering mission to “grant funding to advance human rights, racial justice, workforce development and economic opportunity.” This despite last year’s embarrassing attempt by the Army to jump on the Critical Race Theory bandwagon. The government/media/corporate alliance to mandate beliefs and opinions and punish dissenters brooks no deviation.

The last metaphorical straw was when some female pop star I had never seen, heard or heard of before serenaded the viewers with the brain-numbing Christmas song, “What Christmas Means to Me”:

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And The NYT Dutifully Feeds A Misinformation Loop About Republicans Creating Misinformation About The Paul Pelosi Attack That They Caused, Of Course, And That’s A FACT! [Updated!]

The report above was mysteriously pulled and denied by NBC last week, not generally known to be a Republican mouthpiece. But the New York Times front page today includes as its primary “news” story, an accusatory piece headlined, “How Republicans Fed a Misinformation Loop About the Pelosi Attack.”

Oddly, the story doesn’t mention the recanted NBC story at all. I guess New York Times readers don’t need to know about that when they are assessing, right before the November 8 election, whether to vote for those evil Republicans.

Nor does the story, by undoubtedly good registered Democrats Annie Karni, Malika Khurana and Stuart A. Thompson, note that all of the theories, speculation and “misinformation” has flourished because of the strange absence of crucial information that police have but so far refuse to release: Pelosi’s 911 call, and security footage of the break-in. A reader will also search in vain for any mention of the details in the original report that caused such speculation, like the statement that there was a “third person” involved. There is no explanation of why Pelosi referred to his attacker as “a friend.” I guess I don’t understand this complex, crucial profession of “journalism,” but it would seem to me, tyro that I am, that an article about the GOP pushing “misinformation” might begin by clarifying the gaping holes in the story that have made people who don’t just swallow biased media narratives whole a teeny bit suspicious.

One thing the story is clear about, however, is that it is cold, hard, irrefutable information that Pelosi’s attacker, a mentally ill, rainbow flag embracing, Black Lives Matter-admiring illegal alien, was motivated to attack Paul Pelosi because Republicans have been saying mean things about Nancy Pelosi for some unknown reason. After all, “Mr. Pelosi’s attacker is said to have believed “Mr. Trump’s lie of a stolen election,” among other falsehoods. Said by whom? Oh, that’s not important; what’s important is that Republicans are circulating misinformation about the attack.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/20/22: ” Seeing Bad Stuff In September” Edition

Stop making me defend Scott Pelley! The conservative news media is beating on “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley for what they are calling a “softball” interview, as if every “60 Minutes” interview of a sitting President hasn’t been just as tame, or even tamer. At least Pelley asked Biden about Hunter. The truth is that Americans still prefer to see their Presidents treated with respect and some degree of deference, unless the President is Donald Trump.

It’s funny: the same outlets that are condemning Pelley as a Democratic ally and hack are wondering why Biden’s “handlers” allowed the blithering POTUS to do an interview at all. Of course the conditions demanded for the interview included no follow up questions, and a softball session. And it didn’t matter! Biden’s performance was frightening anyway, and unlike the 2020 interview with Trump, when Leslie Stahl’s clear objective was to attack throughout, the White House couldn’t complain afterwards that the President was sabotaged by a biased journalist. Pelley asked about Joe’s mental fitness, and Biden replied, “Watch me!” And so we did, and have. He continued,

And it ma—, honest to God, that’s all I think. Watch me. If you think I don’t have the energy level or the mental acuity, then — then, you know, that’s one thing. It’s another thing, you just watch and — and, you know, keep my schedule. Do what I’m doing….“I — I think that, you know — I don’t — when I sit down with our NATO allies and keep ’em together, I don’t have ’em saying, ‘Wait a minute, w— how — how old are you? What are you — what say?’ You know, I mean, it’s a matter of, you know, that old expression: The proof of the pudding’s in the eating. I mean, I — I — I respect the fact that people would say, you know, ‘You’re old.’ And — but I think it relates to h— how much energy you have, and whether or not the job you’re doing is one consistent with what any person of any age would be able to do.”

Whether it was Pelley’s intention or not, he ended up doing what ethical journalists are supposed to do: he let the facts speak for themselves.

1. On the topic of social media viewpoint censorship, this:

It takes a lot of chutzpah for YouTube to demonetize a channel because it violates YouTube’s “values” and then sell ads on the same content.

2. Oh please, please let this happen to me! In an open thread at Althouse, a commenter tells this tale,

A friend’s brother lives in Florida. They recently got new neighbors from NY, a husband and wife. A few days after moving in the wife stops over and sits down. She says, “OK, let’s get this out of the way. I am a Democrat and my husband an Independent. What are you?” Non-plussed, he says he is Republican. For the next 15 minutes he was called every expected name- Nazi, racist, etc. IN HIS OWN F-ING HOME!

It’s my contention that the left now knows its flaws are becoming obvious and are overcompensating to hear themselves repeat their failing worldview…

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The YouTube Ethics Dilemma: I Need The Platform, But It’s A Censorious, Partisan Propaganda Machine

I don’t miss Twitter much. I quit the social media platform last year, disgusted with its blatant partisan censorship, its censoring of Donald Trump, and the odd way it flagrantly maintained a double standard in which misleading or questionable progressive tweets were opinions, but misleading or questionable conservative tweets were lies, mandating the tweet-monger’s banishment.

I also had been warning lawyers in my ethics seminars to eschew Twitter at all costs, since, I said with my tongue only slightly piercing my cheek, using it lowered the average lawyer’s IQ by between 15 to 25 points. (I estimated this on the evidence of poor former Harvard Law icon Larry Tribe, whose conspiracy theory tweets and ethics rules beaches on the platform raise the rebuttable presumption that he has entered the Biden Zone…not that this obvious decline has stopped the Washington Post and New York Times from publishing his increasingly over-heated and badly-reasoned op-eds.)

I decided that I should take my own advice and leave Twitter. Besides, my involvement with Twitter in the end consisted solely of issuing links to Ethics Alarms posts, which elicited virtually no traffic or retweets at all. (Except for you, Opal!)

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Scared Yet? I Want To Hear A Legitimate Defense Of YouTube Censoring Senator Paul’s Speech…

Spoiler: There isn’t one.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the U.S. Senate’s most passionate libertarian, was suspended from YouTube for expressing his strong opposition to Wuhan virus mandates and calling for widespread citizen resistance. This is res ipsa loquitur: Big Tech is using its corporate power to support government policies and prevent dissent. The argument that YouTube (that is, Google) is a private entity and not bound by the First Amendment is disingenuous, just as similar arguments defending Facebook, Twitter and other social media banning President Trump as well as posts that offer opinions and positions they don’t want the public to see. When corporations use their massive power and influence to suppress speech and control the flow of information, they pose an existential threat to democracy. When they exercise this power to advance the political agenda of a specific group, individual or party, that threat is worse. When they are censoring and distorting on behalf of the government, the threat is dire.

Paul released a rebuttal and condemnation of YouTube’s indefensible action, and it was also taken down by Our Video Masters. You can view it here, on Rumble. If I could embed it, I would.

Let me turn the floor over to Professor Turley, not as an appeal to authority, but because there is no reason for me to write in different words what he has said persuasively already:

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George Washington’s Birthday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/22/21: Happy Birthday, George! We’re Sorry Your Country Has Become Populated With So Many Ignorant, Ungrateful Fools…

portrait_of_george_washington

If there is any American whose birthday should be a national holiday, it is George Washington, born this day in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. If I have to tell you the reasons he was “the essential man” in American history, well, I guess you’re the product of our current public school system, a recent college graduate, a Democrat, a Black Lives Matter enthusiast, or something. There is no rational excuse for every American, yes, even African-Americans, to not be grateful for this day. Martin Luther King is now the only individual to have a national holiday dedicated to his honor, while Washington’s memory was dumped into a hodge-podge of lesser figures including Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and now, Donald Trump. King is worthy of his day, but to honor King over Washington is as good an example of “putting the cart before the horse” as one could find. Shame on us. True, George is not lacking honors, with the capital city named for him, a towering monument, cities and towns in many states, Mt. Rushmore, and his image on both the most-used bill and coin. Nonetheless he earned all of it, and this date should be a holiday.

On The Ethics Alarms home page, you will see to your right a link to the list of ethical habits some historians believe made Washington the remarkably trustworthy and ethical man he was, ultimately leading his fellow Founders to choose him, and not one the many more brilliant, learned and accomplished among them, to take on the crucial challenge of creating the American Presidency. Directed to do so by his father, young Washington copied out by hand and committed to memory a list called “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”  It was  based on a document compiled by French Jesuits in 1595; neither the authors nor the English translator and adapter are known today. The elder Washington was following the teachings of Aristotle—another Dead White Man whom most Americans alive today couldn’t tell you Jack S-word about— who held that principles and values began as being externally imposed by authority (morals) and eventually became internalized as character. As I wrote when I first posted them here,

The theory certainly worked with George Washington. Those ethics alarms installed by his father stayed in working order throughout his life. It was said that Washington was known to quote the rules when appropriate, and never forgot them. They did not teach him to be a gifted leader he became, but they helped to make him a trustworthy one.

Would that readers would access that list more often. And politicians. And lawyers. And educators…

1. How ignorant and ungrateful? THIS ignorant and ungrateful

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The Standard Ethics Alarms Designations (Ethics Dunce, Unethical Quote) Fail To Adequately Describe The Significance Of This

YouTube Censorship

YouTube announces that it is “supporting the 2020 U.S. election”:

Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections. For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come.

What does the “safe harbor” date have to do with justifying YouTube’s censorship? There are live lawsuits and investigations underway. Who or what is YouTube to decide when an election is fair, legitimate, or settled? If YouTube is so concerned about not undermining public faith in U.S. elections, why is this video still available, among many others? For that matter, why is YouTube still hosting 9-11 conspiracy videos, like this one?

Not only is YouTube’s nakedly partisan censorship not “supporting” the election, it is undermining the reason for the elections, which is continuing American democracy. What this looks like is an effort to shut down dissent and prevent lingering questions about matters of legitimate disputes and suspicion, and even if they are not legitimate, YouTube, aka Google, should not be the arbiter of the matter, or any matter?

What happened to “Democracy Dies in Darkness”? Why aren’t citizens of all partisan leanings alarmed at the increasingly shameless efforts by the news media, Big Tech and social media to sanctify Joe Biden’s election in an exact reversal of how President Trump’s election was undermined from election night 2016 all the way to this moment?

Meanwhile, Ethics Alarms is dependent on YouTube, especially since WordPress, despite adding a video “block,” doesn’t make it easy for me to embed videos from other sources. I’d like to stop using this openly biased, pro-totalitarian, hypocritical, double-talking ally of single-party rule.

This is a ruthless, dangerous, unethical, Machiavellian company with far too much power to abuse.

Musings On A Recent Entry In The Ethics Alarms “I Don’t Understand This Story At ALL” Files

Fontrell Baines, 31, a rapper who goes by the stage name of “Nuke Bizzle,” was arrested on three felony counts of access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property, thus facing up to 22 years in federal prison. It’s not just that the evidence shows that Baines and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained at least 92 debit cards pre-loaded with more than $1.2 million on them and converted the cards into more than $700,000 of ill-gotten gains. The rapper was caught after he posted a music video about the scheme on YouTube, leading to his arrest last month while he had multiple debit cards in his possession with the names of people who weren’t him..  The catchy rap song,  in which he boasts about getting “rich off of EDD, amassed more than 400,000 views and also alerted authorities to his scheme.

“Unemployment so sweet,” Baines raps. “We had 1.5 land this week!” A cohort on the video joins in, “You gotta sell cocaine, I can just file a claim!”

Prosecutors say the stolen cards were sent to addresses in Beverly Hills and the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, where “Nuke” could get grab them. For inspiration….

Musings:

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