Showing posts with label ethics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ethics. Show all posts

Thursday, March 01, 2012

So much for 'products of conception'

We have met the Antichrist, and he is us.

What else is there to say about this story in
The Telegraph, one of Britain's national dailies, reporting that a group of medical ethicists affiliated with Oxford advocates the killing of unwanted newborns, being that there's no difference between a newborn and a fetus. Their position was outlined in an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

I suppose pro-lifers should at least welcome the dropping of pretenses and the acknowledgment that, no, there is no biological difference between a newborn and a fetus in the womb. Nor is there any moral difference between the killing of one and the killing of the other.

And I suppose that we could, as well, appreciate the irony of one of the authors -- in the wake of the predictable death threats -- saying that "those who made abusive and threatening posts about the study were 'fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.'"

Aye, there's the rub.

It really isn't ironic at all. The "fanatics" really might be "opposed to the very values of a liberal society" -- at least the one we presently have, which holds that one creates his own moral universe and, indeed, his own reality. In the Oxford death-dealers' reality, "babies are not 'actual persons' and do not have a 'moral right to life.'"

THIS IS the "liberal society" we all have been busy creating the past number of decades, one that perhaps may have been made inevitable by the dawning of the Enlightenment. I mean, by what objective standard was the Enlightenment enlightened? By what -- or whose -- authority do we proclaim such?


In liberal society, all that is required for the repellent to become the height of morality is us saying it is. Or at least enough people with enough authority (and enough guns) to make it so. And the first step is getting a serious journal to legitimize your crackpot theory that up is down, left is right, green is red, wrong is right, and right is wrong.

Or that "babies are not 'actual persons' and do not have a 'moral right to life.'" Enter the
Journal of Medical Ethics, and suddenly we don't need to pretend anymore that what's inside the womb is materially different somehow from that which pops out of it. Death to "the products of conception"!

Now we can get on to the real business of categorizing Lebensunwertes Leben.
The article, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?”, was written by two of Prof Savulescu’s former associates, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.

They argued: “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”. They explained: “Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.

“We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”

As such they argued it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.

The authors therefore concluded that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.

They also argued that parents should be able to have the baby killed if it turned out to be disabled without their knowing before birth, for example citing that “only the 64 per cent of Down’s syndrome cases” in Europe are diagnosed by prenatal testing.

Once such children were born there was “no choice for the parents but to keep the child”, they wrote.

“To bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

However, they did not argue that some baby killings were more justifiable than others – their fundamental point was that, morally, there was no difference to abortion as already practised.

They preferred to use the phrase “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to “emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus”.
PETER SINGER would be so proud.

So would Adolf Hitler.

One way or another, if civilization is to survive, our "liberal society" must be destroyed. I mean, given the most recent empirical data, you'd have to agree that it's been demonstrated to be nothing more than a "potential" society at best and therefore has no justifiable "right to life."

Pull the plug now. We must make room for something less crippled, less retarded and more robust. It's only logical.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Protesting in the key of Z

I am unsure what is the bigger offense -- New Orleans talk-show host Garland Robinette running down his landfill-owning pal's landfill enemies on the radio and then accepting a $250,000 no-interest loan from the dumpmeister . . . or some outraged, off-key "Yat" making a protest-parody to the tune of Barry Manilow's "Mandy."

"Mandy"? And this guy gets paid to do this? On the radio?

If New Orleanians were as good at enacting cultural and political change as they are bad at topical parody vids, the Crescent City might be getting somewhere. But they ain't, and it's not.

I have an idea. Lock Robinette in a room. Make him listen to this damn thing, over and over and over again. Then take pity on the man and just waterboard him instead.

And please . . . make sure that room is soundproof, OK?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

If everybody's crooked, is wrong all right?

Garland Robinette, in most every way, has been the face -- or, more precisely, the voice -- of post-Katrina New Orleans.

And for being too representative in one important way, the WWL radio host -- who before that was a TV-news fixture in the Crescent City from the time I was in elementary school to well past when I married and moved away from Louisiana -- ought to be fired.

No matter who you are or how good you are at what you do, sometimes you do something for which there's no excuse -- or at least no good excuse. And for Robinette, who's been around the block more than once as a journalist, covering Louisiana scoundrels grand and petty, there's just no excuse for not knowing a massive conflict of interest when it presented itself.

Indeed, there's just no way a longtime radio and TV reporter and anchor could not have known what he was doing was, shall we say, both ethically challenged and fatally toxic to both his and his employer's credibility. There's just no way.

WHAT did he do? Here's what the Times-Picayune says he did:
WWL talk radio host Garland Robinette received $250,000 from the owner of the River Birch Landfill in October 2007, after Robinette routinely used his show to criticize the reopening of the rival Old Gentilly Landfill to dispose of Hurricane Katrina debris, his attorney confirmed. Federal authorities investigating River Birch flagged the monetary transfer and interviewed Robinette several times late last year, said Robinette's attorney Dane Ciolino, who said the money was a loan.

"They asked him a lot of questions, and he has cooperated fully," Ciolino said Friday. "He has been told that he is not a subject or target of the investigation."

Embattled River Birch owner Fred Heebe loaned Robinette the money through a company Heebe owns, Ciolino said.

"Fred Heebe is a personal friend of Garland's" he said, "and it was a personal loan."

Ciolino said the loan was to be repaid once Robinette and his wife sold a vacant lot they own in St. Tammany Parish. He said he believed Robinette, an avid painter, used the money to build an art studio.

Ciolino said he did not know whether Robinette has repaid the loan or whether he has been paying interest.

The disclosure involving one of New Orleans' most prominent media figures is the latest development in the 20-month investigation of River Birch, which allegedly paid $460,000 in bribes to a former state official to lobby for closing Old Gentilly.

The loan was made during the post-Katrina landfill wars as Heebe and his associates sought to shutter the Old Gentilly Landfill and the new Chef Menteur Landfill to increase River Birch's share of more than $175 million in disposal fees for at least 38 million cubic yards of hurricane debris.

From mid-2006 through mid-2007, Robinette frequently raised environmental concerns about disposing of debris at Old Gentilly and the new Chef Menteur Landfill in eastern New Orleans on his "Think Tank" talk show.

THIS WEEK, Robinette took to the WWL airwaves to defend himself:

"I can look my wife and my daughter in the eye and tell you the public I have done absolutely nothing wrong," Robinette said.

Entercom Corp., WWL's Pennsylvania-based owner, backed Robinette, saying

company officials "do not expect this matter to affect Garland's status with WWL."

From 2006 until at least May 2007, Robinette frequently raised environmental concerns on his show about disposing of hurricane debris at Old Gentilly, a former city dump in eastern New Orleans that reopened two months after Katrina.

The payment to Robinette, first reported Saturday in The Times-Picayune, came as Heebe and his associates were trying to shut down the Old Gentilly Landfill and the Chef Menteur Landfill -- both of which were opened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to deal with the huge volume of trash.

Robinette said his coverage of the landfill issue was not influenced by the money from Heebe.

"My opinions are not and have not ever been for sale. I would never dishonor your trust nor my family's," he said.

HE CAN LOOK his wife and daughter in the eye and tell us he's "done nothing wrong"? No joke?

If Robinette believes that --
really believes that in his heart and mind -- he obviously operates within the context of a depraved worldview, likely formed by the corrosive forces of an depraved civic culture, one with a completely deviant view of such concepts as "right," "wrong" and "normal." (This also applies to Robinette's corporate boss, Entercom, which is blind -- as American corporations are wont to be -- to everything but the bottom line.)

Dat's Loosiana for you!

That's a place where "on the make" and "on the take" are such a part of "normal" civic life as to be unexceptional -- and unprosecuted if not for the U.S. Justice Department. There you have a society where businessmen are giving, officials are taking and -- now -- at least one prominent figure in the mass media is "borrowing."

While talking up his friend and creditor's shady interests by running down the "competition."

THIS is what passes for "absolutely nothing wrong" in the mind of a man who emerged as one of New Orleans' preeminent post-Katrina crusaders for what he'd have us believe was "truth, justice and the American Way." Now he's a man making himself into a different, yet much more familiar, face of "the Big Easy" -- the ethically pockmarked face of an American banana republic.

Answer me this: In the Gret Stet, what institution can the public really trust?

That Garland Robinette now has added to the long, deafening silence that accompanies that question is reason enough to "kill his mic" . . . and his long broadcasting career with it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good luck with that one, SPJ

The Society of Professional Journalists has decided it's time to shut the barn door -- years and years after Mr. Ed trotted off to Hollywood.

In other words, SPJ has gotten an eyeful of Anderson Cooper pulling bloodied Haitian kids out of the middle of a rampaging mob (and depositing him a safe 20 feet from the rampaging mob, conveniently in front of the CNN camera), Robin Roberts running the ABC Adoption Agency and Sanjay Gupta as Marcus Welby, M.D., and suddenly couldn't tell anymore where the evening news ended and "Celebrity Rehab" (or something) began.

Now, if the networks just could have gotten Dave, Jay and Conan into Port-au-Prince, we really might have had something there.

FROM A press release the journalism organization put out today:

The Society of Professional Journalists applauds the efforts of all journalists in Haiti who are working tirelessly to report the aftermath of last week's devastating earthquake and the ensuing aftershocks. However, SPJ cautions journalists to avoid making themselves part of the stories they are reporting. Even in crises, journalists have a responsibility to their audiences to gather news objectively and to report facts.

"I think it's important for journalists to be cognizant of their roles in disaster coverage,” SPJ President Kevin Smith said. "Advocacy, self promotion, offering favors for news and interviews, injecting oneself into the story or creating news events for coverage is not objective reporting, and it ultimately calls into question the ability of a journalist to be independent, which can damage credibility."

Undoubtedly, journalists walk a fine line to balance their professional responsibilities with their humanity when covering disasters. SPJ does not nor would it ever criticize or downplay the humane acts journalists are performing in Haiti. But news organizations must use caution to avoid blurring the lines between being a participant and being an objective observer.

"No one wants to see human suffering, and reporting on these events can certainly take on a personal dimension. But participating in events, even with the intention of dramatizing the humanity of the situation, takes news reporting in a different direction and places journalists in a situation they should not be in, and that is one of forgoing their roles as informants," Smith said.
YOU KNOW, nobody's going to fault Cooper for trying to safeguard a child when all hell has broken loose. Frankly, I think what he did probably was insufficient.

Furthermore, no one whose humanity hasn't set sail for pleasanter climes is going to fault Roberts for checking up on that Haitian orphanage, or even for placing a call to worried adoptive parents back in the States. But if you're making that act of compassion the center of your story, it compromises both the journalism and the good deed.

It ain't brain surgery, and it doesn't require attending a graduate seminar on moral reasoning and crises.

Hell, Hoss. Jesus had it all nailed a couple of millennia ago. Check out
Matthew 6:

"(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
TIME WAS that almost everyone understood the concept. Time was.

Perhaps today's journalists, after reading the SPJ missive, need to take a look at the Good Book -- if for no other reason than to assure themselves that folks just aren't making this s*** up.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The importance of seeming earnest

When a politician allows himself to be sold to the voters as a "messiah," watch out. The only thing you can be sure of is that's exactly what he ain't.

IN LOUISIANA'S gubernatorial election last fall, it seemed the biggest things Bobby Jindal had going for him were the aura of competence and relative honesty. It is starting to look as if the great tragedy of Louisiana's gubernatorial election last fall is this was the best of a sad lot from which to pick.

WAFB television in Baton Rouge
reports on what may be the latest act in the Gret Stet's ongoing tragedy -- or comedy, take your pick. Let's call it either Oedipus Dreck or The Importance of Seeming Earnest:

A few key words passed by the legislature could pull the rug out from under Governor Jindal's most important accomplishment - ethics reform. Legislators changed the standard of evidence needed to find someone unethical from "reliable, substantial" to "clear and convincing." So, what does that mean?

The change from just "reliable and substantial" evidence needed to "clear and convincing" could mean fewer people get punished for breaking state ethics laws. So, what does Governor Jindal think of all this? We had trouble getting answers. Governor Bobby Jindal's press secretary, Melissa Sellers, would not let us speak to the governor Friday for answers to our questions about ethics reform. The governor received the Golden Mic award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, which is where 9NEWS tried to get comments from him. He's been called Louisiana's golden boy and he says he set the gold standard for ethics reform. "I think the legislature and the media got tired of me saying "gold standard," but it was important we did indeed set that gold standard."

However, political analyst Jim Engster says if Jindal does not speak up and help fix this crucial ethics standard of evidence change, his golden status could melt away. "Many would think it's much easier to convict somebody of ethics charges under the old standard, so instead of the gold standard, we may have something less than that," Engster says. He says starting August 15th, Louisiana's ethics laws could actually get weaker, instead of stronger. The state's legal standard for finding someone unethical would change from reliable, substantial evidence needed to "clear and convincing" unless legislators make an amendment this session. "There isn't a lot of time to address this and the governor could make it happen in a hurry if he wants to," Engster says.

And now, the suffering citizenry of Louisiana might be staring "The ethics reform that ain't" right in its smirking face. That's the problem with voting for a messiah: There's only been one of those who was worth a damn.

He came around some 2,000 years ago, and He never campaigned for the job.

Being that that's not going to happen again -- the job has been filled, and it's a permanent gig -- wishing and hoping (and voting) for an earthly messiah to fix all what ails you is the most foolish of fool's errands. And if the definition of insanity is doing the same damn thing over and over but expecting a different outcome next time, then what Louisiana is really asking for is Nurse Ratched.

Or is that Wretched?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Remember, you heard the 'R' word here first

Buddy. Roemer.

With the shaky start Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is off to on his ethics jihad thus far, it is useful to remember the last messiah who was going to fix everything that's wrong with my home state.

Buddy. Roemer.

If messiahs actually existed in politics, so many Louisianians (and others) wouldn't have been doing so much "magical thinking" regarding what Bobby Jindal actually could do for the Bayou State. See, if messiahs actually existed in politics, Gov. Buddy Roemer would have fixed all by 1989, and the Gret Stet would now be known as the Land of Milk and Honey.

With boudin for dessert.

But it ain't. Instead, the Gret Brown Hope -- with the Legislature in special "ethics" session -- now gets to show the world he, too, buys his footwear at Pottery Barn.

On the up side, however, the gub'na has plenty of cash to pay the fine for failing to report campaign contributions in a timely manner, and his chief of staff got swell free tickets to the Hannah Montana concert.

In the Gub'na's Box, no less.

A GENERATION AGO, Buddy Roemer could not turn grafters into servants, a Third World enclave into Silicon Valley or -- while he was at it -- water into wine. As I recall, I reminded folks of that after Jindal got himself elected and hopes were reaching Obamaesque heights.

Alas, some Louisianians still will be surprised to discover Jindal is no more the second coming of Christ than Roemer was. Shocked that one man -- even with feet of flesh and blood, as opposed to clay -- is incapable of feats that rightly belong in the Almighty's realm.

In politics, as in life, there is no such thing as cheap grace. There is grace, for sure, but cooperation is required for it to work its wonders.

The change Louisianians await lies not within one man -- no matter that the man is some sort of wonkish wunderkind. No, the change Louisianians await lies within themselves.

There is grace in this world. But Louisiana must first "come to Jesus" to unlock its power.

And Bobby Jindal ain't no messiah.