Comment Of The Day: “Donald Trump ‘When You’re A Star, They Let You Do It’ Apology, Take Two!”…Plus The Last Comments I’m Going To Make About Trump’s “Pussy” Tape, Because Life’s Too Short

princess-bride

Ethics Alarms works best when commenters take a post and extend the issue to the next stage, expanding the inquiry and making useful observations. This Comment of the Day by Charles Green is an example. I had just written three posts (including this, and this, that related to Charles’ commentary more closely than the post it actually followed) about various ethics aspects of the Trump-Billy Bush tape and the reaction to it, and Charles flagged enough additional material for a fourth.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Donald Trump “When You’re A Star, They Let You Do It” Apology, Take Two! (I’ll be back to add a bit to Charles’ points at the end.)

Trump is of course a troglodyte. But Jack, this is an ethics swamp – look at all the other arguments showing up.

The most obvious one is Billy Bush’s “It was a long time ago.” So, there’s a statute of limitations on unethical behavior? (Trump went him one worse, saying that was ten years ago – and look at what Clinton did 20 years ago!).

But there’s another meme that keeps showing up. For example, Mitch McConnell saying, “I have daughters, and I…” So, is what Trump said inoffensive if you only have sons and brothers?

Mike Pence says, “As a husband and a father” he was offended. So, my single childless son shouldn’t be offended?

Jeb Bush says, “As the grandfather of two girls…reprehensible…degrading…” Jeez, do you have to be a grandpa before you can be offended?

What about Paul Ryan, saying, “Women should be championed and revered.” As a friend of mine says, “Would that be like a Special Olympics athlete? Or the biblical Mary?”

In their own bizarre way, these conditional statements are as ethically suspect as Trump apologizing “if I offended anyone.”

The common logical construct is a leading clause which SOUNDS like it should have something to do with what follows. But really, does “I’m a grandfather, so what he said was reprehensible” make any more ethical sense than “I’m a vegetarian, so what he said was reprehensible.”

As someone might have said, “What difference does it make!?”

I’m back.

This phenomenon indicates a glaring weakness in conservative ranks as they attempt to catch up to American culture in the 21st Century. They, or too many of them at least, don’t comprehend feminism or the ethical principles behind it. To think about any human being the way Trump expresses his beliefs on the tape is despicable, as is treating women the way he claims to treat them. The fact that he regards women as quarry and assumes that they are so dazzled by power and wealth that they will assent to battery is pure misogyny. but its shouldn’t require one to have a special relationship with women or girls to appreciate how wrong it is. Charles has identified a real dead spot in the male conservative mind, where women are still considered to be delicate goddesses to be revered and protected by gallant and superior men, that is, them. The fact that many women are not above playing that card themselves for tactical advantages doesn’t excuse the men who still think that way. Feminists are quite right to argue that this stubborn attitude constitutes an anchor on female achievement and respect.

On a related note, because I really do not want to write much more about an eleven-year-old conversation that literally tells us nothing about Donald Trump that hasn’t been obvious for at least that long, the bleats of conservative pundits about the unfairness of the newsmedia focusing so intently on the tape betrays their obtuseness as well. The Instapundit appears to be especially dense on this point. Glenn Reynolds quotes from an obtuse column at The American Thinker, by Jack Hellner:

In the past week:

– Justice drops the case against a gunrunner from Hillary’s Libya fiasco whose testimony would certainly have harmed Obama and Hillary.

– Evidence surfaced that the White House participated in the cover-up of Hillary’s violation of national security laws with her private server even though they said they absolutely knew nothing about the server and would not interfere with an investigation.

– We have learned more this week about how the investigation of Hillary by the Justice Department and FBI was a pure sham as they gave immunity to so many, took so much stuff off limits, and even carried out the destruction of evidence. The email investigation was pretend, just like the IRS investigation and any supposed investigation of the Clinton Foundation. It is clear that the White House, Justice Department, State Department, and IRS are working specifically to protect Obama and Hillary instead of working for the American people.

– Aleppo and Syria are deteriorating rapidly despite Obama and Kerry being extremely tough and telling Russia and Assad to stop it.

– Obama partially blamed the Civil War in Syria on a drought he says was caused by humans. That is one of the most ignorant statements ever. The war is because Assad is a tyrant, and the Mideast is essentially a desert that has had continued droughts for millennia.

– An NBC News man topped Obama’s stupidity by saying the worthless Paris climate agreement would stop hurricanes.

– Obamacare is collapsing rapidly. The multiple lies to pass the law are more obvious every day. The law is greatly harming the middle class and small employers and reducing the potential for full-time jobs.

– An NSA contractor who committed the same crime as Hillary by keeping classified documents at home on several nonsecure devices is under arrest. Why isn’t Hillary?

The media, of course, don’t focus on any of these things. Instead they trot out a tape of Trump talking dirty about women eleven years ago.

 How myopic can you get? The issue isn’t Trump “talking dirty.” The reason the tape is significant is that it has signature significance. Men who aren’t creeps don’t talk like that, ever, to anyone, about anyone. The tape shows a man whose character is too vile to be President, when that man already had shown himself to be too ignorant, unstable, lazy, dishonest, inexperienced and uncivil to hold high office.

Let me put it in terms that even Hillary-Haters might grasp. Let’s imagine that instead of Trump, the GOP, because so many of their primary voters thought it was a good way to express their anger with the system and “the elites,” nominated Elmo for President. Not Elmo’s puppeteer, now, or his writer, but the puppet—a piece of cloth with eyes. Now, Elmo is cute and all, but the United States of America just can’t have a puppet as President, and that’s all there is to it.

Now, since Elmo’s competition is Hillary Clinton, theta means Hillary has to win the election. It doesn’t matter that she’s corrupt, and that the administration she is succeeding has proven itself both corrupt and incompetent. I agree with most of Hellner’s indictments, but they don’t matter, because the alternative is a piece of cloth, and the greatest nation in the world cannot have a piece of cloth at the head of its government. Of course it can’t. To even suggest such a thing is proof of incompetence, denial or madness. Of course, Donald Trump isn’t a Muppet, but he’s just as unfit to lead as one. All right, I would vote for Trump over Elmo, but it wouldn’t be easy.

By all means, condemn the Democratic Party for betraying its duty to nominate someone more fit for office than Hillary Clinton, a breach almost, but not quite, as unforgivable as the Republicans nominating Trump(or Elmo). However, the argument that Clinton’s deficits are more worthy of news coverage than uncovered Trump conduct that further demonstrates his epic unfitness is  intellectually dishonest and ethically ignorant. Reynolds’ fellow law professor-blogger Ann Althouse ( who has become so distressed by the campaign that she has taken to drawing cartoon rats and asking her readers which ones they prefer...I’m a little worried about her…) does an excellent job deconstructing this stupid internet meme (but then, aren’t the all?) that attempts to trivialize the Trump tape:

grey-meme

Althouse writes, in part..

“Boasting of committing what sounds like criminal sexual assault is not the mere saying of words. The size of the outrage isn’t about the words as bad words, but the words as evidence of actions allegedly taken….

…The outrage isn’t limited to women. Men, too, are outraged.

….The words “fuck” and “pussy” can be used in sentences that express contempt and disregard for other human beings, and the outrage against Trump’s words has to do with what the words express in the sentences actually spoken. Many excellent sentences can be made using those words — sentences that can be received with favor by women who hate what Trump said.

…People read novels and see movies about all sorts of things, including horrible things. Stories about murder and torture and all kinds of physical and psychological abuse are very popular. The effect is titillating, but that doesn’t mean people want these things actually to happen to them.

…You may love a particular character in a story, because he’s interesting and exciting and transgressive, but that doesn’t mean you want him to be President….”

I disagree strongly with one of Althouse’s statements, which is why I didn’t include it, that holds that Trump’s comments to Bush were “boasting of committing what sounds like criminal sexual assault” and  “evidence of actions allegedly taken.”  Some readers on the other posts have made the same assertion, calling Trump’s blather an “admission.” People boast about what they are proud of or think will impress their audience. People admit or confess wrongdoing that they are usually not proud of: that’s why admissions and confessions are considered reliable, and boasts are not. Is kissing someone without their consent “criminal assault”? I’d like to see that indictment, especially when the kisser and the kissee know each other, and Trump didn’t suggest he was stealing kisses from total strangers. In a workplace scenario it is certainly sexual harassment, but Trump gave no context. Grabbing someone “by the pussy” sounds like sexual assault, and it also sounds biologically difficult: is Althouse taking Trump literally? If so, that’s ridiculous. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I still have never heard of a man grabbing a woman that way, and wouldn’t know how to do it on a dare. Does Ann also believe that when a man says that he “fucked her brains out,” he’s confessing to murder?

I think this will finish my contributions to this topic, and not a moment too soon.

45 Comments

Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Social Media, The Internet

45 responses to “Comment Of The Day: “Donald Trump ‘When You’re A Star, They Let You Do It’ Apology, Take Two!”…Plus The Last Comments I’m Going To Make About Trump’s “Pussy” Tape, Because Life’s Too Short

  1. deery

    Grabbing someone “by the pussy” sounds like sexual assault, and it also sounds biologically difficult: is Althouse taking Trump literally? If so, that’s ridiculous. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I still have never heard of a man grabbing a woman that way, and wouldn’t know how to do it on a dare. Does Ann also believe that when a man says that he “fucked her brains out,” he’s confessing to murder?

    “Grabbing someone by the pussy” without their consent doesn’t just sound like sexual assault, it *is* sexual assault. I don’t think it is a particularly physically difficult act to “grab someone by the pussy”, especially if the woman is wearing a dress or skirt. In addition, you can also grab someone’s genitalia through their clothes.

    This was taken from a facebook post that someone shared, so I am having trouble linking to it directly, but this is one woman’s experience being “pussy grabbed”:

    was twenty-four. I’d been working on Wall Street for six months, almost to the day.

    I hung out with a friend throughout most of the Christmas party, doing our best to find that fine line between professional and fun, between kicking back and getting – or even appearing – out of control. As young women, fresh out of college, it wasn’t easy to pull off.

    When the company-sponsored party had officially ended, the guys threw down their own credit cards to keep it going. Most of the bar staff went home, but no one cared if we had a coat check girl or a valet. As long as they could keep drinking, it was all good.

    When I’d finally had enough, I headed to the deserted coat check closet to find my things. I was bent over, searching through the bags on the floor, when he came in behind me and, without a word, shoved his hand under my skirt and inside my body. I would later describe it to my boyfriend through hot, thick tears as ‘trying to pick me up like a six pack.’

    I bolted upright, shocked and confused. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” came out with far less power than I wanted it to.

    He laughed and leered at me. “You’re hot when you’re pissed,” he said, his words swimming in bourbon.

    The crowded closet only had one exit and he was blocking it. I pushed him with my briefcase. It only worked because he was drunk.

    He reeled against a wall of coats and I ran for the door. I grabbed my friend on the way out and, racing the tears, jumped into one in a long line of hired cars waiting to take the masters of the universe home.

    A managing director passed us in a cab going in the opposite direction. He had the driver pull up next to us so that he could tease us for riding in style when he was in a yellow. I didn’t say, “Your buddy just shoved his hand into my vagina; I’m taking the car.”

    I didn’t say anything at all.

    *
    Today, we heard a major party candidate for President of the United States say, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

    He brushed it off as ‘locker room banter.’ Shrugged. Offered a nonapology ‘if anyone was offended.’

    I’m not offended. Offended is mild. It’s polite. Nothing that I feel right now is mild or polite.

    I’m sad. And angry. And frankly terrified.

    Consent matters.

    Decency matters.

    HUMANITY matters.

    It’s time to tell this man, and all of those who believe as he does that whatever power they have gives them carte blanche to do as they will … NO.

    No, you can’t just … do anything.

    And most of all, you sure as hell can’t be our President.

    • deery

      And if you have any further doubt that this happens, and is far more common than you credit, read this story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/10/08/what-happens-when-you-ask-women-for-their-stories-of-assault-eight-million-replies/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.a793059c9c9b


      kelly oxford
      ‎@kellyoxford

      Women: tweet me your first assaults. they aren’t just stats. I’ll go first:

      Old man on city bus grabs my “pussy” and smiles at me, I’m 12.

      7:48 PM – 7 Oct 2016

      11,551 11,551 Retweets

      15,757 15,757 likes

    • Spartan

      Further to what Deery is writing, do the men on this blog understand just how many times this kind of stuff happens? Including in situations that involve no alcohol?

      If I filed a sexual harassment suit every time someone did something egregious to me in the workplace, I would be swimming in lawsuits. If every woman did, the judicial system would grind to a halt. (In saying this, I have to concede that my current workplace treats me with a great deal of respect.)

      Here’s my first “assault” in the workplace. I was a waitress in a family restaurant. I was a newly minted 18 — you have to be 18 to serve drinks. I was waiting at the bar for my clients’ order and my boss grabbed my ass and stuck his tongue in my ear. Gross. I whirled around, grabbed his tongue between my fingers, squeezed harm, and threatened severe bodily harm if he ever did that again. The harassment continued, although he never did stick out his tongue anywhere near me again.

      Here a few other charming instances — some mild, some terrifying:

      I’ve had male coworkers take off their clothes in my office multiple times — including at law firms. (My moot court team captain did this to be on school trip once too.)

      My friend’s boyfriend crept into my room one night and climbed into bed with me; I got away.

      I’ve been stalked — more than once sadly.

      Men have pulled up my skirts.

      My married boss used to leave me voice mail messages to run away with him.

      A female married boss encouraged me to go on an international trip with her husband. (I quit almost immediately)

      I’ve been given the date rape drug.

      I’ve also found, overall, that the more money/power a guy has, the more likely he is to engage in this behavior. As women, we have to learn gracefully to deescalate bad or even unlawful male behavior rather than address it head on if we are at work. In other instances, we just need to keep our guard up to make sure we don’t end up in dangerous situations with the Cosbys and Trumps out there. Finally, although I have never dated online, I have to admit that I assume that there are a lot of Anthony Weiners out there.

      • aliciamklein

        Do men on this blog understand just how many times this kind of stuff happens? Or how early it starts?

        My first assault: I found myself cornered in the bedroom of the landlord’s 19 year old son. He dropped his pants and told me to lick his penis. I remember it vividly because his skin tasted salty. I was four years old.

        Moving on:

        I was sexually assaulted, on a beach, at 15. I went home with bruises and abrasions that I hid for weeks.

        My stepfather would come into my room at night and shove his hand inside my nightgown when he thought I was sleeping. (I would later have to take out a restraining order against him.)

        Add in the cat calls, the filthy things yelled at me from a passing truck, the grossly inappropriate comments from men at the office…

        …. yeah.

      • “Further to what Deery is writing, do the men on this blog understand just how many times this kind of stuff happens?”

        I suppose it depends on how broadly you want to define it… But I generally believe it. Especially for the older generations.

        But sure. Let’s share.

        I’m 19, I’m in the management training program for the company I worked for, and they sent me to the Lac la Biche location (Which to this day I choose to translate from french to “Bitch Lake”, even though I know that’s not right.).

        After my last day in town, a couple of the managers went to a local watering hole, and as I was ordering my first drink, a 350 pound native woman came up behind me, reached between my legs from behind, and grabbed me by the dick. She then told me I was her boyfriend for the night, and I told her in no uncertain language to get fucked by a farm implement (I’m a country boy, at heart).

        And that’s when the fight began, My junk escaped with only minor abuse, but the bottle caught my head fairly squarely, and it only got moderately better from that point on. I hit back, I hit hard, and I feel no remorse. I was later diagnosed with a concussion.

        The police however, decided to lock me up for the night and threatened to press charges. I wonder; what would have happened if I wasn’t stone sober? What if I didn’t have three friends who were also stone sober to back up my account? What if the bar hadn’t had cameras, and hadn’t caught everything clearly?

        I was the man, you know. We’re violent. Maybe I was asking for it.

    • Now that’s penetration, and rape. Do you really think that’s what Trump was advocating? That’s rape. He was telling Bush to to rape women, because that’s what he does? Read my response to Chris (I sometimes see these comments in reverse order.).

      You can’t hold on to a woman’s genitalia unless you engage in penetration, which is rape.

      • deery

        Now that’s penetration, and rape. Do you really think that’s what Trump was advocating? Ant that’s still not a grab, unless he grabbed the woman like a bowling ball and pulled her. That’s rape…. You can’t hold on to a woman’s genitalia unless you engage in penetration, which is rape.

        All rapes are sexual assaults, but not all sexual assaults are rape. And since he penetrated her with his fingers, and not a penis, many states would consider that “sexual assault” and not a rape. But are you really so finely parsing this, and for what purpose? “Grab” just means clutch, grasp, or an attempt to seize. I don’t think it is a precisely calibrated movement. You are aware that women have external genitalia as well as internal genitalia, yes? And that entire area is often referred to the vulgarity “pussy?” Just wondering.

        • If you are going to condemn anyone based on words, the words and their meaning matter. That’s not parsing. Words have meaning. You are saying something was a confession and evidence when it doesn’t even mean what you say it does.

          Now you’re presuming what state and jurisdiction Trump’s comments referred to? Who’s parsing words now? Want to argue that penetrating a woman’s vagina with a penis is more of a crime than using, say, a bottle? Trump was not advocating penetration, It is impossible to tell, from his words, what he was advocating and what he had done himself, The statement was disqualifying because it shows a low-life and a misogynist, a crude, ugly, spoiled rich guy who thinks basic decency and rules don’t apply to him. They do not make him a criminal, and they definitely don’t distinguish is character from Bill Clinton.

          • Chris

            “You can’t hold on to a woman’s genitalia unless you engage in penetration, which is rape.”

            That’s…I…what? No. No. That’s not how vaginas work, sir.

          • deery

            Now you’re presuming what state and jurisdiction Trump’s comments referred to?

            I am not. Which is why I put it under the broader definition of “sexual assault.” His actions would fall under that category pretty much anywhere.

            Want to argue that penetrating a woman’s vagina with a penis is more of a crime than using, say, a bottle?

            ?!!! You seem to be more than a bit off-kilter here.

            Trump was not advocating penetration, It is impossible to tell, from his words, what he was advocating and what he had done himself,

            Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

            “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

            It doesn’t have to be penetration to be sexual assault. But he certainly seems to be boasting about his past sexual assaults.

            The statement was disqualifying because it shows a low-life and a misogynist, a crude, ugly, spoiled rich guy who thinks basic decency and rules don’t apply to him. They do not make him a criminal, and they definitely don’t distinguish is character from Bill Clinton.

            It was more than just being “vulgar and crude.” I don’t really clutch my pearls about vulgarity. But his boasting about committing sexual assaults against women in the past, on tape, casually in front of basically strangers is beyond the pale. Basically, if someone boasts that they’ve committed sexual assault, I tend to believe them. Why bend over backwards to give him the benefit of the doubt? Especially when there are past accusations accusing him of doing precisely the type of assaults that he is boasting about? As far as I can tell, no one is talking about throwing him in jail.

            Bill Clinton, as I’ve said before, is just a basic and transparent deflection attempt.

            • I think you should read Zoltar’s response to Chris—it applies with equal justice to your efforts here. Trump says that he impulsively kisses women who attract him. That’s the extent of any admission, and, as as I’ll point out later, for liberals, the authors of the Sixties and such mantras as “If it feels good, do it” to be in full dudgeon over THAT is hilarious. The other statement is neither an admission, a confession, or a clear description of an actual act. Now you are just spinning. It’s not enough for Trump to be correctly judged as having again exposing his lack of respect for women and the gutter level of his character. But since Clinton Corrupted have to try to assuage their conscience for supporting such a corrupt and dishonest individual who also was the enabler of a proven sexual predator that your party still treats as an icon, you feel you have to blow up Trump’s taped remarks into something they were not. It’s truly dishonest.

              • Chris

                So now the argument is that liberals can’t care about consent because the 60s.

                I’m stunned, Jack.

                • Again, you are dishonestly representing what I write. You are cut off for this topic.You are irrational on it. You have abused the privilege.

                  I wrote that for liberals to be having vapors over kissing is funny, given their previous position and it is. I also could have mentioned that they lied and spun to argue that having one’s lowest employee provide sexual favors was “just sex” but kissing is now “sexual assault.”

                  Now that’s “the argument”? It wasn’t even An argument. It was an ironic observation, and 100% fair and accurate.

                  Again, you are dishonestly representing what I write. You are cut off for this topic.You are irrational on it. You have abused the privilege.

              • deery

                So to sum up your arguments:

                1. It wasn’t sexual assault, just crude guy talk that men regularly engage in.

                2. If it was sexual assault, it was just *tiny* sexual assault.

                3. *Tiny* sexual assaults are rarely prosecuted, so therefore, no big deal and it can no longer be labeled sexual assault because they aren’t prosecuted.

                4 Ad hominen attacks on motivations of people who label the acts that Trump boasted about sexual assault.

                5. “Bill Clinton did it too” deflection (And therefore no big deal? )

                6. Lawsuits against Bill Clinton are evidence that he committed the crimes he is accused of. Lawsuits against Trump are not evidence that he committed the acts that he himself boasted about on tape. Because. That’s why.

                • deery

                  I will see myself out of this topic, before I too, am banned because *I’m* the one who is irrational on this subject. Have a nice day.

                • No.

                  1. Words aren’t sexual assault.

                  2. Kissing women isn’t sexual assault except in extreme circumstances, none of which we know based on Trump’s statement.

                  3. Kissing is not generally regarded or treated as sexual assault, and is unenforceable as such.

                  4 You just broke the ad hominen rule here: use the term correctly, or not at all. I have not argues that your bad arguments are unpersuasive because you have an agenda. I posited that you are making lame arguments because you have an agenda. The lame arguments I can swat away with reality. As another observation, people generally default to the false ad hominem charge when they are out of bullets.

                  5. “Bill Clinton did it too” deflection (And therefore no big deal? )

                  You now join Chris in the penalty box. I never said that Clinton’s conduct excuses Trump’s piggishness or minimizes it. I most recently wrote, in criticizing Trump’s “apology”

                  13. ” …but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people.”

                  Two more rationalizations: #2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad” and #22, The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”

                  14. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”

                  You don’t point fingers and accuse others in a genuine apology, because nobody else is responsible for what you are apologizing for.

                  So I specificallsaid that Trump could NOT use Clinton’s conduct to minimize and defend his own, and you just lied and accused me of the opposite. Nice. Normally I would require an apology to be reinstated after a breach like that, but since you and Chris are obviously deranged on this topic but normally constructive, I’m just going to ban you, like him, from commenting further on this topic. You’ve abused the privilege

                  6. Lawsuits against Bill Clinton are evidence that he committed the crimes he is accused of. Lawsuits against Trump are not evidence that he committed the acts that he himself boasted about on tape. Because. That’s why.

                  I’d put you in the box for this if you weren’t there already. Lawsuits that Clinton validates by paying $850,000 bucks to make it go away are strong evidence of wrongdoing. Mere lawsuits are not, and Trump is not being sued by anyone he talked about on the tape.

                  These are AWFUL arguments deery, dishonest and/or illogical.

                  • Spartan

                    “Lawsuits that Clinton validates by paying $850,000 bucks to make it go away are strong evidence of wrongdoing.”

                    Wow. I couldn’t disagree with you more. I’ve witnessed numerous lawsuits where the Defendant pays just to make the Plaintiff go away — including sums of this amount and more.

                    • Yup. That happens too. How often does a defendant pay more than the original law suit demand? Or pay after vowing that he would fight the suit to the end? The discussion is over relative probative value of various events:

                      Suit filed
                      Suit actually has hearing.
                      Suit goes to trial.
                      Suit is settled during or before trial.
                      Suit prevails, damages assessed.

                      How about suit dismissed, defendant found to have lied, case appealed, defendant pays maximum in settlement?

            • From Trump, of course Clinton is a deflection. You are re-stating something I wrote repeatedly on this, and stating it like you just discovered how to square the circle. However, the fact remains that I can match Clinton to the names of alleged victims whose accusations are evidence of specific sexual assaults, and the man paid a large cash settlement on a lawsuit for sexual assault—you know, just like Bill Cosby. As long as we’re talking about lewdness and disrespect for women, Trump laps Clinton, in part because Bill’s conversations with guy pals haven’t been caught on tape. This episode doesn’t prove that Trump is in Clinton’s class as an actual predator, however. Just a big talker.

              • Chris

                In one of the other threads, you said “lawsuits aren’t evidence of anything.” But settlements are?

                • Why yes, Chris. Because settlements, especially big settlements, create a rebuttable presumption that the lawsuit was just and had merit. Especially where a reputation is involved, settled cases always suggest that the party giving up money didn’t expect to win on the merits. Suing requires nothing except a lawyer and a claim. Clinton settled because he didn’t want to lose.

                  From the Washington Post story at the time:

                  “The extraordinary case came to an extraordinary finale, with the defendant agreeing to pay $850,000 even though the plaintiff originally only asked for $700,000 when she filed suit — and even though the case was dismissed without a trial.

                  Jones filed her suit in May 1994, accusing Clinton of luring her to a suite at the Excelsior Hotel during a May 8, 1991, conference when he was governor of Arkansas and she was a state clerk. During that brief encounter, she said he touched her, tried to kiss her and dropped his pants and asked for oral sex. Clinton has denied that steadfastly, maintaining he does not even remember meeting her.

                  U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed the case last spring, ruling that even if Jones’s allegations were true, such “boorish and offensive” behavior would not be severe enough to constitute sexual harassment under the law.

                  Jones then asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the decision and, after Starr’s report came out, argued that Clinton’s alleged misconduct during the case justified a reversal. Two members of the three-judge panel appeared sympathetic during oral arguments last month and on Tuesday the court asked for the full transcript of Clinton’s Jan. 17 deposition in the case, which some lawyers close to the Jones camp interpreted as a sign that they were concerned about possible perjury by the president.”

                  That Wright found that her allegations that Clinton “touched her, tried to kiss her and dropped his pants and asked for oral sex” weren’t enough to find sexual harassment make Comey’s call on Hillary look tough. Unbelievable. If a judge did that today, there would be petitions for her to be impeached.

        • If this is the offending statement:

          “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

          “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

          What I notice is that he states that they ‘let’ him. It is all predicated on that ‘let’. This is Hollywood in one form or another, no?, or the semi-pornographic entertainment industry. The way it is always represented in articles and such (I do not watch TV) is a sort of sleazy environment overall, right? My understanding is that the girls will do many things to be able to get ahead.

          So, in that celebrity world, which is surely perverse, when you are a ‘star’ they DO ‘let you’ do all kinds of things. It is a world in which people are prostituting themselves freely and voluntarily I always thought.

          I cannot imagine any part of this world. And it is hard for me to contemplate that these sort of things are coming up around the election of the president, but I am inclined to see some sense in what Trump says: his adversary’s husband has a known track record of unsavory and harmful actions, and evasions, some of them that went to law. His misdeeds seem, impartially judged, more serious than what is known of Trump’s. How odd that is to reconcile with Trump’s unattractive, narcissistic style and all one might imagine of him! That he may be ‘less guilty’ than a man like Bill Clinton.

          It is therefor *fair* at least on some level to point out that HRC has teamed up in defense of Bill Clinton and against women who have been (it seems) definitely hurt by his actions. She does not have much *high ground* to stand on.

          But all Trump did — still sleazy and creepy (but not atypical AT ALL in men’s culture, and less in the Hollywood culture)(and I can ASSURE you that women, women I have known and spoken to in depth, are far more graphic and just as Machiavellian when it comes to sex-play and games) what Trump did is simply admit that, as a star, certain women would let him do what he wanted. They were not forced and there can be no insinuation of sexual abuse nor rape. It is all innuendo, isn’t it?

          What the women on this thread are doing is conflating their bad experiences of abuse — and we have all had to deal with something or other at some time or another — into a rhetoric of attack on this man, and men in general. This is HYSTERIA and this is how it functions. I noticed the same thing with the Brock Turner episode. They are so ANGRY that if given a chance they would dip men in boiling oil to get even.

          But now it is political hysteria and people are grasping at whatever they have close at hand to invalidate and denigrate Trump. They channel into it all this ‘progressive’ piousness. This ‘horror’ that a man, and men, act or think this way. But because they can certainly latch onto this, and they can blow it up and conflate their own bad experiences into it, their own effort shows itself as perverse.

          The thing about this is: there are people in this Land who may not articulate a position against the hypocricy, yet they *feel* it. They see people taking shots at this Ugly Man and they empathize. Strangely enough they do. They may ‘support’ him with their vote, which may turn out to be a vote against hysterical progressive hypocricy and this bizarre grandmotherly weirdo HRC.

          • The thing about this is: there are people in this Land who may not articulate a position against the hypocricy, yet they *feel* it. They see people taking shots at this Ugly Man and they empathize. Strangely enough they do. They may ‘support’ him with their vote, which may turn out to be a vote against hysterical progressive hypocricy and this bizarre grandmotherly weirdo HRC.

            Jack mentioned how many feminists came to Clinton’s defense, even after his perjury was exposed.

            I pointed out how the Democratic leadership did not have a problem with James Carville after his comment about Paula Jones.

            • It is a weird idea, I know. I have been reading a strange book by CG Jung on ‘Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky’. It is an incredible essay on the deep relationship between man’s internal, symbolic life and the outer, phenomenal world. This man’s work is really interesting and not a little outlandish.

              In short the UFO phenomenon, psychologically, reveals very important things going on in people at a mass level. It can be described as an example of *mass hysteria* and I think Mass Hysteria needs to be paid very careful attention.

              So, that will explain my next observation. But first some prembulation.

              (I am overall thinking of the last debate but then all things leading up to it…)

              It’s getting weirder and weirder. I cannot say I have seen anything so utterly upside-down strange as this last debate and its staging. It almost takes on Aeschylean colors, like a divine drama, like some satirical Moral Theatre. Deep guilts will have to be worked out. The time demands a sacrifice.

              There are too too many things bubbling under the surface: Feelings, fears, tragedies, things long stuffed down, underground terrors, inner rage, deep historical angst, woman’s feelings. People teeter toward the abyss and it is like Process Therapy.

              But I can’t get out of my head this notion of Enactment.

              In the ancient world omens and presages were a big deal. The things that happened ‘randomly’ had great significance. Jung spoke of an ‘acausal connecting principle’. Synchronicity.

              An excerpt on omens in Ancient Greece: “An oionos (omen) was defined in antiquity as the carnivorous vulture, especially a prophetic bird. By careful observation of the bird’s cries and the way or direction it flew, the augurs attempted to predict the future. They also saw lightning or thunder as omens, sent from Zeus, and observed the direction in which they saw or heard them. Omens represented the divine will and the decisions of the gods, their positioning opposite human endeavors, and were aimed at being understood by sensitive receivers of the time, who brought the divine charisma to become intermediaries, channels between the world of gods and humans. Even since Homeric times, the Greeks paid special attention to these signs: when they saw vultures from the left, another symbol of Zeus, they considered it a bad omen. The cry of a heron or a lightning to the right marked positive and promising omen.”

              Et cetera, et cetera …

              Critical of too much superstition and hysteria toward such events, always exaggerated by the Common People but into which any could fall, Plutarch wrote: “So, you see, while it is a dire thing to be incredulous towards indications of the divine will and to have contempt for them, superstition is likewise a dire thing, which, after the manner of water ever seeking the lower levels, filled with folly the Alexander who was now become a prey to his fears.”

              Still I want to know what in the heck did that FLY mean that landed on Hillary as she was holding forth?

              “The exact meaning of the fly varies among different cultures, but the fly is often symbolic with death, rotting, pestilence and upcoming change. In nature, flies are decomposers and feed on dead, decaying animals, fecal matter and trash. This is one of the reason that flies are often associated with death or sickness. ”

              Oddly, I am not only half joking …

  2. Other Bill

    On the lighter side, this recent comment/boast from The Donald:

    “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life,”

    On the basis of business generation alone, you’d think Planned Parenthood would be giving him thirty million dollars rather than HRC.

    • Wayne

      Thinking about this, the release of this lurid episode involving Trump’s porcine adolescent bragging about possibly sexual assaults plays right into the hands of Hillary the enabler who will feint outrage about the incident during the debate. Congratulations Hillary, you’ve won the election!

      • But its just sex. This is what Clinton’s defenders were telling us.

        • That a rule for liberals. Conservatives can’t have sex at all, because that might mean more conservatives. Try to keep up.

        • Chris

          It isn’t just sex. It’s sexual assault.

          Where is the tape where Bill Clinton admits to sexual assault?

          • Trump did not admit to sexual assault on the tape. Again, kissing an acquaintance or a friend is rude, and technically battery, but is almost never prosecuted as sexual assault, meaning the legal system doesn’t consider it such. When teens have been prosecuted, it has caused an uproar, and justly so.

            Here’s the transcript. Find me what you consider admitting to a sexual assault. (It’s not there.)

            • Chris

              “Grab them by the pussy” seemed to be both a suggestion and a descriptor of what he had done in the past–since he had just been talking about what he had done in the past (I.e. kissing women against their will).

              • Confirmation bias only. I detest Trump, detest men who talk like that or who advocate such conduct, even in jest. But I know a hyperbole when I hear one, and the difference between “You do this” and “I’ve done this.” How many times have people who never hit anyone in their life heard a story about someone being a jerk and said, “You should have” punched him in the nose, kicked him in the balls, ripped his face off, spit in his face? Many, many, many. I’ve said such things myself. Nobody thought they were admissions. Nobody thinking straight, knowing me, would.

              • Boy, Chris, why don’t you just re-write the whole set of quotes to fit your bias? Did he ever say he was kissing women “against their will”? No. In fact, he says that he assumes they are fine with it–the exact opposite.

  3. Chris

    Best tweet about the subject so far:

    “Listen, as a man who has a mother, two sisters, a wife, several women friends, the ghost of a dead lover, a debt to an actual forest witch,”

    • I’m beginning to think Democrats are so wildly over-reacting to Trump’s piggery because it will make them feel less guilty about voting for Hillary. Hey, if it dulls the pain, be my guest.

      • Eternal optometrist

        You’re absolutely right Jack. I think deep down they resent having to support someone who ran interference for a sexual predator, and then having to pretend she’s a supporter of women’s rights. I’d be pissed too.

        So you have this massive overreaction. And they all say sexual assault, Maddow must have sent out a memo. And if kissing is a sexual assault, shall we start talking about uncle joe?

        • You’re absolutely right Jack. I think deep down they resent having to support someone who ran interference for a sexual predator, and then having to pretend she’s a supporter of women’s rights. I’d be pissed too.

          I wonder if they will come forward and demand that Hillary Clinton be replaced.

  4. Here’s what I find fascinating and depressing. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone as unequivocally critical of Donald Trump, in detail and for as long, as have been, and continue to be. Nonetheless, there are those who force me into defending Trump by their insistence that he be portrayed as even worse than the facts dictate, because that is what the Party deems necessary to assuage the horror of having to vote for Hillary. More astounding still, they want to do this while still denying the hypocrisy of Democrats and feminists worshiping Bill, while attacking Trump in the one area where Clinton is as bad or worse than he is,

    I don’t get it.

    • More astounding still, they want to do this while still denying the hypocrisy of Democrats and feminists worshiping Bill, while attacking Trump in the one area where Clinton is as bad or worse than he is,

      I don’t get it.

      I posted a comment in another of your blog posts.

      https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/10/07/observations-on-the-obscene-trump-audio-scandal/#comment-408142

      When asked about Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi said that Bill was not on the ballot. But that is beside the point. Democratic leaders and feminist leaders did more than merely said that perjury is insufficient cause to remove him from office. They defended him on the merits of his conduct, saying it is only about sex. One of them even said Clinton was entitled to one free grope.

      Here is what you wrote about these defenses.

      Perhaps more damaging than Clinton’s conduct were the unethical messages and arguments his surrogates, lawyer Lanny Davis and others, flooded the talk shows and news shows with to keep public opinion supporting the poor, sexy, charming, persecuted President. They were the catalyst for my first ethics blog, for I was shocked at how invalid rationalizations were dominating the discussion. “Everybody does it!‘, used to excuse a President lying under oath, a bright line violation of his Oath of Office, because “everybody lies about sex.” “They did it too!,” citing actual and rumored sexual infidelities by past Presidents to minimize Clinton’s conduct, though had most of the actual affairs being cited been publicized at the time they occurred, those Presidents ( especially Kennedy) would have been impeached as well. “The King’s Pass,” claiming that Clinton was too important to hold to the standards of ordinary mortals. “It’s not the worst thing,” arguing that Clinton’s conduct didn’t reach the level of corruption of President Richard Nixon.* “Everybody makes mistakes,” as if a contrived cover-up of courtroom perjury and a months long workplace affair was “one mistake.” There were others. Lawyers, ministers, celebrities and elected leaders echoed these toxic excuses for Bill’s unethical conduct over and over again for months, rotting the public’s ethical instincts, all so he could get away with it. It worked, too. The Senate is a political body, and as long as the public had a high opinion of Clinton, it was never going to find him guilty of the House’s charges. If the President of the United States had to teach the country that lying under oath, having an adulterous sexual affair with an employee, lying to the public about it and impeding the justice system is acceptable, then so be it: the ends justify the means, of course.

      I wonder if anyone could explain to me why these arguments do not apply with equal force to Donald Trump.

  5. Forgive me, Dear Ethics Alarmers, for I have sinned. It has been one week (give or take a few days) since my last comment. And in the last week I accuse myself of not being as horrified by Trump’s most recent comments as I should.

    I have tried, though. Really. I tried. God knows I did. I read the transcripts. I listened to the video tape. I have consulted Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, and a host of other exalted people much more in tune than your lowly, misinformed commenter.

    But I failed, and I failed ‘uge: I just can’t find it in my being to declare that this is the final straw.*** How is the video anymore insulting than any of the other idiotic things he has said and done in the last year-and -a-half? Is it because he openly declares that he is pig? He ridiculed a disabled reporter at a campaign speech, for the love of Pete. That was bad but this video banter between two morons on a bus somehow removes all doubt about his qualifications? Please.

    And those of you now asserting that he is admitting that he sexually assaulted women, give me a break. I have no trouble believing that Trump considers/considered it ‘locker room talk’. That is because Trump has the impulse control of a ten year old. Yes. Some guys talk like that. Well-adjusted men don’t, though. Why? It is unbecoming of a real man because talk like that is juvenile, immature, and undignified. Guys over the age of 18 who talk like that are simply buffoons, who somehow feel they need to increase their self worth by talking about their sexual prowess. Most mature guys find it annoying. Rest assured, ladies, real men don’t talk or act like that. They learned from their fathers that such behavior is rude and crass, and they learned from their mothers that women are not ‘turned on’ by it. They learn and they grow up.

    Many a pundit has gnashed his or her teeth, frothed at the mouth, shaken a head in dismay, and declared outrage that such vile thoughts still exist today, perpetuating the rape-culture so prevalent in modern society. Many a Republican rent a garment because they either have wives, daughters, mothers, grand-relations, neighbors, or know someone who has many of the same. Many have called on him to resign (yeah, sure, like that’s gonna happen). Paul Ryan withdrew an invitation (and apparently conceded the presidency to Hillary Clinton while pledging to make sure Congress remains Republican, which seems a bit extreme to me, but the GOP must attone for its sins against women for nominating Trump as its candidate), Mike Pence stopped ducking questions about the video and issued a statement declaring his offense, and NBC suspended the news personality because he failed to stop Trump right in his tracks.

    Yet, somehow this is the most important news story. I had an emergency fishing trip so I missed the debate last night (I hate fishing, so that should tell you how much I wanted to watch the debate). I hear tell that more than 30 minutes were spent on this topic. One-third of the time to decide that Trump is a male-chauvinist pig. Oh. That could have been established in two minutes, three tops. Yet, 27 to 28 more minutes were needed. Good grief. Trump demonstrated months ago that he has neither the maturity, the temperament, the dignity, or the strength of personal character to be charged with the responsibilities attendant to the Presidency. The GOP blew it at the beginning; it is too late for the GOP to stop the hemorrhaging at this point. Reince Preibus is wholly responsible for the GOP’s woes and the ensuing misery. It will take election cycles to repair the damage Trump has done and will do to the Republican party. In Texas, there is an expression: “When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas”. Oops. To paraphrase the Good Reverend Jeremiah Wright, “Your chickens have come home to roost”.

    jvb

    *** Truth be told, that final straw happened a few months ago when he openly declared that his comments about Rosie O’Donnell were justified AND justifiable. It seemed horribly inappropriate and unprofessional and unseemly for a person running for the highest executive office in the country to target a ‘private’ citizen for ridicule in a nationally televised debate, especially when it continued a stupid, irrelevant, and unimportant private feud between two equally loathsome cretins. I closed my Trump book at that time and I haven’t reopened it (and now I can’t reopen it because I am using it to level out my dinner table – if I took it out my table would collapse).

  6. OBSERVATIONS:

    —The purpose of the Blog is to delve into ethics and decisions about ethics and ethical values.

    —The specific issues that come up are talked about. Decisions are made about conduct and all else.

    —To my mind, there always seem to be a more profound backdrop to the specific ethical questions. Meta-ethics perhaps. The following is an attempt to describe an aspect of the background and to point to a deep conflict I notice. It starts with statements:

    —A decision was made to un-repress sexuality. One notices this beginning in turn-of-the century literature. 1800s to 1920s. Essentially: to release male sexual desire from restraints previously established. Women were in many senses *protected* from raw male sexuality by the established cultural and social restraints. DH Lawrence would I think epitomize men’s desires in this sense. The major restraint against such liberalization did come from the religious-conservative camp. But slowly all opposition was overcame.

    —Over decades the controls and the *repressions* were lifted by conscious choice and by conscious actors and activists. Nietzsche to Lawrence to Reich and beyond. In the accurate sense of the word sexuality, but especially male desire, was ‘industrialized’. Made into matters of business. Huge and powerful forces got behind this and advocated for more and more freedom from restraint. One need not even mention Hollywood! The base, as always, is in releasing men’s sexual desire from restraint. What a woman’s interests REALLY are is a subtext here. Women have been SHOWN to want what men want but this is, I think, a trick of manipulation. But no matter, sex is industrialized. One could easily make a compelling list. From music to movies to sex-catalogues, to Tantric sex, to the Freudian analysis room, and from Freud to Eduardo Bernays: a straight and direct line to a zillion dollar Porno industry with major corporate players getting into the game. It all has to do with the mainstreaming of this desire and the *normalization* of it. Fact.

    —The extreme sexualizing and objectification of girls. It starts with women, moves ever downward to long leg girls. Lolita was a tragedy and Nabokov in some sense a tragic moralist. But what ‘Lolita’ came to mean is something altogether. (See ‘The Lolita Effect’). But that is what unleashing sexual restraint is all about. That is exactly what it is about. That is what it clamors for. And anyway, if you follow the socio-biologists, the ‘high value biological and reproductive target’ is the young woman which in biological terms means the teenager. That’s another fact. But when you knock over the social-convention controls and open the male gaze and male access to the girl-child, you do nothing less but arouse this libido. This is DONE. It is done everyday. The images as ‘visual literature’ permeate our present. Fact.

    —Now, we have sexual permissiveness on one hand and a culture-wide engagement with it and its fruits, but so very strangely there arises a female-based horror of male sexual appetite. There is ONE PROBLEM and one problem alone. Men. Women are in a daze of sorts. Are they actors designing a sexually liber present where they can do everything? Or, are they *victims* of a processes 100 years and more in the making which operates AGAINST their basic interests?

    —Be that an open question. But in any case what HAS happened is one and now perhaps 2 generations of boys have been raised up getting sexual education through pornographic visuals. These are not ‘cultural modifiers’ like romantic novels or boy-meets-girl love stories. No. These are straight and direct lines that go in and strike the cords very directly of desire and hormonal arousal. It is direct stimulation at a bio-imaginal level. These visuals bypass the cultural mind and social intelligence and tell of sex’s truths in the rawest terms. That is where the truths are learned. Not in sex-eduacation class. Not by moralizing lectures by feminists. Not by the social scolds who yet have real stories to tell of victimization.

    —But then women get up in arms about the *dangerous* and the *aggressive* aspect of male sexuality when precisely it becomes unrestrained and had been becoming unrestrained for 100 years! Just as libertinism goes to the sexual extremes, a politically-correct, progressive-puritanical and also government-linked socio-political faction rushes forward with its ‘lists of horror’ about men’s sexuality and capers. Yet that is the very nature of unrestricted, unmodified male sexuality. This is its animal element when it is unrestrained. But that is what was chosen. Which is all really to say that with the process of liberalization of sexuality, or permissiveness, of giving free-rein to man’s unrestrained sexual appetite …

    —That it seems to turn out to operate against women’s interests. If you really reduced those interests to the most basic.

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