Ethics Observations On The Current State Of 2016 Presidential Campaign Before Hurling Myself Out The Window, PART 2

lost-in-the-parking-garage

[When I arrived at this morning’s destination, a law firm in Northern Virginia, I found myself in a huge nightmarish underground parking garage, with inadequate signage, that was beneath four large office buildings. Once I drove beyond my desired elevator looking for an unreserved parking space, I found myself totally lost and disoriented. Everywhere I turned signs indicated that I was beneath the wrong building, and there were no apparent arrows pointing back to where I had come from. I was in there for a half an hour, going in circles.  When I asked for help from other drivers, they just shrugged and said that it was a confusing garage, or that they were lost too. Eventually, I parked the car between two rows, called security to say that I was trapped with my hazard lights on, and needed assistance.Eventually someone arrived  to lead me back to where I wanted to be. I now realize that this is  an excellent metaphor for the plight of the ethical, responsible voter in this train wreck election. The lights keep blinking, but nobody’s coming.]

To continue where I left off in Part I.:

9. The fact that all of the accusations against Trump might be true does not mean that Trump’s counter-accusation that this is a coordinated assault by the Democrats and the Clinton Campaign isn’t also true. The timing is suspicious. Democrats have apparently decided that they can’t win Presidential elections by running fair and transparent campaigns; there have to be sudden revelations of mysterious origins or impetus: Bush’s DWI arrest in 2000, Dan Rather’s faked National Guard letter in 2004, the Romney “47% ” tape in 2012, and now this. Not only are elections no longer decided on the issues and the positions, skills and demonstrated abilities of the candidates, the party that has denied that character matters is the main purveyor of character-based “October surprises.”

10. I have been waiting for the “Hillary Clinton Same-Sex Lover” October surprise from Trump and the Republicans. I’m pretty sure she’s out there. If she doesn’t surface now, it will mean one of these are true:

…The GOP and Trump are  too inept to find her.

…They found her or them, but are afraid of “backlash,’ which makes no sense at all. If you are willing to run Donald Trump for President, backlash is no longer an issue.

…Hillary treats her lovers well, and none are willing to betray her.

….They hate Trump more than they love money or notoriety

…They are afraid for their lives.

I suppose that it is possible that she doesn’t exist, but I  doubt it. This is one of a variety of long-term Washington whispers that are almost always based on fact. No, of course it shouldn’t make a difference at the polls; it would just be one more piece of evidence of what we know already: Hillary is a self-fueled fabrication whose public persona and positions are more lies than fact. However, if you supporter her, you are already at peace with that…..in other words, corrupted.

11. Attacking Bill Clinton as a response to the allegations is idiotic, so naturally, that’s what Trump is doing. Proving that Clinton is also a sexual predator doesn’t excuse Trump; showing the news media double-standard doesn’t make Trump’s conduct less horrible; making that case that Clinton was a terrible role model for the culture doesn’t suggest that we need an even worse one.

12. Horrible as it is for the nation, the election, and the national self-esteem, boy, did Trump ever ask for this. I could not believe that he answered Anderson Cooper’s question about his conduct be denying even that he had kissed women without their consent. Was it hubris? Stupidity? A gamble? I have worked closely with wealthy, powerful, narcissistic alpha males like Trump. As he suggested in his comments to Billy Bush, they really feel entitled to kiss attractive women as their right, and sufficient numbers of women allow them to do it without consequences that they keep doing it. It is a way of life for people like Trump who are less completely irredeemable than Trump.

13. I would guess that if they did or said something sufficiently inciting to anger women whom they had kissed, groped or fondled, about two-thirds of Congress and agency heads would face accusations like those being made against Trump now. I may be underestimating it. My law school room mate used to point out the astounding pulchritude of female Congressional aides, secretaries and staffers walking around the Capitol at lunch hour. He was right; it was and is ridiculous, like Hollywood casting, or Fox News. These men collect trophy wives and mistresses, and surround themselves with beautiful women. What do you think goes on in those offices? It is a culture of harassment. Washington, D.C. is the most sexist, sexually-charged culture outside of the entertainment industry, which is, again, why the feigned horror at Trump’s piggishness is so nauseating. These same people covered for Bill Clinton, the Kennedys, John Edwards and others.

14. To demonstrate how Trump’s presence on the political scene has sent basic decency into free fall, some right-wing blogs have even stooped this far. Have they no decency? At all?

15. This may be the worst justification for any bad conduct that I’ve ever heard: Donald Trump Jr. said today said that his father’s 2005 comments bragging about sexual assault make him “a human.” So does indulgence in any of the seven deadly sins, running from spiders, and using a flush toilet properly. Is this guy over-qualified, or what?

16. Finally, I might as well address this comment from the Part One threads here. It has been said that Reince Priebus is not wholly to blame for this fiasco. Of course, the Trump blight has many authors—the arrogant and incompetent Obama administration, the elevation of victimhood above actual merit and accomplishments, the betrayal by “the elites” of their duty to look out for the less educated and wealthy  rather than just deceive and exploit them, the failure of the education system, the amazingly obvious abandonment of fairness and objectivity by the news media, social media, popular culture rot, the celebrity culture. America’s materialism, the decline of ethics literacy and understanding, the cowardice and stupidity of Republican leadership, and many more. However, the buck stops with Priebus. He led the party. He could have banned Trump from the nomination process, and didn’t. He could have stepped in the first time Trump personally insulted Bush, Cruz,President Bush and the rest, and made an ultimatum: do it again, and you’re out—just like umpires do when a pitcher throws at a batter. He didn’t. When Trump amassed enough delegates to be nominated, he could have pushed through rules that allowed the convention to nominate someone competent. He didn’t.

“If Priebus had taken steps to preclude a fair election to all candidates in the hunt he would have been no better than Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the DNC as she ran interference for HRC,” a commenter writes. Wrong. Schultz was trying to rig the process—and did—to nominate a pre-chosen candidate who was unfit to run. The duty of a major party is to nominate a competent, qualified candidate, above all. There is no “election” of nominees. Both parties include delegates chosen in primaries as part of the process, but if the process isn’t working, as in “threatens to choose a gross and dangerous incompetent” then the duty of a party is to junk the malfunctioning system and devise a new one that comes up with a respectable, qualified candidate. Priebus  was the leader of the party, and his duty, as leader, is to the party, its constituents, the nation and the democratic system, not to a candidate or the nominating system that happens to be in place this year. He had a duty to block Donald Trump, and he is accountable for all of this.

 

62 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society

62 responses to “Ethics Observations On The Current State Of 2016 Presidential Campaign Before Hurling Myself Out The Window, PART 2

  1. Anonymous Coward

    What are your thoughts on the growing story (at least on the left) that we are witnessing the death or split of the Republican party?

    Sensationalist journalism that has become the norm or actual insight into what is going on at the GOP? I’ve seen some suggest that this actually started with the tea party movement.

    For reference, a fivethirtyeight article:
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-this-what-it-looks-like-when-a-party-falls-apart/

    (I am not entirely sure what bias they have, but they do seem to be reporting Clinton ahead in polls and enjoy reporting on Trumps problems, whether that is partisan or just true I’m not sure.)

    • Wishful thinking by GOP enemies.. There is an equal chance of the Democrats splitting, maybe greater. If Trump loses, he will no longer be a factor, and the party will work it out. If he WINS, the party is in more peril.

      • zoebrain

        A healthy democracy needs at least two sane, functional parties. Yes, I’ve said this often before.

        The Republican party has a real problem. Consider the plight if an unprincipled GOP congresscritter running for re-election.

        Support Trump – and they lose maybe 25-30% of reliably Republican voters who are disgusted with the man, and have no chance to reach out to swing potential voters or disenchanted Democrats.

        Condemn Trump – the swing voters, and disenchanted Democrats come into play. The 25-30% of reliably Republican decent voters will be motivated to come in and vote for someone seen to be not actually creepy. But…. from the experiences of those who have condemned Trump, as many as 2/3 of reliably Republican voters will go ape.

        Trump isn’t reaching out to those not already convinced to vote for him. He’s feeding his fans raw meat instead, turning them even more fanatical. They are not going to go away if he loses, except perhaps to form an American Liberty party or some such.

        More likely they’ll steer primaries even further to the alt-right.

        • “A healthy democracy needs at least two sane, functional parties. Yes, I’ve said this often before.”

          And now that the Republicans are going bonkers, we will have zero sane functional parties…

          • And the Republican Party isn’t nearly as bad off as you claim. Good article there. Pretty much prophetic. Like the last line.

            • HA! Awesome quote from Gormogons:

              We are one election cycle away from this sort of debate:

              Republican candidate: So that’s why we believe in reducing the capital gains tax and alleviating small businesses of government regulations.

              Democrat candidate: Republicans want to murder your teenage daughters.

              Moderator: That’s a fair point. Why do Republicans want to murder your family?

              Democrat candidate: Right in front of you!

              • zoebrain

                That’s the old GOP. The “establishment” that Trump fans detest.

                I can see why. They say one thing, do another.

                The New Improved Trump GOP is closer to the DNC manufactured stereotype.

                • Can’t speak for ‘Trump fans’ but I can say something for the ideas of a New Right/Alt-Right. We are interested in radical revision of the multicultural project and, it is necessary to say, ‘the American project’ as a multicultural, economic, media and public relations machine. So, the first order of the day is describing that and it, and then beginning to discuss what possible alternatives are. Defining those ‘alternatives’ also has to do with defining positions and viewpoints that are extremely challenging to the status-quo views and to the ‘fabricated moral positions’ which are general and common. A huge part of the work is to challenge those cultural assertions (and I have described this as confronting ‘the tenets of the American civic religion’) which underpin the general perspectives. It is essentially an education-project. ‘We’ tend to see that ‘you’ are stuck in ruts. We therefor come forward with pretty radical new ideas and, as is natural and expected, provoke fear and all sorts of bad associations which lead ‘you’ to condemn ‘us’ in no uncertain terms.

                  The only way for ‘you’ to understand ‘us’ is if you begin to examine the idea-base which informs us. That idea-base is exclusively articulated by the European Right and through GRECE and the work of Alain de Benoit. It is neither Right nor Left in fact, and in this sense bridges polarities. It is fresh, intelligent, thoughtful and ‘useful’ if I can put it that way. It especially has things to offer the American Right — and American ‘Conservatism’ — since it is idea-rich and can question American radical-liberalism in its economic manifestations, in it ‘religious certainty’ of itself, and its total power-house forcefulness. There is an American Right (or Alt-Right or what-have-you) that is developing its idea-base and making its opinions known. They are beyond doubt radical ideas which are confrontational. I have spoken in some of these terms and, of course, been shunned. This is *natural* I suppose. The existing structure, the reigning ideology (there is little separation between the positions of the American Conservative Right and Liberal Progressivism at least now) must push aside and block out such opinions and ideas because it knows that entertaining them leads to all sorts of problems and troubles. For this reason the *discussion* is not allowed and is shut-down.

                  In many ways I think one must notice that this is one aspect of what is going on today in the US. The closing of ranks in sheer horror and fear against an upsurge in sentiment, arising in and coming out of the population, which is not at all happy with the ‘multicultural’ model that has been/is being forced upon it. Yet ‘they’ are not very articulate and in some ways they are *brute*.

                  There is NO WAY for ‘conservatism’ or Republicanism to magically reconstruct itself and emerge whole and intact from the events of these recent days. They will either opt to join, ideologically, the existing and reigning progressivism and work to patch things up with elaborate PR and propaganda, or they will flounder ineptly and become irrelevant. The other option is actually to become a conservative ideological movement that can recognize and define real values that move people, not just ‘cucky’ platitudes. And that is where it all hinges. To move in that direction means to become identitarian. To understand and talk about race and culture. And to define and defend the interests of a specific European-American base. *You* (a general *you* that means ‘general, predominant view) cannot do this because you cannot justify the moral and ethical jump required.

          • zoebrain

            Zero? Um…. I’m sure I have a good argument against that somewhere, darned if I can find it though. I suppose if you squint and say that a corrupt political machine only a few steps above an organised crime syndicate is sane and functional… But I am not going to go that far. Even as a machine, it has no backup in case of malfunction.

        • It’s pretty hard, I daresay impossible, for a system to have even one sane, responsible party, or a functioning political system, without a civicy literate, engaged and educated populace. If your market is made up of idiots, you will behave idiotically.

            • Steve-O-in-NJ

              Unfortunately I am among that group, only because by the time the primaries happened in my state, there was no one else to pull the lever for.

              • Imagine if even a quarter of the remaining 86% of voters voted for Gary Johnson. Even a sixth of them voting for Johnson could result in no candidate getting 270 electoral votes, allowing the House to elect an adult as President.

                • What a pity, then, that Gary Johnson is a lazy, unserious, irresponsible idiot who thinks ignorance is a virtue.

                  • Rusty Rebar

                    So true.

                    I am not a big fan of the “not a true Scotsman” argument, but find Gary Johnson to be a very…..peculiar choice for the Libertarian party. Strange days indeed.

                  • Pure truth. This election cycle almost seems engineered to encourage third parties. Hillary v. Bernie v. Donald v. Ron Paul would have been a MUCH better election, even if I don`t particularly care for any of them.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            I don’t think that’s even it, Jack. I think at this point a good one third to one half of the populace is “gimme, gimme,” another one quarter to one third of the populace is “I’m offended” and another one quarter to one third is “I’m angry.” When large chunks of the population will vote for whoever promises them the most free stuff, or whoever stokes their passions, it’s impossible to have a real discussion about serious policy.

          • This is what I actually fear about the events of the present. I say this as ex-Venezuelan. Hugo Chavez was a trmendous populist who took advantage of real popular sentiment against a really and truly corrupt government which the people disliked. Unfortunatley, the political base that became Chavistas did not have and do not have enough ‘literacy’ in important areas to be able to inform a genuine or productive movement. What happened in Venezuela cannot, I do not think, happen in America. If I understand correctly there ARE many ‘checks and balances’ to presidential ‘imperial’ authority. It therefor remains to be seen what will happen — with Trump or with Hillary.

            Strangely, the people ARE in a sense to be feared. Wasn’t it Walter Lippman who wrote extensively on this problem about America, in America?

            But the thing I have to ask, not necessarily of you directly but as a general question, has to do with this question of ‘education’ and civic understanding. To learn ‘Americanism’ is to be exposed the American fundamentals. But those fundamentals — in my opinion — have been superceded by a whole group of choices that the American State has made of its own accord. Simple Constitutionalism (this is more a question than a statement) cannot, I do not think, function for the American neo-Imperial state. That is one thing that has happened. America is no longer that *simple* entity that developed that Constitution. I have wondered (and I am not the first one) if America has superceded itself and therefor its identity has come into question, and possibly begun to fracture.

            The other part of my *question* as it were has to do with: What happens when people get involved with ideas that turn against certain assumptions of ‘Americanism’ and also a post-war ideology which has become dominant. These would correspond to heretics. They are not anti-America but they are American revisionists. I know that the mere mention of his name is like evoking Satan himself but having read one title of David Duke I came to see him as quintessentially American, even a ‘true American’, and he is very well-educated and articulate. You say that people require civic literacy but what if they gain a civic literacy which still turns against the ‘progressivism’ of the present?

            I think such a thing (an ideological shift) is possible but it means confronting a group of ideological tenets that have become part of ‘Americanism’. And to do this is to undertake radical activity.

            • Spartan

              Please stop saying that Clinton is a lesbian. Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. Perhaps you are a homosexual Jack! After all, you ARE in theater, and prefer musical theater! Hmmmm. I bet a few well-placed whispers will get that rumor running throughout DC in a week or two. I’ve also heard whispers of an international banking conspiracy … that must be true as well.

              And now on to this: “As he suggested in his comments to Billy Bush, they really feel entitled to kiss attractive women as their right, and sufficient numbers of women allow them to do it without consequences that they keep doing it.”

              AARRGGGHHHH! Please stop saying this as well! Look, are there a handful of women out there with nothing rolling around in their brains and/or such low self esteem that they willingly let creepy old rich men fondle them in hopes of becoming Trophy Wife No. 5? Yes. But that is not what happens the majority of the time, and that is why women are so outraged with Trump’s “locker room talk.”

              I’m an old lady now, but in my teens, twenties, and thirties (and even now occasionally in my 40’s), men would grab me, try and kiss me, etc. This happened when I worked in restaurants (including family owned and operated restaurants), bars, college, law school, and law firms. What we have to quickly learn as women that the best method of handling this unwanted behavior is to try and skillfully deescalate the situation without bruising the guys ego so we are not retaliated against. The few times that I handled the situation myself (telling the man off, slapping him, etc.) it also came back to hurt me. I find it terrible that I usually advise women NOT to bring legal action unless they absolutely have no other recourse. At one law firm, when a young paralegal came to me about harassment (which was true, the senior associate harassed everybody — including me), my first reaction wasn’t to feel sorry for this poor paralegal but to feel sorry for myself because now I was obligated to report it since I was her superior. As suspected, after thirteen or so women were interviewed (who all told the same story as me), nothing happened to the jerk except a stern reprimand and indeed he was promoted to partner the following year. (Funny epilogue to that — he eventually ended up cheating on his wife with another married attorney and both his and her marriage fell apart. Strong moral core that guy — did I mention his name is Randy?)

              I have dozens (in fact many dozens) of these stories that just involve me — and if I start including my friends I could write a book with infinite sequels. So, blaming women because we “allow them to do it without consequences” is just another form of backlash against us. Please believe me when I say that there are no consequences for men like Trump or Cosby. We know this, so we just deescalate the situation and, if it happens in a workplace, we find another position with hopefully a better environment. Unless a woman has documented proof of the harassment, she will not prevail. And, even if she does have documented proof, her career still will suffer. Final note — many jurisdictions (including DC) make it illegal to record another person without their consent. So, women also have to think twice before deciding to record an encounter.

              • Spartan

                I didn’t mean to reply to Alizia — sorry about that Alizia.

              • Spartan

                “The few times that I handled the situation myself (telling the man off, slapping him, etc.) it also came back to hurt me.”

                Bad wording — I meant handling the situation by letting the guy know that he is a creepy asshole.

              • I didn’t say Clinton is a lesbian. She’s probably bi-sexual. I have said that so many insiders within the Clinton camp past and present have told me this that I think it is likely true. I do not believe in outing, which is wrong, but I also don’t care for hypocrisy, and October surprises. Clinton plays as dirty as it is possible to play. I wrote that I am surprised this aspect of her public fakery hasn’t been targeted, since she would target it if positions were reversed. And I am.

                Nor do I think the revelation would be anything rational people would find objectionable, except in the inherent deception it involves. Would it lose her votes? Sure it would. Because many of her supporters are hypocrites, and almost all of them are ethically corrupted in one way or another.

                I’m an ethicist and a lawyer. If I were gay, I would make sure that I did not indicate otherwise. I see no reason, beyond that, to tell anyone about personal sexuality. It’s none of anyone’s business, and I see no reason why anyone should care….unless I was running for high office.

                As for the other point: nope, sorry, a woman who allows herself to be harassed or assaulted and does not make a bona fide effort to see that the man involved is admonished, reprimanded, reported, punished, and accountable is complicit in all future assaults and harassment he engages in. It is exactly like stopping a bully. He may prevail, but the more pain and hassle he endures, the sooner he stops. The woman in First Class—are you kidding me? NOW she reports Trump? Why didn’t she throw a fit on the plane, alert the flight attendants, punch the bastard in the face, make the plane land, call for help, get the sky marshals to intervene, make a stink to the airline?

                Ridiculous. She had it in her power to stop Trump THEN. Women are not powerless. Duty to confront.

                • Spartan

                  Bullshit. I do not have any duty to confront. People have a duty not to commit assault.

                  • Steve-O-in-NJ

                    Maybe not, particularly if immediate confrontation would make the situation worse, but certainly a complaint after the danger had passed would be appropriate. Waiting 3 decades? Come on. The same applies to having a duty to use common sense. Yes, it sounds like blame the victim, but if you go walking back to the train station along the margin of a park known to be dangerous at night, in high heels, at 2 AM, you may say people have a duty not to rob you or beat you up, but the first question from me as the investigating officer is going to be “what had you out so late in that area?”

                  • WHAT? And how does society regulate that duty if men are allowed to continue doing it for a lifetime without consequences?

                    1. Women have a duty to confront and report spousal abusers.
                    2. Women have a duty to confront report sexual harassers
                    3. Women have a duty to report rape and sexual assault.

                    I know you know your answer could be just as reasonable used to argue that citizens have no duty to confront wrongdoers or report crimes. Come on.

                  • Spartan

                    1. Women have a duty to confront and report spousal abusers.
                    2. Women have a duty to confront report sexual harassers
                    3. Women have a duty to report rape and sexual assault.

                    1. No, they don’t. Women need to think about their own personal safety first. With spousal abuse, do I have children? Where are they? If I report the spousal abuse, will he be arrested? Or will the police just try and calm him down? If he is arrested, will he be released? Will my only protection be a TRO if he is released? Will being arrested make him more violent? What is my long term plan? Do I have the financial means (or relatives or friends) so I can be in a safe haven while the case is being prosecuted? Does it make more sense to just flee and file for divorce instead?

                    Every situation is different and needs to be treated as such, with no “victim blaming” if the woman doesn’t call the police. Personally, if this happened to me, I would probably wait for my husband to go to work and immediately pack my (and my girls’) bags and check into a hotel or a friend’s house. Then, I would only call the police if I thought that there was objective evidence of an assault. If I thought it were just my word against his, I would not press charges.

                    2. Again, no, they don’t. It depends. Have others witnessed the harassment or is there other evidence? If so, then go ahead and report it. But that is your right, not your duty. And, all women who do this should be prepared to find another job immediately. Because even in the best companies, if the person harassing you is your superior or someone important, you will be viewed as the troublemaker. If the harasser is at the same level as you, then you will be in a safer position. I once reported a guy for harassment (it wasn’t sexual, it was just violent — he was unhinged), but I knew that my job was safe. He was fired immediately — there were other problems with this guy. But I have been in other jobs where I did not report the harassment because I could not prove it.

                    3. Still no. I think it’s good policy to encourage reporting of sexual assaults, but again, what is the evidence? Did I wake up drugged after a party with no memory of the night before but I see that my clothes have been removed and there are loose condom wrappers on the floor? I know that I have been drugged, but am I emotionally prepared to go through a rape kit, questions by the police, and an investigation that may go nowhere? Especially since I have absolutely no memory of what happened?

                    Was I date raped? Okay, at least then I can identify my attacker, but did he leave me bruised and beaten or was he just able to hold me down. What is his reputation compared to mine? Does he or his family have considerable resources so they can make my life hell defending a defamation lawsuit if I can’t prove that this happened?

                    Was I raped by a random stranger? Did I see his face? Does he know where I live? If he doesn’t know where I live, I would absolutely report it. But I am made of strong stuff and know that I could withstand all the bad things that go along with reporting a sexual crime. But if he knew where I lived? I would think twice. The police cannot protect me 24/7 and I would fear for my and my family’s safety.

                    • All rationalizations or openings for them. You can’t report what you don’t know or don’t have proof of, that’s a given. But a known individual publicly assaulting you in a public place like an airplane? Not reporting has to be an exception: you make it sound like the rule.

                    • Spartan

                      Still wrong. Is the person Trump — a billionaire with a reputation of suing everybody? There is no way I would report it. He would sue me WHILE buying my company just to have me fired.

                      And, let’s assume that it’s not a known rich guy like Trump or Cosby. Let’s say it’s just some asshole who grabs my breast on a plane. What do I do? Do I immediately tell the flight attendant? Is there another seat? What if there isn’t? Do I think he is going to become violent 30,000 feet up in the air? I mean, he’s obviously unhinged — he just grabbed my breast.

                      Where am I? What redress do I have? Will he be arrested? Do I have to fly back to Topeka, San Francisco [fill in the blank] to formally press charges depending on what jurisdiction applies? What if it is an international flight? Who pays for that flight to testify in court? Is all of this worth a case that has nearly a 100% chance of being of plead out?

                    • By the time you go through all that, it’s usually too late to do anything, it’s true. No rescues would ever take place if the rescuer calculated all of the possibilities and their probability. I once took affirmative action to help a woman who was in immediate danger in a dangerous situation. I just did it; I didn’t think about the risks at all, which also means it wasn’t especially courageous: if I had thought about them, I wouldn’t have acted at all. All that went through my mind was that I was in a position to help and nobody else was, so I had no choice. So much of the time, if we think about whether to do the right thing, we won’t do it. There are always reasons.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      One of the few times I actually DID get violent involved a pair of jerks on the Paris Metro. One guy dropped tickets and pretended to be fumbling around trying to retrieve them while the other tried to slip around behind my dad and steal his wallet. My father was, however, a veteran of the NY subway system and stuffed his own hand in his pocket. Meantime the other guy on the floor was dumb enough to shove me, I realized what was going on, and sent him sprawling with a shove and an admonition to “take your hands off my father, creep!” My brother raised his own hands, and, seeing they were outnumbered, both these clowns beat a hasty retreat, the one I shoved saying “I was just trying to pick up the ticket” in broken English.

                      I didn’t give a damn what the consequences were, I was defending my family from an obviously criminal act. I might have thought differently later, admittedly. (No, no Monsieur Gendarme, my brother did NOT viciously kick that man in the chest…)

                  • Spartan said, “Bullshit. I do not have any duty to confront.”

                    That’s right Spartan, absolve yourself of any moral responsibility and sleep well at night. That kind of attitude is morally bankrupt!

                    Tell me Spartan; if the man was assaulting your teenage daughter would you just stand their like a freaking dolt and preach that you have no duty to confront? Don’t you DARE tell me that’s different! You have a moral duty to do SOMETHING!

                    If you were being violently raped would you just lay there or would you fight back; would you want someone to come to your aid or would you want then to think “I do not have any duty to confront”?

                    Do you have a double standard regarding this?

                    If a man grabs you and kisses you without your consent, slap that man as hard as you freaking can right across his face or kick the bastard in the balls! Let the bastard and his morally bankrupt friends call you a bitch all they want – screw them! For God sake people, at least stand up for yourself, their are way too many morally bankrupt people out there that will be thinking the same “I do not have any duty to confront” bullshit that you stated above.

                    Spartan said, “People have a duty not to commit assault.”

                    That is true, but that’s not an assumed and approved “duty” by those that commit such acts and when it does happen anyone who is a moral and responsible adult human being must do something immediately to put a stop to it.

                    • La Sylphide

                      This thread has been gnawing at me all day. I’m not sure why; perhaps because the times I was sexually assaulted when I was underage I was terrified and so deeply, deeply ashamed. As an adult woman, the number of times I actually confronted a man’s boorish behavior the situations went south and they went south fast. I cannot possibly fight off a man who stands 7 inches taller than I and outweighs me by 150 pounds. Fortunately for me, in those situations, there were gentlemen nearby who interceded and offered me protection; but protection is not something I would ever count on. I have been the target of cat calls and creepy come-ons, and been in physical situations in which I felt uneasy or downright threatened. I weigh my options quickly and carefully and if I think confronting a man will result in his lunging at me, spitting in my face, and threatening to “beat the shit” out of me (which happened to me on a subway train) I’m getting the hell off the train; the confrontation isn’t worth it.

                    • Spartan

                      “If you were being violently raped would you just lay there or would you fight back.”

                      Put your emotion and self-righteousness in check Zoltar, because it is seriously pissing me off. The truth is that you don’t know shit about being sexually assaulted and I do. And no, I am not going to share my story (or my friends’ stories) so you can judge whether or not our responses were appropriate.

                      But I will tell you this. Does the bastard who is raping me have a weapon? Then yes, I absolutely will lie there and do nothing because I have a family to take care of. I would rather be raped than be raped and dead.

                    • Spartan

                      La Sylphide — I’m so sorry to hear this.

                      And I do want to reiterate something you mentioned — most of the men on this thread are questioning the split second analyses that we have to make. Well, we had to learn quickly to analyze and react to these situations — some of us from an early age.

                    • I’m questioning a woman taking 30 years to expose a serial sexual predator, and waiting until after the disastrous decision to make him the only alternative to allowing a cynical, dishonest and corrupt woman who also enabled a serial sexual predator become President to do it. How is that a split second analysis?

                    • Spartan said, “Put your emotion and self-righteousness in check Zoltar, because it is seriously pissing me off. “

                      Spartan, I really don’t care if it pissed you off; the point is for you to change your ways and encourage fighting back and yes confronting violence to stop it from happening to someone else. If it takes someone like me to shock you into facing reality then fine, I’m guilty of being full of emotion and self-righteousness – I just don’t care what you think of me in this regard.

                      Spartan said, “The truth is that you don’t know shit about being sexually assaulted and I do.”

                      So all hail to Spartan, keeper of knowledge; I bet your knowledge base didn’t include this…

                      FYI; years ago after I personally stopped a violent sexual assault in progress and almost got thrown in jail for it, I decided to do something productive about it and started teaching self defense classes in two different states for women just like you that didn’t want to be abused and chose to fight back and I damned proud to say that it helped save at least two women’s lives fighting off armed men.

                      Lay there if you want, that’s your choice; walk away when someone else is being violently abused, that’s your choice; don’t fight back, that’s your choice. Guess what, the violent offender is depending on women or men just like you to not fight back and choose to submit to their demands.

                      My goal is for you to walk away from this conversation with a little different perspective and maybe choose to help instead of thinking that you have no moral duty to confront.

                      Then end.

                    • “And I do want to reiterate something you mentioned — most of the men on this thread are questioning the split second analyses that we have to make. Well, we had to learn quickly to analyze and react to these situations — some of us from an early age.”

                      I don’t think that’s actually what anyone said… At least not in the beginning. These Crosby-esque dogpiles don’t require “split second” thought…. They require decades of silence. I wonder what the most recent of Crosby’s or Donald’s victims think of the less recent ones, and if they wonder if they would never have been a victim had those original victims come forward earlier.

                    • “The truth is that you don’t know shit about being sexually assaulted and I do.”

                      I hate this argument.

                      I am sorry for your experience. Really. But. And that’s the word I know is hard: But. It does not actually make you an expert. It makes you involved. It makes you biased. It means that you have strong opinions and feelings regarding the topic, but it does not mean that those feelings are rooted in logic or reason. Being assaulted does not confer unto you an innate understanding of the factors at work, it just hurts. And that hurt translates into feelings. Your feelings are your feelings, and I encourage you to feel them, and work out whatever you feel you need… But. They can not be the basis for policy decisions.

                      We don’t accept this logic anywhere else: Being the victim of fraud does not make an individual the best prosecutor for their fraud crime. Breaking your arms does not give you the expertise you set and cast your own injury. Why on Earth do you think your trauma gives you an expertise that allows you to silence anyone else on this topic?

                    • Completely agree with your objections, but in fairness it does give someone a semi-leg up in speaking about whether or not one’s state of mind during an assault is conducive to reacting in an appropriate manner, which seems to be the sub-topic of this sub-thread.

                      And I do say only a slight leg up, because more people than just women have been caught in dangerous situations in which the personal security and privacy has been suddenly and violently breached and have been compelled to react. That this topic is discussing such incidences sexual in nature doesn’t really seem to me a cause to make it more special than any other surprise attack.

                    • That’s fair, and it explains why certain victims don’t come forward. But that doesn’t change the fact that people who sexually assault tend to continue to do so until they’re stopped.

                      I understand that to the victim this duty to confront may feel like a re-victimization, and horribly unfair… and to be fair to them it may very well revicitmize them, and it most probably IS very unfair to them. But most social contracts come with a price, and those prices don’t change the fact that it’s still the right thing to do.

                      I mean: Here we are, talking about sexual assault, something that we’re told we should take every effort to reduce, and the very people screaming those platitudes from the rooftops are the same people saying that victims have no duty to do the only thing that can get the process of attempting to get justice started. It’s insane.

                    • Beth

                      Zoltar — stopping an attack is quite different than being a victim of an attack. I’m glad you intervened, but sometimes when a woman fights back — and there isn’t a knight in shining armor around to assist — it only escalates the violence. A split second decision has to be made — and survival is the goal.

                    • Beth said, “stopping an attack is quite different than being a victim of an attack.”

                      When your mindset is being a victim, you’ll be a victim and likely never change and unfortunately you’ll probably pass on that attitude to others; this is NOT the middle east, fight for yourself and encourage others to do the same. You want to know one of the very first things I taught women about self defense – stop being the damned victim and start being the one in control.

                      There are no such things as knights in shining armor, just decent human beings with the morals that won’t allow them to think “I do not have any duty to confront”.

                      I thought it was interesting and maybe even a little deceptive that you choose to use your Beth account to reply this time instead of the account one you started this conversation with? I thought you changed your name, not opened a new account?

                    • Spartan

                      My computer still remembers me as Beth — I usually catch it — this time I didn’t. You are deranged to read more into it then that. If I wanted to be deceptive, I could just send this link to a dozen or so female friends and have them post similar comments.

                      I can’t discuss this topic any longer. I tried to be civil, but I can’t continue to do so. For the record, I have intervened on others behalf many times. And I have defended myself many times. (Pause for a moment Zoltar to digest the phrase “many times” before you whip out your bold and all caps proclamations. Isn’t it sad that I have “many times” to recall?) But there also times when I couldn’t or my friends couldn’t — and I don’t blame myself or them for being attacked. Only an asshole does that Zoltar. Focus on the real problem.

                    • Spartan said, “My computer still remembers me as Beth — I usually catch it — this time I didn’t.”

                      I can accept that.

                      Spartan said, “You are deranged to read more into it then that.”

                      So now I’m deranged for bringing up a fact that some people might consider a little bit less than honest; but never mind for now, I’ll just make sure to store that logic in the back forty until I can sling it back at you sometime in the future. Since I clearly stated, “I thought you changed your name, not opened a new account” this little dig of yours was truly not necessary.

                      Spartan said, “For the record, I have intervened on others behalf many times. And I have defended myself many times.”

                      I commend you for doing so but I’m curious why you stated earlier “I do not have any duty to confront”? I’m perceiving somewhat of a conflict between that original statement and this one; what am I missing?

                      Spartan said, “I don’t blame myself or them for being attacked. Only an asshole does that Zoltar.”

                      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt before my head explodes; were you just implying that I blame victims of assault for being victims? Yes or No.

                    • Spartan,
                      I know you’re posting replies elsewhere on this site, how am I to interrupt your lack of a simple yes or no to my question? Should I assume yes based on our conversation here, or should I assume no based on previous conversation elsewhere?

                      “I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt before my head explodes; were you just implying that I blame victims of assault for being victims? Yes or No.”

                    • Spartan,
                      I’m not going to concede my previous points; however, I’m choosing to assume that your answer to the previous question I asked you is no. I choose to do this out of respect.

                      Even though we often disagree on topics, sometimes quite “vocally” (which is our only real tool here), your input is welcome and sometimes needed to inspire a bit of critical thinking from others, including myself.

                      You are not one of the people in the blogosphere that I really don’t care to interact with. See you in another blog.

                • Abigail Black

                  Why, apropos ethics, do you believe it would be your responsibility to disclose your sexual orientation if you were running for high office? Is sexual orientation pertinent to competance?

                  • Obviously. It would likely indicate hoe she would consider and approach gay issues domestically and internationally. Vital information for the people, no?

                  • No, and no. However, it would also be my responsibility not to mislead the public in that regard. In issues where sexual orientation is relevant to real or perceived conflicts, then my own would have to be disclosed.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                Not sure what to say about this from a male point of view. I can’t speak to teens except late teens, since I went to an all-male Catholic high school in the late 1980s where everyone was very anti-gay, so everyone kept their hands to themselves except either when playing a contact sport or fighting. In college there was a certain unspoken belief that the best-looking guys could expect the girls to put up with a certain level of touching and the girls were expected to reciprocate to some degree. The lesser looking or charm-challenged guys were the ones held to extremely tight standards regarding harassment.

                The fact was that, even at that relatively early time, there was one set of rules for certain people, and another for the vast majority. So a football hero or a good-looking theatrical leading man (yes, there were several where I went who were not gay) or someone from a rich family could get away with a LOT, and often be admired as a Casanova or Don Juan (one such guy who also was involved in the beating death of another student went on to (briefly) date Princess Beatrice), whereas an ordinary guy like myself who even looked at the wrong woman the wrong way was potentially in a lot of trouble.

                I myself spent two hours with the Dean of Students talking my way out of allegations of sexual harassment by a woman I had never even MET, leave alone harassed, but who hated me for being an outspoken conservative voice. The case was reluctantly closed as “unfounded” when I produced a computer lab sign-in and sign-out sheet showing I was working on a paper at the time of the alleged harassment. Even that might not have been enough, but that sheet that evening was kept by an employee, not another student. That employee, a retired social worker in his 60s working part time, did not hesitate to tell the dean the truth, that I’d never left my spot at the computer, whereas another student, particularly one who was friends with the accuser or a friend of a friend of the accuser would have probably hemmed, hawed, and said well, I don’t know, I didn’t really watch the other students, it’s possible he could have slipped out when I wasn’t looking, etc.

                By comparison, a popular and good-looking peace activist type was accused of having forced himself on a fellow activist (part of the reason he was a peace activist in the first place is peace groups were close to 70% female) and the CHAPLAIN’S OFFICE intervened to protect him, leaning on the accuser and trying to persuade her that this was all a misunderstanding, both of them had a few, and that his voice was an important voice that needed to remain credible and not bogged down with accusations. The accused went on to law school at Harvard and is now a high ranking partner at a law firm in Cleveland, working on anything but peaceful cases (defending big companies, mostly), although he is also plugged in with the Democratic Party and occasionally takes a pro bono referral from the SPLC to maintain some progressive cred. He’s got a wife and kids, but $10 says any good-looking intern or summer associate best look over her shoulder when he is about (transient people like that have no power at all).

                Trump is just this kind of thing writ large – the bigger than life, better looking, better connected guy who knew it and used it to get whatever the hell he wanted. JFK was pretty darn close, but he at least had some semblance of being a public servant. Clinton was essentially the same, but he at least used charm rather than brute force.

                As an ordinary guy who has to keep to a much more honorable path, I have to say there’s no reason for folks like me to support or even much like folks like Trump. To guys like him I’m just some minor person to be barked at by my last name and shoved aside.

                BTW, a lot of this applies to Hillary too, although she’s more manipulator and opportunist than outright bully. She’s the supervisor who would steal her team’s ideas, then glom all the credit when things went well, but throw someone else under the bus when they didn’t. She’s the fellow board member who would promise to support you, then switch her vote without telling you if it was going to benefit her to do so. She’s the publisher who would change your writing slightly and take your name off the article so she would get sole credit. Ordinary people really have no reason to support or much like her either.

          • I suppose I could have put this comment almost anywhere and in any post that had to do with Donny Trumpet. But I have this to say and if there is anyone who should know something about it, it’s you: I am reading ‘Revolution 1776’ by John Hyde Preston. I don’t know a great deal about the American Revolution except having read a few titles. But I was interested in this personage Samual Adams. Based on what I am reading Samual Adams could easily be said to have a good deal in common with Donny Trumpet. What I mean is that Donny Trumpet is a man cut from the same cloth. Donny Trumpet is quintessentially American, and he acts and thinks in ways that are comparable to Adams and to NUMEROUS of these boisterous, head-strong, American zealots. Even with Trump’s recent and outrageous rhetorical outbursts! It is a very similar ‘spirit’ that moves in each of them. And even when you describe his boorishness and such: he is a natural son of the Republic.

            Reading about Samual Adams who unlike Trumpster never had much success until he could sunk his teeth into the cause of rebellion, Adams was like Trump a wizard at stirring things up propagandistically. He really seemed to come to life when this cause fell to him.

            I know that you tremendously dislike Trump but I am curious if, with your background int he history of the Republic, that any part of what I am saying makes sense?

            And the other part is Trump’s present activities: total disruption, tearing the fabric, overturning of tables, crashing down the crystal: is this not EXACTLY the spirit of ’76?

  2. Washington, D.C. is the most sexist, sexually-charged culture outside of the entertainment industry, which is, again, why the feigned horror at Trump’s piggishness is so nauseating. These same people covered for Bill Clinton, the Kennedys, John Edwards and others.

    For all Trump talked about being outside the establishment, he sure behaved like them.

    But as I pointed out, 60% of voters gave Bill Clinton a pass back in 1998. That culture exists because voters tolerated it.

    Proving that Clinton is also a sexual predator doesn’t excuse Trump; showing the news media double-standard doesn’t make Trump’s conduct less horrible; making that case that Clinton was a terrible role model for the culture doesn’t suggest that we need an even worse one.

    How about the fact that voters continued to support Clinton?

    Note that Illinois politicians accused of misconduct can not make a similar claim regarding Rod Blagojevoch. Ever wonder why?

    When Trump amassed enough delegates to be nominated, he could have pushed through rules that allowed the convention to nominate someone competent. He didn’t.

    That was wholly on Preibus. It actually disgusted a Trump campaign official so much he walked out of the convention.

    “If Priebus had taken steps to preclude a fair election to all candidates in the hunt he would have been no better than Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the DNC as she ran interference for HRC,” a commenter writes. Wrong. Schultz was trying to rig the process—and did—to nominate a pre-chosen candidate who was unfit to run. The duty of a major party is to nominate a competent, qualified candidate, above all. There is no “election” of nominees. Both parties include delegates chosen in primaries as part of the process, but if the process isn’t working, as in “threatens to choose a gross and dangerous incompetent” then the duty of a party is to junk the malfunctioning system and devise a new one that comes up with a respectable, qualified candidate. Priebus was the leader of the party, and his duty, as leader, is to the party, its constituents, the nation and the democratic system, not to a candidate or the nominating system that happens to be in place this year. He had a duty to block Donald Trump, and he is accountable for all of this.

    In other words, the ends justify the means.

    Just like Debbie Wassermann Schultz.

  3. Neil Dorr

    Jack,
    Friendly correction: Shouldn’t this be Part 2?

    -Neil

  4. I’ve read part 1 and Part 2 and I wasn’t going to comment on either but this sentence sucked me in:

    “I now realize that this is an excellent metaphor for the plight of the ethical, responsible voter in this train wreck election.”

    The metaphor is most certainly a good one!

    I’ve said in the past…

    There are no chasm walls created so distant by ideologies that are not bridged by the solid foundation of underlying human commonalities that support those ideologies.

    Those are my words and a chunk of what makes me the man I am today. Yes I’m a hard man, sometimes a very hard man, but sometimes being a hard man is exactly what is needed to bridge that chasm. Short of self-preservation or protecting my family or innocents from truly violent situations, this has been a guiding light for me.

    I’ve spent plenty of time in my life in the last 20 years trying to identify those solid foundations of underlying human commonalities with others to find workable solutions to issues that come up in everyday life and to this day I’ve been successful. I am very sad to say that as it relates to this Presidential election I have failed and failed miserably in this regard. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried, and I cannot find an underlying human commonality with either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton that outweighs the separation of chasm walls they have built separating me from their ethical actions and behavior, simply put their are things about their morals that put them a world apart from me.

    I’m not giving up; I not checking out of this election; I am still listening and I encourage others that are just as disillusioned with this election debacle as I am to do the same. When it comes time to vote, you will do so based on what makes you the person you are, your convictions, your ethics, your morals. Trust yourself, you really can’t ask for any more than that.

    I’m still searching for what might turn out to be that one thing, that one redeeming quality for me, that will outweigh all the piles and piles of perceived negatives. Sure that could make me a one issue voter, but at this point in time that might be my only “out” and right now I’d be okay with that.

    You can rest assured that I will continue to pay attention and do my civic duty. I will vote my conscience regardless of what anyone else says I should or shouldn’t do – this is my vote – I’ll do as I damn please with it. Immediately after I cast my vote for President I’ll be the one running full speed out the door of the polling station to release the uncontrollable projectile vomit into the surrounding bushes. I’m guessing I won’t be the only one leaning over those bushes whether figuratively or literally, at least I hope I’m not the only one.

    I have ZERO hope for a positive outcome for the United States after this election is over. My only real hope now is that I’m proven wrong.

    • wyogranny

      I hope you’ll vote for someone you can support even if it’s a write in. Projectile vomiting is only the outward sign of how sick voting for Hillary or Trump will make you. I don’t intend to vote for either one of them. My conscience will be clear and I’ll know I didn’t outrage my principles. I refuse to be a party to the destruction of decency by choosing the lesser of two evils.

  5. zoebrain

    How to begin… Most readers know I’m intersex. That due to a fortunately rare medical syndrome, 3BHSD, I was born looking mostly male, changed to look mostly female later. I identify as female, always did.

    The metabolic meltdown in my case was rapid – took about 100 days for 80% of it, I lost over 100lbs of weight in that period.

    So.. when did I decide to adopt a female social appearance rather than keep up the pretence of being male? It was because of a rape threat. I was walking from where my csr was parked to the office, wearing the same male attire I had done for years, and a bunch of drunks accosted me.

    They called me a Butch Dyke. A Drag King. And threatened to take me and show me what a real man could do, as they tried to surround me.

    I ran. The next day I came to the office in female clothing, as I no longrr passed as male

    It never ocurred to me to contact the police. I couldn’t have given a good description, and the likelihood would be that I’d be the one arrested as some kind of sex pervert engaged in solicitation. That happened more often back then, but still does today.

    Fortunately I had many female colleagues who took me under their collective wings, attempting to give me a crash course in the realities of how women are treated, and how to survive. Thank God for girlfriends. Yes, there is a cabal there, something many men have suspected.

    But even the best, most observant, rational, civil, least sexist guys are *clueless* about the realities here. I thought before the change that I knew the basics at least, part of pretending to be male was trying to be the best man I could be, sensitive but courageous, chivalric without being condescending. And I knew *almost nothing*, I had to experience it to believe it.

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