Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/5/17

Good morning!

1. I’ll have more later on the leaked transcripts of the President’s private conversations with the presidents of Mexico and Australia. Whoever did it was betraying his or her superior and the nation, and  needs to be identified and prosecuted. This is malicious sabotage, and nothing less, designed to make it more difficult for this President to function. Those attempting to justify it and rationalize it disqualify themselves as objective critics of the President and also as responsible citizens. The conduct cannot be justified, and no one should attempt to justify it.

The Washington Post publishing the transcripts is a hostile act. True, in today’s Wikileaks world they would have been put online somewhere, but absent some scandalous disclosure in one or both of them, this wasn’t news. The news is that embedded foes of ourelected government are willing to harm the nation in order to undermine the President.

Eventually, the question turned yesterday to why the contents of the transcripts did not prompt any further headlines or allegations of scandal. The answer is that the hoped-for smoking gun proof of the President’s incompetence did not surface in either conversation, so they were no longer of any interest. Ann Althouse, to her credit, waded through the entire exchange with  Peña Nieto, and you can read her analysis. The liberal blogger’s conclusion:

“But what can his antagonists grab onto? They can’t very well oppose crushing the drug gangs or better trade deals. So it’s no wonder they went big with Oh! He insulted New Hampshire! And that’s it for the transcripts. Don’t encourage people to actually read them. They might think Trump did just fine.”

Can’t have that.

2.  Rep. Maxine Waters responded to the leaked discussions by saying that she hoped such leaks continued. She is calling for and endorsing illegal and unethical conduct that is damaging to the United States, as a sitting member of Congress. I wonder if she could say anything, including calling for Trump’s assassination, that would attarct rebuke from her party? I doubt it. I remember the howls of horror from Democrats during the 2016 campaign when candidate Trump said,

“I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press”

There is no ethical difference between calling for Russia to hack a U.S. citizen’s e-mails and calling for government employees to break the law to reveal secret government communications. If there is a difference, it was that Trump was joking, and Waters is not.

3.  With tattoos more popular and visible than ever, the Federalist is suggesting that there is something wrong with getting them—that is, wrong other than the fact that many people think they are unsightly; that the more people have them, the less effective the things are as statements of rebellion and individuality; that they trigger biases in many people (like me), including employers (Did you know that the Armed Services will to accept a volunteer with more than 25% of his or her body covered by tattoos, on the theory that this is res ipsa loquitur for someone with dubious judgment?); and that they are excessive expenditures for a permanent ink-blotch that the odds say you will regret sooner or later.

There is nothing wrong with tattoos other than those things, however. They are the exact equivalents of long hair and beards in the Sixties, and, in some ways, obnoxious T-shirts with simple-minded political statements on them, like “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” I suppose tattoos add an element of commitment that those trivial displays do not have.

4. The line that matters in this significant story  is the last one: “USC is reportedly conducting its own investigation and Premjee could still be expelled.”

Premjee is a male student accused of rape by a female student who claimed she was so intoxicated that she couldn’t remember anything. Prosecutors argued that she could not have consented in the state she was in. Then investigators found security footage from a local nightclub and a college dormitory clearly showing the alleged victim being the aggressive party in the encounter, kissing Premjee, leading him out of the nightclub and making suggestive sexual gestures. After watching the videos, the  Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed the case  saying, “I believe there was consent. There is a very strong indication that the alleged victim in this case was the initiator.”

Why, then, is this falsely accused student still under investigation and facing possible expulsion?

It is because Barack Obama allowed his Education Department to threaten educational institutions to force them to install policies and procedures presuming that any female student accusing a male student of sexual assault was a victim and telling the truth. This was and is unethical, divisive and destructive, and if the administration of Donald Trump does nothing else beyond killing this metastasis of progressive cant gone mad, it will not have existed in vain.

5. Segue! And speaking of a metastasis of progressive cant gone mad, here’s an ugly and revealing tale involving Lena Dunham. I would normally  explored this issue  in a full post, but Lena, like Alec Baldwin, Ann Coulter, Michael Moore, Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity, is on my list of people who get a Julie Principle pass her unless they exceed their previously established norms of unethical words and deeds—which in Lena’s case is well nigh impossible short of a chainsaw massacre.

Dunham was waiting to board a delayed flight and walking through ane airport when she overheard two American Airlines employees having a private conversation about transgender children in which one of the uniformed attendants apparently said that she found the “trans” condition icky, or words to that effect.  The actress/writer/ feminist then reported the allegedly bigoted conversation  to their employer, American Airlines, on Twitter. (After an investigation, American said that it couldn’t confirm the accusation.)


I am tempted to leave the commentary here with the statement that if I have to explain what’s wrong with this, I don’t think we have any basis for future communication. How close will progressives get to the methods and values of the former Soviet Union before their ethics alarms start ringing, however faintly?

Do they—or you, as the case may be—really want to live in an American society that devolves into a paranoid state where citizens are afraid to express opinions that are disapproved by the social justice elite? Do they—or you—honestly see nothing wrong, undemocratic and dangerous about the Self-Righteous of the Left following clusters of Americans around with pencil and note pads, or recorders, or smart phones, hoping to catch proof in spontaneous conversations that strangers—or Mom and Dad?— have tabooed beliefs?

American Airlines flight attendants have every right to express whatever opinions they want to express in exchanges with friend and colleagues, over meals, over the phone and in e-mails or texts. Lena Dunham wanted to get these American employees fired for having opinions that she disagrees with—and that, increasingly, is the mindset of today’s progressives. Be afraid.

That Dunham’s reign of terror and forced compliance of thought would surely be the approved policy of the Clinton Administration was one reason so many people voted for Donald Trump, and on that basis, they cannot be criticized.  Right now, to prove I am still in the United States, I am going to express the most bigoted, hateful, offensive, politically incorrect ideas, feelings and ideas I can imagine, to my wife and my dog, because I can, and because nobody in the world has any business trying to punish me for it.  Ethics is about what we do, and  not all of the mean, ignorant, foolish and impulsive things that go through our heads and sometimes come out of our mouths to people who we trust to say, “Oh, he’s just blowing off steam.”

Dunham, in telling American that their employees should be constrained from saying anything that breaches politically correctness while in uniform, asks, “What if a trans teen was walking behind them?” That’s the standard the censorious, threatening, bullying, totalitarian thought and speech police of the left want in their hellish utopia: Never say anything that might offend the absolute last person you would want to hear it….unless you are calling the President of the United States stupid and orange, or Chris Christie fat,  or calling Republicans evil, or saying that white people are plagues on the Earth and deserve to die, because that’s all true, and besides, who cares about anyone whose offended by those statements?

36 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/5/17

  1. I can’t believe this. Today’s 5 warm-up topics are all topics I found and read on my own. What are the odds?
    Well, now that I think of it, the odds are pretty good because simply going online and searching for events of the day increasingly results in finding so many ethics breaches it makes your head spin.

  2. #4- Dr. Judith Grossman 04/16/2013 WSJ:

    ”I am a feminist. I have marched at the barricades, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and knocked on many a door in support of progressive candidates committed to women’s rights. Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act.” (bolds mine)

    What happened in June of 2015 prompting this seismic shift in Grossman’s ideology? Her little Y-Chromosomal bundle-of-joy got caught up (accused of “non-consensual sex”) in the presumption-of-guilt campus climate she helped create.

    Oh the irony!

    The very next day Feminist Anti-Christ Paul Elam (founder: A Voice For Men) put it a tad more succinctly while leaving little doubt where he stands:

    “Fuck You Judtih Grossman.”

    ‘Your only hope now, if it is indeed not too late, is to vociferously reject the ideology you embraced as long as it served your selfish needs. Your only redemption is to attack it with all the might you have at your disposal, and shine the light on every hypocrisy you have ever fostered, every lie you have ever told and every self-serving agenda you once lauded as the answer for humanity. And you need to do it till your dying breath.”

    Mercy me! Doesn’t leave too much to the imagination, am I right?

    • Thanks, Paul, for that link to AVFM. I am probably guilty of being a reader who reads too much (in the mold of “women who love too much”), but, I read enough comments to that post about Judith Grossman to find what I could not resist sharing: what I think is a wonderful template for anyone who runs a blog and enforces a comment policy, for banning a commenter. This was a kill shot by moderator Suzy McCarley in reply to “Anthony C,” with the only edit of mine being the [phrase in brackets]:”

      “It seems you are very much in violation of both the letter and the spirit of our comment policy, yet I hesitate to ban you as you are an impressive case study of a narcissistic derailing concern troll in desperate need of attention; I think you actually believe we should take your concerns seriously despite your dearth of experience in the [insert movement name, or topic name, or site name, or blog name or theme, here]. Your arrogance is staggering. We have a fair number of minutiae obsessed pedantic types among our readers and commenters (many of whom are Aspies of extremely high intelligence FWIW) but your nit picking is prize worthy. Your ability to grasp the concept that your utter lack of knowledge of the history of this movement or this site, might actually affect your credibility on either topic – not so much. You might consider teaching classes on how to derail, distract and redirect on internet forums; you do have a talent for it.

      Bye now.”


      I am probably guilty of commenting here like Anthony C from time to time. So I am grateful for the grace of Jack for still being able to comment, as I am for the contributions by commenters here including you, Paul.

  3. 1. I think you are wasting your breath, Jack. According to the left and the media (but I repeat myself) leaks are only a problem if they hinder a Democratic president or other official from trying to make the world a better place. Leaks against a Republican are everyone’s patriotic duty to stop a dangerous demagogue or would-be tyrant from taking away or limiting marriage expansion or the right to kill a gestating human life. Leakers against Republican presidents are heroes, starting with Deep Throat.

  4. I think people who go to tattoo parlors to get inked are dumb in general. Not only do they advertise that they are low class or worse (see “tramp stamp”), they risked getting some blood to blood transmitted disease as the parlors do not sterilized their instruments with an autoclave.

    • I choose to dissent regarding tattoos. Although I’m not a proponent, I accept them for what they are. My youngest son has been in the music business for over a decade (think Punk Rock) and has more tattoos than anyone needs. But in his world they are not only accepted, but have meaning to folks in that genre. He’s also smarter than I am; had them all done by a trusted friend & artist, and he knows what each means in his life. That said he can wear a long sleeve shirt and trousers & you would never know he had a single one. But people still judge him, unjustly as “low class”, etc just because of his appearance. We should be past judging folks because of how they look. Actions count.

      • The visible evidence of actions is legitimate evidence of judgment and common sense. If I see someone with a face tattoo, I conclude that it is more likely than not that the individual is an idiot, or prone to doing things while drunk or stoned. Unfair?

      • I know that getting inked is a big fad now but “a trusted friend” is not necessarily the best source of information about effectively sterilizing tattooing equipment. I myself would see a m.d. about this, preferably one who specializes in blood to blood transmitted diseases.

        • Most businesses where you can earn more than 6 figures regard tattoos as ‘an example of poor judgement’ in their hiring practices. Most companies I have worked on insist you cover them up in a professional environment.

          Right now, tattoos are an impediment to employment and can get you prejudged, much like long hair on a man, or low cleavage showing on a female. None of those things are wrong in and of themselves: but why would you handicap yourself when the goal is to get a better job and function in society without unnecessary baggage?

          Marking your body is a personal choice, and more power to you.

          I believe this is slowly changing, and ink will get more acceptable, give how many people have it. But not yet.

    • Wayne wrote, “I think people who go to tattoo parlors to get inked are dumb in general. Not only do they advertise that they are low class or worse (see “tramp stamp”)”

      This part of your comment is petty.

    • For what it’s worth, that varies from state to state. In Michigan, licensed body mod parlors are required to autoclave sterilize AND to show the client that each piece of equipment is being removed from a sterilization pouch WITH the indicator strips showing successful sterilization. The standards are high enough that the Red Cross doesn’t even enforce their standard 12-month post-tattoo restriction on blood donations; as long as the work was done in a licensed parlor and there’s no irritation you’re good to go.

  5. Oh my God. “The Sterile Cuckoo.” From the novel by a Hamilton College grad. Filmed substantially on the HamCol campus the summer before I arrived in the fall of 1969. Kids a year ahead of me had gotten bit parts. I don’t think I’d ever even seen the movie until one night a good twenty years ago, I was channel surfing and ran across it and saw a scene shot in a farmers’ bar we all frequented featuring two girls I knew sitting at a table in the background, still nineteen. What a shock.

    A greatly over-rated movie. Essentially nothing more than the story of a conventional, fairly straight-laced, goy upstate NY kid from a small town where his family probably owned the local bank or the furniture factory (known among girls who dated Hamilton guys as “Northern Nuggets’) who has his first encounter with a most likely Jewish girl from metro NYC, most likely Long Island.

    The Sandpipers. Hilarious. Did they release the song the guy was singing in the Delta house when Bluto smashed his guitar? Must have. God, the ’60s were awful.

  6. Aspiring underage tattoo recipients need parental permission to get inked, if they can get inked at all.

    “According to data through March 2015 compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 45 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos, with the majority of those states allowing it if there’s parental consent. For example, Florida law requires written, notarized consent of a minor’s parent or legal guardian in order to tattoo a minor.”

    Aspiring underage abortion recipients?

    ”According to Guttmacher Institute, a group that tracks abortion policy and statistics, a majority of states require consent and/or notification.

    ”In 38 states, minors either have to get consent and/or notify their parents, while in 12 states they don’t need either.” (bolds mine)

    Nationwide, is it easier, or at least not as difficult, to get an abortion than it is to get a tattoo?


    Rumour has it – as well as a large number of comments by serving personnel on sites like boasting about it – that there has been a sharp uptick in “training accidents” and even “friendly fire incidents” involving transgender personnel since the President’s recent tweets on the subject.

    The timing of this memo might be completely coincidental of course, or refer to other matters entirely. Recent financial scandals involving military procurement dating from previous administrations for example, or the apparent leaks by defence intelligence agencies of the administration’s links with hostile powers.

    This is not the first time such memos have been issued by SecDef. One was sent out after the Tailhook scandal for example.

    • Sue Dunim wrote, “Rumour has it – as well as a large number of comments by serving personnel on sites like boasting about it – that there has been a sharp uptick in “training accidents” and even “friendly fire incidents” involving transgender personnel since the President’s recent tweets on the subject.”

      You might be putting too much stock in rumors. What’s more likely is that there “might” be more off duty incidents between transgender and non-transgender personnel.

    • Please send me links to these comments. I’ve been part of for a long time and I haven’t seen anything but locker room banter about such things, nothing credible.

    • Sue,
      I just did a search on for articles containing “transgender” and spent the last half hour quickly skimming through the comments, I didn’t find one comment about a “sharp up uptick in “training accidents” and even “friendly fire incidents” involving transgender personnel”.

      Now it’s true that I could have missed something important related to this, so let me know if you find something I missed.

  8. Jack wrote, “Whoever did it was betraying his or her superior and the nation, and needs to be identified and prosecuted. This is malicious sabotage, and nothing less, designed to make it more difficult for this President to function. Those attempting to justify it and rationalize it disqualify themselves as objective critics of the President and also as responsible citizens. The conduct cannot be justified, and no one should attempt to justify it.”


    • ”Rep. Maxine Waters is an ignorant political attack dog and a political hack that should be recalled by her constituents.”

      Careful what you ask for there Big Guy, the time may be fast approaching when we no longer have the talented Ms. Waters available as the comedic relief that just keeps giving.

      TOP people (with some highfreakin’larious signage) are looking into how she can afford a $4.3 million home (miles from the district she represents) while doing Gubmint work AND paying her daughter $750 large to mail some crap.

      • …how she can afford a $4.3 million home (miles from the district she represents) while doing Gubmint work AND paying her daughter $750 large to mail some crap.

        The short answer is: they are all crooks. ‘They’ being politician in general, and Congress critters in particular.

        Congress can literally violate the laws that they place over the rest of us. See ‘insider trading’ for a clue how such a person gets wealthy while (mis)representing their district.

        • Slick;

          “The short answer is: they are all crooks.”

          Who am I to disagree? I’m an Independent.

          Over 50 years ago my Dear Late Maternal Grandmother said after her beloved Milwaukee Braves skeedaddled to Atlanta, and I quote,”the rest of ’em can all go to Hell!”

          The “rest of ’em?” Hank Aaron & Eddie Mathews were spared her unmitigated wrath

          The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree; only two politicians with whom I’ve ever been enamored.

          One; our former tough-as-fuck’n-nails 20th District Alder Thuy Pham-Remmele.

          The other: Career Lefty, Earth Day founder, & former WESconsin Governor/U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson; as genuine as the day is long!

  9. Jack: I just tried post a reply to Paul W. Schlecht’s comment of Aug 5 at 3:05 pm – I believe it was spammed.

  10. #2 “There is no ethical difference between calling for Russia to hack a U.S. citizen’s e-mails and calling for government employees to break the law to reveal secret government communications.”

    No ethical difference for that exact fact pattern, granted. But that fact pattern does not reflect the reality of that situation… I want to remind everyone, again, that not only was Trump apparently joking, but at the time he said those words, Clinton’s server was already in the hands of the FBI and unplugged from the internet… If the president had in actuality been calling for action, all he could be calling for was for Russia to release documents that they already had.

    I’m not sure that’s much better, ethically… But the whole “Trump was requesting a foreign government commit espionage” narrative is, and has always been, fake news.

  11. #3 There was a scene in “Baby Driver” (A movie I think you might want to see, Jack) where a heavily tattoo’d individual had “Hate” scrawled in large letters on his neck, and then had the E covered up with another tattoo. Couple of choice lines: “My lawyer thought it might bias a jury.” and “Who doesn’t like hats?”

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