Ethics Self-Warm-Up, 4/8/2018: An Ethics Alarms Experiment

My gallant crew, Good Morning!

The combination of the 45th Anniversary of the Gilbert & Sullivan performing organization I founded as 1L student at Georgetown and some unusually complex ethics problems tosses to me by some law firm clients have conspired to put me out of action until this afternoon.

I’m opening this post up to commentary on any ethics issue you please. Stay on topic, please, and be civil.

95 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Environment, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

95 responses to “Ethics Self-Warm-Up, 4/8/2018: An Ethics Alarms Experiment

  1. On close inspection is the Gettysburg Address really ethical?

    • The Gettysburg Address
      Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
      November 19, 1863
      On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner referred to the most famous speech ever given by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called the Gettysburg Address a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, the Bostonian remarked, “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”

      There are five known copies of the speech in Lincoln’s handwriting, each with a slightly different text, and named for the people who first received them: Nicolay, Hay, Everett, Bancroft and Bliss. Two copies apparently were written before delivering the speech, one of which probably was the reading copy. The remaining ones were produced months later for soldier benefit events. Despite widely-circulated stories to the contrary, the president did not dash off a copy aboard a train to Gettysburg. Lincoln carefully prepared his major speeches in advance; his steady, even script in every manuscript is consistent with a firm writing surface, not the notoriously bumpy Civil War-era trains. Additional versions of the speech appeared in newspapers of the era, feeding modern-day confusion about the authoritative text.

      Bliss Copy
      Ever since Lincoln wrote it in 1864, this version has been the most often reproduced, notably on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It is named after Colonel Alexander Bliss, stepson of historian George Bancroft. Bancroft asked President Lincoln for a copy to use as a fundraiser for soldiers (see “Bancroft Copy” below). However, because Lincoln wrote on both sides of the paper, the speech could not be reprinted, so Lincoln made another copy at Bliss’s request. It is the last known copy written by Lincoln and the only one signed and dated by him. Today it is on display at the Lincoln Room of the White House.

      Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
      Abraham Lincoln
      November 19, 1863

      Nicolay Copy
      Named for John G. Nicolay, President Lincoln’s personal secretary, this is considered the “first draft” of the speech, begun in Washington on White house stationery. The second page is written on different paper stock, indicating it was finished in Gettysburg before the cemetery dedication began. Lincoln gave this draft to Nicolay, who went to Gettysburg with Lincoln and witnessed the speech. The Library of Congress owns this manuscript.

      Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.

      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow, this ground The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

      It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

      Hay Copy
      Believed to be the second draft of the speech, President Lincoln gave this copy to John Hay, a White House assistant. Hay accompanied Lincoln to Gettysburg and briefly referred to the speech in his diary: “the President, in a fine, free way, with more grace than is his wont, said his half dozen words of consecration.” The Hay copy, which includes Lincoln’s handwritten changes, also is owned by the Library of Congress.

      Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

      But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.

      It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

      Everett Copy
      Edward Everett, the chief speaker at the Gettysburg cemetery dedication, clearly admired Lincoln’s remarks and wrote to him the next day saying, “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” In 1864 Everett asked Lincoln for a copy of the speech to benefit Union soldiers, making it the third manuscript copy. Eventually the state of Illinois acquired it, where it’s preserved at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

      Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

      It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

      Bancroft Copy
      As noted above, historian George Bancroft asked President Lincoln for a copy to use as a fundraiser for soldiers. When Lincoln sent his copy on February 29, 1864, he used both sides of the paper, rendering the manuscript useless for lithographic engraving. So Bancroft kept this copy and Lincoln had to produce an additional one (Bliss Copy). The Bancroft copy is now owned by Cornell University.

      Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

      Source for all versions: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler and others.

      Source: http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm

      • Beautiful cut&paste. Where did you learn to do that so smoothly?
        ___________________

        Sam Francis wrote: ”But the most casual acquaintance with the realities of American history shows that the idea that America is or has been a universal nation, that it defines itself through the proposition that “all men are created equal,” is a myth. Indeed, it is something less than a myth, it is a mere propaganda line invoked to justify not only mass immigration and the coming racial revolution but also the erosion of nationality itself in globalist free trade and a One World political architecture. It also justifies the total reconstruction and re-definition of the United States as a multiracial, multicultural, and transnational swamp. Nevertheless, the myth of the universal nation or proposition country is widely accepted, and today it represents probably the major ideological obstacle to recognizing the reality and importance of race as a social and political force.”

        Source:
        https://www.amren.com/news/2017/07/race-american-identity/

      • Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

        To say all men are created equal is to say … exactly nothing. Every child born of a mother is ‘created equally’ to any other child born of a mother.

        Thus, there is a fundamental naiveté in this rhetorical opening. The nation was ‘born’ out of the will of certain Northern Europeans and Englishmen to carve out a life for themselves in accord with extremely rigid social codes that in no sense of the word, and by no imaginable stretch of imagination, had to do with the ‘liberty’ that people take this reference to liberty to mean.

        You could just as well say it was a nation ‘conceived in high-sounding rhetoric’.

        Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

        Better this:

        Now we are engaged in a war that we precipitated for a range of different reasons, some obvious, and some far less obvious. The ‘test’ is just how far from the original intentions and the ‘original agreements’ we will be able to remold and remake the Nation without something snapping. Whatever may be the ‘real facts’ if we define this war as one for high purposes, though it is really for ‘low’ and political purposes, we will use lies and deceptions as they always have been used and will better trick people who cannot distinguish rhetorical fantasy from truth.

        To say that those who died died ‘so that their nation might live’ stands in stark contrast to the fact that an equal number died in order that that nation not ‘live’. Meaning, that the winner here controls the narrative and that the narrative has become a falsely-founded vision.

        But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

        The idea here is that of martyrdom. But what metaphysical power is doing the martyring? Men who die on a battlefield simply die on a battlefield. They are not necessarily martyred by God. And in any case, quite factually, the dead do not hallow anything, only the living project hallowing, and thus in fact ‘we certainly can hallow this ground’.

        The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

        Oh God, I know where this is going! The whole thing was founded in lies mixed with truths, but these lies and truths became ‘tenets of a civil religious outlook’ and as such must be accepted and integrated as ‘truth’ or you run the risk of being ostracized. But the actual and the real truth is very different.

        It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

        The consolidation of Norther power and industry. The creation of a Federal army. And then, rather logically, turning the energy and the will of the nation to the subversion of the Constitution by launching into a range of neo-imperial projects which further eroded the Constitutional foundations.

        As the entire speech is devious rhetoric, if one ‘believes’ it one shows oneself tricked. If one is tricked one cannot *see*, and a person who cannot *see* cannot be free.

        • Rich in CT

          Thus, there is a fundamental naiveté in this rhetorical opening. The nation was ‘born’ out of the will of certain Northern Europeans and Englishmen to carve out a life for themselves in accord with extremely rigid social codes that in no sense of the word, and by no imaginable stretch of imagination, had to do with the ‘liberty’ that people take this reference to liberty to mean.

          And that, in an obtuse block of text, is the difference between the United States of America, and every other nation on Earth. The US sets an impossibly high bar for itself.

          Other nations call it foolish and naive, seeing such standards as obviously impossible, and settle for far less. The US settles for nothing less.

          • One of the many rewards of participating on this blog has been to get a first-hand experience of how ‘the American Conservative’ thinks. You have likely read little of what I write but my position is that of a ‘rightwing critic of American conservatism’ and that is the movement I am a part of.

            There is what I call a ‘hard structure’ that informs American Conservatism, which also deserves the term ‘Cuckservatism’ for very good reasons that can easily be given. Getting through that hard structure is agonizingly difficult. It can hardly be done. But the work of doing that is, in my view, a form of ‘service’. So, in order to understand what I write and why I write it, you have to understand basic motivation.

            When a person — you, me, anyone — chooses to believe the lies included within rhetorical-political statements and does so, a strange thing happens: a great disservice is done against themselves. A conforting lie, a ‘cherished lie’, a convenient lie — all these are poisons and operate against ‘seeing and understanding the truth’. If one cannot see and describe, accrately and fairly, the truth of things, of our selves, of the world, one gets captured into a self-deception web. Though telling the truth and knowing the truth is more painful than believing conforting lies, I suggest that the end result of it is worth it.

            Anyone can research what Mr Lincoln actually thought and believed (in this specific case about the races of America), and one can assemble the statements that he made and other also made. Then, one can contrast the rhetoric of the Gettysburg Address with the ‘real truth’. Doing this is an intellectual exercise that results in creating an opening where ‘the truth’ (I mean truer statements than sheer lies) can be glimpsed. In order to get clear about historical lies, and lies that become part of ‘national narratives’ used for purposes of indoctrination and propaganda, one has to ‘back-track’ in historical time and make a correction. That effort of making corrections results in a different historical view. It is I suppose a form of ‘historical revisionism’ but in a good and necessary sense.

            The statement that you make about ‘impossibly high bars’ set for itself is an ideological statement, not a statement of truth. It is part of a patriotic narrative that is better sung than spoken. Again, getting down on the ground and really telling the truth is hard, I grant you this, but the rewards are many.

            Therefor, and though it began as a sort of joke, my rhetorical question Is the Gettsburg Address really ethical, is answered when one grasps that it certainly is not, and for the reasons I mention here. It was bad for Lincoln to make the false-rhetorical statement because doing so (I imagine) he tricked himself. But given the drunken popularity of it —— it is analyzed and pored over like Scripture — the various deceptions contained in it continue on, deceiving and tricking.

            Though I have made fair, upstanding, coherent and logical statements here none of this matters. Somehow, by taking this ciritical position my effort will only be seen as demonic in one degree or another. But that is a reaction that rises out of that hard structure I referred to. It is all very curious and interesting for me and, no matter what anyone says, I feel mostly very comfortable with what I see and what I write.

            • In case you were curious– no one read past the word “cuckservatism”.

              • But at least you got to that point. That represents an advance of sorts, no?

                • Yeah, it means you’re lasting a lot longer using plainspeak before falling back into nonsense. Hopefully someday you’ll post something without any tripe at all.

                  We are hopeful.

                  • I challenge you to demonstrate to me and before our peers on this blog just exactly where the ‘nonsense’ is and what you mean when you use such a vague (nonsense!) word.

                    I have made numerous solid, clear assertions in the posts I have read here. Take any point that piques your interest and demonstrate why it is nonsense.

                    My position is that you cannot.

                    • (the post I have written I meant to say).

                    • You used the word “cuckservative”.

                      QED

                    • I think I have conducted myself fairly over the course of just about 3 years. I have deflected a great deal of ugly invective and not ever reacted to it, but I have not ever deviated from my stated intentions either. I think I could be critiqued though for something like ‘insensitivity’ to the group, the group of persons who write on this forum and for whom it is important.

                      I did state my purpose right from the beginning and I stayed true to it: to learn all that I can while I try to work out an accurate descripion of what is going on in our culture (and world) today.

                      The now-banned word is one that is part of a critical conversation and is used by ‘rightwing critics of American conservatism’. I place myself there. It is a strong word that does provoke reaction, but it is not an unfair one at all. (It has a Wiki page!) I just wish to have it noted that when it comes to a critique of the Left any sort of invective is just fine. Here, the lefties are ven beat up by the group. But when the criticism turns against the right, and especially if it is a potent (and valid) criticism, it provokes reaction. Silence is the main one. ‘I will no longer engage with you’.

                      The ideas I work with, and stick to against all emoted opposition (because they are solid and grounded ideas), are not acceptable here (by that I mean within American Conservatism). And even if I am the most imperfect vehicle of these ideas, and even if it is improper or pretentious that I refer to myself as part of a ‘we’, nevertheless I do represent that position that is one intolerable to standard American conservatism.

                      And that is because American Conservatism is basically a right-leaning faction within American Progressivism. Fact. And this is something *you-plural* are going to have to work out for yourselves (IMHO).

                      It is that statement that irks. The [banned word] is just the term that is used to refer to that level of sell-out. But how many times can it be stated and restated? I have made my points and now it is time to move on.

                      I do wish to say loud and clearly ‘Thank you’ in the most sincere and not fake terms that I can to everyone and anyone who has bothered to put up with what I write. I know that my style is over-the-top and I know that I really do write too obsessively. But please understand that though I might be said to be selfish (in this respect) it was all done under pure motives: to get clear about what I really think and to find the way to best express it in prose.

                      I know very clearly that it is not I myself that is being banned and with a small modification I could continue, but it is fair to say that my objects and interests are not in sync with either the blog generally and with most who write here. So, with that said, and with a giant Thank You!, I politely take my leave wishing you-plural all the very best.

          • ”Other nations call it foolish and naive, seeing such standards as obviously impossible, and settle for far less. The US settles for nothing less.”

            PS: If you examine what you say here more closely, you may notice what I consider to be a very odd thing: turning a vast and variegated Nation into an entity that chimes one single statement. Strangely, you have given ‘entity’ to an abstraction. I realize that many patriotisms do this of course. But when you look at it, it is odd indeed. ‘The US’ in your construct does not exist, except perhaps if you make it the Federal Person. Ah, but there is an interesting truth: that is what Lincoln begins to do with his grand We. He defines a Federal Person and, in time, this has led to tremendous and enduring perversions (that must be corrected). There were in fact many different ‘persons’ (states) that made up a national plurality and the notion of a singular national self could be described as a perversion .. and a dangerous one.

            • Andrew Wakeling

              Sorry to hear you are going Aliza. This blog will be less interesting without you. Personally I don’t think you have a ‘bat in hell’s chance’ of restoring traditional Europe / the Occident – ie your ‘mission’. And I wouldn’t want in any way to support you and the unsavoury crew (those dead and alive) that you seem to consort with. But can I / we follow your progress somehow? Hope you can avoid the guillotine.

        • Well, you aren’t the only person whose difficulty understanding the high rhetoric of mid-19th century orators led to a misinterpretation of their messages.

          • Can you explain further? Who else cannot understand the high rhetoric and misinterprets as a result?

            And what is the correct interpretation?

            • I was trying to be generous and cover my bases. Maybe you were the only one who doesn’t understand the high rhetoric of the mid-19th century.

              • You made a comment with definite implications. You were challenged to expound on it. Then, you realized that you could not support the statement you made because you knew you’d get slaughtered. And as you have done before you slither away, afraid to say anything more.

                I call that ‘intellectual dishonesty’.

                There are higher purposes to exposing lies and deceptions than you seem aware of. And when cuckservatives sell themselves out to lies they cheat themselves and the people they influence with their lies.

                Begin to tell the truth.

                • No, I realized I was feeding someone’s ego who isn’t interested in discussion and only in getting off on publishing long tomes to bolster her self-satisfaction and decided to cut my losses.

                  • That is called ‘projection’, Michael West!

                    It is imperative to have an ‘ego’ and also to strengthen the ego in what is good and correct (and true). The ego definitely becomes problematic when the ego is invested in mistruths or lies. Then, you might have a solid criticism.

                    But what I am trying to do, and working hard to be able to do it, is simply ‘see accurately and truthfully the world I live in’. If you do not see that as a fine and noble goal perhaps you can explain why.

                    You could make things a good deal more interesting if you would resolve to communicate your ideas in depth while avoiding all rancor and animosity.

                    I want to know more of what you think and why you think it. That is why I participate here (plus I will soon launch my World Mission but that is another story!)

                    Take some risks, Michael!

      • Just so everyone knows; I can’t take credit for the contents of this post, it was literally a copy & paste directly from the source with some formatting. I thought it was information worth sharing since Alizia didn’t bother to provide any of the speech for ethical analysis.

    • Andrew Wakeling

      Interesting question on which to try to apply ‘Marshallian ethics’.

      Sorry to seem to be nit picking but your question (Is the Gettysburg Address ethical?) needs tightening as to context. I suggest the question to address relates to whether Lincoln giving the address when he did was ethical, in the context in which he gave it: not whether the address itself (the words) are ethical or not. Ethics relates to actions, not to things. The address (the thing’) is neither ethical nor unethical.

      Jack judges ethicality based on motives and intent, not on outcome (which he generally dismisses as a matter of ‘luck’). He also emphasises that ethical judgments need to be of practical use.

      On this thinking Lincoln’s giving of the address when he did, in the way he did, scores for me a good 8 out of 10 for ethicality. We can never be sure about ethicality because motives and intent are private matters. But it seems to me that Lincoln was trying hard to bind terrible wounds, clarify a sense of purpose, and find a way to peace and reconciliation. That seems to me an appropriate and truly noble aim at that time. It is worth noting that whether or not Lincoln succeeded is (in Jack’s system) irrelevant.

      I agree with much of what Aliza says about the inconsistencies and maybe even dishonesty in the content of the address. But what would you think of an alternative history in which Lincoln said : “I stuffed up. Lots of people died unnecessarily. And I’m sorry”. I would see that as unethically self indulgent, and worth no more than a 2.

  2. Have a great day Jack!

    Suggestion for a topic: Treatment of President Trump’s immediate family by the media on late night TV.

    Since when did the President’s immediate family become targets of the media on late night TV? I don’t remember ever hearing such intentionally insulting attacks coming from the media on late night TV of the President’s immediate family in any past administration, they’ve always shown great respect for the President’s family – until now.

    Ok, discuss.

    • Paul W. Schlecht

      All bets are off and it offends the right people; Mission Accomplished.

    • Chris Marschner

      Zoltar, I suppose it depends on which members of the immediate family we are referencing and why they are in the news.

      Most children of recent presidents have been minors and not engaged in the political process. Barron for example should be off limits but Don Jr. and Erich have put themselves in the political mix. If their wives offer up opinions then they too are fair game for the media to challenge those opinions. As for Melania, she should expect the same treatment as all former first ladies.

      Again, the media should only focus on relevent issue matters. Things happening within their private lives is not relevant to political ideology, therefore should not be broadcast unless the event can be attributed an impeacable political argument.

      My rule of thumb is unless the reportage cam demonstrate how someone’s private life impacts public policy then it is irrelevant and used only to diminish the individual as a person and not am expressed idea.

    • JLo

      This may date me but I do recall late night having a grand old time with Billy Carter and before that Betty Ford. Early days of SNL and Carson, etc. Certainly Mrs. Ford was immediate. Not sure if you agree about Pres. Carter’s brother.

      But I don’t recall anything about their children.

      • JLo,
        I honestly don’t remember any of that and I’m plenty old enough to have been paying attention and I was a big fan of SNL (not ready for prime time cast) and Johnny Carson.

        • JLo

          I know right! I had to think hard about these as I didn’t remember details. But then they came back so I thought I would contribute. Following your reply, I just did a Google of “SNL and Betty Ford” and “SNL and Billy Carter” to bring up a number of old references. Gary Busey as Billy Carter March 10, 1979! Forgot about Pat Nixon too. She was portrayed by Gilda Radner. Seems like Lorne Michaels had a political agenda back when he was full on Canadian.

          As for Carson and Mrs. Ford, I bet I am remembering references to the Clinic and not so much the woman. Johnny was not that type of mean.

  3. Is Ann Coulter an avataric manifestation of the goddess Ishtar? Are prayers to her efficacious?

    • That doesn’t appear to be a topic about ethics.

    • Paul W. Schlecht

      Did the “goddess Ishtar” have anything to do with making the eponymous movie one of the biggest box office flops of all time?

      https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/15/ishtar-30th-anniversary-worst-movie-ever-elaine-may

      • Other Bill

        My wife and I walked out after about five minutes. Even that was too long. Mind boggling.

      • No. What made it a flop was that it was lousy. It was produced by the brother of of my late friend Bob McElwaine, by the way. It is far, far FAR from the worst movie ever, however; for one thing, it’s harmless, unlike, say “JFK.” “Ishtar” has its uses ethically: it is a graphic lesson, for example, in hubris. Two big stars and friends, Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty, thought they could pull off a Crosby and Hope “road movie” because Bing and Bob made it look effortless.

        Morons. Maybe now they have some respect for performers who understand comedy: as the old actor said, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

        • Other Bill

          Well that’s a very plausible explanation for why it was so bad. Thanks.

          • Paul W. Schlecht

            I remember watching a pre-release interview with Beatty and Hoffman, both seemingly aware that their names and reputations were attached to an impending disaster of epic proportions and doing their level best not to let on.

            Hoffman was munching on some sunflower seeds and asked the interviewer something to the effect of: “So, you think we’re a laugh riot?”

            Don’t recall the answer, the sentiment is a matter of record.

        • Cry Baby with Johnny Depp was the worst movie ever made. The trailer was butchered to make it look like there was a plot. There was no plot.

          • Pennagain

            “Cry-Baby” ran on three levels simultaneously. It was a fun, satisfying and nostalgic take-off on 50s teenage “outsider” cliches (for those who lived through them without visible scarring); a sympathetic and timeless satire of teenage uber-passions (which, if you didn’t have them, you slept through your teens or are in dangerous denial); and a serious pastiche of the kind of behavior that does a fly-by on parents at first, then confuses, and finally alarms them (in other words, the basic story of every generation of begats begotten or yet to be begot). There is lots of story during which all audience needs are satisfied (except yours, I guess): everyone gets what they deserve, at least in the movie’s present-time. Most important, Cry-Baby does what Peter Pan refused to do: he grows up. He gets the girl AND beyond that finally sheds a grown-up tear for becoming a grown-up, such as leaving his childhood behind but also carrying with him the enduring sorrow of losing his parents.

  4. Little bit of #metoo Cancon:

    The Ontario provincial government is in trouble. Kathleen Wynne, the liberal premier (think governor), has spearheaded some exceptionally unpopular legislation… including a bill that basically scuttled an expansion of the province’s nuclear power production. Why did she do this? Because she’s a hipster liberal, pandering to a hipster liberal base, and the hipster liberal base doesn’t like nuclear power because it sounds scary. Around that time, Ontario was experiencing brown-outs because the hydro grid didn’t have the infrastructure to keep up with demand, so the government had to do SOMETHING to boost production, and because nuclear was off the table, they fell back on hydroelectric. Hydro is relatively cheap to operate, and relatively environmentally friendly, so it’s not a bad option, except the barriers to entry on it are enormous, you have to build MASSIVE concrete and metal structures over water. This meant that in solving Ontario’s power crisis, Wynn increased the capital costs of the project to the point where even after some new and exciting subsidies, Ontario ratepayers went from paying the third lowest energy costs in Canada, to the second highest, and by far the highest hydro rate. This hit people at home, and not even her hipster liberal base really liked forking over an extra hundred dollars monthly on power. This is an example of the kinds of leadership Wynne has displayed which has led her to the distinction of being Canada’s least popular premier.

    So…. This is an election year, and the Conservative Party of Ontario could probably have run a fire hydrant as a candidate and won. But they didn’t run a fire hydrant, they ran a well liked, fairly competent, moderately conservative Patrick Brown. Every poll was predicting a landslide in his favor, right up until two women made #metoo style allegations against him. He was fairly quickly bum-rushed from the Conservative party, he currently sits as an independent, and was expected to wallow in exile until after the election… But he didn’t, Patrick Brown came out swinging. The allegations were false, and not only false, but obviously false. One of the allegations was that Brown gave the victim alcohol as a minor and then pressured her into performing oral on him her back at his place… Except that if you did the math, the accuser was actually 19 at the time she says the incident happened, not the 17 she told the reporter. Once you take away the underage angle… the situation is basically “bachelor picks up younger girl at bar for one night stand”. The other accuser says that Brown gave her a tour of his house and in the process of doing so he led her upstairs to his bedroom, where he assaulted her sexually. There were a whole lot of holes in this story, but the most amusing might be that Brown’s house doesn’t have an “upstairs” for him to have toured her. Really… Google it.

    So there’s a couple of ethics-related issues here.

    These two allegations are perhaps the most facially false #metoo accusations I’ve seen to date, but they still cost a man leadership of Canada’s largest province. This is the new standard in obvious examples of how this movement is dangerous. The truth doesn’t matter to these people, and people for whom the truth does not matter should not be trusted with any amount of power, let alone the power to end careers.

    CTV, the news organization that first ran the allegations, is about as biased as CNN… Which is to say they aren’t as biased and hackish as say…. MSNBC, but they don’t really take pains to hide their biases either. They failed, utterly, in their job in this situation, unless you think the job of the media is to run political attacks targeting conservative politicians on gossamer accusations. It seems to me that the extent to which these accusations had less than a tenuous connection to the truth were so obvious that even lip service made towards journalistic due diligence would have scuttled the story before it started. Brown has sued CTV for defamation, and I doubt that will go anywhere…. But I’ve never seen a situation I thought was a stronger case.

    This was also a case where timing was everything, I said that about when Moore’s accusers chose to come forward… That the victims came forward not when the things happened, not when #metoo was getting traction, not when Moore failed to run, but when it did the most damage: When Republicans didn’t have enough time to replace him, and had the choice of either not running a candidate, or supporting Moore. In this case, the allegations weren’t made when the things happened, or when #metoo was gaining traction, or when Brown won leadership of the party, it was done months before an election, and now the conservatives are scrambling through a leadership race instead of talking about all the really solid points they have regarding Wynne’s ineffectiveness.

  5. Zanshin

    Proposed:Bernie Sanders ==> Ethics Hero

    I propose to give Mr. Bernie Sanders, independent senator from Vermont, the honorary EthicsAlarms title: Ethics Hero.

    My motivation is that Sanders in ForiegnPolicy argues that,
    Congress reassert its constitutional authority in matters of war

    […] the time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority in matters of war. Article I of the U.S. Constitution states clearly that the people’s representatives in Congress, not a single person residing in the White House, shall have the power to declare war.

    That in itself makes it worth giving him this title.

    But there’s more!

    In his argumentation he gives two examples of (failed) wars where Congress did not assert its constitutional authority in matters of war; one Democratic example and one Republican example.
    And he does not lose himself in Trump bashing or whatever.

    • It was a pretty good article, but I think it falls a bit short of Ethics Hero status. First, he repeats the falsehood that the Bush administration claimed Iraq played a role in the 9/11 attacks. Bush never said that. He did say that Saddam was harboring Al-Qaeda terrorists, and I’ve never seen anyone dispute that. Also, it’s argued that we were on the way to securing Iraq until Obama took charge and changed the way the war was conducted.

      That being said, Sanders did make a good overall point about Congress getting more involved in military endeavors.

  6. Other Bill

    Can you say “nanny state” boys and girls? Sure you can. This is not an Onion article:

    Clearly, there is nothing a liberal/socialist government can’t fix. Or at least throw the taxpayers’ money at.

    • Heck, if we’re talking about the blissfully gun-controlled Utopia that is the UK, we would be remiss in not commenting on one of the weekends stories from across the pond: The mayor of London has deployed 300 more officers to deal with a sudden and inexplicable spike in stabbings. Also, he’s instituting a stop-and-frisk like policy because apparently carrying a knife in the city of London is illegal.

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/07/london-stabbings-300-extra-police-deployed-streets-tackle-spike/

      • The more this story unwraps, the more it reads like satire… A couple years back, Khan said that he was glad stop and frisk numbers were on the decline, and he’d do everything he could to decrease them further…. He followed through on that by gutting police funding. Then in a response to a 70% rise in “youth” fatalities (I’m not sure what “youth” means in this context, or even the time frame it’s supposedly gathered from…. But any 70% increase in fatalities over even a 5 year time frame is insane.), he’s increased the size of the police force, given them a mandate to stop and frisk, and Tweeted this:

        • Other Bill

          Plastic utensils in London eateries next?

          This is a really interesting piece. Is there a National Cutlery Association? Knives don’t kill people, people kill people? Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Even as a concept?

          • Paul W. Schlecht

            ”Is there a National Cutlery Association? Knives don’t kill people, people kill people?”

            Heh! Way to knife in and cut to the quick…

            And forget the NCA, it’s Ginsu I’d steer clear of; I don’t know who runs that gig, but I assure you it ain’t the Boy Scouts.

            Be very afraid, knives are not alone…

          • I mean… Right?

            The left’s focus on this issue is often: Look how great the UK is, they banned guns and now their gun homicide rate is really low.

            To which the right’s response is: Right…. But have you seen their stabbing rates? And their violent crime statistics are actually on the increase! What are you gonna do next? Ban knives?

            To which the UK says: Obviously. Hold my Beer.

  7. valkygrrl

    My submission to the open thread. A 15 minute speech from a kind man.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      https://www.nassauinstitute.org/article556/

      A much shorter one, from the practical Neal Boortz.

      • valkygrrl

        Your behavior is often boorish and you say mean things. That makes me feel frustrated at times but even so, I want you to know that Mr. Rogers still likes you and thinks that you make the world a special place just by being you

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Oh, I know I can be both blunt and cruel, sometimes because I get angry or triggered, sometimes deliberately. You’ve also said some pretty darn outrageous things, but there is no way to silence another adult. I for one am trying to do better in 2018 after a frankly embarrassing 2017 and 2016 election season.

          I grew up with Mr. Rogers, including the stuff that was on before he went to a themed-week format (superheroes, conflict, etc), that had make-believe plots that went on and on and on and sometimes got a little weird or vaguely disturbing (to a 5 year old), i.e. Planet Purple denizens who all talked in a monotone, the occasional use of creepy-sounding Indian music to accompany a dancer neighbor, etc. His self-esteem building was there of course, but it sometimes got lost among the low-budget pretending.

          I was definitely ready to move on to Star Trek (in syndication, I’m not THAT old) and Emergency! (still first-run) when I hit 7-8, but looking back, there is definitely a feeling that the neighborhood, like the Hundred Acre Wood and a few of those other beloved places, was somewhere you could always come home to and be accepted just as you were. Fred Rogers may have left us in 2003, but his message lives on. There is as much room for him in this world as for the Chuck Norris types.

      • Paul W. Schlecht

        EXCELLENT>/b> link, Steve! It goes into my permanent archives.

        “But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion.”

        Keeper!

        • An oldie but a goodie, it bears note that Boortz published that online, but never actually got the change to read it at any commencement.

          • Paul W. Schlecht

            ”An oldie but a goodie”

            Right up there with the Gold Standard; Thornton Melon’s Address to Great Lakes University:

            Anywho, can you imagine Boortz actually delivering that to an “open-minded” audience at, say, Wellesley or Oberlin, and the collectively thunderous pant-crapping that would surely ensue?

            • I mean…. The letter is 15 years old. A lot has changed on American campuses in the last decade and a half…. Had he said the words then, he might have been OK. Now? He’d be lucky to get past the first paragraph before someone set the building on fire.

            • luckyesteeyoreman

              “…collectively thunderous pant-crapping…”

              That’s the “keeper” for me! I have missed reading you, Paul!

              (I promise I won’t confuse it with “collectivists’ thunderous pant-crapping.”)

          • Now, I realize that most of you consider yourselves Liberals. In fact, you are probably very proud of your liberal views. You care so much. You feel so much. You want to help so much. After all, you’re a compassionate and caring person, aren’t you now? Well, isn’t that just so extraordinarily special. Now, at this age, is as good a time as any to be a Liberal; as good a time as any to know absolutely everything. You have plenty of time, starting tomorrow, for the truth to set in. Over the next few years, as you begin to feel the cold breath of reality down your neck, things are going to start changing pretty fast .. including your own assessment of just how much you really know.

            The same polemic can be re-written to marvelous effect. Here is just one small example:

            “Now, I realize that you consider yourselves ‘Conservatives’ but if you really examined your ‘conservatism’ with one drop of honesty you would realize how very far you had drifted from conservative principles and how deeply compromised you have been by liberal perversions. But, like Liberals, you fool yourselves and fool and trick others. You essentially gargle in the same choir though.”

            The thing is that the so-called ‘Conservative’, in many different ways, still appeals to conventions of thinking and ‘coerced, mass-thinking’ which he defends under the ideological umbrella of Americanism. It is the same mechanism essentially that operates both in Progressive Americanism and Conservative Americanism. Instead of one being the principled position, they are both variations on a theme, and are by-products of a culture trained in ideological thought.

            Time and time again I directly witness on this blog so-called ‘conservatives’ who are functionally incapable of demostrating free-thinking outside of parameters establsihed by progressive radicals. This is simply a fact and no one can contest it.

            • luckyesteeyoreman

              What are you aiming to provoke someone to say, Alizia?
              “Indeed, Alizia, you are extra-American!

              • I can’t answer your question because I do not ‘aim to provoke’ any specific response. In discourse and dialectic the object (isn’t it?) is to clarify things and, one hopes, to get closer to truth.

                • That’s just a bogus claim. Of course you “aim to provoke” – if you never aim to provoke anything specific, then you’re only half-engaged. If you think you are closer to the truth than someone else, then you will have to concede that at least at times, you have no choice but to bait your fellow in discourse, as a means of facilitating exchange relevant to proving who is closer to which truth. “This is simply a fact and no one can contest it.”

  8. My contribution.

    http://media.aclj.org/pdf/ED-Calif-ACLJ-Amicus-Brief–3-26-18_Redacted.pdf

    What was the legislature thinking in that they could prohibit voluntary cooperation with federal law enforcement?

    If they can do that, why can not the Crips, the Mafia, or MS-12 do that too?

    • luckyesteeyoreman

      They just fancy themselves secessionists.
      The gangsters probably already own most of them.
      (or will own them, sooner or later)

  9. luckyesteeyoreman

    The world is hurtling toward perfection now. Last Saturday night, students (that’s right – students!) organized town-hall meetings across the Houston area to discuss gun control.

    Well, at least the announcement of the events made it into the Houston Chronicle – earlier on the same day. Organizers wouldn’t want too many people to know too far in advance. That might enable too many of the wrong people to show up.

    So, let’s see that “blue wave” in elections this year! Let’s see more government cordoned-off from the people, for the people: operating in the dead of night – chipping away, one teensy-tinsy little bit at a time – the people’s liberty, and safety, and property, and live.

    Yep: They’re Marching For Our Lives, all right!

    • luckyesteeyoreman

      “Yep: They’re Marching For Our Lives, all right!”
      (But, they gotta getahold of our GUNS first!)

      Should’ve closed the 2:45 pm comment with that parenthetical.

  10. Steve-O-in-NJ

    P.S. Jack, when you get a chance, let me nominate the governor of Oregon as a potential Ethics Dunce for refusing aid to the president to defend the border. If the military isn’t to secure our borders at the most basic, then what the heck is it for in the first place?

  11. I just ran across this quote that was attributed to Tara Brach’s who, according to her website, teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world.

    Here is the quote…

    “Imagine you are walking in the woods and you see a small dog sitting by a tree. As you approach it, it lunges at you, teeth bared. You are frightened and angry, but then you notice that one of the dog’s legs is caught in a trap. Immediately your mood shifts from anger to concern: you see that the dog’s aggression is coming from a place of vulnerability and pain. This applies to all of us. When we behave in hurtful ways it is because we are caught in some kind of trap. The more we look through the eyes of wisdom at ourselves and one another, the more we cultivate a compassionate heart.” Tara Brach

    I personally don’t know if the quoted paragraph is correctly attributed to Ms.Brach or not, it’s irrelevant to me.

    This sounds all warm and fuzzy; however, I think this is an unethical rationalization which is used to justify bad behavior and skirt punishment. It’s a never ending slippery slop of warm fuzziness.

    When someone is behaving badly we do not excuse this action because someone is in a “trap”! The action is the same regardless of why the individual chooses it. No we don’t behave badly because we are caught in some kind of trap, we behave badly because we choose to behave badly. We are not stupid animals, like the dog in the trap, we are cognizant human beings and we don’t enable bad behaviors by justifying them with rationalizations!

    Ignoring he attributed source; I’m curious what others think about the quoted paragraph.

    Remember Affluenza?

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