Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/24/18: Presidents, PETA, Privilege, Penn State And Pedophiles

Good Morning.

It just feels like a gliddy glup gloopy nibby nabby noopy kind of day…

1. Musings on the illness of George H.W. Bush. Perhaps I am over-sensitive, but I found the long segments and speculation on cable news this morning about George H.W. Bush suffering from “broken heart syndrome” sensational, intrusive, and wrong. The man is 93, and he’s suffering from a blood infection. As my Dad said often after his 80th birthday, and eventually proved, when one is 80 or more. you can drop dead at any moment, for any reason. Yes, we all know of long-time married couples of advanced years who perish in close proximity. However, the “broken heart syndrome” is anecdotal, without clinical proof, and, essentially, fake news with a romantic tinge.

[Pointer: valkygirrl]

If vile people like Professor Jarrar will attack Barbara Bush when she dies, imagine what George H.W. Bush has in store. The elder Bush is near the bottom of my Presidential ranking, in the general vicinity of his son, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama but The Ethics Alarms position is that every single President of the United States is owed respect and a debt of gratitude for accepting the overwhelming challenges of the job, and doing, in every case, what he felt was in the best interests of the nation. Before Harry Truman, even taking away the assassinations from the mix, the Presidency was regarded, accurately, as a killing job, with more Presidents than not dying soon after leaving office. That’s not true any  more, but the job is still a terrible physical, emotional and mental burden. The first words out of any American’s mouth when a former President is ailing should be “You have the best wishes of the nation,” and the first words when any former President dies should be “Thank you.”

2.    And this has to do with “collusion” how?  The raid on President Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen revealed that Fox News host Sean Hannity owns millions of dollars worth of real estate across several states, with  links to several shell companies that bought $90 million on 877 residential properties. This is all confidential information, and should never have been jeopardized by the Special Counsel’s effort, coordinated with New York State prosecutors, to gather as much dirt on President Trump as possible—all the better to impeach him with. That this information was leaked to the press indicts the investigation, the process, the judge who allowed the  fruits of the raid unrelated to Trump to be obtained, and the lawyers involved. Of course, the fact that Cohen had these records also rebuts Hannity’s claim, obviously disingenuous from the start, that he wasn’t Cohen’s client, but never mind: Hannity should not have been placed in the position where there was anything to deny.

[Pointer: philk57]

3.  More stupid judge tricks. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals FINALLY ruled this week in the ridiculous case of a crested macaque named Naruto, who snapped her own picture that photographer David Slater subsequently published in a wildlife photography book. This dispute has been going on since the money took the selfies in 2011, after Slater left the camera unattended on a game reserve in Indonesia. The culprit in all of this was PETA, the unethical organization for the ethical treatment of animals.

After seven years and needless expense to Slater, the Court ruled that monkeys couldn’t own copyrights. Duh. As I wrote about this beyond stupid case when it was argued in July,

“These judges are amusing themselves with legal theory masturbation. PETA is grandstanding as usual and trying to grab some revenue it does not deserve. The combined effect of this unholy alliance has meant that Slater, who should have been able to profit from his good fortune, is being ruined by a random conspiracy of too technical bureaucrats, bored judges and unscrupulous animal rights fanatics. The photographer is, he says, now broke from all the legal fighting. He couldn’t afford to attend the hearing, can’t pay his lawyer or even afford his photography equipment. He says that he may have to walk dogs to feed himself.”

In case I haven’t made it sufficiently clear in the past, let me do so now: PETA is a bad organization, possessing an important mission that they habitually undermine and abuse as a result of their leadership’s fanaticism, arrogance, and lack of proportion.  Anyone who contributes to this group is funding a lot of unethical conduct in flawed pursuit of important ideals, and, increasingly publicity at all costs. Like so many organizations, it is the embodiment of Rationalization #14…

Rationalization #14.

Self-validating Virtue

A  corollary of the Saint’s Excuse  is “Self-validating Virtue,” in which the act is judged by the perceived goodness the person doing it, rather than the other way around. This is applied by the doer, who reasons, “I am a good and ethical person. I have decided to do this; therefore this must be an ethical thing to do, since I would never do anything unethical.” Effective, seductive, and dangerous, this rationalization short-circuits ethical decision-making, and is among the reasons good people do bad things, and keep doing them, even when the critics point out their obvious unethical nature. Good people sometimes do bad things because they are good people, and because of complacency and self-esteem they begin with a conviction, often well supported by their experience, that they are incapable of doing something terribly wrong. But all of us are capable of that, if our ethics alarms freeze due to our environment, emotions, peer pressure, and corrupting leadership, among many possible causes. At the end of the movie “Falling Down,” the rampaging vigilante played by Michael Douglas, once a submissive, law-abiding citizen, suddenly realizes what he has done. “I’m the bad guy?” he asks incredulously. Indeed he is. Any of us, no matter how virtuous, are capable of becoming “the bad guy”…especially when we are convinced that we are not.

…as well as the popular paraphrasing of Eric Hoffer’s famous observation that Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

4. If a college demonstrates that it is managed stupidly, why should anyone want to be educated there? From CBS:

“Penn State University says it has banned its near-century-old outdoor recreation club from going outside because it is too dangerous out in the wilderness. The 98-year-old Penn State Outing Club announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management made the determination that the hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky.”

Meanwhile, the most heavily supported and promoted student activity on campus is…football.

5.  From the “Fallen Hero” and “Yecchh!” Files:  Peter John Dalglish was decorated in 2016 as a member of the Order of Canada, for “his efforts to alleviate child poverty worldwide, notably by establishing and leading Street Kids International.” Dalglish and two others launched Street Kids International in 1988.  The charity focuses on helping street youth to lead better lives, and in 1994, it  received the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation. In 2008, Dalglish received an honorary degree from Dalhousie University in recognition for “his visionary work helping children around the world.”

Now 60-years-old, Dalgish was arrested in Nepal this week for suspicion of child sex crimes. Police arrested Dalglish at a domicile in a district north of Kathmandu. Two girls, 12 and 14 years old, were also removed from the home. Police allege that the children were lured with promises of education and foreign travel before they were sexually abused.

What’s that? Why yes, now that you mention it, Dalgesh had been a U.N worker!


56 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/24/18: Presidents, PETA, Privilege, Penn State And Pedophiles

  1. Now 60-years-old, Dalgish was arrested in Nepal this week for suspicion of child sex crimes. Police arrested Dalglish in a domicile in a district north of Kathmandu. wo girls, 12 and 14 years old, were also removed from the home. Police allege that the children were lured with a promise of education and foreign travel before they were sexually abused.

    I hope the evidence is revealed at trial, if he does not plead guilty.

  2. Re: 4

    This one hurts, being so close to an experience I had in college. Back in the middle ages I was a competitive martial artist and a member of my college’s team since high school (it was attached to the college, long story…)

    For a few years we had a team and competed representing the school, facing all the usual burdens the B- and C- list teams get: no money, lots of fund raising to keep the team alive, cheap hotels and bus rentals to go to competitions, etc. Along the way we earned quite a number of medals for the team, proudly displayed by the college.

    Then in my sophomore year, some busybody decided that some of the sports we practiced were injury-prone. Among them wrestling, and martial arts. The rector at the time decided to cancel all the teams where people could get injured; which meant we were some of the first in the chopping block. We made our case, demonstrated our injury risk was lower than other non-contact sports (soccer and basketball at least, in my recollection), got letters from experts, collected signatures from the community. All for naught, he was bent on virtue-signaling that the school cared about the health and safety of the students. Care to guess what sport was never even at risk of being canceled? I’ll give you one chance, it starts with an “F” and ends with “ootball”.

    Member of the team lost hard-earned scholarships for athletic achievement. One of them had to leave college and work for a year so he could pay his way to graduation. Others switched teams to semi-related sports in order to not lose the scholarship, making fools of themselves along the way. (You can’t get good at fencing, no matter how athletic you are, with six months of practice). It was demoralizing, and one of my first encounters with the destructiveness of moral grandstanding in the name of “doing something”.

    I hope the members of the Outing group can keep doing their thing without school support. Were I a donor I would immediately cancel any pledges until the college president undoes the group banning, publicly apologizes to the students, community at large and humanity, and then resigns and pledges to never go near any education related jobs in this life and the next – just in case reincarnation is a thing and he comes back as something other than a dung beetle. Coward, tyrant, or idiot, people like him do not deserve the opportunity to taint the minds of the young and promising.

    • Absolutely well said, Alex. A University does not have the right to prevent me from taking risks that I elect to take…no matter what the risk is.

      • These are legal ADULTS. Over 18. And there are waivers for the potential for injury in these sponsored sports. I never signed ONE waiver for the intramural sports I played, fully supported by the school (and I DID get injured- HMPH). I didn’t sign any waivers for the things I did in classes/labs pursuing the BFA, which included literally: tightrope-walking, climbing on people and things to high heights with no safety harness, using large power tools with minimal included training (I already had Dad’s excellent training), etc. That makes ZERO sense in all these cases. FOOTBALL is sooo much more dangerous. I was playing intramural touch football when I myself was injured. I know people who had career-ending injuries in football, with pads, when still in HS (I’m from TX) and no one tried to stop them.

  3. 1. You’re not oversensitive. The musings aren’t musings at all. They are the liberal MSM licking its chops at the prospect of the death of one of the Republican presidents they spent four years loathing. The man was everything liberals hate: a son of a conservative rich family, a veteran (if I had a nickel for every idiot who said the crew of the USS Finback should have left him to drown…), a privileged Ivy League graduate before the League went far left (not to mention a member of Skull and Bone), a director of the dreaded CIA, and a president who led a successful war.

    Unfortunately sic transit gloria mundi, and now the once-powerful man is 93, in frail health, probably not long for this world, and likely to go out in an unpleasant manner. Some on the left are just using their over-solicitous musings as a thin veil for “you’re going down soon, you sonofabitch, there’s nothing you can do about it, and after you do we’re going to applaud!” As I’ve pointed out, cartoonist Ted Rall was very blunt in his opinions regarding Reagan after the man died, noting that if there was a hell, Reagan was in it, turning crispy brown. However, he wrote the article with that piece of brilliant insight in 2004, before the advent of facebook, twitter, etc., so it wasn’t quite as easy to share the link around the world and for like-minded folks to add their own pithy thoughts on the death of arguably the greatest president of the second half of the 20th century. You saw what happened when Justice Scalia died unexpectedly two years ago – the hate erupted like avgas on a tarmac you tossed a match into.

    Let’s not forget the 2013 death of the UK’s Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, aged 87 and frail, where versions of “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead” were shared out like the latest Katy Perry single and Irish bitter enders said that the only question about her memorial was how big to make the dance floor. Spewing hate and glee at the death of public figures we despise has become the norm. Unfortunately the left has not seen too many important figures perish recently, the last major lefty icon to die was Ted Kennedy (D-Hell) in 2009, but Bernie Sanders, Jimmy Carter, both Clintons, and a few relics from the Civil Rights movement are all nearing the end of their strings. The left does not have a leg to stand on when the right cheers the deaths of their icons while the bodies are still warm, and writes scathing essays condemning them as evil people that circumnavigate the twitterverse before they can even schedule the funerals.

    It’s a mark of the simultaneous descent of discourse and the widening chasm in society, helped along by social media and the increasing acceptance of hatred as normal and even a good thing, if it’s the right kind of hate, that the first words out of many people’s mouths at the news of an ailing political figure will be “good, I hope he suffers,” and the first words at that same figure’s death will be “great, now he’s in Hell, where ten million years of the worst pain and torture imaginable won’t bring him even one second closer to the end of his punishment.”

    2, Hannity has every reason to sue for abuse of the process, and possibly to bring ethics charges against the prosecutors who did this.

    3. Beyond stupid, enough said.

    4.Educators like this are literally too stupid to pour water out of a pitcher with instructions written on the bottom.

    5. Sometimes I wonder if the UN attracts talent by identifying those who have a thing for underage girls, then facilitating access. It shouldn’t be lost that Scott Ritter, the UN weapons inspector who suddenly did a 180 on the question of whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, was later arrested twice for pursuit of underage girls and then jailed for masturbating into a webcam while chatting with a 15yo, who later turned out to be an undercover cop.

    • Of course he’s not doing to die of a “broken heart” per se – that is, the doctors aren’t going to examine his corpse and be unable to explain why he died EXCEPT THAT he was grieving over his wife’s death.

      But don’t underestimate the Will to Live. It’s a powerful thing and a powerful antidote. And once you lose the Will, it’s entirely plausible that something you could have otherwise beat ends up killing you. That’s a close enough connection for old romantics like me to use the phrase.

      • I’ve heard turning 90 is equivalent to hitting the wall in a marathon. It was certainly the case with my Dad who died shortly after turning 90. He was very frail, had a large hernia that was surgically repaired and I’m not sure he ever got over the general anesthesia, which is evidently hard on an old body.

        So I’m just guessing a strong wind would have been sufficient to do GHW Bush in at this point. I doubt he liked being carted around in that wheel chair like set of golf clubs. And I doubt it was fast enough to suit his taste.

      • In September of last year, I lost a beautiful, intelligent, strong and beloved wife of 34 years. We had, as a team, engaged numerous governmental idiots, including an absolute jerk who engaged in misdirection, outright lies and other nefarious activities to have our little sub-division incorporated as an independent city. Losing the other half of that strong a partnership can, indeed, produce ‘broken heart’ syndrome, by my experience To counter that, the Will To Live MUST be backed by something substantial. In my case, it is seven grand-children. I am also blessed with four GREAT-grand-children. I would like to see, at the least, all of my grandchildren out of high school, and possibly married, and all of my great-grand-children at least old enough to know who I am. Without those goals, I would be perfectly happy to join my lady tomorrow.

    • Steve — seriously, you need a new circle of friends. Either that, or you spend too much time reading the comments section online for news outlets. Pro tip: Never read the comments! In civilized circles, liberals view the elder President Bush as highly intelligent and capable — even if we did not agree with all of his political positions. We treated the former First Lady with respect when she died and we will do so for him as well when his time comes.

      • I think thaat’s a good tip, in general. Except in my case, when I force myself to read the comments to take myself out of my generally civil, well-educated, articulate, mostly rational (except where Donald Trump and guns are concerned) bubble the privileged among us (that’s your term, not mine, but in this case it works) and find out what the 50% or so public who are not above average in intelligence, don’t earn six figures, don’t have advanced degrees and are not schooled in critical thinking thinks and why they think it. It also reminds me, as if I need reminding, that ethics remains virtually an alien concept to much of the culture much of the time.

        • I said civilized, not privileged, but I do consider myself privileged to have intelligent friends from both political parties, so I’ll let that slide.

          On a related point, I think why Trump is so successful is that he knows how the below 50% think (at least his base) and manipulates that to his advantage. In that sense, Trump is brilliant. There is no way he would have been the Republican nominee but for that maneuvering. I actually believe that Trump absolutely knows how is base will react to what he is tweeting, saying, etc. I have no doubt that if I posted the question on Facebook about North Korea and its “possible” denuclearization that ALL of my friends and relatives from back home (less than 10% are college educated) would immediately praise President Trump. And, if I tried to explain South Korea’s role in all of this that I would immediately be branded a liberal elite who lives in an ivory tower. But, they get to vote too, so props to Trump for convincing them. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to discuss politics with my educated Republican friends.

          • Trump is a master populist tactician, no question of that. I am an educated Republican and I consider myself at best a reluctant Trump supporter. I didn’t vote for him and I didn’t expect him to win, but now he’s the president and if he fails it’s not good for the country. If the GOP splits it’s not good for the country. My family is made up mostly of reluctant and enthusiastic Trump supporters, except my sil, who catches a lot of flak and is a little thin-skinned, like groaning about how long the next four years are going to be when I jokingly remarked something was going to be “yuuuuuge.” On social media my Trump supporting friends will recat to what I say, my liberal friends either keep quiet or have made themselves scarce. Once or twice I had to douse angry arguments that got out of control.

            • You might support him, but you also don’t believe as fact everything he tweets. That’s what separates you from the crowd.

      • With respect, Sparty, even the discussion here got really ugly when Scalia died. I know because I was right in the middle of it and so were you. In all fairness you were just angry, but someone else talked about how she would like to castrate and burn McConnell over his refusal to even consider a nomination from Obama, among other things. You are absolutely right about avoiding the comments sections unless you have low blood pressure, in fact reading them is where I learned what I called my six basic truths about people, that they are biased, lazy, hateful, etc., and most importantly will cut loose if there are no consequences. I will freely admit I have cut loose more than I should have here and in other places online, because there were no consequences and I just gave full vent to anger.

        In the best of all possible worlds we’d remember ourselves before we cut loose, but too often we let our emotions get ahead of our thinking, and it’s those times that we write these obnoxious responses.

        • I went back to read my comments on that thread. Interesting — and it brought all that anger right back up to the surface. I will note however, that although I was angry, I did not say one negative thing about Justice Scalia. My anger was against the stonewalling happening by Republicans in Congress and the intellectual contortions happening on this site by otherwise rational Republicans to justify it. I still believe that Obama should have been able to nominate a Justice and have that person confirmed. However, I also supported Justice Gorsuch when his nomination came up, because that is how I believe the Constitution is meant to be interpreted. If a competent Justice is nominated for an opening, he must be put on the Bench. (This also is why I would make a horrible politician — I don’t believe in these games. I would have no allies in Congress, even among my own party, and there would be a 0% chance that I would be reelected because people don’t want principles, they want results.)

          • I find myself agreeing with you…to a limited extent. Any president should be able to nominate a qualified candidate for any position and expect a confirmation within reasonable time and after reasonable inquiry, assuming that inquiry does not raise any red flags. A president should also be able to hold closed door meetings with reasonable expectations that what he says in confidence will be held in confidence and a president should be able to invite members of the other party and the media to a state dinner with expectations that the invitees will not use the invitation in the hopes of getting pictures or soundbites solely to embarrass him.

            Unfortunately, and this is a mark of how badly civility has deteriorated and how wide the ideological chasm has become, none of this is possible any longer. That goes double for the SCOTUS, which has now, for better or for worse, risen to a point where the addition of one liberal or conservative member can change this nation’s entire Constitutional picture. What irked me at the time was the supreme chutzpah and blatant double standard Chuck Schumer and his blue compatriots showed in demanding a hearing for Obama’s nominee when, not so very long ago, he himself made a speech in which he said no candidate George W. Bush put forward should receive a hearing, since GWB was near the end of his time.

            Not to rehash everything that happened then, but, at least to some degree, Obama had to bear the blame. He definitely played a role in allowing the Senate to fall into the hands of the other party, but that didn’t need to be the end of it. He then failed to build relationships with the new congressional leaders, indeed treated them as villains. So, when he was no longer in a position to steamroller them a la Eliot Spitzer, they wouldn’t deal. That didn’t need to be the end of it either, but it was a political perfect storm – an open seat in a game-changing position, a president with less than a year to go before being term-limited out, a Senate held by the other party with retaking the White House in their sights, members of that other party facing the voters themselves soon and not wanting to get challenged in the primaries, and a fair amount of hostility from that party, who the president had done no favors for. Take any one of those factors out, and things probably would have played differently.

            What continues to bug me is that the other side apparently doesn’t see this, and has now turned to scorched-earth politics. Do they really think the other side won’t do the same when its their turn?

            • Do they really think the other side won’t do the same when its their turn?

              Why, yes, we will. We have a few progressives to put in jail, first… starting with Mccabe and Comey, who should learn to keep their mouths shut when revealing criminal activity to the press. We can move right up to Hillary, who looks very good in orange.

              Leakers get (prison) sneakers! In cahoots? Get a jumpsuit!

              Felons belong in jail.

          • You could have credibly called out the Senate Republicans for refusing to consider Merrick Garland.

            President Obama, however, could not.

            That is one significant difference between you and him.

          • “Oh no I wouldn’t break his balls, I’d crush them into a fine paste and light them on fire for what he did.”

            Who’s lying, again?

            • Disingenuous out of context quote mining is disingenuous.

              You accused me of ball busting. Ball busting is, of course, metaphorical for give a man a hard time. You know this.

              Ball crushing is the obvious escalation from ball busting,

              The next escalation would be to expose balls to Keeping up with the Kardashians in 4k high-def.

              You know what Jack said about deception.

              You lie.

              • I did accuse you of breaking balls. Then you responded with the above quote, a gratuitous and disgusting escalation, which, in or out of context sounds like you want to castrate and burn the Majority Leader. I am under no obligation to give that quote your favorable interpretation. This is no lie.

                    • I hate to be rabbinical, but I can see it both ways. When I read VG’s initial post on McConnell, I took it as meaning “mere ball-busting is too good for him.” since the colorful description of grinding up said gonads followed from this metaphor—in ball-busting, no actual testicles are busted—I presumed that VG’s meaning was similar, hence “SUPER-Ball-busting.”

                      Now, I also can understand how Steve-O, or anyone, could take that statement to mean “he should be castrated”—but even that isn’t met literally. Moreover, in DC, “If he tries that, I’ll cut his balls off” is commonly meant to mean–“Rely on my certitude, if that unmannerly act occurs, I shall take substantive action that will make the miscreant regret it.” I even heard a major association CEO in DC—still in charge!—use that colorful metaphor to a female executive.

                      I should also mention that I loathe Mitch McConnell beyond all knowing, and almost no threat, real or perceived, to him sets off my ethics alarms unless I do so manually.

                      My sincere and considered verdict is that neither of you are or were lying.

                    • Jack, the substance of the disagreement is that Steve-O is claiming ball-crushing is literal.

                      Ergo he’s lying and has violated the cease fire you ordered.

                    • Not sure why this nested above, but goes here:

                      Valky: “Jack, be the judge on this; is it an infraction of the agreement?”

                      Valky:” I don’t like your ruling, Jack, so I will disregard it and make up my own interpretation.”

                      How very progressive, and illustrative of the tactics they use. A microcosm of the problem, if you will.

                      Or to paraphrase the ancient Cherokee legend: ‘We knew it was a snake when we picked it up.’

                    • Actually my comment above belongs here. Seriously, Jack, I am trying to be better here, but stuff like this tests my patience. This DOES smack of simply ignoring a clear ruling and making up one’s own.

  4. 3. I’d be almost too amused to object if the ruling was that the monkey did own the copyright, but that by extension PETA had to pay actors’ guild wages to every animal it had ever used for commercials.

    4. I think the principal is following the wisdom of Spongebob Squarepants (under the effects of PTSD):
    “I knoooow of a plaaaace.
    Where you neverrrrr get harmed
    A maaaaagical place…
    With maaaaagical charm.

  5. I am not a violent person by nature, but I can’t imagine what I would do if I was in a dark alley with a known child molester. Or heck, I may not even need a dark alley. Jury nullification can be a fine thing.

  6. 1. This man jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for fun not too long ago… I hope he lives to 100, if he wants to.

    2. Hannity should sue the ever luvin’ hell out of all those involved. Surely he has a case? And the part where this leaked? The entire episode is tainted, if the ‘taint’ team leaks like this. Leakers should be put in jail: it is a felony I would be jailed for.

    3. Slater should sue PETA for his court costs, at least. This was frivolous and asinine, and they broke a man for nothing more than a minor publicity stunt.

    I hate to advocate litigation, being conservative and all, but it is the tool of choice of the left, and hitting them personally (like they do us) is the only way to Make. Them. Stop.

    4. Penn State, sheesh. Why does this school still exist, given the terrible history?

    5. Another FINE example of UN family values… This is a feature of the UN, not a bug.

  7. When I heard Penn State was going to tell people to avoid dangerous environments, I thought they meant to stay out of the locker room, or at least not join the football team. I did not see this one coming. Perhaps they think there are other PSU predators loose in the wild from which they’re trying to keep their students safe?

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