An Urgent Message From Your Host

I appreciate that there are strong personalities with strong opinions in the colloquy here, and I like it that way. I also appreciate those of you with an acid pen. I do not want to censor Ethics Alarms. Established participants here get great leeway with language, because they have credit in the bank, and have earned the privilege of an occasional lapse. I also realize that harsh language has its uses.

However, direct attacks, including threats, against other commenters isn’t acceptable. It makes my blog look ugly, for one thing, and discourages new readers. It also, obviously, undermines the mission.

I do not want to micro-moderate Ethics Alarms, and I believe that all of the regular participants here are worthy of the trust I place in them.

Don’t disappoint me.

78 thoughts on “An Urgent Message From Your Host

  1. Recent observation from person smarter than myself…

    Internet Troll Fishing For Emotional Outbursts vs Commenter Prone To Emotional Outbursts

    Troll wins every time.

    There’s battle lines being drawn
    Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.

    • A certifiable classic, and well-placed analogy!

      I remember like yesterday watching Buffalo Springfield perform this on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” with a hilarious (IMHO) cameo by Tommy Smothers at ~ 22 second mark that caught Stephen Stills off guard.

      No lip-syncing there.

      • The paranoia line always struck me as silly. I don’t remember the man coming and taking anyone away, certainly not me or anyone I knew. The song in general was pretty darned pretentious. But there was tons of that around in those days.

        My God, they were young. Stills had a nice voice. Neal Young. Whew, quite the sideburns. And no Graham Nash yet, I guess.

  2. It took me some time to find the post/comments in question. I think the emotion there demonstrates the growing distrust between the two parties and in government in general. So, it is no surprise to me that we are seeing fighting here.

    I also went back and read Jack’s analysis on Garland. Of course he should have been appointed, but there were many commenters fighting about the definition of “advise and consent,” so let’s not pretend that every Republican here was enthusiastically behind pushing through that nomination.

    In any event, Jack concluded one of his Garland posts with, “If it continues on this path, the GOP will have proven itself too unethical and irresponsible to be trusted.” Of course this is true, so the question is what should the Democrats do right now? And I’m not talking about Bork, or other events going back dozens of years, I’m asking about what should we do right at this moment.

    Personally, I think we should do the right thing and vote on Trump’s pick, but I’ll admit that it is easy for me to say that because Dems don’t have the numbers to do anything to stop it — so it will make us look weak to throw a big stink and then fail miserably. But if we did have the numbers to stop it? I’m not sure what I would think. I know that I personally (and strongly) believe that Presidential Supreme Court picks should be appointed — absent some showing that they are really unfit for the job or are biased. Obviously, that isn’t the case here, even if I disagree with the conservative bent of Kavanaugh’s opinions. But we can’t have a system where only one party plays by the rules — has ValkyGirl was saying. Because we know that the Republicans can’t be trusted right now. We all know that, Jack knows it — indeed, very few people can disagree with that.

    So, I’d love for someone out there to come up with a workable solution, because I’m pretty close to wanting to burn the whole thing down.

    • Still Spartan wrote, “It took me some time to find the post/comments in question. I think the emotion there demonstrates the growing distrust between the two parties and in government in general. So, it is no surprise to me that we are seeing fighting here.”

      We should all be better than that particular kind of hateful rhetoric around here, there’s no understandable excuse for it.

    • I agree with all of the above, except the obviously incorrect statement that only one party plays by the Rules. How can you possibly argue that? The House Democrats staged a sit-down strike to force a measure that was a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. The party used chicanery to pass the ACA. It was Harry Reid that eliminated the filibuster on federal judges, a well-established tradition to prevent steam-rolling by small majorities. It allied itself with an effort to hijack the Electoral College. It refused to allow a non-partisan investigation into the IRS scandal. It encouraged an unconstitutional abuse of executive orders to bypass the legislative checks and balances. How does advocating open borders and no enforcement of immigration laws constitute playing by the rules? (I know you think this is “on the right side of history,” but it’s still defying the law.) The Democrat judges that blocked Trump’s completely constitutional limits on travel weren’t following the rules: they were claiming that this President couldn’t do what any other President could. How is that “playing by the rules”? Democrats, and specifically Hillary Clinton, want to amend the First Amendment to allow speech restrictions. Democrats are hostile to Due Process, as in their directive to colleges that led to many male students having their academic careers and reputations destroyed without sufficient evidence. They forced Senator Franken to resign over unvalidated accusations of non-crimes, simply to build a (specious) case that President Trump should resign. And on and on. Democrats have been pursuing a coup against an elected President while refusing to acknowledge his legitimacy, and seeking impeachment based on political and personal hostility absent evidence of impeachable offenses, and have been doing this since November, 2016.

      I see, and I think I have documented, that the current Democratic Party is actively hostile to “the rules,” as in “the Constitution.”

      At this point, neither party is trustworthy, and anyone who says only one isn’t has decided which ends they are willing to accept any means to achieve.

      The workable solution is for both parties to stop encouraging chaos, and to be responsible even when doing so angers their whacko “bases” and fails to further their immediate agendas. Both parties won’t as long as individual, allegedly fair and rational members falsely argue that one party or the other is as pure as the driven snow.

    • Well, a couple of things:

      1. laudable first three paragraphs.

      2. Neither party can be trusted right now, Republicans or Democrats, to do anything except try to accrue more power.

      3. What does “wanting to burn the whole thing down” mean? I ask from genuine curiosity. I saw a post on the right today where some guy had reached the point he just wanted to split the country into three – California to the Canadian border, roughly Maryland north to Maine including half of Pennsylvania, and the rest.

      Any workable solution has to start with the two sides ceasing to characterize the other as evil. If there is to be a solution, we have to live together, and you can’t live together with evil.

      Otherwise, at some point in time, there will be war, and if it comes down to perceived good vs. evil, it will be a horrible war with atrocities galore. After all, is there really any “extreme” when your foe is evil? Is it not good’s duty to utterly defeat and wipe out evil? That can only end one way.

      If we can get past characterizing each other as evil, then we may have a chance.

      • Truthfully, I don’t know what I mean when I say, “Burn the whole thing down.” I’m not a revolutionary — I’m not going to actually go out and burn things. I do think I mean that I don’t see a way to fix this. Imploring our leaders to play nice is going to get us nowhere because the system works better when they don’t. They know that. (Heck, I know that which is why I will never run for office. I’m too honest.) I think a 2 party system doesn’t work — but there also is no way for a 3rd or 4th party to enter the mix realistically.

        I won’t lie. I’ve spent some time perusing jobs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. I don’t think I am serious about moving, but for the first time in my life the thought has crossed my mind, which depresses me.

        • I believe Spartan is genuinely concerned enough to entertain the notion of leaving the USA… unlike most celebrities who virtue signalled they would leave if X happened.

          She could then learn exactly WHY we say that America is the best country on earth, despite any shortcomings. Try living in another society to see if they are better.

          And they might be, for Spartan. Depends on what liberties you are willing to forego. A word of warning: learn about the laws and norms where you want to move to: unlike many jurisdictions in the USA, other countries have zero tolerance for breaking their laws, and no sympathy whatsoever for immigrants who break them from ignorance.

          Good luck in your search. Seriously. Even if you stay, at least you are acknowledging that THIS is the best country for YOUR family.

          • As Americans, we are all responsible for our nation and its leadership. Self-governing is hard…that’s why we screw it up so often. But our duty as American is to keep trying to get it right, and not abandon the task.

            • Jack Marshall wrote, “As Americans, we are all responsible for our nation and its leadership. Self-governing is hard…that’s why we screw it up so often. But our duty as American is to keep trying to get it right, and not abandon the task.”

              Nicely stated.

            • How is that the test? Unless you are a Native American, every person here owes their citizenship to an ancestor (in my case, not too distant) who came here. On my mother’s side, they fled England, by way of Canada, for political reasons, and my father’s family was (allegedly) descended from gypsies who came to the US because they were being persecuted in Germany. (I think it is more likely that the German ancestors were just poor — but you know how family stories are.) Did my ancestors have a duty to stay and fight for change in their mother countries? Did the Irish have a duty to stay and starve? (This list can get pretty endless — so I won’t belabor my point.) The US welcomed them with open arms. Your argument seems to boil down to, “Well, America is better, so it’s different and you have a higher duty.” Nope.

              All that being said, I am not actively looking. Let’s see what happens in November.

              • Yup. They sure did. Abandoning one’s country is like a divorce, and it is a rejection of a commitment, especially in a democracy, where one’s birthright is to be an active factor in the government and culture of one’s community.

                Some people can’t hack it. too much work. They want to just hand the steering wheel over to someone else, close their eyes, and complain when they don’t like the destination.

                • With due respect, I consider leaving infinitely preferable to staying and trying to take over the country with violence, which is what “burn it all down” said to me.

                  “America – love it or leave it” has always worked for me. Maybe it should be expanded to, “America – love it, try to change it through the democratic process, or leave it” would be more accurate, but it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. 🙂

                • Well, that analogy gets a “F.” I chose my spouse — and but for certain oppressive cultures where women do not have that right, that’s pretty much the norm.

                  I did not choose to be born here. I obviously consider my US citizenship to be a lucky lottery ticket compared to many places on the planet. If I choose to leave, however, it will be because there is another country that is more appealing to me. I don’t know if that will be the case, so for right now I am staying. Ten years ago, I would have said that France is my dream country — but I’m seeing similar (or worse) nationalistic trends going on in the EU generally and Great Britain right now, so that is off the table. Canada is a bit more appealing to me, and truthfully I would be moving significantly closer to family if I lived in the Toronto area, so it is something that I am investigating.

                  I do applaud you for consistency however. Your position dovetails nicely into your stance on illegal immigration.

                    • The going will not get tough for me. I a white affluent middle-aged woman with two blonde daughters. If I leave, it will be out of disgust. Did you know hate crimes toward Latinos have soared 50% in some areas during this Administration?

                    • Fake stat. I saw that one: “some areas’ equals California, where Trump isn’t even acknowledged as President and illegal immigration is cheered.
                      I love the double bind: activists say what is illegal and wrong is legal and right, and then it’s provoking violence to say that it’s illegal and wrong.

                    • Still Spartan wrote, “Did you know hate crimes toward Latinos have soared 50% in some areas during this Administration?”

                      You know as well as any other intelligent person in the USA that those statistics are stacked to push an agenda!

                      Here’s how it works, theoretically there were things that could be deemed by some as hate crimes against Latinos in my area of the USA before August 1st last year and now there have been three this year, statistically that is an additional one incident that could be deemed as a hate crime against Latinos which is a soaring 50% increase in this area, yes that ONE incident more than last year “proves” the innuendo that crimes toward Latinos have soared 50%. The statistical number for the cherry picked area may be accurate but it’s bull shit to imply that it’s soaring and it’s more than a cherry picked area.

                      Guess what Spartan, I bet they could cherry pick an area and using their methods statistically “prove” that crimes toward Latinos have soared 100% in some areas during this Administration, and that might be ONE incident.

                      Stop presenting such smearing innuendo as fact, in my opinion, it’s intellectually dishonest.

                    • I left out a word in a sentence…

                      “…theoretically there were two things that could be deemed by some as hate crimes against Latinos in my area of the USA before August 1st last year and now there have been three this year…”

                      Fingers need to keep up with brain.

                    • Some of those ‘hate crimes’ were simply free speech. Saying that illegal aliens should be arrested is considered a racist comment, and therefore a ‘hate crime.’

              • Go ahead and move to Canada or Australia or New Zealand or any other alleged socialist, enlightened nirvana. Then you can bitch about how mean and overbearing the U.S. is even though you’ll depend on the U.S. to protect you from the various malefactors and to buy all the stuff you’re exporting to the U.S. while the Chinese move in en mass and drive up real estate prices to the point you’ll be a renter all your life. There are all kinds of places out there that look great from afar. Plus, you and your kids will be foreigners with funny accents.

              • slickwilly wrote, “a large segment of Democrats (~70%) are not proud to be Americans.”

                They aren’t proud to be Americans because they have to occupy the same country with deplorable people that have different opinions than they do and that is so offensive to them that strips them of all their patriotic American pride. Don’t laugh, I’ve heard that directly from lefties. They’re openly bigots and they’re damn proud of it.

                • Yes, that tragically appears to be the reality of the situation, Zoltar. It wasn’t always this way, either, but a sudden, remarkably violent lurch. I suspect we have become victims of our own inventions; the Internet and social media.

      • “Burn it all down” is just a phrase of frustration. “Burning it all down” will NOT solve the problem:

        1) The very people we hate who control the outcome of government will still be around in droves after it’s all been burned down. Because *WE* are the people who control the outcome of government. Why on earth would we trust ourselves to rebuild something that we burned down because we didn’t like what we were doing with it in the first place? At the end of the day, the American voter STILL has control of his government. Hence it’s a government we deserve.

        What rises from the ashes can only hope to be worse if we as a people don’t improve our own spiritual and intellectual brokenness.

        2) IF, *we* the people had a notion to “burn it all down” as a solution and got up the moral clarity to “rectify the situation” combined with the energy to do something about it, we’d then have the moral clarity and energy level to vote in the right people to the government. Therefore we’d just change the people in government *long before* we’d change the whole system in a “burn it all” down fun fest.

        Nope. It will not get better until we get better, and when we get better, we won’t need to “burn it all down”, we’ll just fire the rotten curs we stupidly elected in the first place.

        • I actually take the phrase to include a purge of those who oppose you politically.

          If society fails, even for a couple of months, many will starve, especially in the big cities, Micheal. Most people do not have more than two weeks food in their dwelling, and stores use ‘just in time’ keeping less than two weeks on the shelves. Those without food will riot and literally ‘burn it down’ in urban areas.

          Rural areas would have it a bit better, but those close to cities will be swamped by refugees who might not care about property rights.

          I have heard estimates that 6 months without electricity (meaning, no food deliveries) would kill off over half the US population, more if during winter.

          • My gut level analysis of “burn it all down” including a general societal collapse leading to Americans being forced to rely on subsistence living AND/OR raiding leads me to conclude that *by the law of averages and pure chaos* that despite people being prepared and people who are not prepared just taking from others, that after all is said and done, generally speaking, the remaining population will still generally reflect the ratios of world views we currently have, with the following caveat:

            Those who survived, who previously were self-sufficient and believed in “live and let live” will still be self-sufficient and “live and let live” and those who survived as integrated members of the market as it was but believe in “live and let live” will recognize they have to be violent takers to survive.

            Sorry, on average that is still a net negative outcome.

            I think my analysis still holds.

            “Burn it down”, if successful, leaves us worse off. “Burn it down” if even feasible leads to people actually fixing the system peacefully.

            What actually happens: “Burn it down” doesn’t happen, because people, lacking a spiritual goal in life, are sheep who don’t friggin care who tells them how to live, so long as they can passively-aggressively vent on the internet.

            • I believe that you are not taking human nature and historical precedent into account.

              on average that is still a net negative outcome.

              Of course it is. We have the optimum society, for all of the flaws, to promote survival of the population.

              “Burn it down” doesn’t happen

              Agree with you. Most people are too lazy to do more than vent on the Internet.

              I would love to take the discussion further, but this is not the forum to do so. I think I could learn a lot from your perspective.

      • A conservative Supreme Court justice, to the rational person, is the only kind that should exist. Because a conservative (originalist) interpretation of the law is the only valid kind.

        Even rational liberals should acknowledge that, because a proper originalist would simply follow the law- even the “liberal” laws. Thus, if liberals were rational, they would support conservative justices and focus on electing more liberal lawmakers. Conservative justices can’t do anything about laws they don’t like, because unlike liberal justices, they don’t believe in legislating from the bench.

        Of course, most people are NOT rational, and because liberals like to pretend the Constitution is made of Play-Doh, they assume that the same measures will be taken against them. They won’t. Only the Left wants to fundamentally transform America; conservatives, as the name implies, just want to maintain the system.

        • This used to be true, but I fear that the recent purges of true conservatives means the new right (who plays by the left’s rulebook) might not be so restrained.

    • I’ll admit it. No shame. I think the block of Garland was, marginally, justifiable.

      Maybe a 55% to 45% ‘justifiabilitly’ as a punch to the Left for the behavior against the nation, the Republic and huge swathes of the Greater Community that was led by Barack Obama and Harry Reid. That is, in the balance between telling BO and HR that they can’t just act aggressively against American values and huge swathes of the public the way they and the balance of preserving decorum and tradition, the balance fell AGAINST Garland.

      It was not longer about Garland at that point.

      • It was a semi-risky gamble (because if HRC won, Senate would have confirmed Garland immediately) but a gamble that paid off.

        Sometimes, when the chair is against the wall…it’s time to grow long mustaches.

        And it’s time to cast the die.

      • It says something that it’s MY comment that you think is over the line. Do threats and derisive dehumanizing gendered insults mean nothing?

        • Yours was not called out, was it? Steve’s was, and rightly so.

          YOU, now, I was making fun of. Because it is a funny thing to say. Because you think it IS an insult.

          Steve’s comments were just crude, but not funny.

          You see, someone suggested that they ‘stock up’ on guns and ammo because society is heading toward violence. To which I replied:
          “Except for Dick’s… they don’t carry eeeevvvul gun stuff anymore /snark

          Wait… if you buy something at Dick’s that they DO carry, say athletic socks, and they give you a bag with their logo on it…

          Is that a bag of Dick’s?

          What if they carried dildos… is it then a bag of Dick’s dicks?

          and, if they were edible dildos, you could eat a bag of Dick’s dicks!”
          …and this is funny, if in a juvenile sort of way.

          Do you prefer Steve’s method of responding?

        • His comment certainly was over the line, further over than yours by a long chalk.

          Still, both were uncivil, gratuitous, and unnecessary. Your comment began an escalation, and the escalation was worse.

          I suggest we leave the bag alone, whatever it may contain. It’s caused enough trouble.

        • You may not have known it, and few did, but since years ago I allowed the (since banned) Scott Jacobs to use “eat a bag of dicks”–which, I must admit, I found kind of funny initially—many times, that particular crude phrase was grandfathered in by precedent…especially since I had (stupidly) allowed it to be used by a vociferous male to female adversaries.

          Stare decisus!

        • valkygrrl wrote, “It says something that it’s MY comment that you think is over the line. Do threats and derisive dehumanizing gendered insults mean nothing?”

          valkygrrl have you seriously not seen the repetitive admonishment that I have aimed directly at Steve for things he has written or are you just ignoring that fact so you can try to unethically smear me in this case?

          For your information, you innuendo slinging hack; I didn’t see what Steve wrote until after Jack’s “Stop, Steve. Time out. Enough fighting words.” comment and at that point in time Jack had already taken appropriate steps and piling on would have just been piling on.

          Now valkygrrl, you can just bite me.

          • You don’t know what it is that you’re asking. I could bite you. Do you really want to receive the curse? Do you want to turn into a liberal every full moon?

    • “…I still think my ‘bag of dicks’ comment was funny…”

      T’was ever thus!

      I wonder; would a similar, X-Chromosomal Unit-specific, euphemism (i.e. go munch a bunch of muffs/go partake in a passel of pussy, et al) be as yuckety yuck yuck blithely tolerated?

      Or are “dicks” the…um…Everyman of genitalia accoutrement?

      • I don’t claim to be smarter than President Obama…but at least I didn’t fall for Achmed’s clock scam.

        BTW, the school behaved quite reasonably, and were vilified by the initial media reports in a pretty textbook case of Fake News, at a time when they couldn’t legally tell their side of the story. It turns out he was arrested for what the school reported to be a “hoax bomb,” NOT because the evil redneck teacher was prejudiced.

  3. What you write becomes a legacy and helps define who and what you are to others. Do I want people to see that I am vulgar, crass, tasteless, etc.? I have a granddaughter who is almost seven. Is that the lesson I teach her? Do I set the bar high for myself or low? I can understand emotions run wild and have edited several boards over the years, but a line is drawn. And if it is on a board do you do that in other relationships? Your spouse? Children? Family? Friends? Employer? A clerk that is slow on the draw? A waitstaff not meeting your expectations? Bad behavior is just not justifiable.

  4. A disclaimer: I originally had decided not to comment on this issue. I feel now, though, that I must. I have paid some attention to the dialogues between valky (I still applaud the ‘Valkyrie’ reference in her handle) and Steve (my best friend was called Steve-O by his drinking buddies, until he passed away from leukemia two weeks after my beloved wife) and I had a growing concern for the increasingly vituperative rhetoric passing between the two of them. As a conservative myself, I understood many of Steve’s positions, and agreed with them, if not his manner of expressing them. Valky, on the other hand is a fellow literary geek. We have read many of the same books and authors, so, despite her liberal stance, we have a common ground. I have learned from Steve, and I have learned from valky as well. I doubt that I would ever call either of them ‘friends’, but I respect both, and their opinions. Thus, I would ask both, as a commenter on this blog, bury the hatchet. The blog is about ethics, not politics. Keep in mind that you can always agree to disagree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.