Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/13/2019: Rhode Island On My Mind Edition


Providence, Rhode Island

Good morning!

I’m heading up to Little Rhodey in a few hours to once again collaborate with my brilliant Ethics Rock musician Mike Messer before the Rhode Island Bar, as well as to try to back about 7 hours of legal ethics and technology commentary into a 75 minute break-out session.

1. Once again, law vs ethics.The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld those lame duck laws the GOP legislature passed to hamstring the new Democratic Governor. It is the correct decision. The measures were unethical, but legal, just like Mitch McConnell’s gambit to refuse giving Merrick Garland a hearing, just like Harry Reid’s “reconciliation” maneuver to get the amended Affordable Care Act passed without having to send it  back to the House.

2. Correct, but futile.  From the Washington Post:

The Office of Special Counsel has recommended the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work.

The report submitted to President Trump found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”

The counsel said Conway was a repeat offender and recommended that she be removed from federal office.

She should be removed. She has flouted the law repeatedly, despite warnings. Never mind that recent administrations have ignored major Hatch Act violations: setting the right precedent is always ethical. Of course, there is zero chance that the President would sack one of his most loyal staffers, but if he cared about ethics, which he doesn’t that’s what the President would do.

It would be worth it just to get rid of her husband.

3. And speaking of getting rid of husbands…This is a disturbing case that tells us where wokeness leads. In Great Britain, Sally Challen is free despite hitting her husband over the head 20 times with a hammer. (If she were an American soccer player, I bet she would have celebrated after each stroke, though he was probably dead after #1. She had always dreamed of doing this, you see…)

Even though a jury convicted her, an appeals courts decided that she only committed manslaughter (her mean husband had placed her under such terrible stress, and she was suffering from mental illness), so she was let out with time served, about 8 years, instead of the original life sentence. Writes the editor of Spiked,

There are many concerning things here. The first is the way in which the opinion of an expert, in this case a forensic psychiatrist, effectively overrode the verdict of a jury. This strikes me as an implicit attack on the wisdom of the jury system. Does one expert’s view carry more weight than the deliberations of 12 ordinary men and women? Secondly there is the suggestion, in the broader public discussion around the case, that killing is an understandable response to being insulted or demeaned by one’s partner. This is what campaigners are actually saying. That the courts should be more lenient with women who have killed partners who exercised ‘coercive control’ over them. Bear in mind that coercive control can include such behaviour as ‘repeatedly putting you down’ and ‘monitoring you via online communication tools’. Only nasty blokes do things like this, but that is no justification for killing them. There is a serious danger that the Challen phenomenon will contribute to a view of extreme violence as a proportionate response to husbands who are toerags.What are we saying here: that women are sometimes incapable of controlling their emotions and their behaviour? Some men are treated abominably by their wives. They are put down, mocked, told they are pathetic, prevented from going to the pub, and so on. If one of these men smashed his wife’s head in with a hammer, would we say that wasn’t true murder? Would we plaster his image on the front pages of newspapers? Would MPs and campaigners offer him solidarity? I should hope not. And yet they have done this with Challen.

Hide the hammers, guys!

4. Football, meet horse racing, and your future. Horses keep dying at Santa Anita, so California Governor Gavin Newsom  has called  for a moratorium on racing  at the legendary track until all of the horses are evaluated by independent veterinarians.after The death toll has reached 29 since Dec. 26.

“I continue to be troubled by the horse deaths at Santa Anita Park,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement. “Enough is enough. I am calling on the California Horse Racing Board to ensure that no horse races until they are examined by independent veterinarians and found fit to compete.” The California Horse Racing Board also asked that the park owners shut down and forgo the remaining scheduled races.

But in November, Santa Anita is to host the Breeders’ Cup, one of horse racing’s most prestigious annual events. The track won’t halt the sport. But horse racing is an easy target for virtue-signalling politicians. The sport is fading away, and far from as popular as it was the Thirties and Forties, when it competed with boxing (also on the Critical List) and baseball. How long before NFL players dying or becoming demented in their forties causes a governor to say, “enough is enough”?

The day is coming, but only when the publics shows that it cares as much about its human gladiators as it does about the equine variety.

21 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/13/2019: Rhode Island On My Mind Edition

  1. 3. People murdering spouses. Why don’t they just leave? Get a divorce?

    Get on the bus, Gus, and set yourself free.

    4. Whenever I see horses standing all day in corrals, I have to wonder, what kind of life is that for an animal?

    • One thing about racing, it’s something horses do love to do, although I’m not sure how much they like getting ridden while doing it.

    • I don’t have horses, but I have donkeys on my farm. In my experience, equines pretty much just stand around all day munching grass, with the occasional amble over to where the water is. Being penned up in a barn stall is probably not ideal for them, but it’s not as if they’re building ships-in-bottles or putting on elaborate dance numbers when they’ve got acres of pasture instead. Grass, water, shit, repeat… Once in a while, kick a coyote that’s dumb enough to get too close. They don’t seem to have a richly varied life no matter where they live.

  2. 2. Hatch act

    It would be worth it just to get rid of her husband.

    I agree with the whole thing, but this most of all.

    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: President Trump has shown remarkable restraint when it comes to George Conway. I cannot imagine any employer not coming down hard on an employee whose spouse is outspoken in disparaging the employer publicly.

      • This is a no win situation for Trump. Kelly Anne is persona non grata among liberal feminists. However, the moment Trump fires her, she’ll be made a martyr, because she was punished for her husband’s actions. Even if she resigned gracefully, it would be used against Trump.

        Trump will get criticized for NOT firing her for Hatch Act violations AND he’ll be pilloried if he fired her.

  3. I want equality. That means if I kill my husband when I snap, I get the same treatment as he’d get if he offed me. Why is this such a hard concept? (Of course, living by the golden rule makes it so much less likely either of us dies- the 800$ phone’s days are numbered tho)

  4. Personally, I was just surprised to hear that they’re still allowed to own unlicensed hammers over there in Airstrip One-I mean, the UK.

  5. #1 I completely agree that what the Republicans did was unethical but it was clearly legal.

    It seems that when Republicans do unethical things, or things Democrats don’t like what Republicans did, the 21st century thing to do is to immediately claim that it’s illegal and take it to court.

    It appears that the Democrats loosing this battle in the courts has been scrubbed from many news outlets in Wisconsin. I’ve noticed a trend over the years here in Wisconsin, when the Democrats loose politically in Wisconsin courts the Wisconsin media outlets seem to want the facts to be hidden from public view; however, when the Republicans loose politically in Wisconsin courts it’s a never ending in-your-face smearing of Republicans in Wisconsin media outlets.

  6. Everything about the ethics of President Trump ignoring the law are true. She should be fired, in a perfect world.

    However (you knew that was coming, so wipe that pained expression off your face)

    One reason we are in the situation society is in: progressives and Democrats (but I repeat myself) have violated the very rules they hold their opponents to. Ethical, principled politicians have been shamelessly taken advantage of, and have been sidelined as a result. This behavior is political suicide that the progressives have taken advantage of for too long. President Trump is the leader we deserve as a nation, if not the one we wanted.

    Progressives have made this war. Ethics no longer apply when one is fighting for survival (and as a white christian conservative southern man I KNOW progressives want me dead… they say so all the time.)

    So the fact that President Trump is ignoring what every other POTUS has ignored since the law was made bothers me not one bit. Democrats can BITE ME until they hold their own feet to the same fire.

    The time of adhering to rules the other side uses against us, while they commit much greater atrocities, is OVER.

  7. Speaking of Mike Messer; why doesn’t he share some of his unique rhetorical talents here at Ethics Alarms like he’s done on Facebook, I’m sure he could fill in the gap left behind by some of the more progressive commenters that departed EA.

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