Open Forum!

I was able to get a couple of posts up, but I am now about to head into another sexual harassment program, and these tend to depress me and leave me wanting to give up my species and become a lemur or something. Who knows when I’ll be psychologically ready to return to writing ethics posts that violate Facebook’d community standards?

The commentariat has repeatedly done an outstanding job in the periodic fora keeping on topic (ethics) and avoiding incivility, and I assume this trend will continue.

76 thoughts on “Open Forum!

  1. I’m just hitting that refresh button until Jack posts his comments on Trump citizenship ‘question’ executive order.

    • RPE

      On that issue. It seems the entire issue focuses on whether or not any given state should recieve a greater allotment of federal dollars or representation in Congress.

      The left sees the question as a subtraction problem while the right sees counting illegal aliens as an improper addition problem.

      What if those who wish to include the citizenship question who reside in states with high numbers of illegal aliens because of state policies choose to opt out of being counted? Is this act of civil disobedience ethical? I believe it is.

      • Interesting idea, but unlikely to catch on. I’m not sure it can ever be ethical to break the law, though, as the law requires the census questionnaire be filled out and returned.

        • Further, not only is it illegal to not fill out the census, the census workers are driven to accurately tabulate everyone. I had a neighbor skip out right as the census was being counted in 2000. They were home on April 1 but skipped a few days later and never filled the form. Everyone bordering their property was interviewed about what we knew about them and they used our information to fill out the form.

          The census worker told me that they have many who refuse to fill it out and refuse contact, so they get the same treatment.

          • Great.

            ‘So we will just make up the answers ourselves.’ -Big Brother

            Interview using made up Census data:

            “So, I see here that your hobby is basket weaving, according to 93 year old Emma Jean down the block. Where do you get the raw materials, seeing as we can not find where you purchased them in your bank records (what are you hiding?)”

            “Are you still beating your kids? That neighbor who had took you to court over tree trimming two years ago said on our census that you have anger issues”

            “We see that you are still living with your wife who (as was sworn by Fred Berry down the street) you divorced three years ago. We cannot find records of that divorce, either. Explain yourself.”


          • Ok, if they prosecute and lose I will pay the $ 100. BUT there will be a record of why I chose to protest.

            This form of protest is far more ethical than than the left’s methods.

          • So this invalidates the whole undercount argument from the left if the question is on the form. How is it that the undocumented can avoid being counted but me an my neighbors will be hounded by instoppable census takers?

        • The law requires people with deportation orders to be removed.

          I believe the law only requires you not lie. Logically, if the census knows I exist in order to prosecute it does not need me to tell them I exist. The fifth amendment states that I am secure in my person and papers so if I do nothing I have violated ni law. If they seek to refute these arguments then I will bring up the 14th amendment for equal protection because the undocumented are not subject to the law when they fail to complete a form.

        • Glenn
          I somewhat agree with the idea that it is not ethical to break the law but rigid adherence to such an axiom will negate your ability to effect change.

        • Rigid adherence to the axiom that it is never ethical to challenge a law by breaking it would never brought an end to VietNam when it did.

        • If following the law produces much more harm than breaking it (I’m thinking of something like the Fugitive Slave Act, for example), is it not ethical to refuse to follow such a law? Simply breaking a law because you disagree with it is probably not ethical, but certainly there have been laws that it would be unethical to follow, haven’t there?

          • Well, by that argument, couldn’t we argue, as the liberals have, that enforcing immigration law is unethical?

            The ethical thing to do is not disobey a troublesome law, but change it.

            Or change to a jurisdiction that doesn’t have it.

    • Here is what I don’t understand: by executive order, Obama removed citizenship inquiry on the census. If he can remove it executive order, then why can’t Trump put it on the census form by executive order?


          • Actually the reason is that the left has poisoned the judiciary with the idea that every action that Trump takes that affects undocumented immigrants is rooted in racial animus.

            • Agreed. it’s the “Orange Man Bad” rule. Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush did it. But, look, it’s bad. I mean BAD. Trump bad, it’s bad. Really bad. So bad I can’t even contemplate how bad it is it is so bad.


              PS: Trump is bad.

            • Off topic, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where someone is trying to brain wash you into believing something that is clearly real isn’t real, go ahead and start off saying a bonkers answer.

              *strapped to a chair beneath 5 blinding lights*

              Interrogator: “Welcome to Education Camp, Comrade Slick, you think you see 5 lights before you, but you will soon embrace that there…”

              Slick: “No, there’s 7 lights.”

              Interrogator: “…are…wait…what?”

              Slick: “There’s 7 lights.”

              *4 hours later*

              Interrogator: “NO G–D— it Comrade Slick, THERE ARE 5 F—–ing LIGHTS!!!”

              Slick: “Nope…7”

              Interrogator: *shrieking* “LET ME OUT OF HERE, JUST LET ME LIVE IN PEACE, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!”

      • My gut response is that if Obama’s executive order to remove it is Constitutional while Trump’s executive order to add it back in is Unconstitutional, would be that the inclusion of the question has ALWAYS been unconstitutional but it’s never been challenged.

        But we, in reality, know that it’s really because activist left wing judges are protecting the left wing agenda and that it has indeed always been Constitutional to ask citizenship questions in the census.

          • That’s not quite right, Rich, though Obama did not remove the question. From FactCheck.Org:

            Explaining how the misconception developed requires some background.

            Starting at the beginning, the Constitution mandates that the U.S. population be counted every 10 years in order to determine the number of representatives each state should have and to distribute federal funds. The next decennial census is in 2020.

            As the country’s population grew, the complexity of the census also grew. In 1940, the Census Bureau, for the first time, used sampling as a way to get more detailed information about the population without overburdening all residents with too many questions. That year it sent additional questions to just 5 percent of the population and used statistical techniques to broaden the results. By 1970, the bureau was sending out a short-form questionnaire to every U.S. household and a long-form supplement with more detailed questions to a fraction of U.S. households.

            In 1997, the bureau outlined a plan to eliminate the long-form questionnaire after 2000 and replace it with the American Community Survey, which would be sent out to a small sample of households every year instead of once every 10 years. In 2005, the bureau started using that survey — which U.S. residents are required by law to answer, just as they are required to answer the census.

            That background is important for understanding where the citizenship questions have been asked.

            Here’s how it has been handled since 1820, the first year that a citizenship question was included:

            1820 — The country’s fourth census asked this question of each household in the U.S.: “Number of foreigners not naturalized.” The following census in 1830 included a variation on that question.
            1840 — The citizenship question wasn’t asked this year. It wasn’t included in 1850 or 1860, either, although those questionnaires did ask about a person’s “place of birth,” a question that the government would continue to ask, in some form, through today.
            1870 — The first census following the Civil War asked two specific citizenship questions: “Is the person a male citizen of the United States of 21 years or upwards?” and “Is the person a male citizen of the United States of 21 years or upwards whose right to vote is denied or abridged on grounds other than ‘rebellion or other crime?’”
            1880 — The census did not include any citizenship questions.
            1890 — The citizenship question returned this year, asking: “Is the person naturalized?” That question remained in the next four questionnaires, adding the phrase “or an alien” in 1910, 1920 and 1930.
            1940 — The census included this question: “If foreign born, is the person a citizen?” The 1950 census included the same question.
            1960 — This census did not include a citizenship question.
            1970 — The short-form questionnaire sent to every household did not include a citizenship question, but the supplemental long-form questionnaire sent to some households asked: “For persons born in a foreign country- Is the person naturalized?” The 1980 census handled the question in a similar manner.
            1990 — The short-form questionnaire sent to every household again did not ask about citizenship, but the long form sent to some households asked: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The same was true for the 2000 census.
            2005 — The first American Community Survey was sent out with this question: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
            2010 — The decennial census sent to every U.S. household did not include a citizenship question, like all of the short-form questionnaires since 1960. The American Community Survey, which had replaced the long-form census, included the same citizenship question as it did in 2005 and continues to today.

            As the timeline shows, Obama did not remove the citizenship question from the census.

          • My comment was in response to this:

            “Here is what I don’t understand: by executive order, Obama removed citizenship inquiry on the census. If he can remove it executive order, then why can’t Trump put it on the census form by executive order?


            By JVB. I wasn’t aware of the actual chronology, which Jack posted. My mistake.

  2. Here is an article worth writing about.

    But a licensing process can go way further: While a background check is more often than not quick and hassle-free, gun licensing in, for example, Massachusetts is a weeks- or months-long process that requires submitting a photograph and fingerprints, passing a training course, and going through one or more interviews, all involving law enforcement. That adds significant barriers for even a would-be gun owner who has no ill intent or bad history. (emphasis added)

    I wonder if this Lopez punk would laud laws for putting up significant barriers to having an abortion or voting.

    That could require rethinking the Second Amendment, whether by appointing judges who interpret it differently in a reverse version of the NRA’s campaign to portray gun ownership as an individual right.

    So this Lopez punk believes judges could de facto repeal the Second Amendment.

    Remember, this is the same Lopez punk who wrote this.

    Obtaining this permit is a potentially weeks-long process, which requires paperwork, an interview, a background check, and, even if you pass all of that, the police chief has some discretion to deny the license anyway — if he or she, for example, knows something about your past that may not necessarily show up in your criminal record.

    and yet, the Lopez punk also wrote this.

    <blockquote<Another potential parallel comes through what Matt Yglesias has described for Vox as the “Great Awokening.” Since 2014, he wrote, “white liberals have moved so far to the left on questions of race and racism that they are now, on these issues, to the left of even the typical black voter.” That happened in part because of the Black Lives Matter movement that took off after the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri, protests, but also because “Democratic elites were beginning to signal to the rank and file that they should take systemic racism concerns more seriously” — such as when President Barack Obama remarked that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon [Martin].”

    Lopez is clearly ignoring systemic racism concerns in pretending that gun control laws will be enforced in an even-handed manner.

    Maybe he should try being woke.

    • His concern, and the concern of many on the left, is not whether firearms restrictions will be applied evenly. The end goal is to remove the firearms from every citizen. Their ideal world has only the government and police armed, even though government is so corrupt that they need a pay raise to stop taking bribes and the police are so racist that they’re killing black people for existing. But at least then they can enact whatever policies they want. At least that’s as far as I can tell, based off of everything I’ve read and watched.

    • So this Lopez punk believes judges could de facto repeal the Second Amendment.

      Well, yes, as currently applied. He wants to make it so difficult to own a firearm that most people won’t own one. He thinks that somehow, that will pass constitutional muster as a “reasonable” restriction.

      Of course, we know it won’t unless the Second Amendment is reverted back to the “Militia” definition where ownership of a firearm must be reasonably related to militia duty. Then, they can try to define the National Guard as a militia (it isn’t) and require NG service as a prerequisite.

      This is all silly, of course, absent a liberal takeover of the Supreme Court by successive administrations or court packing. But the Left would very much like to disarm as many Americans as possible by any means necessary. Understandable, given that their goal is redefining the Bill of Rights or, if necessary, replacing it.

        • Outside-Ethics-Alarms Article of the Day.

          “Everybody. Basically, if you aren’t nuts, incapacitated, a crook or as old as a leading Democrat candidate, you’re in the militia. And that’s good, because a republic requires participation. For too long, we’ve outsourced the vital duties of individual citizens to our great first responders and organized military. No more. Time to step up, people.”

          “What is the “militia” anyway? It’s not goofy dudes in camo playing army. It’s the American people. It was those farmers, blacksmiths and other assorted non-hipsters who the Brits tried to disarm and who got all shooty in response. Today, it’s us, you and me, regular citizens with military arms so they can cap criminals and tyrants like bosses just as Nature intended.”

          The idea of the militia is that it includes (almost) everybody, but everybody can’t join the military – only a fraction of our citizens can. The militia is different. It is about all of us doing our part personally for our nation, like answering a jury summons or paying taxes. Hey citizens, time to do your duty. Time to get well-regulated. And that starts with owning a weapon.”

          “It’s not too much to ask citizens to take personal responsibility for their own country, and the ultimate responsibility is to defend it. That’s why the Second Amendment’s militia reference, taken seriously, means not stripping Americans of their ability to defend their freedom but enhancing it. “

      • Well, yes, as currently applied. He wants to make it so difficult to own a firearm that most people won’t own one. He thinks that somehow, that will pass constitutional muster as a “reasonable” restriction.

        No court has ever held that making it more difficult to exercise a civil right is rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

        ut the Left would very much like to disarm as many Americans as possible by any means necessary.

        they will have to sacrifice the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments to do so.

        • Collateral damage, Michael. Given progressives’ animosity to the 1st Amendment – and if we have a true “litmus test” for whether someone really believes in the principles that lie under the American experiment, it’s whether you embrace or disdain the rights protected by the 1st Amendment – I doubt they are overly concerned about any of those other pesky bits of the Constitution.

        • True, however, with the right judges in place who will declare the Second Amendment an individual right only for militia members, and by defining the militia as, say, the National Guard, the government could show a “compelling interest,” at least to judges willing to accept that rationale.

    • The pro-Second Amendment websites have been all abuzz about this article for the past week or so. Much of the reaction is similar to yours. Personally, I think the country will split if there is ever a serious effort to repeal the Second Amendment. Ditto for very many states adopting draconian licensing procedures. The recent trends are in the opposite direction. If you happen to live in a state that goes down that road and there’s not enough red-blooded opposition to block such action, then vote with your feet. I have recently talked with new “immigrants” from California, Washington and Oregon who have moved here to the mid south to escape leftist craziness. These are professional people with young families who have seen the handwriting on the wall and opted out of the budding progressive paradise.

  3. I don’t see any comments yet so how about some ethics advice from the board on an idea I had related to the current political climate.

    Now that I am retired I have been kicking around idea for a novel. It begins after a presidential election an one of the nation’s parties, politicians and large portions of the coastal US declaring thier candidate president despite losing the electoral college. Not necessarily an end of days but closer to a civil war but of coarse triggering an global economic collapse. The focus would be the heartland and great lakes region.

    So is there ethical considerations in writing such fiction?

    • I’d think that declaring a president that wasn’t elected would require secession from the Union, wouldn’t it?

      • Thinking along the lines of the party declaring a new capital maybe in CA and simply ignoring arguments that it is unconstitutional. Congressmen of the same party aligning themselves with the popular vote winner and working to invalidate the electoral winner. Basically what is going on, taking it to the next level and the repercussions from such a move. Military staying out of it but being supported by the heartland as the coastal areas implode.

    • No ethical problems with writing ANY fiction… it is fantasy, after all. Just do not base your characters on real people in order to denigrate them.

      Be sure you include how the coasties feed the masses without red state farms… do they steal the food, or buy offshore, or what?

      • I don’t know…I’d be super careful about inserting real people into the fiction, especially if they’re recognizable.

        • Is that not what I said? If not, let me be clear: writing about real people and/or making thinly disguised caricatures of them is perilous.

          Sorry for the unclear wording

        • Name a socialist controlled society that did not face starvation due to defying human nature. California farms operate because they have capitalism and the free markets to support socialist burdens.

          They would quickly need to subjugate and utilize forced labor to keep that land in production.

          Fishing is the same.

          • Don’t know if you’re right about fishing, Slick, though I’ve heard that all the way up the northern half of California along Oregon and Washington through the BC (British Columbia) and Alaskan Coasts the whole system from deckhands to canning factory owners are a pretty ingrown, independent group – and rather more tending to conservative thinking than socialism. You’ve got a point about the farms. There would probably have to be a bloody uprising against Safeway (in particular, and not the part that sells their house brand on those millions of shelves) and a mass takeover of the web of ownership or long-time cartel control of freight car, local and interstate trucking lines, warehousing, a good slice of the farming equipment companies and the farmland itself.

            I do know, however, that the state of California is a heck of a lot more complicated and politically variable than you give it credit for. For one thing, it is just as happily commercial and capitalist as anywhere else and happy with it. And even in San Francisco, believe me, I’ve worked in home in whole neighborhoods like the Excelsior, that are hard right to the death, gun owners, church-goers, and all the rest, who vote a straight Republican ticket — some of whom even find a hero in their former neighbor, the late Dan White (the man who assassinated the city’s powerful gay supervisor, Harvey Milk and his Honor, Mayor George Moscone }.. Then there’s the national Log-Cabin Club, the first and largest gay representation in the G.O.P., alive and well and growing. And people who’ve only visited Austin think the whole of Texas is “getting a bad rap because they’re all really very liberal and anti-gun and pro-abortion good ol’ boys,”

            The answer, my friend, has always been the reality of this whole country. It runs, sometimes leaning to one side, sometimes to the other, on a single track, giving and getting in (un)equal measure that always riles those who want the track to be their own monorail .. The train’s running lopsided these days, getting more off balance every day. Right now, it looks like the givers are trying to pry some rails loose and give ’em away altogether without giving a damn whether the nation can ride along or not, and the getters are busy laying the same old rails on their side and pounding the spikes in harder, hoping to keep everything running. Like the man said, ’tain’t no way to run a railroad. Nobody has to stay in the middle, but there’s got to be balance if we’re going to survive.

            • I do know, however, that the state of California is a heck of a lot more complicated and politically variable than you give it credit for

              We are talking about a fictional book, Penn. Life is always messier than the story can allow for.

              For the premise stated, I understood that Cali would have to already have control taken away from any deplorables in their midst, some of it VERY recent, like farming and fishing. Not that they would have infighting to worry about while dealing with the red states.

              • Yeah, I got the fiction part. Got carried away anyhow. One last shot, then, since I’m already off the rails: the thing about deplorables – about those so designated – is that it makes them automatically invisible, beneath contempt, as it were and thus not seen as anything requiring control. …. It gives one a feeling of fresh air and freedom. So I’ve been told. It could be something I drank about an hour ago, but that sense of becoming translucent is, well, liberating.

    • That scenario has already played out. The end result is that the rogue-president, the one declared so by her the losing supporters ends up going on minimally-attended book-signing tours to the nation’s various Costcos, while everyone else gets on with life.

      But it would be a fun scenario to take to the next level.

  4. 1. I give you another sampling from Dear Abby:

    In a nutshell, the Letter Writer was invited to the 18th birthday party of the son of a friend of his. He chose what he thought was a “cheeky” but “risque” card, thinking some gentle needling of the newly-minted adult would be fun. The birthday celebrant opens the card, then runs off to his room in tears. Mom throws the Letter Writer out. When he calls later to ask what was wrong, he is advised the son does not identify as a cis-gender male, that the damage has been done and neither want anything to do with him despite the fact that he didn’t know the son’s orientation.

    Observations anyone?

    I personally think the card was in bad taste as he clearly didn’t know the young man well enough to know whether it would be appreciated. But it wasn’t given in malice. I think the parents have over-reacted by judging the Letter Writer arrogant and disrespectful of their son’s orientation, despite the fact that he didn’t know.

    2. Fans of the sitcom “The Office” may like to read through this years’-old blog hosted by an employment law firm that tallies the settlements fictional Dunder-Mifflin would have to pay out whenever Michael Scott and friends acted up.

    3. Speaking of “The Office”, the film “Goodnight and Good Luck” (see Jack’s previous post) had a subplot involving two coworkers seeing each other behind the company’s back despite CBS’s policy against it. At the end, one of them is forced to resign in order to correct the issue.

    Workplace romances…what do you think?

    • 1a. Why was the Letter Writer invited in the first place. Parties for three-year olds usually have a guest parent for each child, but not 18 year olds. (In fact, at 18, what kids-who-now-think-they-are-grown ups would even attend, much less put up with a party including daddies and/or mommies?).

      1b. Why would non-cis burst into tears? If that’s meant to show he’s now a girly-girl, that’s does not compute. All she would think was that Dad didn’t tell his friend about The Change. Or maybe that Dad was to ashamed of sonny’s new identity to tell his friend – – now that might be a reason to cry.

      1c. I could go on dealing with the illogic of the whole situation but I haven’t time (I’m getting “stuff” ready for a neighborhood sidewalk sale tomorrow (getting rid of old Playboys and Hustler magazines), so I’ll just end with one more:

      1d. There is not and never has been any way to validate the authenticity of the content of the letters received by the Agony Aunts. This is a prime example of fun-fiction. The whole letter sounds queer to me.

    • In a nutshell, the Letter Writer was invited to the 18th birthday party of the son of a friend of his. He chose what he thought was a “cheeky” but “risque” card, thinking some gentle needling of the newly-minted adult would be fun. The birthday celebrant opens the card, then runs off to his room in tears. Mom throws the Letter Writer out. When he calls later to ask what was wrong, he is advised the son does not identify as a cis-gender male, that the damage has been done and neither want anything to do with him despite the fact that he didn’t know the son’s orientation.

      so their son is a cissy freak.

      Good riddance. We do not need cissy freaks in our lives.

      Workplace romances…what do you think?

      At least one must resign.

      • Good riddance. We do not need cissy freaks in our lives.

        Sure, you do, Michael. Keeps you on your toes. Never know when you might learn to dance that way.

        (Nice play on “sissy.”)

    • I would agree that there are problems with the doctrine. My state couples Qualified Immunity with Official Immunity, a different but related concept.

      One thing in the article with which I disagree is the need for the Supreme Court to reverse the doctrine. I think it could be done by the Legislature. Without checking, this does not appear to be a constitutional matter. The Congress could simply amend the statute to say that liability is not subject to qualified immunity.


  5. My wife took my son to his college registration day yesterday. The parents were separated out from the kids, and so she sat her laptop down by a balcony outside the Starbucks at the student center.

    While she sat there working, a young college – I’ll call him a guy – walked up to her, complimented her laptop, then proceeded to climb on top of her table to scale the balcony wall and reach the Starbucks. She protested “can I help you?!?” As he stood, to which he only responded “nah, you’re just in my way”

    Shortly after this, he placed his order and stood at the balcony rail over her head, and struck up a conversation with a friend on his cell phone about anal sex and the delightful anal rape videos he had watched online recently. A nearby man shortly had enough of this, as he was visiting with his 3 year old and 7 year old children, who were also listening to the conversation.

    Upon being confronted, the young college student exploded in indignation, affirming that he had first amendment rights to say what he wanted in public, and how the others were racist against him due to the fact that he was gay. When asked to calm down, he began chanting “free speech” and “you don’t have a problem with your president talking about PUSSY, do you?”

    The police were called, the diatribe was videotaped. The young… jackass was asked to leave, but not reprimanded in any way. He left smug and confident in the his pride for standing up for himself against the people trying to oppress him. Campus police admitted they had had problems with the same fellow in the past, but their hands were tied.

    Our son’s response upon hearing of the ordeal was to shrug and say ” he had first amendment rights to say what he wants.” My wife was fairly traumatized, in disbelief that she was so victimized by someone claiming to be a victim. She is unsure whether to post the video online, or file a police report, but is unsatisfied with the resolution so far. She says the worst part was how oblivious he was that he might be doing something wrong, and how eager he was to lash out at his “oppressors.” I’m not sure what to say to her, either.

    Frightening. This is our up and coming society.

      • I also don’t like the idea of posting embarrassing stuff online, but in this situation the person is not embarrassed at all so go ahead.

    • This is prime anti-social behavior. Unfortunately, neither the authorities nor the onlookers have any rules for handling the situation. Too bad the rest of the silent majority of “I’ll call him a guy” guys have to take more flak because of sad sick sorry creeps like this. With the worst of them, no online posting nor police reports nor expellings nor even beatings – and you can bet he’s had them – will do anything but encourage him. He feeds on attention of any kind. Until he finds a good therapist, runs out of gas, or best, falls for someone who won’t stand for that shit, the public is out of luck.

      • I’ve been thinking a lot about bullies. We used to have them, but now they’re extinct due to heavily maternalistic zero tolerance policies. I think at one time boys would stand up to these and become men.

        What’s becoming an unavoidable conclusion for me now though, is that they preyed on a certain class of weirdo which was better kept down in his proper place. By exterminating all of the scary wolves, our gardens are overrun with disease-ridden vermin. I’m a proponent of a particular kind of bully tuned toward harassing a particular kind of unruly freak. Every animal has an important role in our delicate ecosystem, and it was irresponsible for our arrogant schoolmarms to play god, drugging young Bruno into an obedient stupor.

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