Pennagain, who also acts as the volunteer and indispensable Ethics Alarms proofreader, submitted this Comment of the Day, packed with ethics, and trenchant observations about how diverse cultures have enriched civilization. It begins with a quote from another commenter on Rep. King’s descent into white-supremacistspeak, and heads to wonderful places.
Here is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Dilemma: What Do You Do With Steve King?”
Still, most of the really big failings over the ages have been ah, east of Suez.
Rewrite: Still, most of the big failings over the ages have been during the first couple of thousand years of any particular civilization. That’s considering national and natural barriers that don’t go along any particular meridian. If they last beyond a millennia or two, they’ve usually learned a thing or two.
Some of those things might be an understanding of the concept of comparative values and why basic ethical principles have always been in vogue – including under the Shogunates, the Mughal emperors, the dynasties of China (going back to 2100BC, by the way), and other long-lived non-democracies). Or why certain types of governments or power structures work best with certain cultures at certain times, barring catastrophic disasters and military dictatorships (North Korea is still in its 68-year-old infancy and ailing). Or why philosophies of aesthetics differ to an extent that makes comparing art or architecture, or its presence or absence idiotic. Or why a majority of us believe our own way is best (and some of the latter think they need to Disneyfy, Democratize, and Develop everyone everywhere else on the planet).
Example of some basic Asian principles aka Their Ethics: harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty, filial piety.
All of the above can be incorporated into the principles of what us non-Asian, non-African folks call universal ethics; our ethics:
…and not just any law enforcement matter, but an investigation of a former Secretary of State and presumptive Presidential nominee.
Nice. You see, Barack Obama just doesn’t care. That’s the only possible explanation for this pattern which goes way back to 2009, when he opined on whether his old friend from Harvard, Henry Louis Gates, was the party at fault in an altercation with a Cambridge, Mass, police officer. That was his first year as President, so maybe it’s plausible that this “Constitutional scholar” and allegedly brilliant man didn’t know that the President of the United States warps the justice system and law enforcement when he declares how he thinks they should handle a particular matter, since he is at the tippity top of our rule of law. Obama has done this again and again, however—with Trayvon Martin… in the Big Branch Mine disaster…as Obamacare approached a key challenge in the Supreme Court…in the military sex abuse scandal…regarding Arizona’s illegal immigration laws, and regarding other matters. He has to know by now that it biases the process, but his supporters cheer, the news media makes excuses, only Republicans, the “conservative media” and Ethics Alarms complain, so he keeps doing it anyway. He can get away with it, so he just doesn’t care.
This, however, was special. The same day that the White House admitted that the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s intentional mishandling of official e-mails for her own personal needs–she didn’t want citizens to be able to see her business and political machinations using the Freedom of Information Act—was a criminal investigation, he endorsed Clinton for President in glowing terms.
Fox News’ Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen asked White House Paid Liar Josh Earnest about the appropriateness of this—heaven forfend that any non-conservative-biased news outlet would ask such an obvious and necessary question, queried “You have other employees of the executive branch, career prosecutors, FBI agents, working this case who have now just heard how the president wants to see this case resolved, in essence. Isn’t there some conflict there?”
I posted Fattymoon’s lament regarding the state of America’s culture, politics and prospects late last night, and yet another deserving Comment of the Day arrived in record time, this morning at 8:41 PM.
Here is Tim Hayes’ rebuttal to FattyMoon’s Comment of the Day in response to “From The Signature Significance Files: Trump And The Teleprompter. Seriously, How Can You Even Consider Voting For A Guy Like This?”
(THE MANAGEMENT FULLY AGREES WITH AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY ENDORSES THE OPINION EXPRESSED HERE.)
“To this very day I call for armed revolution and don’t give a fuck who knows it. Maybe Homeland Security will make me a return visit at one in the morning. But, this time, I ain’t inviting them in. Ain’t got no guns”
This statement, right here? This is the symptom of so damn many of the problems facing our country right now. I’m not saying that to attack FM as an individual, here, but rather to reject a representative of a mentality that provokes the gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair. So please, when reading this post, understand that all directed comments towards a “you” are directed towards anyone sharing that mentality, not at a specific individual.
You call for armed revolution, but you don’t have arms with which to join one.
You call for changes to who is elected to office, but you then say “but I only voted twice” with the clear implication that you’re not to blame for how things are.
I am behind in my Comment of the Day postings by two or three, and was trying to decide which to post first. After the previous post, the answer became obvious.
Fattymoon is a teacher, an idealist, an activist and an intellectual as well as an honest, sincere and occasionally bitter and disillusioned man. We met here on the blog back when I was criticizing a movement he strongly supported, Occupy Wall Street. Like a few other regular visitors to Ethics Alarms—not nearly enough—who have remained civil, provocative and predictably adversarial at the same time, he has been a font of thoughtful lateral thinking with a heavy dose of whimsy.
I was startled that his response to one of my posts about the ethics black hole that is Donald Trump sparked this reaction from Fatty:
Me, I’m watching this farce unfold from the sidelines and I’m laughing my ass off.
To which I replied,
How, exactly, are you on the sidelines? Doesn’t it bother you, accepting for the hell of it that such a thing is possible, that an entire generation is on the way up and the nation and world isn’t on the sidelines?
Here is Fattymoon’s response, and the Comment of the Day, to the post, From The Signature Significance Files: Trump And The Teleprompter. Seriously, How Can You Even Consider Voting For A Guy Like This:
No, it doesn’t bother me one iota, Jack. I lost all faith in presidential politics, and politics in general, when Obama failed to live up to his promises/my expectations. I consider him a traitor of the first magnitude. I would rather have seen him stand up to Wall Street and other Bush atrocities and pay for it with his life than what actually went down during his presidency. At least he would have died an honorable man.
Darrell West, a Brookings scholar, believe it or not, queries, “What happens when virtual reality crosses into unethical territory?” It is the topic of his essay, but the question is self-answering. Virtual reality is, by definition, not real. Ethics is about determining right and wrong in reality, in interaction with real people, real consequences and real dilemmas in the real world.
West doesn’t seem to grasp that, and neither, according to him, does the playwright of a work being presented in my metaphorical back yard: Jennifer Haley, who authored “The Nether” playing at the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington, D.C. West tells us that Haley
“…explores the troubling questions that arise when the main character known as Papa uses advanced software to create a fantasy environment where adult clients molest young children and then kill them…. Should there be limits on human fantasies involving heinous thoughts? Do fantasies that remain in the private realm of someone’s brain warrant any rules or regulations by society as a whole? Even if the bad behavior rests solely in one individual’s private thoughts, does that thinking pose a danger to other people? For example, there is some evidence that repeated exposure to pornography is associated with harmful conduct towards women and that it legitimizes violent attitudes and behaviors. Does that evidence mean we should worry about misogynistic or violent virtual reality experiences? Will these “games” make it more acceptable for people to engage in actual harmful behaviors?”
These are not troubling questions or even difficult questions, unless one is intrigued by the Orwellian offense of “thought crime.” Here, for the edification of West, Haley, those nascent brainwashers out there who find his ethically clueless essay thought-provoking of any thought other than: “How the hell did this guy get to be called a “scholar”?, let me provide quick and reassuring answers to West’s questions: Continue reading
I thought Eliot Spitzer set a high bar for hypocritical prosecutors, but Ingham County (Michigan) Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings makes him look like a piker.
Dunnings, a well-respected prosecutor since 1997 and an outspoken advocate for ending human trafficking and prostitution, is facing fifteen criminal charges in Ingham, Clinton and Ionia counties, including ten counts of prostitution, pandering and four counts of willful neglect of duty.
Investigators connected to a 2015 federal investigation into a Michigan-based human trafficking ring determined that between 2010 and 2015, Dunnings paid for sex hundreds of times with many women whom he contacted using escort websites. Dunnings also allegedly induced one woman to become a prostitute,leading to the pandering charge, which carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. The prosecutor’s brother, Lansing attorney Steven Dunnings, was also charged with two counts of prostitution.
Ethics Alarms frequently finds itself annoyed by mistaken, incorrect or unfair accusations of hypocrisy, and is grateful to Dunning, who claimed to be dedicated to wiping out human trafficking and prostitution while he was really supporting both with his patronage, for giving us a clear and unequivocal demonstration of what real hypocrisy looks like.
This is only tangentially related to the post, but it may be my only chance to proudly note that my great uncle, actor George Coulouris (that’s the old Mercury Theater ensemble member in the upper left) played a Greek tycoon dying if brain cancer who reanimates the head of Nostradamus so he can get a transplant. The film is called “The Man Without a Body,” and consists of long scenes with Uncle George arguing with a rubber head.
This is going to cause me to reconsider a lot of assumptions.
Hunter Thompson is fading from cultural relevance now, and when he was alive, I would have said, “Good.” He was a classic product of the Sixties, contemptuous of American and the political system, relentlessly negative and cynical, habitually stoned and proud of it. He was also a very funny, witty, skilled writer, if you could stand being bombarded by Abie Hoffman/M*A*S*H/ drug glamorizing political propaganda, which cleverly satirical as it often was, I could not. Thompson was bitter, angry and nihilistic; I would label his a largely wasted life. It was no surprise to me that he committee suicide. I was surprised he didn’t do it sooner, but then, he had been killing himself slowly with drugs and alcohol for decades. Thompson’s legacy is preserved to some extent in the person of the gun-toting, drugged out, corrupt Uncle Duke character in Doonesbury.
Thompson’s observations in his two most famous books, “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” seemed like typical criticism from the “drop-out, turn-on” set then. It never occurred to me that he had access to a crystal ball. In a thorough and wise analysis of today’s political upheaval deftly titled “Has Everyone Lost Their Freakin’ Minds?” (I cannot recommend it more highly), Tyler Durden begins with a series of Thompson’s quotes. Here they are… Continue reading