Don’t Feel Too Bad, Americans: Ethics Alarms Aren’t Ringing In Canada, North Korea Or Japan, Either

It’s an International Ethics Dunce parade!


1. Ontario, Canada

The Windsor-Essex County Humane Society in Ontario thought it would be really clever to use the Donald Trump phrase that many believe disqualify him to be President in an ad to adopt kitty-cats. It featured a photo of Trump and said, “You don’t have to be a star to grab a pussy … cat.”

Amazing. Not one person in the chain of custody of this—I would say obviously, but when so many people miss it, I guess it’s not—offensive ad had an ethics alarm sound.  Nobody had the sense, prudence or guts to say,

“Uh, guys? Hello? You do realize that this is using a phrase describing sexual assault while alluding to the one who used it to describe sexual assault? You do realize that “pussy” alluding to female genitalia is vulgar and uncivil, right? No? Here, let me explain it to you…or hwo about this: there is no way this won’t spark criticism. Is that what you want?”

Sure enough,  the ad promoting cat adoptions this week for $50, was taken down shortly after it appeared this week.

The society offered a pathetic apology. Melanie Coulter, executive director of the humane society, “explained” it was an attempt to make light of the U.S election campaign, though it also “made light” of sexual assault, contemptuous attitudes toward women,  and obscene rhetoric.

“We are obviously sorry if people are offended by the ad — that wasn’t our attempt in the least,” Coulter said. “Our attempt was to find homes for cats that need them.” She also added that the shelter took in more than a hundred cats in the last week.

For the record, the rationalizations here are…

3. Consequentialism, or  “It Worked Out for the Best”

13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”

19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”

It also suggests that I need to add “We meant well” to the list as a sub-rationalization to #13.



2. Kuroishi, Japan

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Welcome To “Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday”! First Up, Rationalization 19 A: The Insidious Confession, Or “It Wasn’t The Best Choice”

Presidential cnadidates

I have tired of suppressing legitimate ethics issues regarding the various Presidential candidates, especially the most obviously unethical ones, Hillary and The Donald, for fear of having this pan-ethics blog mired in the swamp of politics. For this day, at least, I’m going to stop wrestling myself to the ground and stop holding back my rising gorge, and focus specifically (though maybe not exclusively: you never know) on the 54—or is it 22? I get the number of Bill Cosby victims mixed up with the announced Presidential candidates sometimes—on the pack of Republicans and Democrats with designs on the White House. So look out, Jeb, Ben, Chris,  Ted, Carly, Jim Gilmore), Lindsey, Mike, Bobby,  John, George, Rand, Rick, Marco, Rick, Donald Trump, Lincoln, Hillary, Martin, Bernie, Professor, Jim (Webb)….this is

Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday!

First up…Hillary Clinton gave us a new rationalization! Say hello to Rationalization 19A, the latest addition to the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations List, #19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”

When Hillary Clinton first used her poll-tested, Campaign War Room generated description of her arrogant, defiant, incompetent and irresponsible (and possibly sinister) choice to send official communications on a private email server as not “the best choice,” I recognized it as misleading and dismissive, but assumed it was just a wan variation on my least favorite rationalization, the dreaded #22, “It’s not the worst thing.” Hillary used the same phrase this week, cementing my conviction that it is a talking point, but also making its real meaning clear.

“It wasn’t the best choice” is really a sneaky sub category of Rationalization #19:
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