For The Last Time: This Is Why The Post-Election Attacks On Trump And His Election Are Unethical

This is the last time I’m going to try to explain why the fair, patriotic, ethical and rational approach to the impending Presidency of Donald Trump is to be supportive of the office and the individual until his actual performance in the job earns just criticism. Attempting to undermine a Presidency at its outset is a self-destructive act, for nobody benefits if a Presidency fails. Wishing for a failed Presidency was what Rush Limbaugh did in 2008, and he was justly condemned for it, substantially by the same people who are saying the same thing he did, but about Donald Trump. They were right then, and they today are just as wrong, and despicable,  as Rush was.

I have had numerous debates, on and off Ethics Alarms, with usually reasonable people who take the #NotMyPresident position, which is nonsense on its face. If you are a citizen, Trump is your President. We don’t have, or allow, citizen states. You can dissent, and support political opposition, but you still must obey the laws and be loyal to the nation, which means loyalty to the nation’s elected leadership. Loyalty doesn’t require agreement, but it does require respecting legitimate authority, and seeking what is best for the United States of America. Constitutional crisis is never good for any nation. A crippled government is never good. A leader estranged from the public is never good. Seeking these things is irresponsible and foolish, but more than that, it is dangerous.

In The Caine Mutiny, a film version of the stage drama and novel “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), a man whose war-shattered nerves and self-esteem problems have rendered him an erratic and an unpopular officer, falters in his command during a storm. His officers, frightened and already convinced that their captain is unfit for command, mutiny. At their military trial, their defense attorney causes Queeg to have a breakdown on the witness stand, winning the case for the accused mutineers. Later, however, at the post trial victory party, the lawyer, Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer),  shames his clients. He represented them zealously, but he tells them that they were, in fact, at fault for what occurred on the Caine:

Ensign  Keith: Queeg endangered the lives of the men.

Greenwald: He didn’t endanger any lives.You did. A fine bunch of officers.

Lt. Paynter: You said yourself he cracked.

Greenwald: I’m glad you brought that up, Mr. Paynter, because that’s a very pretty point. I left out one detail in court. It wouldn’t have helped our case. Tell me, Steve, after the yellow-stain business, Queeg came to you for help, and you turned him down, didn’t you.

Lt. Maryk: Yes, we did.

Greenwald: You didn’t approve of his conduct as an officer. He wasn’t worthy of your loyalty. So you turned on him. You ragged on him, you made up songs about him. If you’d given Queeg the loyalty he needed, do you think all this would have come up in the typhoon? You’re an honest man, Steve, I’m asking you. You think it would have been necessary to take over?

 Maryk: It probably wouldn’t have been necessary.

Keith:  If that’s true, we were guilty.

Greenwald: Ahhh, You’re learning, Willie!  You don’t work with the captain because of how he parts his hair…you work with him because  he’s got the job, or you’re no good.

Exactly.

Or you’re no good.

Donald Trump is in over his head. He knows it, I think. Maybe, just maybe, with a lot of help, a lot of support and more than a lot of luck, he might be able to do a decent job for his country and the public. It’s a long-shot, but what’s the alternative? Making sure that he fails? Making him feel paranoid, and angry, and feeding his worst inclinations so he’s guaranteed to behave irrationally and irresponsibly? How is that in anyone’s best interest? That’s not how to get someone through a challenge, especially someone who you have to depend on.

The American Presidency has always been a merger of man and office. This is a very important and powerful tradition. It means that every new occupant of the office is immediately, with his election, imbued with the virtues and stature of the men who came before him. This provides instant legitimacy, but also an instant obligation. The new President feels the immense burden of having to meet the standards set by his predecessors, and it is a daunting challenge. Yet many of our elected and unelected Presidents (the Vice-Presidents) rose to exceed all reasonable expectations based on what they had done before. Arthur, Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Ford qualify for this description. Only one President faced public ridicule and political antipathy from the moment he was sworn in, and that was Andrew Johnson. He was a failure, at a time when the task facing the President might have even defeated his fallen predecessor, Abraham Lincoln. Might Johnson, whose rise remains the most impressive “anyone can grow up to be be President” life story we have ever seen or are likely to see, have found the strength and character to be a successful leader had he not faced disrespect, hatred and mockery from the start? Probably not, but he hardly could have done worse.

Either the Presidency will make Donald Trump a better man, or Trump will permanently harm the Presidency and weaken it, thus making the office less of an inspiration and source of strength for future occupants. (Nixon wounded the office; so did Carter, and Clinton.)  It is absolutely in the nation’s best interests to seek the first result. That requires focusing on the office and its strengths, and uniting as a nation behind that office. The relentless, unprecedented assault on Trump since his election by Democrats and the news media may have already done irreparable damage.

Gallup has reported that public approval of the Trump transition has fallen to the lowest level, by far, of any recent incoming President. Well, of course. It is remarkable his approval hasn’t fallen farther: there is no precedent for such hostile partisan warfare against an incoming POTUS, nor for such  overwhelmingly hostile press coverage.

In 2009, newly elected President Obama’s approval stood at 83%. Remember that number when you hear Democrats claim that they are treating Trump no worse than Republicans treated President Obama. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who has devolved into a vicious, partisan race-baiter, recently pronounced Trump an illegitimate President. CNN’s Anderson Cooper was correctly puzzled by this, saying,

“I get he doesn’t like Donald Trump. I get he doesn’t accept the results of the election, but is this helpful in any way?… If a Republican had said this about President-elect Hillary Clinton, Democrats would be up in arms.”

It isn’t helpful. It is destructive. Every journalist, politician, progressive, activist, entertainer and citizen who refuses to respect the will of the electorate and the office of the President enough to give Donald Trump the same initial support that every other President has automatically received as a tradition and part of the democratic process is recklessly, petulantly, foolishly harming the nation and themselves. They are wrong, historically, civically, and ethically.

And shame on all of them.

108 Comments

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108 responses to “For The Last Time: This Is Why The Post-Election Attacks On Trump And His Election Are Unethical

  1. These people should listen to this meme from Occupy Democrats.

  2. Chris Marschner

    Every behavior that becomes acceptable by society is then pushed to its extreme which is rationalized into acceptance.

    The left is rationalizing its behavior based on the vitriolic attacks on Obama when he was elected.

    In the days following the recent election we saw civil unrest in major cities. If this and the recurring attacks on Trump continue among key influencers such as J. L. Lewis without any condemnation by other party influencers we can expect an escalation in future elections to the point that it is normal not to have a peaceful transition of power.

    My question is why hasn’t President Obama chastised Congressman Lewis and the rest for fomenting the escalation of this undemocratic behavior. Leaders are in front of such issues and he is still President until January 20.

    • If you watch the whole video, you see the lawyer end up condemning Lt. Keefer, who kept planting fear and doubts in the rest of the officers, then acted as if he wasn’t involved. I was going to ask: in the Trump as Queeg scenario, who is Keefer? My three candidates: 1) The news media 2) Hillary and 3) Obama.

      • Until just a while ago, I would have answered, number 1, to that question without any hesitation. But after President Obama went on his European speaking tour, for myself at least, it became very clear who the choirmaster truly was. If the US can make it through to the inauguration without any declaration of war between themselves and Russia, I know I’ll breath a little easier.

  3. Wayne

    I doubt that any of them will have any remorse for poisoning the well.

  4. Chris

    Jack, in your article declaring Chris Christie an “ethics villain,” you wrote something that has stuck with me:

    It is unethical to support someone like Donald Trump to gain immense power. In fact, it is pretty close to evil.

    Now, you will probably argue that Trump already has immense power, and it is too late to stop that. But I still think his power can be chipped away. It will probably be a long, arduous process (unless the recent allegations are substantiated), but I for one am looking to do what I can to strip President Trump of every scrap of power the title gives him.

    • Chris Marschner

      For what purpose. If you strip away any power of the Presidency you strip it away for all who follow.

      Stripping away power does nothing to elevate your ideas. It just suggests that your ideas are no better than his. In the end working to beat someone down only results in a lower social equilibrium.

    • “…but I for one am looking to do what I can to strip President Trump of every scrap of power the title gives him.”

      That is a bold statement.

      It causes me to think. As I continue to read the NYTimes, especially the Times, I see how they are working to set up an opposition faction within the US. They really do support forms of militancy and even social violence. As long as it supports the general cause. As many have already noticed, it looks as though the Times has become a sort of Governmental Democratic Propaganda Organ, kind of a Maoist Journal. I thought they might have gotten better (gotten over it) after the election but they seem rather to be perfecting their role.

      Now, it is true that I have opinions that run counter to much of the Progressive *agenda* but certainly not in everything. Yet I can say that when I read what you wrote Chris — though I am not sure what to do with the sentiment — I feel I want to make an effort to discover and to list all the causes you and *people like you* support and be sure that I advocate against them. You keep using fighting terms, you do not seem to want to back down at all, or compromise.

      Once again I confront the problem that seems to be a nation which is showing lines of fracturing. Should I advocate to *repair* the divisions and try to work toward something out? Or to accept that we are indeed moving in the direction of a civil crisis and try to decide what ‘side’ to join? Where is the *America* I must choose to support?

      I’ve said it before: I cannot blame the Progressive-Left for their reactions and I am not sure either if it is exaggerated overreaction. Their reaction is maudlin and overdone, that is true, but I think they also know that there is indeed an Opposition: an opposition opposed to much they value and want to institute.

      In their own way they too seem to be militating in the direction of extreme political crisis. Indeed they are. But they do not seem to have much self-awareness. They often are very aware of the ‘divisive rhetoric’ of their enemies without registering how intense and divisive is their own rhetoric.

      Maybe things are just as they have to be? Over the next years the Right in France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Finland (who have I left out?) will become more active, more resolved, more ideologically clear. They have defined ideological positions unlike the American Right which does not seem to know what to define. I guess all *we* can do is to continue to build bridges and self-educate.

    • Ugh. Very discouraging that you would reply to the post like this. You can’t not support Trump and support the office he holds…and if the office is destroyed, so is the country. If he threatens to destroy the office—Nixon—then you act to separate them. That’s a big deal, and only justified, because of the risk to the country, when the conduct creates an existential threat. I know Democrats have been fear-mongering to beat the band, making exactly that false claim—he’s a racist (no), he’s a xenophobe (no), he’s monster (give me a break), he’s Hitler (hahahahahahahaha!), he’ll eat our children….but in fact there is no such direct threat, just the equivalent of pre-crime in political terms, as unfair as claims that Kennedy would take orders from the Pope, that Reagan would end social security and that Obama would try to be President for life. History says that Trump will do his best to be a good President, and is no monster. The danger to the office of assuming the opposite is far, far worse than the danger of being fair.

    • Matthew B

      As a strong federalist leaning person, the sudden embracing of a reduction in federal scope and reach by the left is nice.

      Unfortunately it is totally disingenuous and they’ll revert to ever expanding the federal government once the presidency flips to their side in the future.

  5. Mike

    Jack, I want to play the devil for just a second. Your mention of what Rush did to Obama in 2008, for some strange reason, triggered me to remember you post about Sylvia Browne. In particular the part in your hypothetical where she was on the Montel Williams show and she said what she did to comfort Amanda Berry’s mother. So what if like the character from Harry Potter, Sybil Trelawney, received a once in a lifetime psychic event. Now there he is in 2008 with a Casandra Truth about the state of the world and Obama in 2016. He knows what a dangerous place the world will become then and is beyond panicked that he sees a world where America has slipped from the place it is in 2008. In that hypothetical would it have made his efforts ethical? If there were/are true psychic events can normal ethics ever apply to them? Or if they ever did exist would such actions resulting from the knowledge gained always fall into the world of rationalizations? With us in such a possible moment now would it make a difference if someone in the NeverTrump movement now holds a Cassandra Truth?

  6. Spartan

    I have a hard time believing that we would be seeing this level of hysteria if Mitt Romney were being sworn in next week. Certainly much of the low approval ratings is due to hyper-partisanship, but Trump is in his own special category. I’m not willing to draw conclusions yet that would apply to future presidents.

    • Other Bill

      Unethical Rationalization No. 28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”

      • That’s been the Rationalization of choice for all of those trying to justify the unjustifiable since the election. It’s the same rationalization dictators use ti justify declaring martial law—and never un-declaring it. Using the rationalization except is genuine existential crises is signature significance for someone who really doesn’t believe in ethical conduct unless it benefits them.

      • Spartan

        Whoa — where did I rationalize? Do you believe that Trump has the character and integrity to be our President? We’ve had some losers, but he definitely is at the bottom of the barrel, including some of our 19th C. charmers.

        Don’t dismiss facts and objective analysis for rationalizing just because I am on the other side of the fence. For the record, I thought Romney would be a fine President, even if I disagreed with his policy stances. And I voted for Kasich during the Primaries — I desperately wanted anybody other than Trump. Heck, I even would have accepted Cruz (although admittedly I can’t stand the man.)

        And never have I said that I wouldn’t accept Trump as my President. I also am not taking part in any protests, even though the Women’s March is happening in my backyard. So take your “rationalization” and shove it …. well, you know the rest.

        • Other Bill

          Whoa — where did I rationalize? IN YOUR COMMENT WHERE YOU SAID “Trump is in his own special category.” Do you believe that Trump has the character and integrity to be our President? I’M NOT SURE. I SUSPECT HE MIGHT NOT BUT HE MIGHT BE HUMBLED BY THE JOB HE’S BEEN GIVEN AND EXCEED EXPECTATIONS. We’ve had some losers, but he definitely is at the bottom of the barrel, including some of our 19th C. charmers. BUT HE HASN’T EVEN BEEN SWORN IN YET. HOW DO YOU KNOW HE’S SO TERRIBLE?

          Don’t dismiss facts and objective analysis AREN’T WE ALL SPECULATING AT THIS POINT? CAN WE REALLY PREDICT THE FUTURE? for rationalizing just because I am on the other side of the fence. For the record, I thought Romney would be a fine President, even if I disagreed with his policy stances. And I voted for Kasich during the Primaries — I desperately wanted anybody other than Trump. Heck, I even would have accepted Cruz (although admittedly I can’t stand the man.) UNETHICAL RATIONALIZATION NO. 14. Self-validating Virtue. SPARTY, I VOTED FOR HILLARY CLINTON. SO WHAT?

          And never have I said that I wouldn’t accept Trump as my President. SO I THE CONTEXT OF JACK’S POST AND THE COMMENTS, WHAT EXACTLY DOES “but Trump is in his own special category” MEAN? I’M ALL EARS, OR EYES. I also am not taking part in any protests, even though the Women’s March is happening in my backyard. SEE NO. 14 ABOVE. So take your “rationalization” and shove it …. well, you know the rest. “…UP MY ASS” I ASSUME? I GUESS WITH TWO NO. 14S AND A NO. 28 UP THERE, THINGS WILL BE GETTING PRETTY CROWDED. ISN’T ‘SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS’ A HOMOPHOBIC SLUR, EVEN IN RURAL MICHIGAN?

          • Eternal optometrist

            Yes, shove it up your ass is a homophobic slur. Sad. And yes, the whole post was one long rationlaization. As much as I hate to castigate a fellow Michigander.

            • Spartan

              Women have things shoved up their asses too, so no, it’s not homophobic.

              And if me pointing out that Trump is boorish, twitter-abusing oaf counts as a rationalization, then you must have a problem with everything Jack has written about him on this site.

              • Other Bill

                Come on, Sparty. You worked in a big law firm long enough to have heard (or even repeated to a younger lawyer) the old line about problematic clients — “He may be an asshole, but he’s our asshole.” Trump is all those things but he’s also the duly elected president of the country we live in.

                • Spartan

                  Agreed. Now point me to anything I’ve written here where I say something different.

                  My point is a simple one — I don’t know if the mass hysteria has to deal with Trump specifically or if this our new reality for each new President coming into office.

                  • Other Bill

                    My answer to you would be the mass hysteria has to do with the general unhinged-ness of the left these days. I certainly doubt it is any sort of new reality for a Democrat president. For a Republican? Honestly, I’m guessing yes, the hysteria will be almost as bad. Frankly, I think any Republican will be smeared mercilessly by the media and the progressives. I think Romney would have been roasted incessantly. Bush II was. What would be any different?

                    • Spartan

                      I don’t recall a march on Bush II — or lawmakers in California publicly exploring secession. This is far different than Bush.

                  • So far, no Democratic elected President has faced this kind of reaction from Republicans, and two Republicans have. My beliefe is that conservatives believe in elections, process and the people, and as of right now, a lot of progressives don’t, unless they acn gain power with them. I’d say liberals with integrity need to make some noise about that. Quick.

                    • Other Bill

                      I’d say “liberals with integrity” would be you, Sparty.

                    • Oh-oh! I baited her again! Here comes another pig dissertation!!!

                    • Chris

                      So far, no Democratic elected President has faced this kind of reaction from Republicans, and two Republicans have.

                      No, one Republican president has. No other president has had “this kind of reaction” except for Trump. The reasons why are obvious, and catalogued on this very website.

                      How much higher do you think Trump’s favorability rating would be if the press did act more fairly to him? I don’t think it would be much. If you were polled, would you say you had a favorable or unfavorable view of Trump? If it’s unfavorable, would you blame the media for that, or would you blame Trump?

                    • Spartan

                      Meh. No need to bite on this bait — I think I may have just been complimented.

                    • sam

                      “My belief is that conservatives believe in elections, … .” Yes, as long as they can gerrymander the electorate! Trump is the result of a corrupt and self serving political elites of both parties are responsible.

                    • No talking points here. Both parties gerrymander; it is one of the side effects of losing elections. Gerrymandering affects the legislative mix in the House, but not the Senate or the Presidency. You could cut up Michigan any way you want, and Trump still would win it. It’s a lazy excuse too: both parties like gerrymandering, and there would be a lot fewer balck House members without it. It is just another half-truth trotted out as denial of hard truth by an incompetent and increasingly radical and irresponsible party. Cut it out.

                      The Democrats are no essentially accusing the states themselves as being gerrymandered….they wish states had no say in Presidential elections. Tough. They do, they will, it was intended that way, and it’s not changing.

                    • I just want to take a second to point out how colossally stupid sam’s point on gerrymandering is to this conversation: Were talking about the presidential election, which is done by STATE. Gerrymandering is the process of redrawing electoral boundaries to corral voters you think will vote against you into very discrete districts, so voters you think will vote for you will be able to form majorities in other, more numerous districts. “Gerrymandering” doesn’t apply to this situation unless you think the STATE BOUNDARIES are the result of Gerrymandering, and if you do, for the record, you are an idiot.

            • Chris

              I appreciate this newfound desire to be politically correct by some of the conservative commenters here, but I’ve never heard “shove it up your ass” used as a homophobic slur before.

              • Other Bill

                Well that’s a nice and snide comment, Chris. You’ve never thought about “shove it up your ass” being a way of calling someone a faggot or similar? “Cocksucker” has no overtones? How about “mother fucker?” Does the term “Momma’s boy” mean anything?

                • Chris

                  “Cocksucker,” sure, since it implies sucking cock is bad. “Shove it up your ass” implies something pretty violent; it doesn’t conjure images of gay sex for me, or anything gendered at all.

                  “Motherfucker” definitely isn’t homophobic or sexist, and is simply absurdist. “Momma’s boy” is fairly gendered, though I’m not sure I’d call it homophobic. But I can see the implications.

          • Spartan

            Well, your argument in angry all CAPS has convinced me. And no, it’s not a homophobic slur.

            In any event — you actually agree with me. I’ll quote you: “AREN’T WE ALL SPECULATING AT THIS POINT? CAN WE REALLY PREDICT THE FUTURE?”

            That, exactly, is my freakin’ point. I do not condone or excuse the protestors, what I do not know is whether this degree of animosity is an anomaly because of Trump’s lack of character/fitness or whether it will have a lasting effect on our approach to any incoming President regardless of his/her character and abilities. I hope it’s not the latter — it’s too soon to tell.

            So again, NO WHERE did I rationalize.

            • Spartan

              A.M. got it below.

            • Other Bill

              Sorry about all caps. I prefer using bold or italics or both when inserting responses but I’ve never figured out how to get bold or italics to work when typing a comment. I’m not angry at all. I’m too old for anger.

              “I do not condone or excuse the protestors, what I do not know is whether this degree of animosity is an anomaly because of Trump’s lack of character/fitness or whether it will have a lasting effect on our approach to any incoming President regardless of his/her character and abilities. I hope it’s not the latter — it’s too soon to tell.” A worthwhile observation.

              A question for you: When Jesse Jackson says something like “I’d like to cut his nuts off” about the then presidential candidate Barack Obama, or when he refers to New York City as “Hymietown,” why is his character, fitness or abilities never an issue? And yes, I get that Jesse Jackson has never won a presidential election so you might nitpick and say it’s apples and oranges, but I think Democrats get a wider birth. Maybe a better example would be how would you feel if Bernie Sanders had won the primary and the general? Would I be entitled to denigrate his presidency because I have concluded he’s not even fit to be elected dog catcher of a two person hamlet? There’s a double standard at work here.

              • Spartan

                Well, I don’t support Jesse Jackson or Bernie Sanders, but I’ll give this a go.

                Personally, I think I definitely can say that Jesse Jackson has shown — through his decades as an outspoken politician/pundit and his well-publicized misdeeds — that he lacks the character and ability to be President. And, if he were elected President, I think people would be very upset — perhaps we would be having a White Mens’ March or Republicans’ March or Disillusioned Liberals’ March next weekend instead of a Womens’ March. Who knows. What I do know is that I don’t see him praised — ever — in liberal circles.

                Bernie is a poor example because we don’t know that much about his character, although we certainly know about his policies. I think that if he had won the Primary, we would know a lot more about him and would be in a better position to speculate.

                Regardless of who is the President-Elect, I think protesting an election is bad form and dangerous — unless the election was illegal. I may protest Donald Trump one day, but it will be because of something he has done, not because who he is. (Even if who he is is a boor of the first order.) Stating that fact does not mean that I will not support him or his Presidency, it just means that I am aware of his character flaws. (Note — I almost typed “good judge of character” but that would presume that it is debatable whether or not he has the aptitude to be President when, in fact, he does not.)

                • Eternal optometrist

                  Come on Sparty, it is a homophobic slur absolutely. Just like cocksucker (but some women &/$& ?&;$!!, is that what were going with?). Own it, apologize and move on.

                  • Other Bill

                    Just struck me as crudely out of character for Sparty.

                    • Eternal optometrist

                      I’m sure this does not apply to Sparty and this an exception. But it pisses me off for example that progressive Alec baldwins go to insult is fag. I don’t use that word but because of some of my past votes I’m supposedly a homophobe. Then we get lectured about the evils of Donald trump punctuated by a gay slur. Makes you wonder if the world has gone mad.

                    • Chris

                      Baldwin’s use of that term was absolutely homophobic. Brilliant actor, absolutely hypocritical progressive.

                  • Spartan

                    I just wasted 15 minutes researching this, and if it is a gay slur, that is not the common meaning. That quote is prevalent throughout media, including wholesome movies like Steel Magnolias.

                    “Shove it” most definitely is a vulgar phrase, but everyone has one. And a lot of people, including heterosexual men and women, put things in it. And if it is meant to be a gay slur, why is it used against women?

                • Other Bill

                  But perhaps he does have the aptitude to be President. Maybe we need someone to cut through all the B.S. Maybe we need a disrupter (to use a term so popular with the left and elites. Of course they only want disrupters who give TED talks). You certainly know where he’s coming from, which I have to say is refreshing.

                • Other Bill

                  As far as I can tell, Jesse Jackson is a Progressive leader in good standing with the faithful.

                  • Spartan

                    Nope. I think there are many people who will acknowledge that he is passionate about civil rights, but he is in no way a statesman — too many character flaws and he often speaks from emotion, not facts. He was relevant in the 1980s, not so much now.

                    This is one of the problems of the 24-hour news cycles and dozens of political programs — they need to fill all those slots with somebody. So Jesse Jackson gets coverage and conservatives think he is representative of the party. The same holds true for the sensational conservative pundits who get on these programs.

                    I’d rather see less coverage, not more, and have that coverage be thoughtful. That would go a long way to healing the partisanship in our nation.

                    • John Lewis is every bit as biased, out-of-touch and toxic as Jackson, but is constantly coated with teflon as an “icon.” His testimony against Sessions and his comments on Trump were miserable and despicable, more Sharpton than Jackson.

              • text without the spaces for bold and
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    • A.M. Golden

      Yes, it will.

      * Because a precedent will be set for harassing and showing disrespect to the President-Elect.
      * Because Republicans will remember how Trump was treated and act accordingly the next time a Democrat is elected.

      • zoebrain

        What makes you think a Democrat will be permitted to be elected in future?

        • If this is tongue in cheek, it’s a stale joke, If it isn’t, you really, really don’t get the U.S. But you have an excellent excuse. People who live here who say such things are just plain box of rocks ignorant, or intentionally trying to cause trouble.

  7. zoebrain

    Mr. Chaffetz said that he had been in touch with the Trump team in recent days, speaking with Donald F. McGahn II, who will be Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, about Mr. Shaub and his series of public comments about Mr. Trump.

    “I asked for their perspective,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “They were overall complimentary of the process” of moving nominees through the ethical vetting, he said. However, he added, “I think there are a lot of concerns about Mr. Shaub.”

    The scrutiny of the ethics agency is the latest deviation from a generation of standard practices as the new administration prepares to take over. The tone has been largely set by Mr. Trump, who, unlike a long list of past presidents, has declined to release his tax returns.

    No, these are not normal times. To pretend they are, that it’s business as usual, ignores Reality.

    • Other Bill

      Let’s ask George Soros to release his tax returns, ZB. Or Tom Steyer. Or the Oracle of Omaha.

      This is why business people don’t run for public office and it’s unfortunate. We could use some competent managers in government.

      • Chris

        Let’s ask George Soros to release his tax returns, ZB. Or Tom Steyer. Or the Oracle of Omaha.

        If any of these people ran for president, don’t you think people would?

        • Other Bill

          Chris. You prove my point. That’s why they don’t run for president and simply act as puppet masters. But they’re all lefties. They’d probably get a pass.

          • zoebrain

            Evidence for your assertion?

            Until now, before a presidential nominee could even be considered by Congress, they had to go through vetting by a neutral office for conflicts of interest. Refuse to disclose, refuse to divest, and they were disqualified from consideration.

            No longer. Now it’s the neutral office that’s under attack for requiring disclosure. This is being portrayed as a partisan attack. In fact, any criticism whatsoever of the regime is followed by threats to the critic. Defunding. Firing – or given a salary of $1 henceforth, should they have the temerity to do what they were paid for, and not act as tame poodles and yes-men.

            These are not normal times. It’s not just customs and traditions that are being ignored, specific laws which are inconvenient are not being adhered to either. But what are courts to do about it? They have no power of sanction after a fete accompli.

            • The Obama administration is so hyper partisan that I wouldn’t trust the ethics office. Not after the IRS. Not after the way the Justice Department and the Intelligence agencies have behaved. You make it sound like the ethics vetting process worked for Obama’s appointments. Clinton promised not to let her Foundation solicit from foreign nations, and she went ahead and did it anyway. Gaithner hadn’t paid his taxes…and was approved by the Democrats for Treasury. Holder had allowed Clinton to make a stinking quid pro quo pardon for cash deal.

              The Republicans have every reason to believe that the Democrats are trying to prevent the government from functioning, and that they will stop rump from governing if they can.

              I wouldn’t wait for the ethics office either. And they are also correct that an ethics officer should not make public statements.

              • zoebrain

                The person being accused of being a Democrat stooge was appointed by Bush – though promoted to his current position by Obama. Until last year, neither side of politics accused them of even a whiff of partisanship.

                Jack, it appears to me you’re suffering boiled frog syndrome. It’s not like you to make assertions without evidence.

                Here’s a list of abnormalities just from the last week. I didn’t formulate it, a couple I consider partisan sniping, and quite a few more Stuff That Does Not Matter. But any one of a dozen others would have and should have been considered really front page news in times past.

                Source : Amy Siskind

                Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Here’s my list for week 9:

                1. The Office of Government Ethics director publicly lamented, “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.”
                2.Three vendors have placed liens on the Trump hotel in DC for unpaid bills of over $5 million, in total.
                3. The OGE similarly said they had not completed ethics reviews of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Leader McConnell said the Democrats need to “grow up” on Trump’s desire for speedy confirmations.
                4. Sean Hannity endorsed a tweet which said “Make Russia Great Again” with the word, “Amen.” Hannity later deleted his tweet.
                5. Meryl Streep used her Golden Globes lifetime of notable work speech to eloquently attack Trump, without mentioning his name.
                6. Trump responded via a tweet that Streep is an “over-rated” actress, and denied he had mocked a disabled reporter.
                7. Trump took credit for a Fiat Chrysler plant and jobs in MI and OH. Fiat Chrysler responded that Trump had nothing to do with it.
                8. Trump appointed Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to a top WH post, possibly violating the 1967 federal anti-nepotism statute.
                9. Trump told the NYT that all the dress shops in DC are sold out for his inauguration. This was a lie.
                10. Trump team dismissed the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy, responsible for maintaining our nuclear arsenal, as of January 20. Trump also dismissed the commanding general of the DC national guard.
                11. Cory Booker became the first US Senator to speak out against a fellow sitting senator at a confirmation hearing (Sessions for AG).
                12. CNN reported a bombshell – Intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump that Russia had gathered information to blackmail him (the dossier).
                13. Same day, BuzzFeed published contents of the dossier, which apparently had been in the hands of the FBI and some in the media since the summer. Contents include the infamous golden shower.
                14. Trump denied having been briefed, and said the contents of the dossier were confirmed by intelligence to be fake. DNI Clapper issued a public statement indicating the dossier’s contents are still being verified (not fake), and media reported that Comey met with Trump one-on-one to review the dossier the prior Friday.
                15. Trump held his first press conference since July. Trump packed the room with paid employees, who applauded him, and jeered at reporters.
                16. At presser, Trump said he had no plans to release his tax returns, or resolve conflicts of interest, saying, “I have no-conflict situation because I’m president.”
                17. Trump bullied reporters at two news outlets, calling them “fake news,” and used other news outlets as evidence.
                18. The director of the OGE publicly blasted Trump’s non-plan for dealing with conflicts of interest. Next day, Rep Jason Chaffetz threatened to investigate the OGE.
                19. Next day, while meeting with CEO of AT&T at Trump Tower (AT&T needs approval for their merger with Time Warner, parent company of CNN) Trump tweeted CNN is “FAKE NEWS” and tanking.
                20. Rep Barbara Lee said she would not attend Trump’s inauguration. During the week, the list grew to 12 members of Congress.
                21. Trump encouraged his followers in a tweet to “buy L.L. Bean,” in violation of a WH policy prohibiting the endorsement of products.
                22. The Justice Department inspector general opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct by the FBI and Comey, leading up to the election.
                23. C-Span’s online broadcast was interrupted by Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT, while Rep Maxine Waters was speaking. Waters has said she will not meet with Trump. The broadcast was also interrupted that morning when a Senator discussed Russian hacking.
                24. WAPO reported that Michael Flynn, Trump’s NSA, spoke to Russia’s envoy on Dec 29th, the day Obama announced sanctions on Russia. Trump team initially denied this, then later, said they spoke only once that day. Reuters reports they spoke 5 times that day.
                25. Trump continued to deny Russian hacking, and to use quotes around Intelligence in his tweets.
                26. Trump appointed Rudy Giuliani to a cybersecurity role – albeit though a private company.
                27. Trump appointed a sixth Goldman Sachs (past or present) employees to a major role in his administration.
                28. After Congress was briefed by Intelligence chiefs, Rep John Lewis said, “I don’t see Trump as a legitimate president.”
                29. Next morning, Trump tweeted a disparaging attack on Lewis, on MLK weekend, saying he was all talk.
                30. Democrats in Congress were furious with FBI director Comey’s unwillingness to answer their questions and fully brief them.
                31. UK media broke that the former agent who gathered the info in the dossier, had shared his findings with the FBI, starting in the summer, and had become concerned that a cabal within the FBI was compromised and attempting to cover-up information.
                32. The Senate announced hearings on possible Russia-Trump ties, and said subpoenas would be issued if necessary.
                33. The FEC sent Trump a letter listing 247 pages of illegal contributions to his campaign.
                34. In the wake of the Trump dossier becoming public, Russia’s cybersecurity head is out of a job.
                35. Human Rights Watch issued its annual report of threats to human rights around the world. For the first time in 27 years, the US is listed as a top threat because of the rise of Trump.
                36. A Quinnipiac poll showed Trump’s favorability ratings continuing to slide to historic lows for modern day presidents: only 37% of Americans view Trump favorably.

                • zoebrain

                  34 is particularly…. Unfortunate. One can hope that the resultant witch hunt causes more damage to the FSB than it prevents, but this is the reason why FBI, CIA etc should just shut the @#$& up and only talk to responsible adults who will do their jobs quietly. I’m doubting whether such people exist at the moment though.

                  I’m also afraid that humint assets will be compromised purely to provide the evidence that some are demanding.

                • False framing. Another fake news device. None of the items have anything to do with authoritarianism. They have a lot to do with an administration and its party trying to sabotage and cripple a new administration to an unprecedented degree, and that administration, duly elected has a duty to oppose and stop it.

                  1. The Office of Government Ethics director publicly lamented, “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.” UNETHICAL, and obviously BS. He knows where to find them, and he isn’t supposed to shoot off his mouth.

                  2.Three vendors have placed liens on the Trump hotel in DC for unpaid bills of over $5 million, in total. 100% Irrelevant.

                  3. The OGE similarly said they had not completed ethics reviews of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Leader McConnell said the Democrats need to “grow up” on Trump’s desire for speedy confirmations. McConnell is correct. For once.

                  4. Sean Hannity endorsed a tweet which said “Make Russia Great Again” with the word, “Amen.” Hannity later deleted his tweet. Who cares what Sean Hannity does? That she would include this at all tells you all you need to know about the list compiler. She lumps all conservatives and Republicans into a basket of deplorable, and she is part of the toxic Left that will marginalize the party, or, if it gets what it wants, start a civil war.

                  5. Meryl Streep used her Golden Globes lifetime of notable work speech to eloquently attack Trump, without mentioning his name. Give me a break. There was nothing eloquent about it, she has no authority on the topic, it was not a proper forum, AND this same actress, weeping about someone mocking a man for his appearance, dressed in a fat suit and painted herself orange to mock Trump’s face, hair and body. Nice. It was the speech of an asshole, and a cheap shot.

                  6. Trump responded via a tweet that Streep is an “over-rated” actress, and denied he had mocked a disabled reporter. Dumb and ineffective tweet, and stupid denial. So what?

                  7. Trump took credit for a Fiat Chrysler plant and jobs in MI and OH. Fiat Chrysler responded that Trump had nothing to do with it. Obama took credit for killing Osama Bin Laden, and ignored Bush. President take credit for anything they can. Not a sign of “authoritarianism.” And Trump may still be right.

                  8. Trump appointed Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to a top WH post, possibly violating the 1967 federal anti-nepotism statute. Obama appointed a communist and a truther, and the media snored. A son-in law doesn’t violate the statute, just as Clinton calling his wife a co-President doesn’t. Another phony sandal.

                  9. Trump told the NYT that all the dress shops in DC are sold out for his inauguration. This was a lie.
                  Ugh. I wrote about this. Obama says he’s improved race relations, but this is what the Post fact-checks.

                  10. Trump team dismissed the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy, responsible for maintaining our nuclear arsenal, as of January 20. Trump also dismissed the commanding general of the DC national guard. Every President can appoint or fire whomever he wants. Meaningless.

                  11. Cory Booker became the first US Senator to speak out against a fellow sitting senator at a confirmation hearing (Sessions for AG). And had nothing substantive to say. He’s a hack, and it reflects on Trump?

                  12. CNN reported a bombshell – Intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump that Russia had gathered information to blackmail him (the dossier). This woman is an idiot. That’s no bombshell. And it’s to TRY to blackmail him. Maybe.

                  13. Same day, BuzzFeed published contents of the dossier, which apparently had been in the hands of the FBI and some in the media since the summer. Contents include the infamous golden shower. Fake news.

                  14. Trump denied having been briefed, and said the contents of the dossier were confirmed by intelligence to be fake. DNI Clapper issued a public statement indicating the dossier’s contents are still being verified (not fake), and media reported that Comey met with Trump one-on-one to review the dossier the prior Friday. This is full of misstatements. I’m not wasting time on the rest, and you need to stop posting hyper-partisan junk like this.

                  The authoritarian refrain is just “we don’t like our Presidents strong, we like them weak, like Obama.” There are checks and balances. Strong leaders–Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, Cleveland, TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Ike, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton—are always “authoritarian” to the opposition, and “effective” to supporters. It’s just a pejorative description of effective presidents. I HOPE Trump is effective. The odds are not good. But “authoritarian” is not a legitimate fear.

                  • I don’t understand the materiality of the qualifier in item 5 “without saying his name.”. So what? Is that supposed to make her some kind of witty wordsmith? Stunning and brave? She said “the president elect”, were we supposed to assume from Venezuela? If I said “That bitch who took a cheap pot shot at Trump at the golden globes” does ANYONE here not know who I’m talking about? Am I more witty? Is my point more salient? Or maybe, seeing as she is from Hollywood, whenever any of those vapid hacks says anything almost approaching purposeful ambiguity or intelligence, it’s like a trained animal performing a strange and difficult trick, and we can’t help but applaud.

                  • Chris

                    2.Three vendors have placed liens on the Trump hotel in DC for unpaid bills of over $5 million, in total. 100% Irrelevant.

                    I don’t see how it’s irrelevant; this speaks directly to character, which I thought you viewed important to a president.

                    5. Meryl Streep used her Golden Globes lifetime of notable work speech to eloquently attack Trump, without mentioning his name. Give me a break. There was nothing eloquent about it, she has no authority on the topic, it was not a proper forum, AND this same actress, weeping about someone mocking a man for his appearance, dressed in a fat suit and painted herself orange to mock Trump’s face, hair and body. Nice. It was the speech of an asshole, and a cheap shot.

                    I don’t know why you keep saying critics of Trump don’t have the “authority” to do so. It takes no special qualifications to criticize someone in a position of power.

                    As for proper forums…that ship sailed long ago. There was a time when actors giving political speeches at awards shows was uncommon, but now it is basically a norm, for better or for worse.

                    I also think there is a clear moral difference between mocking someone’s intentionally crafted ridiculous image, and mocking someone’s disability.

                    6. Trump responded via a tweet that Streep is an “over-rated” actress, and denied he had mocked a disabled reporter. Dumb and ineffective tweet, and stupid denial. So what?

                    Lying about the obvious is an authoritarian tactic, though I agree with you that this itself is not sufficient evidence for Trump’s authoritarianism, not is anything else zoe cited so far in this list. The pattern, however, is frightening.

                    7. Trump took credit for a Fiat Chrysler plant and jobs in MI and OH. Fiat Chrysler responded that Trump had nothing to do with it. Obama took credit for killing Osama Bin Laden, and ignored Bush. President take credit for anything they can. Not a sign of “authoritarianism.” And Trump may still be right.

                    You’re comparing Obama taking credit for a mission that he authorized to Trump taking credit for jobs created before he is even president? That makes no sense. And how could Trump “still be right” about this when Fiat Chrysler already said that Trump had nothing to do with their decision?

                    8. Trump appointed Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to a top WH post, possibly violating the 1967 federal anti-nepotism statute. Obama appointed a communist and a truther, and the media snored.

                    That’s because it wasn’t true, Jack. Jones was apparently stupid enough to sign a petition without reading the whole thing; he never publicly entertained the truther lie, and he hasn’t identified as a Communist for a very long time. This is an example of you falling for fake news.

                    9. Trump told the NYT that all the dress shops in DC are sold out for his inauguration. This was a lie.
                    Ugh. I wrote about this. Obama says he’s improved race relations, but this is what the Post fact-checks.

                    Another bad comparison. One is a matter of opinion with dozens of data points to interpret, the other is a simple true/false.

                    12. CNN reported a bombshell – Intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump that Russia had gathered information to blackmail him (the dossier). This woman is an idiot. That’s no bombshell. And it’s to TRY to blackmail him. Maybe.

                    What?! Of course that’s a bombshell! I can’t believe you think this doesn’t matter.

                    13. Same day, BuzzFeed published contents of the dossier, which apparently had been in the hands of the FBI and some in the media since the summer. Contents include the infamous golden shower. Fake news.

                    It is not fake news. It is news about an unverified allegation made by a British intelligence official who is considered a trusted source. That is important news. An investigation is required to either confirm or debunk the allegation.

                    The authoritarian refrain is just “we don’t like our Presidents strong, we like them weak, like Obama.” There are checks and balances. Strong leaders–Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, Cleveland, TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Ike, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton—are always “authoritarian” to the opposition, and “effective” to supporters. It’s just a pejorative description of effective presidents. I HOPE Trump is effective. The odds are not good. But “authoritarian” is not a legitimate fear.

                    You called Donald Trump an authoritarian in this article here:

                    https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/02/28/anti-trump-sunday-continues-with-ethics-hero-conservative-commentator-erick-erickson/

                    In a comment to this article here:

                    https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/10/14/unethical-quote-of-the-week-donald-trump-of-course/

                    And you called Trump’s (and Sanders’) supporters authoritarian in this article here:

                    https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/03/12/observations-on-the-chicago-trump-rally-protests/

                    What, other than Donald Trump getting elected, has changed since then?

                    • 2. Trump doesn’t manage that hotel, and disputes with banks don’t prove anything.
                      5. Ethics, Chris. Remember? If you are going to put your opinion on mass communications, you have an obligation to have some valid authority.
                      6. Lying? Trump thinks she’s over-rated, and can say so. Is that really what you call a lie?

                      7.“You’re comparing Obama taking credit for a mission that he authorized to Trump taking credit for jobs created before he is even president? That makes no sense. And how could Trump “still be right” about this when Fiat Chrysler already said that Trump had nothing to do with their decision?”

                      Obama didn’t authorize the search for Bin Laden; it had been ongoing. Oh, you mean that when they said, “we got him, should we do it?”, he said, like anyone else on the face of the earth, “Christ, of course!” he should pat himself on the back? The stock market has surged since the election, in part because business feels that Trump will make it safer to invest. Who knows why various companies are hiring and creating jobs? Who knows everything that went into the decision? Companies say what they want the public to hear.

                      8. That’s because it wasn’t true, Jack. Jones was apparently stupid enough to sign a petition without reading the whole thing; he never publicly entertained the truther lie, and he hasn’t identified as a Communist for a very long time. This is an example of you falling for fake news.

                      Wow! Spin of the month! How does one sign a petition say that the US bombed its own people without reading it? That signature would cost him a federal job in a fair FBI background check. “I didn’t mean it!” isn’t a defense, and he WAS a Communist. Was he a card carrying member when he was appointed? No. I don’t recall anyone saying he was. The point wasn’t even that Jones shouldn’t have been appointed, but that being a son-in-law is pitifully weak as a reason to question an advisor, given previous standards.

                      9. Another bad comparison. One is a matter of opinion with dozens of data points to interpret, the other is a simple true/false.

                      Keep spinning. By no honest assessment are race relations anything but worse. If blacks AND white overhwelmingly think they are worse, they are worse. This is all you need…

                      How about this one?

                      No wonder Obama never faces reality.

                      12. It’s no bombshell that Russia intelligence would be trying gather useful information on any US official. They have done so for 60 years. Putin is ex-KGB.

                      13. Same day, BuzzFeed published contents of the dossier, which apparently had been in the hands of the FBI and some in the media since the summer. Contents include the infamous golden shower. Fake news.

                      It is not fake news. It is news about an unverified allegation made by a British intelligence official who is considered a trusted source. That is important news. An investigation is required to either confirm or debunk the allegation.

                      The essence of a big lie. The allegation is not sufficiently supported to warrant an investigation. That makes it a smear. We’ve been through this.

                    • As for those links, I’m surprised at you. I checked the first two, and your representations were false. I may check the others later, but the first two are bad faith or sloppy reading. In the first, I quote another author calling Trump authoritarian. I did not. In the second, I wrote,

                      “A completely inept and authoritarian jackass posing as a Republican will turn the nation leftward more than any Democrat could.”

                      I will stipulate that completely inept authoritarians are bad. So are completely inept auto mechanics, but that doesn’t make “auto mechanic” a pejorative term. That’s two dishonest gotchas.

                    • Chris

                      6. Lying? Trump thinks she’s over-rated, and can say so. Is that really what you call a lie?

                      No, I thought it was clear I was referring to his claim that he did not mock a reporter’s disability as a lie.

                      It is not unethical for any halfway educated, informed person to criticize Trump on television. What “authority” are you saying Streep should have that would make such criticism ethical? A political science degree? Years of service in politics? Being an ethics lawyer? What?

                      It is a fact that Obama re-prioritized the hunt for Obama after Bush went on record saying that finding him was no longer a priority; I believe he deserves some credit for that.

                      I’ve seen no evidence that the stock has gone up due to Trump. Given his disapproval rating, that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. He is an unpredictable man; typically, unpredictable presidents are not good for the stock market or consumer confidence. It is highly unlikely that these are results of Trump winning the election.

                      I believe the incredible amount of evidence that Russia influenced the election to help Trump makes an investigation into why warranted. The notion that they have compromising information on him is believable and fits with all existing circumstantial evidence. It also comes from a source the intelligence community says is credible. That does not mean that it’s true. That means that there should be an investigation. And if we needed to know that Comey was investigating Hillary’s e-mails for the five-hundredth time, then we certainly need to know that our IC is investigating our president elect.

                    • Chris

                      Yes, you quoted another author who said Trump was an authoritarian, then immediately after the paragraph where he called Trump an authoritarian, you wrote “Clear, brave, unequivocal and true. Bravo.” How is it dishonest to gather from that that you agreed Trump was an authoritarian? How would someone interpret that as anything other than you agreeing Trump was an authoritarian?

                      “A completely inept and authoritarian jackass posing as a Republican will turn the nation leftward more than any Democrat could.”

                      I will stipulate that completely inept authoritarians are bad. So are completely inept auto mechanics, but that doesn’t make “auto mechanic” a pejorative term. That’s two dishonest gotchas.

                      What? Are you saying you were referring to someone other than Trump when you said “a completely inept and authoritarian jackass?” This was not you calling Trump an authoritarian?

                      I’m surprised at you, Jack, for not just saying that you called Trump an authoritarian and have since revised your opinion.

                    • Cut it out, you are engaging in dishonest argument. I praised a conservative pundit early on for condemning Trump. I do not, by so doing, endorse every aspect of his exact wording. That’s a slimy gotcha, and I resent it. I would not write exactly what he did, and I didn’t. I did not write “Clear, brave, unequivocal and true. Bravo.” after the paragraph that included “authoritarian”—I wrote it after 5 paragraphs,, endorsing the sense of his whole article. Yours is a dishonest and slimy characterization of what I wrote.

                      AGAIN: I wrote “A completely inept and authoritarian jackass posing as a Republican will turn the nation leftward more than any Democrat could.”

                      I explained the distinction by saying that..

                      I will stipulate that completely inept authoritarians are bad. So are completely inept auto mechanics, but that doesn’t make “auto mechanic” a pejorative term.

                      I have no way of knowing how Trump will govern. There is no clear definition of authoritarian that I can find—all I can say is how I use it: to describe strong, strict, no bullshit, no waffling, tough standards, no lenience leadership. If such a leader is effective and doesn’t overstep legal boundaries, he may be effective. Since a dictator is impossible in the US system, an authoritarian President is a strong leaders.

                      Some people–maybe most— mean “dictator” by authoritarian. I don’t, and I never have. Used that way, its an unfair characterization of Trump based on what we know.Being a strong leader is not per se bad. FDR was autocratic. So was Teddy, Lincoln, and Jackson.

          • Chris

            Soros couldn’t run, as he is not a natural born citizen. I don’t know who the other ones are.

  8. Patrice

    Tangent Alert!
    Just exactly how did Jimmy Carter wound the Presidency?

    • He was different from the rest: he did it intentionally. After Nixon, we didn’t want a President any more, so Jimmy meticulously tried to be the un-President. He threw off the symbols of the office. He walked in his inaugural parade. He wore flannel shirts, and sat on porches asking farmers their opinions on foreign affairs. And I kept saying “NOOOO! You fool! You will need that symbolic authority soon, and once its gone, it’s gone.” Carter was not only weak, like Obama, but unlike Obama, he didn’t act strong. Reagan played President perfectly, and restored the majesty to the office after Carter, the fool, had removed it.

      • Patrice

        So, trying to get context, but it sounds like you’re saying that he intentionally wounded the Presidency. That doesn’t seem fair to me. He may have intentionally tried to be a counter-cultural president, but his intent was not to wound the presidency but, wrong or right, to be a different kind of leader. And I don’t think he deserves to be called a fool.

        • Other Bill

          He also let the Iranian mullahs humiliate the country with impunity. Of course, as I’ve said many times, in the fall of 2007 when they were all jazzed about Obama’s book and his run for the presidency, I told my kids he’d make Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill.

        • Jimmy didn’t understand the Presidency. He thought he was doing the right thing, but ignoring 2 centuries of wisdom because you think you know better is usually a mistake. Trump is making that mistake in indeterminate ways. Some new approaches are good. Stripping an office of its power is unlikely to be, and that’s what Jimmy, an arrogant SOB, was sure was a good idea. It was no coincidence that his debate gaffe was when he sounded like he was taking nuclear policy advice from an 11-year-old.

          • zoebrain

            Trump has stated he gets his cybersecurity advice from his 10 yr old son. Whether he does or not, I have no idea. He says a lot of things.

          • Patrice

            If you say so (although arrogance and Jimmy Carter don’t go together IMNSHO). Still,if what you say is accurate, it is still not proof that he intentionally wounded the Presidency. He may have been intentional in what he did, but he did not intend to wound the Presidency, which is your stance.

            • I said he intentionally engaged in conduct designed to reduce the image of the Presidency to “just one of the folks,”, and he did. It was ignorant, and I said that too. And he learned he was wrong the hard way.

              And if you don’t know that Jimmy Crater is one of the most arrogant and self-worshiping men ever to hold the office, you’ve had your eyes and ears closed. That’s his defining characteristic.

              • Patrice

                NO! You wrote in your original post: “Nixon wounded the office; so did Carter, and Clinton.” Then I asked: “Just exactly how did Jimmy Carter wound the Presidency?” Then you wrote in a comment to me: “He was different from the rest: he did it intentionally.” The literal line of logic is: wounded? – how – intentionally.

                Insult me if you must, but I reject your arrogant Carter as any more arrogant than he had to be.

                By the way, WordPress is bring obnoxious, so I might have to create a new account.

  9. zoebrain

    Not normal times Dept.

    http://westport.dailyvoice.com/police-fire/cops-greenwich-republican-insulted-town-worker-then-pinched-her-groin/696124/

    GREENWICH, Conn. — A well-known Greenwich Republican called a town worker “nothing but a bloodsucking lazy union employee” and later reached in from behind to place his hand between her legs and pinch her in the groin area, according to the police arrest warrant.

    Christopher von Keyserling, 71, of 402 Post Road E., was arrested in Greenwich Town Hall on Wednesday afternoon and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, police said. He posted $2,500 bond and was released to appear in court on Jan. 25.

    Police said video footage from a surveillance camera on the day of the incident is consistent with the sequence of events described by the complainant.

    Innocent until proven guilty of course. The Age of Trump may have nothing to do with it. And I am Marie of Rumania.

    But seriously, it may be just that all men in power of a certain age have been getting away with it, this really may be Normal, just hidden in the past. Doing it in front of a video camera though…

    • It’s good to have Zoe on point with these discoveries. I can’t believe that men in power have just started sexually assaulting women…all because of Trump.

      Politicians were so pure and clean and never did wrong before!

      Oh where has our Eden gone!

      Oh Zoe! You should be paid for this kind of aggressive watch dog effort!

      I’m so proud that a member of Ethics Alarms has discovered how much civilization has collapsed into decadence and violence since Trump was elected.

      Can we ever have our Camelot back! Oh the for the golden age of purity and honor and sinlessness of November 7th!

      • zoebrain

        An untested allegation of course, but…

        ” He allegedly replied: “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct,” according to the warrant. ”

        Conversely, he’s confessed to doing the same thing to others, has done for some time.

    • Or it may be that one guy is an asshole. Actually, there are millions of them, but it has nothing to do with party affiliation.

      • zoebrain

        Party affiliation is a pretty good guide. Show me a Trotskyite or a National Socialist, I’ll show you an equine posterior.

        Are there more assholes in the Democrats than Republicans? No idea.

        The amount is definitely nonzero in both. Democrats are more likely to be race baiters, Republicans more into sexual assault. Yes, I have the figures there, of GOP legislators guilty or arrested for sex crimes. Figures gathered as part of the fight against the upcoming Texas legislation portraying Trans people as rapists. You know, like Mexicans.

        • I think that’s just a different color of bigotry. Our two greatest sexual predator Presidents have been Democrats: JFK, and Clinton, and Biden feels up every young woman who gets close. Trump did most of his sexual assaults as a Democrat.

  10. It is a right every Citizen has, to criticise and hold to account any elected official, including using the processes of Impeachment. This right, as far as I know has no, limit in time. Everyone has the right (I would say the moral duty) to speak against, derail, barrack and whisper dissent against their government. Mr. Jack Marshall on the other hand, seems to be arguing that, President Donald Trump, the most powerful Executive we’ve known for some time, is a poor waiter, who must be tipped and smiled at lest he spit in the soup.

    The truth is otherwise. He owes us his service. The American people owe him nothing. He has to come up to the mark. We have to make sure he does so in every respect. If he really thinks he can’t handle it – he should quit now. If he continues he must be held to no less a high standard than anyone else.

    Bearing mind the conduct of his campaign, the level of assurance required in evaluating PEOTUS even in the run up to inauguration should be high, the standard of evidence should be low. And prejudice against should be set all the way up to 11.

    His Oath of Office will probably be
    “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”

    To the best of my knowledge it does not include sub-clauses
    “Except the First Amendment if people aren’t nice to me”
    or
    “But only to the extent that I am forced to. I mean, like, in business, that’s just being smart, believe me.”

    • Chris

      An eloquent comment that will unfortunately be dismissed as mere partisan ranting.

      • I have faith. Maybe not enough to stop a tide or raise a mountain, but possibly enough to raise a smile and stop a minor gap in the thought process. We’ll see.

        But thanks Chris.

      • Not fair, Chris. For one thing, Bruce isn’t in the US—whatever his bases may be, they aren’t partisan.

        Bruce misrepresents what I have written. In fact, what he has written is false and idiotic, and it is similarly idingenuous to endorse it. Quick now, what’s the ethical problem with this:

        “is a poor waiter, who must be tipped and smiled at lest he spit in the soup.” Come on, you can do it!

        He hasn’t started waiting yet, you morons. Yes, I am saying that it is unethical for a customer to deride a waiter before he has looked at the menu or sat down to dine. That it is wrong to go to the management and demand he be fired before even arriving at the restaurant.

        “The truth is otherwise. He owes us his service.”

        Again—BUZZZZZ! Wrong! He owes us his leadership and best efforts to do what he believes is in the best interest of his nation. Anybody who compared Obama to a waiter would have been called a racist. Obama, like a an old style Rmglish king, wanted to rule without having to deal with the legislature—you know, the people’s house. Democrats are claiming a standard they resisted for 8 years.

        The American people owe him nothing.

        Bullshit. They owe him fairness and a chance. His election guaranteed him that. They owe the office respect and loyalty.

        “If he really thinks he can’t handle it – he should quit now.”

        Every President wonders if he can handle it.

        If he continues he must be held to no less a high standard than anyone else.

        And he should be given the same chance to success as every one else.

        Stop cheering poor arguments, Chris, no matter how nicely written they are.

        • Will the real Jack Marshall please stand up?

          I’m trying to make a very unpalatable point using humor. I failed.

          Leadership is the service of a President. He swears an oath to uphold the Constitution to that effect. And every other citizen does the same. To the flag, constitution and people. Never to the President as The Leader. ‘The Don’ is not a King.

          I hope to have to say no more

        • Chris

          He hasn’t started waiting yet, you morons. Yes, I am saying that it is unethical for a customer to deride a waiter before he has looked at the menu or sat down to dine. That it is wrong to go to the management and demand he be fired before even arriving at the restaurant.

          If before becoming my waiter, a man has already told me on multiple occasions that he would spit in my food and throw wine in my face if he ever becomes my waiter, then it would be fair for me as a customer to demand another waiter.

          Your position that we can’t possibly know what kind of president Trump will be based on what kind of presidential candidate he was, what kind of president elect he is, and what kind of man he has been his entire life, is ludicrous, and I cannot take it seriously.

          Donald Trump has–at every point in his career–abused his power, and has bragged about it. It does not take a psychic to know he will continue to abuse his power as president. Telling us to “wait and see” is absurd. I have little doubt you will begin condemning Trump’s unethical conduct as president before his first week is up, and that you will also lecture the rest of us for not giving him a chance. I’ll just say “I told you so.”

          • Chris,his service to his country started the moment the election result was confirmed. There are processes to be completed. There are expectations and standards to be met. Not least some movement to unite a divided country. Currently he is making acceptance of his leadership a demand not an offer. He is appeasing a known adversary (V. Putin), Tweeting against speech, threatening ‘consequences’ to any critical press, and all this just as a distraction from – Bog knows what.

            • Trump has not “appeased” anyone, nor is he in office. He has made appointments, and tweeted. Trump cannot unite a divided country while all of academia, Hollywood, the news media, progressives and Democrats are working around the clock to paint him as some kind of monster. He is President, do you comprehend? Seemingly not. A citizen’s acceptance of the elected leadership isn’t voluntary: Trump needn’t “demand” anything, and hasn’t. If you live here, you accept the authority of the state, local and national governments. You can work to change what you like, but you cannot fail to accept the authority. The President doesn’t have to ask it. It’s an essential aspect of citizenship.

          • “If before becoming my waiter, a man has already told me on multiple occasions that he would spit in my food and throw wine in my face if he ever becomes my waiter, then it would be fair for me as a customer to demand another waiter.”

            1. Trump didn’t do that. If you are an illegal immigrant racist, then the analogy gets better, but then, I don’t care what any illegal immigrant wants here, even the non-racists.

            2. If your table votes that they want the waiter you don’t, then you accept the vote, or leave.

          • Spartan

            Yes. Jack has gone too far with this argument. As I’ve said before, a monkey will still throw his shit at you even after you’ve elected him President. That said, it sets a dangerous precedent to protest inaugurations UNLESS the election was fraudulent. Elections benefit Democrats too, and peaceful transitions of power are required if we want to keep our government. End of story. If you want to protest, be specific. Organize in front of the Department of Education or Energy if you do not like his cabinet picks. But a general march on Washington only verifies what Trump and everyone else already knows — that it was a close election and half the country is angry. So what do you hope to achieve?

    • I would have gone with “to the best of my ability… And I gotta say, what an ability, my ability is going to be better than anyone else’s, it’s gonna be yuge.”

      But as to your point…. Criticism? Sure. Protests? I’m not entirely sure what for, just yet… But go ahead. Calling him illegitimate? That’s not an opinion, man, that’s just a lie. There is a line, I think, between what the public should be doing in the face of a Trump presidency, and what is actually happening. I don’t think that the average squalling person out there could actually list specifics of why they think the way they do. (homophobic, in particular, is completely unfounded, but I digress.) And so, failing to be able to understand WHY they dislike the guy they do, their entire argument boils down to, “My person didn’t win.” They don’t CARE about racism, sexism or homophobia, these were the same allegations against McCain and Romney, with just as much thought… No, this is the new norm, so far from the left, because they started it, but I have no doubt that the right is capable of carrying it further: A complete rejection of facts when it suits them. A whining mewl of false allegations, growing, culminating in a nation wide hissy fit, that certain people find legitimate only because those whining mewls put voice to the frustrations that they were smart enough to keep at bay, to start with, at least.

      • As far as I know there is no confirmation process for joining a protest or having an opinion. Now we don’t have to be too particular about confirming Generals as Defense Secretary and can steamroller through appropriate legislative amendments in a day I’m sure time can be spared to create them.

        • I have no idea what you tried to say here.

          • Sorry Humble Talent, it must be me.

            Protest (freedom speech and assembly) is a constitutional right no matter how stupid and wrong headed people are. And telling lies is allowed. The whiny people who don’t know why they are upset very much included.

            The Executive branch however does have to be qualified. The President by election, his Nominees by confirmation.

            So, taking the Constitution as an ethical system, the protests are a distraction from the real problems around the confirmation of General Mike Mattis.

            Which is an example of the problems with interfering with free speech and getting away with as much as he can that i attempted to illustrate in my OP.

            The net result of which could well be incursions on the very right to protest without qualification that should be guarded by all and thus a cause for Ethical Alarm.

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